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from Local Attorney, Michael H. Wasserman

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Current Real Estate Market - Explained in 5 Quick Photos

Your House As Seen By:



Yourself...







Your Buyer...









Your Lender...







Your Appraiser...







Your County Tax Assessor...


Home Buyer / Seller Customer Satisfaction Study

This just in from the Wasserlaw Department of Meaningless Statistics:

J.D. Power & Associates has published its first ever evaluation of customer satisfaction for Real Estate Brokerages.

The inaugural study measures customer satisfaction of home buyers and sellers with the largest national real estate firms. Overall satisfaction is determined by examining three factors for the home-buying experience: agent (65%); office (21%); and services (13%). Four factors are examined for the home-selling experience: agent (43%); marketing (38%); office (12%); and services (7%).

I'll not waste your time (here) citing the winners or losers. Let them brag on themselves if they want to, and you can satisfy your own curiosity by following those links in the paragraph above.

Suffice it to say that I am just not all that impressed with the study or the finding. I know a whole slew of really able and talented (nice) agents working at the "winning" firms and just as many who work for other nationals AND still others (many others) who are independents.

Few of us are buying or selling residential real estate, in large volume, on a national scale, so who amongst us really needs to know (or should select an agent) based on what is happening in Poughkeepsie?

Selecting a real estate agent is a personal matter. Shop local, Buy local. Get referrals. Call me. I'm always good for an opinion.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gloom and Doom Report of the Day

Zillow reports that: 29.1% of homeowners who purchased in the past five years are currently underwater on their mortgages (i.e., owe more on the mortgage than the house is worth). We also reported that almost half (45%) of those that bought at the national market peak of 2006 currently have negative equity. Nearly 14% of all single-family homes in the U.S., regardless of when they were bought, are currently in negative equity.

Read more (if you dare) here.

Gov. to Legislature: "Thumbs Down of Thumbprints"


The Governor has amendatorily vetoed Senate Bill 546 (requiring that notaries take thumbprints of grantors signing deeds for Cook County property transfers, to delay its effective date for one year (making it July 1, 2009) and also delay the sunset repeal for two years (making it July 1, 2013). It will be on the General Assembly's this fall for acceptance of the amendatory veto or override.

NOVEMBER UPDATE:
The Senate and House both approved the Governor's changes. The new law becomes effective June 1, 2009.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

...while we wait



The Illinois Association of Realtors is due to release its July sales statistics next week. I'm staring at the computer waiting, with my hands over my eyes but peeking through my fingers. Can anyone say train wreck?

Its getting hard to post on a real estate blog like this one this summer without whimpering or whining or bemoaning the state of the market. Instead, I've been spending a bit time on the bike lately and reading the occasional blog. Sure I like my work and all, but hey - there are worse things than actually taking time to enjoy the really terrific weather we have been blessed with.

Riding the bike is terrific on many different levels. Having your bike stolen is not. So as a public service, I would like to refer you to an important reference point: The Chicago Stolen Bike Registry; and a couple of irreverent ones: Bike Snob NYC and a wacky U-Tube vid.

In the words of its creators, the bike registry exists:
  • To provide a public forum for the distribution of information about stolen bicycles, in the hope that bicycles can be returned to their owners, and that resale of listed stolen bicycles will be more difficult.
  • To provide analysis of bicycle theft data, in the form of statistics and maps, to identify high risk factors for bicycle theft.
Read a couple of entries and you will be unable to avoid learning from the mistakes of others.

Bike snob is just flat-out funny. OK, maybe you need to be a bit of a cycling dork to really appreciate these musings, but I do not necessarily think that I am such a dork and it tickles me just the same. Whatever your own dork factor, have a look - particularly Today's installment. Here is a photo of an "as yet un-stolen bike" that is just crying out to be pilfered:


Notice how the only part of the bike actually locked to the rack is that crappy front quick-release wheel. Flip the switch and take the frame. Could you make it any easier to give the bike away? Again, a few minutes of effort may well spare you the need to enter your own mishap into that stolen bike database.

And lest any of you think that bike theft requires a special skill set, dark-of-night stealth, or bike owner/operator error, check out this video from the Neistat Brothers of New York City. Yikes!




For the record, I employ both a two-lock strategy and keep my bike even dirtier than that new york snob (its not that i am competitive - which i am, it is just so much easier to spritz more chain lube onto the drive train than it is clean the dang thing).

Whatever and however you secure your ride, the main thing is that you take the time to do it right. It beats walking.