Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Small Business Wish List for 2009

A Small Business Wish List for 2009
  1. A tax code we can understand.
  2. A microlending program that really works for microbusinesses.
  3. Regulators who view small businesses as allies instead of adversaries.
  4. A federal procurement system that works for businesses of all sizes.
  5. Recognition of self-employment as the true engine of job growth.
  6. An SBA Administrator who actually knows something about small businesses.
  7. A voice in economic policy that is as large as our numbers.
  8. Policy makers who are less inclined to suck up to special interests at the expense of small businesses.
  9. National leaders who recognize that small is beautiful.
  10. A President who won't forget the world's second largest economy.

Hope you and yours had a lovely Holiday!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mortgage rates fall to 37-year low

Check out this great news on the mortgage and real estate industry

Monday, December 8, 2008

Important Information you should know on Short Sales and Foreclosures

Important Information you should know on Short Sales and Foreclosures

What is a Short Sale?

A short sale is a legally-binding agreement to allow a home to be sold for less than the amount that is owed. And, while short sales are not by any means common or easy, because of increasing inventory levels and foreclosures in some parts of the country, lenders are much more eager to negotiate with borrowers who are having trouble paying their mortgages. For potential home buyers and real estate investors, a short sale also offers a great opportunity to purchase property at a significant discount. However, don't expect a lot of help from the lender without first providing a sales contract from a qualified buyer and all the information required by the lender's loss mitigation department. Of course, lenders are not looking to bail out "flippers" or other borrowers who simply overextended themselves. In most cases, a borrower must have suffered a serious financial hardship that directly caused him or her to default on the mortgage: the loss of a job, a serious illness, or the death of a loved one. A written declaration and supporting documentation demonstrating financial hardship will definitely be required by the lender. This may include pay stubs, tax returns, and liquid asset statements, among other documentation.

Key Considerations to Keep in Mind

It's important to note that the difference between what is owed on a mortgage and the final amount the lender collects after the costs of the sale, including real estate commissions and possibly other charges don't simply disappear in a short sale. In the past, this deficiency or "canceled mortgage debt" was considered taxable income to the borrower. However, thanks to the Mortgage Forgiveness Act of 2007, the tax burden for qualifying canceled mortgage debt (as high as 35%) for primary residences only has been temporarily waived until the end of 2009. If there are multiple liens against the property, all lien holders will have to be involved in the negotiation process, not just the first lien holder. Therefore, communication and patience are essential components of any short sale. This is why an experienced real estate agent and mortgage professional become so valuable to this process.

Lake Renwick Point waterfront property. 3.5 acres

Lake Renwick Point waterfront property. 3.5 acres-Rare opportunity to have a unique property offering in a dynamic high growth community. Ideal for: upscale business strip,corporate HQ,bed and breakfast, private estate,medical facility, office park,high end townhomes...Uses are unlimited..Carpe Diem..Sothebys kind of Development!

Lake Renwick Pt. is a magnificent island-like parcel w/panoramic breathtaking views of the Lake Renwick Heron Rookery. Surrounded by water on 3 sides. Check out for further info.

Is It Time to Buy That First House?

Check out article on making that 1st leap....

Five or 10 years from now, when the financial crisis has ended and housing prices are up smartly once more, we will look in the rearview mirror and realize that we missed a golden age for first-time home buyers.

Then, everyone who sat on their down payment savings accounts for a few years too long will kick themselves for not taking advantage of what may turn out to be the buying opportunity of a lifetime for those who can qualify for a mortgage.

Unfortunately, we do not know when this golden age will begin, because we will be able to identify a bottom to the housing market only with the benefit of hindsight. But as it does with the stock market, the moment will probably arrive when everyone is feeling the most pessimistic.

That moment is certainly getting closer. Housing prices have fallen drastically from their peak levels in many areas of the country. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are already close to 5.5 percent, and this week there were suggestions that the federal government might try to drive them down to 4.5 percent, a truly incredible figure to be able to lock in for three decades.

Meanwhile, first-time home buyers have the same advantage they have always had, which is that they do not have to sell their old place before buying a new one. That is an added advantage in areas where many available houses simply are not moving, because the people trying to sell them will not be bidding against you.

If you’re hoping for a recovery in the housing market, you ought to be cheering on the first-time home buyers. When they purchase homes, their sellers are free to move on or move up, stimulating further sales.

But if you are a potential first-time buyer yourself, or lending or giving the down payment to one, you are probably as frightened as you are tempted by all the “For Sale” signs that have become “On Sale” signs. So let’s quickly review some of the still-grim pricing data in certain areas — and consider the reasoning offered up by first-time buyers who have forged ahead anyhow.

As is always the case with real estate, much depends on location. One study, “The Changing Prospects for Building Home Equity,” tries to predict where today’s first-time buyers in the 100 biggest metropolitan areas may actually have less home equity by 2012 as a result of continued price declines. The verdict was that buyers in 33 of the markets could see a decline by 2012, including potential six-figure drops on an average home in the New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle metropolitan areas.

This is obviously scary. (I’ve linked to the study, a joint effort of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, from the version of this article at It’s worth noting, however, that these predictions came before the government made its most recent move to reduce borrowing costs.

Also, the price projections in the study are based, in part, on the fact that the ratio of purchase prices to annual rents is still higher in many areas than the historical average, which is roughly 15 times rents. While past figures may well have some predictive value, I have never been convinced that first-time buyers compare a home that they could own and one that they would rent in purely or even primarily economic terms.

When Jaime and Michael Proman moved this fall to Minneapolis, his hometown, from New York City, they craved a different sort of life after two years together in a 450-square-foot studio apartment. “We didn’t want a sterile apartment feel,” said Mr. Proman, who is 28 (his wife is 26). “We wanted something that was permanent and very much a reflection of us.”

The fact is, in many parts of the country there are few if any attractive rentals for people looking to put down roots and enjoy the sort of amenities they may spot on cable television home improvement shows. Comparing a rental with a place that you may own seems almost pointless in these situations, especially for those who are now grown up enough to want to make their own decisions about d├ęcor without consulting the landlord.

Still, for anyone feeling the urge to buy, a number of practical considerations have changed in the last year or two. The basics are back, like spending no more than 28 percent of your pretax income on mortgage payments, taxes and insurance. Even if a lender does not hold you to this when you go in for preapproval, you should hold yourself to it.

You will also want to start now on any project to improve your credit score because it may take several months to get it above the 720 level that qualifies you for many of the best mortgage rates.

John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for, a consumer credit information and application site, suggests starting to pay down and put away credit cards months before you apply for a loan. That is because the credit scoring system could penalize you if you use a lot of credit each month, even if you always pay in full. Also, check your three credit reports (it’s free) at and dispute errors.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Don't go through life, grow through life."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Financial Terminology..for 2008...

The New Financial Terminology:

CEO –Chief Embezzlement Officer.

CFO– Corporate Fraud Officer.

BULL MARKET — A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.

BEAR MARKET — A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets nothing (actually something else here but not appropriate for the work place).

VALUE INVESTING — The art of buying low and selling lower.

P/E RATIO — The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.

BROKER — What my broker has made me.

STANDARD & POOR — Your life in a nutshell.

STOCK ANALYST — Idiot who just downgraded your stock.

STOCK SPLIT — When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.

FINANCIAL PLANNER — A guy whose phone has been disconnected.

MARKET CORRECTION — The day after you buy stocks.

CASH FLOW — The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.

YAHOO — What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.

WINDOWS — What you jump out of when you’re the sucker who bought Yahoo @ $240 per share.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR — Past year investor who’s now locked up in a nuthouse.

PROFIT — An archaic word no longer in use.

Luxury living at Affordable prices! 3115 W.Foster and 2641 Estes-Lowering another 10% post election

Beyond Outplacement,...the emotional side of downsizing.

My good friend and colleague from Chicago Business Network is leading this INSPIRING program!....

The program, Beyond Outplacement, was created to help people and organizations deal with the emotional side of downsizing. Unfortunately in today’s environment layoffs are happening all too often. This interactive program is designed to help shift the mindset of those that are leaving as well as those that are staying, and allow those individuals to approach the change from a very positive perspective rather than one based on fear. As we all know change can be difficult. This program is intended to help people experience the change more easily.

Debbie Weinstein Huml, CPCC, ACC
Inspiring Leadership Partners, LLC

Announcing Inspiring Leadership Partner’s (ILP)

Beyond Outplacement Program

When your company downsizes, for whatever reason, valuable employees find themselves in a precarious position. General uncertainty, cautious performance and tentative actions result.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you, the employer, could do something to take of care of dedicated employees? Now you can. With ILP’s Beyond Outplacement Program you can provide them with the tools, techniques and support to:

  • Shift their mindset and consider perspectives that will serve them regarding the upcoming change
  • Uncover their dreams, passions and visions that may be lost during this time in their lives
  • Identify a working list of their transferrable skills
  • Network socially and formally

Your company will receive the benefit of:

  • Former employees who are better equipped to move forward professionally
  • A reputation of taking care of those who have worked for you
  • Current employees who will continue to be dedicated to their work
  • Current employees who see how much you value employees
  • A cadre of people who could come back to you when business improves

Downsizing, laying off employees, is never easy…..but with the ILP Beyond Outplacement Program there are ways to improve the outcome of the situation.

What would you like if you were in their shoes?

Inspiring Leadership Partners Beyond Outplacement Program.

For more information contact us at

or call 773.462.4493 or 773.348.3720


Because Change Happens….

Beyond Outplacement – Keeping your organization healthy, happy and effective in challenging times.

The challenge:

You have to make staffing changes, people who have been dedicated to your company will be asked to leave, they are worried, unsure, and you want to help them transition. At the same time, the employees who remain are facing a range of emotions and realities. They need to be reassured and supported through this turbulent time.

The mission:

To support those who are leaving, those employees who are staying, and those people who deliver the difficult messages in times of transition.


  • Former employees who are better equipped to move forward professionally
  • Former employees who leave and will speak highly of your company and it’s commitment to it’s people.
  • Employees who will continue to work with dedication for you.
  • A cadre of people who could come back to you when your business improves.


The Beyond Outplacement program is designed as a menu of offerings. The ILP team will work with you to create a customized delivery of services to meet your specific organizational needs.

Learning sessions for those leaving:

o Honoring Your Fears and Concerns

o Dreams and Visions: What have you always wanted

o Unique U: Define and describe your transferrable skills

o Sell Yourself: Creating your elevator speech


Learning sessions for those staying:

  • Concerns and Perspectives: Shifting to the positive
  • Dealing with the Survivor Guilt for managers and colleagues
  • Reinvesting in and Refocusing the team
  • Energizing the Mission: Why are you doing what you are doing
  • Preparing for the transitions: Information and knowledge exchange

Services for everyone:

Stress Management Classes

o Live and Teleclass (by phone)


o Career, Business and Life


o Individual & Group

o Family

o Spiritual

o Clinical


o Human Resource, Strategic Planning, Workforce Planning, Talent Management

o Organizational Design, Change Management


o EQ-i


o Holland

All programs include:

o Customization for your organization

o Workbook

o Action Planning

o Accountability

o Internal Support Systems

o External Coaching

How we work:

Delivery to fit your time frame and group size. Beyond Outplacement learning sessions are 1 ½ to 2 hours in length and are best offered in groups of 10 or under. Services vary in length and duration.

Classes and Services offered by ILP Founders Debbie Huml, Natalie Goldfein along with Dr. Karl Schmitt, Psy.D., SPHR.

Living Green Online magazine

Come check out
great site for everything green

Single Family in Lincoln Park for under $1million..Motivated seller in Motivating Times!..Hybrid historical sf/townhome w/ Greenhouse..

Come check out the video tour on this great hybrid TH/SF on the serene tree-lined street of Wisconsin in Lincoln Park....3br/3.5ba.Priced@999,


Website is

Residences at Joffrey--Lake Views every room..Reduced to $508,900

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Post election deal of the week:reduced another 200K..Patten Mansion-117 Benton.. Palatine- Historic mansion at historic low price

1) 117 Benton- Palatine, IL. - 2 acres- Exclusively priced until 1/1 at $999,975A masterpiece in the heart of Palatine..Exquisite 3-story Patten House mansion blt in 1898.Frame facade in Victorian "Chateauesque" design. Ideal for single family,devlpt(4buildable lots),or adaptive reuse:bed and breakfast, gourmet restaurant, cultural arts center. Carpe diem-Live your extraordinary life in this extraordinary property!

Check out the you tube video at

Sale of the Week...Congenially Contemporary in Lincoln Park - Deal Estate - September 2008 - Chicago

Sep 22, 2008
Sale of the Week—Congenially Contemporary in Lincoln Park
By Dennis RodkinSep 22, 2008 - 06:14 AM-->
List Price: $1,999,975Sale Price: $1,400,000The Property: This twenty-year-old house in west Lincoln Park fits congenially with its historic neighbors, thanks to its red brick exterior, arched windows, and slim cornice. Inside, it’s much more contemporary, with crisp expanses of white walls and a dramatic three-story staircase whose slightly bowed walls are the antidote to boxiness.
Standing on an almost-double lot (45 feet wide, where the Chicago norm is 25), the 5,200-square-foot house has 11 rooms, six of them bedrooms, and five-plus baths. The master bedroom shares the third floor with an exercise room, and in the basement there is a second kitchen. The main kitchen and bathrooms, dating to the late 1980s, need to be updated, says the seller’s real-estate agent, Ron Goldstein.
Designed by the architect Gary Shoda, the house was built in 1988 for Jennifer Meltzer and her then-husband, Robert, who that year became president and CEO of Evans Furs, the retailer his grandfather had founded on State Street in 1926. Jennifer Meltzer was a model for Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum in the 1970s. The Meltzers later divorced, and Jennifer Meltzer kept the house. She is now moving to Malibu, California, Goldstein says.
Price Points: Meltzer initially listed the home for sale in February, with an asking price of $2,199,700. By late spring, when it hadn’t sold, Goldstein offered real-estate agents an incentive: $5,000 on top of their commission for closing a sale by June 15th. No one earned the bonus, but a sale did close on September 15th; the buyer’s name has not yet appeared in public records.
Listing Agent: Ron Goldstein, Sudler Sotheby’s International Realty, 312-943-1980

Ecobroker site

The leading source for continuing green education..

I became a local Chicago Eco-broker a year ago and welcome the opportunity to educate you..on green products/services........

Master Mind Group

I run a group currently in the real estate industry discussing the following items..Should anyone wish to have a dialogue on any of these .......I am always open for a chat..Ron


Purpose of Group- To share ideas in a casual setting about SUCCEEDING in this changing market


*Current real estate transactions --Share success stories/frustrations

*Learning the Sothebys brand and how to leverage

*Operating as a business..% spend on advertising.. budgets

*Communication styles w/buyers/sellers

*Pricing correctly out of the box

*Prequalifying process

*Price adjustment(NOT reduction) scenarios

*Effective CMAs

*Plan of actions on the listing side

*Working with FSBO/expireds

*Working our sphere of influence more successfully

*Being a trusted advisor to our clients..aligning w/the right professionals

*Eliminating negativity out of our mindsets…Get over your biggest competitor..YOU!

Chicago Business Network

Come check out
Ive been active in the group for 7 years....

Welcome to the Chicago Business Network
Chicago Business Network members all share a commitment to help each other’s business prosper and to add value to their clients. Thus, to further these objectives, members share ideas, social values and knowledge. Thanks for visiting.
Our Focus to be a resource for your business to help it grow by offering you opportunities for networking, lead exchange, information, education and opportunities for leadership and influence.
Our Format casual and friendly. We meet at 7:30 a.m. — 8:45 a.m. the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month. Our meetings are structured to stimulate lead generation and acknowledgment. Our members, as well as outside guests serve as speakers.
Our Functions
...throughout the year we get together with other networking groups at various times for social events and networking. We also have an annual Holiday party. As a group we plan one day of volunteering as a way to give something back to the community.

Local Sudler Sothebys Eco-Broker sells to Northbrook Park District for kids open play lots

Best Chicago Wine Bars

Check out the link at

Ive been to a majority of these..All eclectic and great date places! Ron

Artisanal Bistro & Wine Bar Near North Side Wine Bar
Binny's (River North) River North Wine Bar
Cab's Wine Bar & Bistro Other Wine Bar, International and American
Connoisseur West Town Wine Bar +50%
Cru Cafe and Wine Bar Near North Side Mediterranean, International and Wine Bar +68%
Cyrano's Bistrot & Wine Bar River North Seafood, French and Wine Bar +75%
D.O.C. Wine Bar Lincoln Park Wine Bar and American
DOC Wine Bar Other Wine Bar
Enoteca Roma Wine Bar Ukranian Village Wine Bar
Flight-Wine Bar Other Wine Bar and American
Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar Lake View Italian, Pizza and Wine Bar
Gourmet Grape Lake View Wine Bar +72%
Grillroom Chophouse and Wine Bar Loop Steakhouse, American and Wine Bar +96%
In Fine Spirits Andersonville Wine Bar
Jolane's Cafe and Wine Bar Other Wine Bar and American
Josephines Martini & Wine Bar Other Wine Bar +100%
Juicy Wine Company River West Wine Bar
Provenance Food & Wine Logan Square Wine Bar
Que Syrah Fine Wines Lake View Wine Bar +80%
Red Rooster Wine Bar & Cafe Lincoln Park Pub Food, French and Wine Bar
Ropa Restaurant & Wine Bar Rogers Park/West Ridge Wine Bar
Salt Creek Wine Bar Other Wine Bar +73%
Spiaggia Near North Side Italian, Wine Bar and Desserts/Ice Cream +66%
Stained Glass Evanston French, International and Wine Bar +66%
The Drawing Room & Le Passage Gold Coast French, American and Wine Bar +55%
Townhouse Restaurant & Wine Bar Loop American and Wine Bar +94%
Via Carducci Lasorella Bucktown/Wicker Park Italian, Pizza and Wine Bar +72%
Vintage Wine Bar Bucktown/Wicker Park Tapas and Wine Bar +65%
Volo Restaurant Wine Bar North Center/Irving Park Tapas and Wine Bar +92%
Webster's Wine Bar Lincoln Park Tapas and Wine Bar
West Lakeview Liquors North Center/Irving Park Wine Bar +83%
West Town Tavern West Town American, Pub Food and Wine Bar
Wine Discount Center Bucktown/Wicker Park Wine Bar
Winebar Lake View Wine Bar +75%
ZED451 River North Wine Bar, International and Steakhouse

Carpe Diem Real Estate..Goodbye 2008 Hello 2009....

Carpe Diem Real Estate...Say goodbye to 2008 and welcome 2009....

Real Estate is the State of the Real Estate Market and the general Economy. It is no secret that we are in the middle of the Largest Single Housing Market Correction in the recorded history of Real Estate. Nationally the situation began in August/September of 2005, here locally I think it began in 2006. If we examine the factors that led us into the correction I think we can look for the signs that the market is normalizing.
The first segment of the market that slowed was the entry level market, as sub prime lending practices tightened the credit challenged began leaving the game. As the sub prime crisis spread to Alt – A and conforming paper the move up and middle income brackets slowed. Finally as housing started to drain the general economy the high end market slowed. I share this because there are things we can do to help stimulate the market.

** Encourage your representative in Washington to make the GSE Caps Permanent. If we all write our representatives Washington will respond.
** When communicating with your elected officials remind them that Housing and Real Estate represent 20% of Gross Domestic Product. The single largest factor in the GDP

Now that we know where we have been and where we are, how do we know when the corner is turning? The first thing to look for is watch the number of transactions and REO data. Nationally REO sales are increasing, that is a sign that there is demand. In some parts of the country general market activity is increasing. CAR expects that this turn is what is called a soft bottom, meaning these numbers may be inconsistent for a number of months bouncing from good to bad before a definite trend is established. Look for the middle and upper brackets to turn first. Traditionally known as the smart money these buyers are typically less impacted by sub prime and Alt – A paper.
Nationally and locally homes are selling, pricing is the key factor. Today’s buyer is looking for value. The demographics are very right for real estate. A growing immigrant population is entering the housing market at historically high rates, interest rates are still at historically low rates, and with all the bad news we are still enjoying one of the top ten real estate markets of all times – perspective is everything!
The keys to success in this environment are:

1) Surround yourself with great people. I was told today great sailors aren’t made in calm winds; surround yourself with those that want to be great.
2) Prepare Relentlessly – Today’s activities are tomorrow’s results.
3) Hold Yourself Accountable – The market is what the market is. The playing field is the same for everyone.
4) Have a Strong Belief in yourself and the value you bring to the Real Estate transaction
5) Be your own person. Don’t be afraid to swim against the current.

History has shown us that housing leads the country into tough economic times and housing leads us out of tough economic times. By the time the government recognizes and identifies an economic recession, housing has usually begun its rebound. Most creditable economists believe that the government will declare a recession very shortly. The media will report this as bad news. If so look to this declaration as a great sign of a turn around.