Thursday, February 28, 2008

Chicago Real Estate Local Featured in Chicago Agent Magazine

A whole lotta blog love this week...
Your favorite real estate blogger, The Chicago Real Estate Local, was featured in the latest addition of Chicago Agent Magazine (click the link to read the story). Ric Cox of Chicago Condos Online named me as one of the Top Producers on the blog scene and gave me a nice plug. Ric emailed me for his story because he found me popping up all over the Internet.

He asked me about my favorite local real estate blogs and the choice was easy... Fran Bailey's Chicago Metro Area Real Estate and Jeff Kerr's Chi Town Living.

I read them often, and let's face it, I can use all the learning I can get!

Speaking of Blog Love... it's no coicidence that I'm in the same issue as Ivanka Trump. I'm just saying...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bucktown Duplex or House?

I was out this weekend searching Wicker Park and Bucktown duplex-downs and houses with my clients... how can we do both you might ask? Well it depends...

I wrote here earlier that there is, and have been, several good deals on Bucktown single family homes from the beginning of the year in the $700,000 to $800,000 price range. If you have a buyer looking at top end duplex downs, they may be able to consider a house in the low to mid $700s.

Here we are this last sunny Saturday morning viewing 1660 N Bell, a single family home listed by Greg Desmond (my Rubloff buddy). The house is listed at $750K, and I think it's a terrific, good looking, no maintenance move-in home. Although my client's have been looking duplex-downs, I tossed this house into the mix as a longer term opportunity. The duplex down with a family room is as close as you can get to a single family home feel when buying in the 600K range... more so than a three or four story town house I would argue. So, why not a house if you can get it?

Home staged by You should see it... awesome before and after transition!

Housing Prices Crashing...Except for the Midwest, Chicago

A little good news if you live in the Midwest:

"Sales were weak in all parts of the country except the Midwest, where sales posted an increase of 3.4 percent. Sales dropped by 3.6 percent in the Northeast, 2.1 percent in the West and 0.5 percent in the West."

Chicago prices and availabily vary greatly by neighborhood. if you are interested in a specific neighborhood like Lake View, Lincoln Park or Ravenswood etc... it's best I address them with you on a case by case basis.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tax Advantages for Homeowners

Here's a good piece on homeowner tax filings from the Wall Street Journal; a little happy news when thinking about tax time. Me... I retain a great CPA. I'm not much of a "do it yourself" guy when it comes to the IRS.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hawthorne Place District: Historic Serenity in Lakeview East

I had a showing at my 543 W Roscoe listing the other day... it was the first sunny day in a month. It was great chance to take a few shots of the Hawthorne Place District just one street north.

Designated as a Chicago landmark in 1996, the Hawthorne Place District lays incognito among the bustle of Lake View East at 530-593 W. Hawthorne Pl.

I took a quick snoop around online for past sales in the District. Have to check the public records soon for ou... when I have all that free time coming to me.

Chicago's Number 4 Realtor in Chicagoland

The Chicago Real Estate Local is #4 in search for Chicagoland Realtors! At least according to Google.

Thanks Chicago!

Seller's... ask me how search results like this get exposure for your listing.

Chicago Taxes Got You Down? Take a Nice Shower at City Hall and Fa-getta-bout-it

I've read John Kass for a long time... but John Kass on video is a whole 'nother thing. If the transfer tax increase for real estate transactions has got you down, if you wonder why you have your first property tax installment already right after you just received your last one... and it is, Tah-Dah!, more... take a shower with John Kass at City Hall... or at least try to.

If you don't know what I'm talking about... read ShowerGate

Gimmee Your Money... Even if you don't Close Chicago Real Estate

We all know by now the transfer tax stamp for Chicago Real Estate was raised to $10.50 per $1,000 in purchase price. I was pretty silent on the blog here, but called and emailed my Alderman several times to plea...beg.... and ask WTF? Those crazies didn't listen and voted something like 41-6 in favor of raising the transfer tax on YOU 40% to pay CTA employee pensions... do you have a pension? I don't.

Now, Chicago wants to pick you up and shake you down even if you "default" leaving your down payment or earnest money and don't close.

From City Room:
"Another's to have the city keep the tax even when a buyer forfeits a down payment and the deal's nixed."


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Best in Show: Lincoln Park under $300K

If I'm single, I want to live in the best place for a single person in Chicago. And if I'm single, I'm buying a one bedroom in Lincoln Park. For under $300K, you can get a vintage top floor one bedroom within the four block radius of Armitage and Halsted with a decent kitchen and bath, dining room, in-unit washer and dryer, central air, a deck, and permit street parking. I just viewed one that hit the market this week at $269K and was shocked... first place the client saw but it's THE ONE. I figured we were in for a long line of dumps.

This market is hot though. It's easy to tell the duds from the studs and several of these units have sold fast this year already. People jump on them... it's Lincoln Park. And not fake Lincoln Park by Ashland.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Best Condo Search Resource:

I’ve finally stumbled across Chicago Condos Online. This is an awesome resource for condo shopping… especially high rise buildings. The owner Ric, even started his own blog for the site. I’m pretty critical of “fake” blogs that use generic news feeds etc… and don’t stay with their local niche. But Ric is doing the right thing, sticking with his subject matter. The stats are fun to read too.

I think a great post of his was Advice: Determining the Value of your Condo. Pretty interesting stuff and some good ideas for both consumers and industry people. That post took some effort. Ric seems to be a common sense guy that doesn’t miss a whole lot.

Ric will also allow me to register my clients on Chicago Condos Online for free. I’m in the process of learning more about my account status and how to register my clients.
Please send me an email or call me if you would like to be registered as a client

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Books, Wine, Gifts and Speed Dating at the Book Cellar Lincoln Square

The Book Cellar is a can't miss shop among many cool stores in Lincoln Square.

But last night Jillian, Ryne and yours truly were out on a walk through The Square. We thought about popping in to the Book Cellar for a glass of wine... and we figure we'll get a little osmosis going for Ryne from all the books around.

We looked in the window and discovered a speed dating event was going on. We figured a flirtly 11 month old was not what they were looking for.

Chicago Sunday Open House: 4814 N Damen from 1PM to 4PM in Ravenswood

I'll host an open house at my newest listing; 4814 N Damen #314 Sunday 2/17/08 from 1pm to 4pm.

Click here to view the virtual tour

Check out the Lincoln Square and Ravenswood neighborhoods then stop by the open house.

You'll thank me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pitchers and Catchers Report: Chicago Cubs in Spring Training

This is almost better than a sale. I woke up extra early this morning to read the Tribune Chicago Cubs preview and other baseball bits... I've been too busy to have winter blues, but I'll admit to needing a little pick-me up. Baseball hits the spot despite all the "roid-monsters".

See you at Wrigley.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Off Market Properties Chicago: Spacious Top Floor Two Bedroom with Parking

My clients are moving on... we'll list this Albany Park top floor condo later this month. It's about 1300 sq/ft in a three flat building. All the needs and wants... two car parking, walk to the train, washer/dryer in-unit, big deck off the kitchen... the works. Open layout and a gut rehab two years ago.

Asking $265,000

If you don't know much about Albany Park... just ask. I use to live there and several friends and clients live there now. This area has lots of new and eclectic retail, easy transportaion, grocery stores, two(!) university campuses, parks... all within a few blocks. Go west young man.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunday Open House Stories: Lakeview Below Zero

If you think the market is dead... you're crazy. Or at least you were smart enough to stay in on Sunday's "20 below Hell" wind-chills and didn't notice the action. I had nine groups through my open house at 920 W Barry. These were no walk ins.
For many, It's not even spring yet. But serious buyers are out looking now and would like to see something worth buying. Buyer's will take longer to make a decision, but there is only one Lakeview, one Lincoln Park. Sooner or later they will have to buy your place.

Each group visiting me Sunday was either with a Realtor or picked out their open houses for the day from my various advertisements. At least it was sunny...

I was too busy to read my Sunday Tribune Real Estate Section.

Ravenswood Government at Work: A New Stop Sign at Damen and Winnemac

It doesn't take much for me to get excited in our little burg here on the North Side. A new stop sign was erected some time last week at the intersection of North Damen and West Winnemac at the crosswalk to Winnemac Park. You must now stop if traveling north or south on Damen.

As a Realtor, my car is an extension of my being... and the $400 I just plunked down on brakes (even though under 20,000 miles) should make me less than pleased for another stop sign. But this intersection was flat out dangerous. It was a joke trying to cross to the park or turn on to Damen.

The stop sign follows the new kid's play lot just completed before the winter. The area around Winnemac Park just keeps improving with real estate development and infrastructure improvements.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Why Knowing a Good Buy in Chicago is like Knowing Your Kid

I know Ravenswood and Lincoln Square like I know my kid. And no one knows your neighborhood or your kid like you do.

I know when a great deal in Ravenswood and Lincoln Square comes up for purchase just like I know if my kid is hungry or tired. And I'm right... most of the time.

It's no coincidence I'm bringing this up today. Two things happened. First, we had a substitute nanny today as ours had to take the day off. I meet the caregiver in the morning and orientate them to the house and Ryne. I talk about his schedule for the day then I retire to my home office.

But it doesn’t matter… when he cries, they don’t know if Ryne wants up or down, needs to sleep, is hungry, wants to climb, crawl… whatever. But I know.

Secondly, a unit in a building I like came up for sale and sold in 18 days. This one under contract for 20K more than a comparable condo in the same building last fall season. I sent the unit located near Wolcott and Montrose to my clients and asked them to make a decision because it wouldn’t be around long. I pushed the condo because I knew it was the best two bedroom, two bath unit with parking and storage in the neighborhood at the price-point. $380K if you were wondering.

They don’t know that yet and they may never know. Just like they won’t know if Ryne wants up or down, needs to sleep, is hungry, wants to climb, crawl… whatever. But I know.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

What Chicago Neighborhood is for the "Newlyweds and the Nearly dead"?

I've heard Boston's South End neighborhood described as a place for the "Newlywed and nearly dead"... if you catch their drift (i.e. the demographic).

What Chicago neighborhood would fit this description?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

What Color Paint Would Axl Rose Use?

I'm prepping a condo to go to market next month at 2700 N Halsted in Lincoln Park. The bathroom needs a repaint and a little work to be perfect.

What paint to use....

Whenever I have a difficult question like this, I just ask myself: W W A R D?
That's right... what would Axl Rose do?

He'd choose Benjamin Moore's November Rain

When I look into your eyes
I can see a love restrained
But darlin' when I hold you
Don't you know I feel the same
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it's hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain
We've been through this such a long long time
Just tryin' to kill the pain
But lovers always come and lovers always go
An no one's really sure who's lettin' go today
Walking away
If we could take the time to lay it on the line
I could rest my head
Just knowin' that you were mine
All mine
So if you want to love me
then darlin' don't refrain
Or I'll just end up walkin'
In the cold November rain

Do you need some time...on your own
Do you need some time...all alone
Everybody needs some time...on their own
Don't you know you need some time...all alone
I know it's hard to keep an open heart
When even friends seem out to harm you
But if you could heal a broken heart
Wouldn't time be out to charm you

Sometimes I need some time...on my
own Sometimes I need some time...all alone
Everybody needs some time...on their own
Don't you know you need some time...all alone

And when your fears subside
And shadows still remain, ohhh yeahhh
I know that you can love me
When there's no one left to blame
So never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
Even cold November rain

Don't ya think that you need somebody
Don't ya think that you need someone
Everybody needs somebody
You're not the only one
You're not the only one

Monday, February 04, 2008

New Two Bedroom Condo Plus Den in Ravenswood/Lincoln Square

This condo will hit the market tomorrow in Ravenswood/Lincoln Square.
4814 N Damen #314.

Some quick stats...
New construction in 2005
Two bedrooms plus a separate den
Elevator building
Garage Parking
Concrete floors/ceilings for sound insulation
Unique and open floor plan
Huge master bedroom
Master bath with double vanity, separate shower, whirlpool tub
Open kitchen with stainless, granite, cherry cabinets, peninsula island
Wired for sound
Large 10x20 terrace off living room
Common Rooftop Deck
Common Green Roof
Walk 5 minutes to the Damen Brown Line and Ravenswood Metra

Asking $400K! $247 for assessment...includes parking.

The condo faces an interior courtyard. This is priced with two bedrooms in the area.

A Lincoln Square Single Family Home I Love

Dear Homeowner,

If you ever decide to sell this home, please let me list it. I will give it the respect and marketing it deserves.

Bravo, good show.

Single family homes in this here part of Lincoln Square range from $699,000 for a fixer-upper backed up to the Brown Line to 'what do you want to spend?" for an oversized corner lot with new construction.

I'd say the home pictured above could list for $1,200,000. But, I have no idea what's inside, nor do I know the lot size off hand. If it's a long lot, it could get more.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Lincoln Square Graystone Two-Flat and Three Flat for the Ages

A few more shots from our walk yesterday... I know people who would wet themselves over a graystone like these...

My laptop is almost out of juice... I'll get back to this in the morning.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The New and the Old in Lincoln Square Single Family Homes

It was Daddy Day Care Day once again and Ryne and I were out on our walk despite the snow. The weather was quite charming... snowflakes falling, temps pretty good. Ryno was wrapped in his snow suit, so no worries there. He always falls asleep.

Anywho, I've walked by this house above on many an occasion and quite like it. It's definitely had some restoration work. But, it has it's original look and brick I reckon and was probably built on the backs of the original owner.

Walk down the street a bit on Giddings in Lincoln Square and you come across this beauty below. Looks terrific and is a good example of building a huge house that fits in the neighborhood. I'm not crazy about the windows, but it's very appealing in general.

Think they were inspired by an original down the street?