Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's 3AM, do you know where your car is? Chicago's Overnight Parking Ban!

From Alderman Gene Schulter's office today:

Dear Neighbors,

Chicago's Overnight Winter Parking Ban begins tonight (12/01/10) at 3:00 am. The ban resumes for 107 miles of Chicago's most critical arterial streets. It will be in effect from 3:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. every night until April 1, 2011. This ban is in effect regardless of snow. Ignoring the Winter Overnight Parking Ban can result in a $150 towing fee, a $50 ticket, and a daily storage fee of $10 that increases over time.

The other pertinent ban that can be activated during a heavy snow at any time of the year is the 2 Inch Snow Ban. This restriction is technically in effect all year round, but realistically only a factor in the winter months. The 2 Inch Snow Ban is not activated often, but does assist in snow removal when more than two inches has been accumulated.

Motorists need to watch for and obey both restrictions.

To learn more or to view maps featuring both the Overnight Winter Parking Ban and the 2 Inch Snow Ban, please visit the News section of our website at www.ward47.com.

Alderman Gene Schulter's
47th Ward Public Service Office

Old Town: A chicken in every pot and a pool table in every condo!

I was researching for a client and noticed two penthouse units for sale in the same Old Town condo building at 1436 N Wieland prominently feature pool tables in the common living areas.
Photo from www.pooltablenow.com, who by the way, can move pool tables.

A good book on Chicago Bungalows

My business partner Bob gave me a copy of The Chicago Bungalow by the Chicago Architecture Foundation soon after my family purchased our own classic city house. It's been fun relating to the history, use, adaptation and lifestyle of this personable and durable housing stock.

There has been no more a pleasurable experience than restoring and adapting a Chicago Bungalow for our family. While keeping the main parlour and den in tact, and despite my pension for modern architecture, I can not help but enjoy the transformation 50 to 100 years ago while sitting and reading by the light of a vintage lamp (or candle!).

Foreclosures, REO properties returning to market

YoChicago.com reports on Fannie Mae foreclosures returning to the market. Follow their links to discussions on REO properties.

One of my clients just asked about the status of foreclosures after the the week long breathless Armageddon of media stories and analysis hit after Bank of America et, al. had halted foreclosure proceedings. We had just mentioned how quiet it was in the media lately.

Modern condo + Divison Street + Wicker Park = Sold for $610,000!

Watch our Wicker Park videos from this summer...

Curbed Chicago posted a follow up on a two bedroom West Town condo that closed recently for $610,000. Although considered in the "Ukrainian Village" neighborhood, Wicker Park better represents the amenities one is probably moving here for... and the boundaries can be blurred and subjective (cough).

I had commented on the the original post that $689K asking price was not "bad", considering the look, feel and killer roof deck of the home. I did feel it was high, but not terrible. Wicker Park and East Village condos, for the most part, have done pretty well when straddling trendy Division Street. Modern new construction is the coup de grat in Wicker Park.

Click here for more of our videos on Wicker Park and other neighborhoods

Here's a West Town duplex down condo sale we represented recently. We sold several West Town properties with under one week's market time for each!

More Wicker Park posts here!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Construction alert! Greystone gut rehab in Lincoln Square

We spotted this Lincoln Square two-flat greystone building being converted to a single family home at 2242 W Leland. We've been writing about current owners and cash flush buyers that are in the market creating their dream homes on the North Side. Many owners are borrowing equity on their long time family held properties to gut renovate for themselves or just simply improving their homes again.

Some owners may try their hand at selling their renovations in the retail market due to low carrying costs (i.e. no or low mortgage). The upper bracket buyers are custom gut rehabbing existing buildings or building luxury new construction "in-fill" single family homes.

The existing two flat building at 2242 W Leland shown here was in great shape and sold for $580,000 in October of 2009. It looks like the current owners are "gut rehabbing" the building, although I could not tell from my quick look from the sidewalk if they are maintaining any wood trim etc... In any event, this is another example we are seeing in Lincoln Square of taking advantage of low mortgage interest rates and favorable loan terms to create a custom home in a wonderful location.

Read more of our posts on new construction around the area here!

Chicago Local Green: Recycle your old fridge

ComEd has a recycle rebate program for your old refrigerator and other appliances. They will come and pick up your old fridge and pay you $25.00-$35.00. Right now, there is a special holiday offer of $35.00 if you get a pick-up scheduled in December. You can schedule online today in just minutes.

Friday, November 26, 2010

PNC Bank bringing the "green" to Lincoln Park, Lake View

Down go gas stations and up go PNC Bank green branches... like the one above in Lincoln Park at Halsted and Wrightwood that was a Shell gas station. Another branch shown below at the corner of Ashland and Addison in Lake View was formerly a Shell gas station. Will green branches be enough to switch your bank?

If you walk around the North Side of Chicago, you probably have noticed PNC Bank's green branches. It's an impressive green branding initiative that goes back to 2002. The company now has over 97 LEED certified buildings.

This Northcenter green branch location is on the site of a former independent gas station at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Berteau. It was most recently marketed to be a condo building prior to PNC acquiring the land.

Read about more green discoveries in our daily dealings here

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to our neighbors, readers and clients!

"Phillip the Turkey" by Ryne Rojas, age 3 1/2 years old.

Sales on Alta Vista Terrace in Lake View

Two homes have sold in the last 12 months on historic Alta Vista Terrace in Lake View. A three bedrooms, two baths home needing renovation sold for $500,000 while an updated and restored three bedrooms, four baths home sold for $665,000.

The unique block of row homes on 24x40 lots are a bit of a luxury in and of themselves for real vintage lovers. Speaking of luxury, one row home on Alta Vista Terrace is currently for sale at $899,000. It's offered as a fully renovated six(!) bedroom home. That's a lot of bedrooms for a 24x40 lot.

Click here for more posts and information on Alta Vista Terrace in Lake View

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lake View East, Lincoln Park Trader Joe's eyeing 2010

Trader Joe's at 667 W. Diversey on the border of Lake View East and Lincoln Park.
Progress rapidly continues as the store is tentatively scheduled to open for business in 2010. This will be in walking distance for many of our clients and around the corner from our office...we are excited!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ravenswood single family home construction on Damen

We've seen a lot of custom single family home construction and gut rehabs around the Ravenswood neighborhood of Lincoln Square lately. It appears existing property owners and luxury buyers are looking to take advantage of the low interest rates on loans and the current market conditions for land. We are seeing less developer driven speculation and more custom builds which has made for interesting results.

However, it remains to be seen if this gut renovation at 4706 N Damen will be a speculation house or will be a private residence. The bank owned property on a 34 x 124 closed in May of this year for $250,000. With a median price for single family homes around $700K in the immediate area, there is room for a professional to turn a profit.

It's a nice location just a block from the CTA Brown Line, a few blocks from the heart of Lincoln Square retail, and plenty of hyper local coffee shops (The Perfect Cup next door) and restaurants to walk to. The location does deal with some Damen traffic during the rush hours and there is a popular bar across the street amongst the mixed retail.

$1,456,000 land deal in Ravenswood at Hermitage and Montrose

A large residential land parcel closed in Ravenswood early this month. The 92 X 165 lot sold for $1,456,000 in a cash deal. The church owned vacant parcel was listed at $1,200,000 and sold quickly for $256,000 over list price. Hallelujah.

The several blocks of North Hermitage between West Montrose Avenue and West Lawrence Avenue is home to recent custom new construction homes among the classic turn of the century Victorians (and we mean 1900). The several blocks of this Ravenswood neighborhood have offered attractive lot sizes for substantial luxury single family residences to cluster.

View some of the recent Ravenswood custom build new construction on Hermitage HERE

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Geneva Terrace Estates in Lincoln Park

A unique community of new construction homes sits hidden from the bustle of North Clark Street in Lincoln Park. Geneva Terrace Estates along the 2600 block of North Geneva Terrace features custom homes just a few blocks from Lake Michigan.

At the moment, we know of two new construction homes nearing completion that will allow for the selection of finishes. The houses are on larger lots (37.5 x 147) and prices at $3,250,000 and $3,350,000. There is a re-sale home that was completed in 2005 and now listed at $2,195,000 and built on a smaller lot of 26 x 126. There may also be land available for a custom build in the development.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Living on the "El" tracks: A Lincoln Park town home

This DePaul neighborhood town home in Lincoln Park is adjacent to the "El" Tracks. What would you do to get into your preferred neighborhood?
Many people live adjacent to the Chicago Transit Authority elevated train tracks to get their top location for less money. We get a lot of questions about buying on the "El" and we see a lot of Google searches on the subject. Some of our clients have opted for a home adjacent to the tracks to stay below budget.

Anecdotal to our experience and statistically speaking, a town home on the elevated tracks in Lincoln Park can sell at 20% to 30% less than a comparable unit on a quieter residential street. It's no surprise the lowest sold true three bedrooms, two and one-half baths town home with garage parking and roof top deck in Lincoln Park in the last 12 months was adjacent to the "El". 931 W Wrightwood located in a fairly busy area next to the CTA elevated tracks sold for a mere $350,000 in great condition.

Now, look at a similar looking property at 2020 N Dayton with only two true bedrooms, a rooftop deck, garage parking and two blocks off the elevated tracks in Lincoln Park sold for $400,000. There are also several examples of older build same style, two bedrooms town homes with outdoor parking spaces and one less bath selling at $369,000 and up nearby. Another is a two bedroom plus family room (like a third bedroom), garage space much further west in Lincoln Park closed at $400,000 at 2737 N Janssen.

There is a market for Lincoln Park town homes backing up or adjacent to the "El" tracks. The only question is: Will the noise be worth the discount you get for a top neighborhood location?

Live on the "El" tracks?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square and West Town most stable real estate

Last week, YoChicago.com contributer Jeff Baird of Lakeshore Analytics shared some data suggesting Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square and West Town (three of the 77 Chicago community areas) have been the most stable neighborhoods over the last three years. The data takes into account quarter to quarter unit sales and median prices for condos and single family homes.

Bob and I focus mostly on these three neighborhoods and call two of them home. We have been using these types of sales data and real time anecdotal market experience to advise our clients when selling or buying homes.

If you have questions about single family homes, condos and/or multi-units in these areas (and close by North Side neighborhoods), please contact us.

Photos: Wrigley Field painted Northwestern Wildcat purple!

Our clients saw more than properties yesterday as we looked at Lake View homes.

The big news for Big Ten fans on the North Side is the upcoming Northwestern versus University of Illinois football game to be played at Wrigley Field. The famous red Wrigley Field marquee sign gets the Northwestern purple paint treatment for the week!

We think this a great boost to the neighborhood bars and restaurants of Wrigleyville that would normally host a smaller crowd of college game day fans this Saturday. Partnerships done well, Chicago.

Click here for Lake View blog posts!

House of the Week: Ravenswood Nineteenth Century stucco Queen Anne with Craftsman twist

On an over sized 50 x 164 Chicago lot, 4436 N Hermitage is a stunner among the many beautiful homes of this Ravenswood block. The home has changed hands a few times in the last 20 years. In 1991 it sold for $200,000. In 1996 it was purchased again for $355,000 with some updates such as central air and finish work. Then is 2004 the current owners purchased the fully renovated home for $1,450,000.

Built in the 1880s (according to the MLS records) among many grand Victorian style homes, this home caught our eye due to the bolder Craftsman style lines and strong front porch pillars. There may have been modifications over the years such as the stucco facade and front porch... if so, well done! The landscaping is simply a pleasure rolling along the 50 foot wide lot and well appreciated in the fall months. You know your in good shape when the side of the home looks almost better than the front!

Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing or selling a Ravenswood or other North Side Chicago neighborhood single family home.

For more House of the Week posts, click HERE!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Forbes, Case -Shiller report: Chicago's rising home prices among the few

In case you missed it, Forbes reported earlier this month on five major cities with housing price increases for five consecutive months. Chicago saw home pricing gains, even in July and August... tough months after the federal tax credit expiration date.

After a Monday around here with a fender bender (taxi cab), a boiler malfunction and a little sewer back-up in the basement, we figured we'd post a little good news on a Tuesday.

From Forbes: Where Housing Prices Are Rising
Only five big U.S. cities saw housing prices rise in August, according to the latest data published by the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. But four of those cities have posted at least four consecutive months of positive home price increases.

Washington D.C.
In the nation's capital, housing prices have increased for five straight months. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, housing prices in Washington, D.C., have risen 4.8% in the last year, with monthly increases of 0.3% in August and a full 1% in July.

New York
The nation's biggest metropolitan area has seen four months of home price improvements, going up 1.2% in July and 0.2% in August. Home prices in New York have risen by 2.9% over the last year.


Chicago's residential real estate market may be rebounding. Home prices in Chicago remain 2.9% below where they were one year ago, but home prices here have risen for five straight months, and were up 1% in July and 0.4% in August, the S&P/Case-Shiller index shows.

San Francisco
Another California housing market that appeared to be recovering nicely, but then suddenly fell by 0.3% in August. Home prices have still been boosted by 7.8% over the last year, more than any other city tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller index.

Los Angeles
L.A. home prices are up a nice 5.4% in the last year, but cooled off a bit in August, dropping 0.4%.

You know us and we are not doing a happy dance. However, it may mean that more desirable properties are becoming available to the market rather than just the distressed, second tier variety dragging down average and median prices. Certain sellers with good product may be finally ready to go.

Chicago Local Green: Solar power at DePaul

I spotted this free standing solar panel powering the music outside the DePaul University Concert Hall at 800 West Belden Avenue in Lincoln Park. Could one of these power my house? How much to install this in my front yard?

Check out more of the Green scene in our daily dealings around Chicago.

Lincoln Park restaurants top Michelin Chicago Guide

Crain's reports "Alinea and L20 are two Chicago restaurants to land coveted three-star ratings in the inaugural Michelin Guide for Chicago restaurants".

I was surprised North Pond, also in Lincoln Park (literally in the park shown below), was not on the two or one star list reported by Crain's.

Living in Lincoln Park is looking and tasting good these days. We can probably find you a townhome for less than the cost of a dinner at Alinea!

Click to view more Lincoln Park Posts HERE

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lincoln Park townhomes: Units sold to increase in 2010

We've represented townhome sales at the 1800 block of North Larrabee and at The Pointe in Lincoln Park shown below.

The number of Lincoln Park townhomes (or townhouses) sold in all of 2009 was 159 units with a price range of $257,500-$1,090,000.

As of November 15th 2010, 157 Lincoln Park townhomes have been sold with a price range of $220,000-$1,465,000.

When working with our clients we look at very specific segments of the market. Sometimes we find some interesting numbers.

Click here for more of our Lincoln Park blog posts!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

For Sale: Three level penthouse in Northcenter $424,900, two car garage!

4152 N Lincoln Avenue, #1

Check out the awesome floor plan!

We have closets, closets, closets! This unique three level town home style condo has two bedrooms plus a penthouse level family room, two and one-half baths, no neighbors above or below, a great top floor deck with views and attached two car heated garage. A real laundry room? Yes. This is a sharp home in a fun location great for a singles, couples or roommate situations. Buy the place and have a roommate with their own private suite paying your mortgage!

Watch the video tours of 4152 N Lincoln Avenue #1 as we walk you through the home.

Skip to minute 3:55 to view the property in this video:

Stumble home from Tiny Lounge, get your coffee on at Starbucks and Red Eyes, brunch at Julius Meinl, dine at upscale Sola and Brown Trout... skip over to Jewel Food Store or Welles Park. It's ALL steps away.

Click the photo below for more details and call/email me for a showing.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Prudential Rubloff and NBC present LXTV Open House Chicago

Tune in Sunday, November 14, 2010 from 10:30 AM to 11:00 AM on NBC 5 Chicago!

My business partner and I call Prudential Rubloff Properties home for our real estate business due to the brokerage's fantastic marketing, professional resources and flexibility in a changing market. The training and ethical standards when conducting business are the highest in the industry. We are able to tap into a wealth of experience for any situation to broker top notch real estate transactions.

Watch the LXTV Open House Show this Sunday on NBC to view some terrific Chicago real estate.

For more property videos by Realtor Eric Rojas, click the link

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lincoln Square; It's for the birds

With the leaves finally falling off this Lincoln Square tree the many birdhouses are revealed. We love this neighborhood!

We can get you a good deal on a three bedrooms, two baths birdhouse... just ask!

Click here for more Lincoln Square, Chicago posts