Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Family matters... Moving with baby

We call it the need. When the need sets in, you gotta go. Kid on the way. Second kid on the way. New job, new status, new wants, new... NEEDS. My buddy Geno explains his wants over needs and the timing in his life moving here... we all have a story.

Recently, my need set in. My wife (Jillian) and I own (until March 1st) a condo in Albany Park. Bought two years ago, we felt this would be a three year hold at least. Many, many
considerations went into our purchase. My wife was getting her master's at North Park University (down the block), it's on the Brown Line, on site parking, huge storage (bought a basement space with the unit), top floor corner unit with killer deck etc... We figured this was the best unit in the new conversion and it fit our needs. So we took a shot at the neighborhood. Even if we have our first kiddo here we thought, we'll ride this pony three years, if not five. Plus, the conversions were doing well and we expected reasonable appreciation. No brainer.

With this plan in our heads, I began to improve the unit with upgraded media, custom window shades, Elfa shelving and furniture that really brought out the teriffic features of our home. I got it just so... Jillian thought I was "over-improving" and we would not get the money at re-sale time (this is foreshadowing if you had not noticed). Apparently she has been watching too much HGTV, TLC, Discovery and whatever MTV, ESPN and the Oxygen channel pass off for home shows.

"Look, I gotta live here, so I gotta have it how I wanna live in it", I says.

However, we are now expecting our first bambino March 21st. When we found out we were expecting, suddenly that three to five year plan didn't look so hot. Looking at our situation, my needs and wants set in. That third bedroom would be nice for the mom-in-law to stay over in. A carpeted family room downstairs would be nice too. Hmmmm. Jillian? She was fine with staying in our current... but I make the real estate decisions in this family (only when it's okay with her).

So, suddenly, the timing was looking good to move this baby (the condo, not the actual baby). Here's what I mean:

Even though conventional wisdom might suggest NOT moving close to having a baby, I felt it would be great to get that extra space prior to our new guy showing up.

Secondly, our place looked show ready. It was/is crisp and fresh. I thought about trying to be a new dad with a new mom and having our place show ready every day. Forget it.

Third, opportunity knocked. I found a couple places that made sense for us... that we really liked. One, a single family house in Sauganash. The other, an unlisted duplex down in Ravenswood. Being in the business, I knew in my heart these particular opportunities were special and would not come along often.

And fourth, the ever important market timing. We just pulled out of a slow November and December 2006. The first of the year had not even hit yet and my clients were clamoring to see some new listings... they're need was starting to set in. I saw the pent up demand. It was time to list our place and buy the next. We took advantage of an early uptick in the market due to the great winter weather. Plus, we bought the new place before it hit market.

Wec sold our place in a week after two showings. Remember all that "over-improving"? We received dollar for dollar for each improvement and the new owners don't have to do a thing. It was just "ready".

There are many subjects that can be touched on above:

1. Improving your home for sale

2. Timing and pricing your listing

3. Listing your place before or after having the kid

4. Wanting a new place or location... for the sake of want (it's okay) or needs

5. Great homes for your first family edition

I lived all these considerations in the last few months. The reward is closing this March 1st on a three bed, two bath with family room, duplex-down condo in a great location.

We hope Jillian isn't early, but, there is always mom's house for her to recover! I'm taking care of the move just to look useful.

Baby names appreciated in the comments.

Pictured above: Just part of the baby shower haul!

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