Condos for Sale in Chicago
Condos for Sale in Chicago
If you’re looking for Chicago condos for sale, you’re probably aware of the MLS, you’ve probably already used it. Maybe you haven’t said to yourself that it’s the best and easiest way to look up condos but you know it is. It gives you access to lots of listings, saves you a lot of time.
Condos for sale in Chicago are covered by the Chicago area MLS of Northern Illinois. It was originally intended only for real estate agents, brokers and other professionals. However, lately, you and I can use it too as real estate agents have become smart and allow us to access the Chicago MLS through their websites. They’ll, of course, make you register and give them your contact information (email). A cheap price to pay.
Many, if not most listings, have virtual tours. And, given Google’s map street view, you can get a decent feel of the building/complex and its neighborhood. Yet, if you’re not familiar with the neighborhoods you’re looking at, the Chicago MLS is not enough, you need to talk to a real estate professional.
Why? Because neighborhoods like Rogers Park are not a neighborhood but a collection of mini-neighborhoods. South of Touhy and west of the Metra tracks you get mostly houses and 2-4 unit buildings. North of Touhy you get houses, 2-4 unit buildings and condo and apartment complexes. At the very north end, and to the east, by Howard, there are lots of buildings and businesses. On Birchwood, there have been lots of condo conversions, many failed, foreclosed.
Google’s street view map will tell you nothing about the many failed condo conversions though it will show you the pretty new buildings on the northeast corner, and the older, some a bit run-down houses and buildings one block away.
Rogers Park is not the only neighborhood like that. Kenwood and Hyde Park, for instance, have had lots of condo conversions, new construction. In some parts, also the failed conversions. Vacant buildings.
But neighborhoods change. There are areas along Western where it used to be that east of California Avenue was a lot more desirable and west of it was not so much. And I mean one house west of it. Very sharp difference. Then the desirable area expanded and California Avenue was the new dividing line. In some parts, the desirable areas expanded some more, to Kedzie. In other neighborhoods, there isn’t a marked difference on one side of a street compared to the other.
These are things you need to know. If you’re moving to a neighborhood you don’t know well, often you cannot rely on MLS. Some times not even on Google. You have to drive the neighborhoods and you have to have a real estate agent who knows them tell you about them. A real estate appraiser could help you too here, and at some point you should hire one. But real estate appraisers cannot help you with the rest of your hunt for a condo.
Obviously, if you know the neighborhood where you want to look at condos for sale, you can rely heavily on the MLS. It gives you a lot of useful information.
(by Daniel C. Kennedy)
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