Winnetka, IL Real Estate News

By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
This January we had 22 closed sales for single family homes in Winneta, Kenilworth, and Glencoe.  After checking that statistic, I asked my husband how many homes he thought sold during the same period last year (January 2008.)  He answered 60.  You would have thought so, but . . . exactly the same number sold last year as this:  22.  Now let's look behind the numbers.  January 2009 Closed Sales (22) High price: $5,299,000   Sold price:  $5,000,000      (841 days on market, 94% of list) Low price:  $379,900      Sold price:  $375,000        (172 days on market, 98.6% of list) Average price:  $1,337,430  Sold price:  $1,217,731    (105 days on market, 91% of list) Median price:  $998,250      Sold price:  $902,500       (101 days on market, 90% of list) January 2008 Closed Sales (22) Hig...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
First, this bill has not passed Congress yet - just the Senate.  But what a hopeful sign for potential homebuyers.  This is a real tax credit not a loan and is not limited to first-time buyers (as the recent $7500 "credit" was.)   Here' the bill At A Glance: Buyers would get 10% of the purchase price up to $15,000 applied to their tax bill It applies only to primary home purchases (to deter speculators) Anyone who buys a home within 1 year of the bill's signing would qualify If you've already completed a purchase, this bill won't apply There is no income restriction You can file the purchase on your 2008 income tax return You must live in the house for at least 2 years The credit applies to houses or condos This bill is part of the larger stimuls package that was introduced by Presiden...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
I know that my open houses have been very slow lately- but when I have to go with a snow shovel in hand, I know I'm in trouble.  Nobody wants to slog through the snow, slush and cold to look at houses right now and it's doubly true here in Chicago where we have not been above freezing in several weeks.  Our beleaguered weathermen have had to tell us night after night that it's the coldest winter in 15 years. Yikes!  I think I knew that. But our traditional "spring" market which usually revs up in January is slow in coming.  Yes, I think I see a few signs of buyer revival, but it's not very tangeble.  This deep freeze not only hurts our bodies, it's definitely affecting housing sales.  First it's just snow.  Then it snows again, then again.  Then a bigger storm and school is canceled and...
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By David Spencer, Show Me real estate in Kansas City
(Keller Williams Northland)
  Classic Home with many upgrades that enhance this vintage home. Hardwood floors throughout, Master bath with bidet, Luxury kitchen and formal dining room.                                                  You may opt to walk to the train, or to the beach.   SOLD!               Premium Neighborhood, Premium Price, and Service to meet the Requirements of this Vintage Home.
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
January 1, 2009. Do you have goals for the New Year?   If you do, are you a closet goal writer.   Do you secretly write them down and hide them away so no one sees them.  So no one ever knows if you've accomplished them, or at least made some headway.  It's easier that way:  "Ah heck!  I never write down goals - that's stupid," you say. Or "What's the use, I usually forget them by February."  But if your goals, hopes and aspirations are a secret, there is no accountability - especially to yourself.  Here's what happened last night, New Year's Eve, December 31, 2008.  I went out to dinner with my husband and daughter to our favorite Mexican restaurant in the Chicago area, Don Juan's in Edison Park.  But we are also new restauranteurs ourselves, and decided after dinner to go downtown and...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
Chicago is . . .cold and sloppy this Christmas Eve.  It's very very cold here - the Bears/Vikings game on Monday night set a new low record.  There's tons of wet heavy snow on the ground.  I will not be making my annual Christmas trip to Los Angeles to visit family this year. Yet, I am strangely at peace.  No rushing around to prepare for travel.  No preparations to kennel the dog.  I look forward to a holiday meal with Chicago relatives, cozy and snug in front of the fireplace.  Simple. I hope  you all feel like that this Christmas.  I wish you all peace and prosperity in the New Year.
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
To say it's freezing here in Winnetka (suburb north of Chicago)  is an understatment since it's about 20 degrees below that.  Add wind chill and . . .well, I can't even think about it.  But I moved here 22 years ago from toasty Los Angeles where I had grown up.  I often second guess that decision but there are many reasons why I'm still here:  high-achieving schools, Lake Michigan, a real estate job, and lots of friends. So what's this to do with the best and worst real estate markets?  Well, during the long winters here I'm ususally dreaming of some warm spot with palm trees and maybe sand.  That's where I want to go someday.  But I read something today that really surprised me:  the make-up of the markets that are on the way up and on the way down are wildly different than they were ...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
This Saturday, December 6 - I will be hosting an open house and holiday sale at my listing at: 874 Sheridan Road, Winnetka    This beautiful home has 4 bedrooms and 4 full baths and is located across the street from Tower Road Beach.  Great new kitchen, updated baths, full basement and large bedrooms provide room for everyone! Visit me from 11-2 on Saturday.  I will have a variety of unique items for sale plus a raffle for a $25 gift certificate. Come see this great house, sip a little hot cider, sample some cookies and treats and get a head start on your holiday shopping!   See you there!              
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
Some Kenilworth residents had hoped to register the entire town as a National Register of Historic Places district.  That referendum, as well as two in Winnetka, were defeated in the November elections (see my previous posts: Kenilworth & Winnetka Consider Preservation  and Kenilworth Rejects Preservation Referendum     In Kenilworth, residents rejected the proposal by a landslide of 950 to 553 and achieved this dramatic result with a grassroots appeal to residents worried about property rights, sliding home sale prices and the tax implications of historic homes.  You could hardly get through the grocery aisles without encountering someone passionate about the subject.  For the preservations, Kenilworth is unique in its large stock of Prairie and Arts and Crafts homes designed by well-...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
A lease option basically means that you are renting a property with the option to buy it at a later date.  Back in the late 70s and early 80s the lease-option was a fairly popular financing instrument.  When the housing market is slow, it's something that can benefit and buyer and seller.  Now that we are in a downturn, this option might become popular again. Lease-options are state-specific so always check with your real estate attorney first.  There are actually several different types of options:  1) Lease Option or 2) Lease Purchase.  These instruments vary in the specifics and many points are completely negotiable, but the basics are as follows: The buyer pays the seller an agreed upon amount (option) to purchase the property at a later date. In a lease option, the buyer is not obl...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
While scrolling around the net I came across the most interesting article about houses made of dirt.  Take a look and see that I'm not talking about your average mud hut! This type of construction is know as "cob" and has been around since the 11th century.  It has recently seen a surge in popularity and considering costs for lumber and other construction materials, I can see why.  To read more about these interesting homes, please visit:  http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/featured/buildings-dirt-and-straw/3739 and read the article by Kelly Taylor.     
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
Older homes, which are abundant in the North Shore, constantly need upkeep and ongoing maintenance.  If  your home is older than 10 years, you may need to invest in some weatherproofing maintenance.  Finally going "green" is a popular thing - not just something to be joked about.  And it's also popular right now to be more frugal, which is itself a form of environmentalism.  So with those two things in mind, I offer some suggestions for warming up the house and saving some money: Maintain your HVAC System - To keep it running at peak efficiency, it should be serviced at least once a year by a qualified technician.  And open your curtains on south facing windows of your home to let the sun warm naturally. Install a programmable thermostat - How often have you heard this?  As a realtor, I...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
Plastic everywhere - dangling from trees, cartwheeling across streets, stuck in bushes, smushed into the ground and strung like so many holiday lights along freeway fences.  And that's just what we can see - but all of it goes somewhere and that place is our planet's oceans.  The majority of the plastic is thrown into streets, eventually goes down storm drains, will go down into a river and finally flow out into the ocean. Would it surprise you to know that there is an island of toxic plastic garbage larger than the size of Texas floating in the northern Pacific between California and Hawaii? Here are some more fun facts (from the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation):     Only about 2% of U.S. plastic is recycled Approximately 100,000 sea mammals and turtles die every year ingest...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
That's a question that everyone is tossing around - trying to hold out buying until we "hit bottom" or not selling until the market turns around and price start to rise again.  Who's kidding who?     Nobody can predict when the bottoming out will occur - we may be fairly close as some estimates say or it could be years out.  But this is what I know:  home values will probably not return to pre-2005 levels for a very long time.  The rise was just too steep, too quick and too mismanaged to happen again soon.   For one thing, lending practices have adjusted to the new world order and loans just aren't that easy to get.  We have a large inventory that will take more than a year to absorb and new homes keep coming on the market.  And buyers are, well, acting like kids in a candy shop.  How l...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
There is no denying that statistics are cold, hard facts.  Usually, they can be interpreted only one way since numbers don't lie (at least that's what my long-suffering algebra teachers told me.)  So I pull numbers every few months to get a reality check on the market - is what I am seeing and thinking really happening?  How hard has housing been hit on the North Shore?  Well, not as hard as other parts of the country and that is a fact, but we're definitely feeling the pinch.  In a quick check of the Pioneer Press Winnetka Talk (November 6, 2008 issue) there were 5 1/2 pages of judicial sale notices with the following foreclosure breakdown:  Evanston (23), Glenview (6), Northbrook (10), Wilmette (4) and Winnetka (1).  In past years there were maybe 1-2 foreclosures in Evanston and Glen...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
November 4, 2008 was a historic day for our country. . . . but many things were decided at the local levels as well.  In both Kenilworth and Winnetka, the property rights of owners trumped the preservationists attempts at getting more control over building and zoning laws.   My earlier post at(http://activerain.com/blogsview/767471/Kenilworth-Winnetka-Consider-Historic-Preservation-Referendum-on-Nov-4) describes the details of all three measures. The Kenilworth referendum was defeated  with 928 voting against and 531 voting yes.  In Winnetka, Referendum #1 was defeated 3734 to 2366, and Referendum #2 was defeated 4903 to 1342.   I'll say it again - as a realtor I'm really torn on this issue.  I have seen enough "historic" homes to know that it usually means "outdated."  Ten years ago bu...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
Ironically, next week's election has two neighboring towns, Winnetka and Kenilworth, IL, with referendums on historic homes - another attempt at dealing with the teardown/McMansion issue.  Preservationists have decried for years that their villages are changing irrevocably for the worse while others champion for property rights and the freedom and ability to sell to whomever they please. Kenilworth is undeniably a unique town - envisioned and built over 100 years ago by Joseph Sears whose specifications included large lots with quality construction.  The completed look was one of stately homes that were large but left plenty of open green space around them and between neighbors.  Many were built by noted architects such as Daniel and Franklin Burnham and George Mayer while much landsca...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
Sometimes you just wanna have a little fun.  As I go through listings on the multiple listing service  I  get a good laugh occasionally (at someone else's expensive, unfortunatley) and thought I would share some choice pictures.  These homes are located in the North Shore communities of Winnetka, Wilmette, Evanston and Glenview.    Are we showcasing the wallpaper?    Flash works very well here.      Whoa - don't get vertigo!    At least this kitchen has a window . . .    No idea what the point is here.    Nice corner with strange black box.    Doors for sale.    Ever heard of . . . staging . . .clutter removal . . .?    Light and bright rooms.    Let's party!    Say cheese!    Looks like grandma's dress is hanging on the window.   And here's my lazy dog Marly.  Clearly, some realtors ha...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
Real estate news has been somewhat dismal for the past few months with homes sales trending downward and a resulting glut of homes for sale.  As a realtor, I've wondered where have all the buyers gone?  Lots to choose from and falling prices makes for an easy decision. Well, maybe some of those buyers have finally stepped forward.  The news I read this morning, from the Mizuho Securities US economist is definitely interesting.  Here goes: "Sales of existing single-family homes rose 5.5% in September as transactions    surged in the West. Sales in the West rose by an unexpected 16.8% providing a   solid upward base to the headline series. The West cost is the second largest   home resale market in the country. Sales gains, however, were not only evident  in the West. Activity in the Sout...
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By Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
(Baird & Warner Real Estate)
In the good old days, (well, not so old, really) we wrote offers for properties without mortgage contingenices and then planned to close within several weeks.  But since the beginning of the mortgage crisis last August you won't get a quick close with mortgage financing.  The process takes time, as it should.  Lenders have been lax with lending practices and now we will be seeing real vetting going on with potential buyers.  Unlike recent memory, buyers now have to actually qualify for their mortgage, and this approval process takes time.  Here are some things that I have been telling my clients to think about before they make an offer: You will need good credit.  You will need verification of employment, down payment, closing costs and reserve funds. If your money has not been in  your...
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