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

Contact Ann

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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Buy or Rent?

Buy or Rent?
In Chicago the verdict is BUY!

CNN Money

Location, location

"It’s all about location when it comes to real estate.  And the hottest locations on the planet these days are all in the emerging markets, at least as measured by demand and soaring housing prices."

Location, Location: The Hottest Real Estate Markets On Earth

Leveraging is back?

A growing number of luxury homeowners are withdrawing equity from their homes and pumping the cash into investments.

Wall Street Journal

Friday, March 29, 2013

Chicago Data

What Homes Cost in 73 Chicago Neighborhoods and 200 Suburbs in 2012

"Here’s the complete set of home sales data—median prices, percentage change, number of sales, and time on the market—for every part of the city that we gather enough stats to measure."

Chicago Magazine

Young homeowner...

"Nevermind a silver spoon, one Chinese mother has bought a $6.5 million (£4.3 million) flat in Manhattan for her toddler..."

The Telegraph
Chinese family buys £4 million New York flat for two-year-old

What's your magic price?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hop on over to Lake Bluff

On March 29, 2013 the Lake Bluff Park District will host the Flashlight Egg Hunt for children 9 to 12 years of age (bring your flashlight!) at the Blair Park Recreation Center (355 W. Washington Avenue) at 8:00 p.m. On March 30th the annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held at 9:00 a.m. Bring all children 8 and younger with their Easter baskets to the Blair Park Recreation Center to enjoy some family fun and visit with the Easter Bunny.

Confidence returning

"The housing numbers are all heading in the right direction. Home prices up, foreclosures down and, perhaps the most important, consumer confidence in housing swelling. Even as sales of new and existing homes bounce up and down month to month, the desire to buy is growing.."

Beyond the Numbers, Confidence Returns to Housing

What do buyers really want?

What sets one home apart from another as buyers are touring homes? What features do buyers truly need, and which amenities would they merely view as a bonus? The National Association of Realtors has tried to answer those questions (and more) with the recently released 2013 Profile of Buyers' Home Feature Preferences. The survey was completed by buyers who purchased a home between 2010 and 2012.

According to the study:

The typical buyer bought a home with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. About half of homes purchased were on a single level, while two-fifths were on two levels. Garages were more popular among buyers of new homes, homes in the Midwest, and homes in the suburbs. Fireplaces were most common in higher priced homes, homes in resort or recreation areas, and in detached single-family homes. Forty-one percent of homes had basements, which could be finished, partially finished or unfinished. Finished basements were more popular among single males, younger home buyers, and buyers in the Northeast and Midwest.

For sellers who are looking at remodeling, and want to make sure their renovation dollars are well spent, this could be a road map of what to update or add to their homes. Some other highlights:

  • 78% of buyers chose a home with a garage
  • 58% purchased a home with a fireplace
  • New kitchen appliances were more important to buyers than granite countertops
  • 69% of buyers who didn't buy a home with new appliances would have been willing to pay more for a home that had them
  • Among buyers 55 and older, 42% rated a single level home style very important, compared to only 11% of buyers under 35
  • Buyers were willing to pay a higher dollar value for an in-law suite and a basement than other extra room types.
  • The feature that had the highest dollar value buyers were willing to pay extra for? Waterfront location.
  • 53% of buyers started a home improvement project within 3 months of buying, typically in the kitchen.

The majority of buyers wanted more or larger closets and more storage.
The great news is that 97% were satisfied with their home purchase.

Heather Elias
National Association of Realtors

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Inventories rising...

"For the first time in over six months, the supply of homes for sale is beginning to rise.

While inventories are still down nearly 20 percent from a year ago, they did rise more than the seasonal norm in February from January, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors."

Finally, More Homes for Sale

Friday, March 22, 2013

Housing is starting to help

"The first couple of years of economic recovery after the Great Recession were notable for one no-show. The housing industry made no contribution at all.

Now it appears that industry is finally starting to recover. Housing starts are rising at a rapid rate, albeit from a very low level. And last year, residential construction spending, adjusted for inflation, climbed 12 percent, after declining for a record six consecutive years..."      

New York Times
Housing, Ailing for Years, Starts to Recuperate

What do the buyers want?

" What features do home buyers want in a house more than any other?

Air conditioning, walk-in closets and master suites, according to a new survey by the National Association of Realtors. For homeowners who have been waiting out the recession before they sell, making sure their properties have some of these popular amenities could help boost the sale price and how quickly the home sells.
Leslie Piper, consumer housing specialist at, said that buyers are looking for long-term investments, meaning homes they can stay in for 20 or 30 years. That's a marked difference from the pre-recession mindset of staying in a home only a few years before upgrading.
Thanks to low interest rates and scant inventory, buyers are snapping up properties relatively quickly. Homes that took months to sell last year are getting multiple offers this year, Piper said.
The best thing sellers can do to justify raising their asking price (and get it to appraise out) is to give their home a surface-level facelift. Strengthen your curb appeal with new landscaping, a fresh coat of paint and decluttering of the inside of your home, all of which can all be done relatively inexpensively.
'The goal is to touch the buyer emotionally before they even walk through the door,' Piper said.
The NAR survey covered 33 home features, such as flooring, appliances and amenities, and central air conditioning came out on top as the most important feature for buyers.
The top 5 features buyers consider very important
1. Air conditioning, cited by 65 percent of buyers
2. Walk-in closet in the master bedroom (39 percent)
3. Cable-, satellite TV-, and/or Internet-ready home (37 percent)
4. Master bathroom in suite (34 percent)
5. New kitchen appliances (29 percent)
Some features were important enough that buyers were willing to spend more to get them in a home. Unfortunately, many of these upgrades would cost more than what buyers are willing to pay, but if homeowners are able to add some of these additional features, they could rake in at least a little extra cash at closing.
The top 5 features buyers will pay more to have
1. Air conditioning -- buyers would pay an extra $2,520
2. New kitchen appliances ($1,840)
3. Walk-in closet in the master bedroom ($1,350)
4. Granite countertops ($1,620)
5. Hardwood floors ($2,080)
Buyers were also willing to pay more money for a home on the waterfront, one that has an eat-in kitchen and one that is less than five years old. 
What would recent buyers change about their homes?
'Most satisfied homeowners still said they would like more or larger closets and storage space,' said NAR vice president of research Paul Bishop. 'In addition, nearly half of recent buyers would prefer a larger kitchen, and two out of five would prefer a larger home overall.'"
Source: MoneyWatch - Ilyce Glink

Happenings at Elawa Farm

Fresh Flower Arranging Classes by Nancy Clifton:  
Nancy is a horticulture program specialist in visitor programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden with specialization in containers, troughs, wreaths, herbs, and other botanical crafts. She teaches there as well as other facilities in the Chicagoland area and does many demonstrations for local Garden Clubs.
Beginning Flower Arranging – Thursday, April 18th in 9:30-11:30am Learn the basics about flowers, tools and techniques for arranging flowers. You will learn how to care for fresh flowers, proper storage temperatures and some arranging tools used by the pros. The workshop includes a simple spring floral foam arrangement in a low bowl to take home. Please bring to class hand pruners or floral shears and a small box to carry finished arrangement home in.
Market Flowers - Deconstructed Then Arranged - Thursday, May 30th 9:30-11:30am Learn about the flower bouquets you see in the store. Taking a look at market flower bouquets we will deconstruct the bouquet to learn about the flowers you will find and what to do with one once you have it at home. The workshop will be to arrange your market bouquet in a glass cube. Please bring to class a hand pruner or floral shears and a small box to carry your finished arrangement.
Tropical Treat - Thursday, June 6th 9:30-11:30 Learn about the tropical flower options for a unique and different style of arranging. You will learn some of the most popular flowers and how to combine a few for a striking arrangement. You will create a modern/contemporary arrangement in a low bowl think tropical and color! Please bring a hand pruner or floral shears and a small box to carry your completed arrangement home in.

Rent vs. Buy: Which is Cheaper for You?

Check out this interesting chart from Trulia...  Chicago area is looking like a great place to buy!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Truth or consequences

"Whether you are buying or selling, you are about to engage in one of the most important financial transactions of your lifetime. Being honest and upfront with your Realtor from the start will keep things running smoothly and avoid bumps in the road that could derail the transaction. Here are ten important things to tell your Realtor...."

read on
10 Important Things To Tell Your Realtor – Truth or Consequences
Winning Agent 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Look for the C.L.U.E.

"Many home buyers fall in love with their house, sometimes at first sight. However, it is important to be careful when you open up your heart – otherwise, you may get trapped in a money pit. Your first step to avoid falling into that trap is to complete a thorough home inspection with a reputable, licensed inspector. Once this is done, take your investigation a step further by requesting a comprehensive loss underwriting exchange (C.L.U.E.) report from the sellers..."

C.L.U.E. Report - Why home buyers and sellers should get one

Money Crashers

Foreclosure fast-forward: New law could speed sales

Foreclosure fast-forward: New law could speed sales

Friday, March 8, 2013

It's that time of year

Daylight Saving begins on Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 2:00 am. Don't forget to set your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night. This is also a good time to change the batteries in all the smoke detectors in your home.  Let the sunshine in!

Will 2020 be the year?

"Demographers often describe the baby boom generation as if it were an indigestible mammal – maybe a pig, or a rabbit, or a really big rat – slowly moving through the python that is America’s population. As this generation has aged, the baby boom bulge has remade society in its image, first as a massive class of toddlers, later as rabble-rousers in the 1960s, then as solidly middle-class heads of household and, soon, as the largest class of retirees the country has ever seen."

The Great Senior Sell-Off Could Cause the Next Housing Crisis
The Atlantic Cities

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cash is king

"Borrowed money fueled the last residential real estate boom, but it isn't driving the current recovery — at least not yet.

More than 32,000, or 36 percent, of local home buyers last year purchased their homes without a mortgage, according to Metrostudy, a Houston-based research firm that tracks the housing market. That's the same percentage of cash buyers as 2011 but still well above the bubble-era levels of about 13 percent.

All-cash sales have represented about a third of the local residential market the past few years as tighter lending standards shut out many buyers and investors, who tend not to borrow money, bought up distressed homes..."

Read on in Crain's Chicago Business
Cash is still king in local residential market 

Spring is coming to the CBG

Spring Break Camp lets children ages 5 to 8 engage in exciting indoor and outdoor activities while exploring the Garden as it begins to bloom. (March 25-29)

Enjoy brunch and an Easter egg hunt at the Chicago Botanic Gardens on March 31.
For ticket information visit the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Save or Demolish? What do you think?

"Four more Winnetka homeowners applied for demolition permits recently, continuing a post-recession trend of more demolition and rebuilding in the village, officials say.

At a recent Landmark Preservation Committee meeting, two of those homes were approved to be razed. One was tabled until the next meeting..."

Read on in the Chicago Tribune...
More owners want to tear down homes in Winnetka

New Beginnings

Worth the read:

New Beginnings
from my sister's blog: The Zen of Slow Cooking

Going Green Matters

Don't miss the 7th annual Going Green Matters Community Fair on Sunday, March 10th from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. at the Woman's Club of Wilmette, 930 Greenleaf Ave. Learn about saving energy, low impact gardening and landscaping, green home products and more from over 100 exhibitors and sponsors. 

Take advantage of the free recycling opportunity from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the parking lot of Central School, 910 Central Street.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Home, Health and Business Expo in Lake Forest

North Shore Home, Health & Business Expo to Feature 80 Exhibitors, Free Living Smart Seminars and Health & Wellness Screenings, March 2-3

Lake Forest’s award-winning show, the North Shore Home, Health & Business Expo, will be held from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3. Admission is free.

Held for the 18th year, the popular show will transform Lake Forest’s Deer Path School into a showcase of more than 80 booths of exhibits. Experts will be on hand to give advice on almost every aspect of restoration, landscaping, remodeling, interior decoration and accessorizing the home, as well as leisure activities, a variety of state-of-the-art products and services, and fitness.

Remembering Marshall Field's

 Leslie Goddard, historian and author of the book Remembering Marshall Field's, will present an engaging illustrated talk on the history of the Marshall Field's department store from its earliest days as a dry goods store to its reign as a world-class department store and tourist destination. 

The event will be held on Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at the Wilmette Historical Museum, 609 Ridge Road. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Create a clutter free zone....

"It’s so easy to allow clutter to build up in your home. You store a few things in the loft or garage with the intentions of keeping it there until you get the time for a proper clean-out, and the next thing you know you have more clutter than space. It wouldn’t be so bad if the majority of clutter was actually worthless, however, more often than not there are hidden treasures lurking in the piles of junk. These 25 blogs specifically deal with how to reduce clutter in your home, so you can reclaim your living and storage space for better use."

25 Blogs guaranteed to help you reduce clutter in your home