Your Ultimate Guide to Real Estate on Chicago's North Shore

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Fun Things To Do on the North Shore – Oct. 24 – 26, 2014

Make sure you get plenty of rest this week because the weekend is jammed pack with Halloween haunts for kids and adults, plus a whole lot more. We’ve expanded this week’s list to include as many events as you could handle!

Halloween on North ShoreBoo Bash
Oct. 24, 6 pm – 7:30
Northfield Community Center, 401 Wagner, Road, Northfield
This favorite Halloween event returns for the younger set. Children 3-8 will enjoy free carnival games, balloon artists, craft, treat bags and cookie decorating. There will also be a special train ride around Willow Park. For more information, click here.

Halloween Happening
Oct. 24, 6-9 pm
Community Recreation Center, 1200 Wilmette Avenue, Wilmette
Filled with chills and thrills, this family-friendly event features carnival games, magician, fortune teller, moonwalk, arts and crafts, face painting, mad scientist’s lab and pony rides. Don’t miss the Theater of Terror and the Traveling World of Reptiles! Pizza dinner is included, along with a goodie bag and a visit to the Pumpkin Patch. Wristbands will be issued and will be required to participate in all activities. $15 resident/$20 non-resident. Sign up early here.

Pumpkins on the Beach
Oct. 24, 5-7:30 pm
Tower Road Beach, 899 Sheridan Road, Winnetka
The beach will be transformed into a pumpkin patch for family fun. There will be pumpkin decorating, carnival games, and lots of excitement. The Costume Contest will start around 5:30 pm ending at 6:10 pm. $5 residents; $10 non-residents. For more info. and to register in order to guarantee a pumpkin, click here.

Fairy Tale Trail 
Oct. 24, 4- 8 pm, Oct. 25, 10 am – 2 pm
Women’s Club of Evanston, 1702 Chicago Avenue, Evanston
Mermaids, wizards, safari guides and princesses welcome kids to the Women’s Club of Evanston, which will be transformed into a maze of eight rooms – each showcasing a different children’s story or theme. Each fully accessible, fantasy-filled room will feature multi-sensory activities and costumed volunteers who will engage and enchant children with and without special needs. The Trail provides a safe, non-frightening, fun Halloween experience for children of all ages and abilities and is open to all children in the North Shore and Chicagoland, with a special focus on those who are physically, cognitively, or economically challenged. For more info, including a special VIP meet & greet, click here.

Halloween Hoopla & Haunted House
Oct. 24, 7-9 pm & Oct. 25, 3-6 pm
Jewett Park Community Center, 836 Jewett Park Drive, Deerfield
Two days filled with non-stop activities including a haunted house, inflatable games, bonfire fire, face painting, movie and so much more. Fee for haunted house. For a full schedule of events, including “lights on” haunted house, click here.

Haunted Trail of Terror
Oct. 25, 6:30-9 pm
Lloyd Beach, 799 Sheridan Road, Winnetka
This event is not for the faint at heart. Daring souls that choose to make it down the beach will visit the graveyard of the spirits, walk along the Haunted Trail of Terror, enter the Haunted Boathouse (at your own risk), and experience hair-raising thrills. Recommended for ages 12+. $5 per person.

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian Community Day
Oct. 25, 10 am – 5 pm
Mitchell Museum, 3001 Central Street, Evanston
Free activities include kid’s crafts (dream catcher), food and light refreshments. The American Indian Center will present an Urban Pow Wow history and dance program (for an additional fee) beginning at 2:30. Click here for more info.

TEDx Talk
Oct. 25, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
New Trier High School, McGee Auditorium, 385 Winnetka Ave, Winnetka
TED is a global set of conferences with the guiding principle of “Ideas Worth Spreading.” TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience in an intimate setting. Topics will include entrepreneurship, development of the teen brain, education policies and more. Current and former New Trier students will speak along with noted field exerts. For a list of speakers and topics and to purchase tickets, click here.

Oct. 26, 10 am – 12 pm
Wildlife Discovery Center, 1401 Middlefork Drive, Lake Forest
Celebrate the world of crocodilians with at the Wildlife Discovery Center. This is an event you won’t forget! Activities include: short talks about crocodiles and their kin, face painting, storytelling and other events for children. And don’t miss a special visit from world famous Bubba, an American alligator (10 -12 pm only). $5 donation per participant.  For more info., click here.

Lake Bluff Ghost Walk
Oct. 25-26, 5 – 8 pm
Lake Bluff History Museum, 127 E. Scranton Avenue, Lake Bluff
The Ghost Walk resurrects true stories from Lake Bluff’s past and retells them “with a twist” to build interest in local history. Tour groups leave every 15 minutes and are led by Men in Black – agents whose expertise is dealing with UFO witnesses and extraterrestrials. Tickets: $25 adult, 8th grade & under: $10. May not be appropriate for young children. Advance purchase recommended. For more info., click here.

North Shore Views is the most comprehensive online source for North Shore Chicago real estate and community information. Whether you are looking for market statistics, homes for sale or local events, North Shore Views has it all at your fingertips. Browse information regarding our communities, market data, luxury homes, lakefront property, schools and what you should know about making the move to the North Shore. 

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Affordable 4 Bedroom Home For Sale In Wilmette

339 Lamon Ave., Wilmette

339 Lamon Avenue, Wilmette , IL 60091

This adorable and affordable 4-bedroom split level home at 339 Lamon Avenue in Wilmette is coming on the market tomorrow. It’s on a quiet cul-de-sac in the Romona School District and convenient to shopping, the expressway and the Wilmette Community Rec Center.

On the main level is a living room, dining room and updated kitchen. Upstairs are three bedrooms and an updated bath. On the lower level is a wonderful family room along with a fourth bedroom, a full bath and laundry room.

Out back is a large and private yard, patio and an oversized two-car garage with workshop.

The home is offered at $459,000. If you are looking to get into District 39 schools and/or New Trier, this might be a great option for you.

If you would like to schedule a private showing give us a call at 847-881-6657. We’d be happy to show it to you. Or come to our open house on Sunday, October 26 from 2:00-4:00 pm.

339 Lamon living room339 Lamon dining room








339 Lamon kitchen339 Lamon master bedroom








You can get more information about 339 Lamon Avenue and see more photos here. You can search all the homes for sale in Wilmette here.

We are North Shore real estate specialists and one of the top teams in the area. If you would like to schedule a buyer or seller consultation with the Come Home North Shore team, please call 847-881-6657 or send us a note here.

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Dos and Don’ts for Expediting Your Home Mortgage Approval

Mortgage applicationBack before the housing market meltdown it was easy to get a mortgage. Now, not so much. There are many more restrictions, a lot more paperwork and the process is slower. Getting a pre-approval is just the first step. Getting a mortgage these days can be a frustrating process and often both buyer and seller (and their agents!) are on tenterhooks right up until the day before closing, wondering if the deal is going to close.

Here are some dos and don’ts for making sure your loan gets approved in a timely fashion, courtesy of Betsy Hanrahan of PHH Home Loans:

DO provide your lender with any requested information or documentation immediately. Not only will this avoid delays in the processing of your loan, but will enable your loan officer to flag and help you address any potential issues as early as possible.

DO be prepared for the possibility that your lender will ask for additional documentation or explanations, even at the last minute.

DO assume that your credit will be re-pulled immediately prior to closing, so don’t do anything that could affect your credit score. (I recently heard about a guy who quit his job two days before closing. Needless to say, the closing didn’t happen).

DON’T apply for additional credit.

DON’T incur any additional debt (including increases in credit card balances). I know you really want to order that new dining room table and chairs that will look perfect in your new home, but WAIT until you close before you buy it.

DON’T close or open any accounts, transfer any balances or sign up for any additional charge cards. ANY changes to your credit profile could lower your credit score, which could result in higher rates, higher costs or invalidation of your loan approval.

DO maintain a paper trail. Your lender will require proof of the source of any unusual deposits (basically any deposits that are not payroll from your employer). When in doubt, retain copies.

DON’T deposit gift funds into your bank account if they will be used for closing. Your lender will give you instructions and outline the necessary steps for receiving and documenting the gift.

DO inquire of the real estate agent or seller as to whether the property you are buying is in a flood plain, as you may be required to obtain flood insurance from FEMA as a condition of your loan (and it is not cheap!). When in doubt, you can always find out from the Village Hall in the community where you are buying.

It may seem that getting a mortgage is a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be if you work with the right lender. There is more to choosing a mortgage company than who quotes you the lowest rate. You want to make sure that you choose a loan officer or mortgage broker who is experienced and responsive and who has a track record of getting his or her clients to the closing table. What good does the lowest rate do if you never get the loan?

Ask your Realtor for some recommendations. We know which lenders are good to work with and which ones are difficult or unresponsive or make you jump through endless hoops. Our team always gives names of at least three lenders that we know will take good care of you, and you can choose the one that feels like the best fit for you.

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Who Answers The Phone When a Buyer Calls?

yard-signsIf you’ve ever looked closely at a For Sale sign in someone’s yard, you’ll notice there’s a phone number to call if you want more information about the house.

In most cases this is the general number for the real estate brokerage that the home is listed with, but sometimes it’s the real estate agent’s direct number. When a prospective buyer calls the number on the sign, one of two things typically happens:

1) Someone at the brokerage working “floor duty” answers and will look up the listing online or in a big binder they have on the floor duty desk. (Floor duty is what agents do for a couple of hours at a time to try and drum up business from people who call in. Usually they are newer, less experienced agents who do not have many clients yet).

In most cases the agents on floor duty have never been inside the house and can only provide information that is on the listing sheet – which is the same information you can get yourself on any real estate web site: asking price, number of bedrooms and baths, etc.


2) The call goes to the agent’s voice-mail and if you leave a message you may hear back from the agent later that day or the next day …or never.

Come Home North Shore Yard SignThe Come Home North Shore Team has a Google Voice number that rings simultaneously on each of our phones. The first one to respond takes the call. Usually that’s Paula, because her cell phone is an extension of her hand and she has lightening fast reactions. Sometimes, if she’s in the shower or on another call I will be first to answer. In any case, the good news if you’re the seller of that house is that someone who knows the finer points of your home is taking the call and can talk up the house and at the same time determine if the buyer is a serious prospect.

And if you’re a prospective buyer the good news is you will actually reach a human being who can tell you what you want to know about the house…immediately.

We are North Shore real estate specialists and one of the top teams in the area. If you would like to schedule a buyer or seller consultation with the Come Home North Shore team, please call 847-881-6657 or send us a note here. We would love to help you!

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Getting Rid of Old Paint on the North Shore

old paint cansA couple of weeks ago at a final walk-through of one of our listings, the buyers were surprised to see that there were several paint cans left in the garage after our client had moved out. Some of the paint was relatively new, since our client had re-painted a few of rooms to freshen them up before putting his home on the market. He assumed the buyers would want the paint for touch-ups. But they didn’t. They wanted it gone. All of it. They were planning to repaint the entire inside of the house a different color.

That was at 7:00 pm the night before the 9:00 am closing. My client had already moved and was not in a position to deal with the problem. Paula and I had to get rid of that paint and bring a photo of the clean (paint-less) garage to closing. Paint is not one of those things you can just chuck in the garbage. If it’s oil based it’s considered hazardous waste and must be taken to a collection site where it will be dealt with in an environmentally safe way. If it’s latex, it will need to be completely dried out before it can be thrown out.

Most people keep old paint around because: 1) they think they may need it sometime; or 2) they don’t know how to dispose of it. That’s why there are usually 10-20 cans of paint in everyone’s garage or basement.

If you are planning to sell your house in the future, you should be aware that most buyers do not want your old paint. So you might as well make a plan to use it up or dispose of it. You could give some rooms a fresh coat of paint. You could donate it to a local charity, theater group, school or church. Otherwise, here’s what you can do:

Oil-based Paint

You can’t thow it out. You must take it to an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency collection center. The closest collection center to the North Shore is in Gurnee:

Solid Waste Agency of Lake County
By appointment only on second Saturday or fourth Monday of each month
1311 N. Estes Street, Gurnee
(847) 336-9340

Or, you can wait for one of the one-day collection events that take place from time to time on the North Shore.

Latex Paint

Leave the paint can open in a well-ventilated area until it dries out. Then you can put it in the garbage- but leave the lid off so your garbage collector knows it’s dry. To expedite the drying-out process you can mix kitty litter or sawdust in with the paint. Even shredded up newspaper will work…anything that will absorb the paint. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do this, you can take it to a local hardware store (see list below) and, for a fee, they will take care of it.

North Shore Hardware Stores That Take Latex Paint

  • Millen Hardware, 1219 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette.   (847) 251-3060
  • Skokie Ace Hardware, 5035 Oakton St., Skokie. (847) 673-0700
  • Weiss Ace Hardware, 1560 Waukegan Rd., Glenview  (847) 724-3444
  • Craftwood Lumber and Hardware, 1590 Old Deerfield Rd., Highland Park  (847) 831-2800

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North Shore Real Estate Report – September 2014

North Shore Market Report – September 2014 vs. Year Ago

North Shore Market Data - September 2014

Home sales on the North Shore were down 16% in September vs. year ago and down 36% from August.  Glencoe had the biggest loss (-42%) followed by Highland Park and  and Wilmette, which were both down 19%. Only Lake Forest posted a gain (+7%).

The median sales price was down 2% overall, but the results were mixed across towns. Half were down and the other half were up this month over last year.

Market time continued to decline to under three months (six months is what we typically see in a “normal” market). The months supply of inventory has risen to 6.4 months, which is in the normal range, but this varies widely across prices ranges, with larger than average inventories in the upper bracket segments.

Want more data? You can get all the North Shore real estate stats your heart desires right here.

North Shore Views is the most comprehensive online source for North Shore Chicago real estate and community information. Whether you are looking for market statistics, homes for sale or local events, North Shore Views has it all at your fingertips. Browse information regarding our communities, market data, luxury homes, lakefront property, schools and what you should know about making the move to the North Shore.

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Why It’s A Good Time To Buy A Home On Chicago’s North Shore

couple in front of homeWe real estate agents tend to be positive and optimistic people, always looking on the bright side of things. To us, it’s always a good time to either buy or sell, and I guess we sometimes lose credibility with the general public because of our unceasing optimism. But I am telling you, right now really is a great time to buy a home on Chicago’s North Shore.

Here’s why. The spring market got started late this year due to the (excessively) long and cold winter. But once it got going it heated up overnight and buyers were whipping themselves into a frenzy to get a new home under contract so they could move before the start of the school year. Bidding wars ensured, driving prices up and market times down. But when late summer rolled around the market screeched to a halt. While fall has brought a small surge of activity,  the market this year is slower than normal and slower than last fall. Showings are down over 20%. Sales were down 14% in August and 16% in September from 2013.

This is not great for sellers but it is a good thing for buyers. Prices have stabilized and good houses are actually staying on the market longer than a couple of days. Interest rates continue to be low. Sellers are more willing to negotiate. Deals can be had.

Case in point: some clients of ours had looked and looked for a new home on the North Shore, but due to busy work schedules they were never able to drop everything to come up from the city to see a great house that had just come on the market. By the time they were able to make it up on the weekend, the house had gone under contract, often with multiple offers. Every house they liked sold within days and prices were rising out of their price range, leaving them frustrated and disheartened.

Finally, now that the market has slowed, there have been some great houses for them to see when they have come up on the weekends, and recently they were able to negotiate a good deal on one of those houses. And, they were able to lock in a low interest rate, which they may not have gotten if they had given up and waited until next year to buy. Looking back, they are happy things turned out the way they did, as they got a better house for the money than they would have last spring.

Are you looking for a home on Chicago’s North Shore? The Come Home North Shore Team can help you! Give us a call at 847-881-6657 or send us a note here. Take our Tour of the Shore to familiarize yourself with the communities, schools, amenities and real estate.

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Making a Move Less Stressful for the Kids

Moving with kidsLife changes are difficult and stressful, and moving can be especially troubling for children. They are asked to leave behind their whole world and everything that is familiar to them. What can parents do to help children accept the move and view the changes in their lives as an adventure and not a nightmare?

Recognize the Different Age Stages

Really young children like toddler age, may not be totally aware of the changes that are taking place. However, children between the ages of 5 and elementary, understand the concept of moving, and that their lives are about to be different. They might take the news a bit harder, and will express their concerns more verbally. Letting them spend one special day with their friends before the move; take pictures and create a photo album can lessen the stress, and help make parting a little easier.

Teens are the most theatrical group, and will vigorously protest the need to move. Children in this age group have developed special friendships, and are socially involved at school. They will need time to process and cope with the ordeal of leaving their friends. They will also be worried about making new friends and fitting in at their new school. If possible, parents can agree to allow their child to visit with their friends at least a couple of times per year. Remind them that technology allows them to easily stay in touch via Facebook,  Skype. or another popular media website. To keep a healthy open relationship with children, and to keep communication channels open, follow these simple tips and advice;

Be Honest and Up front

No one like surprises. Share why you need to move, and why the move is important. Children don’t like to be deceived or tricked, so don’t avoid answering questions. Don’t spring the move on them at the last minute. Let them know in advance that a relocation to a new home, city or state is a necessity, and why. Answer any questions they might have, and don’t be afraid to share your own personal feelings.

Plan the Move Together

Children like to be a part of their parents’ world. Make moving a family project. Let children help prepare for the move, and encourage them to pack their own boxes. Talk to them about giving their extra clothes, toys or other items to Goodwill or to a friend or family member they will be leaving behind. If necessary, help children to write “Good bye” letters to their friends, teachers and classmates. Plan a going away party, and let children invite their neighborhood friends and classmates. This will help them with closure.

Share and Talk About Negative or Scary Feelings

Children might not bring up the subject of moving, as they may be angry, afraid or confused. However, initiating a conversation about moving, and how scary it can be can alleviate the tension. Children will adjust more easily if they can share their feelings and concerns. Let them know that everyone anticipates changes in their lives, and that moving is not a bad change. Let them know that while they are moving away, they still have their old friends, and now they will be making new friends, as well. Encourage children to get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of their old friends so they can stay in touch.

Scope Out the New Location Together

Bring children along to the real estate office, or to see the houses you are considering. If possible, allow them to choose their own bedroom. Ask them questions that encourages them to talk, such as,  “Where do you think your bed should go?” or “Do you think you need a new rug to match the colors in your new room?” These questions give children a sense of control and help them make the transition to their new life.

Tips for a Successful Less Stressful Move

Make the decision to move a family decision. Get excited about moving, and let it show. Involve children as much as possible. Take a weekend off and set a date for the entire family to visit the new location. Help children scope out the neighborhood and locate the park, gym, library, and other places of interest. Talk about what positive changes the move can mean to the family as a whole.

Thinking of making a move to Chicago’s North Shore? We can help make the move less stressful for everyone in the family. We’ll start with our Tour of the Shore, to familiarize you with the communities, schools, house values and amenities. Call us at 847.881.6657 to find out more.

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Picture-perfect Kenilworth Gardens Home For Sale

Kenilworth Gardens Home for Sale- 2035 Thornwood
2035 Thornwood Avenue, Wilmette, IL 60091

If you have been searching for a move in-ready home in Wilmette, you may have just found it! This picture-perfect four bedroom home in Kenilworth Gardens was just listed by the Come Home North Shore team.

2035 Thornwood Ave living room

It has a wonderful open floor plan for entertaining or everyday living. There are lovely hardwood floors throughout and the decor is fresh and neutral. The large living room has a wood-burning fireplace and flows into the dining room, which opens to terrific deck and pretty yard. The family room is adjacent to the kitchen, making it the ideal gathering place for family and friends.

Upstairs is a serene master suite plus three other spacious and bright bedrooms and two updated baths.

2035 Thornwood Ave master bedroom

The finished basement has a rec room with built-ins and laundry room.

You can see more photos of 2035 Thornwood here.

Kenilworth Gardens is one of Wilmette’s favorite neighborhoods. The people are friendly, Harper School is the quintessential neighborhood elementary school and, for those who commute to the city, the Kenilworth Metra station is just a few minutes’ walk from here. Every spring the Come Home North Shore team hosts an egg hunt in the park and a neighborhood yard sale.  The other big draw is Thornwood Park, with its playlot, ball fields, tennis courts and (in winter) skating pond. We even have our own neighborhood concert every summer, with performances by dad bands and talented local kids.

This fabulous home is offered at $970,000. Call the Come Home North Shore Team at 847-881-6657 to arrange a private showing of 2035 Thornwood or send us a note here.

Find similar homes in Wilmette.

This home is offered at $950,000. Call the Come Home North Shore Team at 847-881-6657 to arrange a private showing of 2121 Beechwood or send us a note here.

Find similar homes in Wilmette.

– See more at:

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North Shore Real Estate Report – August 2014

North Shore Real Estate Report – August 2014 vs. Year Ago

North Shore Real Estate Report - August 2014

North Shore home sales were sluggish in August, down 7% vs. August 2013. Results were mixed across villages, though. Winnetka, Evanston and Highland Park actually increased vs. last year, while the other North Shore communities had double-digit declines. After a frenzied spring/early summer market, home buyers, exhausted from bidding wars, took a break in late summer, and showings were down significantly across the board.

The median home price on the North Shore was up 14% in August over last year, with Glencoe, Wilmette and Evanston showing the most robust gains. In the case of Wilmette and Evanston, the price increases were driven more by an imbalance of supply and demand (more buyers than sellers). Glencoe’s 11 August closings happened to be weighted toward the higher end of the price spectrum than this time last year (including one sale for $4.8M).

Market time continues  to decline, down 37% in August from last year. And Wilmette continues to be the hottest market, with homes selling in just 35 days on average.

As we head into September, showings and sales have begun to pick up and we expect to see a burst of buyer activity continue through early November. If you are thinking of selling your home in the near future, you’ll want to get it on the market soon, before buyers go into hibernation for the winter.

Want more data? You can get all the North Shore real estate stats your heart desires right here.

North Shore Views is the most comprehensive online source for North Shore Chicago real estate and community information. Whether you are looking for market statistics, homes for sale or local events, North Shore Views has it all at your fingertips. Browse information regarding our communities, market data, luxury homes, lakefront property, schools and what you should know about making the move to the North Shore.

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