Adventures in House Hunting, Buying a House

Humboldt Park split by realtors like Post WWII Germany

The other day I got one of the millions of emails from realtors telling me about their latest listing that “just came on the market”. This one intrigued me:

West Bucktown single family home on corner lot w/ loads on sunlight! Open floor plan-large chef kitchen w/ top of the line finishes-large master bed w/organized walk in closet & spacious bath w/double sinks and separate shower. Plenty of closet space. Beautiful deck off the family room is great for entertaining or enjoying a quiet night time breeze. Fireplace in large open family room. 4th bed is in finished basement

Sounds good right? then I looked at the address.

This is where I grew up and I can tell you the 1600 block of Artesian is not in Bucktown, west or otherwise.

credit: Lucid Realtry

Humboldt Park divided like post-WWII Germany

I get that you’re trying to sell a home and Bucktown has more cache than Humboldt Park or even trendy Logan Square. And I realize that we are talking about less than a quarter mile of distance, essentially a city block. But No way is this Bucktown, it’s Humboldt Park. You’d have a better chance convincing me that it’s Logan Square.

It seems that HP is getting divided up like Post-World War II Germany. You have West Bucktown and West Wicker Park. What’s next? North Logan Square and South Ukranian Village?

photo credit:

Germany post WWII

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Pop Culture, Summer in Chicago

Don’t Let Summer in Chicago Slip Away

Summertime in Chicago is just too short. A typical Chicago Spring is still chilly, rainy and outdoor unfriendly. Around May this changes and natives experiment with taking off the parka and downgrading to a simple pea coat.

Even though the weather might be nice in September and even October, conventional wisdom defines Summer as the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Basically you get June, July and August and then it’s over.

When June arrives you think: I have the whole summer ahead of me. Visions of spending time at baseball games, popular street festivals and hanging out at the beach come to mind. Maybe you’ve always wanted to check out Summer Dance or the Waste Taste of Chicago. Perhaps this is the summer you will finally bike to the Botanic Gardens. Excitement oozes over the new summer blockbusters. In your summer fueled excitement you invite friends from out of town to visit so you have a legitimate excuse to check out Navy Pier.

Trips to Ravina for concerts under the stars get tossed around and plans are penciled in.

Soon it’s July and you’re trying to figure out who’s Fourth of July cookout to attend and where to see the fireworks. [Choose wisely, I met my wife at a 4th of July Party I might otherwise have never attended.] You still have a lot of summer left but you also realize that you have to make those plans a bit more concrete. Spontaneous plans to dine al fresco get formally scheduled for August because July is so overbooked. It really is time to fill up the bicycle tires already. Can we still catch those blockbusters at a matinee? Is my friend arriving at Midway or O’Hare?

Then August arrives and you realize that you just have a few weeks to squeeze everything in! You have to choose between the concert at Ravina or the Best Street Fest of the Summer This Weekend. That bike you never got tuned up sits there hoping you’ll notice it. What do you mean we missed Summerfest?

Before you know it, another summer has set sail and it’s time to get the parka out of storage. Those blockbusters are now available on Blu-ray.

Note: the above was re-blogged/recycled from a post on my personal blog from years ago. Only the names were changed to protect the guilty.

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Adventures in House Hunting, Selling a Home

Hold your horses Condo Owners, it’s not 2005 pricing just yet

For the last several years, real estate insiders have been claiming that this year is the year the market returns to normal. It appears that they are finally correct since inventory is low and sale prices have increased for SFH. It seems every day a new listing appears only to get snapped up under contract before the weekend’s schedule Open House. So this would be a perfect time to put your condo on the market, right?

Not so fast. While the numbers for SFH are improving (I don’t have them in front of me, go read Gary Lucido if you want charts, graphs and math), it’s not the case for condos.

There were just too many condos built and/or converted during the boom which means that inventory is still high and many are also going through the Short Sale/Foreclosure process. This means that as soon as you put your place on the market you are competing with all your neighbors who overspent during the boom and are stuck with underwater property.

That isn’t stopping some from trying though.

This 2/1 condo came on the market a couple weeks ago for $225K. It does have parking but why would you buy it when you can get this 3/2 condo for $25K more?

Keep in mind these are also asking prices so if you use the 10% off Ask Price that the Realty Cartel is comfortable with, you could end up with an extra bed and bathroom for the same price!

Or if you don’t want to blow your budget, why not get this 2 bed, 2 bath for $149K?

The bottom line is if you want to sell your condo this year, you need to set the price as low as possible. Instead of putting money into the place to improve it, use that money at the closing table to reconcile what you owe the bank and what you get offer-wise.

If instead you want to recoup as much money as you spent on your place, well then as the Friend’s Theme song goes…this isn’t your day| your week | your month and certainly not your year!

Like Cubs fans you will have to wait until next year for sales data to justify any type of price increase in the ball park of what you are looking for.


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