Archive for September 2012

New listing - a classic Lake Forest Georgian

Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge isn’t one of the tip-of-the-tongue names typically associated with Chicago architecture, but the Boston-based firm designed the Art Institute and the Cultural Center (formerly the main public library). The firm’s local residential commissions included Cantigny, the Medill / McCormick mansion in Wheaton, and a Lake Forest home that just came on... Read more »

Does affordable housing attract Chicagoans to Indianapolis?

According to an article at Urbanophile, more than 48,000 Chicagoans migrated to Indianapolis between 2001 and 2009. Indianapolitans (?) also migrated to Chicago, but Indianapolis had a net gain of more than 12,000 people in the moves between the cities during that time period. A lower cost of living, including housing costs, is one of... Read more »

Why is Winnetka so beautiful?

You can’t spend much time in Winnetka without pausing, at some point, to gape in wonder at the striking physical beauty of the community. What makes Winnetka so beautiful? Lake Michigan and the Skokie Lagoons, its eastern and western borders, are an obvious choice. The intensely varied architecture of Winnetka buildings is another, along with... Read more »
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In Realtor-speak near can mean far

“Near” is one of the most frequently used words in the Realtor vocabulary. It’s a versatile word, an adverb in some contexts, an adjective, verb or preposition in others. In Realtor-speak “near” is so elastic in meaning that what some consider near most would consider far. Today’s listing scan surfaced more far nears than near... Read more »

Facing a forest preserve in Lake Forest

Lake County’s extensive and growing forest preserves, which currently span nearly 46 square miles, have a relatively brief history. One area of the forest preserves, the 686-acre Middlefork Savannah which was once part of a large glacial lake, began with a 43-acre parcel in 1989. It’s a national ecological research site and the habitat of... Read more »

How long does it take to sell a home?

The question of market time – how long a home has been on the market and how long sellers should expect it to take to sell their home – is one of the most vexing and perplexing in real estate. The short answer is that there is no short answer, but there are some rules... Read more »
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Positive news on the negative equity front

According to the latest CoreLogic statistics, 30.1% of all homeowners with a mortgage in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville area owed more on their homes than they were worth, i.e. they were in “negative equity” territory. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there was a significant decrease in the number of local homeowners in negative... Read more »

A Glencoe extreme makeover across from Friends Park

Glencoe has a small, but surprisingly lively downtown near its Metra station. Glencoe’s downtown has one-of-a-kind shops, sidewalk cafes, the Writers’ Theatre, a farmers market, the wildly-popular Friends Park, and more. Living near downtown is a viable alternative to a low-density in-city neighborhood. Two years ago I sat in Friends Park with Shirley Olin, chatting... Read more »

A sad day for the Wilmette restaurant scene

“Wilmette restaurant scene” is a phrase that doesn’t come easily – dining options in this North Shore suburb being as limited as they are. C.J. Arthur’s, one of downtown Wilmette’s few offerings, and its most family-friendly, has announced that it will be closing at the end of this month. I’ll head over there tomorrow, as... Read more »
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Don't take FHA approval for granted

In 2006 the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured only 1 in every 50 new mortgage loans in Chicago. In 2009 the FHA insured one in every 5 new loans, and in 2010 one in every 7 was FHA-insured, according to Mortgage Bankers Association data reported by Crain’s. The availability of an FHA-backed mortgage is still... Read more »