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Remodel & Renovate in Chicago : Real Estate Advice

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Activity 127
Mon Dec 29, 2008
Christopher Thomas answered:
Dear Emma,

I can't be sure from your question whether or not you are planning to rehab the basement of this building, but if so (or if you are planning any other renovations) I'd suggest speaking with a licensed general contractor first to get estimates on the work that you might be planning to undertake.

Once you've determined approximate amounts that you might spend on a rehab but before you begin the rehab work, Id suggest contacting a Realtor in your area who can assist you with determining both a resale value for the home and/or the range of rents that you might be able to charge once the home is rehabbed.

Both values will be critical to whatever decisions you make regarding the status of the home.

Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.


Christopher Thomas
Broker Associate, Sudler Sotheby’s International Realty
1634 E. 53rd St. 2nd Floor Chicago, IL 60615
773-418-0640 (mobile) 312-577-0985 (fax)
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Sat Dec 20, 2008
Wayne Beals answered:
Contact Tom at Mastercraft Construction. He is a City of Chicago Licensed GC. He does great work, is honest and reasonable. I do consulting work for his porch replacement company, Chicago Porch Authority.

His number is 312-808-0460.
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Tue Aug 19, 2008
Michael Ritchie answered:
That's a great question Susan. I have three 2-flat conversions currently underway, one that is almost complete at 1660 W Carmen and another two in Old Irving Park and Lakewood-Balmoral respectively. The key is the condition and layout of the existing property. It's common knowledge that you can put as much $$ as you want into it and if you ask a contractor, they will spend your money happily. This is a long discussion so feel free to give me a call to discuss where to start. There are ways you can rule something in or out and at the end of the day, the market (and the bank) has to support the end product value. In other words, the sum of purchase and rehab cannot exceed 80% of the final market value.
2 flats, especially brownstone, greystone, and brick, make excellent homes and having a team including architect, designer and contractors who have experience in these conversions is critical. It also helps to have an experienced agent who can seek and find a viable subject property without guess work and risk.
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Tue Aug 19, 2008
Wayne Beals answered:

There are a couple of items to take into consideration.

First, the previous respondents are correct. You should check with the City, particularly Dept of Buildings for paving limitations. The city may have restrictions because of the increased storm water run off from the site once it's paved. They may require that you install a new storm sewer line to deal with the run off. In general, you may want to consider a permeable paver solution to allow storm water to be percolated into the ground. This may reduce or eliminate the need for a storm sewer which can be very costly.

Second, pay particular attention to what a paved area of the buildings and homes surrounding you. I am assuming that you will not own this home forever, and a front pad of that size in South Shore may be very unsightly, making your home less attractive to a future buyer.

I work with a lot of buyers and sellers in South Shore, and am fairly familiar with the property/lot types. If you have a lot with a curb cut and a side drive, with no alley access, consider pavining the side drive and a portion of the rear to accomodate your parking. This would have a positive impact on desirability for future resale.
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Thu Jul 24, 2008
Daniel Cullen answered:
The second exit is typically a set of spiral stairs or a series of stiles that run across the adjacent unit's rooftops to a common interior or exterior stair system. The higher end condos nowadays have two separate interior common stairways each of which gives full access from the roof to the ground floor. The intent of the code is to prevent an occupant from being stranded on the roof of a building on fire and having no way down other than a rapid, gravity assisted, uncontrolled descent. ... more
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Wed Jul 16, 2008
Yes. You can build it. Let me know if you need a broker to refinance you.
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