Tuesday, February 17, 2015

RE/MAX Ultimate Professionals Nearly Doubles Size of Its Shorewood Office, Adding Innovative Café to Serve Its Brokers and Clients


CHICAGO, Feb. 16, 2015 – Great things are brewing at RE/MAX Ultimate Professionals in Shorewood, Ill., as a new year gets underway, due to a growth spurt that began last summer.  That’s when Broker/Owner Kathy Dames realized she’d soon be adding more brokers to her team than the current office could accommodate, and it was also when she learned that the business next door to her office at 576 Brook Forest Ave., would be closing.

“We hated losing our neighbor, but to suddenly have vacant space available right next door, well the timing was perfect,” said Dames.  She used the additional 1,600 square feet to nearly double the size of her Shorewood office, now the base of operations for 15 brokers.  She also has a growing second office in Plainfield, Ill., with a staff of 16 brokers.

The Shorewood office addition, which opened last month, features one of the hottest trends in real estate office design – a coffee bar with wireless internet access, a concept known in the industry as an iCafé.

“I learned about it in a seminar at a RE/MAX conference I attended in August, and it seemed like an ideal fit for what we were trying to accomplish,” Dames said.  “We want both our brokers and their clients to feel comfortable in our office, and we thought one way to do that would be by offering a more casual alternative as a meeting place.  Given the way coffee-oriented businesses, such as Starbucks, have become gathering places, I liked the idea of creating our own iCafé as part of the expansion.

Dames has stocked her newly opened iCafé with more than coffee, though it does feature an espresso machine as well as a coffeemaker that can brew coffee by the cup or by the potful.  Also on hand are an array of healthy snacks, water, soda, juices and even some craft beers. 

About 400 square feet of the space that Dames added to her office is absorbed by the iCafé and lounge area, while another 400 square feet is devoted to an expanded reception area.  The remainder of the new space is used for the brokers’ office areas, including five private offices and five work cubicles. 

“The trend in real estate in recent years has been for brokers to spend less time in the brokerage office and more time in a home office or out at properties, but I’d like to change that because I see great value in having our brokers spend time together,” noted Dames. “When we interact and exchange ideas and information, we energize each other, and that leads to better results for our clients and our brokers.  I think the iCafé will facilitate that process, while also providing an amenity that our clients will enjoy.”

With more office space at her disposal, Dames continues to recruit experienced brokers.

“Interested brokers can call our office at 815-725-4545 or contact our general manager, Bryan Kasprisin directly at 815-693-8336,” she said.

RE/MAX has been the leader in the northern Illinois real estate market since 1989.  The RE/MAX Northern Illinois network, with headquarters in Elgin, Ill., consists of 2,200 sales associates and 100 individually owned and operated RE/MAX offices that provide a full range of residential and commercial brokerage services.  Its www.illinoisproperty.com provides comprehensive information about the network and about residential and commercial property for sale in the region.  The northern Illinois network is part of RE/MAX, a global real estate organization with 90,000+ sales associates in 90+ nations. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

RE/MAX Luxury Report on Metro Chicago Real Estate: $1 Million-Plus Residential Market Moved to Higher Ground in 2014



CHICAGO, Jan. 26, 2015 – The luxury home segment in the seven-county metropolitan Chicago real estate market moved to higher ground in 2014.  Both total transactions and the median sales price increased, according to the RE/MAX Luxury Report on Metro Chicago Real Estate, a periodic analysis of $1-million-plus home sales in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

Luxury home sales in 2014 totaled 2,171 units, 7 percent more than in the prior year.  The median sales price for homes selling at $1 million or more was $1,355,000, an increase of 2 percent over 2013.  Luxury properties were also selling more quickly, requiring just 131 days to find a buyer compared to 160 in 2013. 

Chicago Luxury Home Sales

The City of Chicago had 1,012 luxury sales, a 12 percent increase, and those sales represented 47 percent of the total 2014 metro luxury market.  The median sales price gained 4 percent to $1,419,500, and average market time shrank to 108 days from 141 in 2013.

Detached homes represented 51 percent of city luxury transactions at 517 units, a 7 percent increase compared to 2013.  The median sales price rose 8 percent to $1,462,500.  Average market time shortened to 88 days from 120 the previous year.

Six city communities – Lake View, Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Near North, North Center and West Town – accounted for 89 percent of all detached luxury sales.   However, sales trends in those communities varied substantially.  Transactions for the year rose in three of the communities, including gains of 57 percent in West Town, 27 percent in Logan Square and 15 percent in Lake View, but North Center and Lincoln Park saw fewer sales, and the Near North total was unchanged.

The median sales price rose in four areas:  Lake View, up 3 percent; Lincoln Park, up 22 percent; Logan Square, up 20 percent, and Near North, up 36 percent.  The median price slipped 1 percent in North Center and 9 percent in West Town. 

There were 495 sales of attached homes, primarily condominium apartments and townhouses, in the city during 2014, a robust 19 percent increase over the 2013 total.  The median sales price for an attached city home climbed 1 percent to $1,400,000, and the average market time was 128 days, down from 166 the prior year.

Together, the communities of Lincoln Park, the Loop and Near North, accounted for 89 percent of all luxury attached sales in the city in 2014.  Total transactions were sharply higher in Lincoln Park, up 83 percent, and Near North, up 10 percent, but were down 6 percent in the Loop.  The median sales price was up 5 percent in the Loop and Lincoln Park but Near North had a 4 percent decline.

Suburban Luxury Home Sales

Luxury transactions in the Chicago suburbs increased 2 percent in 2014 to 1,159 units, and the median sales price climbed 1 percent to $1,300,000.   Average market time shortened to 152 days from 175 in 2013. 

Among individual suburbs, Winnetka was the luxury home leader with 138 sales at a median price of $1,485,000, followed by Wilmette, where 118 luxury homes changed hands at a median price of $1,342,750.  Hinsdale, the 2013 leader, came in third among luxury markets in 2014 with 116 transactions at a median price of $1,551,500.  Next on the list was Lake Forest, with 97 transactions at a median of $1,355,000, followed by Glenview, with 68 transactions at a median price of $1,194,000.

RE/MAX has been the leader in the northern Illinois real estate market since 1989.  The RE/MAX Northern Illinois network, with headquarters in Elgin, Ill., consists of 2,200 sales associates and 100 individually owned and operated RE/MAX offices that provide a full range of residential and commercial brokerage services.  Its www.illinoisproperty.com provides comprehensive information about the network and about residential and commercial property for sale in the region.  The northern Illinois network is part of RE/MAX, a global real estate organization with 90,000+ sales associates in 90+ nations. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

RE/MAX Northern Illinois CTO Announces Next Phase of Aggressive Mobile Real Estate Strategy; Commute Time Search Now Available for iPhone and Android Smartphone/Tablet Versions





CHICAGO, Jan. 21, 2015 – RE/MAX Northern Illinois Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Casey Reagan recently announced the next major milestone in the company’s mobile real estate strategy.  The highly popular Commute Time Search, which was launched for the RE/MAX Northern Illinois Real Estate App’s iPad version in March 2014, has now been adapted for all Android devices and the iPhone. 

“We are extremely pleased with the implementation delivered by our partners at Mobile Realty Apps.  The Commute Time Search feature is as beautiful and simple to use as the rest of the app,” said Reagan.  

Commute Time Search lets the public better evaluate their real estate options because it is a unique search tool that helps them assess properties for sale based on actual drive time, transit time, walk time or cycling time to and from home, work, school or any place of interest.  It not only takes into consideration traffic conditions, but is a combination of accurate historical transportation data, real-time analytics and crowd sourcing information.  The RE/MAX Northern Illinois Real Estate App is one of the few real estate apps on the market today that offers such a feature and it is considered to be one of the best available.

“Mobility is important in many vertical markets, but in real estate it is critical.  That’s why we are excited to announce this achievement, which is an important step in our larger strategy.  We are currently working on a roadmap, which consists of continuous iterations with a mobile-centric design, one that will exceed consumer and agent expectations and maximize their mobile search capabilities.  Each phase of our strategy will deliver more cutting-edge features, increased functionality, and ease-of-use.  The ultimate result will be that our network of RE/MAX agents and clients will have a competitive superiority unmatched in the marketplace,” added Reagan. 

Commute Time Search on the RE/MAX Northern Illinois Real Estate App is an invaluable feature because it helps users capitalize on one of the most important things in real estate:  location, location, location.  Its easy-to-use and touch-friendly design makes it effortless to input one’s desired destinations such as work, a child’s school, or another important place.  Users can easily adjust acceptable travel times while interactively seeing the results on a map. This allows them to identify properties for sale with the best location for their personal needs.  In addition, property details specifically highlight how far a property is from key destinations.  The combination of user-friendlessness and informative data make the RE/MAX Northern Illinois Real Estate App “the fun real estate app.” 

The RE/MAX Northern Illinois Real Estate App can be found in both Google Play and Apple app stores, and it provides the most comprehensive real estate data available in northern Illinois because it offers active, sold and pending listings directly from the MLS and not third parties.  Users can enjoy the app’s other core features on Apple and Android devices including, the MAXview, which allows consumers to use the camera on their mobile device to view homes for sale in their immediate area in real time and see full listing details and photos.  The app also gives the user the ability to do highly interactive map searches, GPS enabled searches and draw customized search areas.  Results yield full listing details and large photos, as well as photos of comparable properties users can view side by side.  (To see a brief video of the app’s features, go to:  http://goo.gl/EvF2H4.)

Those who sign up for a free “My RE/MAX” account can save their favorite properties and get a full market perspective by having access to detailed data (including interior photos) about pending or recently sold properties. 

RE/MAX has been the leader in the northern Illinois real estate market since 1989.  The RE/MAX Northern Illinois network, with headquarters in Elgin, Ill., consists of 2,200 sales associates and 100 individually owned and operated RE/MAX offices that provide a full range of residential and commercial brokerage services.  Its mobile real estate app and www.illinoisproperty.com provide comprehensive information about residential and commercial property for sale in the region.  The northern Illinois network is part of RE/MAX, a global real estate organization with 90,000+ sales associates in 90+ nations.