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Evanston, IL Real Estate News

By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
Here in the general Chicago area, it's in the 30's and the sun is shining.  Yes, there's still plenty of snow on the ground, but the streets and sidewalks are clear, so little Gus-Gus and I went for a long walk. We walked to the office, and it was perfect out.  I'm fortunate, my office is just about a mile away, so it's a two-mile walk... a perfect 1-cigar distance. We met a lot of people, others walking their dogs, others out enjoying the day.  Nice. Oh, and my wife tells me that it's "healthy" for me to walk. (I don't think she intended for me to smoke a cigar along the way). Gus had to stop, of course, at just about every corner, and shrub to sniff the yellow snow.  I could see the thought process going on in his tiny little head.  Sniff, sniff... ahh... that's the Golden Lab who liv...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
I've been busy, this year, with CMA's.  Lot of people have come out of the woodwork, ready to sell their condos in Skokie, and sell single-family homes in Evanston.  They've asked me to come out and give them a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of their home Wilmette, and suggest a price that would be competitive in today's market. All of the CMA's I've done this year have been for prices that are below what the owner paid for the property. All of the owners have purchased their properties fairly recently, the oldest of which was 2004.  Ordinarily that would have been enough time to build up some equity, but unfortunately not in today's market.  Each and every one of the CMA's I did, showed that they would have to price at or below what they paid... and probably end up taking a loss at ...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
I recently helped a young couple purchase a condo.  It was their first purchase, and they will qualify for the $8,000 first-time home buyer's credit.  Nice.  They were very excited, and I was excited for them. One of the things that helped them purchase this condo was their excellent credit score.  I gave them the name of a local lender I have used in the past, who's performed some miracles, and she got them preapproved, primarily on the strength of their credit score.  They have scores in the very high 700's.  A very nice number for anybody, but highly unusual for young folks...these days or any other days. I remember, as part of a young couple, many years ago, we didn't pay a whole lot of attention to my credit score.  I wasn't overly concerned... I didn't have bad credit... I general...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
We are fortunate enough to have a Cooper's Hawk that considers our neighbourhood his habitat.  We live in an area with mature trees (some 50-80 feet tall, elms, oak, maples) and he considers it "prime hunting territory" since it's loaded with plenty of prey (birds, squirrels, chipmunks, mice). When our dog was a puppy, we were reluctant to let him out in the yard alone, since he was about 4-5 pounds, and we'd seen the Cooper's Hawk swoop down and lift a rabbit of similar size away... only to return the headless body to our yard later.  Hawks and other raptors relish the eyes and brain, so often they'll cut off the head (their beaks are powerful and sharp), and carry it away to enjoy later... so as not to overwhelm their energy by carrying the entire body. Gus-gus is now about 12.5 pound...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
I was sitting at my doctor's office yesterday, waiting in the exam room, when he had to excuse himself and take a phone call. He stepped outside the exam room, but I could still clearly hear the conversation.  All I could hear was one side of the conversation, but you'll get the idea.  Fortunately, he had already taken my blood pressure, or it might have been excessively high. the gist of the conversation was that my doctor had sent a patient to the hospital, a 90 year old terminal patient, to the hospice care section.  Apparently there were no hospice beds available when she arrived, so they put her in another bed until one opened up. While she was awaiting her hospice bed... she was visited by an attending physician to determine her course of care (even though my doctor had already se...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
We have a little snowstorm going on, here in Chicagoland.  Nothing horrible, just a little snow, all day long.  We're supposed to have a total accumulation of about 12 - 14 inches. Now I'm not complaining... we do live in Chicago, and this is really our first major snowstorm of the winter... and to make it all the way into January before getting hit, it pretty impressive. This post is about the woman I drove behind on the way back to the office today.  That first snow, everyone forgets how to drive, and everything slows down to a crawl.  There were a few inches still on the ground in the street.  The snow was still flying, and the driver was clearly having some difficulty... pulling out into the street from the parking lot.  I was close behind her. She was fishtailing a bit, and going r...
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By Susan Ani
(Baird & Warner)
The City of Evanston send out a nice e-newsletter, usually containing pertinent local news.  Witness the newest evidence that downtown Evanston is NOT your father's Evanston!  If I had not seen this story in the newsletter, I never would have known that fascinating art is hanging over the heads of pedestrians, literally.  Dedicated on December 18, 2009, this piece by artist Hubertus von der Goltz, is titled "Encounter."  It represents the encounters that folks who come to downtown Evanston experience. Not too many years ago, downtown Evanston was deserted after the shops locked up at 6 pm.  New construction was unheard of, and the locals quite frankly were uncomfortable walking the streets after dark.  What a difference today!  Downtown Evanston is vibrant, alive, well into the night. ...
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By Susan Ani
(Baird & Warner)
It It all started so simply.  I had sent out a "just listed" postcard on a rental property last summer.  One of those cards went to a neighboring home close to the new listing.  The resident of that home passed along the postcard to a coworker who was searching for a rental.  That seeker called me to see the property, I showed it to her and her spouse.  It was not a fit for them, but I offered to help them find a place they could call their next home.  We worked hard together, and they landed in a condo rental that thrilled them.  That one modest rental client has now recommended me to three coworkers in only a handful of months' time; two are rental seekers, and the third will be a condo for-sale listing.  Each of this second wave of clients has recounted the enthusiasm that the first ...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
Okay... so I'm not a big sports fan, and have no idea what the true impact of this means... but I do know it's a big deal... and I do know it's been a long time since N.U. was in a bowl game. So now, the Northwestern University Wildcats have earned a seat at the 2010 Outback Bowl (also being called the Bloomin' Onion Bowl).  Northwestern, for those of you who don't know, is located right here in Evanston... and Evanston and her residents are mighty proud of our Wildcats (yeah, yeah, I know... they're always OURS when they do something good... and they're SOMEONE ELSE'S when they're sucking wind... but that's just the way it goes). Congratulations to the Northwestern Wildcats, and here's to success in the Outback Bowl!!
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
To all of my friends and family Happy Thanksgiving 2009     May you have a wonderful and fruitful holiday season    
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
Nov. 23, 2009(Crain's) — Chicago-area home sales jumped by a third in October compared to a year ago, according to the Illinois Assn. of Realtors, with the group citing lower home prices, low mortgage rates and the federal tax credit for first-time buyers as reasons for the spike.CHICAGO-AREA SALESBelow is a monthly year-over-year comparison of home sales (single-family and condo) in the nine-county Chicago area.Last month’s surge compared to October 2008 was the fourth straight monthly year-over-year improvement for the metro area and by far the biggest.Sales in the city of Chicago also rose 28.5% last month, the second straight year-over-year rise, the association said in a release Monday.Sales rose 24.2% statewide compared with October 2008.“October's extraordinary sales totals refle...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
Okay all.  As the weather begins to turn toward Winter, here in the Midwest, I thought it might be an appropriate time to remind agents how to view/show their homes during the colder months.  A few reminders of things that are important to note during the winter months. As the Listing Agent: 1) If you use a lock box, please make sure that the lock box is "protected" from the elements... so that they don't "Freeze".  Placed on the door knob is okay, if protected by a storm door.  Placed outside on the water spigot (where drips of water will encase it in a coffin of ice) is not. And please make sure that the promised key is actually IN the lockbox! Check it occasionally. 2) If your property is vacant...     a) check your property frequently... make sure that mail is collected     b) make ...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
It's that time of the year again; time to set our clocks back an hour, return to standard time, and "gain" an extra hour. That means this Sunday, November 1 at 2:00 am, Daylight Saving Time officially ends until its return on the second Sunday in March, 2010.Since 2007, Daylight Saving Time has actually been four weeks longer, thanks to the passage of the Energy Policy Act in 2005 (which my car hasn't yet caught onto). The Act extended Daylight Saving Time by four weeks in an attempt to save 10,000 barrels of oil each day through reduced use of power by businesses during daylight hours. Unfortunately, the Department of Energy (DOE) says that it's difficult to determine actual energy savings, if any, as a result of Daylight Saving Time. But, there are definitely some easy steps you can ...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
Last weekend, Coldwell Banker co-sponsored Customer Appreciation Day. We had the participation of most of the vendors and stores on western Central street, and had a lovey turnout.  The new Restaurant Bonsai was handing out samples of their fare, (they're not even open yet, so it was a nice preview) their egg roll and chicken satay were delicious! Casteel Coffee gave out coffee, cookies and muffins...First Bank and Trust, Hartigan's, Olde Neighborhood Grille and North Shore Eye Center were present with samples, coupons, snacks, and desserts and we even had the Evanston Fire Department show up with a Fire Truck... allowing people to have photos taken of themselves dressed up like a fireman.  Fun!  
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
Did it rain on our parade? It did not!  We had a small break in the weather last night, as Coldwell Banker and PHH Mortgage sponsored our offices' Summer Night-Out, at Ravinia.  It rained earlier in the day, and as such, we arranged for a tent (provided by UBS).  The weather held off... we we threatened by a few sprinkles... and then a rainbow emerged and the evening was saved. We spent the bulk of the evening on the lawn, overlooking the giant screen.  We listened to Pat Benetar and Blondie (the consensus was that Deborah Harry held up better than Pat Benetar over the years), and rocked out to some familiar anthems... Love IS a battlefield!!, and hearts are still made of glass, and yes, they're still eating cars!!! Cornelia, Greg, Lambert & Linda provided sandwiches, chicken and pasta,...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
As part of our Evanston Fourth of July Parade this past Saturday, one of the participants was an organization called the South Shore Drill Team. The South Shore Drill Team is a perennial favourite, here in Evanston, and the Chicago area in general.  In fact, they're so popular, that the Evanston parade puts them at the end of the parade.. because people won't leave until they've seen the South Shore Drill Team. In addition to their popularity, the South Shore Drill Team is a terrific organization.  They were founded in 1980, by Arthur Robertson, a former Chicago Public School teacher, as an outlet to keep inner-city children from being drawn to gangs and drugs.  Arthur's philosophy of "idle hands are the devils' workshop" caused him to create this group, which tries to focus on positiv...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
Saturday, was pretty much eclipsed by the 4th of July Parade, and subsequent fireworks, here in Evanston. We attended the parade, and got rained upon.  But the rain didn't dampen our spirits.  We thoroughly enjoyed our 120 entries in the parade.  We hooted, and hollered at our favourites. And then after two hours, we gathered up our chairs, and headed home to take care of gus-gus, change, and head out to our friends for a 4oJ backyard barbecue. When we arrived at home, little Gus-gus (our Havanese) was behaving a little oddly.  He was barking and whining looking under the couch in the living room.  Sometimes he does that when he's lost a toy under there... it's easy for a ball to roll under there, and he can't reach it. So I peeked underneath the couch... and couldn't see anything.  "O...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
For those who were unable... (or too afraid to get wet) to attend yesterday's Evanston Fourth of July Parade... we had a great time.  I had great seats (right in front of Coldwell Banker @ 2929 Central Street, right here in Evanston)... unfortunately, that means that many of the photos that I took showcase Baird & Warner.  Oh, well... rather than blur out the competition's name... just enjoy some of the highlights from the photos that I took yesterday. The parade started promptly at 2:00... while we were experiencing some drizzle, and heavy overcast.  2 hours later, we were in full downpour, and the intrepid souls in the parade toughed-it-out, and finished anyway. This year represented the 88th year of the Evanston Fourth of July parade.  Our parade was ranked number three by Country Ho...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
I would call this Wordless Wednesday... but it's clearly not.  It's more like "speechless" Wednesday. Here, in Evanston, IL, we have a fabulous 4th of July Parade. (I'll post more about that, after it's occurred). It's a home-spun, silly, irreverent, romp through town, and there are typically over 100 entries in the parade... from Professional Marching bands, to Senators and national politicians, as well as floats hand made by neighborhoods. We have the "All American Drum and Bugle Corps" that's pronounced CORPSE, not "core".  The Evanston Marching Kazoo Band, the Jesse White Tumblers (Jesse White is our Secretary of State), the South Shore Drill Team (a perennial favourite), as well as the Backlot float. We, Evanstonians, get heavily into our "grass-roots" campy parade.  People line t...
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By Jack Lewitz
(Exit Strategy Realty)
I am often asked by buyers and agents “How Long will it take to get an answer from the Bank” on a short sale? This is a difficult question because each bank is different. Currently, I am going for a new record for the longest Short Sale. On July 7, 2009 it will be 1 year and I still do not have an approval from the bank. During the past year a lot of things happened like: August 2008: Olympic Games of the XXIX in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. Michael Phelps broke the records for most gold medals in one Olympics and for most career gold medals for an Olympian. September 2008: Hurricane Hannah does $160 million damage in US. Oct.  2008: The $700 billion bailout of nation’s battered financial industry is approved by Congress and signed by Bush. Nov. 4: Obama wins presid...
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