All Blog Entries by Helaine Cohen

Found 573 blog entries published by Helaine Cohen.

Buying a chicago home five rulesWhether you’re a first-time home buyer or you’re thinking about moving to a larger Chicago home or Chicago condo, the five-year rule is a good one to follow. It’s a simple question of how long you plan to stay in the home, and the answer can help you decide whether or not you should stay where you are or make the move.

For some, it has everything to do with the upgrade cycle. You purchase a smaller Chicago condo or townhome with the intention of staying there. Then, a few years later, you realize there’s not enough space and you need something larger. This upgrade cycle usually repeats itself until the buyer finally settles into a house that is big enough for their family. While great in theory, if you continually sell and purchase a Chicago home that

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Mortgage Rates for Chicago real estateThe buzz is all about low mortgage rates when it comes to Chicago real estate right now. In 12 of the 13 weeks from mid-April through mid-July 2012, long-term home loan rates matched or hit new lows. Prospective Chicago home buyers are coming off the sidelines like they haven’t in years in search of a new home thanks to record-low interest rates that will help keep their monthly payments low. But how do you take advantage of them?

First off, your credit matters big time here. Only those with the a credit score in the top tier will be able to take advantage of these historically low rates. It also pays to stay in the know with regard to how mortgage rates are fluctuating. That way, you can jump in when the time is right. Keith Gumbinger, a vice president…
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Trends in Decorating Chicago Luxury HomesIt’s rare for buyers to write a check for a home that has everything they have ever wanted. More and more buyers are looking for Chicago homes where they can do a bit of work themselves and make it a place that complements their lifestyle. There are a variety of amenities right now that are hot when it comes to luxury Chicago homes.

Here’s a look at what is piquing buyer’s interest!

  1. Fire Features: If you have a backyard, consider adding a fire feature. Whether it’s a fire pit for gathering around or standing urns that provide warmth and reflect off the water, this is a magical way to give your backyard a bit of character and pizazz. If you’re considering an outdoor makeover, popular outdoor amenities currently include pizza ovens, wet bars, and
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Tax Relief on Mortgage Debt

Tax Relief on Mortage DebtRealtors, mortgage brokers and homeowners have all breathed a huge sigh of relief that tax relief on mortgage debt was part of the “Fiscal Cliff” legislation. Although this law has only been extended it will nevertheless have a positive impact on the market since it limits tax liability from short sales and workouts involving forgiven, deferred and cancelled mortgage debt and provides the continuation of alternatives to foreclosure. a reduction in foreclosure inventory is positive for home values.

This tax relief is of special benefit to upside down homeowners. The Mortgage Debt Tax Relief Act generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage

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New "Fiscal Cliff" Tax Provisions Impact on Real Estate

Fiscal Cliff Deal Favors Housing RecoveryThere is good news for real estate in the new “Fiscal Cliff” tax bill that Congress finally passed after extensive debating sessions.

The main points of the legislation as they relate to Real Estate are outlined below:

  • Tax Relief for 1 year on Mortgage Debt forgiveness, deferment or cancellation.
  • Tax Deduction for Mortgage Insurance Premiums extended through 2013.
  • Extension of the Energy Efficient tax credit for existing home till the end of 2013
  • Pease/PEP phase out for deductions
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Estate Tax

Tax Relief on Mortgage Debt

Debt relief on loan modifications, short sales and foreclosures became taxable at the end of 2012 when the previous law, which was voted to

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Lake Shore East Condo Market

Condo Market Trends Chart

This week I want to address the condo market recovery in the Lake Shore East community and look at the trends by price range. For those of you who have not read my previous blogs, the "Months Supply's Impact on Price" chart on the left, shows the relationship between the number of months of housing inventory and the pricing trend. It defines the type of market we are experiencing - sellers, even or buyers market. In a sellers market, inventory is low and sellers have the advantage, we will often see competing offers and a rise in prices. Whereas in a buyers market, inventory grows relative to demand and prices depreciate.

Lake Shore East Condo Inventory NOvember

To get a clearer picture of the condo market, I have segmented the Months of Remaining Inventory

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Cost of Home Ownership Based on Both Price and Mortgage Rates

The total cost of home ownership is a point that buyers do not always consider when purchasing a home. Buyers will often get hung up on the purchase price of a house, with negotiations going back and forth over just a few thousand dollars and neither side willing to give in.

Purchase price is short-term while cost is long-term. While it is important for a buyer to understand price trends and the direction home values are headed, a factor of equal importance is the long-term cost of home ownership. Both the price and the interest rates must be calculated into the long-term cost.

Rising Interest Rates Increase the Cost of Home Ownership  

Cost of Home Ownership on 30 yr.Fixed Mortgage

 CNN Money stated in a recent article that

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The South Loop is one of Chicago's fastest growing neighborhoods. Unfortunately, because of its industrial past, the area has a reputation of having "nothing to do" which couldn't be farther from the truth.

In the mood for some delicious cuisine? For an evening of fine dining, complete with a selection of over 1,600 wines from around the world, check out Chicago Restaurant Everest. Chef Joho's menu, wine list, and cuisine have received international recognition.

Other well-reviewed restaurants in the South Loop include Gioco, Chicago Firehouse, and Opart Thai House.

Looking for a place to unwind after work or catch the game? Kroll's is your answer. Offering an impressive beer selection and in-house Bingo, don't miss out on $3 pints on Mondays.

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Keeping your pet safe-an important pet recovery tip.

Each year thousands of animals are admitted to animal shelters and humane societies.The statistics say that one out of three pets will become lost in their lifetime. Microchips are a permanent method of pet identification. It is a quick and painless procedure so that if your pet goes missing an animal shelter or a veterinary office can scan the pet and call the microchip company's recovery center where your pet is registered. The recovery center will identify your pet with the information they have on file. These chips are implanted by a vet beneath the surface of the skin between the shoulder blades. It is like a vaccination and painless for the pet while lasting the lifetime of the animal. While

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O'Hare vs. Midway - The Great Chicago Airport Debate

An ongoing debate for travellers to our city and Chicago residents alike is which airport to use: O'Hare or Midway. Of course, if you're travelling to most international destinations, your choice would be O'Hare. Midway only handles domestic flights and select service to Toronto and a few Mexican locales. In a city such as Chicago that is unfortunately known for its weather-related flight delays, it's important to take all things into consideration before booking.


O'Hare is the second busiest airport in the country, behind Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. This means that there are more options for flight times, but also more foot traffic and it's more crowded. The consensus

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