Thursday, March 26, 2015

Baby Boomers: Home Is Where The Heart Is


Baby Boomers Find Freedom in Housing | Keeping Current Matters

Within the next five years, Baby Boomers are projected to have the largest household growth of any other generation during that same time period, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard. Let’s take a look at why…
In Merrill Lynch’s latest study, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices” they surveyed nearly 6,000 adults ages 21 and older about housing.

Crossing the “Freedom Threshold”

Throughout our lives, there are often responsibilities that dictate where we live. Whether being in the best school district for our children, being close to our jobs, or some other factor is preventing a move, the study found that there is a substantial shift that takes place at age 61.
The study refers to this change as “Crossing the Freedom Threshold”. When where you live is no longer determined by responsibilities, but rather a freedom to live wherever you like. (see the chart below)
Crossing The "Freedom Threshold" | Keeping Current Matters
As one participant in the study stated:
“In retirement, you have the chance to live anywhere you want. Or you can just stay where you are. There hasn’t been another time in life when we’ve had that kind of freedom.” 

On the Move

According to the study, “an estimated 4.2 million retirees moved into a new home last year alone.” Two-thirds of retirees say that they are likely to move at least once during retirement.
The top reason to relocate cited was “wanting to be closer to family” at 29%, a close second was “wanting to reduce home expenses”. See the chart below for the top 6 reasons broken down.
Reasons for Moving in Retirement | Keeping Current Matters

Not Every Baby Boomer Downsizes

There is a common misconception that as retirees find themselves with less children at home that they will instantly desire a smaller home to maintain. While that may be the case for half of those surveyed, the study found that three in ten decide to actually upsize to a larger home.
Some choose to buy a home in a desirable destination with extra space for large family vacations, reunions, extended visits, or to allow other family members to move in with them.
"Retirees often find their homes become places for family to come together and reconnect, particularly during holidays or summer vacations."

Bottom Line

If your housing needs have changed or are about to change, meet with a local real estate professional in your area who can help with deciding your next step.
Ron Goldstein,MBA
Certified Luxury Broker@Berkshire Hathaway Chicago & St. Petersburg 
(o)312-264-5846 (c)312-771-7190 (f)312-264-5746

Offices in Chicago and St. Petersburg

2014 BHHS President's Circle - Top 4% in Nation

Monday, March 23, 2015

10 Great Neighborhoods in Chicago..Check it out!

Looking where to live in one of our great city of Chicago neighborhoods?..Feel free to access the MLS from my site as well

10 Great Neighborhoods in Chicago

From River North to the Gold Coast, to Wicker Park and the South Loop, discover some of Chicago's best neighborhoods and find out which one is right for you.
Photo via Wikipedia The 88,000-square-foot Flat Iron Arts building in Wicker Park intersects three points: Milwaukee, North and Damen Avenues, in the heart of one of the artsiest Chicago neighborhoods. Artists, musicians, actors and other theatrical types began leasing up the cheap rentals in the area in the '90s. But the neighborhood has moved through expected gentrification as the hip factor spread and more Chicagoans re-discovered the area.
Bucktown/Wicker Park

Boundaries: Bucktown: Between Fullerton Avenue south to North Avenue, from Western Avenue east to Kennedy Expressway/Ashland Avenue; Wicker Park: Between North Avenue south to Division Street, from Western Avenue east to Ashland Avenue

Goats used to graze in what is now considered one of the hippest and trendiest neighborhoods in Chicago -- if not the country. The popular theory is that Bucktown got its name from the male goats, or bucks, that were raised by the Polish immigrants who fled their war torn country in the 1800s. Throughout the years, Bucktown saw many waves of immigration, primarily Polish until World War I, then Jewish in the early 1900s and Latino around 1960.

It was in the 1980s that Bucktown began to evolve into the artistic community that it is known as today. The lower rents in the undiscovered area and its proximity to downtown made it a natural choice for musicians and artists looking to stretch their bucks a little further. As the area became more popular, rents began to climb, pushing people south to Wicker Park. The dividing line between the two is North Avenue, with Bucktown to the north and Wicker Park to the south.

“Because of its infrastructure, [Bucktown’s] one of the easiest neighborhoods to get in and out of,” says Thaddeus Wong, co-founder of @properties, a Chicago real estate brokerage firm. “It’s a very diverse economic neighborhood. You’ve got $2 million homes scattered throughout the neighborhood with condos, lofts and townhomes.”

Serious rehabbers seek out Wicker Park for the unusual, for instance, this converted firehouse and a "pod" house located here was the grand prize architectural winner for a " small spaces" exhibit. And you can trade up your old threads for cash at the Crossroads Trading Company. 
Photo via Coldwell Banker Real Estate Probably the most famous photo-op spot in the Gold Coast, or all of Chicago. The Oak Street Beach gets bodies tanning and runners and bikers hitting a stretch of the nearly 19-mile Lakeshore Trail. Rents are steep but property values remain constant in this wealthy enclave. At one point, the Gold Coast had the highest reported income in the country.
Gold  Coast/Old Town

Boundaries: Between North Avenue south to Chicago Avenue, from LaSalle Avenue east to Lake Michigan

Old money and stunning lake views characterize this hot neighborhood that runs contrary to the Chicago phrase: “cooler by the lake.” Oprah once lived on the border of this high-priced community, where homebuyers can pay millions for a two-bedroom condo. And if you're into "intentional living," or sharing humongous spaces commune style, this area has some of Chicago's largest old homes that could fit the bill. “People are drawn to this area because of the nightspots, the good food, its proximity to the lake and to the business district,” says Prudential Preferred Properties Realtor Carla Walker.

The main commercial center for this neighborhood is Oak Street, the Rodeo Drive of the Midwest. Hermes, Versace and Gucci clothing stores mingle with four-and five-star restaurants offering outdoor seating in the summer. Oak Street runs right through the heart of an area known as the “Viagra Triangle.” This slice of the city, bounded by Rush Street, State Street and Chicago Avenue is nicknamed for the affluent, white-haired men that can be seen courting well-dressed women in their 20s at area singles bars. Coincidentally, Hugh Hefner’s original playboy mansion, at 1340 N. State St., is just down the street from the Viagra Triangle.

During summer, Rush Street Concerts at the landmark St. James Cathedral showcase live performances for an hour. 
University of Chicago in Hyde Park. It's still considered a college town and attracts professors and world-class minds. The South Shore neighborhood hosted the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition (the world's fair). Many of the resort hotels that lined Lakeshore Drive have been converted into apartments and condos.
Hyde Park

Boundaries:   Between 51st Street/Hyde Park Boulevard on the north, 59th and 60th streets on the south, Washington Park on the west and Lake Michigan on the east

Without question, one of the most famous residents is the 44th President Barack Obama. Seven miles from the Loop on the South Side of Chicago, you'll find several of the country's more prestigious institutions. The University of Chicago, renown for producing over 87 Nobel Prize laureates, including two 2013 award recipients for economics, is here. Chicago Blues legend Muddy Waters played the standing-room-only gig with the Rolling Stones at the Checkerboard Lounge in 1981.
Lakeview is host to the annual Chicago Pride Parade on the Halsted strip and the two-day PrideFest, usually held the final weekend of June. The event  draws crowds upwards of 750,000 lining the streets and is one of the largest and well-known in the world.
Lincoln Park/Lakeview

Boundaries: Between Diversey Parkway south to North Avenue, from Clybourn Avenue east to Lake Michigan

In the 1800s, the area that is now one of the most fashionable places to live in Chicago was mostly swampland and forest. Now, it’s a magnet for singles in their 20s and 30s, many of whom stay to start families here. The neighborhood is home to two private schools with great reputations for the education they offer kids from junior kindergarten through 12th grade. The community is very much like a college town within the big city, with a large variety of shopping, restaurants and nightspots all in close proximity.

People who live here don’t really need a car to get around, which is a good thing, because parking here is scarce. Residential streets are lined with cars bumper to bumper, and most of the streets require a permit to park. The neighborhood’s young energy is fed by the 3,000 students who attend DePaul University’s oldest and largest campus in the heart of Lincoln Park. Named for Chicago’s largest park (with more than 1,200 acres), the neighborhood offers an abundance of outdoor activities, including bike trails, jogging paths and athletic fields. There really is not a main artery in Lincoln Park, because every major street running through the neighborhood is a hub of commercial activity.

A brand new upscale retail and luxury living development, New City, is underway in the busiest shopping corridor in Chicago.  And for the bargain-hunter, Lincoln Park is headquarters to a truly unique enterprise: Millionaire Rejects is the ultimate resale shop. Want a great place for a first date? North Pond restaurant made the list of six best romantic spots in Chicago. 
Photo by: Alan Koppel Gallery Several walking tours are available for the River North Gallery District. Here, Lille Boulevard de la Marne by Jacques Villegl√© on display at the Alan Koppel Gallery on Dearborn Ave., which introduces and features work of European and 20th Century American artists.
River North

Boundaries: Between Michigan Avenue to the east, Chicago Avenue to the north and the Chicago River to the south and west.

This area of Chicago was uncharitably called a slum until real estate developer Albert Friedman began leasing out buildings to art galleries, photographers and agencies, all looking for economical office and display space. The transformation has been exceptional. 

Today, River North has the greatest concentration of art galleries in the country -- over 100 clustered in the gallery district on Superior and Huron -- trailing only New York. The world's largest commercial building, the Merchandise Mart, at 4.2 million square feet, is here. (Google Inc. is a tenant.) And Donald Trump built Trump Tower on Wabash, the tallest residential skyscraper in the western hemisphere and popular home for athletes and celebrities (Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose bought a condo).  
Photo by: Ribfest This town is a meat town. Behold the summer Ribfest Chicago event, held in Northcenter neighborhood of Roscoe Village where carnivores indulge in serious Ribmania -- an amateur rib-eating contest as part of the sauce and music and smoking cookout. 
Roscoe Village

Boundaries:  Between Addison Street south to Belmont Avenue, from Western Avenue east to Lincoln Avenue

German and Swedish workers settled in what is now Roscoe Village in the late 19th century when it was between two industrial areas on its eastern and western borders. Tough economic conditions during the Great Depression closed many factories and businesses in the area, and development slowed. The real estate market began to pick up in the 1980s, however, when developers began to see the advantages of its location only four miles away from the Loop.

Like a village within the city, this quaint community is very popular with young families. Parents are often seen pushing strollers past the shops with colorful awnings, small restaurants and trees that line Roscoe Street, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. Vintage brick walkups and well-maintained frame houses with front porches help maintain the atmosphere of this family-oriented community. Along with the newer designer boutiques that have sprung up in the area, residents of Roscoe Village can enjoy the largest concentration of antiques stores in the Midwest, located along the neighborhood’s Southern border.  

This neighborhood was featured in our How Much Does $1 Million Get You in Chicago series.
South Loop 

Boundaries: Between Jackson Boulevard south to 16th Street, from the Chicago River east to Lake Shore Drive

In the early 1900s, the area that is home to some of Chicago’s top tourist attractions and the country’s largest media and arts college was filled with brothels, saloons and pawnbrokers. Known as the Levee District, the neighborhood housed one of the world’s most famous bordellos at the time. Prostitution flourished in an area protected from law enforcement by organized crime and crooked politicians.

Today, luxury high-rises and modern townhomes are being built in an area once known as “Satan’s Mile,” a stretch from Van Buren to 22nd that was so crime-infested an 1896 judge ruled that a man deserved whatever he got for entering it. Generally considered a slum, the South Loop was a far cry from the expensive neighborhood it is today. Now a thriving community where visitors flock to tourist spots like the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum, the South Loop is an area that draws executives who enjoy its proximity to Lake Michigan and the downtown business district.

“For many of my clients who choose to buy in the South Loop, this is not their first home,” says Walker of Prudential. “It’s the next step up for young people. A lot of people who have homes in Indiana or the suburbs, and they want space downtown, that’s where they’re buying.”

That South Loop has become a premium destination is reinforced by the continuing developer buzz and re-imagining of high-rise living.
Photo by: Navy Pier A bright, sunny day at Navy Pier in the Streeterville neighborhood, with iconic Ferris Wheel in background. It's one Chicago's biggest entertainment draws and walking distance from high-end shopping on the Magnificent Mile.

Boundaries: Between Grand Avenue south to the Chicago River, from Michigan Avenue east to Lake Shore Drive

Development and home sales in Streeterville, southeast of the Gold Coast, remains strong. “Anytime you’re within a few blocks of Michigan Avenue, home values will be higher,” says Gail Lissner, a vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors. “More established, more well-located areas will do better even in a soft housing market.”

The most spectacular apartment space in the country debuted here, located at 500 N. Lakeshore Drive. The people who live in Streeterville are moving up, literally, with taller highrises being built every year. Nicknamed the “platinum coast” by some Realtors, apartment buildings and condos in this area come with more than the usual amenities. Some come attached to banks, athletic clubs, convenience stores, hotels and in one case -- the Residences at River East Center -- a 21-screen movie theater and bowling alley.

Parking in this neighborhood, which has Northern Michigan Avenue as its western border, is expensive. Expect to shell out about $250 a month to rent a parking space. Residents can save the $3,000-a-year parking expense by taking advantage of the taxis that come right to their door.
Photo by: BellyQ Former Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan partnered with Belly Shack ventures and Cornerstone Restaurant Group on Chef Bill Kim's Asian barbeque joint BellyQ in the West Loop on Randolph Street. 

West Loop 

Boundaries: Between Lake Street south to Eisenhower Expressway, from Kennedy Expressway east to the Chicago River

Oprah built her Harpo Studios empire here, before this former warehouse district became an up-and-coming neighborhood of contemporary lofts, midrises and art galleries. “Most buildings are between five to seven stories,” says Jeneane Ally, a Realtor with Rubloff Residential Properties and a West Loop resident. “Developers are taking the existing buildings, gutting them and making them look like new.” The West Loop Community Organization has fought to control density and limit the number of high-rises that can be built here.

With larger units, two parks in the area and more parking available than other neighborhoods near the Loop, the West Loop is a draw for young families. Within its borders is the prestigious Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, alma mater of first lady Michelle Obama. Enrollment for this public school, which consistently ranks as one of the top high schools in Illinois, is highly selective and determined through test scores and academic standing.

Not to be missed is the SoHo of the Midwest, the monthly Randolph Street Market, a one-of-its-kind outdoor and indoor arena for the collector, antique shopper and flea market connoisseur. 
Photo courtesy Wikipedia Ukrainian Village on the West Side has an envied architectural treasure: Louis Sullivan's Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral on Leavitt St. is open for tours. And while you've got your eyes full of Sullivan wonder, tune in to the landmark district on Hoyne and Thomas Streets for some 1880s cottages. 
Ukrainian Village

Boundaries: Between Division Street south to Grand Avenue, from Western Avenue east to Damen Avenue

Chic boutiques and trendy nightspots continue to pop up in this west town village south of Wicker Park. Decorated with beautiful, ornate churches, the neighborhood has preserved the cultural heritage brought to it by German, Polish and Ukrainian immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although most of its residents are not of Ukrainian descent, the Ukrainian food here is some of the best in the city, and visitors can still hear the language spoken on backyard stoops and in neighborhood businesses.

Division Street and Damen Avenue are the community's commercial centers with a variety of shops and restaurants that are transforming this quiet village into a hot neighborhood for homebuyers. “In the last two years, we’ve seen a lot of younger professionals moving here,” says Helen Sobel, a broker associate for Baird & Warner. “It’s usually a young couple starting out with their dog. They can get a three-bedroom condo for $350,000 in the area that they can grow into.”

The Ukrainian Village is a very eclectic neighborhood containing low-rises, single-family homes and older Victorian homes that are inhabited by families who have lived here for decades. “It’s got a very Chicago feel to it,” Sobel says. “There are a lot of front porches still in the area, and people saying ‘hi,’ when you walk by.”

"King of Concept," Restaurateur Jerry Kleiner and Chicago, who brought style to dining on Randolph Street,  converted a brick garage into a show home in the West Town section of Ukrainian Village. 
By Sabrina Wu, 

Ron Goldstein,MBA
Certified Luxury Broker@Berkshire Hathaway Chicago & St. Petersburg 
(o)312-264-5846 (c)312-771-7190 (f)312-264-5746

Offices in Chicago and St. Petersburg

2014 BHHS President's Circle - Top 4% in Nation


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Almost Spring Time and my property hasn't sold..WHY?



If the listing for your home hasn’t been attracting buyers for a few weeks in a fast-paced real estate market, or for a few months in a slower one, you certainly have good reason to be worried.

A home doesn’t sell due to a variety of factors, some of which you can control and some of which you can’t.
Let’s start with the things you can control, which also happen to be the most important elements of any home’s appeal to buyers: price and condition.

Price Your Home Right, From the Start
As I tell my clients in the beginning, the correct price for your home is based on a thorough comparative market analysis (CMA). The reason it’s so important to price your home appropriately from the beginning is that a home that’s priced too high will languish on the market without any offers.
Even if you lower the price later, you will have lost the momentum of the initial listing period and buyers will assume there’s something wrong with the home. Eventually you may sell it, but more than likely the final sales price will be lower than your correct initial price would have been. Price your home too low and you have lost out on potential profit. Buyers today don’t care what you paid for your house when you bought it. They don’t care if you make a healthy profit when you sell. They only care about paying a fair price in today’s market.
Your price should be based on current local market conditions, not on what you need to pay off your mortgage, what your neighbor sold her place for a year ago, nor your guesstimate of what your home is worth. The comparative market analysis (CMA) will look at recent sales, homes that didn’t sell and were pulled off the market, and current listings to guide your price decision. If there aren’t any buyers making offers on your property, it might be time to lower your asking price.

Condition of Your Home- DeClutter and Curb Appeal
Regardless of your local market conditions, buyers have high expectations for your home, beginning with the exterior. While you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money, you do need to raise the level of your home’s curb appeal with some sweat equity. Pull weeds, trim the grass, plant a few flowers and perhaps paint your front door to make sure prospective buyers don’t decide to drive away.
Inside, your home needs to be consistently clean, neat, decluttered and depersonalized so that buyers can visualize themselves living there. Your Broker should be able to suggest ways to prepare your home for a sale, which, by the way, is nothing like the way you live in it. Your kitchen counters should be cleared, your bed always made and your dishes always put away in case a buyer wants to visit.

Marketing Your Home
When you choose a REALTOR® to list your home, make sure you ask about photos and a marketing plan. 98% of buyers look online first at properties so it’s crucial that your home has multiple professional-quality photos that make it look as enticing as possible, and that your home appears on multiple websites so buyers can see it. A listing without a photo or with one badly lit photo isn’t likely to generate many offers.

Make Your Home Available
One of the more challenging aspects of listing your home for sale is that you must make it available to buyers as easily as possible. Buyers prefer to see a home without the owner there, so make sure there’s a lockbox at your property and that you allow nearly unlimited access to prospective buyers.

Overcome Challenges
Sometimes market conditions or a specific flaw in your home make it tougher to sell as quickly as you would like. I can help you evaluate the market and let you know if you need to offer particular incentives, such as closing-cost help. If your home has an awkward floorplan or is located on a busy street, allow me the opportunity to come up with ways to emphasize its positive aspects and deemphasize any negative aspects, such as by staging the backyard or highlighting the renovated kitchen.


Ron Goldstein,MBA
Certified Luxury Broker@Berkshire Hathaway Chicago & St. Petersburg 
(o)312-264-5846 (c)312-771-7190 (f)312-264-5746

Offices in Chicago and St. Petersburg

2014 BHHS President's Circle - Top 4% in Nation