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How to Sell Your House Fast in Chicago

The Chicago real estate market is currently one of the worst performing in the U.S. With 2019 forecasts looking bleak, Chicago home sales are once again expected to decline. Read our guide to find out how to sell your Chicago home quickly without paying over the odds in fees.
sell fast in chicago

If under normal circumstances selling a home wasn't stressful enough, aiming to complete the end-the-end process in a speedy manner can seem like a daunting task. Not only this but according to chief economist at Realtor.com, home sales in Chicago will drop by an estimated 7.4% in 2019, with median selling prices expected to decline by 1.9%.

As such, if you are looking to sell your Chicago home fast, then we would suggest reading our comprehensive guide first.

Within it, we'll discuss the current and future state of play for the Chicago housing market, as well as some of the key factors that might accelerate the selling process.

To conclude, we'll explore some of the main benefits of partnering with a local Chicago-based real estate agent in your endeavors to sell your home fast.

Chicago Housing Market Forecast for 2019 and Beyond

Continuing on from the above forecast as per Realtor.com, in the short-to-medium term the Chicago housing market looks somewhat bleak. The same report claims that of 100 U.S. metropolitan areas, the Windy City will have the weakest housing market of them all.

These viewpoints were further illustrated in December 2018, with Chicago experiencing its worse like-for-like month in 7 years, with sales down an astonishing 17.5% from the year prior.

Although it must be noted that U.S. mortgage rates moving up towards the 5.5% mark has spearheaded a nationwide slump, the slowdown in sales is expected to be four times worse in Chicago. These concerns can be put down to a number of external factors. Not only are tax burdens in Chicago the highest in the U.S., but property taxes themselves are only second to New Jersey.

Interestingly, some commentators argue that local residents accept an increase in property taxes, on the proviso that collected funds are subsequently re-injected into the local neighborhood.

However, in the wider state of Illinois, less than half of every collected dollar paid in the form of property taxes has achieved this goal. As such, this lack of investment in local services can ultimately result in a decline of housing prices, as per peer-reviewed academic research.

When it comes to employment figures in Chicago, this also makes for bleak reading. For example, with nationwide U.S. unemployment rates dropping to just 3.8% in February 2019, Chicago comes out at 4.6%.

For those unaware, there is often a direct correlation between falling house prices and an increase in unemployment rates, on a region-by-region basis. However, it should also be noted that in comparison to 2018, whereby unemployment rates in Chicago failed to drop below 5% for the entire year, improvement is on horizon.

In terms of medium selling prices in Chicago, Zillow puts this at $228,900, as per March 2019. This indicates a 1-year change of -0.7%. Interestingly, while Realtor.com estimate that 2019 will see medium prices fall by 7.4%, Zillow estimate that this figure will in fact rise by 1.8%.

So now that you have a firm overview of the current state of play of the Chicago housing market, in the next section we will list three key factors that could potentially see Chicago homes sell faster.

3 Key Factors That Help Chicago Homes Sell Faster

  1. An increase in inventory levels:

One of the key factors that is potentially spearheading a bearish Chicago housing market is that of low inventory levels. In other words, the number of homes for sale in the Windy City are at record lows. If more houses were put up for sale in Chicago, it could contribute to an increase in higher prices.

  1. Reduction or redistribution of property taxes:

As noted above, Chicago is home to the second highest property tax rate in the U.S. This has subsequently led to a stagnation of sellers, meaning that should authorities decide to re-visit property taxes in the city, more homes could sell faster. On the other hand, public sentiment could change if collected property taxes were re-distributed into improving services and infrastructure in the local area.

  1. Turnaround in underwater mortgages

A further factor that is contributing to a lack of sales in Chicago is the City’s ultra-high rate of underwater mortgages. These are mortgages that amount to 25% or more of what the house is actually worth. In effect, this restricts homeowners from selling their house and thus, is further amplifying the stagnant property market. If more homeowners can escape the underwater threshold, it could allow Chicago homes to sell faster.

Beware of “We Buy Houses for Cash” Companies and iBuyers

In order to facilitate a fast selling process, homeowners in Chicago have been known to approach unscultoruous sellers that rely on their ‘We Buy Houses for Cash’ rhetoric. For those unaware, if you've ever seen an online advertisement or billboard promising ultra-fast closings followed by instant cash, then think again.

One of the key flaws of such a service is that companies often operate as a dual agency. In layman terms, they promise 0% commission fees by representing both the buyer and the seller.

Unfortunately, as good as this sounds, such organizations rarely have your best interests at heart. This couldn't be more fitting for a housing market such as Chicago, whereby vulnerable homeowners who are desperate for instant cash are often are an easy target.

Although not all stakeholders within the ‘We Buy Houses for Cash’ bracket are illegitimate, the official Chicago government website is very clear on its red flag guidelines.

If you are looking to sell your Chicago home fast, you should also avoid 'iBuyers'. In a nutshell, while iBuyers are often able to sell homes in an ultra-fast manner, this comes at a price. It is not uncommon to see iBuyers charge double-digit commission rates, on top of indirect fees pertaining to a discount on the fair value of the sold home.

Ultimately, while we appreciate that you are looking to sell your Chicago home fast, this shouldn’t be at the expense of highly unreasonable fees.

In the final section of our guide, we’ll discuss how partnering with a local Chicago real estate agent might be best suited for your needs.

Benefits of Partnering with a Local Chicago Real Estate Agent

First and foremost, in order to facilitate your goal of selling your Chicago home fast, it is imperative that you utilize the services of local real estate agents. Not only will they know the specific marketplace well, but they will have a demographic-based network of contacts that will be able to spearhead the selling process in the quickest time possible.

However, how do you know which Chicago real estate agency to go with? This is where the Clever Partner Agent platform comes in.

In a nutshell, the Clever Partner Agent platform is home to a range of well-established local real estate agents that know the Chicago housing market well. The benefits of such a program will not only allow you to sell your home quickly but also at a highly competitive rate.

Prior to joining our Partner Agent Network, each subsequent Chicago-based real estate agent must agree to offer substantially discounted rates to both sellers and buyers. To illustrate how this works, standard commission fees in the real estate market often amount to 6%, with the seller bearing the vast majority of this cost.

As noted earlier, these costs are significantly higher when opting for the services offered by iBuyers. On the other hand, Clever Partner Agents agree to sell a house for a $3,000 fixed fee, or 1% if the selling price exceeds $350,000.

Although those selling their house will need to cover the buyer's agent commission, which is industry standard anyway, facilitating the sale via the Clever network will amount to a buyer's commission of 3-4%, rather than the standard 6% that is often charged.

Perhaps most importantly, those that make up the Clever Partner Agent Network are highly established, top performing agents in the Chicago marketplace. As such, you'll only be matched with the very best!

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Thomas O'Shaughnessy
Thomas O'Shaughnessy

Tommy O'Shaughnessy is the Head of Research at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top local agents to save on commission. Tommy's team of data scientists create surveys, gather data, and analyze trends in housing, real estate, and personal finance. He directs public relations efforts, acting as a "data communicator" between his team and the press. Clever studies have been featured in Politico, the LA Times, CNBC, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and other publications.

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