Category: Columnists

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Condo conversions boosting apartment taxes, rents in city

The New Year likely will bring gloom to rental apartment owners in Chicago and suburban Cook County unless some real estate tax assessment relief is p [...]

Most condominium problems found in common areas, not units

Often condominium and loft buyers are encouraged not to worry about common element repair budgets in their search for that dream home downtown. Most p [...]

Condo conversions make comeback in value-conscious market

Condominium conversions are cooking again as Windy City developers offer a growing menu of units in 2003, real estate experts say. Appraisal Research [...]

Developers thinking small in tougher market for new homes

To counteract the glut of larger new-construction condominiums downtown, some of Chicago's most savvy developers are starting to think small, real est [...]

Simple review can prevent hazards on Chicago porches

Recently, while completing a three-story stair tower and porch inspection, I reached out and grabbed the two 30-foot posts, or uprights, and attempted [...]

Lesson in tales from the front: buyers beware

Some weeks in the home inspection business are especially disheartening and the last few have been full of prime examples. Here are just a few recent [...]

Uptown emerging as hot market for homes

Uptown is emerging as the hottest area on Chicago's north lakefront for condominium and single-family home sales, according to Sudler's Lakefront Mark [...]

Brick veneer often presents problems in new masonry homes

During the last couple of years masonry problems have been cropping up in new construction all over the city. The trend is ironic, given Chicago's hi [...]

Use common sense, over-design with city gem: the Chicago porch

There's a cherished half-century-old photo on my wall at home in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood. In the 8-by-10-inch sepia-tone photo, a cocky, bare [...]

Solid contruction, easy access make lofts a great housing choice

Beyond surface design, most people who want to live in lofts don't give much consideration to construction standards in this uniquely urban form of ho [...]

Affordable "green" homes touted for urban in-fill locations

With the cost of new homes in Chicago going through the roof, the time has come to use some "good old-fashioned common sense" to design and build affo [...]

Electrical, plumbing systems not always new in conversions

Most vintage condominium conversions in Chicago these days are "gut rehabs." This means that the developer keeps only the shell of the old building an [...]

Uncertainty slows market time for lakefront homes in Chicago

Marketing expensive homes and condominiums in Chicago's posh lakefront neighborhoods is getting harder as economic uncertainty lingers through spring, [...]

Certificates of occupancy no guarantee of construction quality

After 19 years inspecting residential property, I have seen only a handful of certificates of occupancy for newly constructed homes. Many buyers expec [...]

Consider benefits and problems particular to your condo

When shopping for a new home in Chicago, prospective home buyers should realize that the "great condo hunt of 2003" will involve much more than tourin [...]

Are you buying property for a home or an investment?

Most of my customers look at their real estate purchases as investments. Much of the conversation during the home inspection process revolves around t [...]

Builder programs lock in today's low mortgage rates

Hoping to turn hundreds of condominium shoppers into homeowners, Chicago developers and lenders are teaming up to offer 5 percent down payments and fr [...]

Bulk of condo problems found in common areas, not units

One of the questions I mulled over while preparing the final exam for students in my home inspection class was what percentage of building problems ar [...]

Incentives, quick delivery abound in buyer's market

When it comes to new-construction condominiums in Chicago, the idea of "immediate delivery" is almost mythical. But 2003 appears to be a magical year [...]

Hidden costs can lurk around doors and windows

The fact that everything you can see looks good in your new condo or townhouse does not mean that all is well. Two of the places you probably haven't [...]
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