Volume 100 No. 102
Homeowner Association Leaders Seminar
It was great to see so many of you at our seminar on March 8th. We enjoyed learning more about your plans for your communities and celebrate your successes. The education provided by our speakers will help all of us to be more proactive in providing for our communities. Many thanks to attorneys Frederick Richards and David Bass from Thompson Coburn LLP for showing us how we can lower our real estate taxes. Steve Higgins made it clear that most of our condominium communities are better off if they become FHA certified. Thanks to Glenn Maxam, we learned how planning for energy efficiency can bring major financial rewards.
We are already planning the next seminar. You can put the date on your calendar. Join us on June 14th at 6:30PM when we will again share a light supper and learn from noted professionals. We will update you as information becomes available.
2335 West Belle Plaine Condominium Community
Isn't this a beautiful building? Cagan is proud to announce we are adding 2335 West Belle Plaine in Chicago to our community of client buildings. This building of mature residents will be served by Cagan Property Manager, Michael Daniels. Bookkeeper, Jonel Krecu, as well as other members of our professional team will be serving the needs of this community. We would like to congratulate the 2335 West Belle Plaine Condominium Association and Association Board on their successful work on behalf of their community as we look forward to enhancing their efforts.
Chicago Area Condominium Statistics
(Statistics provided by The Regional Multiple Listing Service (MRED) - courtesy of ChicagoCondosOn-line.com)
As 2011 statistics confirm, Chicago is condominiums. Based on number of units, Chicago is the nation's third-largest condo market and third largest in population. In the city, 2011 condo sales made up 51% of all residential transactions (including multi-unit), compared to 50% in 2009. There are an estimated 260,000 condo units in more than 13,000 buildings in the city, with several thousand units added annually. Based on the 260,000-unit estimate and 2011 sales of 9,057 units, the turnover in 2011 was 3.48%. An estimated 20% of condo units are rented out by their owners. Some condo associations prohibit rentals.
Condos create much of the city's skyline. Their prominence is especially evident along prestigious North Lake Shore Drive, the largest concentration of units. Most high-rises and most luxury buildings are located in three community areas along Lake Michigan: Near North, Lake View and Lincoln Park. The most desirable buildings offer magnificent views of Lake Michigan and are on or near Michigan Avenue or overlook Millennium Park.
Recent years have seen rapid growth along the Chicago River, and west and south of downtown. Lofts created by rehabbing vacated warehouses are increasingly popular for their high ceilings and brick walls. Vintage buildings offer Old World charm and elegance. Conversions of apartment buildings to condos are occurring at a pace not seen since the 1980s and are generally 20% less expensive than new-construction units. More than a dozen condo hotels, the newest trend, offer room service to residents and rental income to owners. Thousands of two-flat condos are scattered throughout the city. Townhouses can be either condos or homeowner associations. Co-ops are less than 5% of the market. Most high-rise co-ops are at the high end, especially on East Lake Shore Drive, but the first co-ops were two and four-flats, and are still occupied throughout the city.
Each year in the city, between 10,000 and 20,000 condo units turn over. That is roughly 2% of the 900,000 condos and co-ops bought and sold across America. More than 10,000 units are on the market, "active" at any given time. In 2010, prices ranged from $2,500 for a 1,200-square-foot unit in South Chicago to $8.6 million for a 6,400-square-foot three bedroom condo in The Elysian at 11 E. Walton. The citywide median sales price in 2010 was $255,000 or $278 per square foot. That is less than one-third the cost PSF in New York City. The ultra luxury high end of the market now brings in excess of $1,000 per square foot.
The mild Chicago winter and early spring has inspired some communities to consider adding a deck to the property. They can be a great opportunity for social gatherings and be a resource of community development. However, do your research. Building code requirements are strict. You may also need to review your insurance to be sure both the community and the deck are properly covered. This may mean additional insurance costs. If you have a flat roof, a roof top deck or maybe combining it with a green roof may be something to explore. However, it is very important that the deck is properly structured and not sitting directly on the roof. A qualified deck professional should know this. With all the new materials now available for designing outdoor spaces, here are some basics to consider.
Mechanical strength: Wood is actually stronger than most composite materials.
UV resistance: Some composite materials fade faster than wood.
Dimensional stability: Composites do not warp...their big advantage over wood.
Workability: Composite materials are easier to shape and fasten than wood.
The poor performance of pressure treated lumber decking inspired the use of high cost alternative wood decking products. "Composite decking material" entered the market in the 1990's. "Composite" decking material is usually a mixture of finely ground sawdust and plastic. It is designed to look like real wood decking. Early versions were not much of an improvement but new developments offer some positive options.
One of the latest materials now available is made by a company called Resysta. Their fiber reinforced hybrid material is composed of approximately 60% rice husks, 22% common salt and 18% mineral oil. It is both environmentally friendly as well as extremely weather resistant. It also can be used for many applications such as building facades and furniture.
Sleep Tight and Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite
There is currently more reality than fiction to this well known phrase. Bed bugs are tiny (between 1 and 1.5mm long). In other words, an adult bed bug is about 1/5 inch long and 1/8 inch wide. This photograph has been greatly magnified.
The problem is the pervasive nature of these little pests. They can survive for long periods without food or water. Eggs are often deposited in crevices of hard surfaces such as furniture. Residents of shared living communities need to be aware of where that beautiful used piece of furniture they just acquired came from. This is often how an entire community can become infected. Bed bug bites show up in varying degrees on different people. Bed bugs have piercing-sucking mouth parts that they use to pierce skin and suck blood from their hosts. They feed at night. Their primary hosts are bats and birds but people will do when they are available.
If a unit in your community is infested, you need to act globally and decisively. Do not try to treat the unit yourself. Some common cleaning solutions can actually exacerbate the problem. You need to hire a qualified pest control firm that knows how to treat bed bugs. Not all of them do. The qualified firms sometimes advise a canine inspection. Specially trained dogs are used to determine which units or spaces in a building are infected. The owners of the infected units will then have to have their units treated. Check with your Cagan Property Manager to get advice and find resources in dealing with this problem.
Bed Bugs have quite a history. There is evidence that their existence dates back to 400BC. Plato was plagued by them. The Roman Emperor Nero complained they were aggravating his soldiers. You may recall he was the Roman Emperor who was rumored to have stood by and played the fiddle while Rome burned. Who knows, there may have been some justification for this morose behavior!
Having a professional properly identify a bed bug infestation and devise a strategic plan of attack is your best assurance of getting a good night's sleep.
MCD Media Condolympics
MCD Media - Chicagoland Building & Environmental/Landscape Buyer & Lifestyles Condolympics networking event took place March 16th at the Pyramid Club in Addison, IL.
This was an opportunity for professional property managers to network with state of the art service vendors of all kinds. As technology continues to develop, the opportunities for improved maintenance techniques and restoration methods become available. To make learning and networking fun, the condolympics consisted of tournaments in darts, pool, bean bags, ping pong and electronic buck hunting. Cagan Management Group was a bean bag tournament sponsor. As you can see, Cagan Property Manager, Aida Kovacevic gave it her best effort while Property Manager, Alex Fillipovic made quite a stretch toward the corner pocket. Cagan Creative Director, Vlad Dulu did some electronic buck hunting while Cagan Operations Manager, Janet Nelson found a critter of a different kind. A very fun informative event!