Keeping up with Chicago's North Shore Real Estate Market!

Contact Ann

call or text me: 847-691-1111 or email:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Realty Times - 10 Secrets of Home Staging

Thinking about staging your house for selling... here's a good article about it.  

Color it 2011

"In a redoubled effort to capture consumers’ attention in this sputtering economic recovery, some paint companies are hoping to distinguish their brands with names that tell a story, summon a memory or evoke an emotion — even a dark one — as long as they result in a sale."

Read about the new names for paint colors in the New York Times.... 

And read about the power of color and the color trends for 2011.

Owning a home -- still the American Dream

"Nearly nine in 10 Americans say homeownership is an important part of the American dream, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll."

Read on in the New York Times.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

3D Wallpaper!

"As wallpaper enjoys a revival in popularity, embellished papers are a particularly bright spot. Sales of three-dimensional wall coverings are the fastest growing of all residential wallpapers, according to the Wallcoverings Association, a trade group that represents more than 60 manufacturers and distributors."

Looks like wallpaper is making a revival... read on in the Wall Street Journal.

Check out this map!

The Wall Street Journal has an intriguing map which shows how the prices have declined in six major metropolitan areas.

Time to buy a home?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Illinois Association of REALTORS Monthly Housing Survey by County

Interested in Illinois's selling data for the month of May?

Home prices still sliding in Chicago

The news isn't quite as rosy in Chicago.

"The Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller index of Chicago-area single-family home prices declined 0.4% from March to April and was down 8.6% from the year-earlier level, according to a report released Tuesday. That was a steeper year-over-year drop than the index posted for March."

Crains Chicago Business

Cost of renovations going up?

"Home-renovation businesses expect a federal ruling proposed last month to increase operating costs and dampen sales, according to a survey released Thursday."

Read on in the Wall Street Journal

Home Prices Up For First Time In 8 Months

Some good news in April?  Case-Shiller home price index released
April Seasonal Boost in Home Prices

"Home prices in major U.S. cities have risen for the first time in eight months, boosted by an annual flurry of spring buyers."
More also in NPR.

Look at the Case-Shiller by metro areas in the Wall Street Journal

Monday, June 27, 2011

Do real gardeners hire help?

When is a gardener not a gardener? 

Read on in Wall Street Journal....

Forecasters predict 2011 as the turning point for housing market

MacroMarkets LLC announced the results of the June 2011 Home Price Expectations Survey, compiled from 108 responses of a diverse group of economists, real estate experts, investment and market strategists.  The survey is based upon the projected path of the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index over the coming five years. 

Looks like they are projecting an improvement in 2014.  Read on...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Your mobile phone

Someone sent me this email and I thought it worth sharing:

There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies... Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival.  Check out the things that you can do with it:


The Emergency Number worldwide for all Mobile Phones is 112. If you find yourself out of  the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and your mobile will search any existing network in your area to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. This works on all phones worldwide and is free. It is the equivalent of 000.


Have you locked your keys in the car?

Does  your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday. Good reason to own a cell phone: If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their mobile phone from your cell phone. Hold  your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock.. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be thousands of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other 'remote' for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).


Hidden Battery Power

To activate, press the keys *3370# (remember the asterisk).  Do this when the phone is almost dead. Your mobile will restart in a special way with this new reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery life. This reserve will get re charged when you charge your mobile next time.


How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone?

To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: 
* # 0 6 # 
 Ensure you put an asterisk BEFORE the #06# sequence. A 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. If your phone ever get stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless.

Tighter Lending Crimps Housing

"The percentage of mortgage applications rejected by the nation's largest lenders increased last year, spotlighting how banks' cautious lending practices are hampering the nascent housing market recovery."

Read more in the Wall Street Journal.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Finding the right contractor

"As more people are turning to remodeling instead of moving — and with the decline in new construction meaning more eager contractors to chose from — it makes sense to know how to choose a general contractor."

Read "Avoiding the Misery of Remodeling by Choosing the Right Contractor" in the New York Times.

A bargain huntress reveals her secrets

"Even the snootiest stores are open to quiet negotiation. See a slightly damaged showroom chair? Ask for a discount of at least 30% to take it away—right away, as opposed to waiting eight weeks for a custom order."

Read on:  Never-Pay-Retail Decorating in the Wall Street Journal.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What impact does the housing market have on the economy?

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® wanted to look closely at just how much is spent by the seller and the buyer in the average Illinois home sale.  IAR commissioned a study to examine the expenses that buyers and sellers incurred in conjunction with the purchase of an average priced home in Illinois in 2010. The study further reviews the direct and indirect economic results of these expenditures made by a seller and a buyer in a single residential transaction.  It's interesting.  If you'd like to look at it more closely go to the IAR's study

Slowing down on foreclosures

“If you were in foreclosure four years ago, you were biting your nails, asking yourself, ‘When is the sheriff going to show up and put me on the street?’ .... Now you’re probably not losing any sleep.”

Read more in New York Times article: Backlog of Cases Gives a Reprieve on Foreclosures

An unorthodox way to evaluate a tenant

“I’ve never had a problem with anyone she’s checked into...I don’t know what part is psychic, what part is luck and what part is interpersonal skill. But I know she’s effective.”

Read on in the New York Times...

Crisis at Fannie Mae

Interesting read in the New York Times about the situation at Fannie Mae.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lower mortgage delinquency rate...

"The number of U.S. homeowners who were put on notice for being behind on their mortgage payments fell in May to the lowest level since 2006..."
Read on in NPR

Getting your credit report in order

"In a recent study, 19 percent of American consumers who reported finding an error in their credit reports opted not to dispute the error, even when they were offered $5 to file the dispute!  Why not?  Well, some said they thought the error was too minor to impact their score, while others said the dispute process seemed too difficult to tackle.

The fact is, when you’re trying to qualify for a home loan, some of the items on your credit report that can pose a threat to your home finance plans might surprise you. Here are 5 surprising credit report entries you absolutely must fix, especially when you are in the process of buying or refinancing a home."

Read on in Trulia -- good article

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thinking about buying a foreclosed property?

Ilyse Glink provides some advice for buying a distressed property.  Read on in her blog.

It's becoming a landlord's market

One more reason to buy... it's becoming more expensive to rent!  Read on in MSNBC.

Add a little color to your kitchen

From a bright and bold ceiling to a fabric-covered lampshade, these little changes from House Beautiful bring a lot of cheer to your kitchen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Time to invest in rentals? YES!

"As home prices fall and rents rise, some investors are plunking their money into real estate, chasing the cash flow that comes along with becoming a landlord."

Read on in the Wall Street Journal

Too many home price indices muddle market data

"The plethora of home price indices muddle the market data..."

Read on in Housing Wire.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A sector of the real estate market that is soaring!!

"Forget the run on multi-family in the new rental age, forget the trophy office properties in the big metro markets, it's those giant, brightly colored, enormous metal container communities just out beyond the mall that are reaping REITs rewards."

Read more in CNBC...

New mortgage rate lows...

"Home mortgage rates fell again to a fresh 2011 low as a week of downbeat jobs data fueled concerns over a possible economic slowdown this year, according to the latest survey from Freddie Mac.

The decline in fixed rates represented the eighth-straight weekly fall and comes after the Bureau of Labor Statistics this week said employers added far fewer private-sector jobs than expected."

Read on in the Wall Street Journal

U.S. Is Falling Behind in the Business of ‘Green’

“The United States was a nearly untouched market with 120 million homes, most of them very energy-inefficient — it was a massive opportunity...”

Read on in the New York Times...

Smaller is the new norm...

"When studying foreclosures nationwide, the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University found that smaller homes stand to benefit as future homeowners turn toward more affordable, efficient housing. In its State of the Nation's Housing report, the center said more younger and older homeowners are expected in the coming decades. But rather than searching for larger dream homes, the new consumer will be focused on rental properties and smaller residences. And even with the report predicting that many baby boomers will age in place, the current mobility rate suggests at least 3.8 million could downsize their homes over the course of the next decade. Their preference is likely to be smaller residences."
Housing Wire complete summary can be read at Frugality defines the new homebuyer: Harvard

Inman New's Summary can be read at Harvard: Real estate recovery hinges on return of demand

Monday, June 6, 2011

Romancing the home!

"What goes around, comes around. Just as we were all told to throw out the brown furniture and burn the chintz, it comes right back in style...."

Yeah, wallpaper is making a comeback!

Read on in the Wall Street Journal

Mistakes sellers can't afford to make...

Farmers Markets on the North Shore

Nothing celebrates summer like the Lake Bluff Farmers' Market ("Market"). Returning for its 18th season, the Market will again be held every Friday from June 10th through October 14th (7:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m.) on the Village Green. Downtown visitors will be able to start their weekends with fresh fruits, vegetables, summer blossoms and delicious baked goods.  The Market is located on the corner of Sheridan Road and E. Scranton Avenue across from the Metra Train Station.

Some other notable North Shore Farmer's Markets:

Evanston Farmer’s Market
Day: Saturdays
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Where: University Pl. and Oak Ave.

Wilmette French Market
Day: Saturdays 
Time: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Where: Metra parking lot. 

Glencoe Farmer's Market
Day: Saturdays 
Time: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Village Court, near Hazel

Ravinia Farmer’s Market
Day: Wednesdays,
Time: 7 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Where: Dean Ave. between Roger Williams and St. James Ave.

Highland Park Farmer’s Market
Day: Fridays
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Where: Port Clinton Square, 600 Central Ave.

Northfield Farmer’s Market
Day: Saturdays
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Where: Happ Rd., across from New Trier’s freshman campus.

Lake Forest Farmer's Market
Day: Saturdays
Time: 7 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Where: City Hall parking lot on Forest Avenue

Friday, June 3, 2011

10 energy-efficient things to do this weekend!

" your part to make the planet a little more greener by starting right at home with 10 energy-efficient DIY projects to try out this weekend."

Read on in Kiplingers

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Real Estate Tricks from the Today Show

Housing Bust: No End In Sight

U.S. home prices fell to new, post-bubble lows in March, according to the latest Case-Shiller home price numbers. 

Interesting chart in an NPR article -- no problems for housing in Washington DC!

Five Questions on Tuesday’s S&P/Case-Shiller

"Perhaps the biggest disappointment in the housing market isn’t Tuesday’s report about falling prices but more indications that demand hasn’t picked up in the spring, when housing transactions typically rebound."

Good article in the Wall Street Journal