Thursday, November 22nd, 2018
What do clients ask for most in their searches?
Clients always ask for convenient location first and foremost. Although what that means can vary from client to client, for the most part, convenience means being near grocery stores, coffee shops, entertainment, and transit to work. Many clients want to feel like they can walk to most places easily.
The other things my rental clients ask for frequently are closet space in the bedroom and countertop space in the bathroom, especially if there is more than one person who is going to be living in the unit.
My buyer clients tend to care more about layout, view, and HOA information than finishes. Often times clients shop or purchase with renovations already in mind. A lot of times I’ll be in the middle of a showing and a client will say, ‘this reminds me of an idea I got from HGTV!’
What advice would you give to someone looking to rent?
Have an open mind because sometimes the unit you end up falling in love with, isn’t what you’d think you’d like until you see it. I’ll send clients listings and some they’ll love, and about one or two they’ll say ‘maybe’ and more often than not they end up going with the ‘maybe’.
Write down your ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ to help define and prioritize your goals. However, some things aren’t quantifiable so its important to ultimately go with your gut feeling.
What advice would you give someone looking to buy?
Know your personal goals. There are a multitude of reasons someone may decide to buy like tax incentives, square footage, long term investment, rental income, a sense of long-term roots, proprietary control or being able to customize the interiors. It’s important to know your goals so you can select a property that is most in alignment with what you want to accomplish with your purchase.
Are most of your clients new to Chicago? If so, how do you approach acclimating them with the city?
Most of my clients lately have been new to Chicago, which I enjoy because I love showing them around. I always try to learn about their hobbies as an orientation for what kinds of things I think they’ll enjoy. Many of them like taking classes at boutique fitness studios like Crossfit, Barre, or SoulCycle. There’s a fitness studio that focuses on axe throwing. Sometimes I like to tell clients, ‘we Chicagoans don’t get many opportunities to chop lumber, so this is how we satisfy the need’. Who knows? Maybe I’ll take up a new hobby!
I also enjoy pointing out architecture and history. As a born and raised Chicagoan I’ve had the privilege of seeing many changes first hand. For example, when I was growing up, the West Loop was mostly meat markets. I remember going on trips there with my parents to pick up specialty salami and seeing meat hanging on hooks. There’s still a lot of meat in West Loop, but now it’s cooked and on trendy plates. It’s interesting to watch the growth of neighborhoods.
How did you get into real estate?
When I was a kid my parents used to manage three mid-rise apartment buildings. My mom was in charge of screening and tenant management and my dad was in charge of turning units for the next tenant. He did a lot of the maintenance work himself and I would help out. I remember when two and three bedroom condos started becoming really popular. All three rental buildings were converted into condos. That’s another example of the kinds of city changes I got to see first hand. I grew up intimately being around real estate and have loved it since.
Where do you like to go downtown in your free time?
I love River North, especially Hubbard Street, for its food, energy, and night life. For my friends and me, Barrio was our go-to spot this past year. We love their unique tacos, like truffle mushroom.
What is the best holiday activity in downtown Chicago?
Ice skating Maggie Daley park, followed by appetizers and drinks at Park Tavern. It’s never a complete winter without ice skating (even though I’m not very good at it).
Which “tourist” activity never gets old?
Going to the Sears Tower. Even though it’s formally known as the Willis, it’ll always be the Sears to me. Everytime we go its the same thing but with different people, and the different people make it special. I love waiting in the long line in anticipation. Every year I think I’ll have the urge to go on the ledge but I never have. I have a big fear of heights, but I enjoy watching others go on it! I’ll be the first one to volunteer to take their pictures!
Contact Leslie with questions about renting, buying, selling, or getting to know Chicago!