Chicago’s Fall and Winter 2021 Real Estate Market Outlook

Chicago's Fall and Winter 2021 Real Estate Market Outlook

What do the remaining months of 2021 have in store for the Chicago real estate market — and how can brokers prepare themselves for the rest of the year? 

Looking at current trends, it is clear that there is an enormous amount of opportunity in the marketplace going into the fall. Agents who commit to understanding the market and putting in the work are in a prime position to set themselves up for a strong showing through the rest of the year, while also setting up for a strong beginning of 2022.

Let’s dig into some important trends that will shape the market through the rest of the year and beyond: 

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Agent Spotlight: Kate O’Neill

Kate O'Neill Agent Spotlight

Though she is still early in her real estate career, broker Kate O’Neill has already learned a lot of valuable lessons — and earned some impressive successes in less than one full year in the business. 

For one thing, Kate has yet to have a buyer of hers pay above list price, “which is pretty big in the current market that we’re in,” she says. “I’m pretty proud of that!”

For another, Kate has quickly earned a glowing reputation around the Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park office for her social media savvy, particularly using Instagram as a channel to speak to her sphere, sow the seeds for long-term referral relationships, and reach her ideal millennial buyers. 

“One thing with my social media that I always keep in the back of my mind is to treat it like my business card and my social proof,” Kate says. “That way, when people look me up, any potential new clients or friends of mine who know I just got started in this can see that I’m busy and that I’m actively working. That I’m constantly hosting open houses, or selling a property, or teaching them something that they didn’t know.”

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Agent Spotlight: Mike Greco

Mike Greco Agent Spotlight

When broker associate Mike Greco started looking for a new opportunity after a first career in retail management, he knew he was really looking for not just a new occupation, but a new life — one where he could be more in control of his time and lifestyle. 

“I wanted to have flexibility and I wanted to feel rewarded for the time and effort I put in,” Mike explains. “And I wanted a job where every day was a new challenge and I got to spend a lot of time with people — where it was a mix of being out in the field, and only having to be behind a computer for a couple of hours a day.”

That search for a more flexible, rewarding, and active career quickly led him to real estate — and to Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park. 

Though he interviewed at a few different brokerages, it was meeting the staff at Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park that helped him ultimately decide that this office would be the right fit — especially as he started out in his real estate career.

“I really liked the culture that Baird & Warner has,” Mike explains. “You really get the feeling of support, not only from David, Negeen, and Diana, but also from the other brokers. It’s a very welcoming community. And that’s the type of person that I am. I like winning as a team!”

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Agent Spotlight: Becky Sexson

Becky Sexson Baird & Warner Lincoln Park Agent Spotlight

Becky Sexson has earned numerous professional accolades since launching her real estate career five years ago — from being named Baird & Warner’s Rookie of the Year in her first year in business, to being named a Rising Star in Chicago Real Producers magazine, to being designated as a Top Producer in Chicago by the Chicago Association of REALTORS®

But before transitioning from a career path in the not-for-profit space, “real estate was not really ever on my mind,” Becky says. 

That all changed when she went through the process of buying a condo, which sparked her interest in the real estate. And, as she tells it, it was her now-husband who first made her believe that a career in real estate might be the perfect fit. 

“He put a bug in my ear,” Becky explains. “He would say, ‘hey, I think you’d be great  selling  real estate. You’re really organized, a great networker, you’re really outgoing, you can build relationships and you’re good with numbers… Maybe it’s something that you might want to consider.’”

So Becky ended up getting her license and jumping into real estate, giving herself a year in which she would devote herself to building her business full-time, with the same level of dedication and planning she had used to structure and excel in her previous 9-to-5 jobs. It ended up being one of the best decisions she ever could have made, she says.

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The Importance of Building a Relationship Business

The Importance of Building a Relationship-Based Real Estate Business

If you’ve been following the news lately, you know that there are some pretty substantial changes in the competitive structure of the real estate business going on right now. On a market-wide level, for instance, the real estate services site Zillow has recently been active in making acquisitions of smaller companies; by and large, Wall Street is having a bigger impact on what brokers do on a daily basis here in Chicago and around the country. 

As experienced brokers know, the real estate landscape is ever-changing. But the more things shift and evolve, the more convinced I am of the incredible importance of building a relationship-based business that is not reliant on leads from third party companies. 

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5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Getting Started In Real Estate

Pitfalls to Avoid When Starting a Real Estate Career

Residential real estate is a career field that is exciting, dynamic, and incredibly rewarding — with nearly unlimited earning potential and endless opportunities for learning and growth.

It is also a career path that exemplifies the old adage, “you get out of it what you put into it.” Many of the decisions you make early in your career can have an enormous impact on your future — either setting you up to create the sustainable, lucrative, and flexible business you’ve dreamed about, or limiting your capacity to grow and earn over time. 

Want to put yourself in the best position possible for success? Let’s explore five pitfalls or missteps to avoid when getting started in real estate: 

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Agent Spotlight: Sarah Jaffe

Sarah Jaffe Agent Spotlight

There’s one piece of wisdom that Sarah Jaffe reflects on often — a quote from the writer Gail Sheehy:

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”

Sarah certainly is the living embodiment of growth and change. After all, she made the decision to dive headfirst into a new real estate career — in the middle of a pandemic. 

“Real estate was probably never on my radar until May of 2020,” Sarah says. “I already know I made the right decision. There’s not a day where I look back.”

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How to Choose the Right Brokerage for Your Chicago Real Estate Career

How to Choose the Right Real Estate Brokerage

As you get started in real estate, joining the right brokerage is one of the most important steps you will take on your journey. The support of your brokerage is one of the biggest contributing factors to getting your new real estate business off the ground quickly and successfully. But with so many choices out there, how will you find the brokerage that will be the right fit for you — and for where you want to take your career next?

I encourage new-to-the-business brokers to look at seven factors when researching real estate brokerages. From most important to least important, those criteria are: 

  1. Access to management and support
  2. Training and coaching
  3. Office culture
  4. Technology
  5. Broker services
  6. Business opportunities
  7. Commission structure
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The Top 5 Things for New Brokers to Focus on When Starting a Real Estate Career

The Top 5 Things for New Brokers to Focus on When Starting a Real Estate Career

There are as many ways to build a real estate business as there are brokers — but in my experience, people achieve the greatest success when they invest time into executing a well-thought-out business plan that emphasizes their expertise and talents. 

Here at the Baird & Warner Lincoln Park office, one of the first things we do with all new agents is sit-down with them  to strategize how they want to build their business.  In our office, our management team spends as much time as necessary with new brokers to help make sure their business plans and goals are ambitious yet achievable. Our management team also schedules regular check-ins throughout the year to help new agents closely monitor their progress toward their goals. 

What goes into a real estate business plan? Simply put, this is the outline for what your business is going to look like, including your goals for the next year — perhaps even on a quarterly basis. 

As a new-to-the-business broker, there are going to be five main things to consider when putting your plan together: 

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