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Evanston, IL Real Estate News

By Jack Lewitz
(Exit Strategy Realty)
  As I listen to Treasury Secretary Geitner and President Obama talk about the New Plan for the toxic assets I am reminded of Monte Hall of Let’s Make a Deal. It appears the New Plan involves a partnership with the government and the Private Sector. The Government would buy up $700 billion dollars worth of toxic assets while assumming the majority of the risk (93%) versus (7%) risk to the Private Sector. Sounds too good of a deal to pass up if I were an investor. But wait I am reminded of another toon in the back of my head regarding this plan and it is.. Mick Jagger singing “Sympathy for the Devil” .Even the first lines in the song are kind of chilling, “Please allow me to introduce myself  I’m a man of Wealth and Taste. It seems the Government is about to enter into a relationship wi...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
For Rainers, of a certain age, we all remember Tinker Toys. We don't wonder much, about where they came from. Unless you live in Evanston, Illinois... and then you know. Tinkertoys were created in 1914... in part in response to the introduction, one year earlier of the Erector Set.  Tinkertoy was a direct response to the metal erector set, with simpler materials.  Designed after seeing children playing with pencils and empty thread spools, Charles H. Pajean and Robert Pettit of Evanston decided to market a toy that would challenge children's imaginations. The cornerstone, if you will, of the Tinker Toy, was a wooden spool, about 2 inches across with holes drilled in the edges approximately every 45 degrees, and one hole all the way through the center of the flat part. Believe it or not,...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
There have been some significant confusion over the First-Time Homebuyer's Tax Credit, as modified in February... Even seasoned real estate agents have been somewhat confuzzled on the particulars.  So as a public service, I'm printing out this chart, which we've received from our Local PHH Mortgage Loan Officer, Greg Schneider. It clearly spells out the OLD system (middle column), and compares it to the NEW program (far right column) (I hope this chart is legible for everyone) Key points: • $8,000 tax credit (10% of the value of the house with a maximum of $8,000 • The borrowers have to be first time homebuyers... (ie: cannot have lived in or purchased a home in the lasts 3 years). • Maximum income limits for the borrowers are $75,000 adjusted gross income for an individual... $150,000 ...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
For many of us, here in the U.S. and Canada at 2:00 tomorrow morning (Sunday 3/8) it will be time to set your clock an hour ahead (Spring Forward). Contrary to the belief of many, not everyone participates in Daylight Saving Time.  Most of North America plays along, as does the bulk of Europe and Russia (see map). Daylight saving time has been controversial as typically clocks are adjusted forward one hour at the beginning of Spring and adjusted one hour backward in the fall (fall back).... or is it starve a cold and feed a fever... I can never remember. Daylight saving time was first proposed in 1907 by an English builder in order to take advantage of more daylight building hours.  Since then many countries have adopted it's use, since adding daylight to waking hours benefits retail, ...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
My wife is a pre-school teacher. She works at Warren W. Cherry Preschool, a developmental pre-school right here in Evanston.  She's got a great job. Not only does she get to play with kids all day, they sing songs, play games, run on the playground... all good stuff, right?  But today, she got to go to work in her Pajamas.  That's right... today was Pajama Day.  All the kids will be arriving in their sleepwear, and the teachers are no different. Okay, she had to go buy a new pair of Pajamas for today... can't be seen in last season's sleepwear, can we?... and we can't risk torn or thinning pajamas... can we? ... but still Pajama Day! And not just in one classroom.  All of the teachers, school-wide, will be arriving in their finest sleepwear. No fun-police at Cherry Preschool. This shoul...
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By Jack Lewitz
(Exit Strategy Realty)
1. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans: Homeowners who have loans with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are allowed to modify their loans provided  the remaining balance on the mortgage does not exceed more than  5% of the current  “Market Value”. I think  many homeowners  will not be able to modify their loans under this program because home values are declining at a faster rate than the cap rate of 5%. 2. Voluntary Lender Program : The plan wants to give ” $1,000.00 cash”  incentives to lenders who modify loans. A lender must be willing to reduce the current mortgage to 31% of the homeowners gross income.  For example, a person who makes $50,000 per year  has a monthly gross income of $4,1,66.67 .  According to this plan, 31 % of the monthly gross should be a persons mortgage. In this example ...
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By Jack Lewitz
(Exit Strategy Realty)
The North Shore communities of Evanston, Skokie and Lincolnwood are the first suburbs north of Chicago. Each one of these communities have homes in different stages of foreclosure. Active Listings Evanston Skokie Lincolnwood Single Family Total 289 312 113 Short Sales 33 48 10 Bank Owned 15 23 02 % of Total 17 23 09 Condo Total 520 276 34 Short Sales 31 37 02 Bank Owned 11 16 01 % of Total 08 19 11
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
Tonight, I returned to my home from the office, here in Evanston, IL, as the sun was getting low in the western sky.  As I rounded the corner, to my street, I was greeted by two medium sized dogs loping across the lawns, and crossed the street in front of my car... causing me to touch the brakes lightly. As I looked closer at the two, clearly young animals, I noticed that neither of them was wearing a collar, and they appeared to be feral.  In fact, as I started at them (and they stared back)... I realized they were coyotes.  Young healthy coyotes. For some of you, who live in Alaska, or Montana or some less urban areas than mine, this may not be such a strange occurrence.  But I live in a suburb of one of the largest centers of human population in the contiguous united states of Americ...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
Did you think I was done with Rod Blagojevich?  Not likely.  At least, not yet. Days after Rod has appeared on Late Night with David Letterman "in the worst way"... you'd think the fervor would have died down.  Not so much.  A recent visit to Ebay, the online auction site, shows that when typing Blagojevich into the search line, 131 items show up.  Are you ready to shop?  Let's see what we can buy these days with our PayPal account. A "Buck Flagojevich" bumper sticker going for 99¢... that's a good start, no bids yet..  A Blagojevich Inaugural Invitation with 7 bids, going for $38.00.  Believe it or not, a Blago Pez Dispenser, with 3 bids, going for only $3.25 (there's still time to get in on this one!).  A blago plastic figurine (in the shape of a horses hind end)... going for 99¢ (no ...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
This morning, the sun is shining, the sky is a brilliant blue, not a cloud in the sky. Of course there are no clouds in the sky.  They have the common sense to stay in, 'cause it's to freakin' cold! I knew, that living in the Chicago area was not like living on the equator.  We get a fair bit of cold weather. But look at this morning's map.  Okay, Minnesota is taking the brunt of it... (you can see the dark purpleish bruise-like colour hanging over Minnesota,) but they're Minnesota... they're used to it.  The Minnesota state motto is "You think that's cold??  You shoulda been here in 1904... now THAT was cold!" Most of the country is in double-digits.  42 in Washington State (way further north than Chicago)  Even 10 and 11 degrees in Main (usually way cold).  The Rockys are recording te...
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By Mory Matias
(Dryer Vent Wizard of Northshore Chicago)
Don't let your dryer start a fire; keep your home safe and sound.  Dryer Vent Wizard professionally inspects and cleans clothing dryers for homeowners and in commercially-owned buildings. Poorly maintained dryer vents cause fire hazards and cost substantially more to operate.   Why Dryer Vent Cleaning is so Important! •·                     Dryer vents clogged with lint cost $18-24 more per month to operate •·                     There are 15,500 fires every year caused by failure to clean dryer vents •·                     Dryer manufacturers recommend you clean your dryer vent every year •·                     Regular dryer vent cleaning prolongs the life of your dryer   Dryer Vent Wizard Provides the following Services: •·                     Dryer vent cleaning •·                   ...
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With all we know about the importance of appliance maintenance, for example, furnace cleaning; few think about their clothes dryer maintenance, beyond the obvious need to keep the lint filter clean.  Ask your self the following questions regarding your clothes dryer:  Have you been noticing your clothes dryer working less efficiently lately? Has it been taking an hour or more to dry a load of laundry?  Do clothes have a moldy smell when you remove them? Is your laundry hot to the touch when you remove it from the dryer? Do you see lint build-up behind and around the dryer?  If you have answered ‘yes' to any of these questions, it is time to have your dryer vent system inspected for air-flow problems that eventually lead to a dryer fire.   Dryer Vent Wizard recommends professional dryer ...
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By Jack Lewitz
(Exit Strategy Realty)
"Bam!" "Will be Right Back"   Super Bowl Sunday in the minds of realtors marks the beginning of the " Spring Real Estate Market". Many realtors look forward to this day because " They Put It Up a Notch" when the Spring Market hits. In anticipation of the Super Bowl being this weekend, I have to think how many Realtors are up to the challenge to "Put It UP A Notch" . Are we prepared to put aside all of the bad economic news and go back to business as usual? It will be interesting to see if a  New President and New Governor in my home state will help "Put It Up a Notch". As Emiril says on each show" "Will be Right back" to "Put it UP a Notch"
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
There's a local show, here in Chicago, that's kinda taken public television by storm.  It's called "Check Please", and it began quite unnoticed in 2001, but soon took off.  I blogged about it before, noting that in 2001, as they just began, they had a State Senator from Ilinois on the show.  That show never aired... for many reasons... but due to Barack Obama's newfound fame, they decided to air it on this past Friday, as their 100th episode! I watched the show (here's a clip).   There were three normal Chicagoans (well, two and senator Obama) who'd recommended their favourite restaurants, sitting 'round a table, in an information discussion setting, as though they were eating dinner at a restaurant.  Amanda Puck, the hostess, would ask questions as they described their restaurants and ...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
Barbara Duncan's recent post, reminded me of our experience (many years ago) with a neighbourhood skunk, I thought I'd relate. Over a period of several months, we'd been smelling skunks in our area... the weather had been hot, we'd been sleeping with the windows open, and each evening, without fail, came the strong smell wafting through our 2nd floor bedroom windows... it was noxious. So... we contacted a local pest control, who recommended calling the city of Evanston, who had a nuisance-pest-removal program... which was free.  Sure enough Evanston said they'd send out a guy right away.  The trapper said they would use a "friendly trap" (which traps the animal without harming them), and that we should check it daily, and once we had trapped a skunk, they would come out the following da...
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By Jack Lewitz
(Exit Strategy Realty)
Chicago Crains reported that Main Street Station Condominium Project at the South East intersection of Chicago Avenue and Main Street in Evanston is in Foreclosure. The project was to be a 71 unit nine story condominium project on a 30,424 square foot vacant site. Cole Taylor bank issued a $23.5 million dollar construction loan in February of 2007  to  Bernard Katz & Associates and filed a foreclosure suit in October of 2008 when a payment was missed on the loan. According to Crains, the failure of the project was caused by the economy and a family fight between Bernard Katz  (Father) and his son David over the managment of the project. In 2007, David left his fathers company to form David Katz & Associates
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
If your area, is anything like here in Chicago... the weather has been cold (and perhaps snowy)... and with high fuel prices, and high expenses in general... here are some tips to keep you economically warm during the cold weather. 1. If you can, open your drapes and curtains facing south during the day.  this will allow natural sunlight to come in, and assist in heating your home.  In the evenings, when the sun has gone down... close any drapes and curtains to keep the warmth inside. 2. If you have drafty windows, cover them with that plastic stuff you can get from your local hardware store... I believe 3M makes it, it forms a tight seal over your windows when you blow it with a hair dryer, and basically disappears from view.  Very nice. 3. Lower your thermostat to save money.  When yo...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
On an internet network, where Liz Moras, and Jesse Clifton participate, it's probably indelicate, nay foolish, to complain about winter, but I'm going to do it anyway. Recently Jesse mentioned that it was -60° where he's located... (a couple of degrees north of Santa's Workshop apparently), and the sun rarely gets much higher than the horizon during the winter, and the frost on the road, forms into little snow-devils and lifts 18 wheel semis off the road, and deposits them high in the trees.... (hmmm, I may be slightly misremembering his blog... that didn't sound quite right... but oh, well... accuracy is highly over rated). Here in greater Chicagoland, we have no such snow-devils, only Blago-Devils... but we had about 8 inches of snow yesterday... (I shoveled the walks 3 times during t...
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By Alan May, Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!
(Jameson Sotheby's International Realty)
For those of you who thought that my last post, of the Senate Seat for sale was enough, and that Chicago was finished making fun of the state's governor... Sorry, but you were wrong. Today, the Chicago Tribune reports that Kuma's Corner, a Northwest Chicago eatery has a new offering on it's menu.  The #!@%*! Blagojevic Burger (Also known as the Bleeping Blagojevic Burger).  This thing is a #!@%*! valuable hamburger, I mean it's #!@%*! golden!  They're not just #!@%*! giving these things away... in fact it cost $10.00 U.S. Appropriately, Kuma's says the price on the hamburger is, of course, negotiable.  And the metaphoric connection doesn't end with the name of the burger... oh, no... there's more.  When you hear the ingredients all you can do is think of the Elvis-coiffed-dandy that gov...
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  The fourth quarter and year end sales statistics are now available for both Single Family and Attached Single Family Sales in Evanston, IL.  Fourth Quarter Single Family Homes: A total of 58 homes closed in the fourth quarter. This is 12 more homes than were reported in 2007. It took  a longer time to sell 141 days in 2008 versus 78 days in 2007.  The average price during the final quarter was $568,028 down 14% ($655,000) when compared to 2007 sale prices. 2008 Year Sales for Single Family: A total of 333 homes closed in 2008. This is 35 less (368) homes than reported in 2007. The average market time  for the year was 134 days (20 more days than 2007),  while the average price  for the year was $618,724. This represents a  6% decline in price when compared to 2007. Total Sales volume ...
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