Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Rod your sewer or face the back-up!

Home maintenance is boring and we cringe at some of the costs; furnace/ boiler maintenance, gutter cleaning, caulking windows, roof flashing, painting to name a few. In my fifteen years experience working with property owners sewer rodding is at the top of the list for neglected maintenance! I stopped by my neighbor's Lincoln Square house who has learned the hard way.

Just prior to the near record cold temps they experienced sewer back-up in the basement.  The sewer line was clogged and now further exasperated by freezing pipes holding up the repairs! They've been out of the house for several days. Oy! 

I was out this morning in negative seventeen degree weather  (I won't even talk about the wind chills) to check on a few properties. We warned many of our client's to take precautions prior to the record cold temps heading into Chicago.  Additionally, some of our properties are in different stages of completion with most projects just plain stopping for a few days. 

Much of the city is on lock down for the next two days. Stay safe!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Norwood Park single family home sales in 2018 (median price $325,000)

Lots of vintage eye candy homes in the Old Norwood Park Historical District of Norwood Park Chicago. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty 
I've been in Norwood Park looking at homes for a client.  The area remains a popular choice for those looking for a city/ suburban experience near Metra, highways and amenities. The public and private schools are well rated and the single family housing stock is diverse throughout the community.

A farm house on a huge lot in Old Norwood Park.  It is hard to imagine this is located in the city near some busy main commercial streets! 
Norwood Park sales 2018
388 Norwood Park single family homes closed over 2018 with an attractive median price of $325,000. The median price point gets you a relatively updated three bedrooms brick raised ranch house. The highest priced closed home in 2018 was 5912 North Nickerson sold for $777,000. The large Old Norwood Park home located in the "circle" is updated with six beds, four and one-half baths on a 50'x200' lot.

The lowest priced sold house was 5043 N Normandy Avenue Chicago, IL 60656 for $165,000. The house has been torn down to build a new house.

Past Sales
In 2015, 406 single family houses closed in Norwood Park with a median price of only $285,000. Back in 2012 when the real estate market was crawling out of recession 336 single family homes closed with a median price of $230,000. 83 of those sales in 2012 were a short sales or foreclosures! About 12 homes were recorded as sold short sale or foreclosure in 2018.

Brick and frame custom homes alternate throughout the circle streets of Old Norwood Park.
Interestingly the church property and separate house at 5917 North Nina in the "circle" is under contract at the moment. The asking price is about $1.79 million.
For Sale
Currently there are a good number of homes for sale in Norwood Park.  Seventy-three single family homes are listed for sale on the MLS with a median asking price of about $375,000. Twenty-seven homes are currently under contract with a median asking price of $345,000. Sellers look to be a listed a little high at the moment. We love finding great home values in the northwest of the city and near suburbs. Contact us today!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Looking for million dollar new construction in West Town / Logan Square

We viewed this new construction home on 1853 N North Fairfield with our client near the 606 in Logan Square priced at $999,900. The property previously sold for $375K for redevelopment. 
One of our long time clients is looking to upgrade to a modern new construction or gut rehab single family home.  She'd like to stay near her current West Town neighborhood of Ashland and Division or Logan Square near the Blue Line. The area just west of of North Western and south of West Armitage is a hotbed of modern new construction fairly close to the Blue Line and the popular 606 trail and park system. Several modern homes are priced under $1 million.

Our buyer clients were surprised by the skyline views from the built out roof deck (appears much closer in person).  
We are looking for a new construction home of this portion of  West Town/ Logan Square.  The area offers new construction homes around one million dollars with access to the CTA Blue Line and close to trendy restaurants and bars. Humboldt Park is just southwest of the shaded area.
Over 2018 the shaded area above of West Town / Logan Square (Armitage to Wabansia and Western to California) twenty-three homes closed with a median price of $870,000. 

In 2015 twenty-six homes sold with a median price of $740,000.

Way back in 2012 when the market took off from the recession days twenty-three homes closed with a median price of about $500,000. Seven of those homes were sold as either short-sale or foreclosures. This popular area for home buyers and development has seen a 74% increase in median price of a single family home. Some of that is reflected by the many more new construction homes sold in recent years.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Kiddie Academy building construction at old Lincoln Lanes site, Lincoln Square

A new Kiddie Academy takes full shape at 4847 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
The new Kiddie Academy of Chicago has taken shape at the prominent bend once occupied by Lincoln Lanes and Matty K's Hardware.  A photo I took of the old building the morning of the fire is below.

A terrible day for our neighbors and the loss of local history and a good sports bar.
Here's my post from last June with more info and photo links of the Kiddie Academy news and the Lincoln Lanes fire of 2015.

An earlier photo of the construction looking northwest down North Lincoln Avenue along the bend.
The site is adjacent to a McDonald's drive-thru. I'd hoped this whole corner home to an older McDonald's store and the vacant Lincoln Lanes lots would have been redeveloped together. In related news McDonald's projects and 300% spike in Happy Meal sales by 2020.

A McDonald's store shares a parking lot with the Kiddie Academy development.

Old Norwood Park ghost sign is a diamond in the rough

The approximately 128 year old building recently housed Be Juiced (now closed), currently Outfitters Custom Printed Apparel  and presumably James A. Hall Jewelers at some point. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
I had some business in Old Norwood Park, Chicago and finally took a picture of the ghost sign for James A. Hall Jeweler at 6048 N Avondale.  The building itself dates back about 128 years and is located in a National Register of Historic Places across the tracks from the Norwood Park Metra station.  I don't have any information on the James A. Hall Jewelers. The building adjacent to the north partially blocking the sign was built about 15 years ago.

The building has two storefronts at 6046 and 6048 North Avondale.

Norwood Park National Registry of Historic Places boundaries West Bryn Mawr, Nagle, Avondale and Harlem.

Norwood Life Society Thrift Shop 6019 North Nina around the corner from the vintage ghost sign caters to seniors. A handful of local businesses cluster around the Metra station.

Norwood Park Metra Station in "The Circle" of Old Norwood Park Chicago
28 single family homes in the "Historic Places" boundaries were recorded as closed in our MLS ( with a median sales price of $465,000.  This is a relatively affordable North Side neighborhood price point near transit, good schools and shopping/ dining amenities. I'm sure ol' James made a killing with the well to do residents here at one point.

5912 North Nickerson was sold in 2018 for $777,000
The highest priced closed home in 2008 in the  was 5912 North Nickerson Chicago IL 60646, a short sale, for $777,000. I happened to get a picture of that house above. The six bedrooms home is great condition sits on a 50'x200' lot with outdoor pool. The lowest priced sold home was 5644 North Nagle Chicago IL 60646 for $275,000.  The Georgian style three beds, one bath home is tucked into the outer edge of the Historic District just east of Taft High School.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Help Amalia and St. Matthias School Fun Run for new tech!

Watch the videos and help our kids reach their goal if you can! Pledge HERE

Ryne, Amalia, Stanley and Charlie are all participating the St. Matthias School Fun Run in one week!
Please go to their team link HERE to pledge per lap or donate a flat amount.  

Stanley shows off his running skills!

St. Matthias School is a welcoming environment featuring IB education, robust athletics and extra curricular activities (including before and after care). Our kids are having a terrific experience and we love the community. The administration works hard to improve the quality of our school and our kids need your help!  Contact me anytime to discuss the school or contact Admissions and Financial Aid HERE

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Oak Park single family home sales (median sale price $452,000)

Large traditional homes on wide lots in Holmes School district.
I'll be listing a house for sale in the Holmes Elementary School District early this spring. I've had to take a close look at the district sales for our client.  With many clients and family members in Oak Park we also keep a close eye on over-all home sales around town.  Let's take a look!

406 Oak Park single family homes were recorded as closed in the MLS ( over 2018.  The median price is about $452,000.  The lowest priced sold home is $141,000 at 130 North Austin, Oak Park, IL 60302. The nice sized home on the busy thoroughfare was in need of a gut renovation according to the broker. The highest closed sale price recorded in the MLS in 2018 is 511 Linden Oak Park, IL 60302 sold for $1,205,000. The mini mansion with coach house on a 104'x174' lot is a little dated for my taste lol.

A rare modern newer construction home I've always admired in Holmes School district, Oak Park.
115 of the 406 closed houses sold between $400,000 to $500,000.  This is a common budget/ price range for our clients looking for a house outside of Chicago.  Only eight homes sold for over $1 million dollars in 2018. 

28 single family homes closed in the Holmes school district with a hefty median price of $726,000. The desirable school district straddles the shops of Chicago Avenue and the robust downtown district.

I stopped at Buzz Cafe for breakfast in the Oak Park Arts District before heading north to my client's house.
In 2015, 455 single family homes sold with a median price of $420,000.  In 2013 as things started to climb out of the recession 497 homes sold with a median price about $382,000 ($80K less than 2018). If you bought 5-9 years ago and kept your home maintained you are probably in a decent equity position. 

Update: Ravenswood / Uptown's American Indian Center now rental loft apartments

The renovation, particularly the windows, looks really appealing. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
Awhile back we posted Ravenswood / Uptown's American Indian Center was selling their building and moving.  The massive building at 1630 W Wilson (at Paulina) was bought for the purpose of residential apartment conversion.  I can't find the purchase price in public records but there was a $5 million plus mortgage taken out on the property.

The "Now Leasing" advertisements are up and the building is addressed as 4601 N Paulina.  One bed apartments offered from $1,300 to $1,800 per/month, two beds apartments from $2,600 to $3,000 per/month.  Larger units also available according to the broker site.

The American Indian Center of Chicago is now located in Albany Park.
Prominent unique buildings such as this at West Wilson and North Paulina helps make living in Chicago a unique experience. I'm sure many are appreciative it has been preserved. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Uptown repair shop property sells for $2,350,000, 39 new apartments coming

Looking south from Lawrence Ave. A 39 unit Apartment building with retail space and 35 parking spots will be built at 4747 N Ashland in the Uptown/ Ravenswood neighborhoods. The location is near the Ravenswood Metra and easy to Sheridan Red Line. The former lot and business property address was 4757 N Ashland, Chicago IL 60640 and sold for $2,350,000.
I was recently asked about the land sale for a new construction project in Uptown. The former car repair shop at the corner of Lawrence and Ashland in Uptown has been emptied out and new construction draws near.  Property records show a Trustee Deed (sale price) of $2,350,000 recorded in December 2018 for the 115’ x 156’ = 17,940 sq/ft lot. The zoning change was approved in June of 2018 according to the 47th Ward website.  Check out the drawings HEREA building construction permit was issued in December estimated over $5 million.

Lawrence and Ashland will soon look much different.
The property is close to the Ravenswood Metra, Crafty Beaver (across the street!), Lawrence Red Line, Mariano's. Jewel, Andersonville fun, Chase Park (pool next door!) and any number of bars, restaurants and shops. Details from the summary sheet of the residential apartment development include:

  • 39 rental units  
  • 3 one-BDRM // all are 830 sf  
  • 36 two-BDRM units // 12 are 1,200 sf and 24 are 900 sf  
  • Rents estimated $1,800-$2,500  
  • 4 ARO on-site units
If you need a condo or apartment please contact me.  If you need a great car repair shop rather than this infamous shop go to my guys at Speedline at 5250 North Damen.

Friday, January 18, 2019

40th Ward Aldermanic Forum Tuesday January 29th @ Amundsen High School, Lincoln Square

The League of Women Voters Chicago is holding a 40th Ward Aldermanic Forum Tuesday January 29th, 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Amundsen High School   

They are asking for volunteers as well. Contact to volunteer or more info.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Density for the few: Median asking price for new Old Town condos about $2.5 million

The pricey condo development at the corner of North and Clark in Old Town. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty

We took some construction pictures of Old Town's new high-end condo before and after the holiday season.  Fifteen Fifty on the Park is a 32 unit new construction condo building  just steps from historic landmark Germania Club buildingChicago History MuseumLatin School and Second City. Not to mention all the great Wells Street restaurants and the lakefront. has photos and info of the old structures and preservation on the site.

Germania Club building (with a lively Starbucks) in the foreground.  The 1550 N Clark Street construction crane looms high over the busy corner. 

There are presently 6 units listed on MLS starting at $1,625,000 for a 2 bed/2.1 bath 2300 SF to $5,650,000 for a 4 bedroom/4.1 bath 4518 SF penthouse unit. Heated garage parking is an additional $66,000 per spot. Check out the listings at

The desirable Latin School of Chicago is across the street from the new condos.  Our kids have played some basketball at the school over the past year.
Enjoy cultural events across the street at the Chicago History Museum
Check out just a few of our property sale videos nearby in Sandburg Village, Old Town and Old Town Triangle over the years. 

Lincoln Park high-rise condo sales 2018

Wow, finally a sunny day. We had some business around the Lakeview / Deming area of Lincoln Park just prior to the holiday. Looking north from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. We recently sold a unit at 330 West Diversey Parkway pictured in the middle. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker Kale Realty.
North Pond Restaurant and the park serenity is steps away from several Lincoln Park high rise buildings.

We've spent more and more time with clients riding in high-rise elevators around Lincoln Park! Lincoln Park high-rise living is pretty good. My wife and I consider the area a top contender for our empty nest apartment one day as we both love our careers here (I'll probably croak on the job).  Let's take a look at high-rise sales around the neighborhood (buildings 7 stories or taller).

Lincoln Park high-rise condo sales 2018
188 high-rise condo units sold in 2018.  The median price of a Lincoln Park high-rise condo over this time was about $289,000. The vast majority of condos sold under $289K were one bedroom units. Only two units recorded as closed on the MLS ( under $289,000 were two bedroom units.

Views from Diversey Harbor.  The lakefront amenities are extremely accessible from many Lincoln Park high-rise buildings.  
The highest priced high-rise condo sale was at 2550 N Lakeview, Unit 1001S, Chicago IL 60614 for $3,900,000.  The luxury high-rise development Lincoln Park 2550 tops the sales charts since it's completion in 2012. The lowest priced high-rise condo sale is 2626 N Lakeview Unit 1410 for $132,000. The updated studio apartment makes a great in-town or just live simple and cheap in
a fantastic location!

We love helping our clients find their first, trade-up or in-town condo! We also love showcasing your unit for sale with great preparation, photography and video.  Contact us today!

The Bel apartments in Lakeview rise up (is that a pigeon?)

The Bel is a 37 apartment transit orientated development (TOD) at 941 West Belmont, Chicago IL 60657 adjacent to Belmont Red Line station. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
We got a up close and personal look of The Bel apartment development in Lakeview. It could not be closer to the CTA Belmont Red Line station.  Is that a pigeon staring at us? A pigeon? The bane of all apartment dwellers??

The median price of a rental on the block is about $2,000 per month. Around $2,000 a month you can expect a two bedroom, one or two baths renovated apartment. Some exceptions include more vintage 3 bedroom apartments and dedicated parking availability varies at $2,000/ per month.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Edgewater two-flat sales (and small multi-units)

Our client lives near one of the coolest restaurant, bar and retail strips in the city.  She aims to stay here trading in her condo for a two-flat. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
Stumble home from Hopleaf? Yes please! Many of us remember the small, smokey front room with the great jukebox of one of Andersonville's finest institutions. Hopleaf has grown in size with the mega popularity of this Edgewater neighborhood and real estate prices have followed. Our client is looking to upgrade to a two-flat in Edgewater.  Let's take a look at recent two-flat sales prices.

No matter how hard you squint (and dream) it's a dump! This grey-stone on the 1700 block of West Winona needs a gut renovation along with expensive exterior maintenance.
Edgewater two-flat sales in 2018

21 Edgewater two-flat buildings have closed over 2018.  The median sale price of  a two-flat over that time is $600,000. At $600,000 you get a nice conditioned building near the Andersonville strip. We're not talking luxury here.  The building will be serviceable with good location. In 2016, 28 two-flat buildings closed with a median price of $605K and in 2014 another 28 two-flat buildings sold with median price of  $515,000.

There is still a good stock of two, three and four-flats in Edgewater.  Not every sale is converted to a single family home (buildings on the 1400 block of West Winona).
18 three-flats closed over 2018 with a median price of about $790,000. The highest priced three-unit building to sell is the beautiful 5915 N Magnolia for $1,060,000.    One smallish four-unit building at 1752 West Catalpa sold in 2018 for $660,000. 

Only five two-flats are currently available for sale in Edgewater with a median asking price of $500K (and $500K ain't getting you much).