Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Mother of All Hummers in Wrigleyville

I was checking my bike at the Chicago Cubs' free Bike Check when this thing caught my eye in the player's parking lot at Wrigley Field.

Name the player who owns this tricked out Hummer and you'll get the satisfaction of being the person to name the player who owns this tricked out Hummer.

And if you ever wondered how Major Leaugue Baseball players spent all their money, now you know.

Thursday Nights in Lincoln Square Chicago

Lincoln Square is one of the best neighborhoods for free stuff to do... and semi- free stuff if you buy a beer while doing the free stuff. Which, I bought a beer tonight.

Every Thursday night in Giddings Square (the heart of the Lincoln Square commercial district), the Chamber hosts a little outdoor party with music.

It's a total freak show with kids running around and cool parents hanging out. We love it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Snacks in Ravenswood's Winnemac Park

I'm a sucker for coffee, ice cream, muffins... that sort of thing... while out walking in the neighborhood. The city people in charge of Winnemac Park have added a snack shop called the Pathway Cafe in a former storage shedd (which was maybe a snack shop prior to that). They sell ice cream.

I can't even take Ryne to the playlot without stopping for ice cream now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Chicago Realtor on a Bike: Cycling to Showings with my Clients

Bob and Kim humoring me... shopping condos on our bikes!

Maybe it's the gas prices. Maybe it's due to the fact that I'm falling out of shape. But lately I’ve written quite a bit about ditching my car for my bicycle in my day to day duties as a Realtor. This weekend I really had the chance to flex my “Green street cred”. My clients and I set out for showings in East Lakeview on our bicycles rather than driving. We viewed property on the 500 block of West Melrose, 400 bock of West Briar, 3100 block of North Orchard and finally ended up at West Addison and North Southport.

These particular clients have worked with me in the past of a single family home purchase and now are looking for their parents. When I first met them in a non-real estate related situation, they were riding their bikes in the Lakeview neighborhood. They purchased in the winter making it a little more difficult to ride. However, they jumped at the chance this summer.

When looking at properties that are relatively close together, riding makes a lot of sense. In fact, I left from the Ravenswood neighborhood and my clients left from the Edgewater neighborhood to meet at our first showing in East Lakeview. It was about a 20 minute ride for each of us on the lakefront path.

A little helmet hair aside, it was a good day.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Chicago Open House: Lakeview Penthouse with the Goods

3328 N Kenmore #3

Open House Sunday 6/22/08 from 12PM to 2PM

Here's a plug for one of my favorite lisitings. We just reduced the price to $525,000 after only three weeks on the market. It is now a good deal.

Three bedroom, Two bath (or two bed, loft and family room) top floor duplex up

Three decks... two large decks off the back and one walk out terrace off the living room.

In unit washer and dryer , wood burning fireplace, central air and heat, and garage parking

Friday, June 20, 2008

Condo Prices Strong in Ravenswood

One of the stronger markets in Chicago in my opinion has been the Ravesnwood area within the greater Lincoln Square/Uptown city neighborhoods. Searching condos for the past six months on our local property listing service, I counted 117 condos active while 157 condos were closed or under contract within Ravenswood (roughly bounded by West Montrose to West Foster, and North Ashland to North Leavitt). The city neighborhood of Uptown creeps in on the eastern most end of Ravenswood while most of the area is in Lincoln Square.

I checked first quarter numbers and found that total unit sales in greater Lincoln Square were down 29%... mimicking the entire city. But median prices were up 8% and average prices up 5%. We should see second quarter numbers in July.

These sale and price numbers would be higher if you just included the Ravenswood area. I feel the northwest portion of Lincoln Square was affected more by the slowing market due to its distance from train lines and the neighborhood centers. Some speculative new construction has not done well.

Anecdotally, my neighbors sold their duplex condo for $35K more than they paid just under two years ago. My personal listings in Ravenswood have sold well and I've been happily surprised by some of the numbers condos are getting in my four block radius. Because I own in the neighborhood, I really don't need statistics to see the value here. I'm in and out of these homes and know what people are buying here and why.
Ravenswood offers two Brown Line stops, a Metra stop, east bus lines, parks and is in the middle of the Lincoln Square and Andersonville entertainment and shopping districts. It's a 10 minute bike ride to Wrigley Field, which I ride often.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mobile Blogging from the South Loop

Quick shot of one of my favorite South Loop eateries on South Wabash at 13th Street.

Zapatista has the best Fajita dinner I've had in Chicago. I know, crappy camera phone picture. We ate under the canopy... safe from the rain that rolled in.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Do You Like the Andersonville Growth in Chicago?

I've been out of the country and felling a little home sick. I read this story about Andersonville's growth in the Tribune and thought it was pretty good. I live just a block from the "west" border of Andersonville at North Ravenswood Avenue and my family frequents North Clark Street weekley.
Here's Ryne eating at the Kopi last winter.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Can You Rent Out Your Chicago Condo?

Several recent real estate dealings of mine in Chicago got me thinking about rentals. Can you rent out your condo? If you don't know, you either didn't work with a Realtor or your trusted agent didn't help with due dilligence.

As we speak, I've sold a client's condo in East Lakeview to an investor buyer. My client decided not to rent it out herself and listed her place with me. But she knew that the by-laws of her condo association allowed her, or a new owner, to rent the condo out. You must simply follow the association rule governing renting the condo out. East Lakeview is a great place to own a condo and rent it out. The demand is very high from young professionals and artisits to live near Lake Michigan and local retail.

The buyer's scrutinized the fact that the condo association allows rentals... even though it was written in black and white. We also furnished statements from the management and the Board President. Of course, this COULD one day change... but there is a huge process. The Board has to put a by-law amendmant on the agenda, give owners ample notice of a vote, and OWNERS have to pass it on a super majority. I don't want my option to rent my condo restricted. How about you? Its tough to amend the by-laws in most cases.

Here's a piece of legislation via that I'm for. It may limit stingy condo associations from restricting owners from renting units out in their building.

Friday, June 06, 2008

South Loop Open House: Two Bed Plus Den, Garage Parking

125 East 13th Street #703 in South Loop open Saturday 6/7/08 from 11AM to 2PM

It may rain tomorrow, so why not visit a sweet condo in South Loop?

North city views, upgraded and sophisticated. The building is on a corner lot at Indiana and 13th Street steps to the lake. There is a true restaurant district at
13th and Wabash a block away. The Jewel is ther too. Gotta love the Jewel.

New Whole Foods and the big box shopping district just west on W Roosevelt.

I'll be on the terrace, hanging out.

More Views at North Pond Cafe, Lincoln Park

The great city views at 125 East 13th Street reminded me of some other digital shots left on my camera.

Here's a nice shot of the pond at North Pond Cafe on the grounds of Lincoln Park. You have to walk up from Cannon Drive... no cars allowed.

Jillian and I usually grab a drink on Clark Street, walk down West Deming Place and catch the Lincoln Park skyline before dinner.

We met friends... and of course me and the other dude wore jeans (business casual and up is recommended). Last time with the parents I was a little more respectable with slacks and jacket. The girls looked the part.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

South Loop Class: New Listing in Museum Park Lofts

My very favorite clients are selling a classy South Loop condo at Museum Park Lofts I. This two bedroom plus den home has full bedroom walls for privacy and many upgrades. The unobstructed north views of the city speak for themselves.
Vital stats include two bedrooms, den, two baths, garage parking, elevators, fitness room and storage.

My photos are terrible here... you have to see it live.

BUT, check out the colors and style. Very warm and inviting. My wife and I have visited for dinner. It's just one of those homes where you want to live in the minute you step in. I'm selling this, but that's the truth. It's also located steps to the lake and on the hot 13th and Wabash restauraunt district. More details to come, but take a peek. This goes to market this week.

The unit has upgraded tile, cabinets and oak flooring. New track lighting for art work was added througout. The master suite was opened up creating much better flow. Gas fireplace with marble surround, ceiling fans, 11 foot concrete ceilings, and a wide gallery hall. The master bath has double bowl vanity, soaking tub and separate shower. The second bath has an enormous pedestal sink and steam shower.

$399,000 plus $35,000 for garage parking. This is really well priced for the location, city and lake views and condition of the home. The assessment is only $316.00 which includes HEAT, water, GAS, spacious fitness room, garage, common insurance, water and maintenance.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Hip River West Townhouse with Two Car Garage

I have clients looking to be near downtown for under $500,000. They need decent space, garage parking and better than avaerage outdoor space.

Condos in this price-point anywhere near downtown can get pretty boring. I found a townhome I really like in River West at 943 W Huron, Unit D. My friends lived in this same location and biked downtown in no time to work. There is still some cool edgey places to hang out mixed in with the standards... close to Bucktown and Wicker Park too.

The agent Julie Varones wrote the following description:

This wonderful contemporary townhome has 3 bedrooms & 3.5 baths! Professionally decorated with custom window treatments, lighting & paint. Kitchen has been updated with Brand NEW Kitchenaid Appliances, granite counters, subway tile backsplash & 42" white cabinetry. All bedrooms are quite spacious. The master bedroom takes up the entire top floor and includes california closets and spa master bath with 2 person jacuzzi. There are 2 outdoor locations: large top floor terrace & deck.Tandem garage with plenty of room for storage. Close to blue line train and shopping!


New Listing in Albany Park...Close to the CTA Brown Line

I listed a top floor two bedroom, one bath with a great deck, sunroom and FULL private basement exclusive to the condo. Assigned parking is included. It's located in the Albany Park neighborhood, steps to the CTA Kimball Brown Line stop. It's also just as close to the new Kedzie stop entrance.

You can walk to Ravenswood manor or take a 7 minute train ride to the Western stop in Linclon Square.

Check out the V-Tour here:

View some details and more photos here: