Real Estate Information Archive


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Looking ahead at 2017 Market Conditions

by The Rick O’Connor Group

The McHenry County real estate market thrived in 2016. We compiled  data regarding single family detached and attached homes for 2016 and  2015 from Midwest Real Estate Data to review McHenry County's housing  market changes over the last two years. Compared to 2015, prices were  up over 5.1% The average sold price of single family homes in 2016 was $221,975, where it was $210,653 as compared to 2015. Attached single family homes saw a 8.47% price increase with a 2016 average sales price of $138,806 compared to $127,054 in 2015. 4,594 single family homes sold in 2016, accounting for a total sales volume of  $1,019,752,485. The number of single family home sales showed an 11.43% increase over the prior year, while attached single family homes sales increased by 5.6%. In both 2016 and 2015, the price point with the most sales in McHenry County was between $150,000 - $199,999. 913 single family homes sold in that price point during 2015, compared to 1,022 homes in 2016; a 10.67% increase. The average time on the market for single family properties in that price point declined by 21.15% to 82 days as well.

With values showing a continued increase over the last few years, we are taking a look at the forecast what to expect in 2017. Sitting down with Rick O'Connor, Managing Broker and Owner here at Realty Executives Cornerstone, we asked what he's expecting for McHenry County real estate in 2017. "For the most part, I think the market is going to hold stable in 2017," Rick explains. "Consumer confidence is up. With the projected economic forecast, the new presidency and regime, I suspect a slight increase in overall sales. If there is any increase in value, I expect it will be minimal. 2 to 3% in total compared to 2016," he added. "A lot of the change will be dependent on interest rates. I expect they will go up to 5%. The unknown is whether they will reach 6% or not. If the interest rates reach 6%, the finances may be a deterrent for potential buyers. Those figures will play into whether or not we will continue to see a rise in ownership rates versus rental rates as well." When asked if the market warranted an increase in rental cost, Rick was confident that things would remain stable. I do not expect to see the cost of rent increase for properties in 2017 compared to 2016," he explained.

What other changes might we see in 2017? Well, we should see less investors in the market for new acquisitions. "The number of investors in the marketplace, which is shrinking because there are less homes to buy and fix up. They are not available as frequently or as often as they have been before," Rick stated.  If you're looking to sell in 2017, you should be focused on getting your home ready to market NOW. My advice for sellers is that we are expecting a strong Spring market. Don?t wait until March/April/May to be ready to list your home. You don't want to wait too long. And don't overspend. Values may be up, but stick to simple repairs, general maintenance, fresh paint and carpet along with simple staging and de-cluttering the property. As a seller, you want your home to appear as light, bright, and spacious as possible," he explains. This is becoming more of a seller's market again.  If you've been considering selling your home, now would be the time."

As far as purchasing a home, patience is key. "Buyers are in a bit of a Catch 22. Right now, inventory is limited. Therefore choices are limited. More homes are going to become available in the spring. The question is when will interest rates start to creep up. Be prepared to spend 3 to 4 months as a buyer before finding and closing on the right property to suit your needs," Rick added.

In looking at McHenry County compared to the surrounding areas, things are on par. "In comparison to Cook, Kane, and Lake Counties, the real estate market is fairly level. McHenry County is in line with homes in those areas. The numbers are not dramatically different, but there are different price points. Lake and Kane Counties are generally seen as more White Collar Counties.  McHenry County is known as more of a Blue Collar County. Our pricing is more in line with the housing prices and job market based on that," said Rick. Overall, we expect things to continue in a positive direction for the local real estate market this year. If you're buying, be patient but diligent to get the right home at the right price. As a seller, list now while inventory is down to get the best return on investment. As always, if you or your family need help in your real estate journey, please don't hesitate to contact our office for advice! 


by The Rick O’Connor Group


Realty Executives Cornerstone Holds Food Drive

 Charitable giving an integral part of the brand internationally and by brokerage

CRYSTAL LAKE, ILLINOIS NOVEMBER 17, 2016 – More families will be able to eat this holiday season thanks to the Realty Executives International Canned Food Drive, held throughout the end of 2016. This is an international effort across the entire Realty Executives system, including at Realty Executives Cornerstone. 

The international real estate franchise company has developed a food drive campaign that Realty Executives franchises can employ around the world. Here at our office, we are accepting donations until December 18th to help our community! This effort is aimed to improve the lives of those in need in communities/neighborhoods near a wide variety of Realty Executives offices.

“We’re in the business of finding homes for families. But a house is not a home without food on the table,” said Rich Rector, president of Realty Executives International. “It’s important that Realty Executives offices do our part to make the holidays a brighter place for people struggling to feed their families this holiday season.”


by The Rick O’Connor Group

    The Rick O'Connor Group and Realty Executives Cornerstone proudly  
present the newest member of our office, Kevin Kalbach. Kevin has come  
to Realty Executives to re-enter the real estate world after having  
been removed from it for 15 years. Prior to deciding that his path was  
leading him back to this realm, Kevin worked as a career firefighter  
and 911 operator after studying fire science in college. Having
retired from that line of work, he still feels compelled to work in a  
field that helps people. "I still want to serve and help people in  
some way," Kalbach explained. "What better way than helping  
individuals and families find a place to live where they can call home  
with a lifetime of memories, dreams, and hope."

    Kevin grew up in Northlake. He received his fire science degree from  
Triton College and has spent the last several decades building a life  
with his family. The Kalbach household has been in the McHenry County  
area for several years. Currently residing in McHenry itself, Kevin's  
youngest of four children is still in school in the area and acts as a  
member of Chapel Youth Group, a part of The Chapel Church. His two  
oldest sons are active Marines. "I am very passionate about serving  
those who are/have served us," he added.

    Outside of his family and work, Kevin also enjoys his faith,  
volunteering, and water activities such as swimming, boating, and  
fishing. Kevin is very invested in his relationship with God. "In my  
journey, I want people to experience the love, passion, and compassion  
I have for them and their loved ones," he expounded. He also cites one  
of his hobbies as flying Quatrefoil kites. "Quatrefoil kites are huge,
like parachutes, and are a real adrenaline rush to fly," he explained.  
When he's not seeking thrills, he's also interested in woodworking  
which he says is quite relaxing.

    "Immediately after selling my home with Rick O'Connor, I realized I
wanted to work with Realty Executives Cornerstone," Kevin stated.  
"Rick O'Connor was a true pleasure to work with. He was very  
knowledgeable, passionate, and compassionate to those he comes in  
contact with," he added. We welcome Kevin into our Realty Executives  
family with excitement and encouragement. With Kevin's ambition and  
our knowledge, we hope to jump start his re-entry into the field and
help him excel more than ever before. "Kevin has been a great client  
and friend and brother in Christ. When he decided to become a licensed  
Broker, knowing his heart and willingness to serve, I knew he would be  
a great fit for our office. Here is the beauty of  Kevin and the  
energy he has already brought to our office: 2 transactions in his  
first two weeks! That speaks volumes to his commitment to serve and be  
a resource center for residents of McHenry and Lake Counties!" added  

Welcome New Executive Todd Couture to the Cornerstone Family!

by The Rick O’Connor Group

The Rick O'Connor Group and Realty Executives Cornerstone are proud to announce that we now have a new Executive joining our team. Todd Couture has become the newest member of our bustling agency as of April 2015. A graduate of ISU, Todd is an Illinois native with strong ties to the McHenry County community as a whole. He was born and raised in Woodstock, where his parents still live, and his father, Fred Spitzer recently retired from a position with the Woodstock Police Department. Todd, his wife Jennifer who works as a nurse practitioner, and their nearly 9 month old daughter, Mika, now live in Huntley.

Todd, who studied economics and English while in school, has proven his ability to adapt in a small business environment and is looking forward to tackling the real estate realm. He has a strong background in sales and is hoping to apply that in this booming industry. Todd expects to use his existing business knowledge, paired with the real estate experience of our office, to launch his career as a broker at full-speed during the spring market.

Beyond work, Todd enjoys spending time with his family and keeping up with community events. He founded two social media pages on Facebook and Twitter called Huntley 360. Todd says the goal of these pages is "informing Huntley and the surrounding areas about what is happening: from sports, kids in the community, places to go, and community updates to home values and market information." Growing up with five siblings, Todd has an excellent understanding of the importance of a sense of community and intends to try to convey that in his real estate endeavor.

"I chose Realty Executives because of Rick O'Connor," Couture explained. "Seeing his success over 30+ years intrigued me. I know if I can be mentored by defining what success is on all levels of Rick's experience, I want to be a part of that," he stated. We are very excited to add Todd to our Realty Executives family and know he will find success in this industry. When asked what drives him, Todd explained "my passion is about relationships in the community. I want to help build the community as a whole." 

"We are all very excited to have Todd join our team of Executives,"  explained Rick O'Connor, Owner and Managing Broker of Realty  Executives Cornerstone. "He has already demonstrated a strong desire   to be a study of the marketplace and to become one of the area's top   real estate professionals. He will make a great addition to our  Cornerstone family." Welcome aboard Todd Couture!


by The Rick O’Connor Group

Congratulations to Realty Executives Cornerstone team members on their outstanding achievements in the industry for 2014.


Larry Lang, team buyer's agent, was awarded GOLD for his sales in 2014.

Team High, comprised of Mitch and Tara High, brokers out of our Algonquin office, were awarded SILVER for their sales in 2014!

Yolanda LaLuz, also based out of our Algonquin office, received SILVER for her sales level as well! 

Rick O'Connor, Managing Broker/Owner, was named to the Realty Executives International Circle of Excellent for 2014 for his outstanding level of support, growth, and dedication to his Executives and their business! 


by The Rick O’Connor Group


by The Rick O’Connor Group

          Realty Executives Cornerstone was amongst the top ranking offices to be honored at the annual Realty Executives Great Lakes Region awards evening last month on February 26th. The formal evening event recognizes the achievement of each office on an annual basis, as well as the individual Executives, Executive Teams, and Office Administration involved in day to day operations of the brokerage(s), was held at Maggiano’s in Oak Brook. A total of 176 individual Executives and four Executive Teams were honored in addition to seven offices receiving top awards.

            Realty Executives Cornerstone, which operates locations in both Crystal Lake and Algonquin, received its' third consecutive Executive Administrative Professionals Circle of Excellence Award. REO Manager Victoria Suthers accepted the award on behalf of the office. In order to receive the award, offices are held to a series of requirements varying from administrative procedures to continuing education. Realty Executives Cornerstone was one of seven offices to receive the award for 2013.

            One of the two teams associated with the Cornerstone brokerage, Team High (consisting of the husband/wife duo of Mitch and Tara High), received a Top Team award for 2013. Team High was ranked 2nd amongst the region in number of listings taken throughout the year and 3rd in both dollar volume of listings and number of closed transactions. In addition to Team High’s award, 7 additional Executives were acknowledged for their contributions in 2013. Yolanda LaLuz received the Bronze Award for closing transactions up to $2 million in volume, Tim Lisack, Tammy Mrotek, and Michelle DeLaughter each received Silver Awards for closing between $2 and $5 million in transactions on the year, and Larry Lang, Laura Hastings, and John Milazzo each walked away with Gold Award honors, tallying between $5 and $10 million each in 2013. Broker/Owner Rick O’Connor is extremely proud of the continued success of his Executives. “It is truly a blessing to be working beside such a hard-working group of Executives. I am thankful to have them on my team,” O’Connor expressed following the event.

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by The Rick O’Connor Group

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall further than they have already. They are assuming that the best course of action is to wait for the bottom in the market and then buy. The problem with this approach is that you don't know where the bottom is until you see it in the rear view mirror, meaning until you've missed it!

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have gone up in the last six months, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, if home prices come down a little further but interest rates up, it could cost you even more to service a mortgage on an identical home!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates and low home prices, rather than to hope for a further break in prices in the future.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8




Contact Information

The Rick O’Connor Group
Realty Executives Cornerstone
7115 Virginia Rd.
Crystal Lake IL 60014
Cell: 815-790-7200
Fax: 815-459-1112