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

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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

With all good wishes for the new year.  
Joy in 2013!

10 most expensive homes of 2012

These are the most expensive homes on the market in 2012... They're not necessarily massive; some are spacious New York penthouses without enough square footage to qualify as a mansion.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lending money to a relative?

"HOME buyers trying to scrape together enough money to cover the typical 20 percent down payment frequently look to relatives for help...."

To Givers of Down Payments
New York Times

Friday, December 28, 2012

13 Reasons to Look Forward to 2013

13 Reasons to Look Forward to 2013

Fiscal Cliff: What’s at Stake for Real Estate

Fiscal Cliff: What’s at Stake for Real Estate

Do you live in a floodplain area?

FEMA is launching a new way to submit a request to change your property's flood zone designation - with the Online Letter of Map Change (LOMC).  If you believe your property has been inadvertently included in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), you may now request a change via the Internet. The SFHA is the area that has a 1-percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year; this area is also referred to by some as the 100-year floodplain.  All property owners, their designated representatives, or professional surveyors and engineers, can use this online tool to conveniently submit required documents, property information, and payment information all in one place.   
For more information, click here.  To receive updates about the Online LOMC and to be notified of the launch date sign, up for the Flood Hazard Mapping mailing list.  

Recycling the styrofoam

Courtesy of the Winnetka Environmental and Forestry Committee,  those bulky white blocks of Styrofoam can be recycled. Simply drop them off at the Winnetka Public Works Yards (1390 Willow Road) Monday thru Friday 7am to 5pm from December 26, 2012 thru January 11, 2013 - excluding Tuesday, January 1. 

Please note: This is for the white block Styrofoam only.  Packing "peanuts" cannot be accepted as part of this collection - but they can be recycled at all UPS stores.

2012 Real Estate Market Roundup

2012 Real Estate Market Roundup
Real Estate | Equifax Finance Blog

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Canoe Year

Happy Canoe Year! On January 1, 2013, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County will host the annual New Year’s Day Canoe Paddle down the North Branch of the Chicago River. Experienced paddlers are invited to participate in this free tradition, which begins below the Skokie Lagoons and finishes approximately 4 miles later in Linne Woods.

For more information contact the Forest Preserve District of Cook County

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Case Shiller Index

It's so interesting to see how the news reported.  Here are four articles about the same data -- each article has their own slant of the news!

"The recovery in the housing market continues to pick up steam, as home prices posted the biggest percentage gain in more than two years in the latest reading of the closely followed S&P/Case-Shiller index."

CNN Money
Home prices post biggest annual jump in two years


"A closely watched index of local home prices fell significantly in October, its second straight decline.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of Chicago-area single-family home prices fell 1.5 percent from September to October after dropping 0.6 percent from August to September, according to a report released this morning.

The monthly drop was the biggest among the 12 cities in a 20-city index where prices fell. Prices rose in seven others and were flat in one. “Anticipated seasonal weakness appeared,” the report said in noting that 12 cities declined."

Crain's Chicago Business
Chicago home prices post second straight drop


"Home prices rose in October in only 7 of 20 cities surveyed for the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, but prices were up 4.3% in the latest 12 months, the survey says.

Home price increases are being driven by increasing demand, strong investor interest, a shrinking inventory of homes for sale and fewer foreclosed properties, which tend to sell at a discount to others...

Only New York and Chicago showed prices down from a year ago."

USA Today
Case Shiller: Home prices up 4.3% latest 12 months


"U.S. home prices ticked down in October on seasonal weakness, with 12 out of 20 cities seeing lower prices in the month, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index released Wednesday."

Market Watch
Home Prices Tick Lower in October

Recycling lights

The Village of Wilmette, in partnership with Elgin Recycling and the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC), will be accepting holiday lights for recycling from Monday, November 26, 2012 through Friday, January 25, 2013.

Holiday lights can be dropped off at the Public Works Facility, located at 711 Laramie Avenue. The recycling boxes will be located in the visitor's parking lot, accessible 24 hours a day.

       The Village of Winnetka is also accepting types of holiday lights.  The last day for Holiday Light Recycling drop-off is Friday, February 8, 2013.

Holiday Light Recycling
Public Works Yards 
1390 Willow Road
7:00 am - 5:00 pm (weekdays)

The recycling program will accept all holiday string lighting (all colors and lengths); includes:
Mini-lights (or Italian lights)
C7 lights
C9 lights
Rope lights
LED lights
Extension Cords

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Put your best facade forward

"Individual sellers can learn a great deal from mass-market homebuilders.
Take curb appeal, for example. There's a good reason builders skip every other lot when putting up model homes. Or leave out lawn-gobbling driveways. Or build models uphill from the street, never downhill. All these tricks of the trade are designed to make their homes loom as large as possible."

Put your best facade forward
Chicago Tribune

Home for the holidays

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Turning the corner

2012 will probably be considered the year that a sinking housing market finally hit bottom and began to rise again. Home prices, home sales and new home construction all substantially increased amid shrinking inventory and record-low mortgage rates. 

Real Estate 2012: The Year the Housing Market Turned the Corner

Mortgage deduction benefits some 28% of Illinois taxpayers

Mortgage deduction benefits some 28% of Illinois taxpayers

Chicago-area home sales jump 36 percent in November

Chicago-area home sales jump 36 percent in November

Friday, December 21, 2012

Median prices going up?

"Sales of existing homes beat expectations in November, with Realtors reporting a surprisingly modest effect in the Northeast from Superstorm Sandy. An even bigger surprise was a huge gain in activity among higher-end homes. Sales of homes priced above $750,000 jumped 50 percent from a year ago, as sales of the lowest-end homes (largely distressed) fell 4 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The change in the mix of homes selling pushed the median home price nationally (median defined as half selling higher and half selling lower) to $180,600, a 10.1 percent increase from November of 2011. This is a far higher jump than other so-called "repeat" sales indices have shown, because a median measure does not compare the sale prices of homes selling now to similar homes selling a year ago, but the median of all sale prices nationally, which is skewed to which types of homes are selling. Still, the shift to more activity in higher price ranges is important...."

Higher-End Homes Selling Again

How does Santa arrive?

"How does Santa Claus deliver gifts to houses that don't have chimneys?

Only 40.3% of homes in the U.S. have fireplaces, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, meaning Mr. Claus must find an alternative entry into about 60% of homes on Christmas Eve..."

Santa's Secret Entry
Wall Street Journal

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Staging the bedroom

Q. What sort of bedding looks best for showings?

Market Ready
New York Times

What should happen in the front yard?

"Gardeners aren’t generally known for their civil disobedience, yet in the last couple of years several have run afoul of local officials for tending vegetables in their front yards..."

The Battlefront in the Front Yard
New York Times

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dress Your Home for Sale This Holiday Season

"Don't let the thought of selling your home during the winter months dampen your holiday spirit. Create a festive, buyer-friendly environment with these seven seasonal staging tips."

Stage the Halls: Dress Your Home for Sale This Holiday Season

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tips for the holiday

"Right before the holiday season arrives is the perfect time to declutter, organize, and ditch your extra stuff. You’re not only about to receive a lot more stuff, but decluttering your home will also help keep some of that holiday-induced stress at bay. And decluttering before the end of the year could also help you with a tax deduction in April."

Tips for the Holiday Season: Decluttering and Donating

"Although gathering with family and friends is the highlight of the holiday season, even the most perfectly planned dinner party will fall flat if your house burns down. 
Here's how to disaster-proof your home..."

How to disaster-proof your home for the holidays
Money Watch

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Movie Homes

"Grab your eggnog and gather around the television! It’s that time of year for caroling, cold weather and, of course, holiday movies. Whether you prefer slap-stick comedy or a heartfelt flick, we’ve rounded up some of the most-loved holiday films and their filming locations."

Ho-Ho-Holiday Movie Homes

Answer some questions...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Beauty on one level

"They were once all the rage in a post-World War II America. Affordable, single-story homes called ‘Ranchers’ were renowned for simple, elongated floor plans, low rooflines and folksy design touches like wagon wheels. By the 1950s, nine out of every ten new houses were of the ‘Ranch’ variety. But by the 1970s, the suburban staple fell quickly out of favor, dismissed as too kitschy and plain."

9 Stunning Single-Story Mansions

Minimizing garbage at Christmas

Garbage volumes inevitably increase around the holidays due to gift giving and holiday parties. Typically around 25% more garbage enters the waste stream. The following ideas from SWANCC will help you create a minimal amount of garbage this year.

Winter Wonderland

House prices jumping?

"Home-price forecasts for 2013 are on the rise.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. expects U.S. home prices to rise 3.4% in its base-case estimate and up to 9.7% in its most bullish scenario of economic growth. Standard & Poor’s, which rates private-issue mortgage bonds, on Friday said it expects a 5% rise in 2013."

Home Prices Could Jump 9.7% in 2013, J.P. Morgan Says
Wall Street Journal

Friday, December 14, 2012

Attention first time home buyers!

"If you are a first-time home buyer who has been looking for the perfect opportunity to buy a new home, then the time is now. The current real estate market is perfect for everything from buying a new home to investing in the real estate market, which is why first-time home buyers and investors have been going head to head and competing for the best real estate on the market."

The Perfect Real Estate Market for First-Time Home Buyers
Business Insider

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Best Buyers’ Market Is ...

Chicago is the top housing market for home shoppers, according to recent rankings of 30 of the largest U.S. metro areas released by Zillow. This is the second year in a row the Second City has nabbed the top spot.

To arrive at its rankings, Zillow analyzed selling prices versus list prices, the number of days a listing appeared on its web site, and the percentage of homes in a market with a price reduction.

Here are some of the top markets for home buyers, according to Zillow’s list:
New York, N.Y.
Baltimore, Md.
St. Louis, Mo.
Columbus, Ohio
Charlotte, N.C.

Meanwhile, the top housing market for sellers is San Jose, Calif., according to Zillow.

Source: “The Top Buyers’ and Sellers’ Markets for American Homes,” Business Insider (Dec. 12, 2012) and “Chicago Again Named Best Housing Market -- for Buyers,” Chicago Tribune (Dec. 12, 2012)

Illinois third for foreclosures

Using light colors

Q. Our dining room is painted dark gray, but I’ve read that light neutral colors are better when you’re selling your home. Should we repaint it?

Market Ready -- The New York Times

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tips for Lighting Your Christmas Tree

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Considering a ranch house?

"More and more, people are starting to crave the practicality of one-story living.

That’s why more one-story homes are being built, new two-story homes often come with a master bedroom on the first floor and even older ranch homes are getting a second look."

Why 1950s-style ranch homes are all the rage again
Market Watch

Small bedroom?

"When painting a bedroom for yourself, any color that makes you feel relaxed is appropriate...."

The Best Colors for Small Bedrooms
San Francisco Chronicle

What's happening in Glencoe?

Glencoe Chamber: Saturdays of the Season! December 15 & 22

Come to Glencoe's Business District for holiday fun, treats, music, activities and more during the four Saturdays in December. While you're enjoying the festive atmosphere, be sure to do your holiday shopping right in town. The stores will be stocked with everything you need for your holiday gift-giving and entertaining needs. Remember, If You Want It, Glencoe's Got It!


9:30am - 12:30pm: BMO Harris Bank Continential Breakfast and Food Drive. Please come for a Continental Breakfast and participate in the BMO Harris "Days of Caring" by bringing a variety pack box of oatmeal for the Grayslake Community Care Center Food Pantry.

10:00am - 12:00pm: Meet Santa Claus in uptown Glencoe; He'll have candy canes for the kids! 

10:00am - 12:30pm: North Shore Community Bank, Hot Chocolate; 

10:00am - 2:00pm: Glencoe Public Library "Technology Petting Zoo". Demo presentation at 10am and Petting Zoo from 11am-2pm. For gift-giving ideas, come learn about the latest electronic products and try them out! 

10:00am - 2:00pm: Olly, Olly Play Cafe, 319 Park, Holiday Crafts, Hot Chocolate and Cookies; Free with admission; 

11:00am - 3:00pm: Books on Vernon, Fresh Hot Baked Pretzels (small charge); 

1:00pm - 4:00pm: Salvation Army Youth Band, Northeast corner of Park and Vernon;


10:00am - 12:30pm: North Shore Community Bank, Hot Chocolate; 

11:00am - 3:00pm: Books on Vernon, Fresh Hot Baked Pretzels (small charge); 

1:00pm - 4:00pm: Salvation Army Youth Band, Northeast corner of Park and Vernon; 

Lake Forest neighborhood named to National Register of Historic Places

Lake Forest neighborhood named to National Register of Historic Places

Does moving to a smaller home solve everything?

"The McMansion generation is in downsizing mode.

Millions of Americans age 50 and older are looking around their spacious homes and are deciding they don't need all that room anymore. The kids are gone, maybe a spouse, too. And they could really use the money from a sale to bulk up their retirement funds."

The Wall Street Journal
Everybody Says You Should Downsize. Everybody May Be Wrong.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday events in Lake Forest

from the Chamber of Commerce

Holiday Events in Lake Forest
There's no place like home this holiday season!

Market Square in Lake Forest will celebrate the holidays with visits from Santa at Baytree's Winter Garden in the Courtyard, a winter Farmers Market at the Market Square train station, and carolers.  

Dates and times are as follows:

Saturdays, Dec. 15 & 22
11-2 p.m. Santa visits Baytree Bank's Winter Garden in the Courtyard
12-3 p.m. Farmers Market at the Market Square train station

Sat., Dec. 15
11-2 p.m. Santa visits Baytree Bank's Winter Garden while his reindeer graze in Market Square

Sundays, Dec. 16 & 23
12-3 p.m. Sundays in the Square, free horse & carriage rides courtesy of the Market Square Merchants