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

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

Friday, June 20, 2014

Learn about rain gardens et al

While we certainly love and need rain, sometimes it can cause problems: erosion, flooding, water pollution, unstable ravines, beach closures, etc. Hear and question  experts about the problems, and learn some useful, practical, and attractive solutions.
On Monday, June 30, 7:00 pm, at Elawa Farm, three speakers will explain the problems and provide some solutions...
See more... at Rain, Rain, Go this Way

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

5 often heard and quite ridiculous statements about buying and selling real estate

I've now been in real estate for over 10 years.  It's been an interesting ride -- with the ups and downs of the housing market.  

Consistently, though, there are several statements that I hear with some regularity.  While I've learned to stifle a laugh when I hear them, they continue to amuse me.  Here they are: 

1. "I'm not going to give my house away." 
I'm actually a little irritated when a seller says this to me.   In what universe, is the purchase of a million dollar home considered a give-away?    
Walking out the door and handing over the keys - now that is "giving away the house." 
What the seller wants, needs or would like to get, does not always equate to Fair Market Value.  This fact became painfully clear during the last few years when property values were declining.  A home is not worth some zestimate on
A home is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it and what a seller is willing to accept.   

 2. "This offer is an insult."
I always have to smile when a seller says this to me.  Of all the over 1500 homes for sale on the North Shore, this buyer picked your home as the one they want to buy!!!   
They liked your home so much, that they took the time to write an offer.   
How insulting can that possibly be?  
When a buyer drives up to your home and won't even come inside to look at it (which, by the way, I've had clients do) --- now that's an insult.
An offer is never an insult -- an offer is a starting point for negotiations.   You don't have to like the offer.  But I strongly recommend that you start with gratitude, when someone likes your home enough to buy it.

3. "We need to set the price high, so there is plenty of room to negotiate."
Houses sell for Fair Market Value. Period. 
When a property is special or one of kind AND the right buyer shows up, the house might sell for a little bit more.   
Also sometimes a seller gets lucky and gets a better price than FMV.  BUT, more often than not, a home sells for the fair price.  
Leaving room to negotiate is not nearly as effective as strategically pricing a home in such a way as to bring in several motivated buyers.  I find when a home is priced correctly, it sells within a month for about 95% of asking.  (see The Sweet Spot)
I've seen houses sell in one day for asking price or even over asking.  While it's counter intuitive, pricing a house at close to market value, usually nets the best return. 
Buyers recognize value and act accordingly.
4. "The house sold quickly.  I must have set the price too low."
You priced the house perfectly.  The buyers recognized the value of the home and acted accordingly. (see Selling your home quickly.)
It's been my experience, that the longer the house sits on the market, the lower the offers become.  Buyers start to ask the question, "What's wrong with this house?  Why hasn't it sold?"   
A quick sale is a wonderful thing.  

5. "Real estate agents make too much money, after all how hard can it be to sell real estate?"
I confess.  Before I became a broker, I was just as guilty of making this statement as others do.   I couldn't have been more wrong.
Outside of gambling, I can't think many professions where people work for countless hours and spend countless dollars of their own money without any certainty of compensation.  (see My life in real estate: making a living.)
Case in point,  I worked with one client for over 10 YEARS before they actually purchased or sold a home.  We're talking hundreds of hours and who knows how much wear and tear on my car, etc.  before I earned any revenue from the transactions.    
I have to concede, some clients and transactions are straightforward and less time consuming.  But, by and large, this seven-day week job requires tremendous effort and commitment to achieve any level of success or a reasonable income.
So much of what a realtor does is behind the scenes and invisible to the public.   If you're interested in what we do, here's a pretty comprehensive list compiled by one real estate board.  184 Tasks Agents Do For You
So the next time, you hear one of these statements... 

Think about it and maybe you too will see how ridiculous these statements are!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Strengthen the communities... Buy Local -- North Shore's Farmer's Markets

As Spring turns into summer, the local farmer's markets are beginning to starting up again.   Smart phone app, Farmstand,
makes it easy to discover the best of local farmers markets.  This app is great because it is geographically enabled to locate the closest farmers' markets -- helps when you're on the road!

Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold.  Those distances are substantially longer when we take into consideration produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, South America, and other places.  Only 18 cents of every dollar, when buying at a large supermarket, go to the grower. 82 cents go to the various middlemen (distributors, shippers, etc.).  By buying locally produced products, one helps preserve the environment, and strengthens the community by investing food dollars closer to home.  (source: LocalHarvest)

So buy local!  
There are some great Farmer's Markets to be visited on the North Shore.

There are several Farmers' Markets in operation in Evanston in the spring, summer and fall. If you're interested in supporting the markets, visit Friends of Evanston Markets.

Wilmette French Market
Village Center adjecent to the Metra Northline parking lot
Opening Saturday, April 26
8am -1:00 pm

The 2014 Wilmette French Market is open for business. The market will run every Saturday (8 am – 1 pm) through November 1st. Expect to find a variety of traditional farmer’s market goods, like fruits, vegetables, flowers, cheeses, meats and breads from local and regional vendors.

Northfield Farmers Market
6 Happ Road, across from New Trier's Northfield Campus
Starting Saturday, May 24
7:30am -12:30 pm

The Northfield Farmers’ Market is a community tradition that has served the North Shore for over 35 years. Shoppers enjoy a relaxing Saturday morning, visit with friends and neighbors and bring home some of the most luscious, fresh-picked fruits and vegetables your family has ever tasted.  The Northfield Farmers’ Market will open for the season on May 24, 2014 and will run through October 18, 2014.  The market is operated by the Winnetka-Northfield Chamber of Commerce.

Glencoe Farmers Market
Metra Commuter Parking Lot on the NE Corner of Green Bay and Park
Saturdays, June - October
8am -1:00 pm

Shop the Glencoe Farmers Market on Saturdays.   Fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, flowers and more! Shop the Glencoe Farmers Market: Saturdays from 8am-1pm.

Chicago Botanic Gardens Farmers Market
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe at the Esplanade
Starting Sunday, May 4 - October 19
9am -3:00 pm
The 2014 Farmers Market will be held the first and third Sundays of the month from May 4 through October 19.  (check the website -- a couple times over the summer they will not be having the market).   Admission to the market is free to Garden visitors and will be held rain or shine. Standard parking fees apply. As always, Garden members park free. Visitors may purchase a special market bag from the Garden Shop to carry their purchases home.

Ravinia Farmers Market
Dean Avenue (Between St. John's & Roger Williams Ave - 475 Roger Williams), Highland Park
Starting Wednesdays -- runs June 4 - October 29th
7am -1:00 pm

Highwood's Evening Gourmet Farmers Market
Highwood City Hall, 17 Highwood Avenue
Wednesdays, June 11th - August 27th
4pm -9:00 pm

Highwood brings together the most unique vendors from around the Midwest to sell, cook and serve the freshest foods and local wares. This feast of local produce, gourmet cheeses, homemade pastas, baked goods, breads and pastries, and a variety of Italian, Mexican, French, and Irish delicacies, offers something for everyone. With its Evening Concert Series and live cooking demo's in the Gourmet Chef's Corner, this energetic farmers market has become a tradition for friends and family looking for great food, spirits and entertainment. Additionally the North Shore Flea joins the market and features the hottest trends in vintage today, from furniture, d├ęcor, jewelry, vintage bikes and so much more. 

Lake Forest Farmers Market
East Lake Forest Metra Train Station parking lot
671 N. Western Avenue
Lake Forest, IL  60045
Opening Saturday, June 21 
8am -1:00 pm

The 2014 City of Lake Forest Farmers Market will open June 21, 2013 and run through October 11, 2014.   Every Saturday, from 8 am - 1:00 pm, you will find local produce featuring seasonal fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, dairy products and more sold directly off the trucks. 

Elawa Farms
Middlefork Road, off of Waukegan in Lake Forest
Open May 16th through October 31st
Wednesday 8:00 am to 1:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am to 1:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am to 1:00 pm

The garden market features freshly harvested garden produce and products made thereof such as soups, salad dressings, pestos and baked goods. The garden itself is a public garden and can be respectfully visited anytime.  Please stay on the paths and refrain from picking the produce unless given permission to do so.  This is a beautiful place to shop!

Lake Bluff Farmers Market
on the Village Green
June 13 - October 10
7am - 12 pm

Start your weekends at the Lake Bluff Farmers Market. Scheduled every Friday,  residents and downtown visitors will again have the opportunity to enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables, summer blossoms, and delicious baked goods.