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

Contact Ann

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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Join the Kenilworth Community

Gather to Light the Kenilworth Tree 

Join the neighbors for the 3rd annual holiday tree lighting and caroling celebration at the Village fountain on Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.  This Kenilworth tradition will be held at the south-east corner of Richmond Road and Kenilworth Avenue.  Hot cocoa and cookies will be served at The Kenilworth Club immediately following the tree lighting. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's a wonderful life in Lake Bluff

It's a wonderful life in Lake Bluff

...a day-long celebration in the traditional holiday spirit brought to you by the Lake Bluff Downtown Merchants.

Saturday, December 1 - 10:00am - 5:00pm

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Story Time with Santa

Story Time with Santa
Story Time with Santa

Hosted by the Associate Board of Lake Forest Open Lands

Saturday, December 1st
1 - 3:00 p.m.
350 North Waukegan Road, Lake Forest

Enjoy an afternoon of holiday cheer at this family fun event! Ride a horse-drawn wagon through the preserve with jolly old St. Nick, listen to live holiday carolers and craft a winter wildlife ornament. Have a family portrait taken and indulge in delicious treats. A wonderful winter tradition!

Winnetka Tree Lighting Events

Usher in the holidays on November 30 at 6 PM at the annual Winnetka Tree Lighting at Station Park, 754 Elm Street, across the street from Village Hall. Festive carolers in Victorian costumes will lead the carols, and hot cocoa will be served after the lighting ceremony.
Prior to the tree lighting, at 5 PM, children of all ages are invited to the Book Stall, 811 Elm Street, to hear Robert McDonald read holiday stories.

Saturday, December 1  
From 1 - 3 PM welcome Santa Claus to Hubbard Woods Park gazebo. Warm up with some hot chocolate and bring your camera to take your picture with Santa. This is also a perfect opportunity for your child to hand-deliver their Santa letter to the man in charge!

Sunday, December 2 - Holiday Sale
Local Winnetka merchants will offer discounts, specials and personalized service for shoppers along with many wonderful gift choices for the holiday season. Participating merchants offer refreshments and discounts from 10% to 40% off on fantastic items. See more from the Chamber.

Also on Sunday, December 2:  A Historical Holiday at the Schmidt-Burnham Log House   
Visit the Winnetka Historical Society's Schmidt-Burnham Log House from 1 - 3 PM on December 2 and experience the holiday season circa 1853. Costumed docents will represent members of the household as it was when the Schmidt family lived in it and will share details of a German immigrant family's celebration of Christmas.  
           Children ages 4 to 10 can participate in holiday crafts, and all visitors are invited to enjoy traditional holiday treats. The Schmidt -Burnham Log House is located on Willow Road in the Crow Island Woods. There is no charge for this event.  Please visit the Historical Society for more information.      

Where are the first-time home buyers?

"Current homeowners are finally moving up, and distressed sales are making up less of the overall market—all signs of much-needed improvement in housing...."

Housing Recovery Is Leaving Behind First-Time Buyers

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Couples Driving the Real Estate Market in 2012

Every year, NAR surveys recent home buyers and sellers to learn more about their experience with the process: what motivated them to make a transition, where they found their agent, and how it worked for them. The result is the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, and the 2012 edition was released last week during the annual conference. 
Here's some of the most interesting points: 
  • 39 percent of recent home buyers were first-time buyers, a slight rise from 2011, but closer to the historical norm of 40 percent.
  • 65 percent of recent home buyers were married couples—the highest share since 2001. Conversely there was the lowest share of single buyers since 2001.
  • For 52 percent of home buyers, the first step in the home-buying process was taken online.
  • The typical home buyer searched for 12 weeks and viewed 10 homes—a decline from 12 homes in prior year, which speaks to the tightened inventory in many areas.
  • 89 percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, similar to last year’s report—a share that steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001.
  • 88 percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home.
  • Only 9 percent of recent sellers sold via FSBO sale. Among FSBO sellers who did not know the buyer prior to the sale—20 percent sold via FSBO because the buyer directly contacted them.
Source --
Heather Elias
Director of Social Business Practice at National Association of Realtors

New developer revives Lake Bluff plan

New developer revives Lake Bluff plan

Case Shiller report released

"In another sign of a housing market rebound, home prices posted the biggest percentage gain in more than two years in the third quarter, according to the closely followed S&P/Case-Shiller index.

"The 3.6% increase from a year earlier is more than three times the rise in the previous quarter and was the biggest jump in prices since the second quarter of 2010. But that 2010 rise was much more of a temporary blip caused by a homebuyer's tax credit of up to $8,000 on homes purchased in late 2009 and early 2010."

CNN Money
Home prices: Biggest rise in more than 2 years


"A closely watched index of local home prices fell in September, its first decline after five consecutive increases.

"The S&P/Case-Shiller index of Chicago-area single-family home prices fell 0.6 percent from August to September, according to a report released this morning."

Crain's Chicago Business
Chicago home prices slip after 5 straight gains

"The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index found that area home prices in September fell 0.6 percent from August and were down 1.5 percent on an annualized basis. Chicago and New York City were the cities among the 20 studied where pricing was worse than their year-ago comparisons."

Chicago Tribune
Chicago housing recovery lags other major cities

"Home prices increased in September in most major U.S. cities — more evidence of a housing recovery that is providing a lift to the fragile economy — but Chicago was one of only two cities to post a decline."

Chicago Sun Times
Home prices increase in most U.S. cities — but not Chicago

For more detail:

Wall Street Journal
A Look at Case-Shiller, by Metro Area

Friday, November 23, 2012

Strong Signs in Housing

October showed gains

"The Chicago area's housing market last month regained the momentum it lost in September, resulting in more homes being sold than in any October since 2006.

Sales of existing single-family homes and condominiums in the nine-county Chicago area totaled 8,326 properties in October, according to figures released Monday by the Illinois Association of Realtors. While below some of the monthly sales totals recorded earlier in the year, the volume was an increase of 11.3 percent over September and 44.1 percent higher than the 5,776 homes sold in October 2011."

Chicago-area home sales have best October in 6 years
Chicago Tribune

NAR Review of Buyers and Sellers 2012 Trends

To see the full size screen -- click here

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The 5000 square foot kitchen!

See the whole article in the Wall Street Journal
The Kitchen That Ate the House

Lake Forest Tree Lighting

The 29th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony\will be held on this Friday -  November 23rd in Market Square and on Western Avenue by the train station.

There will be an ice sculpting performance beginning at 3 p.m. For children there will be a special visit by Santa Claus at 4 p.m.  Hope everyone will stop by our office at 778 N. Western for cocoa and treats -- and to meet the elves.   A caroling concert by the Lake Forest High School Choristers begins at 4:45 p.m. with the lighting taking place aftwards -- It's a wonderful time in the square.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Getting the chimney ready for Santa?

"Here’s one for the annals of homeowner negligence: as of last month, my chimney had gone eight full years without being inspected, much less cleaned. For all I knew, a few generations of squirrels had summered in my bricks before fleeing at the first scent of smoke."

 New York Times - Smoking out Chimney Problems

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

An interesting thing happens when you write a blog... 
I get emails pretty often from other blog writers asking me to post their articles.  Often they don't make sense, but every once in a while a request comes along that sounds kind of fun.... like this morning.  I heard from blogger Maria Wells.   To get into the spirit of Thanksgiving, here's her article...

5 Ways to Use Cranberries in a Centerpiece for Your Thanksgiving Table

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tree Lighting Ceremonies this Weekend

Evanston Holiday Bash and Tree-lighting Ceremony
Friday, November 16
4:00 – 9:00 pm
Fountain Square (interesection of Sherman Ave., David St. and Orrington Ave.)

Wilmette Holiday Parade and Festivities
Saturday, November 17 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Parade starts at 4th and Linden and travels to Village Center

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lake Forest Hospital Boutique

Come to the 
2012 Holiday Boutique
Women's Board of Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital Annual Holiday Boutique!
Enjoy the spirit of the season while shopping unique gifts from dozens of vendors—including designer jewelry, purses and accessories, specialty foods, clothing and books, handmade ornaments and exquisite gifts.
Preview PartyWednesday, November 14, 2012: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Registration now available!More details below.
Holiday BoutiqueThursday, November 15, 2012: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday, November 16, 2012: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 17, 2012: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Lake Forest Recreation Center
400 Hastings Road
Lake Forest, Illinois
General admission tickets are $10.00 and include unlimited free admission. All proceeds benefit the extraordinary healthcare provided by Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. 

Holiday Boutique Preview Party
The Women's Board of Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital invites you to the Holiday Boutique Preview Party.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Lake Forest Recreation Center
400 Hastings Road
Lake Forest, Illinois
This event will include a preview of the gifts available at this year's Holiday Boutique—including designer jewelry, purses and accessories, specialty foods, clothing and books, handmade ornaments and exquisite gifts.
Register online to join us for this special evening! Tickets are $50.00 in advance or $60.00 at the door, and valet parking is available.
For more information, please contact the Office of Philanthropy at 847.535.6111

Hope to see you there -- I'll be selling delicious Harbor Sweets candy... all profits will go to the hospital!

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

"If you live in one of the nation’s largest cities, you might be wondering why foreclosures are getting worse in your real estate market than they are nationwide despite the encouraging headlines reporting that foreclosures are finally on the decline.

The truth is that the national foreclosure picture today is a tale of two cities. In the majority of markets, even many of those in Florida and the West that were hit hard for years, foreclosures are down from last year. According to RealtyTrac, third-quarter foreclosure... "

Foreclosures Are a Tale of Two Cities Foreclosures

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Five Great Excuses For Not Staging Your Home

Five Great Excuses For Not Staging Your Home

from one of my favorite blogs....
House Selling Blues

Delayed financing?

"Pay cash for your next home or get a mortgage? Some wealthy home buyers are choosing both.

It’s called delayed financing, in which buyers pay cash for a home and then take out a mortgage soon after closing. Rarely used even two years ago, experts say it has picked up over the past 12 months..."

Market Watch
New real-estate fad: the all-cash head fake

Who's going to be the future homeowners?

"The length of the foreclosure crisis—it’s been going on for nearly six years now—is raising an interesting question: How many of those borrowers who lost their homes in the first wave of foreclosures will become homeowners in the coming years?

It’s not going to happen quickly, according to a paper from researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. In fact, the paper says that former homeowners who defaulted on their mortgage during the recent housing crisis are likely to return to homeownership at a slower pace than previous cohorts of defaulters.

Because millions of Americans have defaulted on their mortgages over the past five years, these “boomerang buyers” could represent an important slice of housing demand in the coming years...."

The Wall Street Journal
Study: ‘Boomerang Buyers’ Unlikely to Return Quickly

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Do you love modern homes?

"Fans of 20th-century architecture now have a Web site that can direct them to important houses anywhere in the world. provides a map of more than 100 unique structures and extensive visitor information."

Read the article in the New York Times -- or just go straight to the site.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Home equity delinquencies fall here, but top national rate

"Chicago-area homeowners are more likely than most to regret using their homes like ATM machines.

Homeowners here who took out home equity loans have defaulted on the debt more often than borrowers elsewhere, a reflection of both the region's ongoing economic challenges and the state's slow foreclosure process."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Making the White House a ‘Home’

"Leading a nation is tough work. When the president of the United States goes to his private residence at the end of the day, he undoubtedly yearns for the comforts of “home.” But what does that home look like?"

Making the White House a ‘Home’

Presidents transforming communities

"Having a U.S. president live in your community boosts property values, brings in tourists and makes your town a household name, often long after the leader has left office."

Monday, November 5, 2012

The housing situation in battleground states...

"Depressed housing values, foreclosures, underwater mortgages. These terms barely touched the candidates’ lips in this presidential campaign. Even so, many voters will head to the polls on Election Day with the financial pain from the housing crisis still fresh on their minds.

For some, rising home values in 2012 may be reassurance enough that a housing recovery is in motion. For others, those modest gains may be too little, too late.

Nowhere does this matter more for President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney than the nation’s so-called battleground states. Here’s a snapshot of the state of swing-state housing...."

Battleground States and Their Housing Situation