Cook County Seniors’ Property Tax Exemption Deadline Extended

Seniors who own property in Cook County have until March 22 to apply for their annual property tax exemptions. Unlike the homeowners’ exemption, seniors must apply each year.  The senior property tax exemption automatically qualifies a property owner for the homeowners’ exemption.

Cook County Assessor Berrios announced that applications are down this year, and an extension may allow more more homeowners to participate.

The Senior Citizen Exemption provides tax relief by reducing the equalized assessed valuation of an eligible residence. To qualify for the Senior Citizen Exemption for the taxable year 2010, the property owner must have:

  • Been born prior to or in the year 1945,
  • owned the property, or have a lease or contract which makes them responsible for the real estate taxes, and
  • Used the property as a principal place of residence.
  • The Senior Citizen Exemption application does not need to be notarized.

Seniors who are on limited incomes may also qualify for a property tax freeze.  To qualify for the Senior Freeze Exemption for the taxable year 2010 taxpayers must have:

  • Been born prior to or in the year 1945,
  • A total household income of $55,000 or less for income tax year 2009,
  • Owned the property or had a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2009 and January 1, 2010,
  • Used the property as a principal place of residence as of January 1, 2009 and January 1, 2010, and
  • Been liable for the payment of 2009 and 2010 property taxes.

The Senior Freeze Exemption must be notarized.

Download your forms here:

Homeowners and Seniors Exemption Form

Senior Freeze Exemption Form

If you should have received an exemption in the past, you can file a certificate of error.  Download this form and send it in to the Assessor’s Office.

Market Shifts call for Boomers to Assess and Take Action Where Possible

In a great article published yesterday by RISMedia, the confluence of demographics, recession, and changes in personal priorities were analyzed to predict where the real estate market will be going in the near future….

It’s a macro view, and while the conclusions aren’t earth-shattering, it drills down to some very key “take-aways” and opportunities for readers to take advantage……

1.  Baby boomers are continuing to work – not retiring – as their retirement plans (and portfolios) were slammed by the recession.

2.  These aging baby boomers aren’t selling their homes and downsizing quite yet — not only are they still working –  they’re healthier today than ever, and they may be underwater or waiting for the real estate market to rebound.

3.  When they move, they want to move away from the suburbs to an urban, mixed use, mixed age environment, but may be faced with difficulty finding reasonably priced housing in these urban areas.

With all this in mind, it makes sense that you should …


Do a full analysis of your real estate situation now.  You may NOT be underwater, and maybe it’s better to act instead of waiting for some far off real estate rebound. What’s your current home value?  What do anticipate it will be in 5-10 years (or when you’re ready to sell)?  With the equity in your home now, is it better to sell today, knowing your value and the current situation or is it better to hold on for 5-10 years?


Boomers should take advantage of today’s soft prices and great interest rates – find your retirement/second home property –preferably a distressed bargain — NOW (whether in the city or in a warmer climate).  Ten years from now, you will look back and see that this was the best time in your life to snap up real estate.

Take Advantage

Consider buying a small condo for your young adult child now, taking advantage of rates and soft prices. Or, if the job is stable and the future is bright – maybe you can help him/her get started on the road to home ownership.  FHA loans are considered to be one of the best loan options now, and down payment “gifts” make home ownership possible and potentially a better choice than renting.

When you’re ready to assess your situation, let me know.  I can provide:

Market Analysis of your home – it’s current value — either a quick emailed version (select this link for an example) or a thorough sit down discussion, depending on your needs

Market Trends for your City/Neighborhood – for Chicago and Suburbs, I have market trends (select this link for one example) which will help you look at where the market is and where it is likely to go

Relationships outside Chicagoland – for market analysis/trends outside our area, let me put you in touch with someone who is equally capable of giving wise counsel.  As a member of the Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES) and Certified Residential Specialists (CRS) the quality of my network is unparalleled.

Information on second home opportunities – looking for a great buy?  I love to hunt for real estate bargains for my clients!  Let’s discuss what kind of situation would make you interested in buying, and I’ll get to work on your behalf.  It may not be available today, but we can set up alerts and searches so we’re ready to take advantage when the opportunity presents itself.

Call (773) 620-5333 or email today!

Lakewood Balmoral Real Estate Update

There are still only 2 homes for sale in Lakewood Balmoral — 5344 N Lakewood and 5511 N Lakewood.

Last year, 10 homes closed in the  Lakewood Balmoral neighborhood.  For prices and information, select the property links or see the chart below.

A complete market analysis of Lakewood Balmoral can be downloaded by selecting this link.

Lakewood Balmoral Historic District is part of the Andersonville neighborhood, located in the Edgewater Community of Chicago.  It’s been named one of Chicago’s 20 best neighborhoods, and is noted for wide lots, historic homes, and gracious living just a few short blocks from Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive.

For information on homes for sale and homes sold in Lakewood Balmoral, contact Anne Rossley at Prudential Rubloff.  Anne has lived and sold in this terrific neighborhood for over 12 years.

Status HSN Street List/Sales $ RMS BR BA
ACTV 5344 Lakewood $1,050,000 9 5 3
ACTV 5511 Lakewood $1,575,000 13 5 3
CLSD 5537 Magnolia $527,900 10 4 2
CLSD 5323 Wayne $533,000 14 7 2
CLSD 5210 Magnolia $757,500 9 4 2
CLSD 5253 Lakewood $785,000 12 5 2
CLSD 5418 Magnolia $810,000 12 6 2
CLSD 5400 Lakewood $817,000 15 7 6
CLSD 5407 Lakewood $835,000 12 3 3
CLSD 5312 Magnolia $900,000 14 6 3
CLSD 5255 Lakewood $1,026,000 12 4 3

Lakewood Balmoral Real Estate Update

It’s quiet on the Lakewood Balmoral real estate front….

Only 2 homes are currently for sale, including David Kirk’s spec home at 5511 N Lakewood.  The price is the same, but now it’s nearly finished – you can now admire the fine detail he’s put into the 2-flat gut rehab.

5255 N Lakewood sold over list price , demonstrating again that homes priced well will sell quickly and at a higher price.

See these homes by selecting Anne Rossley’s Lakewood Balmoral real estate home tour.

ACTV 5344 LAKEWOOD $1,050,000 5 3.2
ACTV 5511 LAKEWOOD $1,575,000 5 3.1
CLSD 5418 MAGNOLIA $810,000 6 2
CLSD 5407 LAKEWOOD $835,000 3 3
CLSD 5255 LAKEWOOD $1,026,000 4 3
PEND 5210 MAGNOLIA $799,900 4 2.1

In general, the Lakewood Balmoral Historic District is the best bargain in Chicago.  Named one of Chicago’s Best Neighborhoods by Chicago Magazine, few realize how quickly they can walk to the lake and commute to the city, what a difference an extra-wide lot means to floor plans and daily living, nor what an incredible sense of community and connection one can feel while living in the city. All this at a comparatively low price!

Chicago Christmas Tree Recycling

Recycle your Chicago Christmas Tree and enjoy your free mulch!

This year,the  Chicago Park District again offers to recycle your tree and give free mulch!  See the Chicago Tree Recycling Brochure to find the nearest location to your home.  Just bring your tree in before January 17, and you can pick up your bag of mulch as early as January 7.  There are 22 Chicago park locations including:

Margate Park (4921 N Marine Dr)

Lincoln Park (Cannon at Fullerton)

Warren Park (6601 N Western Ave)

Cedar Roping Donations

Have cedar roping you’d like to donate?  I have an acquaintance who is interested in taking your cedar roping to be used in Native American ceremonies.  Stan will come to your home and take the roping down (minus any lights, of course!).  He will then take the greenery away.  You can save the labor and know that you’re supporting local Native Americans.  Contact Anne Rossley at Prudential Rubloff  if you have cedar you’d like Stan to collect.

For more information about tree recycling, call 311 or visit Chicago Recycles.

Chicago recycles household chemicals and waste at a drop off site – 1150 N Branch(see map) – on the first Saturday of each month.  You can also stop by on Tuesdays and Thursdays during special hours.  Need to get rid of lead, mercury, and PCBs?  This is the spot!  More information is found on the Chicago Recycles Website.

Ready to think about next year’s holiday decorations?  click on the photo below…

East Ravenswood Real Estate Update

In the last 6 months, only 2 single family homes have sold in East Ravenswood:

1764 W Cullom – $ 600,000

4333 N Hermitage – $ 620,000

These were great buys – a fantastic way for  buyers to get into the neighborhood.  They’re not, however, representative of the architecture and variety of homes available in the neighborhood.

Currently, there are 9 homes for sale in East Ravenswood, ranging in price from $ 569,000 to $ 1,750,000.  By selecting this link, you can view more information about homes for sale as of December 11.

To see these, or any other properties for sale in the East Ravenswood neighborhood, contact Anne Rossley at Prudential Rubloff.

East Ravenswood, located between Irving Park and Lawrence (4000 – 4800 North)  and between Ashland Avenue and Ravenswood (1600-1800 West), is a great little pocket of historic homes on deep lots.    Many homes are historic rehabs, while others are new.

As an historic district, homeowners can qualify for property tax savings by doing improvements to their homes.  To learn more about how to save on property taxes in your historic home, contact Anne Rossley today!

Graceland West Real Estate Update

Real Estate Update for Graceland West –

While no homes have closed in the last 2 months, two are now under contract.

To learn more about these homes for sale in Graceland West, click on each address listed.

Stat Street # Str Name BR BA $ MT
ACTV 1472 BELLE PLAINE 4 2 $624,000 183
ACTV 1519 BERTEAU 5 3 $949,000 56
ACTV 4352 GREENVIEW 4 3.1 $1,190,000 211
ACTV 1448 BELLE PLAINE 5 4.2 $1,689,000 336
ACTV 1446 BELLE PLAINE 5 4.2 $1,689,000 169
ACTV 1413 WARNER 5 4.1 $1,749,999 126
PEND 4045 GREENVIEW 6 2.1 $889,000 56
PEND 1454 WARNER 6 5.2 $2,888,000 278

4045 N Greenview is an estate sale on a 45 x 161′ lot – it was sold “as is” and went under contract in 56 days.

1454 Berteau is an altogether different property.  Built in 2010, this home was listed for $ 2,888,000 before going under contract.  Realtor comments included “$ 460,000 price reduction”, agent bonus of California vacation including air fare to buyer, and builder “selling at cost.”  The home was originally listed in April, 2009 at $ 3, 389,000 and went under contract 11/6/2010.

Other luxury homes that have sold in Graceland West:

1442 W Berteau – $3,443,296   March, 2009

4216 N Greenview – $ 2,850,000     June, 2006

1437 W Warner – $2,560,000     December, 2008

1442 W Berteau

Graceland West is a mix of historic vintage rehabs and new construction homes  — some on very large city lots.  This small neighborhood sits just west of Graceland Cemetery and is a couple blocks away from the Southport Corridor retail area.

To see homes for sale in Graceland West, please call Anne Rossley at Prudential Rubloff.

Lakewood Balmoral Halloween

It was another great year for Halloween in Lakewood Balmoral!   Maybe it was a little cold, but the rain stayed away and one neighbor reported handing out over 1500 pieces of candy!

We seem to be more and more popular as a Trick or Treat destination, and Chicago Block by Block featured us this year-thanks to Lisa for the great press!

I am always torn, however – part of me wants to walk the neighborhood, camera in hand, to capture the magic.  To do that, though, I need to hire someone to keep Tom company.  It’s too hard to man the door by oneself – the trick or treaters come so quickly and continuously between 4:30 and 7:30 that one can hardly take a sip of wine, let alone take a break.  This year Terri and Jacob helped man the door, and we’re grateful for their company.

It’s the second year we haven’t gone overboard decorating, and I’m ambivalent about that, too.  I miss the decorating, the kids gawking, the toddlers crying (mostly when they see Tom!) and the fake car accident in our front yard (complete with skeletons, fog, and “Stayin’ Alive” on the CD player).  One man told us that he drove 30 miles to see our house, only to find our home naked (and newly painted – not even creepy gray!)

I admit I was inspired all over again by Charles and Lawrence, who are absolutely terrific and a neighborhood must-see.  Patrick is always a spectacle, and he was so handsome as a flying pig!  Betsy’s witch on the dust porch is an annual favorite, and I get such a kick out of spectators’ confusion.  Maybe next year I’ll decorate again….

DAR Good Citizens Award

Chicago High School Seniors – it’s time to honor your Good Citizens!

As the chair for this year’s NDSDAR Good Citizens Award in Chicago, I welcome all Chicago High School counselors to to participate in our Good Citizens program:

Honor your school’s senior who best exemplifies the character of a Good Citizen*

Your school can implement any selection method that you like – most often, the faculty chooses 3 seniors, and the senior class votes to select the winner.  Winners receive a pin, certificate, and wallet recognition card.  They are also eligible to participate in the scholarship contest (part 2). Winners need not be American Citizens to be honored or to participate in the essay contest.

The DAR Good Citizens Award is nationally recognized, and is a prized addition to one’s college application and resume.

Offer a fantastic oppportunity for scholarships and recognition for future education

The Chicago Chapter, NSDAR offers a $1000 scholarship for the winner of our local essay contest.  Students write an essay (2 hour limit, one sitting, no references) and this, along with their personal information, is evaluated by non-DAR judges.

Our winner will also be eligible for prizes at the regional, state, and national levels.

What is a DAR Good Citizen?

The following qualities should be considered when choosing a winner at each school, and each Good Citizen should possess these characteristics to an outstanding degree:

  • dependability – truthfulness, loyalty, punctuality
  • service – cooperation, courtesy, and consideration of others
  • leadership – personality, self-control, ability to assume responsibility
  • patriotism – unselfish interest in family, school, community, and nation

For more information, select the following links:

Good Citizen Program Overview

Good Citizen Scholarship Contest Instructions

Good Citizen Essay Contest Information

Student Cover Sheet

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