from half a country away… selling 1, 2, 3 and 4 homes

cousins lookingin the lone star state enjoying double digit temps and the warmth of a family hug. all good on the road as the boys enjoy what i think is called the “mid winter break.” almost shakespearean, the name of the break… but the true place for the intrigue of a shakespeare play is the chicago housing market where aspirations rise and fall with the daily tally (limited) of what is available and who pulls the trigger first and with the greatest velocity…

as we headed out of town friday my day started with an early morning trajectory on the front end of two closings – one of a condo in lakeview (my listing) and the other a new construction home in elmhurst (my buyer). both rolled according to form, without a hitch and new keys to new doors presented at the title company table. this, of course, does not sound the least bit like the old bard (unless you consider selling a luxury condo full price during a holiday week a bit of a dramatic downstroke).

i suppose friday’s drama was limited to the road we drove out of town between bloomington-normal and st. louis where a veneer of snow married to a stiff wind left the road way clotted and slick and punctuated by cars in the ditch and jack-knifed semis. odd to drive by at a crawl and spot a prius in the median, elbow deep in snow and the windows fogged by a driver still in the driver’s seat… glad to report that we were observors and not participants.

the other drama of the day was the back and forth with an offer on my listing of an oak park single family. amid the din of five agents trying to get in from friday through monday we had a strong offer on the table that needed only a final push to execute… and so we did somewhere on interstate 55. and in keeping with the frenetic nature of the market the inspection occurred the next day as we made our way over clear roads and rising temps to lubbock, tx.

again, all clear as we made our way to what my son jackson so very much yearned for… a family dinner. weeks earlier he mused to my wife whether the family sat down every night for dinner. and while maybe not every night, communal dining occurs often enough to sate that yearning that most of us have to belong, to connect to be part of as opposed to apart from… and so we dined.

speaking of community, in the midst of the driving and arriving i exchanged phone calls, texts and emails with several clients contemplating houses which we did again sunday morning. and afternoon. and evening. and in the midst of all of this come sunday morning my wonderful clients from the city of light opted to offer on a lincoln square home. in the course of the next 24 or so hours we reached agreement just as another smart and savvy couple i represent opted to submit an offer on an old irving home that even as we speak is inches away from execution.

earlier i mentioned shakespeare and the idea of drama in the real estate marketplace… where it arises is multifold… the landscape of inventory is thin, a reality that, when something desirable comes up, motivates the many people looking to tighten their laces and get ready for a sprint, hoping their dash brings to them the blue ribbon of the home they desire. with multiple parties vying it becomes critical to not only act, but to act with sense, reason and a sense of purpose.

in short you have to know the market well enough to make an informed decision. i welcome people who want to overspend when i am listing a home. but when i represent buyers we do our math en route to making an offer. and so a few weeks ago my clients willingly lost out on a multiple offer for a lincoln park townhouse that listed $30k higher than a similar transaction last summer and added to the price tag a $24k special assessment. we considered the numbers and made what we thought was a solid bid. someone else prevailed. it turns out, though, that the winner stepped out from the deal last week, making the property available again. i received a call asking whether we would be interested… and i reiterated our last offer which they opted to not accept.

and so it goes. my clients wanted the property but not badly enough to overspend. but given our proclivity as humans we kind of always want a good deal… and so when a transcendent property hits the market as a glenview home did yesterday my advice to my clients who saw the home hours after it listed is to come in as strong as possible… sometimes this is list… sometimes this is higher… sometimes there’s another barter piece like timing that affords us a chip of some sort.

at the end of the day what happens is similar to the picture above… like kids at the gift case we gather and look at the magic inside… and so folks looking at homes have similar sentiments… we all want something different and unique… but we all want some thing… and while we stand at the edge as we look, when we spot what we want into the pool we dive… often headfirst… with fury and sometimes with abandon… but beneath it all is the fundamental reason that we want home… and like my son jackson as we traverse half a country to gather with our family for a sense of belonging and community…

until the next time…

green eggs, metaphors, judging and accepting

Dr_Seuss_Green_Eggs_and_Hamway back when
to sam i am
a suess critter said he did not like
green eggs and ham
funny it was
when all was said and done
suess dude found green eggs
to be number one
to eat with a smile
wherever he’d go
i guess it just goes to show
it’s better to speak from what you know
than what you think
(or what you think that you know)

ironic it is
another sam is on the scene
but he does not have ham
or eggs that are green
but some say “exclude him!”
they say “he doesn’t belong”
“he’s different” they mutter
his lifestyle is wrong
football he plays
and he plays it quite well
well enough that he’ll get drafted
and i guess at the end the story they’ll tell
is that they do like green eggs and ham
as embodied by this not sam i am sam


stick a needle in my eye… no inventory + multiple offers

twilight zoneneedle in a haystack… more like a needle in your eye…

the lack of inventory in the chicago and north shore real estate markets makes the current market a tough place to figure out your next move… that is when you are looking for a home to buy…

this morning i met with a client to take a look at a lincoln park penthouse condo with a roof deck and second car parking. auspiciously listed at $839k this single level home with about 2000 square feet seems ambitious in pricing, geared to the seller’s wants and desires… but here’s the weird thing, in today’s market sellers more often than not are getting what they ask for or more as a huge number of listings are selling with multiple offers.

already this calendar year i have been engaged in seven multiple offers… and sellers have asked for (and received) free rent backs, three to four month closes, buyers to assume the cost of a $24k special assessment… it’s like the twilight zone with buyers throwing reason to the curb and diving in head first to prevail in pyrrhic victories of the multiple offer variety.

the showing earlier today does not work and my clients don’t need to submit an offer on an overpriced parcel that would simply compel another party to pay too much. i guess the question is how are buyers determining what they will spend when engaging in multiple offers in today’s market.

just last week another couple i am working with viewed a cookie cutter home in glenview that listed at $917k even though it offered only two and a half baths and a fully unfinished basement. taking a look at recent transactions in the area suggested that home was overpriced by a good $75k… but within three days the home was under contract to purchase.

of course you might argue it is simply calibrating to market value… and that is true, to a certain extent… it is also true that there is a frenetic heat to the current market inspired by folks who want to buy, who are seeing little inventory, who may have lost out on another home in a multiple offer, who want to buy a home and are over-paying. and when it is a multiple offer sellers are demanding appraise out contingencies be eliminated and the buyer assume full responsibility for the “market value” they have established in the robust negotiation just completed.

what to do… what to do… the current market does demand a degree of steeliness when buyers are looking to buy… a good broker is going to help figure out a range of values and offer his insights to his client… and the buyer ultimately is responsible for figuring out what to do… sometimes paying a bit more is worth a lot to line up a great home in a strong school district with wonderful neighbors… and sometimes overpaying just doesn’t make any sense…

bottom line is it is a situational thing… each client and each home is different and requires a different approach… what you hope for when you are buying your next home is the broker you have enlisted to assist you is skilled in figuring out a home’s worth and helping you to not get caught up in the maelstrom of the current market.

and so it goes… questions can be directed to me at 773.848.9241 or with a a clickety click.

cooped up in the hen house

so close to home and so good to eat!in the back yard, buried beneath a blanket of snow live these three old ladies… with random names that seem to change on the daily they strut like a sasha baron cohen character as they dress in feathery coats with shoes like talons. these old birds are just that… birds.

the result of a kindergarten project where lucas’s class observed what fertilized eggs become, last may we became the earnest adoptive parents of 11 chicks. interesting little critters who have their own active list-serve email list and organic food delivery service as they in turn become our organic food delivery service… eggs.

time, reality, and cracking voices of adolescence revealing roosters winnowed the flock to three. and this trinity is behind the edible ovals of which i now speak.

this morning’s take was four. a possible tally of single digit egg consumption for each two-legged critter in our faux farm house. or an addition to our bounty where eggs are saved for another day of frittatas or omelets, of scrambled or sunny side ups.

kind of interesting to delve so personally into the farm to table movement by kicking through a patina of snow in the backyard to a cadillac-style chicken coop with an encapsulated run for the feathered friends to enjoy nature without having to put on snow boots.

and yes, the eggs do taste different. the yolks are golden and the white is as bright as, well, the snow. but warmer. and delicious. whereas the snow is like a tiresome house guest who has well overstayed their welcome.

but at some point the house guest leaves, the snow melts, normalcy is returned… and the three ladies in the back will continue to our experiments in our own farm to table movement.

next time maybe I’ll tell you about making kombucha at home… aren’t you excited now?

by the way, the number remains the same… 773.848.9241 when you are ready to make your move or talk about the frenetic nature of today’s market… or email me with a clickety click.

full circle . a realtor’s sunday amid spirited musings

ensoin zen buddhism there is a spiritual practice associated with drawing a circle. called enso, what this entails is the practitioner committing to paper in one or two fluid expressive strokes a calligraphic circle. done without inhibition the circle is a minimalist manifestation of the void in the physical realm. done as often as once a day enso is considered an elemental part of the zen spiritual practice where the practitioner empties his or her mind to let the body create.

sorry if this triggers your mind (as it does mine) to wander down library aisles poking a contemplative index finger at  yellowed spines of books titled “no judgement” or “know judgement” or other thought inspiring (or emptying) options with lingering scents of sandalwood.

2 9 14 mapmy point on this sunday is not to preach but to note the parallel between  enso and my professional trajectory today from my north shore home to my various real estate appointments for three different families who are buying and selling clients. while google maps transcribes the route as something akin to a large overstuffed grocery bag I prefer to view today’s itinerary as a real estate enso, a full circle rendered in one fluid stroke with a start and finish that nearly enclose the figure and whisper hints of perpetuity and eternity.

and so from wilmette do i head to 1025 south euclid, a delightful starter home in oak park where the doors will be open from 11 until 1. with a $409k price tag and oodles of upgrades, this one is sure to impress.

and then to glenview for possibly the best option on the north shore for under $650k as I host 1948 central road open from 2p-3.30p. this fully redone 4 bed and 3 bath home on an oversized lot with enclosed back yard and an amazing addition should be the apple of some buyer’s eye… and it should be today.

and then to an unlisted home in park ridge for buying clients who did not intend to move from the city but because they so want a yard along with a nicely done home look more and more likely to join the ranks of those who take the metra to work downtown. this home is listed for just under $1.05m.

just another day in the office as thoughts of the gospel staple “will the circle be unbroken” send goose bump smoke signals from my soul to my brain.

three years running… pancake breakfast and selling like hot cakes

flippingfor the third straight year on another snowy february morning I joined the crew to flip not with my finger but a spatula instead… the annual pancake breakfast at the boy’s school – baker demonstration school.

seen here with my friend and fellow-flipper Adam Lieb we manned the griddle and ensured the masses (several hundred strong) found themselves fed and happy as the kids clambered through the school as kids will do when it is not a school day but a mysterious off day when they find themselves there… at the school.

and now with a minute to spare and the hollowness of this new vehicle yawning at me with things not written but intended I scratch this note. my next appointment is a single family home 11 minutes away in the glenview. there I will meet another family from baker whose condo I sold in andersonville and who are in the hunt for a home for themselves and their two kids. once there they will travel a route similar to us, so they say, when they will get a dog to populate the yard with the formerly urban family now with green space.

and so it goes… in looking with this family their experience has been the same as my other clients looking in the city – the competition to buy a home is fierce! on some days when we have five appointments I will get a last minute call from the listing agent (if I am lucky) saying the house has sold. so the list winnows down to three showings from five. today all three remain on tap.

but the market is fast and furious… and homes are selling as quick as they come to the market. and I guess the full circle approaches as I started by talking about my morning when I flipped pancakes at school and my afternoon finds me schooling you in the fact that the housing market is selling like hot cakes.

and so it goes.

and speaking of going, when it is time for you to move to your next place call me directly at 773.848.9241. or email me at

talk soon!

a new place to set my hat

the boughs weighed down by cotton puff snow

the boughs weighed down by cotton puff snow

the snow has fallen and our paths are cut… and this morning I set about creating a new website since my old one melted into oblivion… with new beginnings I join you with this snowy and cold new year, hoping for spring yet to come and yet dressing in layers…

how often I visit remains to be seen… remembering that for want of a hammer the house was not built… so I will try to nail imperfect posts on an ongoing basis… imbuing in what I write my perspective on the chicago and north shore real estate markets…

and away we go… please bear in mind this one is but a temporary imprint that will fade later today… hmm, I guess that’s the perfection of which I spoke…