Market Update October 2014


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In the video above, we discussed national inventory, closed sales, and price changes for the year 2014 as well as inventory and price changes in the city of Chicago for that time period.

The following charts show month-to-month points (from January 2013-September 2014) of inventory, price changes, and closed sales in the neighborhoods of the Loop, Near North Side, South Loop, and West Loop.



Near North Side


Near South Side


Near West Side

For information about real estate in Chicago or resources in your area, please contact us and sign up for our free market report!

Staying Safe on the Streets of Chicago


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Chicago gets a really bad rap, a really bad rap. Terri and I have both lived here our whole lives, we live and work downtown, and rarely do either of us ever feel vulnerable. If you are feeling vulnerable there are a few ways to mitigate the issue, but please keep in mind at all times that people are generally good.

You may be wondering, if I feel so safe then why would I write about such a topic? Sadly, last week, news broke of a real estate agent in Arkansas who was found dead. The man accused of her abduction and murder said, “[She was targeted] Because she was just a woman that worked alone – a rich broker.”

Robbing a rich merchants house-J. M. W. Silver (Public Domain)

It is very sad that he felt that way and more so that he felt that he could take advantage of her perceived privileged life. Unfortunately, while most people are generally good there are a few jerks out there hoping to make a profit from someone else’s loss. With some preparation and street smarts you can lessen your chances of them targeting you.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Know who is around you at all times. If someone is following you (probably because they are going the same direction) keep an eye on them in the reflections of passing buildings and listen to their footsteps to be sure they aren’t speeding up or following an awkward pattern. Look (with just your eyes) underneath cars in a parking lot for shadows or people hiding out.
  • Talk to strangers on the street with caution. If they need directions they will usually say so immediately. If you aren’t clear on why they are talking at you or they ask for money it’s ok to ignore them or say a quick “no”.
  • Keep your purse closed and your belongings put away. Keep the zippers of your bags in front of you or under a flap so they can’t be accessed without your knowledge. If you are buying a backpack choose one with loud zippers, so you can hear if someone is messing with one.
  • When sitting on public transportation keep your bag in your lap with at least one arm through a strap. If you are going to look at your phone, keep it behind the bag on your lap, so the bag acts as a barrier between the phone and standing passengers.
  • When meeting a stranger, let a friend know where you will be and the timeframe of your meeting. If you are uncomfortable call your friend and keep them on the line so they can listen for trouble. You might also ask your friend to meet you at the same location a few minutes later. In that case tell the stranger that your friend is on his/her way. Also, Google and check the public records for details about the person you are meeting. The public records can show you if that person has a criminal history and social media will likely tell you if you know the same people.
  • If you feel a real sense of danger hold your keys in your fist with some of the keys sticking through, between your fingers, a la Edward Scissorhands, Freddy, or the Wolverine. If you are wearing stilettos you could seriously injure anyone who grabs you from behind by putting your ankle against his/her knee and stomping down along his/her leg, this will hurt regardless of your footwear. If someone grabs your arm from in front twist your arm away from his/her thumb, towards the other fingers, causing his/her arm to twist and release. For the record, I have never had to use any of the above three self-defense tricks. However, I feel safe knowing what they are.
  • Finally, one of the best ways to be safe is to communicate! Strike up a conversation with the person next to you on the train or at the cafe. Smile at people as you walk by and say “good day!” After all, one of the number one reasons people say they feel safe in their town is because they know everyone!

For information about real estate in Chicago or resources in your area, please contact us and sign up for our free market report!

A Tree Grows In Printers Row


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Kitchen 1

Now I call it the Treehouse. The name took hold as writers and artists came to the annual gatherings I hosted during the Printers Row Book Fair. In fact, that’s how the idea for the tree came to be. When I decided to buy the loft, my friend David C Jensen, a fine muralist, and I agreed that the space; with its open floor plan, soaring ceilings, brick walls, and industrial duct work, presented the perfect setting for one of his murals. But I wasn’t sure what or where.

At the time, I held salons attended by creative people of all sorts. At one such event, someone (I don’t recall now) suggested a tree painted on one of the architectural pillars. A tree, emerging organically to the space, would bring a bit of nature into this urban environment.

Kitchen 9

The idea seized our imaginations. Growing up, I had an illustrated book of Greek Myths. One of the pictures featured the wood nymph, Daphne, as she was being turned into a tree. We decided on an image in which, if you look closely, you can see Daphne, along with birds, deer, and more, hidden in plain sight in the tree bark. Branches sprouting fruit, leaves stretched over the ceiling around the pillar in the kitchen. David and I chose a few colorful animals, parrots, raccoon, monkey, gecko, even a dodo bird decorating the tree.

Kitchen 7 cropped

It took David 2 weeks to paint it. My cat would climb the ladder while he painted the ceiling Michelangelo-style. The process required careful thinking out the application and layering of trunk, foliage, fruit and wildlife to create the organic, gentle but striking 3-D fresco you can see there today. I hung the surrounding duct work with flowering vines and bunches of grapes, bought at a craft store. A few more animals, created by local artists completed the picture.

Kitchen 9 Cropped


The loft, with tree at its heart, has been featured in the Printers Row Loft Walk and you can glimpse images in a video produced to promote that event. Or, if your interested in buying, you can schedule a showing with RE/MAX agent, Terri Buseman. New owners can make of it what they will. Add your own personal touches or, if it doesn’t fit your vision, it can be painted over. It’s a space loaded with possibility!

Make it your own.

Written by the homeowner.

For information about real estate in Chicago or resources in your area, please contact us and sign up for our free market report!

Home Town Breweries

Chicago breweries date back as far as 1835. Brewing in Chicago has had a rich history, from the 1855 Beer Riots to being home to the Siebel Institute of Technology which, founded in 1868, is America’s oldest brewing school. Many Chicago breweries resumed operations following prohibition. While those originals have since closed their doors, the tradition of brewing in Chicago was revitalized in 1988 when Goose Island opened, leading off the craft brew revolution we find ourselves in today.

You may be familiar with some of Chicago’s more established breweries such as, Two Brothers, Half Acre, Metropolitan Brewing, and Revolution. New breweries are opening all the time! Recently Lagunitas, who’s owner is a native Chicagoan, opened a 300,000 sq/ft brewery and taproom at 1843 S. Washtenaw Ave. The South Loop neighborhood is anxiously awaiting some additional breweries. Motor Row Brewing is currently under construction at 2337 S Michigan. South Loop Brewing Co. has raised nearly $10,000 over their goal on Indiegogo and have already teamed up with many local restaurants to help them with promotion and on September 2 Vice District Brewing opened at 1454 S Michigan Ave.

Simply a tap room Vice District serves only its own creations. Currently they have five choices ranging from 5-6% ABV and flavor profiles for every taste. The atmosphere provides a friendly neighborhood feel. In fact, I have run into fellow South Loop neighbors on a multiple occasions already! The walls are lined with long tables, creating a communal setting and the bar is an inviting spot to have a quick chat with the bartenders and owners (providing they aren’t too busy, of course!) If you prefer to have a meal with your beer you may order food from one of the nearby restaurants.

Chicago is known for its great restaurants, cocktail/wine bars, sports bars, and gastropubs, but a simple poor house that focuses its customers around a single type of beverage is a welcome and needed addition to our evening entertainment choices. Check out Vice District Brewing; Tues-Thurs 4:00-11:30pm, Fri 4:00pm-1:00am, Sat 12:00pm-1:00am, Sun 12:00-11:00pm.

For information about real estate in Chicago or resources in your area, please contact us and sign up for our free market report!

6 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Sale


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Have you ever walked through a model unit in a new building and thought, wow, I wish I had such a beautiful home! Those homes have been professionally staged to look like the perfect place to live in. When preparing your home for sale these are the techniques to implement so buyers will take one look at your home and think the same thing.

freedigitalphotos.netHere are 6 things you can do to make your home look like a model and prepare it for a quick sale.

6. Paint in soft colors that brighten the space and match most decor.

5. Update the hardware on your doors and cabinets. Consider how they look near the handles of your kitchen appliances and bathroom towel racks.

4. Clean walls, baseboards, floors, windows, door frames, etc. Touch up any scuffed paint. This will freshen up all of your permanent surfaces.

3. Clean the fireplace. Even the logs and rocks in gas fireplaces can usually be cleaned. Consult your fireplace store for options.

2. Purge, purge, purge. Hold a yard sale, sell items on Ebay, donate what you can’t sell, just get rid of anything you don’t use.

1. Pack, pack, pack. Remember the model homes that were professionally staged? Now is the time to make yours look like that. Pack away anything you don’t need such as knick-knacks, books, and art. Just leave a few key pieces. Pack away all valuables and off-season clothes. For inspiration, take a walk through Ikea and note what items are on display in the sample rooms.

For information about real estate in Chicago or resources in your area, please contact us and sign up for our free market report!

You’re Invited to Dinner This Saturday Night!


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Daystar Center Benefit Dinner
Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Order your tickets now! A limited number of seats remain!

“Only in Chicago…” Experience an Evening of Diversity with food, drink, entertainment, art, and inspirational stories!

Hear.  See.  Taste.  Experience.

Hear music, theatre, and inspirational stories.

See art and photos.

Taste Spanish tapas, sangria, and decadent desserts.

Experience Daystar Center in all its diversity!

If you are already part of the Daystar Center community, we invite you to come and support the community’s ongoing mission of building community.

If you are new to the Daystar Center, we invite you to come and experience a taste of who we are.

We look forward to celebrating the Daystar Center’s accomplishments and future with you!

Schedule for the Evening

6:00pm – Silent Auction and Cocktail Hour – Some fabulous art for viewing and bidding.  Sangria from Tapas Valencia and coffee service from Overflow Coffee Bar.

7:00pm – Dinner and Dessert – Dinner from Tapas Valencia and Desserts from Delightful Pastries and Overflow Coffee Bar.

Here’s a preview of the menu:

Cold Tapas

  • Patatas con Alioli – Robust garlic potato salad with mayonnaise and fresh parsley
  • Gambas Marinadas – Chilled marinated tiger shrimp served with a trio of sauces: tomato brandy, cumin, and alioli
  • Jamón Serrano con Queso – Imported Serrano ham with Manchego cheese, tomato, garlic and toast points
  • Setas Salvajes – Medley of sautéed wild mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, Manchego cheese, and pine nuts on a romaine heart, drizzled with balsamic white wine vinaigrette

Hot Tapas

  • Champinones Rellenos – Stuffed mushroom caps with sautéed spinach, garlic and a blend of Spanish cheeses
  • Crepé Rellena – Crepes filled with goat cheese, spinach, apples and pine nuts with a pimiento sauce
  • Pincho de Solomillo – Beef tenderloin brochettes grilled with cracked black pepper, served with carmelized red onions, horseradish sour cream and mashed potatoes
  • Paella Mariscos – Shrimp, mussels, clams, scallops and calamari, baked in saffron rice with vegetables

7:45pm – Entertainment – Three Performances, Three Genres, One Theme: “Only in Chicago…”
Richelle Hennen & Mark Anderson – Spanish Art Song
Katrina Miller – Soul, Pop, Motown
David Boyle – Comedy, Storytelling

All are welcome, but tickets are required.  Click here to RSVP A limited number of seats remain!

$125 for General Admission
$900 for a table of 8
(plus additional service fee)

Market Update August 2014

In the video above, we looked at some data indicating that the nation as a whole is going to see a strong fall season. Real estate trends can differ quite a bit on the local level.

Existing home sales have seen an increase throughout the summer, but if we look at downtown Chicago we can see that it, overall, has been more conservative.

The following charts show month-to-month points of closed sales for condos and for single family homes in the neighborhoods of the Loop, Near North Side, South Loop, and West Loop.

Loop Closed Sales North Att Closed Sales North SFH Closed Sales SLoop Att Closed Sales SLoop SFH Closed Sales WLoop Att Closed Sales WLoop SFH Closed Sales

The number of homes going under contract in downtown Chicago has also been fairly stable. We are seeing a strong year overall, and fall is looking to be a good season. However, with a couple peaks, but no major dips, it is clear that our high season is tapering to a close.

The following charts show month-to-month points of condos and for single family homes that are under contract in the neighborhoods of the Loop, Near North Side, South Loop, and West Loop.

Loop Att UC North Att UC North SFH UC SLoop Att UC SLoop SFH UC WLoop Att UC WLoop SFH UC

For information about real estate in Chicago or resources in your area, please contact us and sign up for our free market report!

Banish Smelly Trash for Good!


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No Trash

About a month ago, my South Loop neighborhood condo building started a composting program and my trash has not smelled since. Composting may seem like a foreign idea, especially in the city, but it’s really quite simple! Our program is set up through Waste Management and they collect our compost once a week. Once you have a collection set up, all you have to do is get a small bin to keep in your home for compostable materials, line it with a compostable bag, and empty your bin every 3-5 days in your larger collection bin.

Does your building or work compost? Spread the news to the neighborhood and let us know!

After extensive research our household purchased the Full Circle Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector from Amazon. It was $30. With that we ordered a box of 25 Full Circle Renew Compostable Waste Bags for $10. The bags are only 2.5 gallons, so as you can imagine this easily fits in our kitchen, we keep ours next to our recycling bag and garbage can. The only trick is to empty the container every 3-5 days. Because the bags are also compostable, they start to break down as soon as an item is placed in them. You don’t want a bag with a hole in it! If you tend to get busy or forgetful I would suggest designing a system to remind yourself to bring the composting down. If your bag does get a hole in it you can put it in a paper bag, which is also compostable.

If you are recycling and composting as much as you can at home, you will be surprised to see how little actual trash you will accumulate! Since recycling is rinsed and compost is taken out so frequently your trash may never be smelly again!

Below are charts to remind you of what can be composted and what can be recycled.

Please be careful with what you recycle and what you compost! Waste Management explains: “One dirty product, or one with food waste still in it, can contaminate an entire bale, containing thousands of pounds of collected plastics. This can cause thousands of recyclable items to go to a landfill instead of being recycled.” They also note that recycling must never be placed in a plastic bag or it will be automatically sent to the trash.

NOTE: Some of the items listed below are not recommended for at home compost piles because they will be very smelly as they breakdown. These lists were created from items which are accepted by Waste Management.


Compostable Items: Anything that is Wholly Organic, Nothing that was Chemically Produced
*might be recyclable




*Plastic food packaging/wrap

Meat, poultry

Latex & plastic gloves

Bakery items & ingredients

*Coated & plastic take-out containers/cups

Eggs & paper egg cartons

*Plastic bags

Plants, cut flowers, potting soil

*Milk & juice cartons

Coffee grounds, filters, tea bags

Aerosol cans

Paper products (napkins & paper towels)

Twist ties, rubber bands, wire

Compostable packaging

Grease from cooking

Hair (human & animal)

Kitty litter/feces


Recyclable Items: Non Organic Materials, Rinse All Food off First





Aluminum cans

Corrugated cardboard

Clear, brown, or green glass

Look for the following numbers in the symbol
 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7

Aluminum foil/bakeware


Unacceptable glass

Unacceptable Plastic

Steel/tin cans

Office papers

Heat-resistant glass/Pyrex

Items coded 6 PS

Unacceptable Metal


Broken glass


Metal caps/lids


Mirror/window glass


Paper/cardboard milk & juice cartons



Mixed paper/unsolicited direct mail



Additional Recycling: These items can be brought to a store for recycling


Electronics Can be brought to a store like Best Buy

Car batteries Usually can be exchanged with your battery store

Computers (CPUs, monitors, peripherals, keyboards)

The following can be brought to most hardware stores i.e. Ace on State St

Office equipment (photocopier, printer, fax)

Household and button batteries


Rechargable batteries

Consumer electronics (DVD player, stereo, phone)

Incandecent & LED lights

Cell phones

Compact florescent bulbs



For information about real estate in Chicago or resources in your area please contact us and sign up for our free market report!

Skyline Views from Your Couch or Kitchen


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View current inventory of rental properties by Chicago’s Near South Side.

Listing Details 

Skyline Views from Your Couch or Kitchen

61 W 15th #501, CHICAGO, IL 60605

Original List Price: $2,500/mo

MLS number: 08711346

Bedrooms: 2

Bathrooms: 2


Call Terri Buseman at 312-208-5166 to see if this property is still available and arrange a showing.

All the Space You Need

An oversized kitchen with tons of storage overlooks the spacious living/dining room combo. Both rooms have fantastic views of the Chicago skyline. New this year, Bosch washer/dryer and dishwasher appliances bring luxury to this apartment.

Click here to see additional images of this 2 bedroom apartment.

Peaceful Urban Location

Situated at the south end of Dearborn Park II this home is nestled in a quiet, residential area steps from Cottontail Park and the South Loop School Park. With a Walkscore of 95, it is in a Walker’s Paradise. Mariano’s grocery store is around the corner and just down the street are the shops and restaurants in the Roosevelt Collection and the South Loop Neighborhood.

South Loop: One of Chicago’s Oldest Neighborhoods

The South Loop has been a vital neighborhood for most of Chicago’s history. From Dearborn Station as an early a transportation hub, to the Prairie District, once home to leaders of early Chicago such as Marshall Field and John Glessner. Later Printer’s Row became a popular place for book manufacturer’s. A residential revival started in 1979 with Dearborn Park. Today the neighborhood is home to many Chicagoans, as well as tourist destinations such as Museum Campus.

Find Similar Homes in the Area

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Film Tonight @ Overflow Coffee – Diamond Road


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Every year 24 tons of diamonds are teased from the heart of the earth. Once mined, they begin their year-long journey through the “pipeline,” a vast network encompassing five continents and a diverse cast of characters. By the end of their journey these tiny bits of carbon will have made multi-millionaires of some and virtual slaves of others.

Boring deep into the diamond world, Diamond Road seeks to understand the multiple meanings this object has for a few of the fascinating people who are part of the diamond pipeline – international prospector, impoverished miner, child cutter, celebrity jeweller, smuggler, high-end dealer. Interwoven with their stories is the determined pursuit of one industry leader to bring fairness and transparency to this secretive world. What results is a multi-layered portrait of a stone which is steeped in a history of intrigue, conflict, love and hope.

See Diamond Road tonight at Overflow Coffee Bar (in the auditorium)
7:00 p.m., 1550 S State St, donations welcome

For information about real estate in Chicago or resources in your area, please contact us and sign up for our free market report!


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