Thursday, April 30, 2009

5 Reasons to Live in Northeast Albany Park

Yes, there is a northeast portion of Albany Park distinct from the rest of Albany Park. This is due to a great amount of infrastructure and amenity. Here's 5 reasons to live within the boundaries of 4600 N (W. Wilson) -5200 (W. Foster) and 3000 W (N. Sacramento) -3400 W (N.Kimball) in Albany Park (besides being adjacent to Ravenswood Manor and close to Lincoln Square):

1. Transportation. This area boasts several CTA Brown Line stops at Kimball, Kedzie and Francisco within walking distance. If you are located on the Northern border of Foster Avenue, the Foster bus will take you where you need to go. A bus line on Lawrence is also very convenient to Lincoln Square or all the way to the lake. It's also easy to get out to the highways just west.

2. Proximity to North Park University and Northeastern Illinois University. These are two respected schools that allow you to progress your professional and creative life... right in your neighborhood! Both have real quads and that special felling of academia and student life.

3. Coffee and groceries. Plenty of major (Starbucks) and local (Beans and Bagels) coffee shops and local grocery stores like Harvest Time on Lawrence and Andy's Fruit Ranch on Kedzie. When I lived in the neighborhood, my wife an I saved a lot of money walking to these stores, rather than driving to Jewel. We always spend more at Jewel!

4. The Parks. River Park between Lawrence and Foster is packed with amenities. Awesome track, tennis courts, huge outdoor pool, kids' water playground, ball fields and a river path that connects to Legion Park across Foster... and all the way to Evanston.

5. Home prices. Even with the great amount of infrastructure and amenity, home prices have dipped to very affordable levels when compared to average incomes. The median price of a move-in quality single family home in this section of the neighborhood is under $400,000. There is a diverse stock of condos, single family homes and two and three-flats in all kinds of conditions and prices. From fully renovated to distressed property opportunities for investors and handyman owners.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ravenswood, Lincoln Square Single Family Homes Sales Hot in First Quarter 2009?

Despite the April chill in the weather, single family home sales in Ravenswood and Lincoln Square remain a stable. The photo above was taken at an open house I stopped during the last snowfall of the year (nice kitchen but still on the market at $700,000).

Eleven single family homes closed in the first quarter, just two off of the 2008 numbers. More surprising is the median price was up three percent.

Over the last four months in the greater core of the Ravenswood, Lincoln Square neighborhoods located between West Montrose Avenue (4400N) to West Foster Avenue (5200N) and North Ashland Avenue (1600W) to North Western Avenue (2400W) there are about 29 single family homes for sale from $400,000 and up ($400,000 represents a price where move-in homes start). Over the same four months, there have been eleven closings. Even more positive, there are currently eight homes under contract.

29 available home vs. 19 sold or under contract is not bad.

The median price of sold homes is $632,500 according the Midwest Real Estate Data LLC.

5 Must Know Mortgage Topics for Chicago

Brian Cumpton of RWF, Wells Fargo weighs in...

1. Media Information. Know that some information given by the Media, whether online, written publications, or television, could be incorrect. Guidelines and programs have been changing since the Mortgage Market took a major turn in August of 2007. Media outlets often give inaccurate or just wrong information that may pertain to your transaction. Be a wise Buyer or Seller, and have a good relationship with the Mortgage Banker. They will be able to educate you about the current market and what is accessible.

2. FHA’s 3.5% Down Payment program increases Loan Amounts. 3-4 Flats may require a higher down payment than 3.5% depending on the Gross Rents of the property. FHA has raised loan limits for all of 2009, but must close by December 31st, to the following amounts:

- 1 Units $417,000 - 2 Units $533,850 - 3 Units $645,300 - 4 Units $801,950
Buyers can now purchase a higher priced home with the less up front through the end of 2009.

3. 1st Time Buyer Tax Credit for 2009. Receive up to an $8,000 tax credit if you’re a 1st time buyer. A 1st time buyer is defined as a buyer that has not owned a property in the past 3 years and has not filed any real estate deductions. This is available regardless of any mortgage program a buyer chooses.

4. Renovation Lending is red hot. Buyers are renovating property today at an accelerated amount. Due to a higher number of foreclosures and reduced prices within the market, buyers are choosing to renovate the home when purchasing with renovation financing... all in one transaction. Renovation financing will recognize the higher value based on the Cost Breakdown of the work and the Comparable Sales in the area. These programs are a great way to upgrade the home while using renovation financing to limit the up front expenses.

5. Mortgage Rates are at historic lows. With today’s Buyer’s Market and with historically low interest rates, buyers are in the drivers seat. With home affordability coming back into normal ranges, it’s realistic for today’s buyer to have more buyer power. Take advantage of this market.

Please click on for questions and lending options.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lincoln Square Open House Sunday 4/26/09: Two Bed, Two Bath with Garage Parking

I'll host an open house Sunday 4/26/09 from 12 Noon until 3PM at 4751 N Artesian #308.Two bed, Two Bath modern soft loft with Garage Parking in an Elevator building.

View More Information and Photos HERE

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lincoln Square First Quarter Condo Unit Sales Down 61%

A stunning number for steady Lincoln Square. First quarter total unit sales went from 72 units in 2008 to just 28 sales in the first quarter of 2009. A 61% drop. Median price was down 11% to $269,500 from 302,500 in 2008. And yet, I still lost two multiple offers in the neighborhood. The Lincoln Square area includes about half of popular Ravenswood and the Ravenswood Gardens neighborhoods.

The story is much the same in most of Chicago's top tier neighborhoods. Lincoln Park unit sales were down 59% first quarter 2008 to 2009 with a median price drop of 6%.

Despite greater buying power with generally lower prices and low interest rates, sellers hanging on to asking prices in top tier neighborhoods coupled with consumer worries and job loss tanked the first quarter. My prediction during the "Winter of Doom" was for a later buying season in 2009 (maybe a more active fall) if interest rates stay consistently low and buyers feel like their personal situations have stabilized. We shall see.

Then again if you needed your stock portfolio to buy a house....

For other neighborhood statistics or analysis, please contact me directly.

Statistics gathered from the Chicago Association of Realtors and Midwest Real Estate Data LLC.

Chicago Voucher Program for Renters and Owners

Yesterday I wrote short post pointing out the Rogers Park two and three-flat investment market. Living in these buildings as an owner operator and participating in the city voucher program can be a wise move financially. But it's not an easy move.

First, there is city red tape to deal with. Some "red tape" is good like the checklist for owners... responsible landlords will improve a neighborhood. Check out the Owner's Guide to the program HERE.

Second, maintenance and turn -over (vacancy) in the units are unknown costs... you have to have a plan to deal with these irregular spurts of income and expenses. Finding good tenants who care for the property while living there is tough for any landlord.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Investment Three-Flats in Rogers Park

There has been a wave of movement and purchases in the three to four-flat market in Rogers Park. From several short-sales to auctions to conventional transactions, high rental income from voucher recipients have made these buildings attractive.

My contractor recently invested in a fully rented three flat. he's the type of guy made for this type of real estate investment. He can actually manage his own buildings and um... fix things.

Here's Ryne inspecting the goods. He's got our best interest in mind.

A fully rented three-flat building in good shape with voucher program eligibility will average about $400,000 depending on rental income.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just Sold! Printer's Row Soft Loft at 520 South State Street in Loop Location

What a great time to buy your first home! We just scored a great deal for one of our first-time buyers over at Library Tower in Printer's Row, 520 South State Street.

The developer, Lennar Chicago, Inc, sales office is busier than ever and I can understand why given all the special incentives which(for a limited time) even includes garage parking. The building is finished and approaching, if not surpassed the 50% sold mark. Each unit boasts top of the line finishes, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, in-unit washer/dryer, huge balconies and super building amenities like a roof deck, gym, party room, theater room, business center and 24/7 doorman.

Close to the CTA Red Line, 290/94 and 4 University Campuses, this property is great for owner or investor.

Contact me, Bob DePalma at 773 572 4402 or Eric Rojas at 773 572 4646 for a showing!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not Yet Listed! Albany Park, North Park Location for $189,900

Here's another great bargain coming on the market for sale in the next week. 4966 N Spaulding #1 is a two bedrooms, one and one-half baths corner condo just steps from the beautiful North Park University campus. You can reach out and touch it.
The condo has a great split bedroom layout good for roommates. Huge windows, upgraded kitchen and baths, storage and large laundry closet.

Please contact me for more information.. I can show the unit now.

This is an underestimated great location with many amenities. Walk to the CTA Brown Line train, terrific Swedish Tre Kroner Restaurant, Starbucks, new Jimmy Johns, North Park University, Northeastern Illinois University and more. This means great libraries, cafes and resources outside your door. Enjoy the fantastic River Park with it's riverside path that connects you all the way to Evanston! The park also has a "water park" and huge pool that's our favorite place to take our son.

North Park University and a small downtown strip are unique to 4966 N Spaulding.

Buy this condo and you'll become addicted to brunch at Tre Kroner!

Off Market: Lakefront Condo in Rogers Park for Under $200,000

I'll list this two bedroom, two bath condo with a parking space at 1140 W Morse, Chicago IL on the MLS within a week or so for $195,900. Features include a large master bath, marble surround in each shower, a walk-in laundry and utility closet, gallery hallway, good closet space, nice sized bedrooms and parking space.

1140 Morse is just steps from the lake and Loyola Park. Awesome, quiet location with several restaurants and coffee shops to walk to including Leona's (with it's outdoor cafe just across the street!), Starbucks, Giordano's Pizza, Chipotle, The Morseland and more. . Close to the Morse CTA Red Line stop and walking distance to Loyola University.

The lake is the main draw. One block away on your cul-de-sac street and your at the beach. You have a lake view stepping out of your door each day!

The 1100 West Block of Morse is dotted with beautiful homes and center entrance multi-units. The block has a low density and is very peaceful.

Great Location!

Buena Park on the Lakefront: $169,000 with Perks

I'll have several properties for sale on Chicago's lake front this spring and summer. Here's the first in the series.

This one bedroom condo is located at 4250 N Marine Drive in Buena Park adjacent to the historic estates on streets such as Hutchinson and Hazel. At 900 plus square feet and for under $169,900 and a $400 assessment which covers heat, maintenance, awesome 24 hour doorman crew and updated large fitness room, you can live the lake front lifestyle.

Montrose Harbor is across the street along with the Sidney R. Marovitz golf course. You can run, bike, swim, play tennis, sail... Catch the express bus to downtown.

To enjoy Chicago to it's fullest for under $200,000.... live on the lake.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ravenswood Business Networking: Neurologic and Orthopedic Hospital of Chicago

This notice is a little late due to my holiday weekend absence, but please contact the Chamber if you're interested in attending.

After Hours Networking Event
Date: Thursday, April 16Time: 5:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.
Location: Neurologic and Orthopedic Hospital of Chicago, 4501 North Winchester Complementary valet parking provided.
Sponsored and hosted by the Neurologic and Orthopedic Hospital of Chicago
NO COST to chamber members (members are encouraged to bring a guest free of charge). Non-members: $20 per person Enjoy appetizers, wine and soft drinks while networking with your neighbors in the Ravenswood business community.

Please R.S.V.P. your attendance to the chamber at 773-561-5225 or by April 13th.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Deal of the Week: West Loop Timber Loft for Less at 1040 W Adams

My deal of the week is a $229,900 junior one bedroom loft at 1040 W Adams, Unit #457. I really like the No. Ten Lofts look and amenities.

This is an elevator building with a gorgeous lobby.

Unit #457 was reduced to $229,900 last week making it one of the more affordable ways to live in an amenity building this close to your downtown gig. 24 hour doorman, excellent fitness room and it has one of the coolest common lounges I've seen complete with bar and courtyard terrace.

The timber loft condo includes attached garage parking and a large storage cage.

The investor unit is now vacant and ready to close quick.

This building just has a great vibe. Please contact me for a complete MLS listing for the condo.

Unique Northcenter Single Family Home: 4310 N Leavitt

My buddy Greg just listed a unique property. It's a detached single family home that shows wonderfully... for $469,000. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms and that all important extra living space in a lower-level family room and office. Parking and great deck too.
Because it's priced with many condos and town homes, I felt like pointing out this alternative. Your own house!

This is a great spot close to Welles Park and the Lincoln Square strip of restaurants, bars and culture. Sulzer Library is around the corner too.