ALBANY PARK — With a stated mission of improving the quality of life in Albany Park, the Albany Park Neighbors are tackling one of the current barriers to progress in the community: a depressed condo market.
Though condo inventory in Albany Park is relatively low, most of the available properties are either in foreclosure or their associations are in such poor shape that only buyers paying with cash can get into the buildings, said Kay Cleaves, real estate broker and head of the Albany Park Neighbors housing committee.
"Owners are handcuffed to buildings," she said.
Her committee's new focus, which she announced at Monday night's Albany Park Neighbors meeting at North Branch Projects, is to help associations improve in order to become a viable option for buyers.
"Single-family housing is doing fine, which tells me demand is there," Cleaves said.
In response, she's in the early stages of developing a training course for condo associations, particularly those that are self-managed, with an emphasis on incorporation, reserves and maintenance.
"I want classes to be as broad as possible," she said, ticking off topics including "The seven deadly sins that will prevent you from selling" and "Is your budget big enough to keep your building from falling down?"
Cleaves is recruiting professionals willing to provide pro bono outreach to condo associations, including home inspectors, lawyers with condo expertise, property managers and mortgage lenders.
"What I'm looking to do is maximize the value of every condo so properties can be sold," she said.
Those interested in offering their services or learning more about the housing committee can contact Cleaves at firstname.lastname@example.org.