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Two-thirds of the way through February and here in Chicago we seem no closer to the end of the season.
Just two weeks ago the furry critter made famous in Bill Murray's movie "Groundhog Day" popped out his hole, saw his shadow, and thereby inflicted upon us an additional six weeks of winter.
Oh Punxsutawney Phil , say it ain't so!
Alas, the single digit temperature earlier this evening as my wife and two sons headed out toa dinner had me contemplating a single digit salute to Mother Nature from Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood. But discretion reigned supreme and I merely I gritted my teeth against the chill as I hoisted the double stroller into the back of the 4-Runner.
A lot of folks around Chicago are gritting their teeth this time of year, not the least of whom are those with their homes on the market. While T.S. Eliot inscribed "April is the cruelest month" in "The Wasteland" people in Chicago may disagree and nominate February because unmelting slabs of snow and non-yielding sheets of ice punctuate an inescapable sense of wintry hopelessness. In real estate parlance this means that showings are down.
Blame it on the weather (an easy and logical target) or credit the Bush Administration's seven and a half year adventure without a semblance of an economic plan or chalk it up to wavering consumer confidence. Whatever the reason and whatever explanation you feel comfortable proffering, showings are down which translates into fewer contracts which means even fewer contracts because people with unsold homes themselves typically are not of a mind to sign contracts to purchase new homes.
And so it goes...
With one more week in this seemingly forsaken month we contemplate March and the possibility of hope. For then at least green shoots can fuse forth from the dormant soil and give rise to the sense of a seasonal shift and warming. If nothing else, the mercury may rise and enable going from the cocoon of one's car to the front door of what might be your new home without the risk of frostbite or having to hopscotch ice patches and snow drifts.
Don't get me wrong. Situated here on the front line of the Chicago real estate market with listings from Lakeview to Bucktown, from Edgewater to the East Village, from Lincoln Square to Wicker Park, from Andersonville to the Ukrainian Village, from Roscoe Village to Wrigleyville, I am showing properties that people are buying.
But I also am showing properties that people are not buying. And of course the properties that I am not showing... well, they remain unsold.
But if I might pontificate for one moment. It's no secret that there are many more listings now on the market. But one constant that some lookers overlook is this - at any given time at any given price point the Chicago market will provide you with between five and seven places of significance that a) merit your attention (and possible affection) and b) may inspire you to make an offer.
While this statement may seem cavalier, it is nothing more than personal experience steeped in assisting many buying clients the past ten years with purchases of single family homes, condos, and multi-units.
At the end of the day the process of searching for a home is relatively simple - it is a form of courtship where you are either looking to fall in love or at the very least (if you're not the passionate type) you're looking for something that makes a lot of sense.
The one way that today's market differs from others I have experienced is that more than a handful of buyers are neither looking to fall in love nor are they looking for something profoundly sensible. Instead they don't seem they will be happy unless they find a steal.
Whether it's a foreclosure or a short-sale or securing a property at 90% or less than asking price, these consumers appear single-minded not in terms of finding fair value, but in terms of finding a steal. Ironically some of these "steal seekers" have admitted to me that they have been looking for upwards of a year while others have made reference to repeated spurned offers.
And so it goes...
Mired in the grasp of this tired, cold month we know in the back of our minds that March is in the wings and with it the possibility of change. And rather than contemplating a profane single digit salute against frigid cold as was the case earlier tonight I see in the cards delivering an affable single digit thumbs up to signify that the scenario has become rosier.
If Phil is to be believed the six weeks of winter he presaged concludes March 15th. I've got the date circled on my calendar (not an easy thing to do with a Blackberry). And should the chill persist, at least the Blackberry can provide a bit of heat after inserting it into the fireplace.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.