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From acquiring, to investing, to repairing, to staging, to appraising, to inspecting, to putting it on the market, to open houses, to listing, to contracts, to actually selling… the process of investing in and selling a home from start to finish can be confusing and a daunting task. We want to make it easy! We are working with a new home that a private lender has invested his money in to yield a great percentage. We are the experts in the field of home acquisition and investments. This particular home has just been acquired and is in the process of getting repairs and getting ready to go on the market… SO we have decided to do a series of blog entries following this home and it’s investors from the beginning to the day it sells.

Welcome to WEEK THREE of our entries: the process of investing in real estate from START to FINISH.



A red door ALWAYS helps a home sell

A red door ALWAYS helps a home sell

We had another VERY productive week with a lot of people working on this house.  We have owned it two weeks now and are very happy with the overall progress! Even though I discussed a lot of the improvements in last week’s post, I’m going to include them in this one, in addition to what we worked on this week, so that someone new coming across this can feel caught up on everything we have done! 🙂

Well, the biggest constraint with the house was that it only had 1.5 baths, and to make matters worse, they both were ONLY accessible from bedrooms.  Every house has a problem to solve, and the bathroom situation was a major problem for this house.  So, we added a full bath downstairs, located just off the kitchen.  We also added a new laundry room, and we opened up the kitchen and gave it a new dining area as well.

So here’s where we are right now:

  • New bathroom downstairs is almost done 
  • All electrical work is done  [we rewired a portion of the house]
  • Plumbing – all updated now
  • 2.5 Ton heat pump installed (new heating and air conditioning )
  • New dishwasher installing in the kitchen
  • New flooring put in kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room
  • All interior walls painted
  • New black shutters on exterior of house AND we painted the front door red since red always sells the house
  • New deck is complete
  • New dimensional roof complete

New windows will be installed on Tuesday and then we will be 100% complete! How awesome is that?!

Other good news, the house has been appraised at $130,000 this week and we will fine tune our marketing strategy on very soon.  We, including our private lender, are very happy that it appraised at $130k with the 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. 

I hope you enjoy the pictures I have included. Check back next week where we outline our marketing strategy using, and where we discuss all the finishing touches on the house!

Exterior work on home
Exterior work on home
Electrical work
Electrical work
New flooring
New flooring






From acquiring, to investing, to repairing, to staging, to appraising, to inspecting, to putting it on the market, to open houses, to listing, to contracts, to actually selling… the process of investing in and selling a home from start to finish can be confusing and a daunting task. We want to make it easy! We are working with a new home that a private lender has invested his money in to yield a great percentage. We are the experts in the field of home acquisition and investments. This particular home has just been acquired and is in the process of getting repairs and getting ready to go on the market… SO we have decided to do a series of blog entries following this home and it’s investors from the beginning to the day it sells.

Welcome to WEEK TWO of our entries: the process of investing in real estate from START to FINISH.


The Bolling house -- Week TWO.

Our project -- Week TWO.

Of course, there are no surprises this week!  Renovating a house is just like peeling an onion–you never know for sure what you have until you peel it all back.  We had TEN people working on this house for the better part of this week.  It is critical to be prepared to start the work the very first day that you close on the home. Our first trip to Lowe’s home improvement center was fun. It was like a parade with about four carts full of materials.  [BTW: ANYONE can save 10% at Lowe’s by getting the coupon from the “change of address packet” at their local post office.  This week we spent $1,400 in materials at Lowe’s and saved $140. Pretty sweet, right?]

Here is what we did this week:

Constructing the new full bathroom

Construction of the new full bathroom

  • New dimensional shingle roof
  • New deck in the back yard
  • New full bath (almost done)
  • New heating and air conditioning installed (WITH a 2.5 ton heat pump)
  • Prepped all walls for painting

Here’s what’s happening NEXT week:

  • Completing all interior work
  • Refinish all hardwood floors
  • Lay new kitchen floor
  • Lay new bathroom flooring
  • Replacing shutters
  • Painting of exterior trim
  • Complete all landscaping work
  • Determine sale and listing price
  • List home using Just List ‘Em:

Our investor is very pleased with the progress of the renovations on the property. By using his IRA to fund the project, he is receiving an 8% interest return on his overall investment–something he would never have received from a bank. We are so happy to be collaborating with a private lender on such a great project. By becoming a private lender and investing in real estate when the stock market is not at it’s best, you are able to achieve greater financial gain in an easy and reliable manner. After last week’s post, we received A LOT of questions regarding this process. We would be happy to answer them, but I would also like to refer you to this website: [The contact is Quincy Long.] The Entrust Group provides a lot of GREAT information regarding self-directed retirement plans–this is a great place to start when considering investing in real estate and properties.

Look forward to next week when we discuss the completion of the renovations, sale-price, and MORE.

In the meantime, follow us on Twitter! @justlistem

-Jim Ingersoll

No, you’re not a dummy. I would never say that. But, I DO have to say, this whole “First-Time-Homebuyer-Tax-Credit” thing can be a bit confusing if you aren’t good with numbers, or taxes, or legislation. So, I’ve decided to break it down for you, so that maybe the whole thing will be a bit easier to swallow and/or comprehend. Here are some basic questions about the tax credit, ANSWERED, in a hopefully, clear and concise manner. 

  1. Who is eligible to receive this “tax credit” anyway? The tax credit can go to ANY person who is purchasing/buying a home for the FIRST TIME (in a three-year period) prior to December 1st, 2009. 
  2. What do you mean “three-year period”? Well, say you owned a home, a long time ago. But you have NOT owned a home in the last three years. Well, you’re eligible! But sorry married folks, if you or your spouse has owned a home, you don’t qualify. Only those who have NOT owned a home individually or jointly may qualify to receive the tax credit. 
  3. Wait, so how is the amount of the tax credit determined? Meaning, how much money will you get? The tax credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price/selling price of the home — up to a maximum of $8,000. So, if you purchase your house for $100,000, 10% of that would be $10,000. But that’s too much, so you would get the maximum credit of $8,000. Get it?
  4. How is this NEW first-time-home-buyer tax credit different from the one that Congress passed and enacted in July of 2008? The biggest difference is that THIS NEW tax-credit DOES NOT have to be repaid. I repeat. DOES NOT have to be repaid! Basically, the previous tax credit was like a loan that didn’t have any interest associated with it, basically making it not really an actual tax credit. However, the homebuyer MUST stay in the home for 3 years or else you may have to pay some of it back.
  5. Can you combine this tax credit in conjunction with any other first-time-home-buyer tax credits? Nope, sorry Greedy Gus, you can only choose one. 
  6. How do you make sure you are going to receive this tax credit? Well, you are going to file for this tax credit on your 2009 federal tax return and it will show up then. If you have any doubts, ask an accountant or CPA. I know that I, myself, am not always the best at filling out forms, so it’s always smart to have someone double check your work. Oh, and if you want to receive it early, talk to an accountant. You may be eligible to have less money taken out of your paychecks in 2008. Wouldn’t THAT be sweet? 

So, all in all, this NEW-First-Time-Homebuyer-Tax-Credit is a pretty awesome deal. Essentially making this the PERFECT time to buy a home. The market is TRULY a buyers market and you can only benefit from buying a home right now. 

Need to sell your home? Sell it yourself and save on commission. You can sell your home with our friends, Just List ‘Em

Now is the time to save money and earn the money you deserve. You’ve worked hard. Treat yourself.

-Jim Ingersoll

Let’s face it: the economy stinks. Sure, everyone is saying it. The media is calling the public “Debbie Downers” and “Nancy Negative” and “Paul the Pessimistics” – but frankly, I feel there’s a whole lot more to the situation than we are considering. So right now, opportunities, encouragement, and support are what everyone really needs.

Real Estate CAN help.

Real Estate CAN help.

REALITY: There are people with too much money who don’t know what to do with it. There are people with not enough money who would do anything to get it. Somewhere among each individual struggle there lies a middle ground. Many bridges can be built between the two, but one bridge and opportunity in particular that lies within our society currently is: real estate. IDEA: Real estate investing can, in the end, help to solve the dilemma for the rich and the not-so-rich.

What does this all mean? Well, with the state of the housing market right now, therein lies the unprecedented opportunity to buy a home. TRUTH: It is a buyer’s market. I would say not only is it a buyer’s market, but also among it lies the greatest transfer of wealth in our generation. “How?” You say.

Well, there are several reasons why/how/because:

  1. The rise of short sales and foreclosures. This has led to an unprecedented amount of distressed inventory in the area markets, which has allowed those who previously could not afford a home, to actually consider making that big purchase. It has opened the door to a great influx of first-time-home-buyers. For real estate investors, foreclosures have allowed investors to purchase homes at astonishingly low rates, fix each one up, and then re-list them at a very reasonable price, making the sale a win-win for both buyer AND seller.
  2. The $8,000 tax credit for first-time-home-buyers. This was included in the stimulus package that was passed in February 2009. This tax credit is essentially “FREE MONEY” to ALL first-time-home-buyers. It doesn’t have to be repaid AND it won’t be taxed. WOW. That big chunk of change is extremely motivating and encouraging for those on the fence about buying that first home.
  3. Astonishingly low mortgage rates. Mortgage rates across the country are dropping because banks and mortgage companies want to make sales. This benefits buyers because they are saving a lot of money and it benefits sellers because buyers are snatching up homes faster than ever.

No one wants to sell their home more than the seller themselves. No one wants to buy a home more than the buyer themselves. It’s about connecting the two, bridging the gap, and ultimately, transferring the wealth between individuals. We all know that the market is like a roller-coaster, constantly experiencing it’s ups and downs. It’s important to get involved and participate while the opportunity is there and thriving. 

-Jim Ingersoll


This blog post is courtesy of Just List ‘Em: a Flat Fee MLS real estate company geared towards helping YOU sell YOUR home.
We love them. You should too.


Although we do business in many parts of the country, one of our featured locations right now is the Windy City: Chicago, Illinois. Right now, the housing market in Chicago is on the upturn and really beginning to boom.

The Chicago market is UP, just like the Spyre.

The Chicago market is UP, just like the Spire.

Do you live in Chicago? Are you looking to move and/or relocate altogether? Are you IN Chicago looking to sell your home, townhouse, loft, or condo? Looking to purchase property in and around the city? Now is the time to really get the ball rolling.

Are you a sports fan? If so, then you probably like stats. Here are some recent Chicago housing market statistics:

  • The Illinois Association of Realtors reported that home sales in Chicago were UP 40.6% in March over February. 
  • There were 840 homes sold in February of 2009. There were 1,181 homes sold in March of 2009.
  • The median price for a home/condo in March of 2009 was $220,000. This is an increase of 0.8% from February 2009 where the median price was $218,125.

Now, let’s crunch numbers. If you sold your home with a realtor at the median price of $220,000, you would pay, on average, $6,600 just in listing commission. If you sold your home through Just List ‘Em, you would pay the $299 flat fee to list your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). That is an average savings of $6,300!

So the truth is, the Chicago market is almost hotter right now than Susan Boyle. Ultimately, why is that? Well, a few reasons.

  1. The $8,000 first-time-home-buyers tax credit. This is quite possibly one of the most important catalysts for the upturn of the housing market right now. This tax credit, included in the final version of the stimulus bill passed in February 2009, goes to ALL first-time-home-buyers. It will not be taxed and it does NOT have to be repaid. It is, in essence, $8,000 handed to you by the government. (It will show up when you file your 2009 tax return). So, because of this awesome financial opportunity, many potential home buyers who were on the fence about purchasing in 2009 have now been persuaded to the other side and are jumping at the chance to buy a home. ESPECIALLY in and around the Chicacgo-metro area.
  2. Short Sales & Foreclosures. A short sale is essentially the stage in which a home is on the verge of foreclosure and the seller REALLY wants to sell the house but no one is buying. A lender would rather list is as a short sale, sell the home at a very low price and lose a little money versus listing it and having it on the books as a foreclosure. Therefore, short sales are extremely attractive to buyers because buyers can save a TON of money on a potentially awesome property. Foreclosures are also attractive in that a buyer can save an estimated 10%-30% on the actual price of the property. In some cases, buyers can buy a great home and pay less than the tax value on it at closing. Now THAT is a deal! Just be wary when purchasing a short sale or foreclosed home, as these homes can come with a serious need for repair. And when in doubt, always speak with a real estate professional and get their advice.
  3. Record low mortgage rates. According to, the average rate for a 30-year-fixes mortgage in Chicago is at 4.93% today, even down .03% just this week! And that percentage is still dropping. These mortgage rates are astonishingly low and make for an incredible money-saving opportunity for buyers. This is below the national average and significantly lower than the mortgage rates in past years. What does this mean, exactly? Well, when you buy a house, just like you would a car, you are going to pay interest on that item. The lower the mortgage rate, the less money you pay. The less money you pay, the more money you save. Awesome. RIGHT?

These three things create a powerful housing market in Chicago and really encourages buyers to buy and sellers to sell. If you want to sell your home, now is the time. Just like a pendulum, the market goes back and forth. It’s almost like playing double dutch. You have to jump in at the right moment or you might miss your opportunity.

Don’t forget though, if you are looking to sell your home in Chicago, don’t go through a traditional realtor or broker. Sell your home with us! Just List ‘Em. We will list your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) for a flat fee and we guarantee we will sell you home quickly and efficiently and save you THOUSANDS of dollars on commission. That means more money in your pockets and big smiles on your faces.

-Jim Ingersoll

Jim Ingersoll

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