Friday, June 28, 2013

Update: One cool Edgewater house

This modern adaptation in "west" Andersonville, Edgewater has been of  interest to folks around the city for some time.  I recently passed by on a run home from the lakefront.  It's been a year since I saw the house.  This is the first time I've been by with the fence totally up and with the house (I think) inhabited. 

Bravo.  Just great.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lakeview kitchen

Photo Eric Rojas

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Curb Appeal: Lincoln Park

We love to stop and admire both vintage and new well manicured properties around Lincoln Park.  This classic home is located at 1958 N Sheffield at West Armitage... Oh là là location!

If I sell enough real estate this year...

Photo unfortunately Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker

Million dollar Lincoln Square

ONE MILLION DOLLARS for a house still resonates with the Average Joe.  I think people are surprised by the proliferation of $1 million dollar sales and custom built homes in Lincoln Square.  Here are some approximate numbers.

The sun sets on another recent million dollar construction site in Lincoln Square.

Over the past 12 months eight (8) homes recorded on (our MLS) have sold for over $1,000,000 in Lincoln Square.  I personally know of at least five (5) completed custom built homes in Lincoln Square that would have easily sold for over $1 million had they been speculation houses for retail sale. 

Three more homes on the MLS are currently under contract for over $1 million.

Five homes are actively listed over $1 million.  The highest listing price is a new construction build at 2020 W Leland for $1,849,000.  Three more houses are listed from $995,000 to $999,000.

South Loop trade-offs

Bob snapped this eye full of reality showing South Loop condos to our clients yesterday
We recently showed this South Loop building to clients (on South Wabash).  The South Loop has been really hot the last 12 months with the general market and condo building situations stabilizing.  Inventory for larger units in the $400s is low.  The location offers fantastic access to downtown careers, world class entertainment and highways for those driving out of the city (for work or travel). 

To get those conveniences on a budget... sometimes you have to put up with some stuff.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sold! Buyers win huge top floor condo in best East Lakeview location

Our clients closed last week on their top floor three bedrooms condo at 2850 N Burling in southeastern Lakeview for $695,000.  The purchase was a multiple offer negotiation.

The 2800 block of Burling in East Lakeview features rare, over-sized simplex units.  The quiet location is just a half-block from Diversey Parkway action and a few blocks to the prettiest lakefront parks (photo Robert DePalma).
The well finished home featured front and back terraces, a true great room and ATTACHED garage parking. Ridiculous location!

Congrats to some great people living the life!  Call us for your next Lakeview home.

Beach, food, play-lot and Shakespeare at Waterfront Cafe, Edgewater!

The perfect Chicago park?  Berger Park and Waterfront Cafe  6219 N Sheridan Road are somewhat hidden and impossible to park at.  The busy traffic on Sheridan may deter the uninitiated.  But this cafe and park setting is great for all ages!

An updated play-lot is tucked in between tall trees and the beachfront.
This feels like a Michigan vacation in the city!
The perfect summer meeting place for Edgewater friends...we had good food and some (pricey) beers.  Cheers!
You may even run into Shakespeare toughs!
You can rent one of the vintage buildings on the park grounds for special events as well.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sold! Buyer clients close on brand new dream house in Roscoe Village, North Center

We were excited to work with our clients in the purchase of a "move-up" dream house at 1920 W Eddy in the Roscoe Village neighborhood of North Center.  The house closed last week for $1,440,000 (a little under asking price). 
Closed! 1920 W Eddy in Audubon School district (Photo Eric Rojas)
The single family home market is very competitive in North Center, Lincoln Square, Lakeview and Lincoln Park.  Inventory for new construction (and quality $1 million dollar houses in general) is low.  They decided to buy new construction after viewing several re-sale and new houses to compare.  The offer on Eddy was made and accepted in pre-construction stage when barely the foundation was poured. Buying pre-construction was about the only chance they had to secure a wide lot home in the budget.

Roscoe Village is one of the most desirable places to buy a single family home on the North Side. Median houses prices are over $900,000 this year.

Our clients were able to choose several finishing details such as counter tops, paint, light fixtures and some flooring.  The process was stressful at times for our clients working on a tight time-line for new construction.  However, the luxury six bedrooms wide-lot house was delivered in impeccable shape.  The kitchen and master bath are truly fantastic!

 We thank and congratulate our clients on a beautiful home in the great Roscoe Village community!
Roscoe Street features great dining, shops and fests. Photo Eric Rojas

Lunch: Downtown Chicago

Bob hits this glamorous lunch spot at Exelon Plaza between a couple home sale closings last week.  Finding a good outdoor perch is a favorite sport among downtown office workers in the summer time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Home buying tips: Home inspections on new construction and "gut-rehab" houses

Gene Bobrov of Accu-Spection International gives our buyer client tips for their new luxury house.

We've worked with several clients buying new construction or gut-renovated single family homes this past year. All home purchase contracts are different and not all contain a home inspection contingency.  In Chicago there are common practices, customs and protections that should be worked into your home purchase contract.  This goes for new construction as well.

Home inspections work a little differently for new construction or gut-renovated houses. If you purchase a home "pre-construction" or early into construction process you cannot have a thorough home inspection until the house is complete.  This is at the end of the process near closing.  On a re-sale home, the inspection is completed immediately after an offer is accepted and during the attorney approval period.
Make sure you get an inspection and punch-list provision in the contract! Photo Eric Rojas

Your purchase contract should have a provision describing when the home inspection will occur.  It should be agreed that the inspection results will act as a "punch-list".  The developer should agree to fix the punch-list items. Your real estate attorney is critical in making sure these provisions are included in the purchase contract.

In today's Chicago market, most developers out there building new houses have a good reputation after weathering the 2009-2010 lean construction years.  However, there are still some inexperienced developers and shoddy work out there... especially on gut rehabs.  Your real estate broker and any expert advisers familiar with new construction can help you determine if you're working with quality people and craftsmanship.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sconce for the stairway

We just completed a new staircase for our Chicago bungalow (forever in renovations).  We need a couple moderately priced wall sconces for large wall space running up to the second floor.  What do you think of this one?  It's glass, about 11" tall, $119.00 bucks at Horton's online.  Our style of the house is generally simple Scandinavian modern. At least, that's what we think.

Quick stats! Lakeview single family home sales up 21%, median price up 12% in 2013

It's been a very active and competitive single family home market this year in Lakeview. Our clients are exclusively in multiple offers on the homes they want to purchase. Inventory for nicely renovated three bedroom (or more) homes is low in terms of buyer demand.  Let's take a look at some interesting sales numbers.

I spotted this rare (and gorgeous) East Lakeview single family home among the many multi-unit buildings on the 2800 block of North Cambridge. It's not for sale, but the good market has prompted more vintage East Lakeview homeowners to sell than in past years.
Lakeview single family home sales January 1st to June 14th, 2013

67 Lakeview single family homes closed (sold) in just over the half-way point for the year.  Almost half of those houses (32 homes) sold over $1 million dollars.  The median price for a Lakeview house at this time is about $970,000.

Lakeview single family homes sales are up 21% over sales during the same period in 2012.  The median price is up about 12%.

At the Chicago lakefront in Lakeview (photo Eric Rojas)
The highest Lakeview single family home sale was 3830 N Wayne for $3,100,000.  The 5 bedrooms 37' wide lot home was built in 2007 and featured an attached front entrance garage.  The lowest sale was 1756 W Fletcher for $371,000 cash (and $4,000 over the list price).  The small bungalow on a standard city lot was a foreclosure sale and will most likely be torn down for new construction.  Pretty nice deal for that location regardless of some train noise from the Metra tracks.

8 of the 67 houses sold were listed as either foreclosure (bank owned, REO) or short sale.

Under contract, for sale

There are currently 49 single family homes under contract in Lakeview.  The median asking  price of the contracted homes is about  $1,175,000.  This could push the median price of house for the year in the Lakeview Community Area to over $1 million.

There are only 38 actively listed houses for sale (at time of this post).  Of those, 25 homes are priced over $1 million. 

All stats gathered from (our member MLS) and analyzed/ interpreted by Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker. Stats are as accurate as possible and best used as a guide to market activity.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Welcome to Lincoln Park

Photo Bob DePalma
We showed a house to our clients last week on North Wayne in Lincoln Park.  Can you guess which one?  Here's a clue; it's a very nice and well cared for house priced just over $1 million.  And... it's in the middle.

Closed! Clients sell classic Lincoln Square Victorian with prominent porch

We represented the sale of 1913 W Leland in Lincoln Square's Ravenswood neighborhood.  The home closed last Thursday for $590,000 ($9,000 under list price). The house sold in a multiple offer situation.  Multiple offers are good but must be handled professionally. 

Great curb appeal (image Photo Light Chicago)
Many people love this wrap-around porch but only one couple calls it their new home.  The location near the Damen Brown Line and various city centers makes for perfect urban living in a single family house.

KAPOW kitchen! (image Photo Light Chicago)

 Congrats to our seller clients and our new neighbors too!  Call/ email us to buy or sell a home on the north side neighborhoods of Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, North Center and more. We have specific options for you.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A quick iconic dose of Streeterville on an early summer evening

The views exiting onto North Michigan Avenue and the Mag Mile never get old (and I had plenty of time on the ramp to take them in).
I parked easily at a meter near the 900/910 Mies building on East Delaware and the lake ($7.00).
Met the wife at an old standby.

House hunting along Diversey Parkway in East Lakeview

The Surf-Pine Grove Landmark District serves up leafy streets and vintage apartments near the Diversey Parkway shops, bars and restaurants (all photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker)
We've been spending a lot more time lately in East Lakeview with our condo buyers.  The market has improved, so both buyers and sellers are feeling a little more confident and, well... buying and selling more.  One of our favorite spots in the city to hang out and look for condos is the area along West Diversey between Broadway and Sheridan Road near the lake.
A familiar sign along Diversey Parkway, The Market Place Food Store hangs on amongst the nearby Trader Joe's and Walmart market.
Large vintage apartment buildings (like this one on West Surf) have been home to generations of young professionals, families, dreamers, hipsters and eclectics in the bustling lakefront neighborhood.  I remember visiting my older cousins on West Surf when I was a kid.  I thought they were the coolest!

There are some good condo building options along North Cambridge near West Diversey Parkway.  Updated two bedroom, one bath units start in the $250,000s (with assessment in the $300s) and go up quickly from there (all photos Eric Rojas).

The busy West Diversey Parkway strip west of Broadway and near the lake is a great place to live if you are looking for hustle, bustle, the lake, bars, shops and people!  And of course all the action leads straight east to Diversey Harbor.  See you in the hood!
Diversey Harbor (photo Eric Rojas)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Buying a South Loop town house near Cotton Tail Park

We recently viewed this town house with buyer clients on the 1200 block of South Federal in the South Loop school district (photo Bob DePalma)

There are several leafy town home communities in the very urban South Loop.  The community atmosphere on an early summer night can rival the more traditional single family home enclaves around the city.  Neighbors and families of all sorts can conveniently commiserate in the tree-lined courtyards and parks of the planned developments.

Several town house communities surround Cotton Tail Park.  The park is bonkers with families in the late afternoon and weekend mornings (photo Eric Rojas).
Cotton Tail Park entrance at the 1400 block of South Plymouth (photo Bob DePalma)

You are HERE
Google map image of Dearborn Park town house communities located between Clark and State Streets
The most common town homes have two bedrooms, 2 baths, a small family room and a garage.  Sales prices average in the low to mid $400,000 range.  True three bedroom town homes are sought after and can sell for much higher.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Stop and look: Charming Bowmanville

Even our 3 1/2 year old Amalia can appreciate the curb appeal of these painted porch steps and planted parkways in Bowmanville.  She made me take a picture on our walk home from Dominick's.


If it impresses this little girl, think of what a little front landscaping will do for potential buyers (and for your pride of ownership.)

Photos! New construction update at Division and Ashland in East Village/ Wicker Park

Rent a new apartment here in East Village/ Wicker Park and "Eat Great, Even Late!"

You can read coverage of the new mixed commercial and rental apartment building at 1611 W Division at Curbed and Yo Chicago.  Here's a couple photos of the construction taken by Bob while doing business in the neighborhood today.


Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Quick STATS: Lakeview condo sales fierce, UP 33%

A "good" condo is a subjective thing.  But one thing we do well is know when a listed condo will sell quickly.  How?  As a wise person once said, "It is what it is".  This does not mean it's THE condo for YOU, it just means we have a good sense in a given market what will sell and at what price.

We saw this two beds, two baths Lakeview condo with garage parking last weekend.  $349,000 asking with this roof top cabana to boot.
And the good condo market is wicked fierce in our most active markets of Lincoln Square, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, North Center and South Loop.
Here's a look at Lakeview's condo sales for the first half of 2013.

From January 1st to May 31st of 2013 of this year 688 Lakeview condo units have sold.  That's up 33% from the 514 that sold same period in 2012...a good year in its own right.  216 condos closed in May 2013 alone.

What sold?  Here's a breakdown including attached townhouse units.
129 one bedroom condos sold with a median price of $155,000 (most in the lower half of pricing  reside in dated high rise and mid-rise buildings near the lake)

325 two bedroom condos sold with median price of about $335,000.  Two bedroom condos can vary greatly with one, two or two and one-half baths.  They also vary greatly in parking availability and outdoor space.

179 three bedroom condos sold with a median price of about $475,000.  Of course, styles and features vary greatly.

Only 29 Lakeview condos with at least 4 or more bedrooms sold with a median price of $651,000.  We sold one of them at 416 W Briar Place.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Another contemporary new house on West Winona in Lincoln Square

This looks like another contemporary, or modern, new build on the 2600 block of West Winona in Ravenswood/ Lincoln Square.  I took this shot late last week on my run over to the Northeastern Illinois University gym.

We've mentioned in the past that these couple blocks of Winona (just west of Western Avenue in Lincoln Square) are dotted with contemporary and modern new houses.  There are a handful traditional looking new construction houses as well.  The east-west blocks just east of Western Avenue (Winona, Carmen, Winnemac, Argyle, Ainslie etc) have very few new construction homes in comparison.

This modern home at 2540 W Winona with lower level garage just closed for $695,000 this year.
Land prices can be good in these "just off the path" locations. This location is near great amenities such as "downtown" Lincoln Square just to the south and lots of practical stores (Dominicks, Home Depot etc) and highway access just to the north.  Sometimes we can find little blocks of opportunity to build new and/or modern.

You can't escapeThe Container Store

We can't get get away from this place!

 Most homeowners I know that live in and around Lincoln Park sooner or later get sucked into this familiar shopping mecca of "mini" big box stores along Clybourn and North Avenue.  We're no different.  Our recent master bedroom renovation had us in "need" of more closet stuff to retrofit our sprawling collection of Elfa shelving.

So, we head hat in hand to The Container Store in Lincoln ParkAfter seeing the results in our closet... it hurts so good!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Get a rebate on your new furnace, HVAC equipment

I just applied for a $550.00 rebate on my newly installed 95% energy efficient furnace and thermostat. It's called the Residential Prescriptive Rebate Program.

If you have had HVAC equipment installed in your home recently (furnaces, air conditioners, programmable thermostats), visit the Peoples Gas site now!
My HVAC technician tells me we have until June 15th, 2013 to get the application in for this rebate program.

 Check with all your particular utility companies for available rebates!

Green inspiration on North Bell in Ravenswood

The sleepy 4900 block of North Bell in Ravenswood has a few inspiring landscapes.
In Chicago, you own your little plot of land up to the parkway (the parkway is the area between the sidewalk and street).  The City owns the parkway but the homeowner generally cares for it and sometimes enhances it.  Remember to thank your neighbors for these beautiful parkways and front yards when you have the chance!

I took note of the many grasses and shrubs for my back yard planting beds surrounding our patio. It made my shopping easy!

Here's a couple more landscaped setbacks along the street.  When several neighbors enhance their front yards and parkways, it completely improves the aesthetic and desirability of the block.