Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Babies move condos; More clients selling with kids

When I began my real estate business in Chicago, I worked with mainly single/no kids and married/no kids people by chance. Suddenly this year many of my clients are squeezed into their condos thanks to "recession babies" my circle likes to call them. It seems everywhere I turn, new and old clients have "one on the way", a two year old, a couple of them, or another one on the way. Just look at all the property photos with cribs in them (actual baby cribs, not MTV "Cribs"). I've even had several conversations lately at weddings and parks with frustrated sellers (and current owners that would like to move) who have kids. A baby boom has become a real nich market for me.

It's sort of a catch 22. It's really great having your first kid in the city, even in a small condo. The ability to walk to retail, restaurants, parks and free stuff is fantastic. The diversity of friends in the community (age, sex, marital status, socioeconomics, educations etc...) keeps us vibrant and is why we live in the city besides our jobs. It's all good until #2 shows up or you just plain outgrow your current situation. It's at this very moment where it becomes harder to keep your home in good showing condition. Showing your home also becomes much more of a hassle on your lifestyle and schedule when you have kids.

Even though city condo values are lower now in general than in the last several years, many of my clients have the ability to sell and move on to suburban single family homes, a city town home or even a single family. The core Chicago neighborhoods have held up pretty well and even selling at a loss is not a disaster if you really need a bigger place. As the saying goes, you'll save on the "move-up" property. That's, of course, if you have the ability to sell and walk away with a few bucks still in the bank.

The key is to prepare the home to show at it's best and price at the true lower end of the market. My job is to get this to happen one way or another. You will sell quicker, get the top dollar allowed in this market and keep your stress level to a minimum. The main obstacle is going to be you, the seller. If you really have to move the family then it's time to let go of markets past. If you live in the now with your loved ones (and listen to your Realtor when preparing the home for sale), you'll sell your home and begin your next phase of life.

You have to be committed 100% to move or be prepared for frustrations.

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