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Romona Neighborhood Home Sales – 2011

The most affordable of Wilmette’s neighborhoods, the Romona School neighborhood had the biggest sales increase (+8%) in 2011. It also suffered the biggest decline in home prices, with a median selling price of $350,000 and an average selling price of $420,824 for 2011. Market time jumped in the last year, to 93 days or three months. Four of the homes sold were short sales and one was a foreclosure.

Romona Neighborhood Home Sales TrendSource: MRED llc – Data for single family homes. Deemed reliable but not guaranteed

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Harper Neighborhood Home Sales – 2011

Sales activity in the Harper neighborhood was down in 2011 vs. 2010. There were fewer listings on the market and 22% fewer sales. Those that came on the market, and were well-priced and well-presented, sold quickly, which brought the average market time to 72 days (2.4 months), the shortest market time of any of Wilmette’s neighborhoods.

Harper Neighborhood Home Sales – 2011Harper School trend

Want to know what your Wilmette neighbor’s house sold for? You can see that here. Want to know what your home is worth in today’s market? Give us a call at 847-881-6657 and we’d be glad to provide you with a complimentary, no obligation, home value analysis. Or you can get a free, quick, over-the-net evaluation.

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McKenzie Neighborhood Home Sales – 2011

This is second in a series of posts about neighborhood level data for Wilmette. McKenzie neighborhood home sales in 2011 were roughly even with 2010 and 19% higher than 2009. As with Central School, prices declined in 2011, while market time increased by 27% to an average of 89 days or three months.

McKenzie Neighborhood Home Sales – 2011

McKenzie Home Sales Trend

Source: MRED LLC – Single family homes data. Deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Want to know what your neighbor’s house sold for? You can see that here. Want to know what your home is worth in today’s market? Give us a call at 847-881-6657 and we’d be glad to provide you with a complimentary, no obligation, home value analysis. Or you can get a free, quick, over-the-net evaluation.

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East Wilmette (Central School) Home Sales – 2011

I previously posted about 2011 home sales for each of the communities on the North Shore. But even within a given community sales activity, prices and market times can be vary widely. To show what is happening on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis, I’ll do a series of four posts. breaking down the data by elementary school in Wilmette.  This chart is for the Central School neighborhood, aka East Wilmette.

East Wilmette Home Sales – 2011

Central School Home Sales TrendSource: MRED LLC – Data for single family homes. Deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

East Wilmette/Central School is the largest neighborhood in Wilmette and also the highest priced area. While sales in East Wilmette were up a modest 1% over 2010, they were up 21% from 2009. Median and average price fell 10% and 18% respectively from last year. Market time was up somewhat but at 76 days (2.5 months) it is down 14% from 2009.

Want to know what your Wilmette neighbor’s house sold for? You can see that here. Want to know what your home is worth in today’s market? Give us a call at 847-881-6657 and we’d be glad to provide you with a complimentary, no obligation, home value analysis. Or you can get a free, quick, over-the-net evaluation.

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North Shore Chicago’s Top 10 Highest Priced Home Sales of 2011

Anyone able to buy in the upper-bracket this past year got a pretty good deal, as top tier homes sold at a discount of 30-35% (or more) from prices at the height of the market. The ten North Shore homes that sold for the most money this past year ranged in price from $4,600,000 to $5,625,000, with an average sale price of $5,274,000. This year’s list includes three homes in Winnetka, one in Glencoe, one in Highland Park and five in Lake Forest. Four of them are lakefront properties. All of them are fabulous.

#10. 45 Lakewood Drive, Glencoe – $4,600,000

45 Lakewood Dr., GlencoeThis lakefront home built in 1998 offers wonderful lake views from walls of windows. It has eighteen rooms and five bedrooms, one of which is a luxurious first floor master suite. Hopefully for the new owners the hefty tax bill of $182,000 will be appealed!

#9. 1141 Sheridan Road, Highland Park – $5,100,000

1141 Sheridan Rd., Highland ParkThis sophisticated contemporary home sits on a spectacular 2.7 acre lakefront property with almost 300 feet of shoreline. Since the house is up on a bluff, there is a tram to take you down to the beach. Too cold to swim in the lake? No worries, there’s a 60 ft. indoor pool and spa. This home also features a screened porch off the master suite, lake views from almost every room and a 4-car garage.

# 8. 682 Ardsley Road, Winnetka – $5,100,000

682 Ardsley Rd., Winnetka

Talk about a grand entrance! This imposing and classic home is only twelve years old, but it was designed to look like it’s been there for a century. Inside it has all the modern conveniences, including a DeGuilio kitchen, media room and wine cellar. Out back there is a patio, pool and pool pavilion in the lush private yard.

# 7. 722 Prospect Avenue, Winnetka – $5,150,000

722 Prospect Ave., Winnetka

This 12,000 square foot home is being constructed by Heritage Builders on an acre in East Winnetka. With seven large bedrooms and eight baths, this house also features a top-of-the-line kitchen, high-tech media room, library, porch and 3-car garage.

#6. 904 N. Green Bay, Lake Forest – $5,200,000

904 N Green Bay Rd., Lake Forest

Designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw and built in 1910, this 5.4 acre estate is adjacent to open land and walking distance to town. A masterful renovation in 2001 blends historic grandeur with modern convenience, winning the Lake Forest Preservation Award. The home has sixteen rooms, eight bedrooms and nine baths and boasts a pool, lighted tennis courts and a 6-car garage.

#5. 1133 Taylorsport Lane, Winnetka – $5,375,000

1133 Taylorsport Lane, Winnetka

Perched on a bluff above the ravines on the northern edge of Winnetka, this contemporary home has 230 feet of frontage on Lake Michigan and a deep sandy beach. Built in 1973, it was recently renovated and has an open floor plan with incredible lake views from virtually every room.

#4. 910 N. Green Bay Rd., Lake Forest – $5,490,000

910 Green Bay Rd., Lake Forest

This classic English manor house was built in 1911 but was extensively restored and renovated by Lake Forest Landmark Development. Set on a 2.4 acre estate, the house has seventeen rooms, seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms. It features custom details such as a Christopher Peacock kitchen, mahogany paneled library, nine fireplaces, a heated 4-car garage. There is also a gardener’s cottage on the grounds.

3. 111 E. Onwentsia Rd, Lake Forest – $5,500,000

111 Onwentsia Rd., Lake Forest

This stately home looks old but was actually built in 2001. Beautifully situated on a four acre property, it elegant but also comfortable, with all the amenities you would want for today’s lifestyle, including a large master with sitting room, separate in-law apartment, 5-car garage and 7 fireplaces.

#2. 1345 N. Lake Rd, Lake Forest – $5,600,000

1345 North Lake Rd., Lake Forest

Built in 1908 this home was designed by noted architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. On 3.1 acres of waterfront property, this 11,000 square foot home has sixteen rooms, seven bedrooms and seven plus bathrooms.

#1. 1145 N. Green Bay Rd., Lake Forest – $5,625,000

1145 N Green Bay Rd., Lake Forest

This house is so picture perfect it almost looks like a movie set. Set on almost three beautifully landscaped acres this home was built in 1895 but completely renovated in 2001. It has twenty rooms, eight bedrooms and eleven baths, as well as six fireplaces and a five car garage.

If you’d like to see what upper bracket homes are available on the North Shore now, you can search here. Or give us a call at 847-881-6657 and let us know what you’re looking for. If it’s out there we’ll find it for you!

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Damaged Credit? How Soon Can You Buy a Home?

mortgage applicationYesterday I wrote about how your credit rating affects your mortgage and how you can improve it. But what if you’ve filed for bankruptcy or been foreclosed on? Those situations are not so easily remedied, and people who have experienced the credit damage that comes with these events wonder if they can ever be eligible for a mortgage again.

It’s true that after a  foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy there is a significant waiting period for mortgage eligibility but you are not locked out of homeownership forever. Betsy Hanrahan of PHH Home Loans provided the useful chart below to clarify wait times for mortgage eligibility, depending on the type of financing you are going for. If there are extenuating circumstances the wait time may actually be shorter than what’s shown in the table. An extenuating circumstance would be a temporary event beyond the borrower’s control, like loss of a job, medical bills or death of a wage earner. Unfortunately, however, divorce or the inability to sell a home after a job relocation do not qualify as extenuating circumstances.
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How Your Credit Score Affects Your Mortgage

credit scoreThere are lots of myths and misconceptions surrounding credit scores, how they are used and how to improve them. I recently attended a lunch and learn session at my brokerage put on by National Credit Care and learned some little known secrets to improving your score that I’d like to pass on.

But first things first. Let’s do a little Credit 101 to set the stage:

What is a credit score?
In a nutshell, your credit score is a three digit number that represents the risk that you will default on a loan, using your past payment history as a benchmark. Your score will determine IF you can get financing and AT WHAT RATE. Insurance companies, credit card companies and mortgage lenders all use different models to calculate creditworthiness. Since we’re talking about home loans here, we’ll focus on the FICO (Fair Isaac and Co.) score. A high FICO score means you will have an easier time getting a mortgage at a low interest rate.

How is my FICO score calculated?
There are five components of your score:

  1. Payment history: Do you pay your bills on time? Yes, it matters.
  2. Balances on revolving accounts (you don’t want your balance to be too high as a percentage of your credit limit)
  3. Length of credit history: Longevity is good, so don’t cancel that credit card you’ve had since college
  4. Types of credit accounts (you want to have a variety)
  5. New credit: you lose points when you open a new account
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New Trier Market Trends

Here’s a look at the three year real estate trends for New Trier Township. The data is single family homes in Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe and Northfield. It does not include the small part of Glenview that is in New Trier.

While fewer homes sold in December 2011 than December 2010 or 2009, total year home sales of 680 were 5% ahead of 2010 and 32% ahead of 2009.

New Trier Homes Sold Trend

When it comes to sales price, December’s average price was at its lowest level in two years, down 21% vs. 2010 and down 21% vs. 2009. Year to date the average sales price for New Trier was down 3% while the median price was down 1% from 2010.

New Trier median and average sales price trendInventories of homes for sale have been declining over the last couple of years, ending 2011 at 350. This was 21% fewer homes than were on the market at the end of  2010 and 27% fewer than at the end of 2009. This equates to an 8 month supply of homes in December, which is an improvement over both 2009 and 2010. (Months supply means how many months it would take to sell all the homes currently on the market, at the current rate of sale). In early 2009 the months supply of inventory reached as high as 32 months. The current 8 months supply is very close to a balanced market (6-7 months), which means neither a seller’s nor a buyer’s market.

New Trier Inventory and Months Supply of HomesThe implications of these trends: people are buying houses again, driven by affordability and low interest rates. As a result, inventories of active listings are down, and in some price ranges there isn’t much for buyers to choose from at all. This will change as more homes come on the market in the spring, so if you are planning to sell, now is an ideal time to list your home, before you have much competition. But don’t expect prices to rebound to 2007 levels. It’s going to be a long slow climb out of the trench.

Want to know what your home is worth in today’s market? Give us a call at 847-881-6657 and we’d be glad to provide you with a complimentary, no obligation, home value analysis. Or you can get a free, quick, over-the-net evaluation.

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Avoiding Appraisal Problems

Brett Lotsoff of 1st Advantage Mortgage talks to Paula Weiss of Come Home North Shore about how to avoid having a low appraisal derail your real estate transaction.

A good Realtor will always accompany an appraiser and provide him with her analysis of comparable properties. Most appraisers will welcome this input ans take it into consideration when they are writing up the appraisal. This is a much more effective strategy than trying to challenge the appraisal number after the fact.

If you would like more information on finding a lender or understanding the role of appraisals in the mortgage process, give Brett a call at 847-239-7810 or email him at

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North Shore Market Update: 2011 vs. 2010

The other day I posted the market data for 4th quarter 2011. Today I’m taking a look at North Shore stats for the entire year. Home sales were up a modest 1% for the year, while the median price for a single family home on the North Shore dropped 2%. What’s happened is that, over the course of the year, sales have picked up while prices have continued a gradual decline. Looking back at the 1st half of the year, sales were down 11% and prices were up 4% over 1st half 2010, so sales activity has gained some real momentum in the second half of the year.

Glencoe has had a particularly strong year, with volume up 31%. Glenview and Kenilworth also posted gains. Highland Park finished the year behind 4%, but that is actually a good number compared to where it was at the end of June, which was down 27%. Wilmette finished the year down 2%, but that is at least partly due to lack of inventory for sale in the key $600K-$800K price range.

Lake Forest and Kenilworth were the only towns with positive price trends, but keep in mind that Kenilworth is a very small community and the numbers can easily be skewed by one or two large sales.

North Shore Market Update
2011 vs. 2010

North Shore Chicago Market Update- 2011Source: MRED LLC – Data for single family detached homes. Deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Wondering what your neighbor’s house sold for? Just email us with the address of the property and we’d be happy to send you that information (caveat: only if the transaction has closed. Until then the information is not available).

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