Thursday, April 19, 2018

(Da) Coach house... yea or nay?

A large coach house (brown with front porch) a few doors down from my yard. There are several coach house units in close proximity to my house in Lincoln Square. They can be a tad difficult to price when prepping for sale.
Chicago Cityscape's Steven Vance muses on coach houses today.  It's also a nice dive into how crazy Chicago zoning ordinance is (the moon alignment with Mars is in there somewhere). To bolster my Chicago street cred my wife and once lived in a second floor coach house apartment in Lakeview. You ain't lived in Chicago until you lived in the alley.

We have listed/ viewed many coach house units around Chicago.  Some are "detached" fee simple homes while most units (if bought and sold) are part of a small condo association.  We once listed a coach house condo above at 3127 N Clifton #1 as part of a three unit condo association with the front house (shown above, rear of photo).

Real Neighbors! We visit Groundswell Coffee Roasters in Lincoln Square

We recently listed 5008 N Lincoln Avenue Unit 2N (now under contract!). After photos we ambushed poor Jason Foster, owner at Groundswell Coffee Roasters located in the same building for a quick video visit!  I'm a regular at their two Lincoln Square stores located at 4839 N Damen Avenue and 5008 N Lincoln Avenues. The cafes are attractive, coffee excellent AND the staff plays great music.
Window seat at 4839 N Damen. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
We love to spotlight local business, non-profits and neighbors while buying and selling properties throughout the city.  Thanks to my video partner Parkwest Media for taking the time to make all these fun shoots.

Check out Groundswell Coffee Roasters when in Lincoln Square.  If you'd like to buy or sell property near one of their great stores contact us!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Permit issued for new, modern Lincoln Square / Ravenswood neighborhood TOD development

The 4540 North Ravenswood "transit oriented development" received construction permit this week (all photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty).
I took some photos December 2016 of the 4540 North Ravenswood development site.  The five unit residential project has received construction permits this week (viewed via The property falls in the Lincoln Square Community Area section also known as Ravenswood.  More here on TOD

The Mariano's/LA Fitness and Ravenswood Metra Station all withing a couple blocks.

 Drawings of the project HERE at the 47th Ward web site.

Wrigleyville demolitions for CTA "Belmont Flyover" (the $32 million tear downs)

3401-3409 N Clark (at Roscoe), a grey stone looking two story mixed use building that was soooo Wrigleyville is gone. It was last home to forgettable Fiesta Cantina Restaurant. The Internet got a little excited about the Bankes Coffee "ghost sign".
I had a little business in Wrigelyville yesterday morning and snapped a few photos of ongoing building demolition around Clark/Sheffield and Roscoe intersections required by the Red and Purple Modernization Program.  The news that many of these old Lakeview neighborhood buildings would be acquired and torn down was upsetting.  But seeing it in action is shocking. The close proximity of properties and swift removal of familiar structures at this iconic (if not infamous) location makes this unique.

Johnny O'Hagan's building demolished at 3374 N Clark.  The building next door is going too.
The reported cost estimate for acquiring the properties is $32 million and the cost of demolition is $9 million.

This familiar commercial stretch of businesses will be gone soon including Bolat African Cuisine 3346 N Clark (closest to train).

3404-3406 N Sheffield is (was) a fairly recent remodel mixed use building once home of "local gem" Toppers Pizza. Gone!
Gold Crown Liquors, home of many keg purchases in my youth, still there! However, the property is featured in the CTA renderings as a future development.
934-936 West Roscoe built circa 1906 was spared.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Video! Logan Square house for sale $499,000 steps to The 606 (OPEN HOUSE this weekend)

Crazy deal.  Make this 1998 build your own. "AS IS" sale, move-in, "live-in" ready but needs exterior repairs and some TLC. The house finish level and components are mostly original.  Take a spin through the house with yours truly. Awesome value east of North California Avenue and adjacent to The 606.

1803 N Fairfield, Chicago IL 60647 for sale $499,000.

1803 N Fairfield, Chicago IL 60647 $499,000
Saturday April 14th 12:00pm to 2:00pm
Sunday April 15th 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Attractive 1998 build on a great block!
Open Kitchen/ great room

Formal living room
Living room with bay window
Wet bar in lower level family room

Huge, bright master bedroom.

Master bathroom, double vanity, separate jet tub and walk-in shower.

Built in 1998, apprx 3,100 sq/ft
Two large bedrooms up, both en suite (potential to renovate for three bedroom).
One bedroom in finished lower level
Living room, kitchen great room and lower level family room
Three full baths, one half-bath
Standard 25'x125' lot
Two car garage
Original roof and finish level.

Exclusively listed by
Eric Rojas, Broker
Kale Realty
2447 N Ashland, Chicago IL 60614

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Winnetka home sales 2017-2018 (including a $10M cash sale this year!)

A beautiful Winnetka setting with homes surrounding West Elm Park (all photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty).
We have been in the Village of Winnetka over the last two weeks meeting with buyers and sellers.  One client will be selling their long time home and moving to downtown Chicago. Winnetka is a beautiful "blue chip" North Shore suburb with some of the best ranked schools in the state (and country!). The downtown is charming and delivers on restaurants, coffee, boutique shopping and services. 
Even modest homes bring the charm (and command a premium) near the downtown.
Winnetka home sales this year
So far in 2018, 43 single family homes have sold with a median price about $1,200,000. The highest sale to close is the spectacular 3 acre lakefront property at 735 Sheridan, Winnetka IL 60093 for a cool $10M cash.  The lowest priced sold home this year is 250 Woodlawn Avenue, Winnetka IL 60093 for $415,000.

Winnetka single family home sales 2017
254 single family homes sold over 2017 with a median price of about $1.1 million.  The lowest priced property sold was 87 Locust Road, Winnetka IL 60093 for $320,000.  The short sale is on a nice sized 66'x200' lot.  The highest priced sold property was 973 Sheridan Winnetka, IL 60093 for $6,187,000 cash.  The massive estate has private beachfront on Lake Michigan.

In 2016 242 homes sold with a median price about $1,225,000.

Large traditional house along West Elm Park.
The downtown offers vintage architecture mixed with redevelopment, new and old businesses.

The downtown Winnetka Metra Union Pacific North line at 754 W  Elm. The popular Metra line to downtown Chicago is a main draw throughout the North Shore suburbs.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Property sold for $1,136,000 next to CTA Damen Brown Line in Lincoln Square, now 24 unit development

4646 and 4650 North Damen were sold in two separate transactions closing in 2017.  The total cost of the properties was $1,136,000 according to and Cook County Recorder of Deeds records. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker Kale Realty
Two adjacent properties directly north of the Damen Brown Line stop sold for a combined $1,136,000 in 2017.  4646 N Damen (40'x125' lot) next to the tracks was a frame house under contract for quite some time by a local developer. According to the MLS the contract was entered into back in 2015 and it closed for $436,000 in early 2017.  The next property over next at 4650 N Damen closed at the end of 2017 for $700,000 according to public records (this was not openly listed on MLS). Sounds like a nice hold-out for $700K!

Mixed use residential buildings will now run from the Damen stop to Leland on both the east and west side of Damen Avenue. City living at it's best... shops and apartments on the way to the train!
A 24 unit new construction rental building with eight parking spots has been approved for the site. The project next to the "L" of course qualifies as a transit-orientated development (TOD).

Check out the rendering HERE

Patty Wetli has more coverage of the development here.

Monday, April 02, 2018

New for Sale (video)! Luxury condo and coffee in Lincoln Square $539,900

This dream kitchen with huge quartz island counter top is the heart of the home. The open living and dining concept is 34 feet wide and opens to the huge front walk-out terrace.
We love shiny new kitchens!
Pre-MLS! Check out our new Lincoln Square condo listing hitting the market this week.  5008 N Lincoln Avenue #2N Chicago IL 60625 for sale asking $539,900. This 2,100 sq/ft three bedrooms, two baths newer construction home has tons of closet space, fully wired for sound and garage parking in a six unit elevator building. We love this location! Groundswell Coffee and Manal Studio are great businesses in the building. Foodies rejoice with Goosefoot and Elizabeth. Steps to all the business and community events of Lincoln Square!
Dining at Cafe Selmarie, Giddings Plaza in Lincoln Square (all photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)

Watch the video walk-through!

Wide open floor plan w/ fireplace, wired for sound, crown molding and 10ft ceilings. 24ft wide walk-out front terrace!
Dining area can extend for large gatherings... indoors and outdoors!

24' x 8' huge front terrace.

Built-in shelving, organized closets and custom mud room area bring the unit to another level.

Master bathroom with separate double vanity and double shower head steam shower.
5008 N Lincoln #2N Avenue floor plan

Click here for more photos.  

Exclusively listed by:
Eric Rojas, Vice President/ Broker

Kale Realty - Lincoln Park
2447 N Ashland Avenue
Chicago IL 60614

Friday, March 30, 2018

Learn Cook County real estate taxes with Attorney Patrick J. Loftus

Our most trusted real estate attorney sent along this primer on Cook County real estate taxes.  Enjoy!

Patrick J. Loftus, LoftusLaw, LLC
520 S. State St., Unit 1206

Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 773-632-8330
Fax: 773-634-8911

Real estate taxes are confusing. Let's say that you are filling out an offer for your client, and you get to the real estate tax proration section. Do you fill in 105%, 110%, is there a senior exemption or freeze? Maybe you just put "tbd" and leave it for the attorneys to figure out. Whatever you decide, how do you know you got it right? How do you explain it to the client?

Step 1 - Get the info. Say what you will about Cook County and the way it's run, one thing they do fairly well is their websites. Take the Property's PIN and head over to There you will find out the critical stats, such as tax amount, number of exemptions, assessed value, tax rate, etc. One exemption probably means that the property just has the homeowner exemption. Two means homeowner and senior. Three means homeowner, senior and senior freeze. This is crucial info for your client, because they need to know if the taxes are going to skyrocket after they buy the property.

Step 2 - Get the latest assessment info. Over the past 3 years, the triennial assessment has been an unpleasant surprise for a lot of Cook County property owners. This year, the south suburbs will be experiencing tax bill sticker shock. It is the City's turn next year.  The Cook County Assessor's website publishes the proposed assessed valuations.  Head over there with your PIN and see whether your property will increase and by how much. If you notice the assessment is increasing by 25%, you will want to put 125% for that tax proration. And your client will love your for protecting them!

Step 3 - Read the Assessor's general guide on property taxes. Look, I know this stuff is brutally boring, but it's super useful. And if you get to the bottom, there is a handy formula for calculating a tax bill. It goes something like this (with links to where you can find these figures with the PIN):

1.) Assessed Value (AV) multiplied by the State Equalizer (EQ), which will give your the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV)
2.) From there, subtract the applicable Exemptions (homeowner exemption has been increased to $10,000)
3.) Multiply the last number by the applicable * Tax Rate.

I will use my home as an example:

1.) AV: 28,181 * EQ: 2.7455 = 77,370.9355 (EAV)
2.) EAV: 77,370.9355 - 7,000 (HO exemption) =  70,370.9355
3.) 70,370.9355 * 7.145% (the tax rate for my place) = $5,028.00

Got it?  Simple right?  Well maybe not, but star this email and come back to it when you need to take a deep dive into real estate taxes.

If you are in a suburban county, things are done a bit differently (of course they are). However, in the collar counties, the (rather high) tax bills don't typically increase as dramatically as Cook, so this is not nearly the issue that it is in Cook.

Still confused?  That's ok!  Feel free to click below to ask me for help!  I am always available as a resource to my agents.  I want to help you look like a real estate tax expert to your clients.
Help Me With Real Estate Taxes

Happy to help.

Call me at 773-632-8330 or email me for help on this or any other real estate matter. And as always, I am honored by, and look forward to your referrals!

News you can use: Chicago condo owners keep privacy

From time to time important life quality issues develop around condo association rules, by-laws and Illinois condo law. Smoking, rentals, pets and privacy are just a handful of issues where laws and rules can change while you are part of condo association.  I've lived in several condo buildings and deal with associations on a daily basis working with clients. Knowing your rights as a condo owner is job one!

The Chicago City Council has won back some privacy for city condo owners.  A new Illinois law for 2018 requires a condo association to provide an owner's email and phone number at the request of another owner in the association (now, a letter to the owner's address is adequate communication).  Chicago has said "not so fast" and requires an association to opt in to the Illinois condo law with a 3/4 owner vote. 

Read more about the Illinois law and Chicago ordinance at Crain's Chicago Business.