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

Contact Ann

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

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Do you know how prepared you are?

Here are ten questions to see how prepared you are to buy a house.
start here

Good news

Home Prices Rise, Putting Country in Buying Mood 
New York Times
The S.&P. Case-Shiller home price index rose by 10.9 percent over the last year, a gain that reinforces housing’s role in driving the economy.

"Chicago-area home prices were almost 8 percent higher in March compared with the same month in 2012, the fifth straight year-over-year increase in a closely watched index.

Local single-family home prices, however, did not rise as much as a national 20-city index, which was up 10.9 percent compared with March 2012, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller indices released today.

Chicago-area prices were up 7.8 percent compared with March 2012...."

Read more: 
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Local home sales jump 31 percent in April

Local home sales jump 31 percent in April

Home Sales Up

"Prices surged as resales of homes in the United States rose in April to the highest level in nearly three and a half years, offering the economy a buffer from the stiff headwinds of belt-tightening in Washington."

Existing-Home Sales Hit a 3-Year High
New York Times


"Sales were up in three of the four regions, falling 3.4 percent in the Midwest."

Things are on the rise!

"It’s shaping up to be a hot summer for the U.S. housing market.

An index that measures prices received by real-estate agents and brokers posted its largest year-over-year jump in April in nearly eight years. The data series released on Wednesday comes from the producer-price index, which measures how much manufacturers and wholesalers pay for finished goods."

Wall Street Journal
Housing Index Posts Record April Jump

Saturday, May 18, 2013

26th Annual Spring Housewalk!

Sunday, May 19, 2013
Ticket pick-up will take place at the Museum on the day of Housewalk, 12:30-2:30 p.m.

This year's housewalk, "Modern Homes, Innovative Designs," takes on a contemporary slant by featuring four homes built since 1970. Included in the group is a recently built "green" home. Each home was designed to create flexible, open spaces in tune with the ways that modern families live. The featured architects, three of whom have lived in Wilmette, produced designs that connect the indoors and outdoors in innovative ways, including one spectacular site on the lakeshore. Each home employs sustainable elements in its design, including reclaimed material, adaptive reuse, and low energy technology such as geo-thermal heating and cooling, and one home is "green" throughout. These are stunning, original homes that combine clean lines, open floor plans, and striking artwork and furniture to create warm, inviting family spaces.

Check out the Wilmette Historical Museum

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happenings at Elawa

The Dreaded Appraisal

"So you own a home. You have watched the interest rates fall over time compared to when you bought your home, and now you want to put a little cash back in your pocket on a monthly basis. Because you are smart and realize low interest rates are powerful, you call up a few lenders, and decide to pull the trigger on refinancing your mortgage. The only thing standing in your way is a minor MAJOR hurdle called the appraisal. A lot is riding on what one human being (who will spend less than 30 minutes in your house) says your house is worth..."

Refinancing?  5 Tips to Getting Past the Dreaded Appraisal
Realty Toast

6 Things to Avoid With Your Realtor When Buying a House

6 Things to Avoid With Your Realtor When Buying a House

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Affordable housing on the North Shore?

"On the North Shore, where some of the Chicago area's wealthiest residents live in multi-million dollar mansions, "affordable housing" can be a matter of perspective.

But not everyone who dwells there is rich. While there may be fewer lower- and middle-income families than in other Illinois zip codes, experts and advocates say the demand for cheaper housing is still great -- and growing..."

Chicago Tribune

Go Native! Plant Sale

Saturday, May 18
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Mellody Farm Nature Preserve
350 N. Waukegan Rd.
Lake Forest

Located at beautiful Mellody Farm Nature Preserve, the 10th annual native plant sale promotes the use of native varieties of perennials, trees and shrubs. Possibility Place Nursery, a reputable wholesaler dedicated to Northern Illinois species, will have experts on-hand to help guide customers to the best choices for their landscape. Click here for a full list of plants, shrubs and trees that will be available the day of the sale. 

See the announcement.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Today's Open House

Yes, I know it's Mother's Day, but it's also a beautiful day for an Open House.  Stop by between 2-4:00 to see my wonderful listing at 100 Warrington, Lake Bluff.

Happy Mother's Day!!

View Larger Map

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Still a buyer's market?

"Home prices in 150 U.S. cities saw their biggest year-over-year gains in over seven years in the first quarter of 2013, but affordability still remains high in most markets...."

Home Prices Jump but Affordability Remains in Buyers’ Favor
Wall Street Journal

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Illinois foreclosure activity falls again - Residential News - Crain's Chicago Business

Illinois foreclosure activity falls again - Residential News - Crain's Chicago Business

Rain barrel, compost bin and native plant sale

May 11 

Independence Grove Forest Preserve

It Happens Every Lake Bluff!

On May 11, 2013 join friends and neighbors for "It Happens Every Lake Bluff!", a day-long spring-time celebration in downtown Lake Bluff where visitors can participate in a variety of merchant specials and other activities.

Downtown visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy the Annual Garden Market (8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.), sponsored by the Lake Bluff Garden Club on the Village Green. Event patrons are encouraged to use the Train Station parking lot.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rain, rain go away....

"After considerable huffing, hauling and a noxious level of exposure to bleach, I can stand back and acknowledge that I was luckier than many Chicagoans whose basements recently were visited by many gallons of muddy water."

Chicago Tribune

What's to be learned from the latest Case-Shiller Report

"Home prices rose by 9.3% in February from one year ago, the largest such gain in the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city index in nearly seven years.

Tuesday’s report is the latest sign that the U.S. housing market has rebounded after home prices hit a bottom one year ago. The report showed broad-based home price gains, with all 20 cities that compose the index posting year-over-year price gains."

Also, A Look at Case-Shiller, by Metro Area

Chicago - monthly change: -0.8%
                  annual change: +5.1%

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spring clean -- your credit report

"1.  Do one scan for flat-out errors.  Go to and order your credit reports from all three reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Look for accounts that aren’t yours, that have long been closed or otherwise are erroneously reported (e.g., payments listed as late that were actually on-time, a short sale listed as a foreclosure, etc.). Follow the instructions on the reports to dispute such report errors immediately - both online/on the phone and in writing....

2.  Do another scan for small reporting inaccuracies you think don’t make a difference - but do.  In particular, you’re looking for things like:
delinquencies that should have aged off
balances listed as higher than they truly are
limits listed as lower than they really are, and
short sales/foreclosures that are improperly dated, among other things....

3.  Pay the right things off - and take care not to pay off accounts you need to show your responsible use of credit. A few things that most lenders will demand you settle, bring current or pay off entirely before you can buy a home: 
accounts in collections
state and federal tax liens
past home loans or lines of credit in default that were not extinguished through foreclosure or short sale (e.g., second loans, home equity lines of credit, etc.)
defaulted federal student loans (for FHA loan applicants)....

4.  Get your mortgage pro to help.  Up to now, you’ve been working on the reports that you can pull yourself, for free, as mandated under the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) through These reports are free and are the smart starting point for your credit Spring Cleaning, but they have two important shortcomings:
(1) They are almost never identical to the report your lender will actually use as the basis of your mortgage application, and 
(2) They do not include the FICO credit score on which lending decisions are based....

5.  Ask about augmenting your report with non-traditional “tradelines,” if needed.  If you simply don’t have much credit because you like to pay cash, kudos to you for managing your finances responsibly.  Increasingly, lenders will allow borrowers to use non-traditional accounts to document their credit history.  If you can document your history of paying your rent, health insurance, or even child care bills on time, every time, for at least 12 months, talk to your mortgage professional about whether you can use any of these accounts to prove yourself creditworthy to mortgage lenders..."

To read the complete article go to
5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Credit Report

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bad neighbors...

Came across this on the web and found amusing... enjoy!
17 Terrible Neighbors to Avoid When Buying a House

Also consider:
Bad neighbors can affect appraisals!

Chicago home prices fall for 6th straight month

Chicago home prices fall for 6th straight month

What can you do....

...about Stormwater Management

Many are wondering how to reduce the amount of damage following an event such as the April flooding when the stormwater systems were not able to accommodate the volume of water entering the system. There are many ways that home owners can provide alternative avenues to utilize rain water. Collectively, these options can make a big difference.

Some options for diverting rainfall include the use of:

  • Bioswales
  • Greywater systems
  • Permeable paving
  • Rain barrels
  • Rain gardens
  • Xeriscaping

Read more about water conservation and natural lawncare in SWANCC's Eco-Landscaping Guide