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

5 Fun Things To Do On The North Shore~ April 18-20, 2014


Saturday the 19th
Easter Egg Hunt @ Whole Foods
Kicking off @ 8:00 am
whole foods, 760 Waukegan Rd, Deerfield
Hop on over to the Deerfield store at 8 a.m. for our first Easter Egg Hunt. Kids ages 1-10 will be able to hunt for some fun filled eggs throughout the store. For more info call: 847.444.1900

4th Annual Thornwood Park Egg Hunt
2400 Thornwood Ave, Wilmette
Starting at 9:45 (hunt starts at 10:00 sharp!)
We hope you’ll join us this Saturday for the hunt. Come early with your camera to meet the Easter Bunny, guess the number of jelly beans in the jar and enter our drawing for fab prizes (many thanks to the Noodle and Depot Nuevo, Big Blue Swim School and Dominos Pizza for generously donating prizes).
*Sponsored by: The Come Home North Shore real estate team of Coldwell Banker

Celebrate Earth Day!
kent fuller air station prairie/tyner center, glenview
2400 Compass Rd, Glenview
Each year, Earth Day is honored around the world and marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Kent Fuller Air Station Prairie/Tyner Center. For more info call: 847.901.6828

Sunday the 20th

Glencoe’s Spring Egg Hunt
Watts Park @ 10am
305 Randolph Ave Glencoe

Easter Brunch at The Happ Inn
Serving from 10am-3pm
the happ inn
305 Happ Rd, Northfield
The Happ Inn, located in Northfield, will hold a family-friendly Easter brunch buffet on Sunday, April 20. The festive celebration will not only feature a fabulous meal, but the Easter Bunny will make a special appearance! For reservations call: 847.784.9200

Events are brought to you by the Come Home North Shore team.

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Odds of Selling Your Wilmette Home

If you’re planning to sell your Wilmette home, one of the first things your agent will do is run a comparative market analysis (CMA) to help determine the appropriate list price. She’ll look at properties similar to yours that have sold recently and that are currently on the market. Another tool I like to use to provide additional input on pricing strategy is what I call the “odds of selling” analysis.

It’s a quick and dirty analysis comparing inventory of homes in each price band to the number of sales in that price band. Just divide the last three months of sales by the current active listings and you get your odds of selling in the next three months. Unless the market changes dramatically going forward it’s a pretty good way to see how things are moving in the price band in which you are competing.

Odds of Selling Your Wilmette Home by Price Band

Odds of Selling Your Wilmette HomeSource: MRED single family home sales in Wilmette: June-August 2011

In this chart you can see that the best place to be if you’re a seller is in the $700-799K price band, where there is more demand than there is supply, making your odds of selling 137%. The next best place to be is $500-599K (106% odds) followed by $900-999K (100%).

How does it help you to know this? Let’s say your price is hovering just above $800K. You may want to consider coming down to $789-799K to get into a more active price band. If you’re just over $2,000,000, you could improve your odds of of selling by getting below $1,999,999. On the other hand, if you are significantly over $2,000,000, maybe you want to reconsider putting your house on the market, as there are several listings and few to no buyers in this band right now.

If you’re a buyer in the $700-799K or $500-599K range, recognize that a well-priced and well-presented house will sell quickly, so have your ducks in a row so you can move quickly to make an offer. And you may not be able to get a “steal” in this price range. Contrary to popular belief, some houses are selling quickly and with multiple offers. It all depends on which market and which price band you’re in.

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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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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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Harper Neighborhood Home Sales – 1st Half 2010

The Harper School neighborhood is certainly one of the bright spots right now in terms of homes sales. While home sales trends in Wilmette in the first half of 2010 were quite positive (+85% over 1st half 2009), Harper’s trends are even better, with 150% more houses sold this year than last. Even more surprising is the improvement of median selling price. While the median selling price for Wilmette actually decreased by 1%, the median price in the Harper area actually increased 7.4%, from $745,000 to $800,000. We haven’t seen this kind of trend in quite a while!

Before we get too excited, we need to keep in mind that there is still a lot of inventory on the market: 52 active listings in the Harper area alone, and some of them have been sitting for a while. On the other hand, there have been a few cases where the home was in great condition and well-priced and it sold in a matter of days. Yes, it can still happen, even in today’s market.

Harper Neighborhood Home Sales (1st Half 2010 vs. 2009)

Harper Neighborhood Home SalesSource: MRED, LLC. Single family homes. Deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

If you’d like to find out what your home is worth in today’s market, you can get a free, quick, over-the-net evaluation here or you can call me at 847-687-5957. If you would like more specific data about home sales on your street or in the immediate vicinity of your home, you can email me and I will be happy to send it to you.

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Ridge Road Is Where The Action Is This Sunday in Wilmette

Now that the weather has turned (consistently?) warm, get out of the house and come to one or all of three Ridge Road events this Sunday, May 2. Two are kid-friendly; one, not so much.

Wilmette police badgeWilmette Police Department Open House

Sunday, May 2 from 11:00-2:00
710 Ridge Road

This is sure to be a kid-pleaser, with tons of cool stuff to see like the firearms range, the lock-up, crime lab, bomb squad and major crimes forensic unit. Think CSI Wilmette!   And be sure and bring along your camera to take mug shots of the kids.

Wilmette Historic Museum Open House

Sunday, May 2 from 11:00-2:00
609 Ridge Road

Take a self-guided tour of the museum and see all the exhibits, including the newly restored Akeley mural depicting native Americans on Wilmette’s lakefront and the wedding finery exhibit.  Not to be missed is the original jail cell that is still in the basement. Afterward, linger out front and listen to a concert by the Wilmette Community Band.

Heritage Trail Spring Flea Market

Sunday, May 2 from 9:00-5:00
410 Ridge Road

This is Heritage Trail’s spring sale, with deals inside the mall and outside in the back parking lot. Lots of great stuff for the antique lover, but probably not where you want to bring your toddler, unless you enjoy saying “Don’t touch!” every five seconds.

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Harper Elementary School

Harper Elementary School in WilmetteHarper School is one of four elementary schools in Wilmette’s District 39 (the others are Central, McKenzie and Romona). It is located at 1101 Dartmouth Street on the corner of  Thornwood Avenue (and catty-corner to Thornwood Park). It is a K-4 school that serves children from Kenilworth Gardens, Indian Hill Estates and nearby homes. After elementary school Wilmette children attend Highcrest Middle School (5-6) and then Wilmette Junior High (7-8) before going on to New Trier High School.

The principal of Harper is Dr. Susan Kick. There are around 440 students and 31 teachers on staff, making the student teacher ratio 14.2. Test scores are consistently high and there are lots of enrichment and after-school activities like chorus, chess club, sports, drama, science and art programs to supplement the excellent curriculum.

Harper is a real gem of a neighborhood school and parents and children alike rave about it. It is walkable from anywhere in the area it serves and kids typically walk to and from school unless the weather is bad. Starting at the end of 2nd grade they are allowed to ride their bikes, after taking a bike safety class. The parents are very involved in the PTO and other programs and the kids make lifelong friends there.

You can watch a slide show of the recent Earth Week Fun Fest held after school.

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Deadline for Vehicle Stickers – Wilmette and Glencoe

Attention Wilmette residents: today’s not just tax day but vehicle sticker day, so don’t forget to attach your 2010 vehicle sticker to your windshield.  After today you may be subject to a citation if you don’t have one on your car.

If you haven’t registered by mail you can buy a sticker in person at the finance counter at the Wilmette Village Hall, 1200 Wilmette Ave., during regular business hours. They cost $80 for vehicles and $95 for trucks.

A portion of the revenue generated from the sale of vehicle stickers is used to maintain the Wilmette’s infrastructure, including streets, alleys and curbs.

Glencoe residents, you have a bit more time. Your stickers must be displayed by May 1st. Cars are $75 and trucks are between $75 and $180, depending on the size. You can buy them at Glencoe Village Hall (either the Resident Service Desk or the Public Safety window).

If you live in one of the other nearby villages, you don’t need to worry about this for a while. Highland Park’s deadline is August 31st. Evanston and Winnetka are  in January.

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Guide to Wilmette Preschools

Preschool classHere ‘s my list of the best preschools in Wilmette, based on my own experiences and research, as well as the recommendations of friends and clients.

Banner Preschool

3220 Big Tree Lane, Wilmette, IL 60091
(847) 251-3955

Banner Preschool believes that children learn best by being active participants in the learning process and the program is geared to stimulate intelligence through creative learning experiences. Curriculum includes music, art, reading readiness, cooking, science and social studies. There is an indoor gym and outdoor playground.

Banner is open to children two-five. Two year olds attend two days a week; three year olds attend three days;  four and five year olds attend five days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Best Gas in Town

Duxler Tire - Marathon Gas Station in Wilmette, ILI know what you’re thinking. Gas is gas, right?

But this gas is different. Well, maybe not the gas, but the gas station. I’ve never been much of a loyalist when it comes to gas. It’s a convenience thing for me. I get gas wherever I happen to be when my car is on empty.

But a while back I came out of my house one cold morning and my battery was dead. Triple A gave me a jump but told me the battery was basically shot and I should get a new one ASAP. I was already running late that day so I went down the hill to Forrest’s Marathon Station (now owned by Duxler Complete Auto Care) at 1201 Green Bay Road in Wilmette to see if they could help me.

I had no sooner settled in with my newspaper and complimentary cup of coffee when they told me I was all set. The new battery was already installed. I don’t think it took five minutes. After I paid for the battery I realized I needed gas so I pulled up to the pump and started to get out to pump my gas when Ed came bounding up and said, “I’ll take care of that”. I thought he was just being nice because I had just had my car serviced there. But no. Turns out that they actually pump everyone’s gas.  I’ve always been a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to gas, but I have to say that, when it’s 20 degrees out and sleeting, it sure is nice to sit in my warm car and have someone else do it for me.

Glenn pumps gas at Duxler's Marathon station in Wilmette, ILToday I needed gas again, so I headed down to my new favorite gas station. This time I brought my camera, snapped some pix and talked to the owner, Glenn Moak. Duxler has three other locations (Evanston, Northbrook and Skokie) but this one is the only one that has gas. Glenn says their goal is to put the service back into service stations. They pump the gas and, no, it’s not more expensive than self-serve places; in fact, it’s a bit cheaper. They have a full-service garage and tire replacement operation. They also have the cleanest bathrooms in town. They’ll even top off the windshield wiper fluid in your car and give you a lollipop when they’re all done. You can’t beat that.

ATTENTION LADIES: Thursdays are Ladies’ Day at all Duxler locations. For every oil change, Duxler will donate $2.00 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and you’ll also be entered in a drawing to win a day spa certificate.

So, if you’re sightseeing on the North Shore or touring homes for sale or just driving your kids’ carpools and need to make a pit stop, Duxler’s Marathon Gas is the place to go.

The team at Duxler in Wilmette

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