Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wicker Park schools, real estate prices in this video

The Wicker Park neighborhood has had an active real estate market this year compared with some of the more dynamic community areas like Lake View and Lincoln Park.

In this Wicker Park video, we talk a little about neighborhood schools, magnet and private schools along with condo and single family home sales. Unlike what you find in most desired areas of popular Lake View, Lincoln Park and North Center neighborhoods most folks are not moving to Wicker Park for the neighborhood attendance schools. However, there are a few really great magnet schools near the hot Division Street stretch that students may get accepted to.

Check out La Salle, Drummond and Pritzker elementary magnet schools in and around Wicker Park.

Click the "video label" below for more neighborhood and property tours.

Ravenswood Open House: Spacious one bedroom with parking, deck for sale $229,000

Open House at 5008 N Winchester, #2W in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Lincoln Square: Sunday 1PM to 3PM
New gut conversion one bedroom, one bathroom, washer/dryer, deck, parking, central AC/heat and storage. Asking $229,000

My old neighbors are having an open house at their home this Sunday. It's a six unit condo building converted in 2006. It has a great layout and better finishes than most one bedrooms in Lincoln Square and Ravenswood. Check out the photos.

MLS description below:
Parking included! Lincoln Square/Ravenswood loaded 3 year old gut rehab in intimate building. Awesome kitchen with breakfast bar, 42" custom cabinets, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, hardwood floors. Separate dining room and open layout great for entertaining! Upgraded bath w/whirlpool, office area, pre-wired sound & security, 9ft ceilings. Deck off kitchen great for grilling and eating al fresco! 3 blocks to Metra, walk to Damen Brown line, Andersonville fun, steps to huge Winnemac Park.

If you are interested in seeing this home and others in Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, Andersonville or other North Side neighborhoods, please give me a call.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sales: A story of 100 houses in Lincoln Square

At this moment, looking at the last six months sales for single family homes in Lincoln Square Community Area, the MLS (which we're a member of) returns 100 homes sold, under contract or actively listed. It's always nice to get a round number like that.

Taking in the entire area, there were 43 closed Lincoln Square single family homes over the last six months with a median price of $515,000. This includes the furthest northwest boundaries of North Western Avenue and West Peterson Avenue. If you go only as far north as West Foster Avenue boundary, the median closed price jumps to $635,000.

Nine homes are currently under contract with a median price of $450,000.

Of the 48 single family homes active on the market, the median asking price is $599,000.

With median asking and contract prices traditionally lower in the fall and winter months, we can help buy a deal and pick up something nice at Gene's Sausage Shop for your first meal in the house!

Wicker Park duplex condo under contract in less than two weeks

They don't all go this way...

The combination of tip top condition, aggressive price and ability to sell is moving properties in this market. Bob and I developed a strategy to sell this home that yielded multiple offers for 1319 N Bosworth, Unit 1 now under contract less than two weeks on the market. The owners have worked hard to make this a smooth process and so far it's paying off.

Many homes are currently listed well above market prices because the owners simply can't sell for the going rate. In these cases, the homes should not be listed and the owners should be making contingency plans to stay put, rent or make hard decisions if in distress.

View our 1319 N Bosworth property video here

Living near a Lake View firehouse

I took this shot of a classic Chicago neighborhood firehouse in service at West Byron and North Hermitage while looking at two-flats in Lake View. A vintage firehouse like this on your block can be a plus or minus. Of course we like it... just another layer of cool architecture that adds to the aesthetic.

Let's just hope those guys aren't busy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Home selling tips: Leave your sale in move-in condition for buyers

Don't leave your home a mess for the buyer's final walk-through!

My business partner Bob is always preaching "better safe than sorry". We abide by this philosophy from the moment we list a home for sale all the way through to the closing table of the sale. One lesser known and misunderstood aspect of home-buying and selling is the "final walk-through" of the property.

This Week's Tip: When your home goes under contract, clears attorney review, clears the mortgage contingency period and is now ready to close, it is typical the buyers preform a walk-through of the property on the day of closing. They check that everything is working, property undamaged and all items are included per the contract since your move-out.

In most cases, we suggest that sellers patch holes, clean floors, cabinets and windows... and even touch-up paint (if painting is recent) prior to the buyers walk-through. This is not stipulated in many contracts to the letter, however leaving the home in a fresh, move-in condition (and showing effort for your coveted buyers) will leave the right impression for the walk-though and closing.

Assure your buyers are happy going to closing with a little effort. Better safe than sorry and it's the right thing to do.

House of the Week: Ornate mansion at 712 W Schubert setting the market in Lincoln Park

Recently sold, bold and beautiful, this new construction luxury home is it's own little island of peace and fortitude in a bustling district of Lincoln Park.

The former frame Victorian style home located here at 712 W Schubert was bought by a builder in September 2007 for $940,000. and torn down for new construction. In addition to the attractive location at Schubert and Orchard Streets, the lot is over-sized for Chicago standards at 25x161 feet. You are steps from Broadway and Clark shopping, close to Lake Michigan and easy travel southeast to the Mag Mile. There are a bevy of cultural and entertainment options along the lake front just minutes from this residential location. Better yet, stay on Schubert and dine at Sapori Trattoria a block away.

The newly built gorgeous home with a Parisian style winding center staircase just sold in April of this year for $2,675,000. The house has seven bedroom, five and one-half baths, a rooftop deck and the extra length in the lot allows for outdoor "courtyard" entertaining.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's official: Children's Memorial Hospital Lincoln Park site for sale

The time has come... the Children's Memorial Hospital Lincoln Park main building site, parking garage and several other buildings are officially for sale. The hospital is set to move to it's new high rise location in Streeterville 2012.

Although bittersweet for many, including my wife who's a nine year CMH veteran, the prospects of a development at Belden, Orchard and Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park is big time news.

For lack of a better term as development draws closer... this neighborhood will be "bonkers" over the planning!

Five Songs that sell your home...Sultry tops our list!

Have a rock star roof deck? Play the ultimate classic rock song "Stairway to Heaven"!

Our research shows that playing soft background music is another important aesthetic for buyers viewing your home.
Check out our recent TOP 5

1. The Girl from Ipanema – Joao Gilberto (How can you not be happy humming this?)
2. A Distant Memory – Spyro Gyra (By by old house, hello new!)
3. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing – Stevie Wonder (Need to fix that? We got a guy!)
4. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye (Only in the master suite...)
5. Opera: Carmen “L’amour est un oiseau rebelled” (Look at those cathedral ceilings!)

Lincoln Park... It's for the birds

It's the last day of official summer and we're rolling out some of our photos from a really great season. We caught a glimpse of these birdhouses, part of the Tweet Home Chicago design and build contest, at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s Nature’s Architects Exhibits in Lincoln Park.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Walking the 2400 block of North Burling, Lincoln Park

I've been walking many of the blocks surrounding Children's Memorial Hospital in Lincoln Park for over nine years to pick up my wife from work. No section sticks out in my mind more than the 2400 block of North Burling Street. It's a terrific mix of 100 year old grey stones and new contemporary construction homes living in harmony. It's not as awe inspiring as some of the blocks home to multiple lot mansions just south of the hospital. The homes despite architecture and era seem to have a good comparable scale...and that's what makes it interesting and more cohesive.

The last single family home sale in the past 12 months on the block was 2427 N Burling, a contemporary 1995 custom built home, for for $1,745,888 in January of this year. Unfortunately, I did not get a shot of that home this time around.

The turn-of-the-century variety still dominate the block and on the north end particularly.

Lincoln Park duplex with cat box included!

My partner Bob and I were pretty high on a three bedroom duplex for sale in Lincoln Park that would be great for our clients. We thought it would be a great fit for these first time buyers (close to the lake, in their budget etc...). There were no photos on the MLS, but we knew the development and layouts well.

Unfortunately, these sellers felt the best place for their kitty litter box was the front door. Speechless.

Although there were some redeeming factors, we'll always remember the cat box.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Watch the video! Division Street, Wicker Park real estate sales

Joe Askins from and I take a walk down West Division Street in Wicker Park. We stop in a couple places and discuss the condo market.

Bob DePalma and I really like the action here. If you are interested in purchasing in the neighborhood let us know. We like to pick out the good stuff!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hawthorne Scholastic Academy in Lake family fun!

One of the cooler school campus facilities tucked into the Lake View neighborhood is at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy at 3319 N Clifton Avenue. Click the link for the great web site... better the web site, better the school?

I took a couple shots of their back to school "Family Fun Fest". This campus features a turf field and new playground enjoyed by the neighborhood year round.

Hawthorne is a magnet school... learn how to enroll your kids in the top public schools of Chicago! New protocol has given more weight to "neighborhood kids". I like the changes.

Lake View, Southport Corridor still hopping in early fall

We've had a busy week and the early fall weather could not be more accommodating. Chicagoans cling to their beautiful days and there is tangible energy. I took a few shots (while driving) in the Lake View neighborhood after my open house over the weekend. Check out all the cafes on North Southport Avenue!

Dave Matthews plays at Wrigley, better record than the Cubs

From the 47th Ward Alderman Gene Schulter... watch for parking restrictions this weekend in Lake View and eastern Ravenswood!

Dear Neighbors,

Wrigley Field is hosting two Dave Matthews Band concerts this weekend. The concerts will be on Friday, September 17 and Saturday, September 18. Gates open at 5:00 pm. Both concerts are sold out.

LV2 (Cubs Night Game) Parking restrictions will be enforced. Also, please expect the usual traffic delays associated with Cubs night games.

Funds raised by the concerts in Wrigley Field directly support schools and parks in our community.


Alderman Gene Schulter

New Price: River West top floor two beds, two baths condo $285,000

824 W Superior #609 in River West Chicago.
Now $285,000 and $25,000 for deeded garage parking.

Immaculate like-new top floor River West loft with awesome light. 13ft ceiling! Elevator building, heated garage $25,000. Gas/heat included in assessments. Open floor plan with true dining area. In unit washer and dryer. Kitchen features maple cabinets, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances & breakfast bar. Large living room, huge master suite, expansive walk-in closet, master bath with double bowl vanity & separate shower. Sprinkler system in newer construction building. Large second bath and linen closets. River West has a both trendy and established hot spots like Funky Buddha Lounge, West Town Tavern, Matchbox, Delux and Japonais. Walk to CTA Blue line, local nightlife & downtown!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

House of Week: Lincoln Park double-dip on Lill and Altgeld

This past week has been full of activity for us with new listings, several closings and, let's face it, a little fun. We missed last week's installment, so let's play two!

1036 W Lill is a storybook worthy cottage that doesn't give us the blues (despite it's hue). Bob passes the home daily on his walk to the office. We can't help but smell the baking cookies just looking at it! This home faces Jonquil Park and despite being squeezed by larger homes, this lady stands out with ornate window casing, pronounced eaves at the roof and the prettiest doorway on Lill.

This classic 1910 northern DePaul neighborhood gray-stone at 1245 W Altgeld is Chicago! The property last sold in 2002 as a two-flat for $837,500. It's been converted to a single family residence of high curb appeal. Gray-stones tend to get 10-20% higher asking prices than comparable brick or frame properties. The look and history of these homes are not lost on many!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Watch the video! Wicker Park large three bedroom + den and family room duplex for sale

1319 N Bosworth asking $369K
There is an awesome cameo appearance by Mr. Smith the Talking Dog*. You'll love it!

View the photos and 360 degree panning shots HERE

Three beds, two and one half baths, true office/fourth bedroom, covered parking for $369,000.

Play, shop, eat on Division Street!

*Mr. Smith does not actually talk, but he's cute.

Click the "Video" label below to view more neighborhood and home tours.

Lincoln Park 2520: New construction on the rise

The tower framing continues at the eastern end of the development site.

Here's a few shots Bob took from last weekend of Lincoln Park 2520. The high-end and unique new construction development is marketed by our brokerage Prudential Rubloff Properties. We are pleased to see an uptick in interest and marketing on the heels of major funding for the 39 floor ultra located high-rise.

One of the more interesting aspects of the development was captured here by Bob reaching above the fence (he's tall). Lincoln Park 2520 preserves the Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini chapel shown here in protective casing.

A rendering of the finished building...

This development will be completed in early 2012. This is a very reasonable time frame to choose your home and make plans to transition to a preferred lifestyle in Chicago's most desirable north side location.

Get use to the cranes!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wicker Park, West Town keeps pace with Lake View condo sales

With another new home sale listing in Wicker Park neighbohood this week we've been looking at the market in the West Town designated community Area of Chicago quite a bit. Wicker Park is a sub-neighborhood of the West Town area.

One statistic that has jumped out at us is the shear number of condo unit transactions in West Town and the neighborhood of Wicker Park. In terms of the popular criteria of two-three beds, two-three baths condo with parking, West Town is on pace with the large and condo crazy Lake View community area.

Two-three beds, two-three baths condos with outdoor or garage parking:
Lake View
has 482 units closed or under contract in the last six months. The lowest sale was $150K and the highest $765K.

West Town has 456 units closed or under contract in the last six months. The lowest sale $40K and the highest (currently under contract) $799K. The Wicker Park neighborhood itself had about 100 unit transactions in the last six months.

It's pretty amazing that West Town has kept up when you consider that Lake View boasts lakefront real estate, has been long gentrified and popular and is the second most populated of the 77 Chicago community areas (2000 Census Data). However, the nightlife, art scene and proximity to downtown by mass transit have made West Town... hot.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New For Sale: 1319 N Bosworth Unit 1. Wicker Park duplex lookin' good!

Here are some initial photos for 1319 N Bosworth in Wicker Park. We have our professional photography tomorrow, but we just could not wait. This place shows great and is priced right at $369,000. Tons of space.

3 beds, 2.5 baths, huge family room, covered gated parking, nice office (true fourth bedroom), low assessment $198.000

Call us now!