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.
My 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.
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.
Until 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.
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 ….. “
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!
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.
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!
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
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 —
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!
Anne RossleyBaird & Warner773-620-5333Anne@Rossley.com
*homes in Lakeview, Lincoln Square, Uptown, Edgewater
Two people have died, and 2 others are hospitalized this morning, apparently due to carbon monoxide poisoning, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Chicago CO Ordinance
Chicago requires that all homes and apartment buildings have working carbon monoxide detectors (see city page with details), and on all my home inspections, we look to make sure they’re installed and in working order.
In 2007, Illinois passed the Carbon Monoxide Law:
Effective January 1, 2007, every Illinois home is required to have at least one carbon monoxide alarm in an operating condition within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes. Homes that do not rely on the burning of fuel for heat, ventilation or hot water; are not connected to a garage; and are not near a source of carbon monoxide (as determined by the local building commissioner) are not required to install carbon monoxide detectors. (Public Act 94-741)
Causes of CO Poisoning
According to the University of Chicago, non-vented heaters using kerosene or gas are the most common cause of carbon monoxide deaths. Other potential causes include:
malfunctioning cooking appliances
malfunctioning water heater
malfunctioning oil, wood, gas or coal furnaces
malfunctioning gas clothes dryer
wood burning fireplace, decorative fireplace, gas log burner, or any unvented space heater
appliances in cabins or campers, barbecue grills, lack of adequate ventilation, pool/spa heaters, ceiling-mounted heating units
Most of the deaths occur in winter.
Preventing CO Poisoning
By implementing routine home care procedures, we can all protect ourselves against carbon monoxide.
1. Check your carbon monoxide detectors today! If they’re not working, check the batteries, and get new ones if necessary.
2. Clean out your clothes dryer
3. Get your chimney cleaned
4. Do not use space heaters unless they’re properly vented.
5. Have annual check-ups for your boiler, furnace, hot water heaters.
The Illinois Dept of Health has other great suggestions for staying safe (see their article). Make it a habit to check your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors every spring and fall when we switch back and forth from Daylight Savings Time. Why then? No particular reason – it’s just a good habit to have!
Seniors, like all of us, need to be prepared for disasters. In Chicago, we’re not as concerned with hurricanes, tornadoes (to a lesser extent!), but storms with their accompanying flash floods and power outages are of great concern. In addition, today is COLD (!) and we should all be ready for the problems that extremely cold weather creates.
The Red Cross has mobile apps (some for Android and Iphones, some only in Itunes format) for first aid, shelter, fire, earthquake, and hurricane…
Click on the photo below, or go to Itunes or GooglePlay stores to download….
Chicago is on the cutting edge of technology, and this winter, I expect that the ChicagoShovels.org website will help neighbors – not only Chicago Seniors – but all Chicagoans have a safe and secure winter season.
Please view the video below to find out
How to track the Chicago snow plows,
Claim a sidewalk to shovel,
Find your car if it was towed for snow plows, and
Volunteer to shovel a sidewalk for a Chicagoan in need
There are several opportunities in Chicago for Seniors to get benefits and be prepared. Below is a map of Chicago Senior Centers.
Click on the map and then the location for more information:
Find what streets have overnight parking restrictions and are on the 2″ snow route
Was your car towed because of snow? Find it by using this app!
Next week: We’ll discuss Walk Scores in Chicago and how these can be used to choose your next home!
No matter what size your home is, being stuck inside all winter can make anyone claustrophobic. While this isn’t the best time of year to build room additions, there are simple steps you can take to make any space seem larger.Do use mirrors. The best and least expensive way to make smaller rooms appear bigger is to decorate walls with mirrors. Choose locations where the mirror will reflect the light back into the room to add warmth and depth.
Home Staging Tip #1: Don’t neglect lighting.
Lighting is crucial when it comes to opening your space. Maximize any natural light available by getting rid of heavy draperies. Add more lamps at varying levels to give the room a glow, and install track lighting to make sure every corner is well lit.
Home Staging Tip #2: Do choose a lighter color scheme.
Pale, cool colors will reflect the light and make the walls appear farther apart. Add visual impact to your space by separating the walls into blocks of color using gentle tones.
Home Staging Tip #3: Don’t get hung up.
Your wall art should be hung at eye level or about 60 inches from the floor. Hanging items too high will make your ceiling seem lower.
Home Staging Tip #4: Do space things out.
Instead of pushing your furniture against the walls, give pieces some breathing room by playing with interesting angles. You can also choose one large statement piece – like an armchair or coffee table – and fill in gaps around it.
This is a terrific book for both first time buyers and time-tested real estate investors. It’s not limited to Chicago Real Estate – the information on buying and selling real estate is applicable to everyone who’s considering a real estate purchase.
The fantastic book includes chapters on
The New World of Mortgage Finance
What Can you Afford to Buy?
Fixing Your Credit History and Credit Score Forever
Down Payment and Reserve Money – Where to Find it
Identifying Amazing Opportunities
Savvy Real Estate Investing
There are 3 ways you can enter –
LIKE the Anne Rossley Real Estate Facebook page,
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Sign in to Rafflecopter using the links below or visit the Anne Rossley Real Estate Facebook Page and Select “Giveaway”
Winners will need to either pick up the book or provide a mailing address for the book to sent to you by January 31, 2013.
The pre-listing time we share is critical – we will work together to stage your home, bring in a professional photographer. and develop the marketing materials that will make your home appealing.
3709 N Ashland – 3 Bedroom Duplex in Blaine School District
This is an example of one property I successfully sold in 2012.
You’ll see the property as it looked when I first met the sellers. They purposely didn’t clean or prepare for our meeting.
After listing the property, we worked together to stage the home.This involves de-cluttering, moving furniture, and cleaning. The seller did a great job preparing for this meeting, so we only needed to tweak a few things – we moved the crib in the 2nd bedroom, removed a few more items, and added items to the kitchen counters so they wouldn’t look like landing pads.
As is my common practice with real estate listings, I brought in one of my favorite real estate photographers. She uses the proper lighting and lens to get terrific photographs that show the properties to their best advantage.
Once the sellers moved out, I took another set of photographs.
You’ll see how important it is to keep furniture in your home during the selling period – vacant homes don’t show the space to its advantage. Rooms look smaller, and it doesn’t seem like all the furniture will fit in the space.
If properties HAVE to be vacant, we can rent/borrow furniture, or I have another trick I use that helps buyer visualize the space (one of my trade secrets!)
You’ll see, too, that my photographs are poorly lit, and they aren’t taken using a wide enough lens — the rooms look smaller.
If your home looks more like the BEFORE than the AFTER – don’t panic!
These changes were made without buying any new furniture!
We de-cluttered, moved furniture, hired a cleaning company, and a professional photographer.
My 5th grade band director told me to use elbow grease to better clean my trumpet, and I remember asking my mom what elbow grease was- I thought it was a magic potion. Alas, I learned that he meant I had to put some effort in – that’s just what staging your home for sale is about — ELBOW GREASE!
As posted in my monthly email newsletter, Pantone has released the color for this year…
THE OFFICIAL COLOR OF 2013
is Emerald Green!
Last year, tangerine was in, but today, it’s Emerald!
Pantone, a provider of color standards, has famously declared the ‘color of the year’ since 2000, influencing everything from fashion designers to car manufactures. The color company announced that the 2013 color will be emerald, and design themes have already begun to incorporate this rich jewel tone.Perfect for the winter months, emerald also makes a great transition into spring. There are many ways to utilize this new color to freshen your home. Here are a few ideas:
Shades of green are known to provide feelings of harmony, relaxation and balance. While an entire room painted in emerald may prove overwhelming, an accent wall is a great way to incorporate the color. To maintain the regal feel of the shade, incorporate dark but neutral pieces into the room.
Window treatments alone offer endless possibilities, coming in more shapes, sizes, patterns and colors than you can even count. Ditch those boring blinds and find a style that works for you and your home. A chevron pattern of emerald and white is very much on trend.
Adding emerald colored accessories is a great way to integrate this new trend without the hassle of a more permanent commitment. Throw pillows and rugs will give any room a regal yet inviting feel. You can get creative by adding pops of color with picture frames and wall art in a living room or table runners and vases to a kitchen or dining room.