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

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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Market Ready

"Q. Our two children share a bedroom, and it looks cramped. What can we do to make the room appear larger?"

New York Times

Cities outpacing suburbs...

"Many U.S. cities are growing faster than their suburbs for the first time in decades, reflecting shifting attitudes about urban living as well as the effect of a housing bust that has put a damper on moving..."

Wall Street Journal

I wonder what this means for Chicago's North Shore?

Home sales have dropped as mortgages hit an all-time low

Vacation Rentals

Rubloff Vacation Rentals

At the bottom?

Zillow results of the June 2012 Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey.  It is a panel of more than 100 leading economists to share expectations for future home prices in the United States.

For the first time, the individual economists surveyed were largely in agreement on the trajectory of home prices nationally, signaling that a true bottom may be imminent. The consensus is that home prices will decline only slightly in 2012, falling 0.4 percent for the entire year and will rise by 1.3 percent in 2013. By comparison, in March 2012, economists said that home prices would fall 0.7 percent in 2012 and rise by 1.4 percent in 2013.

From the Zillow blog

Today's housing news... "It's not getting worse..."

"...Even if a turnaround is afoot, though, housing is still in for big changes. For one, home purchases are largely being done by investors looking to become landlords, or by a small pool of credit-worthy individuals..."
Wall Street Journal

"Announcements of a housing recovery have become a wrongheaded rite of summer, but after several years of false hopes, evidence is accumulating that the optimists may finally be right..."
New York Times

Has Housing Turned a Corner?   Wall Street Journal

In the dog house

"Many of them have carpeting, heating and air-conditioning, indoor and outdoor lighting, elaborate music and entertainment systems. Some are even eco-friendly, with solar panels or planted green roofs..."

New York Times
Luxury Doghouses and the Dogs That Couldn’t Care Less

Changing homeowner psychology

"Worried about owning a home? So are millions of other homeowners, particularly those who have watched their home values fall 35 percent over the past five years.

It's no doubt the housing crisis has had a profound effect on consumers nationwide."

Ilyse Glink
How the recession changed homeowner psychology

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Food Stock Rocks

Foodstock, a concert event, benefiting the Lake County C.O.O.L. Food Pantry, is scheduled for Sunday, July 1st from 3:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the Lake Bluff Village Green.  At the event participants can enjoy a variety of musical acts and food. Participants are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items to benefit Lake County residents in need.

What makes a home a "good" home?

"Buyers spend a lot of time looking at properties online, touring homes on the Sunday open house circuit, and talking to their real estate agent. They’re laser-focused on finding the best home that meets their needs. The problem is, buyers sometimes don’t take the long view of a property. They’re only looking at a home as a potential buyer — and not as someone who, years down the road, may also have to sell the property. Given that homes are such a big investment, there should be a little inside your head, picking away at your options and decisions."

From Zillow
10 Things That Make a Home a Good Home

Are we there yet?

"For the first time in seven months, home prices as recorded on the S&P/Case Shiller Home price Indices saw month-to month gains. The press release even referred to it as a “spike.” A 1.3 percent rise for the 10 and 20 city composites. When you seasonally adjust, the number dips to 0.7 percent, but it is still in the positive, and these days in housing, that apparently constitutes a spike."


Sinking Under A $10,000 Monthly Mortgage Payment

Politicians beware...

...of homeowners.

"Homeowners are 15.6% more likely to vote than renters...."
HBR: The Daily Stat

Case Shiller Index

Home prices showed fresh signs of stabilization in April, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller indexes.  Chicago went up this month.  

See the whole article in the Wall Street Journal.

Looking smart

"The idea of curling up with a good book has increasingly come to mean flipping on an e-reader, not flipping through the pages of a leather-bound novel in a book-lined room.

Yet the home library is on the rise, having become something of a cerebral status symbol. Affluent homeowners are buying quality books in quantity to amass collections for private personal libraries. These rooms are as much aesthetic set pieces and public displays of intelligence as they are quiet spaces to reflect and retreat. Some people are also seeking the services of experts to help pull together notable collections or to advise on the look, feel and content of their home libraries."

Wall Street Journal:  A House to Look Smart In

Prices up in April

"Home prices rose in April for the third consecutive month, the latest indication that a recovery in the housing market was gaining traction...

...Six years after the housing market’s collapse sent prices down more than 30 percent, recent data suggests the sector has finally hit bottom with leaner inventories and record-low mortgage rates encouraging buying."

New York Times

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chicago-area home prices rise in April after seven straight drops

Chicago-area home prices rise in April after seven straight drops

Signs of recovery?

"Americans bought new homes in May at the fastest pace in more than two years. The increase suggests a modest recovery is continuing in the housing market, despite weaker job growth....

....The gains in new homes sold were concentrated in two regions of the country last month. Sales surged 36.7 percent in the Northeast and 12.7 percent in the South. Sales fell 10.6 percent in the Midwest and were down 3.5 percent in the West."

New York Times
Signs of a Housing Recovery As Sales of New Homes Gain

Monday, June 25, 2012

Moving on....

Picking up the pace

"Americans bought new homes in May at the fastest pace in more than two years. The increase suggests a modest recovery in the housing market continues, despite weaker job growth."

New Home Sales Pace Fastest Since 2010

It's Business

"Have you seen the segment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show about real estate?"
From Cooler By The Lake

Summer home?

"Summer is here, and so is this year's crop of summer rentals. In some areas, the market for vacation properties is even perking up after a string of down years.

If you are a vacation-home landlord or thinking of becoming one, it is time to review the tax rules on rental income from second homes..."

Investing in Foreclosures

Housing inventory down?

....There are a couple of trends that factor into why inventory might be shrinking in a growing number of places throughout the country.  One is that there has been less foreclosure inventory hitting the market...."


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Optimistic about housing?

"Chief economists for the National Association of Realtors, Zillow, and the National Association of Home Buildersshared optimistic outlooks on the housing market on Friday and predicted a quicker-than-expected recovery."

Real estate economists optimistic about housing recovery
Housing Wire

Friday, June 22, 2012

The ups and downs of home prices

"A home is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it.

We could end it right there, but for the fact that in the middle of the most closely-watched housing recovery in history, the sheer number of monthly and quarterly home price reports has proliferated to the point of almost weekly readings.

The trouble is that they each use different data sets and methodologies.

Why Home Prices Are Better and Worse

Now what is that plant?

"...I can't tell you how many times I've been out in the yard and wondered what kind of bug is eating the apple-tree leaves or whether I should prune a shrub this time of year. Having that information on a smartphone in my pocket would be a major help..."

Garden Apps: Blooms Amid the Weeds
The Wall Street Journal

Good News for the Housing Market?

"The housing market’s been giving mixed signals, flashes of hope mixed with sudden bad news. There’s no sign yet that a real recovery has taken hold, but some new data are optimistic."

Business Week

Weekend Perfect For Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Staycation

Weekend Perfect For Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Staycation
Gazebo News

Fragile Reocovery?

"Sales of previously owned homes in May posted sharp gains compared with a year ago, but were down from April, underscoring the fragility of the housing market's recovery."
Sales Show Housing's Fragile Recovery
The Wall Street Journal

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chicago-area home sales post best May since 2007

Chicago-area home sales post best May since 2007

Art Show in Lake Bluff

Summer Art Festival This Weekend

Skipping the architect

"Undertaking a major renovation or new construction without an architect to provide design know-how or detailed plans would seem to be the realm of either the foolish or the very handy. Even the most gung-ho D.I.Y.ers have reason to fear blowing out a load-bearing wall.
But in recent years, a spate of computer software programs has made it possible for homeowners to skip the architect altogether and do the design work themselves."

New York Times
 Skipping the Architect: Wise or Otherwise?

5 Biggest Mistakes Home Buyers Make

5 Biggest Mistakes Home Buyers Make

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Myth of the National Housing Market

"The housing boom and bust gave rise to the myth of a “national” housing market. After all, prices rose in almost every part of the country until 2006, when they began dropping from coast to coast."

Wall Street Journal

Home Starts Rose in May

"Builders started work on more single-family homes in May and requested the most permits to build homes and apartments in three and a half years, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday."
The New York Times

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What builders need

"The recent rise in home building could be thwarted by an unlikely factor, a shortage of land in desirable locations."

What Home Builders Need: Locations, Locations, Locations
The Wall Street Journal

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's not personal

"It’s interesting with this job because we get to see such a personal side of someone’s life.

We often learn about the harmony and discordance within a marriage. We get to know the children and the pets. We meet the parents and the in-laws. We see the highs and lows of our clients’ temperaments. We learn some of the financial realities of their lives...."

From Cooler By The Lake

Sunday, June 17, 2012

15 designer secrets you can adapt for your own home

"Go to a designer show house or parade of homes and you'll be struck by all sorts of fabulous "why didn't I think of that?" decorating ideas. Designers seem to be able to decorate a room in a way that looks effortless yet chic and pulled together. That's the product of their expertise, but it doesn't mean you can't adapt some of their ideas for your own home."

Chicago Tribune
15 designer secrets you can adapt for your own home

Friday, June 15, 2012

Americans are digging themselves out of mortgage debt

"...Home equity in the first quarter rose to $6.7 trillion, the highest level since 2008, as homeowners taking advantage of record-low borrowing costs to refinance their loans brought cash to the table to pay down principal. The 7.3% gain was the biggest jump in more than 60 years, according to an analysis..."

Bloomberg News
Americans Sees Biggest Home Equity Jump In 60 Years: Mortgages

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Investors efforts are being complicated

"U.S. investors are getting back into real estate, but their efforts are being complicated by the uncertain housing market.

Bloomberg reports that private equity firms, hedge funds and pension systems have raised more than $6 billion to buy foreclosured homes and convert them to rentals, taking advantage of the disparity between falling home prices and the hot rental market. But inventory levels have been lower than investor demand, because of the reluctance of private lenders to unload their properties en masse....

International Business Times

Illinois foreclosures rise 29% in May

Illinois foreclosures rise 29% in May

Over-correction in the credit markets

The housing market is finally showing signs of a comeback, according to an annual study from Harvard. But, though mortgage interest rates are at record lows, banks are often too cautious to lend.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Who's got your back?

“...The buyer wants to pay as little as he can; the seller wants to net as much as he can...What agent can fight simultaneously for both those outcomes?”
Who's got your back?
Good article in the New York Times

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Renewal: It starts at home, Week 6

"...As more Americans remodel existing homes, rather than move to new ones, they're maximizing not only their renovation budgets but also their entire property.

"People are going back to the front of the house," to entertain and relax, says Amy Hughes, features editor of This Old House magazine. "It's kind of a throwback." As part of that trend, she says more people are restoring or adding front porches..."

USA Today
The Exterior

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fighting back on bad appraisals

"Record-low interest rates are a boon for home buyers and for homeowners seeking to refinance. But low appraisals are making it difficult or even impossible for some borrowers to take advantage."

Wall Street Journal
Fighting Back Against Lowball Home Appraisals

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Short sales boosting 1st quarter numbers

"Bank-owned homes and those in some stage of the foreclosure process saw their share of overall U.S. home sales grow to 26 percent in the first quarter."

Short Sales Boost 1st-Quarter Foreclosure Activity

Friday, June 1, 2012

Appealing Cook County Taxes

The Cook County Assessor recently announced that his office is open for New Trier Township homeowners to file an appeal.

Appeals may be filed in person at the Skokie Office- Cook County Board of Review - 5600 Old Orchard Road, Room 149. The Assessor is now accepting appeals online.

 Contact Commissioner Larry Suffredin, 13th District, 847-864-1209 for additional information or to schedule an appointment for assistance.

The deadline to appeal is Monday, June 11, 2012.

Don't let the Assessor's property assessment appeal process be stressful or confusing! There are resources available to help you.