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Why choose Chicago?

Chicago is the number 1 large US Metro for economic diversity featuring a quarter of the million businesses. 52 of the Fortune 1000 headquarters and 400 plus major Corporate headquarters are located in the city. Some of the distinguished facts about Chicago are:

  • Number 1 for Company Expansion and Relocations for 2nd consecutive year
  • Number 2 in the nation for Residential Construction.
  • Chicago is going to be the home for the much-hyped Obama Presidential Library
  • Owings and Merrill LLP and Sasaki Associates, Inc. in collaboration with Skidmore has created an exceptional 500 acres master plan for single family homes, high rise units, new high school, retail, open park space and boat marina.
  • The U. S. Steel is planning to redevelop their site in the Lakeside Chicago. Lakeside Chicago is an illustrious LEED-ND certified community. It has large open spaces, excellent connectivity, access to public transportation and walkable neighborhoods. Click here to Read More

 What types of properties do you sell?

Our primary focus is single family homes and small multifamily homes. 

How do you choose them? Why do you choose them?

Location, location, location.  In the beginning when we first started, we purchased based on price.  We quickly realized that price wasn’t nearly as important as the location.  We have made all the mistakes of buying in the WRONG neighborhoods so you don’t have to.  We choose neighborhoods that have a good blend of price to rent ratio and low crime.  We put a superior product to other rentals and the area which allows us to get the highest prices for our properties.

What type of neighborhoods do you buy into?

We like parts of these neighborhoods: South Chicago, South Deering, Woodlawn, Washington Park, and Calumet Heights.   We buy no worse than C class.

Do you own any of these investment properties?

Every property that we sell, we bought with the intention of holding.  If we don’t sell the property we will put it in the portfolio with all the other rental properties that we own in the same neighborhood we are selling in.

How many clients does your company have?

 Since 2003, we have worked with 100’s of clients in a property management or brokerage capacity.  On the investment side, we have worked with about 30 clients.  We currently have a queue of 7 buyers.   We have resisted growing beyond this for a variety of reasons, but the biggest one is we don’t want to expand into areas that we don’t want to own in.  Before we started selling “turnkey,” we were buying everything with the intention of holding it.  We still have that intention. If we rehab and rent a property and we don’t sell it, we put it into our portfolio.  So, any property we sell, we have a property that we own within a 1/4 of a mile.  As a matter of fact, there are corners that you can stand on in some neighborhoods and see 7 properties that we own.

Do you have any repeat buyers/investors?

 Every buyer we have, has bought more than one property from us.

What kind of rehab you does GC Realty Investments do?

We do an extensive renovation.  We have our professionals come in and evaluate all of the major systems of the house.  Most of our properties have new electrical, plumbing, HVAC and roofs.  We will only keep the existing if there is more than half of its useful life left.  We also focus on “tenant proofing” the property.  Even though the material we use is more expensive, it is more durable than the low end material most landlords use.  This reduces the amount of future expenses there will be. Click here to Read More about Tenant Proofing

How long does it typically take to rehab the properties from start to finish?  Do we buy from the pre-rehab stage, or would it be after a tenant is already in the property?  How soon after closing should I expect tenants?

Depending on the size of the project, rehab can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 3 months.  We typically market and sell properties after they are complete.  We don’t pre-sell or sell during the rehab stage because we know there are many unforeseen circumstances with rehabs.  We prefer not to string a client long if any issues arise.

Do you cater to out of state investors?

We frequently work with out of state and out of country investors.  Most investors are unable to find the types of returns that we can provide our clientele in their local market. Click here to Read More

Do I need to visit you in person in Chicago to view my property?

Do you need to? No.  Should you? Yes.  Regardless of you work with us or any other company you should take a trip out to see the operation.  See the properties.  Get a feel for the neighborhoods before you commit to buying a property.  You want to be comfortable with the company that is going to be managing over your assets.

What happens once I’ve selected a property?

  1. We will send a form requesting information related to the deal that we will use to draft the sales contract.
  2. A sales contract will be sent over in PDF form to you to review and also via DocuSign allowing you to sign electronically
  3. Once contract is signed, we will send the executed contract and disclosures to all parties involved including the attorney & lenders.
  4. Earnest money will be due to our mailing address payable to “GC Realty & Development LLC” for $3,000 (Held in our escrow account).
  5. Contract allows 5 days for any inspection/due diligence you would like to conduct.

Are the properties already rented at the time of purchase?

There have been very few properties that have not been rented before sale.  There have been a few times where delays in processing paperwork by Chicago Housing Authority has prevented tenants from moving in.  This is outside of our control.  Besides those instances all properties are rented.

Do the properties come furnished with appliances/blinds, or would I need to supply these? Do I need to do anything to the property or is it truly turnkey?

The properties are unfurnished. Tenants are responsible for furnishing the units and for their appliances.  We used to supply appliances.  What we found is that about 20% of our work orders were coming from appliances.  We have had very little resistance from tenants about not supplying appliances.  We do install blinds on all of our properties.  As far as needing to do anything and “truly turnkey,” I guess that depends on how involved you want to be.  What we sell is a fully rehabbed, tenanted property.  On your HUD when you buy, the property will be a rent proration because you will be collecting rent from day one.

Do you provide any maintenance guarantee?

Yes.  We provide a 1-year warranty on anything that we repaired or should have repaired.  We cannot warranty against tenant damage or acts of God. Click here to Read More about this warranty

Do you provide in-house property management too?

Unlike a lot of other turnkey companies, we have our own in house property management company.  We never outsource to a third party.  We will be the ones, you talk when you buy the property and when you need to talk to someone about property management.

How much will you charge for managing my property?

We charge a flat 8% for managing properties.

How long is the property management contract for and are there any other initial fees?

The management contract is written as a one year contract but can be cancelled by either party at any time with 30 days’ notice.  There are no start up fees.

How do you screen tenants?

We have all applicants over 18 pay a $50 application fee and request 8 additional items for them in addition to filling out our online application.  We will run a background, eviction, and credit check. We also use the application & documentation to go through our 16 screening tests.  We then request further documentation or explanations on any red flag findings we have.  

How do you handle problematic tenants?

Problem tenants can appear without red flags and even after going through our rigorous screening.  Each scenario is unique but we do all we can to promote safety and watch the owner’s bottom line.  Majority of the time additional communication can assist along in getting a tenant through their lease term and the decision to renew or not at that point can be made.  

How long do the tenants typically stay for? What is the eviction/turnover rate?

Our typical single family home tenants stays on average about 44 months. The multifamily tenant is closer to 28 months.  Over the last 5 years, we have experienced 8 evictions spread over 110 units.  That includes both going through the courts and cash for keys.

What is your vacancy rate?

Historically, our portfolio has not run more than 3%.  I believe that it’s because we offer a superior rental product as compared to other landlords, how we screen our tenants and our interaction with the tenants.

How do you deal with vacancy?

We don’t let existing tenants move out…LOL but we really do all we can to keep a quality relationship with tenants, so they don’t want to move.  When vacancy is inevitable, we will plan in advance of the move out to line up any work, cleaning, and rent ready prep to have 100% complete no more than 10 days after the tenant moves out.  Along the way, we are marketing for a tenant to move in mid-month or on the first the following month.

Do you inspect the properties regularly?

We are not counting the frequent times that we see the exteriors of the properties.  We also visit the properties twice a year to “make sure the clocks” have been adjusted.

How does you come up with rent estimates?

Rent estimates are determined by using our own comps in the area.  We have been investing in the neighborhoods for years and have a very good idea of rents. 

How the monthly rent will be transferred to me?

All payouts are administered by an ACH deposit to the bank account of your choosing.

Do you rent to Section 8 tenants?

Yes.  We have a mix of both section 8 tenants and market tenants.  Click here to Read More about Section 8 Tenants

What is the typical costs of tenant turnovers (i.e. repairs, fees etc.)?  For the repairs, do I have the option of working with your contractors to utilize the discounted costs?

Typical turnover costs vary from property to property.  About 20%,require less than $400 to get back in rent ready condition.  60% fall between $400 and $850 and 20% are greater than $850.  Over the last few years the most we paid for a turnover has been about $1500.

Can you tell me the difference between your businesses in the suburbs vs Southside?

The majority of the investment properties that we buy for ourselves and sell are on the south side.  The suburbs is more retail oriented.  Retail property management and brokerage.

How about the benefits/pitfalls of a single family vs multifamily in Chicago?

Our experience has been that single family properties outperform multifamily properties.  There are a variety of reasons.  No utilities (except water), no landscaping/snow shoveling.  Tenants seem to take better care of a house than an apartment.  Tenancy is longer.

What sort of exit strategies are available in this area?  Can I only sell to other investors?

This is a difficult question to answer because of all the variables there are.  We have sold properties in all the neighborhoods that we currently invest in to homeowners. Sometimes we come across properties where the highest and best use of the property is to sell to owner occupant.  With that said, there are a variety of considerations that go into deciding whether or not to sell to owner occupant.