Decorating Ideas and Landscaping Tips – June 2013

Visit for more articles like this.


Retirement Relocation Checklist


What’s important to you in moving to your retirement home?

Are you thinking about buying your “empty-nester” home but you don’t know how to decide where to go?

Retirement Relocation Checklist

Prioritize and decide where to go!

The recent article by Dave Bernard in US News and World Report‘s Retirement section lists the following categories that seniors should consider:

  • Hospitals and Doctors

Should you live near an expert in a particular health field? Or simply, where can you rely on a quick response time from the EMT, taking you to a nearby trauma facility?

  • Local Amenities

Big cities offer symphony, museums, restaurants. and theater, however college towns are booming – many seniors are finding them to have the perfect mix of smaller town while offering terrific cultural options.

  • Good Neighbors

Fellow Drake trustee and Newton, Iowa native, Don Byers, answered my husband’s question about retirement this way:  “Why would I leave the friends and neighbors I’ve enjoyed my whole life?” To Don, good neighbors were his primary criteria for staying local in retirement.

  • Climate

Milder climates have been the goal for many seniors – if you relax in warmer weather, then your move south won’t be unique!

  • Public Transportation

How are you going to get to the doctor, the store, or your friends when you no longer want to drive?

  • Cost of Living

Obviously, it makes sense to live where it’s cheaper – when seniors retire and they don’t have to live where their job is (they’re retired!), it makes sense to go where homes, food, and taxes are cheaper.

  • Proximity to What you Like Best

If you revel in sunrise at the beach, you wake up invigorated to hike mountain trails, or scenic mountain views inspire the artist in you — then go there!

  • Your new “digs”

Do you want maintenance-free condo life or is tinkering in the garden your heart’s desire? Would you prefer to live in a sprawling ranch or a cozy bungalow?

Obviously, the answers to these questions vary for all seniors. As you consider where you’re going, answer these maytag cheesequestions, then weight each one as to how important that question is to the overall picture.

Don Byers obviously preferred neighbors to warm climates and public transportation. Others might place greater emphasis on beaches and warm weather.

Whatever you choose – if you are true to yourself, you’ll make the right decision!

What Retirement Area are you Interested in?

Let Anne Rossley put you in touch with the best real estate agent – wherever that is!

Find professionals to answer your questions about local amenities, housing options, and lifestyle…

Anne Rossley, CRB, CRS, SRES
Baird & Warner
Anne is a Senior Real Estate Specialist who loves helping 50+ buyers and sellers!

Dave Bernard’s article

The Villa – Chicago Historic District in Irving Park

The Villa Historic District is one of my favorite Chicago Landmark neighborhoods – located in the Irving Park community, with easy access to I-90/94, it’s a reasonably priced group of houses on wide lots and boulevards.

Select this link avers and addison - The Villa

to Tour

Homes for Sale and Sold

over the last two years


Spring is a great time to take photos, and I was able to get some early morning photos during the first week of May.

Here’s the slide show – enjoy!

New Home Listed for Sale

in the Villa Historic District!

3625 N Springfield-The Villa

Call today for showings at 3625 N Springfield

 HsnStreetClosed DateList PriceSold PriceDaysRMSBRBAASFLot
CLSD3655Avers10/4/11$350,000$290,0002481272.1250050 X 114
CLSD3647Harding12/10/12$450,000$465,0005732.1050 X 120
CLSD3633Springfield8/23/11$475,000$408,000331242300075 X 125
CLSD3643Harding12/19/11$350,000$320,00060732.1050 X 103

Real Estate Photos – More Showings, Higher Prices



What do Buyers want to see in an ONLINE LISTING?

Photos   Photos    Photos!

what buyers want to see in an online listing


This research is exactly why I hire the best professional photographer to capture your home.

This photo session ONLY occurs after we have staged the home, getting rid of clutter, cleaning, and moving the furnishings to show off the home’s best features.

The photographer needs to come at the right time of the day – not noon. The best time is when the sun is on the front door of the house.

I often have the photographer come twice – day AND night – to show off the house at various times fo the day.

Here are examples of some bad real estate photos on the MLS today – April 27, 2013

To find out how you can get the best photographs taken of your listing, contact

Anne Rossley

Baird & Warner



Wildlife in Chicago – Your Other Neighbors


Nextdoor Online communityI’m a member of NextDoor, that great neighborhood website where residents nearby can raise questions to their trusted neighbors and get important answers. Usually, someone is announcing online that they’ve moved into the neighborhood, and we all welcome them. Other times, someone asks for referrals for a cleaning person, window washer, landscaper, or babysitter.

Tonight, a new neighbor asked about wildlife. It was an amusing exchange, and the conversation offers great insights into what a Chicagoan can expect to see in a neighborhood outside the Gold Coast/South Loop – type interior neighborhoods. I’m in Edgewater – and except for mentioning rats or the recent coyote sighting, this conversation will help you prepare to live outside of a Chicago high-rise building:

 22 Apr From the New Neighbor:

This is our second Spring in this neighborhood. Last night, there was a large Possum in our backyard and then tonight two LARGE raccoons passing through our backyard. Is this normal? What city deparment should I call? And will they do anything about it? Any advice out there?

Neighbor #1:
This time of year as it is lighter later, you will see what has been sneaking in the winter darkness!
Neighbor #2:  Possums and raccoons are the main two animals you will see in the neighborhood. Two years ago, we had a possum going through our back yard on a regular basis and a couple of times our little dog faced it while doing her things in the back yard. We called an exterminator who quickly caught a possum, but we were never sure if it was the same one or not because we saw another one (or the same one) two weeks later. We just gave up, since it has never been out of control. This is unfortunately one of the downsides of living in a neighborhood with large back yards and lots of trees. Wild animals like it too!
Neighbor # 3:
We’ve lived here for 15 years. It is entirely normal to see possums and raccoons in the hood. The first couple of years we had a family of raccoons living in the cottonwood tree between us and the neighbor’s house. We regularly have possums traipse thru the yard. There’s nothing that can be done about it and nothing should be done either. It’s the normal fauna that goes with the territory. On the other hand, we have an inordinate number of squirrels that regularly dig up our yard in the spring. To prevent them from digging up freshly planted flowers, bulbs and other items I use a live animal trap, take them to the Radio Shack parking lot, and let them go there. It’s a constant battle, which I’ll never win. But it’s better than having our entire yard turned into a gopher field!
More from Neighbor #3 Oh, we sometimes have rabbits in the early morning as well. Plus, there are a large number of feral cats here. I’ve never lived in any city where there weren’t feral cats. They keep the rat population down. There’s one other thing you should be aware of. If you’re walking the sidewalks in the hood and you come across the freshly cleaned carcass of a pigeon or other bird, be aware that its from falcons. Once a year a family of them also occupying the cottonwood tree. They stay as long as their food source is plentiful, then they move on.
From New Neighbor:  Thank you everyone for your input. Knowing these creatures usually hang around makes me feel a little better. I have also learned that I should expect to see Falcons, feral cats and maybe a deer or two if I am lucky ;). Even though I grew up in the country in Michigan with creatures — these give me the willies!
Chicago WildlifeFrom Neighbor #4, past president of the neighbors association:  Opossum are calm and clean creatures, and although unattractive, tend to cause little harm. They do not carry rabies and will literally “play possum” when they feel threatened.Raccoons, while cute and cuddly looking, are a whole different story: they can transmit rabies, roundworm, and leptospirosis; they will attack pets if they feel provoked; they can cause severe damage to your property.Raccoons raise their young babies in trees, rooflines, or garages. After several months they move to a ground location and spend almost a year living together as a family. This is where they can become dangerous for you and your pet. Roundworm is transmitted through their poop, which can be inhaled when it dries.Raccoons are very territorial. It is estimated that up to 50 can live on a city block and they will not venture beyond a few blocks during their lifetime. At one time the city had funds to help with their removal, but those resources have been cut. If they are a nuisance on your property, you must contact a private company to have them removed. Because they carry rabies and roundworm, the state of Illinois requires that they be euthanized.Since these animals are among us, it’s best that they don’t take up residence on your property, and you can help prevent that by sealing access to your garage and underneath your deck or porch. Keep in mind that raccoons can crawl into very, very, very small spaces.There is a ton of information on the internet and these are just a few of the highlights, but the bottom line is that you don’t want them living anywhere near your property especially if you have pets or children.

Are you in a neighborhood that offers NextDoor? If not, I encourage you to start your own community by selecting this link. It’s a closed group opportunity that allows you to share important information, build a community, and Live Well in Chicago!

I want to give a “Shout Out” to Kate Welborn of my neighborhood, who started our NextDoor group. It’s a great service to all of us, and I’m so glad I have her as one of my neighbors!

Before I moved to Chicago, I thought it was an enormous anonymous city. Wow, was I wrong!

The communities of this city are vibrant, strong, and personal. It’s more of a small town than I ever dreamed, and I’m blessed to live in one of the greatest neighborhoods in Chicago!

(And …  I’ve never minded our wildlife — it’s just fine!)

Links and Resources:

Chicago Animal Control and Rescue

Chicago Wildlife- Chicago Forest Preserve Article

Chicago Historic Landmark – The Bedford

The Bedford

Chicago’s historic landmark – the Bedford Restaurant and Bar was on my “To Do” list —

It’s a restaurant and bar in Wicker Park – a renovated 1925 bank  that I discovered while reading the spring issue of Preservation Magazine.

Chicago Historic Landmark-the Bedford

The developers salvaged and incorporated countless elements of the original building, creating a striking decor:

  • black marble from the teller counters
  • the bank’s vault
  • banking tables
  • nickel-plated safe deposit boxes
  • copper-faced boxes inside the vault
  • glorious crown moldings
  • and more!

Chicago Historic Landmark - the Bedford

I tried the “Dark and Stormier” cocktail, although I was tempted by the “Cucumber Cooler”.  We noshed on mussels and oysters – yum! Then, instead of choosing one of the entrees, we instead chose to linger over the charcuterie and cheese trays.

It was a wonderful night in a charming historic venue. I definitely recommend you give it a whirl!




Staging your Home or Spring Cleaning? What to Do with Extra Stuff …


Staging your Homes means clearing out, organizing, de-cluttering…

Steps to Organizing your Stuff

Organizing experts say to put each item into one of 4 categories:

  1. Keep and Use
  2. Save in an Organized Place (where you can readily access it!)
  3. Donate
  4. Trash — Throw it Away!

When I’m cleaning my home in the spring, after Christmas, and when certain VIP guests are arriving, I think of my cleaning as Staging My Home for Sale. I guess it’s an occupational hazard. I know, though, that we all love our homes the most when they’re presented well – Spring Cleaning just feels the same as Staging my House for Sale.

With this fabulous Chicago spring weather today, I found the Houzz article timely – it reminds me that other options exist:

Donate to Jones College Prep’s White Elephant SaleStaging your Home-Have a Garage Sale

(Select this link to learn more)


Have a Garage Sale!

14 Ways to Make More Money at a Yard Sale — and Have Fun Too

Annual Garage Sales

The Villa Historic District Garage Sale is in June

Lakewood Balmoral Historic District Garage Sale is the Saturday after Labor Day

What other annual sales do you know about?

Post a comment to tell us when your neighborhood garage sale will take place;

If it’s an annual event, tell me that, too, so I can start keeping track on the resource page

Happy Chicago Spring!


Chicago 2 Flats – 3623 N Ashland Ave

The initial response to my new Chicago 2-flat listing at 3623 N Ashland has been fantastic!

How do I measure the Initial Response?

Showing Appointments in the First Weekend

All real estate 3623 N Ashland-Chicago 2 flat in Lakeviewagents know that the first 3 weeks are critical to selling a property. Most of the showings occur during this time. Why is this? Anyone who’s been looking for a new home is watching new properties come on the market. That pool of buyers will inevitably find the new listing and, if interested, schedule a showing right away. After 3 weeks, showings are with NEW buyers. Often these new buyers are just educating themselves to the market, and aren’t necessarily READY TO BUY.

We had 6 showing appointments today at 3623 N Ashland!

Real Estate Agent Responses

Listing agents can track which buyers’ agents email listing information to their clients — IF the agents email directly from the MLS service. When the agent emails a link to a web address (url),then their correspondence obviously won’t be included in the Reverse Prospecting.

In the first 24 hours, 464 real estate agents have emailed information to their clients. Of these, 7 have responded to their agents as “INTERESTED.”

Viewings on Real Estate Feeds

Agents can see the “hits”, “views” and “click-throughs” on Feeds such as Trulia, Homefinder, VHT, and others. “Hits” are when the information comes up in a search, while “views” or click-throughs” are instances where the viewer clicks on your property to get more information, see photos, etc.

In the first 24 hours, Trulia alone reported that 3623 Ashland had 162 hits and 16 property views.

It’s just the first day —

I don’t think however, that this property will last long – it’s a solid investment for some lucky home buyer!

Links and Resources:

Search Chicago Real Estate Properties for saleSearch Chicago 2-Flats


Select this link to see 2-4 Flats for Sale in Chicago’s Lakeview Neighborhood

North Center

Select this link to see 2-4 Flats in Chicago’s North Center Neighborhood

Lincoln Square

Select this link to see 2 – 4 Flats for Sale in Chicago’s Lincoln Square Neighborhood


Select this link to see 2 – 4 flats for Sale in Chicago’s Edgewater Neighborhood


Select this link to see 2-4 Flats for Sale in Chicago’s Uptown Neigborhood


To see 3623 N Ashland, or to learn more about multi-units as an alternative to condos in Chicago, contact
Anne Rossley
Baird & Warner

“The Villa” – Chicago’s Secret Historic Neighborhood Treasure


“The Villa” – a pocket of homes built in the early 1900’s – is one of Chicago’s historic neighborhood treasures.

The neighborhood is a small section within the Irving Park Community (named after writer Washington Irving), and is bounded by Addison, Hamlin, Avondale, and Pulaski. Haentze and Wheeler developed the neighborhood, building the first home in 1907. They named the community “The Villa”, asserting, “A home in a park can be made a reality by purchasing in ‘The Villa.’ ” They promoted it as the “most beautiful, attractive and artistic home spot in the City of Chicago today.”*

Between 1907 and 1925, Prairie and Craftsman-style homes were built in The Villa, with overhanging porches and slightly sloping gable roofs. Lots are usually 50′ wide, providing lots of landscape and separation between homes. There are 2 boulevards in the neighborhood – Avers and Harding – these make the neighborhood feel even more open and welcoming.

Location of The Villa

View The Villa in a larger map

The Villa’s incredibly well-located- jump on the Kennedy and you can get where you need to be in 10-15 minutes – downtown, O’Hare, the North Shore…. there’s great shopping nearby, too!

The Villa’s and History Historic Designations

The neighborhood association, The Villa Improvement League, has achieved success in maintaining the integrity of the community, gaining acceptance in the National Register of Historic Places and attaining Chicago Landmark Status. The book, Villa – 90th Anniversary Book, published in 1997, is an absolutely stunning compilation of this neighborhood and its history. Compiled by the Villa Historic Committee, it includes information on all the homes, the history of the neighborhood, the developers, the architects, and how The Villa attained its historic designations.

For those who love history and bungalows, the book and the neighborhood are very exciting. Kudos to all residents in the neighborhood for supporting the Historic Committee’s efforts, but particularly to Roy Diez, Darcie Wadycki, Carol Brice, Gene Hartmann, Kin Waldack, and Wally Wadycki for creating this irreplaceable tome.

Recent Home Sales in The Villa

3637 N Avers - California Bungalow in The Villa3637 N Avers


3663 N Avers - The Villa

3663 N Avers


3647 N Harding - The Villa

3647 N Harding

$ 465,000

As of April 1, there are no homes for sale in The Villa.

If you’d like to get alerts when homes become available, select this link.

chicago real estate Anne Rossley Baird & Warner
Anne Rossley, CRB, CRS
Baird & Warner


* Information about the neighborhood is based on The Villa 1907-1997



3623 N Ashland – Lakeview 2 Flat For Sale

3623 N Ashland

Lakeview Brick Two Flat


3623 Exterior 1April2013 web

Great opportunity to own a 2-flat in Lakeview!

Each of the 2 bedroom units has 2 bedrooms, hardwood floors, separate heat/air, and enclosed rear porches.

The full basement includes washer and dryer for laundry, and the detached 2 car garage provides additional income.

The property will be listed in the MLS beginning April 5, 2013.

For an appointment, please call Anne Rossley, Baird & Warner.

Anne Rossley
Baird & Warner

Pin It on Pinterest