The Short List: John Michael Grafft’s 4 Must-Haves for New Construction in Chicago

by Chicago Agent


John Michael Grafft is the director of leasing services for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group.

Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked to John Michael Grafft, the director of leasing services for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group, about the four “must-haves” for new construction in Chicago.

As the leaves change and the market softens, sellers and developers are inclined to move their units before the ground hardens. Creating a desirable and marketable home that encompasses the nuances of design, function and habitability must be taken into consideration during every decision. There is no better example of the importance of these details than in new construction developments.

There has been a significant increase in building during the last two years, with the market recovering to make up for five years of lost time where little, if any, inventory was added to the market – and as more and more inventory hits the market, the following trends have become must-haves in new construction throughout Chicago.

4. Design – Main-level open concepts with designated areas – but less defined, airy space, creating a more social environment – is desired by today’s buyer. Accentuated by 8’ tall door openings and the continuation of a single-flooring material throughout the entirety of the space dramatizes the appointments. Outdoor space of any kind is a plus, but the popularity of semi-enclosed rooftop decks with everything from fireplaces to Jacuzzi tubs are drawing offers and dropping draws.

3. Green Elements – Reducing your carbon footprint is a rewarding experience that can pay back dividends on your utility payments. The use of high efficiency mechanicals – including tankless water heaters, radiant flooring and geothermal heating/cooling systems that co-exist with closed cell spray foam insulation, dual flush toilets and smart thermostats – create a better living experience while lowering the impact on the environment.

2. Technology – After Google acquired Nest for $3.2 billion, it became more important for agents to be proficient in smart, adaptive home automation technology. Thermostats, lighting and sound that not only know when you’re home, but when you’re in the room and are controllable from any Internet browser, were being added to upgrade lists last year, but have now made their way to included options in 2014. The expectations of buyers is growing faster in this segment than any other.

1. Basics – While innovation can transform or disrupt any industry, there are classic home selections that, since their inception, have remained in vogue. Large closets with intricate organizers, carerra marble floors, double-thick counter tops, floating wood or steel staircases, wet bars, farm sinks, steam showers, radiant bathroom flooring and a separate soaking tub and shower with a bench all remain classic go-tos that can act as a default for any home or condo.

John Michael Grafft is the director of leasing services and a real estate broker for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group. John was a CAR Top Producer in 2012 and 2013, and was also the association’s top rental agent for those years; additionally, he is the philanthropy chair for the YPN board of CAR.

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