Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Buying Bucktown / Wicker Park condos 2016: Three bedrooms unit sales take big 48% jump

Division Street in warmer times (photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty).
We were out with clients in Bucktown / Wicker Park before the Thanksgiving holiday.  The first time buyers have a lease coming up in early spring so it's "go time"!  Listings trickle out during this time of the year but there are a handful of good options to see any given week.  They need market education as well.  We watch the MLS, our non-mls member sites and work our networks for good properties for sale this time of year.

Bucktown / Wicker Park condo sales (attached units, town houses) from January 1st to November 30th, 2016 (West Augusta to West Armitage, North Ashland to North Western).

  • 31 one bedroom condos sold thus far in 2016 with a median price of $260,000.  37 units sold over the same period in 2014 for a median price of $237,000.  In 2013, 48 one bedroom units sold for a median of $220,000. One bedroom unit sales have declined over two years but the price has gone up.
  • 329 two bedrooms condos have sold with a median price of $395,000 thus far in 2016.  313 two beds condos sold over the same period in 2014 with a median of about $370,500.  In 2013, 289 two bedrooms condos sold over the same period for a median of $375,000. Two beds units are the most prevalent dwelling in the two desirable neighborhoods and are a good indicator of unit sales, construction and price activity for the market. 
  • 226 three bedrooms condos sold with a median price of $557,000.   In 2014, only 154 units sold over the same period with a median price of $520,000.  170 units sold in 2013 for a median price of $525,000.
  • 16 attached units with four bedrooms or more sold thus far in 2016.  The median price for these larger homes is about $675,000. 13 four plus bedrooms units sold in 2014 with a median price about $630,000.  14 four bedrooms units sold over the same period in 2013 with a median price of $678,000.

Bucktown/ Wicker Park sales area (generated on MREDLLC.com)

The three bedrooms attached units (condos and town houses) took the biggest jump with 48% more unit sales than the same period in 2014 and a 34%  jump over 2013 unit sales.  Median price was up over $30,000 year to year.  This reflects the strong desire for buyers to live in amenity filled neighborhoods close to downtown.  Sellers were also listing better quality homes now that prices have bounced way back. 

A three bedroom may be looked at as a longer term buy. In the hottest neighborhoods it seems like an endless supply of buyers for the large condo sellers that are moving on to the burbs, out of state or into a city house. The wheel in the sky keeps on turning!  All stats gathered from MREDLLC.com and interpreted by Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty. All stats and comparisons close approximates.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Irving Park neighborhood: Kilbourn Park has an organic greenhouse

Photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
Kilbourn Park 3501 N. Kilbourn Ave.   Chicago, Illinois 60641 in the western portion of the Irving Park Community Area features an organic greenhouse and community garden.  Check out their programming by contacting the park district site.

The greenhouse at Kilbourn Park

For sale $294,900! Well cared for Irving Park, Kilbourn Park area two-flat at 3425 N Lowell, Chicago IL 60641

3425 N Lowell, Chicago IL 60641. Photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty. 
 Will be listed on MLS this week.
3425 N Lowell for sale $294,900
Two units + basement in-law unit
Exclusively listed by Eric Rojas, Kale Realty
542 W Roosevelt Road Chicago, IL 60607
Do not disturb owners. Call Eric only. Pre-approved buyers please.

Owner occupied two-flat with finished basement in-law unit in quiet location for $294,900. The building is well cared for and in great condition.Wide 30'x125' lot with yard, two car garage+1 parking pad (3 car parking total). Family relation lives in one bedroom, one bathroom basement unit with full kitchen and private entrance. Great building for "owner operator".

Attractive backyard
Building located one block from awesome Kilbourn Park with filed house and Organic Green HouseClose to Metra and Addison Blue Line stations. Lots of grocery shopping, easy highway access.

Well kept building, patio

Two car garage with additional parking pad
1st and second floors have newer boilers, separate heat and electrical. Nice sized living room and dining rooms. Both units with 2 bedrooms (12x10 each), one bath, back sun room/breakfast room, 75% replacement windows.
First floor living room
First floor living room and dining room
First floor dining room
Looking into living room
First floor kitchen
First floor kitchen
Breakfast room/ sun room off kitchen
First floor bathroom
Second floor unit is rented month to month and in good, move-in condition. Rents for similar rental units on the street $900 to $1,000 minimum.
Second floor living room

Second floor dining room
Second floor dining room and living room

Second floor kitchen

Second floor sun room/ breakfast room off kitchen

In-law unit full kitchen
In-law unit living room.
Washer/dryer utility sink in basement

Separate water heaters

Newer, separate boilers

Kilbourn Park and field house are one block away.

"The Oasis" installation at Arts Club of Chicago building

The Oasis, Erik L. Peterson at the Arts Club of Chicago. Photo, Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
I really enjoyed seeing the Erik L. Peterson art installation at The Arts Club of Chicago building at 201 East Ontario in Streeterville. The panels are at the winter garden on the North Saint Clair side of the building. The piece runs through February 2016.

Friday, November 27, 2015

We offer "off-market", Non-MLS and first look property research to our clients

Top Agent Network
Bob and I belong to high producing agent networks that offer many non-MLS properties for sale. Top Agent Network is a paid subscription chapter offered to top 10% sales Brokers in the Chicago area.   We also network with active builders, developers and hit the streets observing new construction not yet listed.

Bob and monitor demolition permits and off market sites to anticipate upcoming properties.
Properties are listed for sale in many ways; For sale by owner on public and private sites, a simple sign in the lawn or most commonly by Professional Brokers on the local Multiple Listing Service. An estimated 10%-20% of property sales are happening off the MLS. Brokers often represent these "off-market" properties and offer them to the Broker community on private listing services, their own web sites or blogs.

Many of the Top 10% of Chicago area Brokers have been listing and collaborating on Top Agent Network.  This is a paid membership "craigslist" type listing service where verified top sales Brokers list properties for sale and seek off-market properties for their buyer clients.  Bob and I belong to this service mainly to offer the best resources we can to our clients.   However, I generally don't agree with these paid "pre-MLS" and off market sites for Brokers.  I employ them as a necessary evil to help research the real estate market efficiently and help put together transactions for our clients.

 Read on for some quick, unscientific pros and cons of "off market" listing sites used by high sales volume brokers.

Cons: I think these paid listing services tend to allow Brokers to skirt regulations a bit. For example, I've caught a high producing local Realtor stealing my marketing photos for a property listing.  These broker listing clubs tend to have less information than highly refined and regulated major MLS service we belong too (MREDLLC.com).  In general it does not make a lot of sense for a seller to offer a property exclusively off the MLS if they simply seek the best price possible.

New construction is often listed on Pre-MLS sites by Brokers. (Photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
That said, I believe there are several legitimate reasons to pre-list a property to the successful Broker community.  I also believe they are used by mostly terrific Brokers with excellent consumer and business practices in mind. We work with these agents on professional, above board transactions each and every year.
  • A seller may want a higher degree of privacy.  The MLS shoots a property listing to all third party sites with reciprocity deals (Realtor.com, Zillow, Redfin etc...).  Once in the MLS that property is EVERYWHERE. The selling process can be very intrusive unless steps are taken to manage the process.
  • A seller might want to market the property to the Broker community exclusively to test out pricing. Qualified Broker showings and Top Agent Network stats can provide data to help determine a property's market value.
  • Listing services allow top sales Brokers to collaborate easier when seeking properties in specific areas and buildings. They allow Brokers to monitor high buyer demand and bring that to their sphere of property owners. For example two-flats in Lincoln Square are in high demand by many Brokers and I may bring that data (and the buyers) to multi-unit owners I know.
  • I believe buyers who understand their market and demand a particular property will pay a premium for an "off market opportunity". Believe it or not, some folks are not worried about what OTHERS would pay for a property.  They are just concerned about what it is worth for them. An independent lender appraisal is required when using a loan. This protects the buyer from "over-paying" in a particular market even when a price is agreed upon between buyer and seller. 
When I found a large house in our desired location for my family I was buying it "no matter what" because it met the needs of of my large family and live-in nanny. The appraisal actually came in higher than what we were purchasing at and it's worked out great.

Sneak Peek! Uncle Dan's in Lincoln Square opening soon, Jerry's to follow?

The New Uncle Dan's The Great Outdoor Store on the 4700 Block of North Lincoln Avenue. Looks like doors will open soon on the rather major, yet quick, retail space renovation.
Retail racks are set up and product is stocked on the walls at Uncle Dan's as of  Wednesday November 27th.

I spotted worker's buzzing and sawing in the Jerry's space on Wednesday
The local Lincoln Squarians get a little impatient about their openings.  Exhibit A: Roots Pizza

We'll get our outdoor gear but where o where will North Side Chicagoans get their pizza and sandwiches while these openings drag on?!

A rare "tear down" building at Giddings Plaza, Lincoln Square

The mixed use retail and apartment building at 4728 N Lincoln Avenue Chicago IL 60625 was issued a demolition permit last week. The building is located in the highly desirable pedestrian friendly shopping district and public plaza of Lincoln Square. It's rare to see tear downs along this two block stretch between Leland and Lawrence Avenues. L3 Capital purchased five properties on the strip for $5.5 million last year.
A three story mixed use building will be torn down in the heart of Lincoln SquareOwner L3 Capital had a renovation permit for the retail space and had gutted the first floor.  According to the 47th Ward Alderman's office the investment group found the building was in bad condition and it needs to go.  L3 Capital in a statement say they are planning to rebuild a one story building allowed by zoning.

L3 Capital also owns the three storefronts adjacent to the east that have been combined for the new Uncle Dan's The Great Outdoor Store set to open soon.
I understand the need to build new rather than renovate a compromised structure.  However, it's disappointing to lose rental units in this location. I'd like to see more residential density on the retail strip and surrounding blocks as people flock to this amenity rich community.  There is hope West Lawrence Avenue will be adding many units in the next couple years.

4728 N Lincoln looks over popular Giddings Plaza across the street.

Cafe Selmarie and Enjoy general store
One of the more charming retail and residential centers in all of the city.
L3 Capital has had a big run of acquisitions and redevelopment in the Southport Corridor and has been successful in attracting tenants for their commercial spaces.

THANKS ALWAYS to the unprecedented quick responses from Alderman Pawar's 47th Ward service office concerning my inquiries into this property...  and everything else!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Griffins and Gargoyles Antiques building surrounded by #ANewLawrence development in Lincoln Square

A five story newer construction condo building sits adjacent to the relatively small two story Griffins and Gargoyles property. Photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
 The curious and attractive Griffins and Gargoyles Antiques building at 2140 West Lawrence, IL 60625 sits among several redevelopment properties along West Lawrence in Lincoln Square.

The charming building sits deep back on the lot with a brick parking lot in front. That's rare itself as the vast majority of properties front the sidewalk on Lawrence. It's hidden between the large 5 story condo building at Lawrence and Hamilton to the east and mature trees on the west lot line.  According to a sales flyer and neighbor sources the adjacent parking lot and building to the left at 2150 West Lawrence are for sale and will be developed when eventually sold. 

This Google Maps image shows the small set back building. It can potentially face another large development to the west.
 It's a cool building and business and I hope it sticks around during the trend of development along Lawrence Avenue.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Almost a year later I got a Rueben at Chicago Joe's in North Center

Chicago Joe's restaurant earlier this month (Photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty).

Last December Curbed Chicago reported on a zoning application submitted for the Chicago Joe's restaurant location at 2250-2256 W Irving Park Road.    Joe's is to be torn down to develop a larger mixed use residential building. I am here to say that Chicago Joe's is as of yet still operational and I had the Reuben sandwich (with fries) last week. My contractor associate ALWAYS gets the blackened salmon.

An original mixed use building and newer condos across the street on the south side of West Irving Park Road.
A larger residential building would do well in this North Center location. The property frontage on North Oakley would add value to those units.  However, it's never a comfortable thing to see long standing neighborhood establishments go.  It's a distinct building and business.  I imagine some of us old schools will be lunching there until the the bulldozer shows up.

Photos of NEW North Broadway Mariano's development in East Lake View... big building!

Photo taken last week.  The Mariano's development changes the street-wall on the 3000 block of North Broadway.

 Another major construction project is taking shape at 3030 N Broadway and will add tremendous convenience to this densely populated area. A Mariano's Grocery and XSport Fitness will replace the old Dominick's that burnt down in 2005. We predict they will be very busy.  The quality grocery and fitness club combo is a major hit around the city.

Signs tout "Chicago's First Clean Diesel Construction Project". 
 The project is to be completed by early summer 2016.

3030 N Broadway surface parking lot before construction began.