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Archive for the 'Wilmette' Category

Spring Housewalks on the North Shore

International Style House in Wilmette by George Fred KeckThere are two North Shore housewalks rapidly approaching (one today, in fact):

Wilmette Historical Society Housewalk

Sunday, May 15 from 1:00-6:00 pm
Tickets: $50 for members and $60 for non-members
Visit www.wilmettehistory.org to purchase tickets.

“Architecture through the Decades” showcases four homes designed by innovative and nationally recognized architects. Built between 1890 and 1950, they demonstrate how housing design changed over the first few decades of the twentieth century:

  • 1890′s American Foursquare designed by George Maher
  • 1920′s Spanish Revival by Alfred Alschuler
  • 1930′s International Style by George Fred Keck
  • 1950′s Modern by Harry Weese

Here’s a little context for what you’ll be seeing: the American Foursquare style (sometimes called the “Prairie Box” and popular from the 1890′s to the 1930′s) was a reaction to the ornate elements of the Victorian style that was popular in the latter half of the 19th century. It is characteristically plain, incorporating elements of the Prairie and Craftsman styles. Typical of the style is a hipped roof, arched entries between common rooms, built-in cabinetry and Craftsman style woodwork. The house by George Maher also features large single-pane windows and beautiful art glass.

The Spanish revival house at 1000 Chestnut Avenue was part of the retrospective craze that took place following World War I.  The house had suffered from years of neglect and was slated to be torn down until the current owners purchased it and began its restoration. The home was the recipient of a special Preservation Excellence Award in 2010.

In the 1930′s traditional styles were increasingly rejected in favor of the International Style that was popular in Europe. The Keck house was one of the first to use plate glass in its design. You can see it in the picture above as it forms a dramatic column that encloses a spiral staircase.

The fourth and final house on the tour showcases Harry Weese’s emphasis on functional, efficient spaces, such as the counter back-splash in the kitchen that can be folded down to create a buffet in the adjoining dining room.

Winnetka Women’s Club Housewalk

Wednesday, May 18 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Tickets: $60 for the tour and $35 for lunch at Michigan Shores Club
Order your tickets here and pick them up at the Women’s Club (485 Maple St., Winnetka)

1313 Ridge Rd, Wilmette“Lifestyles” presents five beautifully decorated homes of differing architectural styles, including:

  • a French Provincial built in 1937
  • a 1920′s Tudor
  • a new Tudor style custom home
  • a Italian Villa with a contemporary interior

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Egg Hunt in Thornwood Park

Easter Egg Hunt

You’re Invited!

Hop on over for some eggs-citement at Thornwood Park on Saturday morning.

Maureen and I are hosting our first annual Thornwood Park Egg Hunt for kids 10 and under. The weather may be a little iffy but we’re hoping for at least an hour of sunshine. Bring your camera to take pictures with the Easter Bunny. And be sure to bring a basket for collecting your eggs. We’ll have prizes for the kids and a drawing for the parents.

Where: Thornwood Park in Wilmette (2400 Thornwood Ave.)

When: The hunt will start at 10:00 am SHARP! But come early to meet the Easter Bunny and guess the number of jelly beans in the jar.

See you there!

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The Birdhouse Garden

There’s this wonderful perennial garden on the corner of Elmwood Ave. and Hunter Rd. in Kenilworth Gardens. All summer long and into the autumn passersby are greeted by a profusion of flowers and a charming collection of hand-painted birdhouses. It’s always a surprise to see what’s in bloom at any given moment, so I thought I would document the changes throughout the growing season.

We haven’t had many warm days yet, so the garden doesn’t look like much right now. But the tulips are up. Peony shoots are just starting to peek out of the ground. The little blue flowers are called Glory of the Snow and are one of the earliest bloomers around here. The birdhouses are still wintering inside.

April 13

April 13

April 13

April 13

April 1

April 1

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Romona Neighborhood Home Sales – 1st Quarter 2011

Romona is the only neighborhood in Wilmette that showed an increase in the number of homes sold and the price paid, as well as a decrease in market time vs. this time last year.

Romona Neighborhood Home Sales - 1st Quarter 2011Want to know what that house down the street went for? You can go here for that info.

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McKenzie Neighborhood Home Sales – 1st Quarter 2011

2011 got off to a slower start than 2010 as we didn’t have a home buyer tax credit to help us out this year.

McKenzie Neighborhood Home Sales-1st Qtr 2011You can see what individual houses sold for here.

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East Wilmette Home Sales – 1st Quarter 2011

East Wilmette’s first quarter numbers are not as good as they were last year when we had the tax credit. We’ll see how things develop as the year goes on. You can see more detailed market stats here.

East Wilmette Home Sales - 1st Quarter 2011

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Howard Park in Wilmette

Howard Park towerHave you ever driven down 17th Street in Wilmette and wondered what that big cupola thing was sticking up in in Howard Park?

When you live somewhere long enough you stop noticing things. You just take them for granted.  But that cupola is part of Wilmette’s history. It’s the cupola from Howard School, which was one of the village’s grade schools from 1924 to 1979. The Howard School did not stand on the site where the cupola is. It was over on Ridge Rd. just west of the park, where the police station parking lot is now.

The school was torn down in 1982 and the tower was moved to the park where Spencer Ave. runs into 17th. The park is 8.7 acres with two ball fields where girls’ and adult softball is played in the spring and summer.

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Homes for Sale in Kenilworth Gardens

1917 Greenwood Ave.

1917 Greenwood Ave.

I’ve written before about the Kenilworth Gardens neighborhood of Wilmette. It’s a popular family-friendly community served by Harper School, one of the four elementary schools in Wilmette. It’s considered an “entry-level” neighborhood for upwardly mobile young couples moving to the North Shore from the city. Since many of the homes have 3-4 bedrooms with one car garages on smaller lots (50 x 122), families often outgrow their homes and move on after 4-5 years.

 

During the boom years, it was hard to get into Kenilworth Gardens. Homes sold quickly and often with multiple offers. Nowadays, it is taking longer to sell a home here. Many of the would-be sellers bought during the boom years and paid more than their home is currently worth, and it’s hard for them to come to terms with selling for so much less.

There are currently eleven homes for sale in Kenilworth Gardens, ranging in price from

1913 Thornwood Ave.

1913 Thornwood Ave.

$575,000 to $1,649,000. Most of the houses were built between 1935 and 1960, but two were new construction built from tear-downs of smaller homes.

1917 Greenwood Avenue: $575,000

Eight rooms, three bedrooms and one and a half baths.
Lots size: 50 x 122′
Two  car garage

1913 Thornwood Avenue: $599,000

2154 Thornwood Ave.

2154 Thornwood Ave.

Eight rooms, three bedrooms and one and a half baths.
Lot size (irregular): 60′ x 127′ on the corner of Ridge Rd.
One car garage
Newer kitchen but otherwise not redone

2154 Thornwood Avenue: $625,000

Eight rooms, three bedrooms, two and a half baths.
Lot size: 50′ x 122′
One car garage

2320 Greenwood Avenue: $629,000

Eight rooms, three bedrooms, two and one half baths.

2320 Greenwood Ave.

2320 Greenwood Ave.

Lot size: 50′ x 140′
One car garage

2224 Thornwood Avenue: $842,000

Eleven rooms, four bedrooms, three and one half baths
Lot size: 50′ x 122′
Two car garage

2235 Chestnut Avenue: $909,000

Ten rooms, four bedrooms, two and one half baths
Lot size: 50′ x 177′

2224 Thornwood Ave.

2224 Thornwood Ave.

Two car garage

2131 Beechwood Avenue: $919,000

Ten rooms, four bedrooms, two and one half baths
Lot size: 50′ x 134′
Two car garage
Newer Di Giuilio kitchen

2236 Beechwood Avenue: $ 949,000

Ten rooms, four bedrooms, two and one half baths
Lot size: 50′ x 130′

2235 Chestnut Ave.

2235 Chestnut Ave.

One car garage

1923 Greenwood Avenue: $965,000

Twelve rooms, five bedrooms, three and one half baths
Lot size: 50′ x 122′
One car garage

1220 Middlebury Lane: $1,375,000.

Eleven rooms, four+ bedrooms, four and one half baths
Lot size: 50′ x 135′
New construction

2131 Beechwood Ave.

2131 Beechwood Ave.

Oversized two car garage

2411 Thornwood Avenue: $1,649,000

Twelve rooms, five bedrooms, five and one half baths
Lot size: 50′ x 132′
Faces Thornwood Park
Built in 2005
Two car garage

You can get more information about each of these listings here. If you would like to see any of them, please give me a call at 847-687-5957 or email me. I would be happy to show them to you!

2236 Beechwood Ave.

2236 Beechwood Ave.

1923 Greenwood Ave.

1923 Greenwood Ave.

1220 Middlebury Lane

1220 Middlebury Lane

2411 Thornwood Ave.

2411 Thornwood Ave.

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District 39 Referendum: Impact on Schools and Property Values

Ask anyone why they moved to the North Shore and they will tell you that our excellent schools were a driving factor, if not THE driving factor. And they pay a premium to live here and access those schools. Wilmette is one North Shore community with a strong tradition of academic excellence. Three of its elementary schools were awarded the prestigious U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon. All six District 39 schools were ranked in Chicago Magazine’s Top 20.

voteBut on April 5th Wilmette’s commitment to academic excellence will be tested. Residents will vote on a referendum that would increase property taxes by $58.80 per $1000 paid, in order to prevent drastic spending cuts in the Wilmette schools.

Here are the facts:

1. The district’s financial situation is dire. The schools have “trimmed all the fat” they can out of their budget and are still running a $5.5 million deficit. Our reserves will be exhausted within two years.

2. District 39 is highly efficient compared to the 15 closest comparable school districts, including the five New Trier feeder districts. We are 13th out of 15 in operating cost spent per pupil.

3. While our class sizes are significantly higher than class sizes in the schools in the other New Trier feeder districts, our teacher salaries currently rank 13th out of 15 of the closest comparable schools.

4. District 39 hasn’t had a tax rate referendum in 13 years…despite more than a 9% increase in the number of students and the lowest tax revenue per student in the region.  (Most school districts hold referendums every six years on average).

The Impact on the Quality of Our Kids’ Education

If the referendum fails, here’s what will happen in our schools:

  • Class sizes will increase to 26 children in grades K-2 and to 33 children in grades 6-8, which is worse than the state average. Wilmette’s  class sizes will be 50% larger than New Trier’s other feeder districts.
  • 80 out of 328 (24%) of our teachers will lose their jobs over the next 2 years.
  • ALL foreign language (K-8), instrumental music (5-8) and reading intervention will be cut.
  • ALL librarians, technology teachers and differentiation teachers will be gone. So forget about your child getting extra help if needed or being challenged if they are gifted.
  • Reductions in special ed support, social workers and physical education.

In a nutshell this means that our children will not be competitive with the kids from other sender schools when they enter New Trier.

For me as a parent in the district, these facts are compelling, despite the increase in taxes. But what if you do not have children in District 39′s schools? Here’s another reason to support the referendum: your property values. There is overwhelming evidence that shows a clear property value benefit associated with strong neighborhood schools.

The Impact on Our Property Values

As a Realtor, I am keenly aware of how important school quality and test scores are to people considering a move to our area. But I had never actually seen any research that supported with data what we all know anecdotally: ‘As go the schools, so goes the real estate.’ I went online and found several research studies that show a strong correlation between quality of education (usually measured by test scores) and property values:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Wilmette Housing Inventory by Price Point

The other day I wrote about the housing inventories on Chicago’s North Shore and how they’ve declined in the last two years. While most towns on the North Shore still had at least a year’s worth of inventory as of the end of January, Wilmette stands out as the one market that has less than six months supply. In fact, at some price points there are actually not enough homes on the market to meet the demand.

Wilmette Active Listings and Odds of Selling

Wilmette Housing Inventory by Price PointSource: MRED – single family home listings and sales by price

The chart shows how well supply and demand are balanced at specific price points. It also shows the odds of your house selling in the next six months based on its price. For example, in the $600,000-$699,000 range there are more than twice as many buyers as there are homes for sale, given that the number of sales in the last six months was 222% of the number of homes currently listed for sale.

The implication for buyers at this price point: if you see a house you like, you probably ought to go ahead and make an offer. If you wait, it may be gone.

The implication for would-be sellers at this price point: if you are trying to decide whether to put your house on the market right now, the answer is yes. If it shows well and is properly priced, it should sell quickly. If you are at the low end of the $700,000-799,000 range (where there are more listings than buyers), you may want to consider lowering the price to $699,000 so that you can fish where the fish are.


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