Monday, July 29, 2013

Watch the Video! A River North condo with huge terrace and sophisticated location

Take a video tour of our new listing at 451 W Huron Unit 511 in River North for sale at $289,000 + $35,000 for deeded garage parking.  The sharp one bedroom condo has great amenity, comfortable features and a WOW terrace.

451 West Huron Unit 511 listed by Eric Rojas and Robert DePalma Real Estate Brokers at Kale Realty. The building also features 24hr doorman, fitness room, lobby, elevators, concrete floors between units and package receiving area.

The location is fantastic.  Erie park (Montgomery Ward Park) is located just around the corner. A dozen hoping restaurants, cafes and bars are located within a couple blocks.  A dog park is one block away near the river walk.  Get your workout and networking on at East Bank Club.  The location is surrounded by well kept buildings and high-end mansions.

451 W Huron has a unique and sophisticated location.  It's surrounded by high-end single family homes. The homes shown above are at the opposite corner of North Hudson and West Huron (Photo Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker)

Spotted in Lincoln Park: Garfield Avenue?

One of my favorite spots in Chicago is the area of West Dickens Drive and North Lincoln Park West in Lincoln Park.  Just to the east is the Lincoln Park Zoo and the miles of amazing lakefront paths and parks. The surrounding area is loaded with gorgeous architecture and desirable real estate.

I noticed for the first time the building on the northeast corner of West Dickens and North Lincoln Park West had the engraving "Grafield Avenue".  I poked around online and basically found a couple unofficial sites that say the street name was changed in 1940 from Garfield (after President James A. Garfield) to Dickens.  I suppose you have to be a better president to keep your street name.

The corner is also home to R.J. Grunts and a Starbucks at the corner of Dickens and North Clark Street.  Both come in real handy after running around the lakefront with the kids.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Divvy Bikes in Lincoln Park: Where the buffalo roam

Divvy Bike Share station at a terrific location along the lakefront paths in Lincoln Park (Photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker)
People in Chicago get real excited about things like bike shares and protected bicycle routes.  One of the latest Divvy Bike Share locations in Lincoln Park is in sight of buffalo.

The bike rack is located in front of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.  The central location is fantastic for viewing nature habitats at the museum and lagoons (along with some stuffed animals) and then hitting the lakefront paths along the North Side to downtown. has a nice round-up of Divvy Bike Share locations in Lincoln Park.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

New listing photos today in River North

I'm heading to River North this morning to take photos and video of a new listing (need a lift?).  The condo at 451 West Huron has one of the largest terraces you'll find for a one bedroom in the area.

Views from River North (photo Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker)
The amenity building features a nice lobby, 24 hour doorman, fitness area, elevators, storage and receiving room.  The listing information, photos and video will up next week on the MLS.  We're excited to be back in this River North location near the fantastic restaurants, galleries, bars, Erie Park (A. Mongomery Ward Park officially) and the river.   
Check out for lots of posts in and around River North.

North Side golf and then lunch in Andersonville

Living and doing business in Chicago is great.  I had a nice "meeting" with a few business associates at Robert Black golf course in West Ridge (2045 W Pratt) on the north side of Chicago.  The Chicago Park District course is a fun and attractive 9 hole challenge.  I've been playing here for years but the facility and course seem better than ever.
Sizing up an approach shot on the 5th hole at Robert Black golf course (All photos Eric Rojas)
Our players came from downtown, North Center and Lincoln Square (5 min drive from Lincoln Square down Western Avenue).  There is a nice peaceful park setting at Robert Black that gives you the feeling you've left the city.  Easy free parking in the lot and the clubhouse is nice.

We chose the Adriatic Cafe for the terrific outdoor terrace
After tearing it up, we headed another 5 minutes southeast to Andersonville for lunch on North Clark Street.  There are dozens of spots for a quick bite or nice sit down "business" lunch.  We did discuss the home listing of one of our players and caught up on current mortgage lending with Mortgage Loan Professional Steve Dunnett.

The impressive wildlife sanctuary on the terrace complete with live turtles and fish at Adriatic Cafe in Andersonville

Take the opportunity to enjoy the Chicago parks, courses, lakefront paths and restaurants whenever you can.  Especially when doing business!

All photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate BrokerA link to this blog and photo credit required to use photos.

Monday, July 22, 2013

House hunting on the 1800 block of West Wellington in North Center

Our clients take into consideration the over-all block and adjacent houses when deciding on a single family home purchase.  The 1800 block of West Wellington is sort of tucked behind southwestern Lakeview and sits on the southeastern edge of North Center.  But the block features a lot of attractive houses.

The 1800 block of West Wellington has many stately and modern newer construction homes on each side of the street making for a well developed enclave. (Photo, Eric Rojas)
We recently showed  a single family home at 1833 W Wellington to our clients.  The really well done renovation is now under contract (not with us) with an asking price of $980,000.

In the last 24 months, 4 single family homes closed on the block priced from $650,000 to $1,110,000.  One gut renovation single family house is under contract asking $980,000.  There was also a vacant land deal  for a 37.5x 125 lot at $536,000. 

In the last couple years this little spot of North Center has been a good value.  You can typically get a comparable house for 10% less than in adjacent heated school districts of Burley or Audubon but still be pretty far southeast near enough to your favorite  Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Roscoe Village action.

Free Wi-Fi at Chicago beaches!

Oh, just on the way to my new office! (Photo Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker)
I just caught this post on Edgeville Buzz reporting free Wi-Fi at five Chicago beaches including North Avenue Beach and Montrose Beach.  My kind of town!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fullerton Beach real estate

Photo Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Chicago lakefront food, drinks and cafes better than ever

One Stick Puppy, a "healthy" corn dog joint, is a newer option on the Chicago lakefronts paths on the North Side.  The shack is located on the path two blocks south of the Fullerton field house. (Photo Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker)

Has anyone else noticed the lakefront area food options are much improved?  My friends and I have been exchanging positive stories about the Waterfront Cafe, The Clock Tower Cafe and The Dock at Montrose Beach.

Lakefront living is good in Chicago!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Home Buying Tips: Jump through hoop, make offer

Some properties for sale require extra steps to simply make an offer.  Most sellers will require a reputable mortgage pre-approval with a written offer on their home.  However, this week we ran into a bank owned (REO) property that requires a pre-approval from a specific lender, Wells Fargo. This information was presented clearly in the listing information for the property.

These gymnasts practicing at NEIU know a little something about hoops (Photo Eric Rojas, Broker)

Jumping through a couple hoops to make an offer on a property is not uncommon and should not intimidate the buyer.  As brokers, Bob and I know as much information as possible about the homes we'll show prior to showing our clients.  Information like special pre-approvals, short-sale status, renters in the building or if the unit has a renter itself should not be surprises to our clients.  All too often we have a buyer's agent show up at our listings and ask questions like "Does this unit have parking?" 

The research needs to be done to make sure the property makes sense for the buyer.

South Loop town house sales UP 63% in 2013, median price at half a million

Bob took this shot looking north on South Indiana Avenue over the weekend.  We showed a two bedroom town house to our clients on South Indiana just a block from the lakefront parks.
 We've gotten to know the various town house developments in the South Loop over the years.  We think several locations in the South Loop would surprise many with quiet and attractive settings near the lakefront parks, museums and major downtown amenities.  The access to downtown offices, lack of single family homes near downtown and the desirable South Loop school have increased demand for town houses.

Sunday morning coffee in the Prairie Avenue Landmark District then out to the lake for a bike ride. (Photo Bob DePalma)

South Loop town house sales Jan 1st to July 12th 2013 (town houses are attached homes with no units above or below.  Most have an association with assessments while a handful are fee-simple ownership)

49 town houses have sold in South Loop this year with a median price of about $500,000.  Unit sales are up 63% over same period in 2012 when 30 units sold by this date. The median price is also way up from the $366,000 last year over the same period of time.
We viewed this two bedrooms, two baths town house on South Federal priced at $465,000 last month (photo Bob DePalma)

The highest town house sale this year is 1431 South Prairie for $1,050,000.  The 4000 sq/ft three bedrooms, two and two half-baths home featured a large family room and two car garage. The lowest sale is a short-sale at 53 East 23rd Street for $240,000.  The nicely finished 2005 build has two bedrooms, a family room and two car garage.  The home went under contract July of 2012 and closed in March this year.

Under Contract
As is the case in many popular Chicago community areas inventory for certain housing is very low.  At the time of this post 23 town houses are under contract.  Only 15 town houses are actively for sale on in South Loop on the MLS.

All sales stats gathered from and analyzed by Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker with Kale Realty.  If you are buying or selling a home in South Loop Bob and I may consult and offer options to you.

Read more South Loop HERE

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer tips! Chicago fun "staycation" in Norwood Park, Edgebrook!

Get your true summer vacation feel on the Northwest Side!

We had a great summer Saturday out on the northwest side of Chicago this weekend.  We avoided the crowds and parking hassles near the lake by staying northwest. 

A quiet moment for the kid's splash playground at Whealan Pool.  Most of the pool area is zero depth to 3 feet deep.

Start at Caudwell Woods for a nice walk or bike ride after breakfast.  Then head next door at 11am to the Whealan Pool/ Aquatic Center at 6200 W Devon in Norwood Park.  Plenty of parking in the lot for your mini-van. Admission is about $6.00 for adults and $4 kids 4-12
Fun water slides for medium and "big" me and Ryne here.
Looks like fun to me!

Toddler pool too!
Ample grassy areas for a picnic blanket.

Nice concession area for summer snacks.

After a few hours head back east on Devon to The Chocolate Shoppe in downtown Edgebrook, Forest Glen.  A little pricey but it has funky decor, great seating and the best ice cream shop soundtrack I've ever heard.  Our kids were dancing around, taking in the sites and well... eating ice cream.
The Chocolate Shoppe is located next to the very nice Edgewater Library branch too. Pick up a few books and get some air conditioning and down time after the pool.

Lots to choose from.
It's time for ice cream!

We took the quick 15 minute drive back to Lincoln Square for a little backyard Wiffleball, pizza and movie night at the house.

This way to Hamburg! Chicago Sister City signs at Francis Parker

Lincoln Park is dotted with public art.  These signs in front of the Francis W. Parker School along North Clark Street at West Webster represent Chicago's Sister City relationships around the world.  Better yet, they gave me a great opportunity to talk about other countries with my kids as we stopped and looked at our favorite signs.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

North Park offers value! Single family home sales for 2013

It's easy and enjoyable for me to track home sale action in the North Park Community Area. My kids and I frequently visit the Northeastern Illinois University campus recreation complex in the neighborhood.  As an NEIU Alumni Advisory Board Member I also enjoy participating in academic programs and conferences.
A recently sold bungalow at 5307 North Bernard gets a gut renovation and second story addition!  The house sold for $200,000 in a conventional sale (not a foreclosure or short-sale).  Below we see the addition from the alley. Photos Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker

North Park single family home sales Jan 1st - July 12th 2013

28 North Park single family homes closed so far this year.  The median price is about $267,500. 
In the same period of 2012, 28 homes also closed with a median price of $240,000.

 The highest sale this year is 5800 N Spaulding for $620,000.  The 2004 gut renovated home is character filled with "4000 sq/ft" and sits on a double-lot.   

Two really nice houses sold adjacent to Northeastern Illinois University (directly across the street).  5255 N St. Louis closed for $506,000.  The large renovated house house featured for bedrooms above grade and two more in the lower basement level.  5423 N St Louis featuring 4 good sized bedrooms and two full baths closed for a reasonable $425,000. It was a nice value for the large house well maintained finish level.

One of my favorite area home owner gardens at North Bernard and West Berwyn in North park near NEIU (photo Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker)

Single family home sales 2008- 2013 Jan 1st - July 12th 

North park has been fairly steady and reflective of the over-all North Side Chicago single family home market through the turbulent past 5 years .We see the median price trend down since the 2008 mortgage debacle and pop back up a bit this year. 

The prices of several most desirable neighborhoods really rebounded last year and North Park is following that trend. The lower median prices in 2011 and 2012 also reflect the market's big appetite for buying up the short-sales, foreclosures and homes in need of renovation.  That "cheaper" product is much harder to come by now.

2013 closed 28 homes with median $267,500
2012 closed 28 homes with median $240,000
2011 closed 31 homes with median $260,000
2010 closed 36 homes with median $300,000
2009 closed 24 closed with median $305,000
2008 closed 15 closed with median $320,000

Under Contract

19 homes are under contract as of this writing while only 13 are actively listed.  This also mirrors much of the North side where more homes are under contract than for sale.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Singing the praises of downtown Chicago

Here's a quick shot of the Civic Opera building Bob took on the way to a closing.  We always enjoy our time around the city neighborhoods!

House hunting on the 4300 block of North Claremont, North Center

We showed a new house listing on the 4300 block of North Claremont in North Center to our clients this past weekend. The block has a private feel.  It's a little unusual in that North Claremont crosses one-way West Cullom (east bound traffic) and then stops at West Hutchinson... where you can only turn east to North Oakley... which is one-way heading north. The several one-ways and the short block keeps the traffic low in this active location.

Another unique aspect of the block is it is adjacent to Welles Park.  You can stand on the sidewalk and look right at the old play-lot on the south side of the park.  The tennis courts are also at the end of the block. The new play-lot and the amenity filled field house are located on the north end of the park.  Of course, you are also steps from many restaurants, bars and commercial amenities along North Lincoln Av.

In any event, it's a neat block in a great North Center location.  The block is also located in the popular and desirable Coonley School districtHome sales in Coonley school district have a median price of about $800,000.

This double (triple?) lot gorgeous newer construction home sits on the 4300 block of North Claremont.  The block features a good mix of old and new homes...mostly single family houses with a few small multi-units (photo Eric Rojas)

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Lincoln Park's big blue windmill down, but not out

Bob took this update photo last week. The Chevron sculpture by artist John Henry is conspicuously missing. However, reports are it will be back after some modification to the property.

The John Henry statue in sunnier times (photo Bob DePalma)

We've been supportive of the infamous Lincoln Park art installation at Burling and Armitage.  The once dilapidated corner on a not-so gorgeous stretch of Armitage has been brought to life with much private investment.  In general, we love the many public and semi-private art pieces that dot the city.

DNAinfo Lincoln Park had a good story in June on the controversy.

As politically controversial as this statement may be... we are for art!  In all seriousness, I just can't see this as a nuisance worth a legal fight that takes up city resources.  The corner lot position of the piece does not affect other properties along the block (for example, it doesn't appear to block a view or cast a permanent shadow on an adjacent house). 

Lincoln Square single family home sales 2013: Prices up, inventory low

It's been a dynamic year for Lincoln Square Community Area single family home sales.  In addition to houses changing hands, we've also seen significant renovations and custom new construction builds that have not been for sale (private builds).

New construction in the Bowmanville neighborhood of Lincoln Square (all photos Eric Rojas)

Lincoln Square single family home sales Jan 1st - July 5th

54 single family homes have sold between January 1st and July 5th of this year.  The median price is about $500,000.  Unit sales are only up about two homes over same period 2012.  Median price is up this year about $50,000.

The highest priced sale is a new construction house at 2104 W Sunnyside for $1,367,500 (closed in January). The original property was bought cash for $275,000... a steal considering the build and new sale! The lowest priced closing this year is a foreclosure sale at 5003 N Western for $169,900 cash (closed in May).   The busy and commercial Western Ave usually has the lowest residential sales in the Lincoln Square Community Area.

Foreclosure/ Short Sales

8 closed single family homes were listed as a foreclosure or short sale on the MLS.  The highest of these sales was a small, but renovated, house at 5255 N Damen for $310,000.  That was a short sale.

Under Contract

At the time of this writing, 29 single family homes are under contract. The median price of under contract homes is about $675,000.  Only 20 single family homes are actively listed in the Lincoln Square Community area at this time.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Bob about town: Summer lunch in Gold Coast

Bob rubs elbows with the Lamborghini lunch crowd outside Le Colonial on 937 N Rush, Gold Coast.

Two new gut rehabs in northern Ravenswood of Lincoln Square

I took a few shots of two new gut rehabs in progress on the 5100 blocks of North Oakley and North Claremont of the Ravenswood neighborhood in northern Lincoln Square.
5154 N Oakley gets new front window framing (photos Eric Rojas)
5154 N Oakley shown above was a foreclosure sale in March of this year for $281,200 cash (the listing price was $259,000).  The two-flat is getting a complete gut renovation.  A developer sign is up, but no listing on the MLS. The median price of a closed or under contract single family house for the last 12 months in this immediate area (West Lawrence to West Foster, North Ravenswood to North Western Avenue) is about $695,000.

Houses on the 5100 block of North Oakley

This frame two-flat on the 5148 North Claremont is quietly undergoing gut renovation.  There is no recent

The location between West Lawrence and West Foster and North Ravenswood and North Western has been a popular place for development and new construction.  We've talked about how land, re-sales and new construction have seen increased pricing over the last couple years. The single family home market has been very dynamic in this part of Lincoln Square.  An increased variety of single homes (from mid-range rehabs to higher-end new construction) have been sold in the last 12 months.

Sold! Wicker Park duplex closes for over list price

Our listing at 2124 W Evergreen #2 closed last week $2,000 over list price at $351,000.
Images of 2124 W Evergreen for Eric Rojas, Real Estate Broker

We just represented clients in the sale of their unique Wicker Park duplex at 2124 W Evergreen #2.  The spacious home featured two bedrooms, two and one-half baths and maybe the best bedroom closet space we've ever seen at this price.

Check out the video walk-through!

We congratulate our clients and the new owners on a smooth sale transaction.  Please call us to buy and sell North Side real estate.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Garage Parking a premium for Lincoln Square condos sales

We recently viewed a Lincoln Square condo on prime residential West Giddings Street.  The unit comes with garage parking shown above.

In the last 12 months 101 Lincoln Square condos have closed on the MLS with garage parking (either included with the unit or available for lease).  The median price for a condo with garage parking associated with it is about $315,000.

On the other hand, 89 condos sold with outdoor parking associated with them (either included or available for lease).  The median price for those sold condos is only $208,000.  This price also reflects the type of available units.  That is, units with garage parking tend to be larger and/or better finished and in more desirable buildings on average in my experience.  This includes newer construction buildings with heated garages that simply catch more money.

Coincidentally, 89 condos closed over the last 12 months that were listed with NO parking associated with the unit.  The median price for these closed condos is only $137,000.