Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Yannell House in Ravenswood on WTTW's Chicago Tonight

Our Ravenswood neighborhood celebrity Michael Yannell and his Zero Net Energy home were featured last night in a great piece on WTTW's Chicago Tonight.

Click HERE to watch the video.
I thought several details were interesting , but was most surprised that the new construction home will "only" have two bathrooms. I've for years wished developers and owners would build smaller homes with more outdoor space on standard lots and incorporate the outdoor setting (such as the courtyard here).

Mr. Yannell may also become higer profile as the new Sears/Metra parking lot development may cast a shadow on his solar panels...who doesn't hate when that happens? Also, see the many comments here about the proposed retail and residential...

Visit Mr. Yannell's web site at

My past posts on the house:

Anybody Like This?

Those columns...they ain't Monticello.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ravenswood Patriot

I just love this door... leads the way to a well established loft building on Winnemac.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pleasantville on Paulina: Edgewater Single Family Homes

The grass is greener, the landscaping is neater and each house is painted a pastel color. The quiet tree lined street of Paulina off the corner of Rosehill in the Edgewater neighborhood, just seems to have an aura of serenity and aptness. Each of these newly constructed, single family homes seems very committed in keeping up a pleasing appearance.

I was finally able to get inside one of these gorgeous houses this Sunday during an open house at 5815 N. Paulina. Listed at $766,200, this four bedroom, three and half bath, with two garage parking spots included is very well priced. Why? Two very similar listings at 1645 and 1647 Rosehill both closed this month at $820,000 and $849,000. Not only is a beautiful home, with a inviting kitchen, a great room with a fireplace and full lower level family room.

The neighborhood is located just three blocks from the teaming Andersonville retail district with a fantastic furniture stores, bars, terrific restaurants and friendly community.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

NIMBY or Not, Ravenswood Development Ruffles Feathers

We've already had a lot of discussion since the community meeting surrounding Ravenswood Station, a planned development at Lawrence and Ravenswood.

The meeting went like this:

Crossroads Development Partners picks totally wrong guy to present the development... think Ferris Bueller's teacher's voice, but the guy's a lawyer who doesn't know how to use a microphone. (The people already ticked off...) Say a couple quick words about the 11 story tower... move on to some other stuff (the people upset about those quick words on the 11 story tower).

I think we all like the row houses here, but when you see the renderings of the tower, it's depicted small in scale and only 9 stories vs. the 11 stories they want to build.

Bring in the 30 year retail grocer veteran who shows us a bunch of relatively lousy photos of what the "Roundy's" grocery store will look like... this went on way to long and made little sense.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who was thinking the store photos looked a little dark and shitty... it was a little bizarre.

Bring up the Sears guy to talk about the renovation of the store... pleasant, the people like, doesn't go over too badly, nothing but good.

The people have their say... WTF is with that tower? Short notice on the community meeting for sure... Move the Metra train in front of my building? What about the traffic that will increase on Wolcott? Who will live in all those units? Trucks?

With the current information provided by the alderman and developers, this project stands as a big no for the majority of the community; NIMBY of not.

In all fairness, I'm for density around transportation hubs... but residents are not ready for the scale and unknowns of this tower. The residential is not slated to be built for several years (when the market picks up). I've also commented that the retail might need the density of a tower to exist, so no tower may mean no grocery store.

We all want a grocery store. I'd have to imagine a small meats and produce store along the lines of Olivia's in Bucktown, except with more staples and less gourmet, would do great on Damen... and we wouldn't need a tower to support it. You could also do something small like Andy's or Harvest Time in Albany Park... but more upscale in that lot with the row houses. I'm sure that would not make any money, but it would make a lot of sense.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Logan Square at Kedzie and Fullerton Offers New Construction Under $300,000

If you need the CTA Blue Line and want a comfortable new or "newer" construction condo, you might consider Logan Square near the North Kedzie and West Fullerton intersection.

The intersection is two blocks from the CTA Logan Square Blue Line stop and the Boulevard shops and restaurants.

I just represented a client of mine in a huge two bedroom, two bathroom new construction condo for under $250,000. The location is perfect for his commute downtown to law school. The condo has a split floor-plan perfect for a room-mate situation.

We found a great deal at 3225 W Fullerton...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Saturday Open House in Lincoln Square: Condo Loft!

I'm out showing property in the morning in West Loop then it's time for an Open House Saturday 3/21/09 at my busiest listing in Lincoln Square.

4751 N Artesian #308 open Saturday from 1PM to 4PM. Asking $299,900 plus $30K deeded Garage Parking.

2 beds, 2 full baths, elevator, garage, built in 2004, 11ft ceilings!

Check out the details and some pics HERE

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ravenswood New Development in Sears/Metra Parking Lot

A grocery store in the heart of Ravenswood?!

Proposed development site east of Sears on Lawrence.

Thanks to neighborhood tipsters Dan and Sarah for sending me information on the Community Meeting this Tuesday March 24th, 7:00PM at McPherson Elementary 4728 N Wolcott Ave (proof of residency required if vote is taken). Please contact the 47th Ward for details at 773-348-8400.

I first heard about the latest push to get this deal done from Alderman Schulter awhile back at a Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce networking event. The meeting will contribute to its progress.

The Ravenswood Metra stop across from the proposed development is wanting for a new station.

Excuse me while I spaz on this one. The Rojas family is breathless in anticipation of the mixed use development plans located at the Metra/Sears parking lot at West Lawrence and North Ravenswood in the Ravenswood neighborhood. The online plans show a grocery store and fitness center in the retail spaces. Awesome. Just awesome. We'll NEVER move.

Please attend the meeting on March 24th.

4.5% Mortgage Interest Rate a Possibility

A Ravenswood house just got more affordable...

The Federal Open Market Committee released statements from their meeting the last two days that could mean another low dip in mortgage interest rates. This was predicted by my bankers in December when Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac was bailed out.
Over the two months following that move, interest rates dipped at times below 5%. Some of my clients (and me) were able to lock in refinance rates under 5% or near it.

The latest move will create this opportunity again for refinance and purchases at favorable rates. As usual, I recommend teaming with a quality mortgage banker if you are considering a purchase to prepare for financing. And secondly, team with me to really understand the segment of the housing market you are interested in.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ravenswood to Host Casino Night

The Ravenswood Community Council, Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce and Alderman Gene Schulter's office will sponsor a casino night at 2014 W Belle Plaine Avenue this Thursday night March 19th from 6:00PM to 10:00PM. The $50.00-$65.00 dollar tickets include food, beverages and funny money to play with. There are great prizes to win... sports tickets, restaurant packages and more.

I think this is a great idea. The Chamber has been hosting some excellent networking events that offer informative speakers and opportunities to grow in the neighborhood. However, this is a terrific event for the residents particularly. I know many who like gaming and this is a less risky venture for sure. It's a good way to mix with our senior residents as well. All ages can compete at the card table!

Click here for more information.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's Your Job, Stupid

I saw a Trulia.com "American Dream" survey cited in the Chicago Tribune "House and Homes" section (still like the old "real estate" section and content) concerning home buyer motivation.

A few findings:
76% of Americans feel owning a home is part of their "American Dream"
58% of Midwestern respondents felt job creation and job security were the number one thing President Obama could do to restore confidence in the housing market.

If you believe Mr. Obama will increase your job security, I have a bridge to sell you.

7% felt lower interest rates would restore faith in the housing market.

Peter Flint, CEO of Trulia.com, was quoted as saying, "When people are confident the economy won't get worse, that's when they will get back in (to the housing market)".

Just a few days ago I pointed out this post concerning buyer motivation and my two cents in the comments portion.
Top concerns with my potential clients are jobs and income.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Benefits of Buena Park

Chicago Local Group takes a stroll through Buena Park, Chicago.

Visit the Buena Park photo stream at YoChicago.com

We recently viewed an open house for a new listing for a 2bed/2bath with garage parking at 4331 N Hazel Street, located in the historical Buena Park neighborhood.

Listed a bit aggressively at $399,000, a 13x15 third bedroom was opened up to give the unit great living space. The 1,176 square foot floor plan leads you back to a large 20x17 formal dining room that is attractive to clients with a full dining room set. It's a welcome alternative to the newer, trendy "combo living/dining/kitchen" great room. Can you have a true great room if you don't have a second living room? I digress...

The condo sits just north of the beautiful historical Hutchinson Landmark District of Buena Park and will be walking distance to the controversial Wilson Yard development with access to a new Target and grocery store.

Buena Park offers convenient access to the lake and CTA Redline and buses. Even though the neighborhood offers lakefront living, great transportation and beautiful architecture, large condos are currently a good bargain here when compared to Lakeview to the south or Ravenswood to the west.

Live among historic estates...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Retail Renovation at Montrose and Damen in Ravenswood

Took this shot driving (yes while driving...not illegal) west on Montrose Tuesday. This corner has been one of the few eyesores left in Lovely Ravenswood. I have to do some snooping to see if they have a tenant or if they are renovating to attract some butterflies.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Want To Buy... But Too Feaked Out?

YoChicago.com points out an article concerned with "buyer hesitation" (my quotes) in today's favorable buyers market. It's the economy, stupid.

Check out my comments on the post.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Realtor Mulit-Tasking: From Margate Park to Ravenswood Manor to Albany Park to Dunning

My trusty sidekick went to work with me today. It was my day "home" with Ryne, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Plus, he's a good worker.

We always start our day checking email at breakfast. That's my blankie.

Then we were off to 4250 N Marine Drive in Buena Park to make sure my listing was ready for showing later in the day. Looked great. Rye Guy tried out the reading chair in the master bedroom.

We zipped over to Ravenswood Manor to walk through a friend's two flat... he's thinking of listing.

We then walked a few blocks to Whipple and Leland on the east edge of Albany Park to my two-flat listing coming back on the market next week. We had to meet the floor-plan guy and my photographer.

Ryne chased the cat and inspected the fire place (inoperable).

We swung back home for nap time (I answered calls and emails), then it was hang out time until mom got home.

Quick dinner and off to Portage Park/Dunning for a 7:30PM showing of my house listing.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Buying on Howe and Armitage in Lincoln Park?


Early this week, I met my partner Julie on Howe Street north of Armitage in Lincoln Park. We were evaluating a client's condo in preparation for listing this spring.

The 2000 block of North Howe is a fantastic one way street heading south and is located in the sought after Abraham Lincoln Elementary School district. At the north end of the block is huge Oz Park while Armitage (with its great shops, bars and beautiful people) borders the south end of the block. The street features luxury single family homes selling in the $1,800,000 to $2,600,000 range in the past year on a standard lot (25X125). There is currently a double lot single family home (50X125) for sale for $7,999,000.

Don't be stingy when home shopping on Howe in Lincoln Park... this
double lot newer construction home pictured below is listed at $7,999,000.

A three bedroom, three baths duplex-down condo with garage parking sold at 2004 N Howe in the spring of 2008 for $662,500 (building pictured below). What a terrific single family home alternative located in one of the best school boundaries and a block from Oz Park.

Julie and I were concerned with a two bed, two bath condo with an outdoor parking space. The median price for a two bed, two bath condo with parking east of North Halsted Street and four blocks north and south of Armitage is just over $400,000 according to closed listings in the last 12 months.

You can get that very livable condo in eastern Lincoln Park with much of your needs and wants for about $400,000.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Sunday Open House in Lincoln Square and Portage Park

Sunday Open House Craziness!
I have two new listings hosting open houses this Sunday March 8th. Please note the times.

Lincoln Square Loft with two bedroom, two baths, garage parking and elevator building: $299,900 + $30,000 for deeded garage parking.

Sunday, March 8th from 1PM to 4PM

Portage Park, Dunning Neighborhood Double Lot Single Family Home

Open Sunday March 8th from 12PM to 3PM: $399,900

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mr. Beef Chicago goes to Washington

Here's a shot of the Mr. Beef shop in River North I took a couple weeks ago. It's located next to Green Door Tavern (which I walked into after this photo). These are two must-go-to places in the neighborhood.

Anyway, Mr. Beef went to Washington pleading his case to Congress. It seems that his bank began foreclosure preceedings on his beef shop at 666 N Orleans after some hardship hit the owners. Mr. Beef has cried foul.

This is important to any business owner trying to refinance and receive credit after the banks took in federal tax money.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Evan Williams of Twitter.com on Charlie Rose

Dont be left behind

I'm a nerd who watches the Jim Lehrer Hour, Chicago Tonight and Charlie Rose like some people watch American Idol... religiously. I'm also a nerd smart enough to set up camp blogging four years ago. Not because I was a tech nerd; I'd never blogged or wrote HTML code before. Rather, I had to get found and get an edge in a sea of Realtors.

WatchEvan Williams was on Charlie Rose last week in a terrific interview. He explains how Twitter.com users push the envelope and create new outlets for his invention. I have a Twitter account but have not "employed it" just yet. However, I've been using the same principals he talks about; communicating how people like to communicate and finding new ways to USE the mediums.

I'm far from the first, but I bet I'm an early real estate texter, emailer and certainly blogger. Why? Because clients want to text, email and read blogs.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Doggie Day Care in Edgewater: Good for Gucci!

New team member and contributing blogger David Perkins, Realtor at Rubloff, scopes out amenities in his Edgewater neighborhood.

Many of my clients look for trusted and affordable dog care when looking for a home. As a resident of Edgewater, I was recently introduced to the services of the Bark Bark Club at 5943 N. Broadway. It's conveniently located about a half a block north from the Red Line Thorndale stop. I can easily drop off and pick up my dog from doggie day care even with my odd schedule.

With a purchase of a twenty day pass, sixteen dollars a day allows Gucci to play and socialize both inside and out in their two large play areas. They also provide competitive pricing for simple veterinarian services and grooming needs.

You can contact David at the office at 773-572-6511 or email dperkins@rubloff.com