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 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 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

Carbon Monoxide Deaths in Rogers Park

Two people have died, and 2 others are hospitalized this morning, apparently due to carbon monoxide poisoning, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Chicago CO Ordinance

carbon monoxide detectors required in chicago real estateChicago 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
  • tobacco smoke
  • clogged chimney
  • auto exhaust
  • 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!

Other links:

Realtor info Sheet on Carbon Monoxide in Illinois

Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

CDC Answers Carbon Monoxide Questions

Illinois Dept of Health Carbon Monoxide

EPA Article on Carbon Monoxide


Chicago Seniors – Emergency Planning for Winter and Flu

This month’s Chicago Seniors Newsletter addresses 2 issues:

  1. Emergency Planning, and
  2. Walk Scores

Emergency Planning

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.

Power Outage Checklist

Winter Storm Safety Checklist


In addition, the flu can be a disaster for seniors, children, asthmatics and immuno-challenged. The Red Cross has prepared checklists for the afflicted and those who care for them:

Preparing for the Flu

Caring for Those with the Flu – Checklist

Mobile Apps

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 Seniors - Anne Rossley Real Estate

Chicago Seniors

Chicago is on the cutting edge of technology, and this winter, I expect that the 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:

Chicago Senior Service Centers


Mobile Apps:

anne rossley chicago 2Inches chicago snow app

Find what streets have overnight parking restrictions and are on the 2″ snow route



anne rossley real estate - Find your car if towed for snow

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!


Staging Your Home to Sell – Tips for Making Rooms Larger




Living Room Staged to Appear Larger
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 choLiving Room Staged and Photographed to Appear Largeose 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.

See my previous post – BEFORE/AFTER/VACANT photos

Also – check out my Pinterest Boards – Staging your Home to Sell and Before & After …

Call Anne Rossley of Baird & Warner


For personalized help with staging your home, call or email me!

Anne Rossley
Baird & Warner




Chicago Real Estate Free Book Give-a-way!


Chicago Real Estate Giveaway

 –   Ilyce Glink’s book   –

Buy, Close, Move in!


buy close move in book cover

How to Navigate the New World of Real Estate-

Safely and Profitably –

and End Up with the Home of Your Dreams

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,
  • Share this post with your friends on Facebook, and/or
  • Sign up for my Monthly Email Newsletter

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Staging your Home for a Quicker Sale and Higher Sales Price

Home Staging

Before   –   After   –   Vacant

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 1S

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!

Select this link to see a slide show of all the before and after shots of 3709 Ashland

Kitchen Photos

Before – After – Vacant

Before Staging the KitchenAfter Staging KitchenVacant Kitchen


Living Room Photos

Before – After – Vacant

Before Staging Living roomAFter staging living roomVacant Living Room

The biggest lesson here — it takes time to plan your sale.  Call me now if you’re thinking of selling in the next 12 months and we’ll start the conversation.

Call Anne Rossley of Baird & Warner

Anne Rossley, CRB, CRS, SRES, RSPS
Baird & Warner
Phone:  773-620-5333


Email –



Chicago Homes – Official Color for 2013

As posted in my monthly email newsletter, Pantone has released the color for this year…


is Emerald Green!

Last year, tangerine was in, but today, it’s Emerald!

PANTONE'S colors of the year

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:

Emerald Walls

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

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.

green on flickr green house 1 on flickrGreen 3 on flickr

Green Gallery 1 on Flickr



More on Emerald Green:

Country Design Home

Fabrics and Frames Furniture

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