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CarLoft takes parking to new heights

April 09, 2006|Mary Umberger | Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — My notebook runneth over: Here are musings from the cluttered real estate landscape.

If you live in a neighborhood where street parking is tight, imagine a scenario that's about to become reality in Berlin: parking on your balcony.

A high-rise building under construction in the German city will have 11 so-called CarLoft units. The residents will drive from the street onto an elevator platform -- a CarLift -- that will take them to their floor, where they will pull forward and park on an extension of their balcony. Each residence will have space for two or three cars.

The building is expected to be done next year, and the developers say others are planned, according to the Times of London.

Howdy, neighbors

When photos of your home for sale appear in online listings, you know the neighbors are going to take a peek. Here's some empirical proof:

A survey by a California realty firm reports that 37% of recent home buyers say they searched online to look at the inside of a neighbor's house listed for sale. And 64% said they had checked a website to find the listing price.

The survey, by Prudential California Realty, also reports that about one-third of consumers who searched for homes online typically viewed 10 to 30 electronically before they bought one, but 22% studied 100 to 200. What caught the eyes of online lookers? The survey respondents said they were first attracted by exterior photos, followed by pictures of the kitchen.

Where the survey seems to veer from reality, though, is this: 31% of the respondents think it's likely that in the future, people may buy homes without seeing them in person.

You've got (more) mail

Every week, I get postcards from real estate agents that trumpet "Just Listed!" or "Just Sold!" They're a handy marketing device for the agents, although most people regard them as junk mail. Now they're spam.

A company called HouseValues has a system that will mesh data from Multiple Listing Services with agents' customer e-mail databases to create ePostcards, which look like the stuff in your mailbox, only quicker and with no loss of tree life.

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