Chicago Real Estate Trend: Getting Mom and Dad Involved

It’s not uncommon for new homebuyers to bring in a second opinion–parents, siblings, friends who have been through the process often weigh in at some point during the purchase process.
But one thing I’m noticing more and more in Chicago real estate is that parents aren’t just helping their kids look for a property to buy, but actually contributing a large portion of the down payment or even outright buying it for them. The Wall St. Journal reported last week that familial assistance in buying real estate is more apparent than ever, as graduation gifts, to celebrate their first big job, or simply as a financial backer. This type of real estate transaction hasn’t been common in many decades, likely because there hasn’t been an abundance of wealth for the baby boomer generation to pass down.

Building Real Estate for Generation Y

The Journal also reported that developers are building properties with this generation of buyers in mind. Instead of the ornate, the traditional and the over elegant, many properties are steering toward modern, open design with an elite edge. Amenities have also been a big draw.
These younger buyers tend to gravitate toward Chicago new construction properties, with features like floor-to-ceiling windows, high ceilings, indoor-outdoor spaces and open floor plans. Large, fluid spaces are another sought-after characteristic instead of condos with separate dining rooms and living rooms, which comes from a more traditional approach.
Real estate in Chicago is certainly being designed with this younger generation in mind, and for good reason.

Purchasing Chicago Real Estate for Gen Y

Not too long ago, I had a 23-year-old get into my car to look at potential condos and indicated the budget was up to $1 million, with mom and dad picking up the bill with an all-cash purchase.
This takes a different approach than just any buyer. The needs and wants are often quite different than those looking for a family home or the right neighborhood for a particular school. For these new home purchasers, there are a few important things to consider:
Spend time looking: I think it’s a good idea for the so-called millennial generation to start a Chicago real estate purchase with a range of properties, starting at $650,000 up to the $1 million mark. It’s important to see the differences between particular properties and the prices for each. A million-dollar view can cost just that, if it’s what you’re looking for. But square footage, the just-right neighborhood, amenities and services also come into play, and a buyer can see the various offerings and narrow down what is really important to them.
Make a list: I then encourage the buyer to pick out a number of properties that he or she would truly enjoy and list out the rationale for each. That way we can explain the choices to the parents, who may ultimately have the final decision. Invariable, the parent does agree with the choice of their child.
Consider the future: Even though the “now” apartment might seem like all a twenty-something-year-old needs, it’s still important to think forward: both in terms of your lifestyle and resale value. Think about how long you plan to live in the home? Is it a good investment now and continue to be when you want to sell?
It’s still a great time to purchase Chicago real estate, so if you’re interested in making an investment in a home or condo for your child, give me a call at (312) 498-5080 or email me at