Saturday, February 28, 2009

Uptown Open House Sunday 12PM to 3PM: Three Bedroom Townhouse $325,000

My clients have made a large price reduction on this three bedroom, two and one-half baths townhouse located steps from the lake, CTA Redline, bars and restaurants. I have had two second showings at the old price of $349K... this is a low price for this market. Not a short sale, easy closing.
860 W Lakeside Unit C
Asking $325,000!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lincoln Square Loft for Sale: Off Market, Not Yet Listed

Here's a sneak peek of a new listing at 4751 N Artesian. It's located just a block from the Lincoln Square retail center with it's awesome restaurants, bars and Giddings Plaza. Walk to the Rockwell or Western Brown Line trains in just minutes.

You also enjoy leafy, serene Ravenswood Gardens and Ravenswood Manor along the Chicago River.

Some details include:
New Construction in 2004-2005 offered at $299,900
Two bedroom

Two full bath

Hardwood floors

Deeded Garage Parking $30K

Elevator building

Upgraded Kitchen with Italian cherry cabinets, GE Profile appliances

True dining area

Large master suite with double bowl vanity sink

Attractive gas fireplace

11 foot ceiling height

Open floor plan

There is very little to nothing offered under $350,000 in the heart of Lincoln Square with all these features. This home is like new.

Please contact me for a showing prior to going to the open market.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Free Canoe When Buying 7641 North Eastlake Terrace, Rogers Park


While looking for comparables along Lake Michigan in Rogers Park, I saw this quote with the accompanying photo in the agent remarks... Gotta a love a Realtor trying to get it done for her clients.

Who needs a parking space when you can paddle up?

Green House Update in Ravenswood

Check out the update photos of Yannell House and post I wrote for

Where are the Chicago New Construction Condo Sales?

Jeff Baird offers some interesting condo statistics and analysis as a guest authour at

In his latest post linked above, he looks at the concentartion of new construction condos sales in Chicago. I added in the comments section that Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, Andersonville and Northcenter will reamin viable for new construction condos in the future as supply of quality units dwindles from our current mess. It should also be noted that the core neighborhoods that can dominate condo sales are also zoned for mid-rise and high-rise buildings.

Price Reduced: Lakeview Luxury Condo with Rooftop Deck

The price of this top floor two bedroom, two bath Lakeview condo with rooftop deck has been reduced to $639,900. The interior is flawless and the finish choice excellent.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More Chicago Short Sale Fun: Do Not Enter!

My contractor Jonathan Hill of Artistic Construction was a little more curious than I of the contents therein.

This is not an easy gig.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Media Coverage: Eric Rojas Quoted on Social Media

I was interviewed and included in last Friday's Chicago Tribune Real Estate section on social networking in real estate. As you know, I've been blogging and using creative Internet marketing for four years. This year, there has been an explosion of stories concerning "social networking" as an agent.
Unfortunately, the critics and advisers like to tell us the "Dos and Dont's" and are way too conservative. They like to tell us what's appropriate and professional. What the advisers fail to tell us is their personal experience and monetary success when blogging and using sites like

I'm proud to say that I can directly attribute at least $3 million in sales last year alone to clients that contacted me off my blog. I wonder what the critics and advisers think about that?

This is Your Chicago Short Sale...

This is your Chicago short sale on mold

My contractor and I have been out on the prowl again looking for investment properties. We like the upside of Avondale due to it's proximity to the Belmont Blue Line station, access to highways and retail development. It is an easy commute to downtown.

The above house is pretty close to the high way... and we ruled it a tear down. The floor plan has been really torn up and the house is consumed with mold. Somehow it was sold for over $400,000 a few years ago on a less then desirable block. It's listed now around $160,000. There is no way this house was ever really worth over $400,000...ever. Never ever. I have clients who live just south of here in Avondale in $400K houses, and they are really nice houses.

Famous Illinois Prairie grass

Scenes from the North Ravenswood Ave Loft Corridor 60640

The courtyard of a development on the 5800 block of North Ravenswood Avenue.

I went loft shopping with clients this weekend along Ravenswood. I've mentioned on this site several times how I'd love to live along the Ravenswood Avenue corridor from Irving to Peterson... here's just a few few shots from the weekend I managed to take. I forget to take more photos when I'm working... but you get an idea of the aesthetic here on a cold wintry day. There are some excellent choices from $230,000 for a one bedroom up to $400,000 for a 1500 plus sq/ft two bed, two bath with garage parking.

Urban as it gets... looking out at the Metra tracks

Converted warehouses dot the Ravenswood corridor

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Boss Same as the Old Boss: Old Town Parking

A shot on Wells Street north of North Avenue in Old Town last Sunday. It's a pretty tough stretch to park and I got my first taste of the new meter rates.
$2.00 an hour on this one.

Guest Author on Yo Chicago

As if I had not enough to do this spring... check out my guests posts at

I'm honored to park some blog posts on the quality site... with many happy hits!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Patina for Furniture and Art in Ravenswood

I stopped in at Patina in Ravenswood this weekend at 4907 N Damen in Chicago (finally) and met the owner Alan Shull. The store has been there almost a year and a half now. He definitely carries furniture and art that I'm interested in and my house is only two blocks it's a bit ridiculous I have not been in previously.

Maybe it was my Paris visit last fall, but I was attracted to this original hand made sign by Alan himself.

Thanks Alan... and with a few more closings this spring I may be able to pick out a few favorites from the store.

Check out the reviews at Apartment Therapy

First Time Buyer $8,000 Credit Features No Re-payment

Take a look at the new first time buyer $8,000 credit now effective as of January 1st of this year.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the old program and new program from the Chicago Association of Realtors...just released.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Progress on New Construction Condos on North Ravenswood Avenue

I think these will be three bedroom units from about $500000-$600000 (maybe more for top level with rooftop decks).

It appears the exterior doors and windows leading to the monster front terraces have been installed. The interior block and brick have some framing done from what I can see. However, It seems like progress seems a little slow for these mystery higher end condos. No advertising up as of yet and I can't find anything on the Internet.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Before and After Fun: Budget Renovation to Sell

A couple days earlier I talked about preparing a listing. Here's a couple before and afters from a listing hitting the market this week.

This family bathroom in my lovely vintage home listing needed some help. The vinyl baseboard was in bad shape (I know, vinyl baseboard+bad shape is redundant). The walls needed repair and sanding, mirror and light fixture needed updating...toilet was a grey color and old. Help. For most baths I also recommend re-caulking everything and re glazing the tub if needed. Floor and entire vanity could have gone as well.

The clients only had a $1200.00 budget and the work was going to be done by a professional... not time for DIY and the finished product would not look as good anyway. The entire wish list including floor and vanity would have been $3000.00

We came up with a plan... repair, sand and paint the walls in a lush off white. This let the current counter top, vanity and floor blend in. Bath was caulked professionally. Baseboards were replaced (huge difference), mirror and light fixture were replaced. Toilet was replaced, clutter moved into the vanity storage and towel and paper fixtures were moved around.

What do you think? Nothing beats seeing the real thing... you don't see the real close up before and after detail in photos.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Pitchers and Catchers Report to Spring Training

I once again know there is order on this Earth

I think being a Cub fan my entire life has prepared me for the delayed gratification that comes with this gig. I have a short memory when it comes to sales disappointments and an even shorter memory when it comes to Chicago Cubs (although, I remember sitting through the last two years' home play-off losses like they were yesterday!).

A Few Words on Preparing a Listing to Sell

One of the most important things I can do as a listing agent is suggest home improvements before your property goes to market. Depending on "what you got" versus "what people are getting" for the money, you'll need to make renovations and additions that will command a purchase offer. Sometimes, you'll need to make the improvements just to sell the place, no matter the offer.

This is the most difficult part of my career. I'm asking you, Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner to spend some money. It's sensitive. You may have been in the home for a long time and differ in what you consider acceptable for the market. However, there are always basics... like de-cluttering (hate that word), painting (best bang for the buck), cleaning up and renovating the bath to some extent (clean, crisp bath equals offer from buyer), staging furniture, deep cleaning of the house, physical repairs and lighting. It's work.

In most cases, some improvements need to be done. I routinely offer a two part plan: First, coming up with a list and budget for improvements and; Second, hiring the contractor and getting my own hands dirty in the process.

Just last night my contractor finished a bath renovation on a shoestring budget while I tossed furniture around and hid kids toys. We have a photo shoot of the house later this morning and I do what it takes. When the house goes to market, we're in it together.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This Charming Man(sion)

For $1,490,000 on Burling St. in Lincoln Park, you can buy this charming facade and...

...this "charming" mural.

I think the above photo is the Italian side of the Alps. We see lovely grapevines on a trestle leading to what looks like a Roman fountain.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chicago Mansion for a Single?

I just read this on a $7.9M single family home listing in our MLS system (now called Midwest Real Estate Data). Once in awhile, something catches my eye...


In the agent remarks, which the general public can't see, the agent goes on to say:


Monday, February 09, 2009

Slow Start in Lincoln Square?

Pictured is Giddings Plaza... have home sales thawed in Lincoln Square?

I was looking at single family homes for my family this weekend and noticed that there are about 52 active homes from $450,000 to $1,500,000 in the Lincoln Square neighborhood code on the MLS. Currently, 6 homes are under contract this early spring season. 3 homes just came on the market this week new, with the lower end homes being priced much more competitively. The high-end at $1,499,000 is a re-tread new construction from last year at about the same price.

I also saw that two single family homes closed in the last 30 days.

Would You Buy a House in Bowmanville?

The house pictured is at 1908 W Farragut and is listed at $885,000. The listing says "fenced yard", but alas... no yard. There is a deck off the family room and a garage roof deck. No yard is a deal killer for me. Beautiful house, tricked out with a terrific layout; a winner if you don't need the yard work.

I enjoy finding single family home values in my immediate area for clients and myself. This weekend, I took a look at a few of the many Sunday Open Houses in Bowmanville. I've only been in my current Ravenswood duplex for a couple years, but with the way things are shaping up for all buyers- and with a second kid on the way-I might jump in on a single family home sooner than expected.

Bowmanville, a North Side Chicago neighborhood, is much overlooked by city couples looking for a long term single family home. Ever hear of it? How about Andersonville, Ravenswood and Lincoln Square? Got you attention now? Bowmanville is adjacent to these three popular neighborhoods but priced at least 10%-20% lower for comparable homes.

Single family home sales in Bowmanville (roughly bordered by West Foster Ave to Rose Hill Cemetery and North Ashland Avenue to North Western Avenue) have remained strong. The area usually sells it's homes close to list price and under average market times for Chicago.

This area offers move-in quality single family homes on standard Chicago lots from about $450,000 to about $1,000,000. A look at the current market shows 8 active homes for sale and 3 under contract this early spring season. With a good contractor or Do-It-Yourself skills, a solid home can be purchased for even less. The lowest priced "move in" home is $499K (on a 30X125 over sized lot) and the the highest priced is $950,000. 3 homes are already under contract this early spring season.

Read more about Bowmanville by clicking the link.

There are a serious amount of amenities within walking distance: The huge and activity filled Winnemac Park, West Andersonville and Andersonville eateries and shops, Lincoln Square retail and restaurants and easy access to two major grocery stores.

A five minute drive or bike ride will drop you at the Ravenswood Metra station or the Damen Brown Line stop.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

5 Facts about the $15,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit

Pictured is Main Street in Evanston, Illinois. Main Street USA might get a boost next week.

This was an email sent to me by one my mortgage lenders at RWF Wells Fargo Mortgage. Ken's contact info is below.

On Wednesday the Senate passed an amendment that will include a $15,000 home purchasing tax credit in the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 for anyone buying a primary residence within the one year period from the time this bill is passed.
It is important to note that this bill has not passed yet but many potential buyers are asking questions in regards to this tax break. I've included some links that divulge the details of the home buyer tax credit amendment. Here are some of the basics:

1. The tax credit is the lesser of 10% of the home price or $15,000 and can be spread equally over 2 tax years.


2. The housing tax credit can be used for purchases of primary residences only…no investment properties or second homes.

3. The home purchase can be an existing home, a newly constructed home, or a bank foreclosure home…but the purchase must be completed within 1 year of the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009.

4. The home buyer does NOT have to be a “first time home buyer” to qualify for this housing tax credit, unlike housing stimulus based tax credits from last year.

5. This 2009 housing tax credit does NOT have to be repaid to the government unlike the $7,500 first time home buyer tax credit from last year UNLESS you cease to make it your primary residence within the first 24 months (i.e.. sell within 2 years).
This is great news for home buyers; if it passes.

Please let me know if you or your clients have any questions.

Take care,

Kenneth B. Dickerson
Mortgage Consultant
RWF Mortgage, LLC An Affiliate Of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage MAC M3241-011
2663 N Halsted Street Chicago, IL 60614
Tel 773-572-6590
Fax 312-882-1866