Archive for the 'Investing in Real Estate' Category

A New Way to Pay Forward in 2016

I would like to share something about myself. I have been a supporting small businesses by giving money to Kiva Loans.  For those of you who do not know Kiva, they are a micro lenders that change lives. They lend small business loans . Businesses pay back the loans through sales of products they sell. Once the loan is paid off they can borrow more money and you can lend the money to others. This year I wanted to support local business seeking Kiva loans and found three companies to support.   GoldStar Greeting Cards: Provide unique affordable greeting cards and other paper products.   Mindful Indulgences: Is a confectioner that makes healthy veegan chocolate trufffles.   The C.A.N Art Studio: Is a community based art studio where you can take classes, rent studio space, or have parties.

Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

2705 Gross Point is the Perfect House to Rehab in Evanston., Il

Why is 2705 Gross Point the perfect home to rehab?

Send me an email for list of homes that meet criteria for rehab.

Finding the right house to rehab can be challenging because many times we just do not know how to find homes that meet the perfect criteria for rehab.

Follow these steps for finding a perfect home to rehab:

  • Decide on area first and neighborhood second
  • Research the neighborhood and learn about home values.
  • Get list of homes for sale that are undervalued for the area.
  • Look at Exterior of House and Make Appointments to see interior condition.
  •  Verify Zoning and Lot Size
  • Develope budget include soft costs and hard costs
  • Develope a realistic return on investment (ROI) on  After Repair Value (ARV)


Why 2705 Goss Point in Evanston is the perfect home to Rehab.

2705 Gross Point is located in Northwest Evanston which has a mix of homes whose average price range is between $500,000-700,000. This house is currently listed for sale at $334,000 for basically land value . The house is 700 SF and is on a 46 x 136 lot and the footprint of the house could be expanded another 2,000 SF not including the basement.

At a cost of $150 per SF the addition would cost $300,000 along with land the total project would cost $634,000 which is in range of average homes for the area.

Please call me at 708-309-5334 for more information on this home or email me at jacklewitz@sbcglobal.ner  for list of similar homes .

Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

10 Reasons to Live in Chicago

1. State Street: Chicago is really an easy city to get around. State and Madison is where the city begins State Street runs North and South and Madison runs East and West. At State and Madison you are at 0 degrees north and south and 0 degrees east and west. State Stree is still a Great Street with Macy’s or what I still refer as the old Marshall Fields.

2. Science and Industry Museum:  Chicago has some of the best museums from the Science and Industry, Field Museum, The Shedd Aquarium, The Adler Planetarium, Dusable Museum, Oriental Institute just to name a few


3. Buckingham Fountain: The Buckingham Fountain was built in 1927 and is a center piece to Chicago and its wondrful parks. Buckingham Fountain makes you feel like you are in Paris.

4. The Art Institute: One of the premier Museum of Art in the world with one of the best Impressionist Art Collections.

5. Michigan Ave: Most beautiful street with the best shopping in the world. Picture shows one of two water towers that survived the Great Chicago Fire.


6. The Chicago River:  Take a tour down the Chicago River or come visit during St. Patricks day and watch the River turn green.


7. The Chicago Blues Festival: Attend one of the many festivals and enjoy Blues, Jazz, Gospel, Classical,  to Rock.


8. China town: Enjoy the food at China Town, Greek Town, Italian Neighborhood, Pilsen for Mexican.


9. Lincoln Park Zoo: Open all year long and free.


10. Frank Lloyd Wright: Enjoy the different archecture styles from Prairie Style, Queen Anne, Victorian to mid-century  modern.


Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

WGN Rates Chicago 13 out of 33 Richest Cities

WGN rates Chicago 13 out of 33 Richest Cities.  I am not surprised that Chicago and our Midwest upbringing rates us in the middle of the pack. This to me is a good thing to be rated in the middle because then we have room to improve. While I am glad Chicago is not the cheapest City to live in I am happy we are not considered the most expensive. My only objection to this report is the number 13 and that is because I am a little superstitious.

Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

Not All Real Estate Investments Are The Same

I get calls almost every daIy from investors looking for deals in Real Estate. They all have the same formula and its simply Buy Low/ Sell High. If  Real Estate was that simple we would all be Billionaires and I say Billionaires because it is no longer important to be just a Millionaire any more.

To all those interested about learning about Real Estate Investment then you need to do some research first and develope a plan.

  1. Types of Real Estate:

First you must understand the different types of property to invest in and the risk vs reward for each type. For expample a single family home is probably the easiest to get financing but there are more investors looking for SF homes just like you so the downside is there is too many people looking for the same property type. I personally do not like SF as an investment for several reason. As a rental SF homes are either 100% occupied or 100% vacant. There is no in between. You either have cash flow or money is coming out of your pocket. SF homes are also difficult to manage if you have multiple properties and they are not located near each other. This can be a nightmare for an investor.

Other Types of Real Estate to consider are Multi-Family but anything under 6 units will probably not have the cash flow required by most investors.  Mixed Use is a preferred property type. If you can find a good location with retail and apartments then you have the ability to get a commercial tenant on NNN lease and have apt rents above. By mixing up the tenants with commercial/retail and apartments you will have less vacancies and if one is vacant then the other may be easier to rent. There are other types of real estate to consider but not a topic for this discussion.

2. Length of Time to Hold:

I see many people looking to flip real estate. I am not a fan of working with these type of investors because they have this formula that they have to buy, fix up, and flip and make profits. I say to them its not that simple. Real Estate was not intended to buy and hold for a short time to make money. Real Estate was supposed to be something you buy and hold to build up equity and it was equity in real estate that gives you wealth.

3. Price:

I understand that people who have a little money saved want to invest that money to make more money. I also know that people are always attracted to low prices and yet the saying goes you get what you pay. Lower priced homes are going to require some money to maintain and have limitations on what someone else will pay for it when you decide to sell.


There are different ways to value real estate.  Some are quite simple  while others are more complex. What ever model used it must have a way to analyze a Return on Investment (ROI) . In other words this ROI analysis should  give you some indication of what you investing and costs involved, risks involved, that will eventually give you a summary of ROI. If you do not have an understanding of real estate values and the risks involved then you should not be investing in real estate.


Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

What Do you Do When You Are Thinking About Retirement?


If you are planning or already retired then this blog post is for you. Many people who want to retire are trying to figure out what it will cost them each year to live and make sure they have enough money saved to live a happy and healthy retirement.

When calculating for retirement you must think about life style changes you want to make.  Following are some questions to ask yourself when you do your planning:

Do I Stay or Move: The first thing you need to decide is whether you want to stay where you are or move when you retire. This decision is based on amount of equity you have in your home, the size of your home, location, and cost to continue living in your home. If  you are not sure what to do this is a good time to get a Free Market Value of your home so you know what your home is worth in today’s market. This will help you with a budget.

Where Do I Want To Retire:  I recommend picking up a retirement magazine that rates the popular cities to retire. Many of these articles will rate cities based on life style, health care, outdoor activities, cost of living, air quality, etc.

Do I Own or Rent: Many people who are retired live in two places based on the seasons. If you live in a cold area like Chicago many retirees like to live in warmer climates during the winter months. There are many options for seniors like rentals, timeshares, and ownership. The big question is can I afford to Own two places when I retire and do I want too?

Downsize or Dream House: When you retire do you want to downsize to something smaller or do you want to find your dream house?

City versus Country: Are you the type of person who likes the activities of the city and would benefit from the cultural activities that a city provides like museums, art, music, restaurants or do you enjoy the peacefulness of country living?

I hope some of these questions have provoked you to think about your retirement and I would like to hear from those of you who are retired or planning retirement to give me feedback on some of my suggestions or add your own wisdom to the age old question of ” What do you do when your thinking about retirement






Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

Anyone Interested in Seconds… A look at 2nd Quarter Sales Data..

Second Quarter 2010 Single Family Home Sales Data:

County Total Sales Total # Foreclosure Total # of Short Sales Distressed Sales expressed as % of Total Sales Active listings # Sales in 1 Month Absorption Rate
Cook County 6,215 1,803 568 38% 19,288 2,521 7.65%
Lake County 1,402 351 134 35% 5,833 619 9.42%
McHenry County 604 149 89 39% 2,912 253 11.50%
Dupage County 1,538 240 123 24% 5,568 671 8.29%
Will County 1,312 319 141 35% 4,595 513 8.96%

In the second quarter of 2010, Foreclosure Sales and Short Sales together represent 24% -39% of all sales in each of the five counties researched.

There are three (3) times as many foreclosures than Short Sales in the second quarter of (April-June)  2010.

The Real Estate Market is still a buyers market.  In each of the five counties surveyed it is taking anywhere from 7 months -12 months to close on a home.

The next few quarters for the real estate market will be challenging for several reasons.

The First Time Home Owners Tax Credit Expired April 30, 2010 and fewer qualified buyers are looking to purchase a home even though Mortgage Interest Rates are at a all time low.

There is speculation of a Double Dip in the Real Estate Market as a result of more Foreclosures come on the market. Right now the “Shadow Inventory” of foreclosures is paying attention to the abosorption rates discussed above.

Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

Pending Home Sales are The Highest Level Since March 2007

Pending Home Sales are at the Highest Level Since March 2007. Short Sales and Complex Appraisals are causing delays in home sales from closing.

County # of Pending Sales # of Pending Short Sales % of Total Pending Sales # of Short Sales Pending 100 + Days % of Short Sales Pending 100+ Days
Cook 5689 1058 19% 700 66%
Lake 1039 221 21% 169 76%
Dupage 1169 205 18% 169 82%
Mchenry 578 156 27% 116 74%
Will 1116 156 14% 136 87%
Kane 820 169 21% 135 80%

Short Sales represent 14%-27% of all Pending Sales in all five counties.
66%-87% of all Short Sales are taking 100+ days to close.

Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

Cash Flow is King When Investing in Real Estate

Cash_flow_King You have heard Cash is King but how about Cash Flow is King.

If you are thinking about investing in real estate make sure you have cash.

After cash make sure your investment will give you cash back.

How much Cash should you invest is up to you but make sure what ever amount you invest you will earn a percentage of your money back each month in positive cash flow.

This is typically called Cash-On Cash Return. If you invest $100,000 and can earn back $10 K back each year your Cash-On-Cash return is 10%. This example would be a pretty good investment and should be compared to other returns like CD’s, Money Market Accounts, Stock Market, Savings Accounts, Bonds, where you can earn a return on your invested cash.

Since Real Estate is not as liquid as other investments your return should be higher. If after your analysis you will make less than other investments you should reject buying real estate.

Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

Foreclosures Are What People are Buying!!!

istock_000007759741xsmall2The second quarter statistics are showing that new Buyers are buying Foreclosures at a steady pace.

Almost 4 out of 10 sales in the second quarter of 2009 have been foreclosures.

The number of foreclosure continues to attract new home buyers.

County # of Single Family Sales # of Short Sales # of Bank Foreclosures Percent of Total
Cook 5606 426 2150 47 %
Lake 1212 114 343 38%
McHenry 578 79 140 38%
Dupage 1363 233 137 37%
Kane 796 93 204 37%
Will 1216 127 398 43%

Written by Jack Lewitz | Discussion: No Comments »

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