Saturday, May 20, 2017

Chicago to North Shore Real Estate and Neighborhoods - Urban Gardening

A Glimpse of almost summer: Urban Gardening      

Memorial Day is next week. Summer is just around the corner. The seed catalogs have arrived, seeds ordered and started indoors. The veggies are inside and are almost ready to be planted outdoors. As the weather warms, now is a good time to get the cool weather crops in the ground. The tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and zucchini will soon follow. Be careful and watch for frost.

As I’m driving around the area community gardens are starting to pop up. Unfortunately, the old City Garden on North Ave. is being torn down. I am also receiving invitations to join CSA’s of local organic gardens. A CSA is Community Supported Agriculture, locally owned, usually organically grown family farms selling directly to the consumer. In my opinion this is a great way for folks to eat healthier, help the environment and support local farmers. Excuse me while I go hug a tree.

Grayslake, in Lake County is a hub of activity and support. The College of Lake County has a program (I am currently working on a certificate) in Sustainable Agriculture. It covers all aspects of organic gardening and season extension principles. We are working on producing local organic foods ten months out of the year as opposed to the usual six or seven months. The program is both scientifically based (old-fashioned college classes) with hands-on experience in the greenhouse, hoop houses and outdoor beds.

Also in Grayslake is an incubator program at Prairie Crossing. They help people get started in agriculture to move into a full-time career. It is called the Farm Business Development Center. A friend of ours (Sandbox Organics) who got started in Grayslake is now renting 25 acres in McHenry County.

The Chicago Botanic Garden has a program called the Windy City Harvest. It is an education and jobs-training initiative to help build a local food system, healthier communities, and a greener economy. They offer apprenticeships to local youth in partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago's Daley College/Arturo Velasquez Institute. They have four locations in the area offering hands-on classes in urban agriculture: The Green Youth Farm in Lake County, the North Lawndale Youth Farm, Washington Park (Chicago), and the Urban Garden Lab in Block 37 in Chicago.

Let me take you on a tour of the late spring market to help you sell or find your dream home and garden, or if you just want to know the sale price of your neighbors’ home. For over 25 years, we have been the Realtors of choice from Chicagoland to Dairyland!

To contact us:             Eve:   847-409-1550

                                    Mike: 847-409-0850


Ciao! Ciao!


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Glimpse of Spring: First Impressions (Part 2)        

Spring has officially arrived. As the real estate market heats up now is a good time to get the house ready for showings. In my experience, other than price, the showability and condition of the house are the most important aspects of obtaining an acceptable offer in a reasonable period of time.

As the old saying goes, “You only have one chance to make a good first impression” In today’s digital world that first impression is generally online.

Here are some ideas/suggestions that I have shared with people over the years:

§  A spring cleanup is beneficial, either by yourself or a landscape professional. The yard is neat, the grass is cut, and by now flowers are blooming. Fresh plants and mulch are generally inexpensive.

§  Wash the windows and the screens. (See below)

§  Open the drapes and/or blinds. Sunlight helps convey a happy feeling.

§  Clean the house and declutter. It’s spring cleaning time. Go through each room and edit items that are no longer needed or wanted. We will help you do this.

§  Pay special attention when cleaning the spaces around electrical outlets, light switches and baseboards.

§  Dust the furnace, hot water tank, and a/c unit.

§  Replace all burned out light bulbs and faulty switches. LED lights may be an option.

§  Plumbing: replace leaky faucets and toilets.

§  Garage: Clean out unwanted “stuff” and reorganize.

§  Closets: Remove off-season and excess clothing.

§  Counters: Remove items. We will help you stage with minimal items.

§  Open the windows: Breezes cool the house and also generally provide a fresh smelling interior.

§  Fresh paint, and/or replace old carpeting and/or refinish flooring. Ask us current trends in colors and finishes.

Through our experience, we know the reasons people do not buy, as well as the reasons that they do. Our job is to help you prepare your home to give the best first impression. We will go through your home room by room as part of our service.

Let us take you on a tour of the spring market to help you sell or find your dream home, or if you just want to know the sale price of your neighbors’ home. For over twenty-five years, we have been the Realtors of choice from Chicagoland to Dairyland!

To contact us:             Eve: 847-409-1550

                                    Mike: 847-409-0850


Ciao! Ciao!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Chicago and North Shore Real Estate and Neighborhoods:

A Glimpse of the "606"

What better way to connect the ever booming Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park neighborhoods, than with a repurposed abandoned train line turned trail.  Opened in 2015, the 606 has captured our attention, and brought an excitement and vibrancy to the neighborhoods that didn't exist before! The trail runs 2.7 miles from  Ashland  and Bloomingdale on the east, to Ridgeway on the west.
Milwaukee Avenue Bridge
"The ConAgra Mural" by muralist Jeff Zimmerman
There are on and off ramps about every quarter mile with accessibility to all. Mike and I started the trail at Damen, walked  to the western border at Ridgeway, then turned around to head back to the beginning at Ashland.  We have driven to areas all over Chicago, and have sold properties in neighborhoods throughout, for years, and haven't seen anything that comes close to the "606"... The trail is an exciting addition to the city. It gives you an intimate peek into the neighborhoods, and you really feel the pulse of City! The elevation of the trail lends itself to peering down the streets of  typical residential neighborhoods without having to worry about the stress of traffic. You can see the recent commercial development, the new condos and townhomes, old homes, historic homes along Humboldt Blvd., renovated properties, art projects , native plants, trees, parks,  and perennials, The "L" rustling by, empty manufacturing buildings ready for rehab, and crowds of people on and off the trail enjoying the day in every way possible!
"Brick House" Sculputure of Recycled Rubber Tires, Rubber and Steel, by Chakaia Booker 
"Declaration" Temporary exhibit created by artist Gwendolyn Terry and about 1,000 neighborhood elementary students

When we were done, we headed over to The High Noon Saloon on Milwaukee Ave. for lunch with our two adult children, and then walked over to Reckless Records to wander the aisles. We ended our day at Miko's Italian Ice on Damen, and a quick stop at our @properties Bucktown office down the street! We could have eaten at a number of other places, including Dove Luncheonette, or Publican Anker, or popped in to  Stan's Donuts, or stopped for beer,  Juke Box, and pool at The Gold Star Bar on Division, but there is only so much time in a day! 
 After all, it is springtime in Chicago, and we have buyers and sellers that need us!!!
Speaking of buyers and sellers, if you want to know what the market is doing in your neighborhood, or you would like to find your dream home in Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square, or Humboldt Park, please contact me for a tour! There are so many new places to eat and drink around here,  let's meet at your favorite place, and start your tour! For over 25 years we have been the realtors of choice from Chicagoland to Dairyland. Call 847-409-1550 or email:


Friday, April 7, 2017

Chicago to North Shore Real Estate and Neighborhoods, A Glimpse of Wilmette, Part 1

Wilmette has always been about its schools, lakefront,  park district, and close proximity to the city! Every neighborhood, regardless of price range, shares in the benefits of  top quality schools, Gillson Park, The Wallace Bowl, the gorgeous beach and lake front, Centennial Pool and Ice Rink, the "L" train, the "Metra", and the beautiful view of the B'Hai Temple. Prices range from $235,000 to 3.2 million +

My old house, 2017
Part one begins in West Wilmette. Why? When I was a mere 4 years old, my parents told me we were moving to Wilmette. We joined the many newcomers to the new house boom in West Wilmette.  Many first time homeowners were able to buy a house in one of the best school districts in Chicagoland, maybe the state! We were west of the Edens Expressway, as far west in West Wilmette as you could go without crossing the tracks to Glenview. The houses and neighborhood have changed little. The houses are primarily 3 bedroom split-levels or ranches with 1 bathroom, and no garage. Minor additions over the years have included detached garages, 1/2 or full baths in the basement, dishwashers, air conditioning, and general updates and landscaping. Because of the smaller than average lots, there has not been a lot of tear-down activity.
My house, "The Big Snow" 1967
We lived in the middle of Laramie, across from the landmark of the west side of town, "The Tank",  (water holding tank for the Village of Wilmette).  

Behind "The Tank" stood an abandoned building filled with stray cats, and beyond that were the railroad tracks. As kids, the three blocks between the tracks and the expressway was our neighborhood. Summers weren't structured like they are now. We would ride our bikes, or walk around the neighborhood until sunset. In front of the "The Tank" was "The Field" (currently the site of the Public Works building). In summer, "The Field" was converted to a makeshift baseball diamond, and the tracks were for exploring, looking for wild raspberries, and occasionally putting a penny on the tracks and taking the flattened piece home for a souvenir. In winter, "The Field" would often flood and freeze, creating a wonderful natural ice rink. Our house across the street posed as our warming shelter and snack bar!
West Park, a block north on Laramie, was added later, as an attempt to lure the kids away from "the field"  to a proper playground! We had metal monkey bars, a metal slide, and an assortment of swings and equipment. It was great fun. There was also a metal taboggan slide off to the corner, which I never tried due to parents' warnings that there would be immediate death or horrific injury upon use! Latest changes to West Park: Playground equipment now conforms to modern safety standards to avoid cuts, bruises, broken bones from falls, and burned skin from metal slides! There is a Paddle Ball court, a community garden, and an artificial turf baseball diamond (I heard on good authority that back in the day, kids actually poured gasoline on the grass to burn the diamond and

When I was about 5 or 6 years old,  I was allowed to walk a few blocks to the Dairy Queen at Lake and Laramie. It still looks and tastes as it did long ago! The charm of Wilmette lies in what remains the same, despite the changes!!

When I was the seasoned age of about 8, I was allowed to walk east on Lake Ave, past Loyola Academy, on the sidewalk over the Edens Expressway, to Edens Plaza. The overpass was a fun spot to wave to Truckers below....What a thrill when they beeped to say hi! Edens Plaza was, and  still is, a favorite destination and hang-out for kids east and west of the highway. Many friends had their first job at Edens Plaza!  Carson Pirie Scott is the only original store left in the mall. Woolworths, (and the lunch counter with their awesome french fries),  Stineway Pharmacy, The Music Store,  the original Schmitt's bakery, Phillip's Shoe Repair, are all distant memories now, replaced by Walgreens, Bed Bath & Beyond, Starbucks, etc....!!! Anyone that shopped at Carson's in the 70's to the mid 80's might even remember my mom, Marilyn Chesler,  one of the most helpful and friendly saleswomen in Blouses, Junior Sportswear, and the Men's Dept.!!!

No discussion about Wilmette would be complete without mentioning the Wilmette Public Golf Course west of Laramie, on the north side of Lake. It had many incarnations in that last  90+ years, from public course, to private, back to public course, from fire damaged to renovated, and a great place for a wedding or other private party!

Last but night least, is Meiers Tavern....technically in Glenview, but visited by many Wilmette residents when I was growing up because bars were not permitted in Wilmette at the time!  It was the go-to-place for  adults,  made famous partially because of their delicious burgers and tator tots, and partially because it was the only place to grab a beer!!! As they say in real estate, Location, Location, Location!

Contact me if you would like to know what is selling in your neighborhood, or if you want to take a tour of Wilmette to find your dream home. Then we can stop for a burger, tots, and a DAB on tap at Meier's Tavern!  847-409-1550
For over 25 years we have been the realtors of choice from Chicagoland to Dairyland.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chicago North Shore Real Estate and Neighborhoods

A Glimpse of Spring: First Impressions     
Spring has officially arrived. As the real estate market heats, up now is a good time to get your house ready to show. In my opinion, other than price, the showability and condition of the house are the most important aspects of obtaining an acceptable offer in a reasonable period of time.
As the old saying goes, “You only have one chance to make a good first impression” In today’s digital world that first impression is generally online. To paraphrase Rod Stewart, “Every Picture Tells a Story”
The first impression most people see "on-line" is the front of the house. Make it sparkle, especially as this is the yucky time of year when the grass is brown and the flowers are just starting to open up but have not bloomed yet.
Here are some ideas that I have shared with people:
  • §  A fall cleanup is beneficial, either by yourself or a landscape professional. Make sure the yard is neat, and the old dead flowers have been trimmed or removed.
  • §  Mulch. It is very inexpensive, provides uniformity and slows the growth of weeds.
  • §  Paint or power wash if possible. There are usually 3-4 day periods of weather warm enough to spot paint or power wash.
  • §  Clean up the yard. Just pick up any debris left over from the winter

  • §  Shovel the walk, steps, driveway and use salt and/or melting solution.

§  As the weather warms, do a spring cleanup. Same idea as above. New plants can be filled in, the beds dug, and new borders and more mulch added.

§  Lastly, think about landscaping. Usually a major landscape undertaking is not required, but adding a few bushes, annuals, creating nice borders and yes, adding more mulch, should do the trick. Sometimes just some nice potted plants by the entrance adds a splash of color and  provides an inviting look.

There are many landscapers in the area who are aware of the plants that are suitable for our area. Some use more ornamental varieties, some specialize in native plants.

Let me take you on a tour of the spring market to help you find your dream home or contact me if you just want to know the sale price of your neighbors’ home. For over 25 years, we have been the Realtors of choice from Chicagoland to Dairyland! Contact me at 847-409-0850 or  or check out our website:

Ciao! Ciao!


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Chicago North Shore Real Estate and Neighborhoods: A Glimpse of The North Shore and Chicago Real Estate Market Report

Happy Spring! Spring in Chicago is a combination of flowers and snow, winter coats, short sleeves, hats and flip-flops! Keep out your boots and mittens, just in case. Chicagoans are a tough group, just like the early flowers that bloom before, during, and after our late winter/early spring snow storms!
Spring is traditionally the busiest time of year for the real estate market. If you are a seller, there tend to be more buyers. If you are a buyer, there tends to be more inventory of homes for sale! Of course, each neighborhood has a different sub-market. Let's take a look at the most recent market report for the North Shore and Chicago, as we head into our busiest season:

Here are the links for the North Shore and Chicago Market Reports:

For a tour of your neighborhood, please contact me, or if you just want to find out want your neighbors' homes sold for,  you can reach me at 847-409-1550,  or
          We have been the realtors of choice from Chicagoland to Dairyland for over 25 years! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Chicago North Shore Real Estate and Neighborhoods: A Glimpse of Logan Square

The past meets the present in the hipster haven of Chicago,
In the early 1980’s, Logan Square was  touted as one of the “hot” new neighborhoods in Chicago.  In reality, it was looking tired and worn. The historic buildings, the boulevards, the square, the train, and close proximity to downtown attracted urban pioneers. The TV show “This Old House, and host Bob Vila, was capturing the attention of “do it yourselfers” across the country. Local first time homebuyers were anxious to roll up their sleeves and restore the historic houses and apartment buildings on or near Logan Boulevard.

As a twenty-something renter, I was excited to jump in and rent one of these restored apartment flats! Due to the twists and turns of economic booms and busts, the renovation momentum was slow. It took decades, not years, to finally see a residential building boom and business renaissance along the commercial streets.

In 1918, its most recognized landmark , The Illinois Centennial Monument, was dedicated in honor of the 100th anniversary of  Illinois statehood. The pillar of the Monument at the “Square” was designed by Henry Bacon, (more famously noted for designing the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.). The relief sculpture at the base was designed by Evelyn Longman.  An eagle sits atop the pillar!  

 Loosely inspired by the monument, and the  Inn and Pub days of the city,  the highly recommended "Longman & Eagle" has become one of the hippest spots in Logan Square, if not the city. It offers great food and cocktails. It also features an  Inn on the second floor, with  several chic rooms at reasonable rates! 

Revolution Brewing Co, Chicago Distilling Co, Whistler Bar, Jam for brunch, coffee shops, artist galleries, community garden and farmers markets and more, have  all contributed to creating the vibe for old and new residents of the area.

Real Estate trends: Many of the greystones and two-flats have been converted to renovated single family homes. Prices for single family homes range from as low as $200,000 to a million+. 2-4 flats range from $300,000 to a million+. Condos range from $100,000 to 700ish! Over 25% of the homes for sale are under 5 years old, or new construction, with more planned! This number doesn’t include all the renovated homes, so you have a great chance of finding the perfection renovation, or new construction!

Contact me if you want to know the sales price of your neighbors' properties, or you want a tour of Logan Square. We will help you find your dream home! 847-409-1550 or  or visit our website

For over 33 years, we have been the  the realtors of choice from Chicagoland to Dairyland. 
Bye for now,

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Chicago North Shore Real Estate and Neighborhoods: A Glimpse of Highwood

Highwood is a cool and interesting community on the North Shore. It is located between Highland Park and Lake Forest. Ft. Sheridan and Lake Michigan are located to the east. It is known as the “Entertainment District of the North Shore”. It has easy accessibility to Rt. 41 and the Tri-State Tollway, off Rt. 22 (Half Day Rd.). There are two commuter train stations, Highwood and Ft. Sheridan. There is a vibrant downtown with a number of independent boutiques, restaurants, and nightclubs/lounges. Highwood, to me, has always been about the bars and the restaurants! It has many entertainment events, including Garlic Fest, Bloody Mary Fest, Pumpkin Fest, Farmer’s Market and Highwood Days.

It is rumored that Tony Bennett always goes to one restaurant in Highwood when he is performing at Ravinia. Some of the best Italian food in the metropolitan area can be found here, from old school (grandmas Italian red sauce), a new Italian restaurant (Disotto) to French (Froggy’s), contemporary bistros, Miramar, several Mexican restaurants and more. There are small music venues, and neighborhood taverns with affordable cocktails. I also have it on very good authority that there is a new brewery opening soon. Eve and I will be at the grand opening. Can’t wait for the IPA and Stout. I will do my best investigating and let everyone know how it is. Highwood is also home to Skokie Valley Laundry and Dry Cleaners. You can see their trucks from the far south suburbs to the Wisconsin border. They are the premier hand laundry and dry cleaner in the metropolitan area. They are 70 years young and still going strong.

I was a youth football coach in Highwood for 3 years. We resurrected the Highwood Indians youth football team with great success. I really enjoyed working with Evon at the youth center, which provides an outlet for the local kids and community events.

Highwood real estate has a distinct architectural character. Many of the houses are 1920’s bungalows and turn-of-the-century 1.5 story and two-story properties. Highwood has good quality, affordable houses in relation to other North Shore areas. Ft. Sheridan is east of Highwood. It was the former Army training base. It has been converted to upscale condominiums, townhomes, and newer residence. There are still some old officer’s quarters for sale near the lake. During the conversion my father-in-law was looking for a new condominium. We asked if he was interested in looking in the Fort. He politely declined as he was in basic training there before WWII.

When thinking of Highwood, I think of Bocce. One of the few Bocce clubs in the area is located in Highwood. It hosted the international Bocce tournament a few years ago. My father came in from Cleveland to attend the tournament. He had such a great time and still talks about it.

Let me take you on a tour of Highwood to find your dream home,or if you want to know what to know the sale’s price of your neighbors’ homes, contact me.  For over 33 years, we have been the Realtor of choice from Chicagoland to Dairyland! 847-409-0850 or

Ciao! Ciao!


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Chicago North Shore Real Estate and Neighborhoods: A Glimpse of Wrigleyville in Lakeview

Lakeview is a favorite neighborhood for a first apartment, with loads of studios and one bedroom rentals available for reasonable prices. It’s near public transportation, Lake Michigan, and 208 or more places to eat, drink, or hang out!

Right smack in the middle of Lakeview lies Wrigleyville, home of our Chicago Cubs World Series Champions! With spring training underway in Arizona, Wrigleyville will be in “full swing” soon!

Celebrating the Win at Clark and Sheffield!

We worked at Clark and Sheffield for about 12 years. It wouldn’t be fair not to give homage to a few people and places dear to our hearts who are no longer with us or not there: #1: Howard Wilcox and The Wilcox Company, where we worked. Howard is gone, but not forgotten. The office is now a bar! Fortunately, our other favorite peeps from those days are still around, scattered about the city and country! Favorite hangouts back in the day were The El Jardin Cafe, Manny’s Pancakes, Mongolian House, The Wild Hare, and the original Penny’s Noodles! Fond memories. Gold Crown Liquor is still on the corner, albeit different owners!
STILL GOING STRONG: Check out Guthrie’s Tavern on Addison, D’Agostino’s Pizza at Southport and Addison (our favorite deep dish), and Metro Chicago.
NEW FAVORITE: Old Crow Smokehouse on Clark St. for some BBQ and live Country Music!

The neighborhood is a gorgeous mix of vintage 2-4 flats and rental properties, newer town homes, condos, and single families. In the 1980’s, the neighbors fought against lights at Wrigley Field, fearing wild times, drunk tourists, and general mayhem. It all came true, along with soaring property values, more bars, more live music establishments, and more restaurants along Clark Street. Upscale restaurants and fashionable boutiques opened at the western fringe along Southport. Although the crowds can get a little wild at times, I have to say, I love the neighborhood even more today!

Contact  us if you want to know the sales price of your neighbors' properties, or you want a tour of Wrigleyville. We will help you find your dream home! 847-409-1550 or
We are the realtors of choice from Chicagoland to Dairyland.