“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

Lakewood Balmoral Real Estate Update – March 2013

Lakewood Balmoral – the historic Andersonville historic district in Chicago’s Edgewater Community, has 3 properties for sale today — 2 are on Bryn Mawr. There’s only one for sale in the heart of the district – 5313 N Lakewood.
5313 lakewood - single family home for sale in historic Lakewood Balmoral

5313 N Lakewood


5224 n wayne lakewood balmoral

5224 N Wayne

Pending – $ 1,150,000

5316 n wayne - lakewood balmoral

5316 N Wayne

Sold – $985,000

Take a tour of these properties by selecting this link

see photos and get more information by checking out this virtual tour!

Lakewood Balmoral Virtual Tour March 2013

ACTV1244Bryn Mawr$1,049,00016243.1$10,624.00320026.5 X 139.5
ACTV1226Bryn Mawr$829,0003033.1$13,332.00319021X84
A/I1310Bryn Mawr$1,650,0003364.1$14,115.09085 X 125
CLSD5245Wayne11/16/12$500,000$465,00014041$9,942.42032 X 123
CLSD5345Magnolia1/13/13$899,900$845,00048754$12,731.69037.5 X 123
CLSD5316Wayne12/19/12$989,000$985,0004053.1$8,876.00037.5 X 123

For more information about this historic neighborhood, or to view properties for sale, contact Anne Rossley of Baird & Warner.

Search Properties in Lakewood BalmoralSelect this link and register to get home search alerts  – find out when a new listing is available in this neighborhood!

Links for and about Lakewood Balmoral

Anne Rossley, CRB, CRS, SRES
Baird & Warner


Chicago Spring – Street Cleaning Schedules are up!

Street Cleaning and Sweeping is about to begin!

The signs will be posted next week, as April 1 will be the first day for street cleaning in Chicago.

I just downloaded my ward’s map – each ward has a posted schedule and map to show boundaries – the 48th ward looks like this:

The boundaries and dates (below)                                        And the section map for the ward (below)

48th ward street sweeping schedule48th Ward Street Sweeping Map










All Chicago ward maps and schedules can be found on the Chicago webpage by selecting this link.

Chicago Street Sweeping Mobile App


Chicago street sweeping mobile appThere is also a mobile app for both iphones and android phones – I have downloaded it and I’ll be testing it out, but I have to say that on my first visit, I was given incorrect information.

I picked out an address in my neighborhood, and compared it to the schedules above. The mobile app tells me street cleaning will be on April 10/11 while the city has April 9/10 scheduled for the same location. Perhaps it’s just not up to date, since this ward map was just posted this week.

chicago street cleaning mobile app


Alas, I tried a location in the 42nd ward – the city has April 2/3 scheduled for Section 1 while the mobile app has April 3/4 planned. Again — mismatched dates!

It’s a great idea, and I had high hopes for using it…  For now, I recommend you download the maps from the city!

If in doubt, check with your alderman’s office for the latest information, or call 311.

Wishing you clean streets and a ticket – free 2013 in Chicago this year!

Anne Rossley, CRB, CRS, SRES
Baird & Warner

401 E Ontario – Chicago Condo Building of the Week

401 E Ontario is a terrific East Streeterville building, and I saw a terrific loft-like condo there last week that sold (twice) almost immediately.

The building was built in 1989, and 394 studios, 1,2, and 3 bedroom units are found on the 50 floors. It’s a full amenity building – get information on the amenities by selecting the links toward the bottom of this post.

It’s a gorgeous building in a fabulous location – views from units can be wonderful, however that wasn’t the point of this condo – it was the flexibility of space and high ceilings/windows that aren’t found in most Streeterville condos, combined with the beautiful finishes that make it a very special property.

This unit (note – it’s not my listing – I was representing the buyer) isn’t like most of the units in the building, but it enjoys the same amenities! My buyer passed on it, reluctantly, for personal reasons. We both loved it, though, and we aren’t surprised it was snapped up immediately.

Check out some of the photos here:

401 Ontario Streeterville condos

401 Ontario Streeterville condo for sale401 Ontario - Streeterville condos for sale


  • In this market, make sure you work with an agent who’s constantly on the prowl to find units that meet your needs.
  • Sign up for search alerts on agent websites so you have instant access to new listings the moment they become available.
  • Often, it’s not how much off the listing price that matters- it’s the value compared to other similar properties that have SOLD and how the property compares to your individual needs.
  • The appraisal must be high enough in price qualify for your loan, but that number isn’t derived from the listing price, either.

401 E Ontario Amenities:

Bike Storage
Club Room
Fitness Center, Sauna and Showers
June’s Dry Cleaning, Laundry and Package Service
Laundry Center
Other Retail Establishments In 401 East Ontario
Parking Garage
Storage Lockers
Sun Decks
Swimming Pool and Jacuzzi

Special Streeterville Condo Searches

Streeterville One Bedrooms for Sale – Select this link to find Streeterville 1 Bedrooms for sale TODAY!

Streeterville Two Bedrooms for Sale – Select this link to find Streeterville 2 Bedrooms for sale TODAY!

To have a special search created just for you, select this link and include your search parameters.

401 E Ontario Sales Analysis

Note:  some units include parking while others do not — check with your real estate agent or call Anne Rossley to get more information on sales at 401 E Ontario.
ACTV2503$275,000800$343.752/10/133011N E
NEW303$375,0001200$312.503/4/13211N S
NEW1309$434,9001200$362.423/2/13722N E
Pend4302$649,9001800$361.062/25/1314732S W
Pend3501$275,000900$305.562/17/131911N W
CLSD2403$219,000$208,00004/23/12711N W
CLSD2401$269,000$289,000875$330.296/1/1227611N W
CLSD601$235,000$241,250900$268.066/19/1231811N W
CLSD4202$649,000$615,0001800$341.678/17/1216232N W
CLSD2603$239,000$255,000800$318.759/12/121611N E
CLSD606$230,000$230,000010/8/1215111S E W
CLSD506$200,000$199,000700$284.2911/19/1219311S E W
CLSD3201$274,500$267,000900$296.6712/20/12711N W


Kitchen Renovation – Chicago Historic Homes

Kitchen renovation – it’s time for me to begin thinking of how I’m going to redo my kitchen.

Granted, it’s more of “making” a kitchen, since we currently live with one lower cabinet and assorted Metro shelving. There won’t be much to demolish!

I ran across this great guide by Houzz today — I’m going to start collecting ideas and visiting showrooms soon. This article has inspired me!


Our Foursquare is traditional 1908 – not exactly Craftsman – not MacIntosh –it’s considered “Transitional”, according to Thom Green of Greene & Proppe. Our highest priority is to make the kitchen as “historic” as the rest of the house, so it should include  traditional style – inset cabinets. We have to work within a 14 x 13′ space, so we’re limited in our options.

Cabinet Options


kitchens in chicago historic houses


The Southampton Kitchen with antique white stain looks more like a butler’s pantry – I’m a big fan of this one (forget the island – that’s NOT part of the look I’m going for!)




chicago historic home kitchen ideas


The Oak Park Cabinet is too stylized for us.





chicago historic properties kitchen renovations


I think the Craftsman kitchen is too stylized, too.





chicago historic homes-kitchen renovations


The traditional cabinet doesn’t look right, either.





Tom and I have been fans of this cabinet for a long time! We started our journey by touting the quartersawn cabinet, but I think it’s not “soft” enough for us.

chicago historic homes- kitchen renovations

These kitchens are just gorgeous!





chicago historic home-kennebec kitchen




The cherry cabinet just might be the way to go…



chicago historic homes - kitchen renovation ideas



I just love this Kennebec White Cabinet!






What’s your favorite historic kitchen renovation?

What cabinets are in your kitchen?


Best Places to Retire

retirement real estate- anne rossleyWhere are the best states for retirement?

As a Senior Real Estate Specialist (and over age 50), I’m always looking for recommendations on the best places to retire.

Find the best real estate agent in your future retirement localefind real estate agents in retirement locales


MoneyRates.com has published the following 10 states as the BEST for retirees:

Their criteria for choosing the best states for retirement?

  • Senior population growth – fastest growth in the 65+ age group, as measured by the federal census.
  • Economic conditions – cost of living, property taxes, and part-time work availability
  • Crime rate – violent and property crime rates
  • Climate – least variations from 68 degrees
  • Life expectancy – this includes quality of health care, environmental conditions, and other factors

10 Best States to Retire (2012)

1. Hawaii

More seniors over 65 than any other state, 2nd for consistently moderate temps, however, highest cost of living in the US.

2. Idaho

Low crime rate, good economy, 3rd in senior population growth.

3. Utah

Fast-growing senior population and good economy

4. Arizona

Life expectancy for 65-year-olds is third-highest in the nation and great weather, but higher crime rates.

5. Virginia

Low crime rate and high on every other criteria EXCEPT life expectancy.

6. Colorado

Fourth in senior population growth

7. (tie) Florida

First for climate and 2nd for life expectancy among seniors. The overall crime rate is among the highest in the nation.

7. (tie) New Mexico

Great climate but choose your location wisely-New Mexico’s overall crime rate is one of the 10 worst in the nation.

9. South Dakota

One of the highest average life expectancies in the nation, and the crime rate is also one of the lowest in the U.S.

10. (tie) California

Despite the state’s economic woes, the climate is spectacular and life expectancies are among the best in the nation.

10. (tie) Texas


Moneyrates.com also chose the WORST places to retire, and I’m chagrined to report that Illinois is among them.

I suppose it’s not a surprise – with the state of our economy, weather, and Chicago crime rates, I wouldn’t have expected us to be at the top.

I know, however, many friends and clients who have retirement homes here.

Maybe the answer is to find a way to enjoy a home in Chicago and a home in one of the top 10 states!

If you need a real estate agent in one of those states – call me! I have colleagues and resources all over the United States who can help you find your next great home!

Anne Rossley
Baird & Warner

Walk Score – choosing a home that’s close to what you love

Walk Score is the new scale by which home buyers calculate the closeness of amenities to their potential new property.

The scale, ranging from 0 – 100, ranks how easily you can conduct your life on foot:

90 – 100  Walker’s Paradise – daily errands do not require a car

70 – 89    Very Walkable – most errands can be accomplished on foot

50 – 69    Somewhat Walkable – some amenities within walking distance

25 – 49    Car-dependent – a few amenities within walking distance

0 – 24      Car-dependent – almost all errands require a car

The site (select this link) can be accessed on its own, or within listings you find while searching online. Walk Score gives Chicago a 74 – “VERY WALKABLE” — making it the 4th best city nationwide for walking.

My home scores an 86 — most errands can be accomplished on foot. It’s not the highest score, obviously, but it made me ask the question –

Is it possible to have too high a Walk Score?

After a quick search, I decided that for some, the answer could definitely be YES.

161 E Chicago webMy office is located at 737 N Michigan Avenue. If you’re not familiar with Chicago, let me paint a picture…

  • The Nieman Marcus Building/Olympia Centre condominiums…
  • Entrance on Chicago Ave – across the street from the famous historic Water Tower of Chicago.
  • Walgreens is on the corner, chic dining and shopping are steps away, and Northwestern Hospital is on the next block.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art is one block east.
  • Believe it or not, a track, softball field, and tennis courts are a block and a half!
  • And yes — Lake Michigan is a mere 3 blocks east of us.

Thanks to Zol87 on Flickr for the great photo!


Here’s the Google map – click on this link to see the Walk Score map:

View Larger Map

Yes- I could live in Olympia Centre or 777 N Michigan Avenue. I could brag about my 98 Walk Score, finding food, clothing, prescriptions, and anything I can imagine within a few yards of my doorman’s station.

When my kids are out of the house, and my arthritis makes cleaning this 3-story balloon-frame dustbowl more than I can bear, then trust me — I’m cashing in for the 98 walk score.

Dewey MBUntil then, though, I’ll keep my 86 Walk Score.  I’ll enjoy the Clark Street retail – Andersonville shops,  and Dewey and I’ll walk the Bryn Mawr/lakefront loop.

I enjoy the thrill of driving south on Lake Shore Drive with the city skyline beckoning me to my office.

winter park colorado skiing

Your walk score is a number – something to be considered but not coveted. My brother in Colorado wouldn’t trade his 42 Walk Score in Winter Park for anything!

We all have our own definition of “Living Well in …..  “

Don’t you agree?!


Chicago Investment Property

Chicago multi-units – 2-4 flats … 6-flats … so many options for investing in real estate these days!

I helped out a colleague yesterday – while she’s recovering from back surgery, I showed 2 listings to her client.

I was tickled by the first one – I had actually showed this 6-flat near the United Center several years ago to a buyer. He didn’t buy it then, but someone else did. Now it’s on the market again!

chicago investment property near united center

When I saw it in 2007, it as listed for $850,000. My buyer passed on it, but some lucky soul picked it up for $ 450,000.

It was listed again in 2009, starting at $ 920K. It was then reduced to $770,000 before someone bought it for $ 730,000.

Today’s it’s listed for $799,000, and it’s been for sale for 60 days so far.

There are 6 units in the building, generating $71,546 per year in revenue. A boiler provides heat to the units —  after expenses the net income per year is approximately $44K. Currently. no income is derived from parking – the garages are boarded up and provide additional income opportunities.

The building is near I-290 and the Blue Line, and it’s in the shadow of the United Center.

I’m going to be keeping my eye on this one!



Reasons to Stay in Chicago and NOT move to the Suburbs

Chicago Schools – Can we live in the city or must we leave for the suburbs?

This is  the time of year when young Chicago parents are worried about whether junior will get in to a gifted program, a magnet school, a selective enrollment high school….

Chicago Schools Status

jones outsideSelective Enrollment/IB Notifications go out around 2/18
Elementary magnet and cluster school notifications will be mailed during the week of March 18

Everywhere in Chicago, potential buyers ask …

Should I  leave Chicago and Move to the Suburbs?

What should I consider as I think about city vs suburbs?

First, take a tour of these homes, currently for sale in the Chicago Multiple Listing Service and see if they are appealing.

Then, consider the financial and time cost, as well as the quality of life aspects of leaving Chicago for the suburbs:

1.  Real Total Cost of Home Ownership

Suburban Property Taxes are usually higher than city homes of comparable cost. For example, Wilmette homes (in the $600’s) report property taxes of $8.1K – $18.7K/yr vs comparably priced Chicago homes —  $5.5K – $11.1K.

Your REAL home cost for that $600K property may be $200/month higher in the suburbs!

2.  Commuting – Money and Time Drain


30 minutes more each way – 48 weeks per year – 240 hours lost!

Financial Cost

GAS — $120 per month+

  • 30 more miles per day x (5 days a week) -x (48 weeks per year) = 7200 more miles/year
  • 20 mpg means 360 more gallons per year and @ #4 per gallon you’ll spend
  • $120 more per month ($1440 per year)
  • This doesn’t include additional costs for car maintenance and depreciation due to miles driven

City Parking

If you switch from CTA to driving, you need to put your car somewhere. How much would you have to pay to park?

$200? $300? $460?

Commuter Train Issues – Flexibility and Financial Cost

Giving up flexibility to follow a CTA schedule is a challenge for some. Would you walk to the suburban train station or do you need to wait for years to get a parking lot permit? How much does it cost to park in the train’s lot? This doesn’t include, of course, the cost of the tickets themselves (from Naperville-59 to the city, the monthly rate is over $100), an this doesn’t include transit to the station nor parking.

3.  Quality of Life

Time away from Loved Ones

240 Hours+ per year just in commuting (see above)

Stress Level and Lifestyle

Do you get stressed in traffic jams? Is independence of schedule important?

Productivity – how important is your time? What could you do with the 240+ extra hours of commuting time?

Do you enjoy gathering with co-workers? Living far from work makes social flexibility difficult.

Benefits of raising children in the city – diversity, culture, education. I’ll write more of these in my next “Parenting in Chicago” post. This topic is worth a whole article (I’m very PRO-city for children!)


Don’t get me wrong – suburban living has it’s merits. I have many friends who are currently there, too. Many, though, are plotting their return. Others wonder why they didn’t consider staying in the city in the first place.

Whatever your choice, be sure to consider all the angles.

If you are interested in talking more about

  • The Chicago School Application Process,
  • Finding homes in Chicago Neighborhood Schools Districts,
  • Taking a tour of homes in the city and the suburbs to compare, or
  • Learning more about raising kids in the city —

Chicago Real Estate - Anne Rossley of Baird & Warner

Call me!  I have 15 years experience navigating the Chicago private and public school systems – I would be delighted to be a resource for you!

chicago real estate Anne Rossley Baird & Warner
Anne Rossley
Baird & Warner







*homes in Lakeview, Lincoln Square, Uptown, Edgewater

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