Thursday, November 19, 2015

Come Fly with me!

Potential buyer Mark Lambert and Jameson Sotheby's agent Judy Gibbons snap photos during last week's helicopter tour. Photo by Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

House hunting by helicopter? Brokerage gives it a whirl By Dennis Rodkin

Potential buyer Mark Lambert and Jameson Sotheby's agent Judy Gibbons snap photos during last week's helicopter tour.
Photo by Jameson Sotheby's International Realty
Hoping to rise above the competition, one local brokerage is putting a new spin on the house hunt by taking buyers up in a helicopter to check out properties.
It's a pilot program now, with just one flight so far, but Jameson Sotheby's International Realty will soon go full throttle, offering helicopter tours to any of its city or suburban buyers in the $1.5 million-and-up range, said Chris Feurer, CEO of the brokerage. That price range accounts for less than 1 percent of all the Chicago-area homes sold in the past 12 months, according to Midwest Real Estate Data.
While some individual agents may have booked helicopter flights for their clients and it's now a thing in Los Angeles, Jameson is the first Chicago-area real estate company to offer the service company-wide.
"We want to give our clients that perspective from the sky as part of the full experience of choosing their home," Feurer said.
The brokerage will cover the cost of a 60-minute flight, about $1,500 in the city and under $1,000 in the suburbs, Feurer said. He said he couldn't predict how many clients will take the offer.
Another photo from Mark Lambert's tour with Judy Gibbons last week.
Another photo from Mark Lambert's tour with Judy Gibbons last week.
A competitor in the luxury marketplace said she foresees Jameson's idea taking flight.
"It's a novel approach that will give their buyers a different perspective than Google Earth," said Beth Burtt, a broker and owner of Brush Hill Realtors in Hinsdale, which also vies for luxury buyers.
Although Burtt's focus is the suburbs, she said she expects shopping-by-helicopter to have more appeal to city buyers. "You can get up over the congestion and really see what the neighborhood looks like," she said.
Photographing houses by drone gives a bird's-eye view of the property, but sending the buyer up in a whirlybird gives the buyer a firsthand view of that perspective.
Jameson's first client to go for a ride was Mark Lambert, who with his wife, Deborah, is looking to downsize out of their 6,600-square-foot Barrington Hills farmhouse. He went up with Jameson agent Judy Gibbons, a photographer and a pilot last week, taking off from Schaumburg Regional Airport.
Lambert said that at liftoff, he had five properties, all in Barrington Hills, on his list, but by the time the chopper landed back in Schaumburg, he'd cut it down to two. One dropped off the list because it turned out to have an auto auction yard next door, beyond the listed property's wooded acreage.
Another photo from the tour
Another photo from the tour
"You couldn't see that on Google Earth, and even though I've driven down that road a million times, I had no idea it was there," he said.
By flying over a property at 800 feet up, "you get a better idea what's on the neighbor's property,” Lambert said. “In Barrington Hills, people tend to collect things like ATVs or snowmobiles. Those things are loud."
For a city buyer, a helicopter tour might be used less for spying on individual homes than for "showing a buyer how our beautiful city lakefront lays out," said Linda Shaughnessy, whom Feurer last week tapped to be the first city agent at Jameson to try it out, although she hasn't done it yet.
With an out-of-towner moving to Chicago, "I can show them where the nice parks are and the schools, and how quickly you can connect up Sheridan Road to the North Shore," she said.
In the real estate industry, "it's hard to differentiate your brand from others because many of them say the same things and provide the same services for everyone who comes in," said Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.
Although "it's possible to shop for an expensive home without using a helicopter," Jameson's offering "certainly says that they are willing to provide a special level of experience that isn't for everyone,” Calkins said. “That's what the high-end buyers and sellers will want to hear."
There's a practical use for a helicopter tour, Gibbons said, pointing to Lambert's winnowing down his list of possible future homes, but "there's also the kick. It's the, 'Oh, my real estate agent is taking me up in a helicopter today. Does your agent do that?'"

Ron Goldstein,MBA
VP of Sales Jameson Sotheby's International Realty
Gold Coast Office
Premier Sotheby's- St. Pete/Sarasota

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How To: Stage Your Home To Sell Fast With These 5 Tips

Selling your home can be a stressful task in itself, and even more so if you are still residing in a home that is on the market. While there are some tried and true tips for keeping a clean home while it is being shown, there are also some staging guidelines that are great for helping a house through the market quickly. While for some, staging can mean a costly addition to the bottom line– it’s important to understand that buyers can often better see themselves within a home that has furniture in it, and is updated with smart furniture and current colors. Rooms look larger once there’s furniture involved, and scale becomes more apparent than just talking about room sizes and square footage.
See our 5 basic tips on simple ways to spruce up your residence with staging below.

1. Freshen up the exterior.
Curb appeal isn’t essential if there aren’t any major eyesores to a potential buyer, but adding a fresh coat of paint or some nice foliage planted can really update the front to maximize your home’s potential prospects.
2. Subtract personal items.
If you’re staging your home while still living in it, remove all of your personal items from plain sight to keep your family safe and allow others to visualize themselves living in the rooms. Keep personal care items in medicine cabinets and cupboards, put away kitchen gadgets and other small appliances that can make things appear cluttered and inconsistent.
3. Think like a buyer.
Is each space turnkey? As a home buyer, you’ll want to create a space that makes people feel like they can just pack up their personal items and move right in. Less is typically more, but don’t forget to accessorize and make things feel like home. Add plants for a touch of life, patterned throw pillows and some great texture really up the ante in dated areas.
4. Take professional photos.
Professionals tend to be experienced in creating the best angles to showcase your home‘s exterior and interior. While it might seem like a lot of wasted change, people are utilizing internet tools more and more these days; and typically writing off potential properties due to photos that don’t ‘sell’ the home in a positive light.
5. Hire a professional.
When all else fails, there are staging companies in every city that have tremendous amounts of experience and success in either filling your empty house with contemporary furniture, art and accessories or modifying what you’ve got and adding some extra pieces to really pull things all together.

Ron Goldstein,MBA
VP of Sales Jameson Sotheby's International Realty
Gold Coast Office
Premier Sotheby's- St. Pete/Sarasota

Monday, November 9, 2015

Guest blogger from Trulia

By Hannah Goodman of Trulia
Home to the first ever skyscraper, built in 1885, the “Windy City” is the birthplace of modern sophistication. Over the years, Chicago has managed to keep the spirit of that sophistication alive without real estate prices rising to unattainable and unaffordable levels. The current average price of a home in Chicago is currently $326,968. In fact, Trulia’s “Should Millennials Rent or Buy” article shows that now is a better time than ever to purchase a home in Chicago, as it is currently 36 percent cheaper to buy than it is to rent. (This data assumes an average rent of $1,700 a month, and mortgage rate of  3.78 over a five year period). Looking to buy a piece of Chicago elegance and still have access to amenities? Check out the luxury neighborhoods of Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, and the Loop.

1. Lincoln Park
Named for the beautifully manicured park located on its eastern side, Lincoln Park is an extremely
 popular home buying destination for professionals and their families. The neighborhood’s average listing price of $725,614 buys access to top-of-the line condominiums, townhouses, massive penthouses and a few single family homes. Home to trendy boutiques, theaters, and caf├ęs, and nearby DePaul University,

Lincoln Park is also a popular rental market.

2. Gold Coast/Old Town
These Near North Side neighborhoods are known for their old style charm, tree lined drives and incredible lake views. Homes in this area boast easy, quick, access to Michigan Avenue’s high-end shopping and dining, as well as, the activities on Navy Pier. In Gold Coast and Old Town you will find picturesque and peaceful single family homes, which give way to busy streets with huge high rises full of luxury condominiums. However, the amenities of the near north side come at a hefty price, and the current average listing price for a home in the popular area is $720,072.

3. The Loop

The Loop is the epicenter of Chicago activity. Home to Millennium Park, The Art Institute, The Willis Tower and Michigan Avenue, it is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Most luxury real estate opportunities in the Loop are newly constructed condominiums and penthouses in high rises with incredible city and water views. With an average listing price of $495,000, the Loop offers quintessential Chicago sophistication at a slightly lower price tag than its neighboring areas.


Ron Goldstein, MBA
VP of Sales Jameson Sotheby's International Realty
Gold Coast Office
Premier Sotheby's- St. Pete/Sarasota