We hear a lot about the challenges faced by city residents who’ve outgrown their loft or condo and want to find the right suburban community and home, especially when it comes to finding schools for their children.
What about those wishing to go the other way? For couples and parents whose kids may have graduated and gone off to college or started professional lives of their own, the city offers enough living options and amenities to make the head spin.
That’s where Emily Sachs Wong comes in. A luxury broker with @properties in Lincoln Park, Wong is one of the top real estate advisors in the City of Chicago. Just ask her about a neighborhood and she’ll give you a rundown of its pros and cons and distinct features. This knowledge helps her direct property searches for those who may be unfamiliar with the city.
“What I see time and time again is clients whose kids are gone and their reasons for being in the suburbs are gone,” Wong says. “They want to be in a building that has amenities, that’s fun for them and their kids and grandkids. They want comradery and access to shops, restaurants, and classes.”
Chicago’s diverse housing stock—vintage two flats, luxury high rises, classic ‘70s midrises, new townhomes and single family residences—can make the task of finding a home overwhelming. Wong specializes in helping clients refine their choices based on budget, desired amenities, and other priorities. One trend she is seeing of late is buyers scooping up older condos in one of Chicago’s finest neighborhoods.
“I’m seeing a resurgence of buyers taking older condos in the Gold Coast and cleaning them up,” she says. “There are some fantastic older buildings that have pools and balconies.”
Other trending neighborhoods include the West Loop with its green spaces, and the Cathedral District on the Near North Side. The growing Logan Square neighborhood offers options for those with a hipster side.
If they want to avoid being in a situation where they’re paying two mortgages, city dreamers must first sell their suburban properties, and Wong has some sage advice for potential sellers who are downsizing.
“Today’s buyers are looking for more space for the money, good schools, and they’re used to things being perfect,” she says. “This generation does not want to paint or replace light fixtures or faucets.”
Wong recommends a facelift or mini-facelift, which might include painting cabinets or installing new countertops. Staging the home for sale might be the key.
There’s one other thing sellers on the North Shore who are making plans to move into the city should do while prepping their home for sale. Put in a call to Emily Sachs Wong.
“Every neighborhood in Chicago has special things about it, whether it’s an elevator building in Lakeview or Lincoln Park, or a loft building in Wicker Park or Bucktown,” says Wong. “The most important thing to me is to be able to relate to buyers and use my knowledge of the neighborhoods to get clients what they want and need.”
Emily Sachs Wong is with @properties, 1211 West Webster Ave. in Chicago, 312-286-0800, eswchicago.com.