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

Contact Ann

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

Friday, January 31, 2014

It's the year of the horse...

Happy New Year -- Today begins the Chinese New Year which starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later.

Year 2014 is the Year of the Horse. Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. People born in the Year of the Horse are reputed to need plenty of room to roam! Energetic, good with money and very fond of travel, Horses are the nomads of the Chinese Zodiac, roaming from one place or project to the next.
Happy Chinese New Year!   

This fun site, will help you to catch the spirit!

Evanston ranks!

The 10 Most Exciting Suburbs In America By Movoto Real Estate

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Musings of winter

Yesterday wasn't so bad after all. I guess I have too many memories of living in Chicago and waiting for the bus to come while the arctic wind was whipping up my skirt. 

That's the beauty of the suburbs -- you can actually stay unexposed to this weather by driving in a car … Today I was remembering the three winters of 1977-1979. '77 -- I think we had something like 30 consecutive days of freezing temperatures and it hit -17. In '78 we broke the snow record with 82" of snow… culminating in '79 with a record of almost 90" of snow AND record low temperatures. 

We got a new mayor because of the snow plowing debacle of that winter. So many stories of people stuck in their homes. I lived on Scott Street at the time and cars were stranded in the middle of the street for over a week…. couldn't even get the plows down the street.

I thought yesterday while very cold, also very beautiful! 

Dog owners… I just discovered Musher's Secret. Amazon sells it and it has helped my dog's paws in this weather. Check it out. 

And for those of you that are concerned about all this salt being spread around, here are some environmentally safe alternatives:

Whether granite countertops, a custom kitchen island, or a built-in wine rack are new kitchen musts, discover thousands of kitchen designs to help make your dream come true.
Browse inspiring bedroom design, then outfit your own bed frame, convertible sleeper sofas ordaybed with designer bed linens and a decorative pillow and throws.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dual Agency

A while back I wrote a post, Who represents whom, where I talked about dual agency, etc.   There was good article in the Wall Street today which I think is worth the read.  It explains some of the research done about dual agency.

How a Dual Agent Affects Sale Prices

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Price, Price, Price

I know I sound like a broken record -- I've written enough times about this…
What does it take to get my house sold?
Selling your home quickly
Price matters
Price to sell

...but I saw another good article today in Realty Times that I thought was well worth sharing,

Monday, January 20, 2014

Where to Splurge -- Where to Save

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

From kitchens to the living room, window treatments add a finishing touch to any room in the house.
Find draperies and plantation shutters for french doors, or kitchen curtains and curtain poles for your kitchen windows.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Do you have a favorite restaurant?

I just started a new board on my Pinterest account, "Great Eats on the North Shore."  I listed a few that I like quite a bit, but wonder if my readers can add to my list some of their favorites?

Thinking about remodeling?

Kitchen ideas, bathroom ideas, and more ∨

Whether granite countertops, a custom kitchen island, or built-in wine racks are new kitchen musts, discover thousands of kitchen designs to help make your dream come true.
From wallpapers to wall stencils, fabrics to room dividers, design doesn't stop at construction.

What makes a smart home smart?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

blogs… something to follow

If you follow my blog, you know that I also follow blogs… scroll down to see my favorites.   I just added another one that you might enjoy,

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Landscaping to Increase Home Value

Stay ahead of ice dames

Icicles may be pretty but they can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up into your house. Here are prevention tips, fast fixes, and long-term repairs from the pros at This Old House.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Remodeling that Colonial?

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

Ideas for your living spaces, lights and landscape design.
Browse top designers interior portfolios, from high-quality pots and pans and a decorative dinnerware set to ideas for remodeling bath and kitchen.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Not something to be happy about….

"With all the snow this week and the brutal cold forecast for Chicago next week, it’s no wonder so many of us are dreaming of Hawaii right about now. But if you own your home, those daydreams may not only be weather-related: in Hawaii, homeowners are taxed at about one-eighth the rate that Illinois homeowners pay."

Illinois Now Has the Second-Highest Property Taxes in the Nation
Chicago Magazine

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January is National Radon Action Month

Find radon resources to share with your clients from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) including A Citizen's Guide to Radon and download Basic Radon Facts. Also download Radon Testing Guidelines for Real Estate Transactions from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and find more resources from their website,

Discover inspiring landscaping ideas and find a top local landscape contractor or residential landscape architect to plan your garden landscape.
With the help of a bath designer, revamp your bland bathroom with a walk-in shower, multiple bathroom sinks and a new bathroom vanity.

What is radon?

What is radon?  Should we do a radon test?  What is a radon test?  What happens if we find radon in the house?  

These are the sorts of questions I often get from my clients during the home buying/selling process.  Disclosing radon levels in a home is a relatively new regulation within Illinois.   

The Illinois Radon Awareness Act became effective January 1, 2008.  This regulation requires that "the seller shall provide to the buyer of any interest in residential real property the IEMA pamphlet entitled Radon Testing Guidelines for Real Estate Transactions and the Illinois Disclosure of Information on Radon Hazards ... stating that the property may present the potential for exposure to radon before the buyer is obligated under any contract to purchase residential real property."

According to Consumer Reports, one in 15 homes has dangerously elevated radon levels.  

What is radon?
Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. Radon is a form of ionizing radiation and a proven carcinogen. Lung cancer is the only known effect on human health from exposure to radon in air. 

Radon in air is ubiquitous. Radon is found in outdoor air and in the indoor air of buildings of all kinds. EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or more.   

Should we do a radon test?  
My clients often ask me this question and I have to say, this is a question on they can answer for themselves.   Most home inspectors provide the service for .  About 50% of my clients choose to do the test.  Generally, my clients have found their homes to be at acceptable levels of radon.  That said, two of my clients did find radon in their new homes.    

I've never tested my own home, but sometimes think that it might be a worthwhile test, since a portion of my house is above crawl space.  

What is a radon test?
There are various types of radon test.  It's been my experience, that a professional test usually costs somewhere between $200 - $250.  There are home tests available for considerably less from a hardware store.  

What happens if we find there is radon in the home?
Is it a deal breaker?  I don't think so -- because radon can be mitigated.  In a typical real estate transaction, the buyer pays for the test.  If radon levels are high, it becomes an issue from the isspection.  Generally the seller pays to have the radon mitigated.  It's in their best interest to correct the problem.  Even if the buyer decides to not buy the house, the radon levels are now known and the seller has to disclose that information for any future buyers.  

The cost of a radon reduction system generally ranges from $800 to $1200, depending on characteristics of the house and choice of radon reduction methods.

Very few real estates agents consider themselves experts about radon.  Any questions about radon should be directed to the home inspectors who are far more knowledgeable.  The EPA provides comprehensive information and tips about Radon.  If you have any concerns about your own home, check out their website.  It's a wealth of information.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Moving on Up? Check out the stats on the North Shore...

Have you thought about owning one of those stately older North Shore homes? Or maybe you’re looking for the latest in high tech luxury for new construction homes. If you’re a qualified buyer, it continues to be a buyers’ market within all the North Shore communities – but it is an amazing buyers’ market when it comes to the high-end North Shore homes!!!

The largest single house sale this year closed was a newer home built in 2010 with 1.5 acres of lakefront at 319 Sheridan Road in Winnetka, which sold for $12,700,000. The highest older home was a  distinguished 1934 10,000 sqft Georgian estate set on 2.5 acres at 36 Woodley Road in Winnetka. It sold for $5,300,000.

The following charts provide an overview of the activity in the high end homes along the North Shore.  Winnetka was the big winner this year with nearly 30 sold properties.  That said, there continues to be a surplus of high end homes -- particularly in Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Kenilworth.  

(Note: these charts and statistics are taken from MRED.  Often private sales occur that are not recorded in the multiple listing service and they not reflected in these charts.)

So you want to shop?

The most expensive newer house for sale is at 68 Locust Road listed at $18,900,000 - with over 16,000 sq ft on over 2 acres. It is in the New Trier high school district 203.

The most expensive “grand estate” is 1927 idyllic, private 25-acre residential/horse/farm compound w/6100 sq ft home located at 2000 Ridge Road in Highland Park. Owners have a choice of the Deerfield or Highland Park school districts. It is priced at $17,500,000.

So if you’re thinking about moving up, so to speak, this is a great time to make the move. Clearly every high end buyer is treated like royalty when they appear on the scene and it’s a lovely time to be negotiating for that luxury home. FYI, as you might suspect, to see one these homes, the buyers will need to provide documentation of financial capability.
Happy shopping!