Chicago isn’t short on options when it comes to luxury real estate in the city. But choosing the right home doesn’t always mean finding the one that’s the most-buzzed about on the market—buyers must think about their own lifestyle and how it plays into their needs and wants in a Chicago home.
This is one of the first things I discuss with a new client. My background is in marketing research, so I tend to bundle questions together so I can get the best understanding of where you are in your life cycle and am more apt to focus in on the exact type of property you’d like. There are a few areas I always focus on first: location, property features and resale value.
One of the top decisions a buyer has is: what neighborhood can you afford, and what neighborhood do you want to be in? Chicago is full of hip, emerging neighborhoods that can change with the season—but in this volatile market, it’s best to stick with communities that are tried and true, both for your own satisfaction and for resale value down the line. Homes in neighborhoods like Lincoln Park hold their value because people know and trust that area.
Location is also key because of school districts—the better the reputation of nearby schools, the better position a home will be in for resale down the road. Proximity to Chicago’s best schools certainly helps a property hold its value and even increase in the long term. As schools change and demand goes up for a particular one, the neighborhood changes as well.
A property’s features, layout, and seemingly tiny nuances are all crucial things to think about. For single-family homes, I advise my clients to make sure there are at least three bedrooms on the same floor. Young buyers who have small children or are planning for children typically want them on the same floor as their master.
Buyers should also think about what elements are most important to you—one recent must-have in Chicago real estate is a super kitchen; one that caters to the “foodie” lifestyle that is prime for hosting and entertaining. Food is one of the top topics among young people and even baby boomers, and they want a kitchen space that fits in with their lifestyle. Elements like these are important to today’s buyers, but also hold their value over time.
Note, it might seem odd to be talking about resale when you’re initially buying a home, but this is another important consideration for buyers that can easily end up on the back burner.
With every buying season, there are also design trends that I help my clients think about in the long term. What’s hot now may not be so hot five years from now (again, thinking about resale value). For example, a client I worked with about 8 years ago was buying a new construction condo during a time that many Chicago condos had light-colored floors. That might seem to be a fairly neutral feature, but I suggested they go with dark floors and cabinets as they were able to select finishes, so as not to fall into a trend that wouldn’t be popular down the line. When it was time for them to sell, their unit sold before any others in the building, as this was something that kept their property current compared to what else was on the market and at the same address.
Right now, the cost of money to buy a home is cheaper than any of us will likely see in our lifetimes. The history of real estate shows that, once inflation kicks in, so too will the move-in price for buying a Chicago home. And of course, we don’t know that this is happening until its already underway.
If you’re looking for the right Chicago property for your lifestyle to take advantage of the lending market we’re in, give me a call. We can talk more about your needs and wants in a home and take a closer look at the opportunity there is for buyers right now. Contact me at 312-264-5853 or email me at [email protected].