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

It’s Pedal Power Time Again! Donate Your Old Bikes To A Good Cause

Pedal Power 2010 logo

For the seventh year in a row Pedal Power will be collecting gently used bikes to donate to kids in in the Chicago Public Schools as a reward for good grades.

Nicole Basil

Nicole Basil

Pedal Power was founded by Nicole Basil of Wilmette who, at the age of eight, tried to find a charity to donate the bikes that she and her brother had outgrown. Not finding one, she decided to start her own, and with the help of her Dad, Mike Basil, she contacted the Jane Adams Hull House, who connected her with the Chicago Public Schools. She started asking friends and neighbors in Wilmette for their old bikes and Pedal Power was born.

Every year the bike drive has grown and each year Nicole and her supporters collect over a hundred bikes.  After seven years Nicole continues to be a passionate cheerleader for her charity, which has expanded beyond Wilmette to surrounding North Shore communities.

If you have bikes your kids have outgrown please bring them to one of the seven drop-off locations next Saturday, November 1 from 9:00-12:00. Just think, by doing this you can reap three benefits: 1) make room in your garage for your car this winter (which is supposed to be very cold!) , 2) get a tax deduction and 3) motivate and reward a deserving child. What’s not to like about that?

Bring your bike(s) to one of these donation spots:

WINNETKA – Green Bay Cycles, 999 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, IL 60093

NORTHBROOK – George Garner Cyclery, 1111 Waukegan Road, Northbrook, IL 60062

HIGHLAND PARK – Alberto’s Cycles, 661 Central Ave, Highland Park, IL 60035

WILMETTE – McKenzie Elementary School, 649 Prairie Avenue, Wilmette, IL 60091

PALATINE – Mike’s Bike Shop, 155 N Northwest Hwy, Palatine, IL 60067


GLENVIEW – Glenview Cycle, 1011 Harlem Avenue, Glenview, IL 60025


EVANSTON – Home Depot, 2201 Oakton, Evanston, IL 60202

For more information about Pedal Power, please visit www.gopedalpower.com.

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Best Hikes on the North Shore

fall-hiking-chicagoGet your water bottles filled, snacks packed and lace up your sneakers. Fingers crossed, the weather is supposed to be fantastic this weekend, so it’s a great time to take in the beautiful fall foliage. Of course, all of these hikes can be enjoyed any time of year with each season bringing its own unique charms and none are super strenuous so they are suitable for all ages!

River Trail Nature Center
3120 Milwaukee Avenue, Northbrook, 847-824-8360
River Trail Nature Center tells the story of native plants and animals that remain in the urban environment. You can hike self-guided trails through the sugar maple woods and see the fall foliage. In addition, it is a refuge for wounded wildlife that would otherwise not survive on its own, enabling visitors to get a close up look. Check their schedule for presentations or just explore on you own. Known to be buggy in certain spots, so pack bug spray especially in warmer months.

Captain Daniel Wright Woods
St. Marys Road at W Everett Rd, Mettawa/Libertyville, 847-367-6640
This peaceful oasis among the bustling suburbs offers 4 miles of scenic trails; a short loop for hikers, bicyclists and skiers that circles a pond, and a longer 3-mile loop for hikers, bicyclists, skiers and horses. A footbridge spanning the Des Plaines River links Wright Woods to Half Day Forest Preserve; together they offer some of southern Lake County’s most scenic outdoor recreation opportunities. The Des Plaines River Trail passes through both preserves for additional hiking and biking opportunities.

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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.

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Affordable 3 Bedroom Home For Sale In Wilmette

339 Lamon Ave., Wilmette

339 Lamon Avenue, Wilmette , IL 60091

This adorable and affordable 3-bedroom (plus lower level office or guest room) split level home at 339 Lamon Avenue in Wilmette is the best value in Wilmette. 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. In fact, one of the great things about this house is that there is a shortcut to the Rec Center that takes three minutes to walk and gives you easy access to every kind of activity, athletic program and workshop you can think of!

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 or office, 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 $449,900. 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, February 22 from 1:00-3:00 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. This home is listed by The Come Home North Shore Team of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

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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Best Burgers on the North Shore

burger

With so many options to choose from (gourmet, classic, chain etc.), it was quite hard to narrow down the list to just a few. We are sure that this list will spark some debate. However, the good news is that wherever you are on the North Shore, there’s probably a pretty good burger place nearby. And yes, we’ll take fries with that!

Prairie Grass Café’s Top Sirloin Burger
601 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook, 847-205-4433

An award- winning gourmet burger that is served with mild Amish blue cheese topping, grilled beefsteak tomatoes and grilled onions sans bun! The burger is that good that you do not need one!

Charlie Beinlich’s
290 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook, 847-291-0420

Two words sum up the Charlie Beinlich’s experience, old school! Known for their simple hamburgers and cheeseburgers, Charlie Beinlich’s is a no frills dive with a limited menu, and limited toppings for your burger (we’re talking cheese, onions and bacon). They keep it simple but fresh and people continue to come back for more. A Chicago classic. Closed Sunday and Monday. Cash only, don’t say we didn’t warn you!

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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 any potential issues and help you address them 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 ask the real estate agent or seller 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-signs If 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.

or

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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Fun Things To Do on the North Shore – Oct. 17 – 19, 2014

Calling all ghosts and ghouls. Halloween festivities are kicking into full gear on the North Shore and there is something for everyone – even the four-legged members of your family.Highwood pumpkin festival

Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 17-19
Highwood Avenue and Sheridan Road, Highwood

This annual festival is one of the most anticipated of the season. Tons of activities and events throughout the weekend including a pet costume contest, Light Up the Night Parade, 5K Pumpkin Run, Walk & Kids’ Dash, onsite carving, nightly pumpkin wall lighting ceremonies, hay rides, pumpkin bowling, pony rides, petting zoo, carnival rides, kids crafts, live entertainment, pumpkin beer tasting, and seasonal food and beverage vendors galore. For more info: http://highwoodpumpkinfest.com

Things That Go Bump In The Night
Oct. 17, 18; 6:30-8 pm
Emily Oaks Nature Center, 4650 Brummel Street, Skokie

Meet some of the fascinating but often misunderstood critters of Emily Oaks! This popular event is intended to be fun and informative – NOT frightening. This year you’ll investigate the cases of several creatures known as the Un-Touchables along the Nature Center trail, finding out what makes them special and why they shouldn’t be touched. Your visit will end at a campfire featuring snacks and songs. For all ages. Tickets $5 per person. For more info: http://www.skokieparks.org/node/5318

Spooky Pooch Parade
Oct. 18; 11 am – 1 pm
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

For two very special hours only, dogs are allowed in the Chicago Botanic Garden. Cleverly costumed canines march the parade route to celebrate Halloween. Spectators are invited to line the parade route for a barking good time. In addition to the parade, activities include the costume contest, judging, and an awards ceremony. For more info: http://www.chicagobotanic.org/dog

Corn Harvest Festival
Oct. 18; 10 am – 4 pm
Wagner Farm, 1510 Wagner Road, Glenview

Experience harvest time from an earlier era! Activities include wagon rides, farm activities, harvest food treats and fall arts & crafts. $5 per person, children under 2 are free. For more info: http://www.glenviewparks.org/event/corn-harvest

Golf Glow Ball for Adults (21+)
Oct. 18; 6:30-11:30 pm
Sunset Valley Golf Course, 1390 Sunset Road, Highland Park

Footgolf, a combination of soccer and golf will be played in a golf course setting. Whether you are an experienced soccer player or one that just enjoys kicking the ball around, come try this European sport. Enjoy 6 holes playing Sunset Valley in a glow-in-the-dark event. This is a walking only event. Click here to register.

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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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 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
swalco.org

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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