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

Archive for the 'Real estate' Category

Stunning and Spacious Contemporary Home in Deerfield

8 Kenmore springIf you love to entertain friends and family in a relaxed and casual setting, this house at 8 Kenmore Avenue in Deerfield might just be the home for you.

It’s a 6 bedroom, 4.1 bath contemporary that has room for everybody. It sits at the end of a cul-de-sac,  just blocks from South Park Elementary School and a five minute drive to Kraft’s new headquarters for its snack business. It has a flexible an open floor plan that fits well into any lifestyle. The great room is the perfect gathering space, with its cozy fireplace, wet bar and game area. The spacious and bright eat-in kitchen will undoubtedly become everyone’s favorite hang-out.  A first floor bedroom can also double as an office allowing you to have a convenient “command central.” In warm weather the half sports court will draw everyone outside for a game of hoops as steaks sizzle on the grill. Upstairs the master suite has vaulted ceilings, a spa-like bath and large walk-in closet. There are three more bedrooms plus a hall bath. The lower level has a rec room big enough for all your toys: ping-pong, billiards, air hockey and foosball. There’s also a sixth bedroom and private bath that’s perfect for guests or an au pair.

This home has been meticulously maintained and has many features that make it the ultimate worry-free home: A whole house generator means you’ll never have to worry about power outages. The two furnaces with built-in humidifiers were new in 2010. There are two large hot water heaters, one of which was new in 2011, so there’s always plenty of hot water for laundry, dishes and showers. There are three sump pumps (count ‘em, three!) so flooding and seepage are never a problem. The security system gives added peace of mind.

The home is is a great value at $599,000. You can see a virtual tour here. If you’d like to see it in person, please give us a call at 847-881-6657 and we’d be happy to show it to you.

Contact Us

Tags: , , ,

Why Now is a Better Time to Sell Than You Thought

house made of moneyApparently only 7% of people think that now is a good time to sell a home, which is an all-time low according to Mary Umberger’s article in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune called “Lousy Market? Blame Sellers.

Ms. Umberger interviewed Syracuse University Professor Gary Engelhardt about his study “The Great Recession and Attitudes Towards Homebuying.” The upshot of the study is that, while most people think it’s a great time to buy a house, almost no one thinks it’s a good time to sell.  Inventories of homes for sale have fallen 20% nationally since last year, in part because many would-be sellers have decided not to  list their homes until market values improve.

These would-be sellers tend to fall into two categories: a) they are unrealistically tying their pricing expectations to a past market in which their house was worth considerably more, and have not been able to come to terms with the current reality; or b) they are underwater on their mortgage and are stuck because they can’t afford to bring cash to the closing table to make up the difference between what they could sell their home for and what they owe on it.

But here’s what reluctant sellers need to understand: home prices are not going to approach 2006 levels for a long time. In fact, most economists are predicting that prices will be basically flat for at least the next two years before beginning a gradual upward climb.

So, if you are a potential seller who is not underwater and does have equity in your home, now may be a really good time to list it. There will be less competition because so many people are underwater and can’t sell now. Will you get as much for your home as you’d like or as much as you would have a few years ago? No, but you will probably be able to sell it quickly if it’s in good condition and in a desirable location. You’ll fare especially well if your house is the kind and size that would appeal to first time home buyers or downsizing baby boomers.

If you’d like to find out what your home is worth in the current market, give us a call at 847-881-6657. We’d be glad to give you a complimentary, no obligation home evaluation. You can also get a free, quick, over-the-net home evaluation here.


Relocating to Chicago? How to Know if the North Shore is Right for You

Sailboats at Evanston beachIf you are relocating to the Chicago area and are considering living in the suburbs, you have a lot of choices. Typically if you want to live close to the city or near the lake, you will pay more for your new home. As you go west and south you can generally find more affordable homes, bigger lots and more space for the money. It all depends on the lifestyle you are looking for, your priorities and the trade-offs you are willing to make. You should consider moving to the North Shore only if:

  • You prefer classic old homes in established neighborhoods over newly built sub-divisions. Yes, of course you can find new construction on the North Shore, but most of the homes are older, especially in the communities along the lakefront. In many cases they have been fully renovated so you can have your cake and eat it too. You get the character and charm that comes with a vintage house, yet with all the modern conveniences of a new home.
  • You love boating, fishing, sailing or going to the beach and are determined to be near the lake so that you can take full advantage of the waterfront.
  • You want your kids to go to great schools. The North Shore is not unique in this regard. Many of the Chicago suburbs have excellent schools. But New Trier High School and all of its feeder schools continue to represent the gold standard when it comes to children’s education. New Trier’s athletic programs are top-notch, too.
  • You are willing to pay a premium for a home on the North Shore. It’s one of the costliest places to live in the Chicago area but homes here tend to hold their value better than elsewhere. Even in a bad real estate market, where foreclosures and short sales run rampant, fewer than 1% of the homes on the North Shore are distressed properties.

If the North Shore sounds like where you’d like to live, we’d be happy to give you our signature “Tour of the Shore” so you can get a feel for the area and see if it measures up. We think it’s a great place to live and we love helping people who are relocating here discover all of the wonderful things that the North Shore has to offer. Just give us a call at 847-881-6657 or email usYou can search for a North Shore home here.

Related articles:

Tags: ,

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

Related articles:

Tags: , ,

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.

Tags: , ,

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.

Tags: , ,

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.

Tags: , ,

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!

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.

Search Luxury Homes

Tags: , ,

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,

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
    Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,