Realty Executives Midwest

Mark Sotir

Mark Sotir


Chicago Restaurant Week Kicks Off!

(Published on - 2/2/2018 4:08:53 PM)

If you're looking for some entertainment in the Chicagoland area in the next week, check out Restaurant Week! This is the perfect time to try out that posh place you've always passed by - over 370 participating restaurants are offering a prix fix menu for lunch ($22) & dinner ($33 or $44). Now's the time to get a taste of all that the culinary world of Chicago has to offer!

Restaurant Week will run through February 8th, 2018. Make sure to check out this site for details on participating restaurants and don't forget to make your reservations before you head over!

How to avoid getting caught up in the drama bidding war for a home.

(Published on - 2/14/2017 4:32:04 PM)

For buyers who are just entering the market or for those who have lost out on one or several properties, here are a few tips for putting your best foot forward and successfully navigating a multiple-offer situation.

Follow What is Happening in the Market.

Are homes selling over asking price? Is seller’s underpricing to encourage multiple offers? What are similar properties selling for? An experienced agent, who you trust, can help to determine appropriate value based on the current market trends and can assist in negotiations and advice throughout the process. 

Come in Strong Upfront.

 If you know, or suspect, that you’re entering a multiple-offer situation, you’ll want to come in strong from the very beginning. Some buyers try to come in low initially as a negotiation strategy; however, if the property is priced well and is expecting multiple bidders, you may not want to risk having the seller disregard your offer immediately for not being a serious contender.
Many agents suggest their sellers counter all of the offers in a multiple-offer situation, but that decision is ultimately up to the seller. They may choose to counter all offers, they may only counter a portion of the best offers, or they may decide to choose an offer after the initial submission with no counters at all. 

One of the most important factors when a seller is considering multiple offers is their belief that the chosen buyer is serious about buying the property, and that they have the ability to meet the terms and close the sale. One of the best ways to do this is to come in strong right from the start.

Come in Clean and With as Few Contingencies as Possible.

 Make your offer as clean as possible and package everything to be submitted together in a coherent way. You don’t want the seller or their agent to have to chase you for paperwork, signatures or proof of funds.

Unless you’re paying all cash, it may be difficult or impossible to come in completely non-contingent, though there are ways to make your offer more appealing.

 If you need financing, get a Pre-Approval Letter (vs. Pre-Qualification Letter) from your lender to prove your chances of getting your mortgage approved are excellent.  

 Be Flexible With the Seller’s Needs. 

It sounds simple, but many agents and their buyers don’t take advantage of this simple step. Another easy way to make your offer stand out above the others is to have your agent find out what terms the seller is looking for and meet those needs.

For example: Do they want a long escrow period because their next home won’t be ready yet? Are they requesting a leaseback? Do they want to close quickly because they have already purchased and closed on a new property? Price and financing are not always the number one concern to a seller, so meeting their other terms is another way to make your offer more attractive.

 Create a Personal Connection. 

Can a personal letter really work? The answer is yes, depending on the property, adding a personal touch to your offer can have an impact.

 A personal letter to the seller letting them know how much you love their home and how much you’ll enjoy it and will take care of it may be just the edge you need to overcome another prospective buyer.

Taking the time to write a thoughtful note also shows your dedication to the purchase and ensures the seller that you are a serious buyer.

 Don’t Get Too Caught Up in the Bidding War.

Try to stay level-headed and make sure that you are completely comfortable with your offer and terms and that you're not over-bidding just to win the property, only to feel you’ve overpaid afterwards. You want to come in with your best offer possible, as long as it still complies with your needs and goals.

 Stay Positive and Keep Your End Goals in Mind. 

It can be incredibly frustrating to buy a home in a competitive marketplace but it is normal for buyers to lose out on several homes before one sticks.

 Sometimes it takes a few times around to fully understand the process and what is necessary to win in a multiple-offer situation. Working with a professional who you trust and respect can help the process feel less daunting.

For the Market Activity Report in your area - give me a call.

Mark Sotir


 *Partial resource: Excerpts from an article How to Navigate a Multiple Offer Situation written by Sally Forster Jones 8/5/2016 for US News

How to Enjoy Your Fireplace Safely this Season

(Published on - 11/6/2016 4:47:12 PM)

Gathering the family around a crackling fire can be one of the joys of the coldest months… or it can be a nightmare. It’s one thing to be seated cozily on the couch while the firewood glows, and quite another to be standing on the curb in the cold watching the fire department trying to save your home.

More than 14,000 fires begin each year in fireplaces, and fires are the cause of nearly $900 million dollars in property damage. Don’t be a victim because of shoddy maintenance or careless usage of your fireplace. This goes for both wood-burning and gas fireplaces.

Here are some tips to maintain your fireplace and protect your life:

  • Before the coldest months set in, get your fireplace inspected. Remember, most inspection companies will be very busy during the winter, so try and secure an inspection at least a month or so before you anticipate using your fireplace heavily.
  • Inspect your fireplace before you use it. Take a flashlight and look in the flue. Look for obstructions. Check for cracked bricks, missing mortar, or other signs of damage. Be sure to clean out any ashes and dispose of them in a metal-lid trash can.
  • Burn properly. This means using seasoned hardwood (which avoids creosote accumulation), and burning logs on an approved rack or elevated grate. Also, don’t burn trash, cardboard, or other debris in your home fireplace.
  • Keep the area around the fireplace clear. Don’t put your Christmas tree near the fireplace, or anything else which is liable to combust. If it’s flammable, keep it safely distant from those flames.
  • Guard against sparks. Sparks may periodically leap from your fireplace, so use a screen to prevent them from landing on rugs or nearby furniture.
  • Don’t leave the house with a fire burning. Extinguishing a fire before you leave is common sense, so don’t leave those burning logs unattended!

Would you like a home with a fireplace? Let me help you find just the right one.

Mark Sotir
Realty Executives Midwest
1310 Plainfield Rd. Ste 2 | Darien, IL 60561
Cell: 630-815-8098

Safe Halloween Tips

(Published on - 10/16/2016 5:22:52 PM)

Halloween is a lot of fun for adults and kids, but nothing ruins the ghoulish night like a trip to the emergency room or a lawsuit. (This is also a good time to make sure your homeowner’s insurance is current!) In that “spirit,” I thought I’d share 11 tips to help you balance spooky and safe this year:

  • Survey all approaches to your home, beginning from the property line. Keep an eye out for hazards, including loose bricks/stones, or holes in the yard.
  • Resist using open flames inside or outside. Use electric light effects, glow sticks, or electric candles instead.
  • Check your smoke alarms and make sure all exits to the house are clear of clutter.
  • Before dark, check for exposed extension cords and make sure cords avoid wet areas.
  • Determine how much darkness you really want. Lighted pathways and porches are both inviting and safer for your guests.
  • Make sure children can see in their costumes! Obstructed vision from masks can keep them from noticing cars, hazards, or other excited kids.
  • Also make sure children can be seen by others. Glow sticks are fun “high visibility” items, especially when costumes are dark (also: reflective velcro bicycling bands around ankles or wrists can be a good idea).
  • Never let a child trick-or-treat alone. If they’re going out unsupervised, make sure they stay in a group.
  • Don’t let pets run loose! Halloween is a scary time for pets and they may become aggressive in protecting your home or themselves.
  • Be allergy-sensitive and skip treats with nuts or peanut butter (or offer allergen free alternatives).
  • Do a “treat check” before letting kids dive in, chucking anything questionable either for safety concerns or spoilage.

Have a ghoulishly safe Halloween this year!

Mark Sotir
Realty Executives Midwest
1310 Plainfield Rd. Ste 2 | Darien, IL 60561
Cell: 630-815-8098

Before Touring Homes

(Published on - 10/9/2016 7:00:00 PM)

Before  touring homes, I wanted to share some advice about what you might want to avoid saying or asking while you're in the presence of the seller’s agent or the sellers. While you’re free to ask questions and comment on the house, you should know that certain comments or questions might have an impact on your position as a buyer or even pricing negotiations.

First, let’s talk about the obvious: “I am in love with this house, it’s exactly what I want.” Even if it’s true, you may want to keep your enthusiasm on the back burner. If the seller’s agent hears this, it puts us in a weaker negotiating position when it comes to price.

Second, maintaining an amiable relationship with the seller and the seller’s agent is vastly preferably than an antagonistic relationship. It’s a good idea to temper any negativity (or blunt honesty) while we’re looking at properties. This might include negative comments about the home’s interior design, the cleanliness, or even the pricing. If hurtful words reach the seller, it tends to make them less flexible when the time comes to talk about potential offers.

Third, questions about the pricing (i.e. “Do you think they’d sell for X price?”) and why the seller is selling should generally be handled between myself and the seller’s agent. Sometimes the reason for a sale are sensitive, and a discreet conversation is the way to go. As for price, if you’re interested in making an offer, my job is to present it to the seller’s agent (or at the very least have an off-the-record conversation with the seller’s agent before a formal offer).

Finally, when it comes to the neighbors, it’s best not to put the seller or the seller’s agent on the spot. The seller’s agent may not know the neighbors very well, for one, and as for the seller, they probably aren’t going to be terribly motivated to tell you their neighbor is a busy-body or unfriendly if they want to sell you their home. But don’t let that stop you from talking to the neighbors yourself! You can often glean great information this way, plus you’ll get a great read on them first-hand.

I don’t mean for this to sound intimidating, but I do want to make sure my client is in the best possible position as we pursue your dream home. If you have any questions, let’s talk!

Mark Sotir
Realty Executives Midwest
1310 Plainfield Rd. Ste 2 | Darien, IL 60561
Cell: 630-815-8098


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