Where can home sellers go when their house is shown? McHenry Realtor’s answer is ‘concierge suite’

Bremer Team Realty offers clients a place to work, relax with pets, children and family

A home seller had a problem figuring out where he and his two large dogs could go while potential buyers toured his McHenry-area house.

The client worked from home, and he could find no place to go where he could bring his dogs and get his work done during back-to-back showings as he tried to sell his house, McHenry Realtor Dawn Bremer said.

“He had to stop work, load up the dogs, and drive around. He had the dogs in the car in the middle of winter for four hours,” Bremer said.

Other clients were putting their dogs in doggy day care or kenneling them when showings were planned.

“It was costing them money” to sell their houses, she said.

Available space in her building, at 1218 N. Green St., meant a former one-bedroom apartment tucked onto the property could now be used for something else — a space her clients could work from, with their pets and children in tow, instead of them camping out at a library or restaurant for hours on end.

Plus, the Bremer Team-Keller Williams Success Realty office needed a space for private phone calls and additional room for meetings. Bremer’s team quickly took over and renovated the former apartment.

Bremer now is calling the 800-square-foot space a “concierge suite.” It has a kitchenette, dining area, living room, full bathroom and an office. It also comes with a console Atari Pac-Man game, Wi-Fi, snacks and drinks. A small kennel area behind the building gives the dogs a place to hang out outside, and there is an outdoor seating area too. A coded lock box allows access for clients who need to use the space.

“I don’t know anybody else who is offering something like this,” Bremer said. It also makes sense in the current housing market, she added.

Her office has 54 listings — existing homes, new construction, vacant land and commercial properties — right now. Of those, 30 are residential listings.

When homes go on the market, they are seeing more cash deals than ever too, said Jennifer Beltrame, who also works in Bremer’s office.

“We are seeing more and more people come in with all cash, buying properties that would never have been all cash before” in the $300,000 to $500,000 price range, Beltrame said.

It means for many looking to buy, the house may sell before they can tour it or make an offer. “I would say it is the highest percentage of cash deals ever. We had six offers on one property, and half were in cash,” Bremer said.

For buyers using conventional financing “it is so hard to get under contract. It is so frustrating,” said Beltrame, who mostly works with those buyers.

Because of how many buyers they are seeing, sellers also are showing fatigue from the number of showings and constantly needing to be out of their homes, Beltrame said.

“The concierge space is a way to offer them a break,” she said. “If you have showings today ... come here to work. Bring your animals. Relax and don’t worry about your house, your open houses and the home inspections.”

Bremer says it is an “incredible time to sell” based on the market’s current demands, if not so great a time to buy. But those looking shouldn’t wait for interest rates to drop, she said.

Jennifer Beltrame, of Bremer Team-Keller Williams Success Realty in McHenry, takes a video conference call on Monday in the office's new concierge suite. The space allows clients a place to work and bring pets and family when showings force them from their homes. Janelle Walker/Shaw Media

“I tell people to marry the house, date the interest rate. They can refinance when interest rates drop,” Bremer said. Those people “waiting out” the current interest rates will find themselves in steep competition for the existing homes.

She also believes more homes will be available in McHenry County in coming years.

“There are more (housing) permits being pulled that ever. There is just not a lot of land for sale,” Bremer said.

Where does she suggest those shopping for homes look?

“McHenry is becoming a destination school district, and a destination town with the riverwalk,” said Bremer, who also is president of the McHenry High School District 156 board. “Crystal Lake is big, Woodstock is big” as is the Stonewater development in Wonder Lake, she added.

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