Friday, March 30, 2018

Learn Cook County real estate taxes with Attorney Patrick J. Loftus

Our most trusted real estate attorney sent along this primer on Cook County real estate taxes.  Enjoy!

Patrick J. Loftus, LoftusLaw, LLC
520 S. State St., Unit 1206

Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 773-632-8330
Fax: 773-634-8911

Real estate taxes are confusing. Let's say that you are filling out an offer for your client, and you get to the real estate tax proration section. Do you fill in 105%, 110%, is there a senior exemption or freeze? Maybe you just put "tbd" and leave it for the attorneys to figure out. Whatever you decide, how do you know you got it right? How do you explain it to the client?

Step 1 - Get the info. Say what you will about Cook County and the way it's run, one thing they do fairly well is their websites. Take the Property's PIN and head over to There you will find out the critical stats, such as tax amount, number of exemptions, assessed value, tax rate, etc. One exemption probably means that the property just has the homeowner exemption. Two means homeowner and senior. Three means homeowner, senior and senior freeze. This is crucial info for your client, because they need to know if the taxes are going to skyrocket after they buy the property.

Step 2 - Get the latest assessment info. Over the past 3 years, the triennial assessment has been an unpleasant surprise for a lot of Cook County property owners. This year, the south suburbs will be experiencing tax bill sticker shock. It is the City's turn next year.  The Cook County Assessor's website publishes the proposed assessed valuations.  Head over there with your PIN and see whether your property will increase and by how much. If you notice the assessment is increasing by 25%, you will want to put 125% for that tax proration. And your client will love your for protecting them!

Step 3 - Read the Assessor's general guide on property taxes. Look, I know this stuff is brutally boring, but it's super useful. And if you get to the bottom, there is a handy formula for calculating a tax bill. It goes something like this (with links to where you can find these figures with the PIN):

1.) Assessed Value (AV) multiplied by the State Equalizer (EQ), which will give your the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV)
2.) From there, subtract the applicable Exemptions (homeowner exemption has been increased to $10,000)
3.) Multiply the last number by the applicable * Tax Rate.

I will use my home as an example:

1.) AV: 28,181 * EQ: 2.7455 = 77,370.9355 (EAV)
2.) EAV: 77,370.9355 - 7,000 (HO exemption) =  70,370.9355
3.) 70,370.9355 * 7.145% (the tax rate for my place) = $5,028.00

Got it?  Simple right?  Well maybe not, but star this email and come back to it when you need to take a deep dive into real estate taxes.

If you are in a suburban county, things are done a bit differently (of course they are). However, in the collar counties, the (rather high) tax bills don't typically increase as dramatically as Cook, so this is not nearly the issue that it is in Cook.

Still confused?  That's ok!  Feel free to click below to ask me for help!  I am always available as a resource to my agents.  I want to help you look like a real estate tax expert to your clients.
Help Me With Real Estate Taxes

Happy to help.

Call me at 773-632-8330 or email me for help on this or any other real estate matter. And as always, I am honored by, and look forward to your referrals!

News you can use: Chicago condo owners keep privacy

From time to time important life quality issues develop around condo association rules, by-laws and Illinois condo law. Smoking, rentals, pets and privacy are just a handful of issues where laws and rules can change while you are part of condo association.  I've lived in several condo buildings and deal with associations on a daily basis working with clients. Knowing your rights as a condo owner is job one!

The Chicago City Council has won back some privacy for city condo owners.  A new Illinois law for 2018 requires a condo association to provide an owner's email and phone number at the request of another owner in the association (now, a letter to the owner's address is adequate communication).  Chicago has said "not so fast" and requires an association to opt in to the Illinois condo law with a 3/4 owner vote. 

Read more about the Illinois law and Chicago ordinance at Crain's Chicago Business.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Check out our new real estate drone video!

We had a record sales year in 2017 and record amounts of FUN (!) filming our property listings and neighborhoods.  Check out our new drone footage!  Call me to buy or sell your next property in the Chicagoland area. We charge one of the lowest commissions for full service and experienced real estate brokerage.

Logan Square single family home prices UP 65% from 2012

We will be listing 1803 N Fairfield in April.
Logan Square has seen one of the craziest Chicago real estate rises in recent years! From "hipster" bars, new build single family homes and rapid development of large condo and apartment buildings down Milwaukee Avenue Logan Square is a hot button topic. One thing is for sure.  Single family home prices have gone up!
Homes near The 606 park and trail.
39 Logan Square single family homes have closed thus far in 2018.  The median price of a sold house is about $700,000.  The highest priced sold house this year is 1855 N Hermitage Ave, Chicago IL 60622 in the Bucktown neighborhood of Logan Square for $2,560,000The lowest priced sold home in all of Logan Square is 2645 N Avers Ave, Chicago IL 60647 for $257,000.  The home (most likely a tear down) was sold off the MLS in 2017 for $150K and sold again this year on the open market for $100K more.  Not bad!

250 homes sold in Logan Square over all of 2017 with a median price of $690,000.  The highest priced  sold home was 1804 N Leavitt Street, Chicago IL 60647 for $3,400,000.  The Realtor listing remarks called it "The most architecturally exciting design to ever come to market"... LOL. Nice house though.  The lowest priced sold home was 3432 N Shakespeare Ave, Chicago IL 60647 for $140,000.   218 Logan Square houses sold in 2012 with a median price of just $416,000.
The 606 at North Fairfield in Logan Square. All Photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
I've noticed a higher level of foot traffic on the usually quiet residential streets around the The 606.  The wonderful trail and park system has neighbors seeing and meeting each other more often!

Contact us to buy or sell homes in Logan Square and other North Side Chicago neighborhoods.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Quick look at Bucktown condo sales

Eye catching vintage building at North Hoyne and West Moffat in Bucktown.
Bucktown attached unit sales 1/1/18 through 3/26/18

We were in Bucktown late last week looking at two and three bedrooms condos under $500,000. So far in 2018, 33 attached units (condos, town homes) have closed in Bucktown with a median price of $415,000.  The highest sold condo is 2035 West Charleston Unit 104, Chicago IL 60647  sold for  $739,000. The four bedrooms, three baths renovated loft was listed at 3600 sq/ft.  The lowest priced sold condo is 2129 W Webster Unit 2B, Chicago IL 60647 for $291,500.  The one bedroom, one bathroom unit does not have parking included.

259 attached units sold over 2017 wit a median price of about $425,000.  Back in 2012, 175 condo units sold with a median price of  $355,000. 

We looked at condos near a The 606 trail entrance at North Damen.
Always fun and interesting art and architecture to look at in Bucktown.

Boys of Spring! Amundsen baseball at Winnemac Park (Cubs field ribbon cutting soon!)

The improved infield and new backstops, dugouts make for a better home game experience.
I stopped in Winnemac Park and watched an inning of Amundsen High School Baseball yesterday morning. Temps were barely 40 degrees at game time.  I've said it before that I will never forget the painful feeling of my hands during high school games in the Chicago suburbs... in March. 

There is a ribbon cutting ceremony planned to celebrate the renovated baseball diamonds with Friends of Amundsen and the Chicago Cubs Charities for May 1st, 2108 at 2:30pm.  More details coming at the Friends of Amundsen site.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

New listing Pre-MLS! Lincoln Square three beds, two baths newer construction condo w/ garage parking

5008 N Lincoln Avenue #2N, Chicago IL 60625 photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
 NOT yet listed on MLS! We have an upcoming listing at 5008 N Lincoln Avenue #2N asking $539,900.  This is under the median price for comparable condos along this booming Lincoln Square stretch near the Western Brown Line stop.   The three beds, two baths condo with large front terrace was completed in 2015. Garage parking and tons of closet space. Groundswell Coffee Roasters is in the building!

Built in 2015
34' wide unit
Over 2000 sq/ft
10ft ceilings
Garage parking
Master bath with walk-in steam shower
Upgraded finish level
Check out 4912 N Lincoln Ave model photos for similar finish, same builder (no roof deck)

MLS listing expected in early April.  Contact me if interested in this condo and others in the neighborhood. We have access to pre-MLS and private listings every day!

 Exclusively listed by
Eric Rojas, Broker
Kale Realty
2447 N Ashland, Chicago IL 60614

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Consulting on "flips" and a look at South Loop condo sales

2000 S Michigan is an early condo conversion in the historic Motor Row area of the Near South Side and growing South Loop neighborhood. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty.
I stopped by the old Motor Row neighborhood of Near South Side community area to consult on a condo renovation project last week. Many of the original condo conversions of this particular area were developed just before the financial market crash.  It has taken 10 years for the immediate area to show substantial development and growth.  But here we are. Many of the original units are getting a face lift or gut rehab and selling in the market for good prices.

Greater South Loop market picked up crazy steam a couple years ago. The development of McCormick Square as a new neighborhood and the new Wintrust Arena has helped consolidate the rebound of Motor Row and nearby and South Loop real estate prices. All this major activity creates opportunities for smaller developments and gut renovation "flips".

The views of the Second Presbyterian Church from a grade level loft condo I checked out!
The general South Loop neighborhood of Near South Side from Congress to West Cermak. Excluded are Printer's Row (west of State Street) and Chinatown south of Cermak.
South Loop Condo Sales
115 attached South Loop units (condo, town house) have sold in 2018 thus far. The median price of a condo is about $360,000. Over 2017 the same sales area showed 802 closed attached units with a median price of about $382,000.  Interestingly back in 2013 sales were fairly consistent to 2017. 752 units closed with a median price of $364,000.
South loop offers some pretty cool streetscape views.
In the entire Near South Side community area, 867 attached units sold over 2017 with a median price of about $375,000.

My hoopsters 1st and 3rd from the left.
I've visited the new Wintrust Arena for a couple DePaul University basketball games and my kids already want a "staycation" at the Marriot Marquis

Monday, March 19, 2018

Request "No Parking" signs for your Chicago move

Don't forget to request "No Parking" signs for your moving truck when preparing for your move.
Last week I picked up and posted "No Parking" signs on behalf of my home selling client.  She was out of town and needed to post signs for her moving truck several days in advance of her move today.  You may request courtesy "No Parking" through your Alderman's office for your moving truck. These signs usually do the trick for residential streets. They should be posted 48-72 hours ahead of your move.

You may also  apply for official, enforceable no parking signs with CDOT.  Here's an example of instructions from the 47th Ward office.  In this case I was able to post the no parking signs in front of a friend's house and troll him as a bonus. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

House of Wings Lincoln Park gets new million dollar neighbors on Arlington

A vacant 5,899 sq/ft lot adjacent to House of Wings in Lincoln Park sold for $4,775,000 in 2017 or $809.00 per sq/ft. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
Ever pricier new construction condos have no want for demand.  445 W Arlington Place Chicago, IL 60614 is a new 8 unit high-end condo development at North Clark and West Arlington in Lincoln Park. The Booth Hansen designed building boasts four of the six pre-construction units under contract with prices ranging from $1,360,000 to $2,300,000.  That's a spicy hot wing!

The vacant lot was sold for development in 2017 for $4,775,000 according to public records.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

High-end condos offer flame broiled luxury next to Burger King, old Mix in Lakeview

A walk north down Halsted from West Wrightwood to West Belmont will look a lot different from just five years ago.  Another several new condo buildings have been completed.
Several higher-end new construction condos on the 2800 block of North Halsted Street in Lakeview have been completed and are almost sold out. We watched (and heard) these buildings go up while working with several clients in the Halsted/ Diversey area that straddles Lakeview and Lincoln Park.  This strip of North Halsted has almost been completely consolidated into residential condos with a few exceptions.  One exception being that former "Mix" building that won't die.

The former Mix bar building stands between newer build condos and new construction condos along Halsted.
Three buildings are part of one development and the furthest south building on the end is a separate development. Asking and closed sales prices range from $575,000 to $899,900.
The corner lot at Halsted and Diversey remains retail with a Burger King restaurant.
2831 North Halsted (the furthest south building) is listed as four units.  Unit 4, a three level condo, sold for $899,900.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Uptown single family home sales, median price about $850,000

We viewed a converted two-flat to single family home along North Hermitage in Uptown late last week.
Uptown in Chicago is not typically known for it's single family home sales.  The area is dominated by classic walk-up multi-units and mid-rise buildings.  However, there are pockets of mostly pricey houses.  We regularly spill into the Uptown Community Area when looking for houses in the Lincoln Square and Edgewater areas (Andersonville and Ravenswood neighborhoods especially) as they all blend together east North Ravenswood Aveune.

The eastern lakefront area of Uptown area has a pocket of expensive, distinct homes. North Hermitage from Montrose to Lawrence Avenue (west of North Ashland Ave) is a really cool four block stretch to check out attractive estates.

This recent single family home conversion hit the market in western Uptown near Andersonville for $785,000 (on a long 140' lot but we found it too pricey for the condition and features). 
Only 41 single family homes closed in Uptown Community Area over 2017 with a median price of about $850,000. The highest priced home sale was 830 West Buena Ave, Chicago, IL 60613 for $2,293,333. 830 West Buena is a renovated contemporary compound among a spattering of fantastic homes located in a distinct National Historic District. The least expensive house sold for $475,000 at 1646 West Carmen.  The property was sold as a tear down / land value. 

31 homes sold in 2016 with a median price about $900,000. 
29 homes sold in 2015 with a median price about $795,000.
36 homes sold in 2014 with a median price about $830,000.


Thursday, March 08, 2018

Three Lincoln Square properties sold for $1.2 million, now Lawrence Avenue's newest condo development

2242, 2244 and 2246 West Lawrence (two of the properties hidden by the tree and the building to the left of the tree) all sold last year for about $1,2350,000. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty.
A demolition permit was issued this week for three properties at 2242 West Lawrence to 2246 West Lawrence Avenue in Lincoln Square.  A new construction permit estimated at $5 million for a 12 unit building  was issued for the property in January of this year. The development is adjacent to a new 14 unit building at 4802 N Bell under construction.  If you left the neighborhood even five years ago you won't recognize Lawrence Avenue when you come back!

The three properties at 2242-2246 West Lawrence sold together for $1,235,000 last year according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.  Here's some past posts on Lawrence Avenue development.

Clients offer on private home listing in Ravenswood Manor

Typical homes with tidy lawns in Ravenswood Manor (Photo Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
Early this week we found a private single family home listing in desirable Ravenswood Manor (Albany Park community area) for our buyer clients. Finding a good house in the budget on Chicago's North Side is not easy! Inventory is relatively low and expensive. We love researching and suggesting any opportunities we can for our buyer clients.  We set up a showing at the house immediately and they've made an offer!

We look forward to bringing this deal together and helping our clients make good economic decisions during the purchase and throughout ownership of their home.  If you are looking to buy a home or condo we may have opportunities the average buyer does not see on real estate web sites.

Yikes! Construction fences surround "Wrigley Mansion" in Lincoln Park

2644 North Lakeview (known as the Wrigley Mansion) was foreclosed and recently sold for $4,650,000. Blue fences were spotted around the property.
Construction fences went up around Lincoln Park's "Wrigley Mansion" soon after the foreclosure sale of $4,650,000.  I may have been the first to report the land-marked property was in foreclosure back in 2011.  Construction fences are scary site in Chicago that usually means the property is doomed!

Don't worry! The owner, 2644 Lakeview Properties Llc, has permits listing typical repairs to the home. At this point it appears that it ill be kept a single family home residence but the home could be used for other means... museum, non-profit offices or even developed into condos.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Lincoln Square, Lawrence Avenue condo under contract with asking price $849,900

4753 N Hamilton is a new construction condo building at West Lawrence Avenue and North Hamilton in Lincoln Square. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
A new construction Lincoln Square condo listed on is under contract with an asking price of $849,900.  4753 N Hamilton Unit #3 is listed on MLS as penthouse, 3 beds, 2 1/2 baths, 2200 square feet with a full 750 square foot built-out roof deck. I'm pretty sure this will be the highest priced condo unit ever sold in Lincoln Square. 4416 N Winchester Ave Unit 4, Chicago, IL 60640 closed for $840,000 in 2016 and was listed at 200 sq/ft smaller.

4802 North Bell at West Lawrence
Another 3 beds, 2 baths unit at the new construction 4802 N Bell development (shown above) is under contract asking $840,000.  How long until we see the first million dollar condo in Lincoln Square? You'll hear it here first (maybe).

If you are looking to buy and sell houses, condos, multi-units and land in Lincoln Square, North Side neighborhoods and near suburbs please contact us.  We often have pre-market opportunities.

Lakeview "Bad Axe" close to opening in Century Mall

Bob visited the new "Bad Axe Throwing" construction nearing completion in Lakeview from inside the Century Shopping Centre at 2828 N Clark.  Or as he likes to call it... "bad idea".


Lincoln Square vacant lot sells for over $1.2 million

5135 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 in Lincoln Square sold recently for $1,231,000 (all photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)
I visited a client on the 5000 block of North Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Square to consult on their condo sale this spring.  I took the occasion to walk by a recent vacant lot sale on this booming mixed use strip.  5135 North Lincoln Avenue  measuring 50'x140' closed on February 16th of this year for $1,231,000.  A mortgage of over $1.7 million is taken out on the property.  No building permit has been issued yet from my search of public documents on but a six to eight unit condo building is likely. 

In the past twelve months 22 condo units closed along 4900 North Lincoln Avenue to 5200 North Lincoln Avenue with a median price of  $565,000. Whoa. All stats gathered from by moi.