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

Wilmette Sales Tax Increase Coming

SalesTaxWilmettans, get ready to pay more for what you buy. The Village of Wilmette is planning to raise the home-rule sales tax from .25% to 1%, effective January 1, 2015. This would take the total sales tax you are paying on most things from 8.25% to 9%.

Why? In a nutshell, the Village needs the $1.5 million a year additional revenue it would get to take care of deferred maintenance on the streets, sidewalks, alleys and sewer system, as well as replace worn out police cars, ambulances, trucks and snow plows. The tax would apply to purchases of everything except cars, prescription drugs and groceries.

Wilmette’s home-rule sales tax is relatively new; before 2005 it didn’t have one. But most area villages and towns have a home rule sales tax, and it’s higher than Wilmette’s (except for Winnetka, which doesn’t have one). Evanston, Skokie and Highland Park all charge 1%, but Skokie’s will increase to 1.25% in January. Glenview and Northbrook’s tax is .75% and Lake Forest’s is .5%.

And why, you may ask, does the Village suddenly need this additional revenue? Costs have gone up significantly on most fronts, most significantly in the amount paid in to pensions for police, fire and other public sector employees (this is controlled in Springfield). At the same time revenues from most sources dramatically declined with the Great Recession.

But the tax increase is not a done deal yet. The proposed ordinance will be put to a vote on September 23rd. You can make your voice heard at the September 22 Village Board Committee of the Whole at Village Hall beginning at 7:30 pm.

You can get more background and context for the proposed sales tax increase here from Village President Bob Bielinski in this video about the state of the Village.

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5 Fun Things To Do On The North Shore ~ June 27th-29th, 2014

Glencoe Public LibraryFriday the 27th

Wendy Morgan at Glencoe Library
Free event!
Begins at 10:30 am
320 Park Ave. Glencoe
Kids will be singing and dancing along to Wendy Morgan at her exciting Musikgarten classes at Glencoe Library on June 27, July 11, July 18 and July 25.
Wendy Morgan loves to get kids singing, wiggling, jumping, dancing and just having a great time! Her original songs encourage children to use their imaginations, teach musical basics like melody and rhythm, and show kids how to have fun with words. “Pure fun,” says Wilmette Beacon, and Laurel Shapiro, Youth Services Event Coordinator at Vernon Area Public Library, says “Parents and kids were all smiles at the end of the program.” For more info call: 847.835.5648

45th Anniversary of Highwood Festival Days
From 5-9pm
Everts Park,
130 Highwood Ave. Highwood
A North Shore spin of “Taste of Chicago,” guests can expect an array of foods from many vendors and restaurants from all over Chicagoland. Read the rest of this entry »

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Contemporary Home in Wilmette’s Romona Neighborhood

450 Sunset Drive, Wilmette IL

450 Sunset Drive, Wilmette, IL 60091

This light, bright contemporary home has many recent improvements, beautiful hardwood floors and is freshly painted throughout. You’ll enjoy cooking in the updated kitchen with cherry cabinetry and heated floor. The living room with two exposures is awash with sunlight.  The first floor boasts both an office and a family room while the lower level offers additional living space in a large rec room, plus full bath, laundry and plenty of storage space. Upstairs are three generously sized bedrooms and a newer bath.

450 Sunset living room

450 Sunset Dr Kitchen

450 Sunset Drive master BR
Click here to see additional images of this Romona contemporary home.

Wilmette’s Romona Neighborhood

The Romona neighborhood is located on the west side of Wilmette, allowing easy access to the Edens Expressway as well as shopping at Old Orchard Mall. It’s a desirable area due to its proximity to award-winning Romona Elementary School, Highcrest Middle School and Wilmette Junior High School. It’s also close to Centennial Park, with its three community pools, indoor tennis courts, community garden and ice arena. Just a short distance west is the Wilmette Community Rec Center, with a health club, preschool and community theater, as well as activities and sports for all ages.

This home is being offered at $489,000. Call the Come Home North Shore Team at 847-881-6657 to arrange a private showing of 450 Sunset Drive or send us a note here.

Find homes for sale in Romona neighborhood

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4 Fun Things To Do On The North Shore – June 20-22, 2014

strawberry fest

“Though it’s not happening on the North Shore, who doesn’t love a good strawberry Festival? Enjoy the weekend!”

Friday the 20th

Long Grove Strawberry Fest
From 10am-6pm
downtown long grove, long grove
Historic Downtown Long Grove’s annual Strawberry Festival is returning Friday, June 20 through Sunday, June 22.

Strawberry Festival visitors are invited to enjoy three “berry” special days of decadent strawberry-inspired treats from local merchants and vendors such as:

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Your Guide to Memorial Day on the North Shore 2014



memorial day

Memorial Day on the North Shore! We Salute you…

The Village of Wilmette and Huerter Post #46 of the American Legion will host a Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 26th. The parade will begin at 10:00 am at Lake Avenue and Ridge Road, proceeds east to Park Avenue, south to Wilmette Avenue and conclude at Village Hall at 1200 Wilmette Avenue. Parade units will include Veterans, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, the Wilmette Police and Fire Departments, and more. Once at the Village Hall, a brief ceremony will be held near the Wilmette war memorial.

The American Legion will again hold its Memorial Day services starting at 10 a.m. Monday, May 26, at the Veterans’ Memorial in Jewett Park.

Memorial Day Parade
Held by American Legion Post No. 791 on Monday, May 26. The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. from the corner of Cherry & Western, east to Church and Shermer and continues on Shermer west to Meadow. Free popsicles after the ceremony at the American Legion Post 791 on Shermer (while supplies last).

Highland Park
Parade & Observance
The City of Highland Park presents a Memorial Day Observance on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at Memorial Park, 405 Prospect Avenue. The park is just east of the Highland Park Public Library at the intersection of Laurel, Prospect and Linden Avenues. The event will be held near the bandstand. Representatives from the American Legion Post #145, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #4737 and Jewish War Veterans #29 will be in attendance. Special guest speakers include Illinois Senator Julie Morrison, Lieutenant Colonel John T. Novak, and Mayor Nancy Rotering. Members of the Highland Park High School Band will perform. The event will take place rain or shine. All are welcome to attend.

Memorial Day Parade & Service
The Parade begins at Central School at 10:30am, Service at Veteran’s Memorial Park at 11:00am Meet & Greet with Village Officials following the service sponsored by the Glencoe Human Relations Forum.

Parade & Ceremony
The Winnetka Park District and the Village of Winnetka invite residents to the annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 26. The Parade begins at 10:00 AM on the corner of Glendale and Elm, and ends with a ceremony at the Village Green. To see more information about the ceremony, click here. Anyone interested in volunteering as a parade marshal, please contact Toby Ross at the Winnetka Park District at 847-501-2040.

Parade & Service
Honor the memory of all those who served in wars fought by American forces at the 2014 Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony. This year’s parade begins at 9 a.m. Monday, May 26, east of the railroad tracks on Grove Street, continues east to Church Street (a change due to construction), then south to Glenview Road to the Veteran’s Memorial at Glenview road and River Drive, where the ceremony will take place. The events are sponsored by the Joseph M. Sesterhenn American Legion Post 166, in cooperation with the Village of Glenview.




Memorial Day Events are brought to you by the Come Home North Shore Team of Coldwell Banker.


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5 Fun Things To Do On The North Shore~ April 2-4, 2014


Love kitchens? Don’t miss tomorrow’s designer kitchen walk!

Friday April 2nd

The Junior League of Evanston-North Shore Presents:
Designer Kitchens of the North Shore
Kicking off at 10am starting at the Winnetka Community House
This house walk focuses on the heart of the home, the kitchen, by offering guests an intimate look at six amazing North Shore kitchens and a unique opportunity to chat with the designers who created them. The homes include new construction and remodeled spaces. The homes are located in Glencoe, Winnetka, Wilmette and Kenilworth. This year’s tour features kitchens by: • Airoom Architects, Builders and Remodelers • Chester & Chester • Coda Design + Build, LLC • Morgante•Wilson Architects, Ltd. • Newgard Custom Homes and Abt • Normandy Remodeling
The tour is self-guided and starts by picking up your tour guide book at the Winnetka Community House on Friday May 2. The tour is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $40/person. To purchase tickets visit:

Mother/Daughter Treasure Keepsakes Jewelry
From 6.30-8pm at
glenview park center
2400 Chestnut Ave., Glenview
Grab your daughter(s) for a fun night honoring MOM! Each couple designs necklaces, bracelets and zipper dangle ensembles. Read the rest of this entry »

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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

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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Anne West box

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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.

What's My Home Worth buttonNotifynewlistingsSearch-homesrev

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