Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Rents are on the Rise

Some of you may have already noticed but rents are going up this year. So far Chicago’s rental market seems to be absorbing all of the homes and apartments that have not sold and rents are still going up. I have read a few theories on why (but do you even really care why?). One is that young people are finally moving out of their parents houses and leaving their roommates to find a place of their own. I think a lot of would-be buyers who could not afford to sell and/or to purchase are renting instead. I know of at least two clients, one who did sell and one who did not, that are both renting their new homes this year. There are forecast for double digit rental increases in some of the tighter markets like Boston and San Francisco. The market is not that tight here in Chicago but it is good enough that you should be able to seek 5-10% increase depending on your location and apartment size.

Please don’t forget the golden rule of landlords: it is cheaper to keep’em. Don’t drive your good tenants off with crazy increases. If you are going to have to paint the apartment, advertise, and change locks you might end up just breaking even. If you have tenants you like or tolerate give them a moderate increase, if they leave any way that is when you can drive up your rent.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Chicago Vacant TIF Purchase and Rehabilitation Ordinance

Some of you who read my blog may know that I am not a huge fan of the TIF program but when in Rome...

The newly passed Vacant TIF Purchase and Rehabilitation Ordinance could be a great deal for those of you thinking of a purchase rehab of a vacant/foreclosed property. If you are not a developer (I will get back to them), you cannot have owned a home in the last three years and you need to make less than the median income $75,000 for a family of four. If you qualify for the program you can buy and rehab a vacant property in one of the city's many TIF districts http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=92881&print=1.

The property must need at least $25,000 repairs, and I am hoping it can be a single-family or a two-flat but all of the detail have yet to be presented. Buyers can get up to 25% of the cost of purchase and rehab from the TIF fund. Once again it is not clear if you will be reimbursed or if you get the money up front. The property must be the primary residence of the buyer for a certain period of time but that is also not yet determined. I am really interested in this program so check back for more information in the coming months.

For developers looking at six or more units there is an option in this ordinance too. Developers can get between 30-50% of the cost of purchase and rehab for a vacant property if they make 30-50% of the units, respectively, affordable housing. There is more to come for this aspect of the ordinance too.

Sunday, May 01, 2011



I am a little overwhelmed at all the new rental web sites and once the information gets out it is hard to remember what web sites you posted your rental on and how to take the information down. Still most of these sites are free or almost free so it is worth it to get the information out there. The rental market is hot this year and there are thousands or tenants sifting through thousands of rental listings trying to find the right match so make sure you give a lot of useful information about your apartment. Let people know how big the apartment is, what it costs, where it is located and what amenities there are. I find tenants are most interested in parking, laundry, pets and air conditioning. If you have outside space that is a huge plus this time of year. Make sure you also highlight the location if it is good. Let people know about public transportation, grocery stores and restaurants that might be near by.

One of the landlords I work with really likes hotpads.com and said it is great because you can transfer the information to craigslist with the photos. Yes please have photos of the apartment! I have not tired it myself yet. Also remember that you can farm your apartment out to lots of listing companies. You usually don't have to pay them unless they find you a tenants and most of the time the listings are non-exclusive, so you can use different companies and also try and rent it yourself. Just make sure you check the application out yourself to make sure the tenant is qualified. I do sometimes feel like they pressure both the tenant and the landlord to take what/who they get, but you do have choices.

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