Lakewood Balmoral Real Estate Update

Lakewood Balmoral – the historic district in Andersonville – has been active during the last six months.  Prices have ranged from the $ 500’s to the $1.5 Million range, depending on square footage, lot size, and condition.

Two special sales recently occurred —

The rehabbed (2flat to single family home) at 5511 N Lakewood closed at $ 1,530,000, and the corner brick Lakewood/Catalpa home (5459 N Lakewood) closed at $ 1,300,000.

One property worth noting…

5345 N Magnolia  ($ 1,099,000) — don’t be fooled by the bungalow front – there’s quite a bit of space in this home, and the finishes are lovely!

To see photos of these homes and get more details about the properties, select this link for Anne’s September 2011 market analysis. To view any of the homes for sale, or to speak with her regarding the value of your home, email her or call her on her cell (773) 620-5333.

ACTV 5453 Magnolia $580,000 5 2 2250 48X123
ACTV 1443 Catalpa $595,000 3 3.1 2125 24 X 125
ACTV 5427 Magnolia $720,000 4 3.1 2395 31X123
ACTV 5345 Magnolia $1,099,000 5 4 NA 37.5 X 123
ACTV 1426 Rascher $1,475,000 6 3.2 5000 50 X 125
ACTV 5457 Wayne $1,680,000 5 3.1 NA 29 X 123
CLSD 5219 Magnolia $585,000 4 1.1 3375 37 X 123
CLSD 5310 Wayne $665,000 4 2.1 NA 33 X 123
CLSD 5441 Wayne $750,000 4 2 2925 32X123
CLSD 5344 Lakewood $900,000 5 3.2 NA 37.5 X 123
CLSD 5459 Lakewood $1,300,000 6 3.1 4763 49.32 X 123.0
CLSD 5511 Lakewood $1,530,000 5 3.1 5500 37.5X123

Top 5 Best Historic Neighborhoods in Chicago?

Where are the best old house neighborhoods in and around Chicago?

This Old House just came out with its annual list of best old house neighborhoods.  Checking 2009-2011, I found 4 nearby areas they mentioned…

5.  Greencastle, Indiana?  Okay – not near Chicago…. I went to college there, (DePauw), and I guess I had more on my mind than vintage single family homes.  The comments are right – it’s not an easy trip to Indianapolis – particularly when that’s the commute for a formal dance.

4.   Berwyn, Illinois Okay – If one loves bungalows, and I do, you could agree that this is a terrific place.  I showed about 40 of them 4 years ago when I sold one to a dear friend.  You have to get over the fact, though, that it’s Berwyn.

3.  Elgin, Illinois Not near the city, right?  Thought I should list it, anyway – good value,but long distance, 2009 winner

2.  North Mayfair, Chicago – I love this neighborhood!  For history, for bungalows, for conformity of style – this is a terrific neighborhood!

This Old House overlooked Lakewood Balmoral.

Fortunately, Chicago Magazine’s Dennis Rodkin, @DealEstate, knows of the treasure…

1.  Lakewood Balmoral As I noted in my comments to This Old House, Lakewood Balmoral can’t be beat – walk to the lake, Bryn Mawr shopping, Clark Street shopping, commute to the loop via Lake Shore Drive in 10 minutes — the location is terrific.  The community is close-knit, with well-attended festivals and block parties.  For value-priced historic homes on oversized Chicago lots – this neighborhood cannot be matched.

This list was culled from Old House Journal and Chicago Magazine – my goal is to get you the Anne Rossley favorites by April 1 – stay tuned!

Anne Rossley specializes in selling historic homes in Chicago – she and her family have lived in Lakewood Balmoral for over 12 years.  For more information about homes in this Andersonville district, contact Anne Rossley at 773-620-5333.

Chicago Real Estate Bargain of the Week

This week’s Chicago real estate bargain is a Chicago Bungalow in the Irving Park neighborhood.

Consider this home near Montrose and Kimball – on a quiet street.  It’s available through the MLS for $ 239,000!   This bungalow has 3 bedrooms on the first level, with original hardwood floors and trim.  It’s less than .5 mile to the Brown Line Francisco stop.  The sellers are said to be “extremely motivated” and will consider all offers.

It’s not my listing – I’m looking at it as a great opportunity for someone interested in getting into a single family-  an historic one at that–at a great price.

What down payment do  you need to buy this?

FHA loans are available these days for as low as 3.5% of purchase price.

What about fixing it up?  How do you do that?

There are 203K loans available to do rehab work – low interest rates that allow you to make improvements for very little money. –

EnergySaver Grants and tax savings may also be available.

(Of course, if you buy in an historic neighborhood, you may also qualify for a property tax freeze!)

Consider price vs. cost …. prices are low now but, your monthly cost is potentially a fraction of what it could be in a couple years.   If you wait to buy, hoping that prices may go down even more, interest rates may go up in the meantime.  Your  purchase price savings may be eaten up in increased interest rates, making the monthly payment higher at that later date.   The real cost of buying real estate is as low today as it may ever be.

For information on this or other Chicago Bungalow options…  contact me, Anne Rossley, at   (312) 620-5333.

Check out the Chicago Bungalow Expo – April 9 at the Merchandise Mart.

2009 Exhibitors included:

AIA Chicago Architecture and Conservation PC
Big Shoulders Realty, LLC
Chicago Department of Community Development
Chicago Department of Environment
Chicagoland Natural Gas Savings Program
Chicago Tax Assistance Center
Coffman & Wicklow, Inc
Community and Economic Developement Association of Cook County, Inc
DaVinci Construction & Design
DNR Construction
Edward Hines Lumber Co
Empire Millwork
Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning
Earth Friendly Products
Green Dream Group, LLC
Home Buyers Rehab, Ltd
Houseworks Daylighting Solutions, LLC
Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation
Illinois Housing Development Authority J.C. Lilly Windows & Doors, LLC
J.L. Construction, Inc
Kent’s ThermalSeal, LLC
Lee Lumber and Building Material, Corp
Limestone, Inc
Midwest Energy Audits, Inc
Mr. Bamboo, Inc
Mulligan Stained Glass Studio
Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago
Northlight Architects
Northpoint Construction Services, Inc
Park National Bank
Peoples Gas
Plain and Simple Furniture
Progressive Builders, LLC
ReBuilding Exchange
Restoration Works, Inc
Safe Guard Basement Technologies, Ram Jack of Illinois
Shedd Aquarium
Solar Service, Inc
SPACE-MAN Consulting Home Inspections
Square Root Architecture + Design
Sustain Your Domain
The Home Depot
TMC Windows, Inc
Turley Architects
Unique Indoor Comfort
Universal Restoration Services
University of Illinois Extension
Weber Furniture Service
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
Wizard Electric, Inc
Wm. McNulty & Sons Plastering Co.

Historic Home for Sale in East Ravenswood

The historic home in East Ravenswood at 4023 N Paulina is a delight to see!

The home was originally built in 1883 and sits on a 50 x 165′ lot.  It  takes advantage of this oversized Chicago lot size – the house is both wide and deep.

4023 N Paulina was recently rehabbed and it’s in great condition.  The thoughtful rehab includes a Christopher Peacock kitchen which overlooks the family room addition.

The new owners will be able to choose where they’d like to have their master bedroom – there is a lovely 2nd floor master suite, but if one prefers having a private third floor suite with office, that is another enviable option.

East Ravenswood is a small neighborhood located between Ashland Ave (1600W) and the Ravenswood tracks (1800 W) between Irving Park Road (4000N) and Lawrence Ave (4800 N).  This neighborhood offers vintage historic and new construction homes on oversized city lots – some 165-183′ deep.  It’s become very popular in recent years, and residents make good use of the Metra Train line located at Ravenswood and Lawrence.

Homeowners in East Ravenswood can take advantage of the property tax freeze for home rehabs – by investing 25% of one’s assessed value back into the home, the Illinois Preservation Society approves a freeze of the property’s assessed value.  These values stay the same for 8 years, then graduate up for 4 more.  It can be a significant property tax savings for homeowners.

Also worth noting is the initial rehab investment – it’s based on assessed value which is often less than what the market value – what the buyer paid for the property.

The home at 4023 Paulina was originally listed in May, 2010, for $1,980,000, but it’s been reduced to $ 1,689,000.  It was purchased in June, 2005, for $ 1,750,000.  The home includes 6 bedrooms and 5.5 baths with a 3 car garage.

For more information about this historic home, or to see vintage houses in Chicago, contact Anne Rossley at Prudential Rubloff (773) 620-5333.

Historic McCormick Rowhouse Sells at Huge Discount`

This McCormick Rowhouse at 836 W Chalmers in DePaul is now under contract.

Purchased in 2007 for $1,400,000, it was originally listed in 2010 for $ 1,295,000.  It was reduced in February to $ 979,000, and then finally sold.  When it closes, we will learn at what low price it finally sold.

The historic 1885 home is 20 x 114′, and includes 2 outside parking spaces.  The soapstone fireplace mantles are still intact, and the woodwork on the staircase and mouldings is fantastic.

The McCormick Row house District was built to supply rental housing for the McCormick Theological Seminary, which operated in Lincoln Park from 1863 – 1975. This was named a Chicago Landmark Historic District in 1977.

For more historic homes in Chicago, contact Anne Rossley at Prudential Rubloff.

Abbott House is Under Contract!!!

East Ravenswood Real Estate Update –

No homes have closed in the last month, but Abbott House is under contract.  This historic landmark property was the home of Wallace C Abbott, pharmacist, then founder of Abbott Laboratories.  Abbott Labs once owned the home, but later built a replica nearer their north shore facility. 

The home was built in 1891 on 5 city lots – in addition to the estate-like home, there is a 1400 square foot renovated coach house on the property.  It’s a unique property, and the new owners will surely want to do extensive renovations.  This is perhaps part of the reason that the home was listed for sale for so long – it was listed with 2 other realtors for 490 days before Prudential Rubloff was hired to represent the property.

Abbott House was originally listed at $ 2,489,000– today’s list price is $ 1,699,000, and we won’t know the sales price until it closes.    The previous owner purchased the property for $ 1,950,000 in 2006.

For information on homes for sale in East Ravenswood, contact Anne Rossley at Prudential Rubloff.  Anne specializes in single family homes, particularly vintage and historic homes, and can help provide information on how to save on property taxes with historic home rehabs.

STATUS Streete Price DIM BR BA
ACTV 1605 CULLOM $568,000 31 X 92 4 2
ACTV 4313 HERMITAGE $569,000 30X165 5 3
ACTV 1773 CULLOM $675,000 27X95 5 2
ACTV 4718 PAULINA $765,000 32 X 183 4 4
ACTV 4418 PAULINA $935,000 35X165 3 3
ACTV 4436 PAULINA $1,099,000 38 X 165 5 2
ACTV 4630 PAULINA $1,349,000 25 X 165 4 3
ACTV 4322 HERMITAGE $1,475,000 25X163 5 4
ACTV 1725 BELLE PLAINE $1,725,000 46X125 6 5
A/I 4605 HERMITAGE $1,699,000 92 X 165 6 7

Graceland West Real Estate Update

On the north edge of Graceland West, 1459 W Sunnyside just went on the market for $ 660,000.  It’s a smaller-than-typical lot size (92 x 27′)  but it has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and a family room on the third floor.  The basement is unfinished and parking is rentable next door — but it gives you a chance to live in a good-sized home in a great neighborhood for under $ 700,000.

1459 W Sunnyside

Just under contract is 4430 N Greenview, listed at $ 680,000 for 198 days.  This 1896 3 bedroom 3.5 bath sits on a 25 x 165′ lot.

4330 W Greenview

Both of these homes are atypical of Graceland West historic homes on oversized lots, therefore they were priced lower than many in the neighborhood.

In the last 6 months, homes that closed ranged from $ 835,000 on a court-ordered sale to $ 2,694,375 for 1454 W Warner.  The Warner property was originally sold for land value (50 x 125′ lot) in  2008  for $ 1,155,000 and was then  listed as a new construction single family home for $ 3,389,000 in April, 2009.  Finally, in December, 2010, the home closed for $ 2,888,000

1454 W Warner

NEW 1459 SUNNYSIDE $660,000 3 2 1
ACTV 4513 GREENVIEW $999,000 6 3 2
ACTV 1446 BELLE PLAINE $1,589,000 5 4 2
ACTV 1448 BELLE PLAINE $1,599,000 5 4 2
PEND 4430 GREENVIEW $680,900 3 3 1
CLSD 4045 GREENVIEW $835,000 6 2 1
CLSD 4152 GREENVIEW $1,225,000 5 2
CLSD 1454 WARNER $2,694,375 6 5 2

Graceland west is just north of Irving Park Road, between Graceland Cemetery (east) to Ashland (west).  It’s a short walk to the hot Southport retail corridor.  The south end of Graceland West has the added bonus of being in the Blaine School district – one of the Chicago Public School districts that parents seek out when buying a home.  You can see the Chicago Public School boundary map by selecting this link.

To see any of these historic homes, contact Anne Rossley to set up an appointment.  Anne specializes in selling Chicago historic homes in the north side communities.  Anne’s slide show of Graceland West homes is available on Flickr.

To get emails when new Graceland West homes become available, complete the following form.  Hold down the CTRL key while selecting multiple neighborhoods.

Chicago Bungalows – Single Family Bargains for Sale

Readers of this blog know how much I love  Chicago Bungalows!

In today’s market, those buyers who want a single family instead of a condo should seriously consider the benefits of owning a bungalow!

  • FHA Loans Available on conventional sized mortgages — 5% down, great rates, and assumable (these rates won’t stay low forever!!
  • 203K rehab loans – cheap money to fix up your house!
  • Energy Saver Grants for rehab
  • Property Tax freeze for rehab in historic districts
  • Own a piece of Chicago history!
  • Prices have come down so low that you can find them under $300,000!

Here are a few that look to be truly great buys…

2705 W Lunt

$ 259,000

One block west of Indian Boundary Park in Rogers Park – this home is ready for rehab – terrific vintage details including stained glass windows.  Full basement and attic space to expand.

Select this link for more information about 2705 W Lunt

3626 N Francisco

$ 268,000

Jumbo bungalow with 3 bedrooms, updated kitchen and full basement with wet bar.

Select this link for more information on 3626 N Francisco

5625 N Sacramento

$ 320,000

Yellow octagon bungalow in Peterson Woods – Four bedrooms plus family room

Select this link for more information about 5625 N Sacramento.

2448 W Berteau

$ 415,000

North Center 1923 bungalow – 2 bedrooms 2 baths – cute as can be!

Select this link for more information about 2448 Berteau

Historic neighorhoods with loads of vintage bungalows:

Rogers Park Manor Historic District

Talman West Ridge Historic District

North Mayfair Historic District

Check out the Bungalow Association, and stay tuned for info on the Bungalow Expo this April!

Chicago Historic Bungalow Assocation


A lovely Lakewood Balmoral Queen Anne at 5344 N Lakewood is still for sale — the price has been reduced to $1,050,000.

This 1893 Victorian 5 bedroom home, on a 37.5′ wide lot, has been on the market for 120 days.  The current owners purchased it in September, 2008, for $ 1,187,000- they snapped it up after it had been on the  market for only 3 days.

This is one of several homes in the historic Lakewood Balmoral neighborhood that didn’t sell in the last year.

Why did these vintage historic homes NOT SELL?

  • When the market contracts, buyers forego the outlying neighborhoods for those more traditionally sought after (and near the city).  Those who wanted to live in south Lakeview or Lincoln Park but couldn’t afford the prices have had some success lately snagging distressed homes at cheaper prices.  In their minds – why live north when you can be closer to the city for the same price? In response, the homes in outlying neighborhoods, such as Lakewood Balmoral, will have to reduce their prices further to stay competitive with the cheaper homes selling in Lincoln Park/Lakeview.
  • Historic vintage homes generally are not in favor today- unless they’ve been totally restored.  Few buyers today want to put in the money or “sweat equity” to create the home of their dreams.  They want to buy a turnkey “McMansion”.  Faced with a competitive buyer’s market, sellers have to repair, improve, and fully stage their homes  in order to attract offers (on top of pricing them competitively!!!).  Tired and functionally obsolete homes must be priced much lower to compete with shiny new homes.

  • Let’s face it — the older Victorian double parlor / no-great-room floor plan is out of style!  Few buyers have the dollars available to undertake the $ 400K + renovation to add a great room on a home that doesn’t already have one, and they’re willing to keep searching until the great room post-90’s single family becomes available.  Don’t even mention the basement!  Ever see a pre-1970 single family basement (unless it’s had a full blown dig-out)?  Concrete floors, low ceiling, metal posts breaking up the floor plan….  highly inconvenient for today’s highly desired media room/home theater/kids’ gynormous plastic playroom (say most buyers today).
  • Schools –nothing beats being in a good neighborhood school district.  Look at properties around Abraham Lincoln, Bell, and Blaine Elementary Schools.  They shot through the roof, and are still relatively stable given today’s soft market.  Lakewood Balmoral’s  Peirce (elementary) and Senn (high school) district isn’t a value-builder.

So how do vintage home sellers get offers in Lakewood Balmoral, East Ravenswood, Graceland West…..?

It’s a challenging recipe!  Read my next Historic Homes blog post for answers!

For information on Chicago historic homes, contact Anne Rossley at Prudential Rubloff.

BEWARE!– the explanations revealed in this blog DO NOT reflect the writer’s love and devotion for historic property nor of the Lakewood Balmoral neighborhood- this blog merely describes the prevailing thought process used by the masses in their home-buying purchase decisions.

Lakewood Balmoral – Undervalued Historic Treasure

Is Lakewood Balmoral selling for too little per square foot?

Lakewood Balmoral, the Andersonville  Historic District that’s part of Edgewater, has had a few sales in 2o1o under $1MM.  At first glance, homes in this neighborhood are selling for a bargain these days, and in fact, seem to be selling less per square foot than similar neighborhoods– Graceland West and East Ravenswood.  Why?

In my mind, there’s no better place to live in Chicago, and no better value, than in Lakewood Balmoral:

Location – nearest to Lake Shore Drive, Sheridan Road, Ridge  – it’s a breeze to get all around the city from here! It’s easier to get around the city from here than from West Lakeview!

Retail and restaurants are wonderful, and improving all the time — from newly opened Acre to Hopleaf, Jin Ju, Big Jones, Hamburger Mary’s to Scout, Brimfield’s, City Olive, In Fine Spirits, Red Balloon, great food and shopping are steps away.

Conformity – one of the three requirements for real estate value — this means that the homes are similar — not like Lincoln Park or Lakeview with a McMansion next to leaning clapboard 3flat.  Wide lots (35′ – 50’wide) and homes built between 1890 and 1912 have been lovingly restored and preserved.  Homes on wide lots mean a greater variety of floor plans than the typical 25′ lots.

Because there are so many single family homes with garages, your guests can always find parking, and we are one of the few neighborhoods that doesn’t use permit parking.

Historic Neighborhood Tax Benefits – save money on taxes by preserving your home!  Property tax savings for 8-12 years just by maintaining your historic home.  Our neighbors are huge supporters and leaders of the Edgewater Historical Society, whose support has been instrumental in the stewardship of these Chicago landmark blocks.

Community – I challenge every neighborhood in the city to beat Lakewood Balmoral for block parties, residents’ council, and neighborhood events such as Fall Fest, the Yard Sale,  and more.  Neighbors know and support on another.  On 9/11/2001, our block gathered in stunned sadness – coming together to mourn those lost.  We create educational funds for children whose parents have died, support the local homeless shelter, and promote local small business -retail and restaurants that are owned and managed by our friends.

For a map of comparable properties and analysis of homes sold and homes for sale in Lakewood Balmoral and surrounding neighborhoods (Graceland West, East Ravenswood), download this pdf file.

For information on homes for sale in Lakewood Balmoral, Graceland West, and East Ravenswood, contact Anne Rossley at Prudentail Rubloff.

Next:  Why homes seem inexpensive in Lakewood Balmoral.

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