Carol Ann Edwards-Nasser

Carol Ann Edwards-Nasser

ABR - Broker             

Showing 1 - 5 of 5 blog posts

Parking Options for new home buyers

Friday, 05 Feb 2016 at 09:46 pm

One of most frequent questions a Realtor in Chicago is asked is “Should I buy parking with the unit?”  Unquestionably the answer is YES!  Even if you do not own a car, when you sell a condominium or co-op, you will have a much higher buyer pool if parking is conveyed.

The cost for parking in the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park and Lakeview areas can widely vary.  When considering a property, first carefully read the MLS sheet to ascertain whether parking is included in the purchase price or if there is an extra charge.  If it is deeded parking, you will pay taxes and usually an assessment on the space.  if it is a limited common element, you will usually only pay an assessment.  If it is rental, ask if the rental agreement is transferable to the new owner.  You do not want any surprises at closing.

Do not automatically discard a property if the parking is not “on site”.  This only means that the parking is located in another building but with some areas, that could be mere steps away.  Ask before you rule the home out.

With the cost for deeded parking in high rises or new developments ranging from $10,000 to over $100,000 a space, car sharing programs are wildly popular in Chicago. Members can rent cars hourly and keep them as long as necessary. Zip Car is the most popular car sharing program in the Chicago area.

If you need to find parking in Chicago for a day trip, a great site to use is Parking Anytime.  Simply enter your destination address and it will provide lots, garages and parking meter fee information.  Also provided on this site is Permit Parking information for the neighborhoods!  Very handy.

We all see taxi cabs in profusion, but did you know that Chicago had Water Taxis? Try Shoreline Commuter Chicago River Taxi service or Chicago River Taxi Service

Of course, when traveling to Chicago from any of the suburbs, the best choice is always MetraPace or theCTA (Chicago Transit Authority)

Categories: Property Types Parking

Blunders of Luxury Property Sellers

Friday, 05 Feb 2016 at 09:41 pm

Owners of million-dollar-plus properties make just as many mistakes when they sell their homes as their less affluent neighbors — with even more costly results, say Chicago brokers.

Among the top mistakes:

  • Pricing too high
    Most brokers agree that the biggest error is pricing the property too high.  Believe it….price matters!  The upper end market can weather storms a bit more than other price points, but for all but the most financially secure, the carrying costs of having payments on more than one $5,000,000 home is straining on any budget!
  • Insisting on a pre-approval letter for every potential showing 
    This is too difficult for most buyers to go through and only warranted in the very top price point and co-operative apartments where required by the board. 
  • Expecting to recoup the cost of very high-end amenities and décor
    • $20,000 wrought iron spindle railings are just spindles in the eye of an appraiser.  Likewise, carpet to a buyer is just carpet.  Do not think your ultra up-graded extra-soft to the toes high-priced carpet will bring in a top dollar.  Most everyone I know changest the carpet before they move into a home regardless if it is in “great” condition!  Upgrades help you sell, but you don’t necessarily regain the cost.
  • Dated Decor
    “I just sold a town home for people who had spent $90,000 on inlaid doors and more on intricate marble work,” says a prominent Chicago broker. “Twenty years later, it’s very dated,” but the owners couldn’t understand why they couldn’t recoup that money".
  • Avant-garde decorating
    This can repel high-end buyers.  Be aware that if you go for a very “out there” design scheme, you must be willing to enjoy it and not expect to recoup any or even most of of the cost.  When designers go over the top, it limits the number of people who will even consider buying
  • “Helicopter” owners
    This is a big turn-off to prospective buyers.  Hire a good Realtor and then LEAVE during the showings!
  • Poorly maintained properties
    This is always an issue when the condition is present, even for multimillion-dollar homes. Some owners are so smitten with their house that they allow it to be shown without being perfect. In the Chicago market, there is no room for error or sloppiness; buyers are demanding ‘perfect’ in high-end properties.
  • Not neutralizing an interior prior to listing a home  
    Even the 8,000 square foot homes need to be staged, or buffed up and neutralized so they appeal to a broad range of buyers. Consider hiring an interior designer brought in to rearrange furniture, hang art and spruce-ups the paint, landscaping, caulking or deep cleaning.  Yes, the new owners will repaint but you will get a better price for the home if you make it have the “wow” factor!
  • Politically focused photographs
    If you have prize photographs of you and your partner taken along side world leaders – remove them!  When you are selling your home, it is in your best interest to advertise your political affiliation.
  • Stripping out fixtures
    Some sellers strip out top-quality light fixtures and hardware in their home and replace them with inferior versions.  This cheapens the property in the eyes of the buyer.  If you must take the heirloom chandelier in the dining room, replace it with one of equal or near value.  Home Depot decor doesn’t do it in the upper end market.
The main idea and direct portions of this blog are adapted from Business of Life By: Laura Bianchi April 21, 2008 ©2008 by Crain Communications Inc

All the ideas have been expounded upon by Carol Nasser


Categories: Property Types

Tax Breaks vs Tax Incentives

Friday, 05 Feb 2016 at 09:20 pm

There are four factors to growing rich with investment property – positive cash flow; tax breaks; capital repayment; and — appreciation. Each of these can vary significantly year to year and each has a unique effect on the ultimate return on investment property.

Let’s say you buy a lovely goldcoast brownstone apartment on tree-lined Astor St. You come up with a down-payment (these days upward of 30%+ if you’ll be using it exclusively as a rental). You then get a mortgage (with a little luck), find a renter and start to collect your rent.

So your mortgage payment of PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) is $3000/month. And let’s say you rent the place for $5000/month. With your $2000/month “profit” you earn $22,000/year on your rental property. Kind of. That’s assuming you do all the management, advertising, toilet plunging, etc. by yourself and have no outside costs – but that’s another post altogether. But if you have a lucky year (and your tenant always pays you) you make a tidy profit. In the course of ten years you’ve earned $220,000 and are well on your way to success. But what about taxes?

Fortunately you have depreciation and other tax benefits that also help you grow ‘wealth” when investing in luxury real estate. Our generous government let’s you take a sliding rate of depreciation on the value of the property. The IRS publishes guidelines each year – You can take a look at publication 946 – “How to Depreciate” . In the early years of owning a property you can deduct up to 3.64% of its value – which can be used against revenue you earned on property.

For example, if the fair market value is $500,000 for your rental property, you can depreciate it in certain years for 3.64%, or $18,200 (personal property depreciates a bit differently). That means $18,200 out of the $22,000 you earned in rent is exempt from taxes – leaving you liable for taxes only on the $3800 difference. You still earned $22,000 but can offset a significant portion of it! That’s how some properties “cash flow negative” while still putting money in the owner’s pocket year after year. I simplify, of course. That’s why the accountants are the ones who make the REAL money!


Categories: Financing a home

Pet Lovers and Chicago

Friday, 05 Feb 2016 at 09:19 pm

Lincoln Park is a virtual heaven for pet-owners, with neighborhood businesses surrounding the park catering to all sorts of amenities for your furry friends, from groomers to toy stores to high-end boutiques! The park itself wouldn’t be the same without a flurry of dog walkers making their way through the morning joggers and pleasant strollers alike.

Realtors® to the Rescue is an Illinois 501c3 Not For Profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless animals in the Chicagoland area. Through their website, they strive to use the vast network of Realtors® to promote both the adoption of homeless animals and area animal shelter fundraising and education events.

This grass-roots initiative was established to:
• Promote the adoption of homeless animals
• Provide general guidance on the lost and found pet procedures
• Provide a resource for Chicago Realtors® to aid in the home search for their clients with pets, including:
• Comprehensive city-wide list of pet friendly rental and condominium buildings
• City-wide neighborhood pet-friendly areas and dog parks
• Open community on-line forum for recommendations

For further details, please visit their website:



Categories: Pets

Co-operative Apartments - In Chicago?

Friday, 05 Feb 2016 at 09:17 pm

When we think of Co-operative apartments, we think of New York’s upper east side.  Posh, elegant, spacious, well staffed, well screened dwellers choosing those whom they feel will fork over the hefty price tag and the still more hefty monthy maintenance fee.  Well, co-ops are not exclusive to Manhattan!  A kinder and gentler sister version is alive and thriving in Chicago – AND like their NYC relatives, they are also posh, elegant and usually very spacious!

What is a co-op?  Simply put, a way of holding title in which the “owner” is a member of a corporation that holds the real property (real estate) interest.  Owners are therefore referred to as “shareholders”.

Chicago co-ops usually feature relatively low price tag. The sticker shock can come in the monthly fees. Before you go running away however, ask what is included in the monthly fee amount. Usually the big ticket item in the assessment is the inclusion of property taxes. Always ask your Realtor if property taxes are included in the monthly fee reflected on the listing sheet. Since it is a corporation, there is 1 tax bill. Each shareholder has a deductable amount for tax time.

Other items included in the monthly fee may be heat, door staff, parking, and even electricity (purchased in a bundle by the corporation and then each shareholder is charged according to usage)

Generally be prepared for a higher downpayment. Many Lakeview and South shore Co-operatives allow financing of shares but will require at least a 20% – 25% downpayment. Many Gold Coast co-operatives do not allow financing and in addition, you must have a large amount in liquid assets to be voted into the corporation.

For financing, ask a Realtor that specializes in Co-ops to recommend a lender to you. Many brokers and banks do not lend for this type of ownership.

Lastly, be prepared for a through screening of your assets. Since it is a corporation, the shareholders do not want to have to assume responsibiltiy of another shareholders shares should he or she become unable to meet the fees associated. A simple credit report will not suffice.  The most common reporting company used in Chicago is Thomas Reports.  Be prepared for a through check of your credit, a full character report which includes personal profile, verification of residency and occupation along with income and assets such as real estate, investments, bank accounts, etc.  You will also need business references from people such as attorneys, accountants, bankers, or stock-brokers, educational background, and professional and social affiliations.  Last but not least, a criminal background check may be performed.  Your Realtor can help you with this process.

Co-operative apartments are the quiet gems in Chicago real estate for many purchasers. Provided you are aware of the legal description of a co-op and are prepared to be a shareholder, purchasing in a co-op is a great choice.

Some co-ops to consider:

Gold Coast – 229 E. Lake Shore Drive

Lakeview – 442 W. Wellington

Near North – 3750 N. Lake Shore Drive

Categories: Property Types