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

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

Friday, April 27, 2012

Take-Back Day tomorrow

Looking for a place to get rid of expired or unused medications? 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day which will take place on Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  This is a great opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications.

A number of the North Shore suburbs are participating. 
To find the drop-off site nearest you

Sold to the highest bidder!

"A new development is catching home buyers off guard as the spring sales season gets under way: Bidding wars are back.

From California to Florida, many buyers are increasingly competing for the same house. Unlike the bidding wars that typified the go-go years and largely reflected surging sales, today's are a result of supply shortages..."

Wall Street Journal

I'm wondering if any of my readers are experiencing bidding wars?  I've heard of a few situations but usually they involve rentals. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Are home prices finally hitting bottom?

Are home prices finally hitting bottom?

Market Ready -- What about flowers?

Q. Is it worth spending money on flower arrangements for an open house?

“...Flowers just make a place look lived in, in a good way. It makes it seem like somebody cares about the home.”

Market Ready - New York Times

Great sites for DIY

"Get handy with instructions that let you DIY anything from pet toys to patios.

You can find just about anything you can imagine (and some things you never have) on the internet—which makes it that much harder to figure out where to go when you need to retile the bathroom, change your oil, or find a perfect birthday present. So it's only natural that you'd pay someone else to do those things for you—but no more. These ten DIY websites can show you how to repair, knit, sew, reuse, redecorate, or renovate anything; in the process, you'll save a bundle of money and countless resources while preventing needless waste.

Planet Green: Top 10 Sites for Do It Yourself Projects

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Confusing picture of where housing markets are headed.

"A smattering of home-price indexes is painting a confusing picture of where housing markets are headed.

One reason for the confusion is that there’s no such thing as a national housing market. That may have been true in 2004, when all housing markets rose together, or in 2008, when they all fell together. But one difficulty in writing about “the housing market” is that there isn’t “one” market—and increasingly, the nation’s many housing markets are moving in different directions.

Big price declines: Several markets with weaker economies, heavy overbuilding, and a glut of foreclosures are continuing to fall. Atlanta and Chicago are among the hardest hit, with declines of 8.7% and 9.1% over the past year, respectively. Other boom-to-bust metros, such as Las Vegas and Sacramento, Calif., haven’t yet seen demand pickup enough to cycle through distressed inventory."

Wall Street Journal: Some Housing Markets Are Rising; Others, Not So Much

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Home Prices Decline

"S&P/Case-Shiller reported that its home-prices indexes reached new lows in February, though the pace of decline slowed amid other signs of stabilization."

"A closely watched index fell in February for the sixth straight month, hitting its lowest level since May 2000."
Crain's Chicago Business: Chicago-area home prices skid to nearly 12-year low

Robert Shiller speaks

Friday, April 20, 2012

Wilmette Housewalk

Historical Museum Housewalk: Lakefront Homes

Sunday, May 20, 2012
1:00 - 5:00

The annual Wilmette Historical Museum housewalk will feature spectacular lakefront homes. Keeping with the theme of our new exhibit, “Cooler by the Lake,” we will showcase Tudor-style homes from the 1920s and 1930s built by the exceptional architects Philip Maher, Abraham Epstein and Richard Powers.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Celebrate the L

Join the Village of Wilmette and the Chicago Transit Authority in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Linden "L" stop. The celebration takes place on Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the corner of 4th and Linden. The event is free to the public.
Following brief comments by the President of the CTA, Forest Claypool, and the Village President, Christopher Canning, guests will have an opportunity to tour two historic "L" cars from 1923. In addition to the tour, there will be other activities taking place, informational tables, and light refreshments for guests.
For more information, Wilmette Historical Museum.

Birthday Party in Kenilworth

On Sunday, April 22nd at the Kenilworth Historical Society at 2pm, celebrate the birthday of Joseph Sears. This will also be the opening day for the exciting + new Kenilworth Traditions exhibit!

Declutter sells

"Q. What’s the best way to declutter my home before I show it to potential buyers? Can I leave packed boxes in a corner or do I need to move things into storage?

A. Even if your house hasn’t been featured on “Hoarders,” making an effort to clear out clutter and to ensure that your home is as neat and tidy as possible before opening your door to buyers is common advice in real estate circles...."

New York Times: Market Ready

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

10 best U.S. cities for real-estate investors

"Opportunities abound for those interested in buying single-family homes, condominiums and co-op units, and town homes as investments, with people scooping up properties at a discount and turning them into rental properties. Their plan: Collect rental income now, and benefit from price appreciation on the property in the future, given that many housing markets appear to be at least nearing their bottoms, in terms of price. And there’s no real shortage of renters, either, since many people still don’t qualify for mortgage loans, said Steve Berkowitz, chief executive of The best places for investors right now are areas where inventory has fallen although demand hasn’t risen steeply yet, and where the job market is on the upswing...."

Read on in Market Watch
10 best U.S. cities for real-estate investors

All Of a Sudden, It's Cool To Buy a House

Signs of a recovery housing market?

"Auto sales. Consumer confidence. Manufacturing. Retail Sales. Exports. You name it. Over the last six months, nearly every facet of the U.S. economy has shown improvement. And the real estate market is no exception.

Here’s the irrefutable proof:
Recovery Sign #1: Housing Starts. In February, housing starts checked-in at an annual rate of 698,000 units. That’s up 14.7% from the 608,800 starts in 2011… up 18.9% from the 586,900 starts in 2010… and up 25.9% from the record-low 554,000 starts in 2009. Even after the uptick, though, we’re nowhere close to the high-water mark of 2.07 million starts hit in 2005...."

Good article in the Wall Street Daily
11 Irrefutable Signs of a Real Estate Recovery

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spirit of 67 Foundation's Ninth Annual "Opening Doors For Education" Home Tour

2011 Home Tour
May 5th, 2011

Homeowners of four distinctive Lake Forest homes 'opened their doors for education' as part of the Spirit of 67 Foundation's Ninth Annual "Opening Doors For Education" Home Tour on Thursday, May 5, 2011. This year's Home Tour was especially endearing as it provided a unique glimpse into two historical Lake Forest homes to commemorate Lake Forest's 150th Celebration.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Living the greener life!

SWANCC released it's Spring Newsletter.  Some great ideas for living the greener life.

Put a little beauty in your home!

"IN HIS 1880 LECTURE entitled "Beauty of Life," William Morris, the leading exponent of the Arts and Crafts movement, listed among the "simple necessities" that ought to furnish a room, "a vase or two to put flowers in, which latter you must have sometimes, especially if you live in a town." In his case, the vase was likely to be a simple jug, but throughout history, flower vases have come in many forms and materials.... "

From the Wall Street Journal
Hey, Bud, This Vase Is for You

Sunday, April 8, 2012

New Listing

Delightful Meadowood Home
5 Bedrooms/3.1 Bathrooms, $795,000

Enjoy breathtaking sunsets and an easy walk to Lake Forest Open Lands.  This meticulously maintained home has superb curb appeal, spacious rooms, a spectacular backyard with gorgeous landscaping and beautiful swimming pool.   The kitchen has high-end, stainless steel appliances and is situated next to a wood paneled family room with built in bookshelves and fireplace.  There is a gracious dining room and living room.  Beautiful hardwood floors throughout. First floor laundry.  Everything is freshly painted with move in condition.  A beautiful home in a fantastic, family friendly neighborhood!

Slowdown in home sales means Chicago parents face questions about city schools - In Other News - Crain's Chicago Business

Interesting read....

Friday, April 6, 2012

Real Estate: How to catch a homebuyer's eye

"Making a home sale has never been a lot of fun but in this economy, it's even worse...Price is the most important thing. ... Price will overcome location. Price will overcome condition. Price will overcome everything else.""

Mercury News:
Real Estate: How to catch a homebuyer's eye

Is Chicago fragile?

"The Chicago area's housing market remains 'fragile,' burdened by long foreclosure processing times, an abundance of vacant homes and many severely underwater mortgages, the Treasury Department said Friday.
Sales of distressed properties -- foreclosed homes and short sales -- account for 35 percent of existing home sales, higher than the national average and those sales continue to exert downward pressure on home prices, the report said.

Chicago Tribune:
Chicago area housing market is 'fragile'

App for house hunting

Can a smartphone give you an edge in the competition for that great new house on the market?
Read on in the New York Times.

And don't forget to load my app that can tell you all about the houses in our MLS
Get it now! Text: RAJ To: 87778

Setting the stage for a home sale

....sellers need to know there are two "wars that you need to win: the beauty pageant and the price war."

Chicago Tribune:
Setting the stage for a home sale

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hopping the bunny trail

Lake Forest and Lake Bluff Easter Egg Hunts this weekend.  Read on in Gazebo News.

CoreLogic® Home Price Index Shows 0.7% Monthly Increase in February from January

Excluding distressed sales, month-over-month prices increased 0.7 percent in February from January. The CoreLogic HPI also showed that year-over-year prices declined by 0.8 percent in February 2012 compared to February 2011. Distressed sales include short sales and real estate owned (REO) transactions.

The report also shows national home prices, including distressed sales, declined on a year-over-year basis by 2.0 percent in February 2012 and by 0.8 percent compared to January 2012, the seventh consecutive monthly decline.

Highlights as of February 2012
  • Including distressed sales, the five states with the highest appreciation were: West Virginia (+8.6 percent), Michigan (+5.8 percent), Florida (+4.7 percent), Arizona (+4.5 percent) and South Dakota (+4.1 percent).
  • Including distressed sales, the five states with the greatest depreciation were: Delaware (-11.2 percent), Connecticut (-7.9 percent), Rhode Island (-7.8 percent), Illinois (-7.1 percent) and Georgia (-6.6 percent).
  • Excluding distressed sales, the five states with the highest appreciation were: South Dakota (+5.9 percent), West Virginia (+5.6 percent), Maine (+4.5 percent), Utah (+3.7 percent) and Montana (+3.6 percent).
  • Excluding distressed sales, the five states with the greatest depreciation were: Delaware (-8.7 percent), Connecticut (-4.9 percent), Nevada (-4.6 percent), Vermont (-4.0 percent) and Minnesota (-3.3 percent).
"House prices, based on data through February, continue to decline, but at a decreasing rate. The deceleration in the pace of decline is a first step toward ultimately growing again," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Excluding distressed sales, we already see modest price appreciation month over month in January and February."

Click here to download the full February 2012 HPI data report >>

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Owning looks appealing

"Climbing rents for apartments are combining with a continued decline in home prices to push once-reluctant home buyers into finally taking the plunge, say economists and real-estate agents, helping what appears to be a good start to the housing industry's all-important spring selling season."
Wall Street Journal:
As Home Rents Head Higher, Owning Regains Its Appeal

For Home Decorating, This App is Worth a Click