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What do you consider a penthouse?

1500 LSD

It’s common for real estate agents to refer to the top floor of any residential building as a penthouse. It may be even more common for real estate buyers and renters to sneer at referring to the top floor of a 2- or 3-story building as a penthouse. Fifteen years ago, real estate agent Janet ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 27, 2014

Will luxury high-rise dwellers be shivering in September?

100 E Huron

Chicagoans experienced cooler than normal temperatures in July, and the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a cold winter. Anyone who’s lived in Chicago for any length of time is keenly aware of how volatile temperatures can be. New residents of “luxury” high-rises, however, are often unaware that may not be able turn on the heat when ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 26, 2014

Has condo pricing gone off the rails again?

Shoemaker Lofts

Lately I’ve been seeing nearly identical new condominiums – in some cases from the same developer – selling for similar prices in locations that I consider to differ widely in value. It’s possible, of course, that I’m misjudging the appeal and underlying value of the locations I’m comparing. I don’t think that’s the case. It’s ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 20, 2014

Why is the under-35 generation renting rather than owning?

K2 pool

The US Census Bureau recently released data showing that the rate of homeownership among people under the age of 35 has been in a steady decline in the past half-dozen years. The ownership rate stood at 41.3% in the first quarter of 2008 and dipped to 35.9% in the second quarter of this year. That ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 6, 2014

YoChicago at YouTube, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter

Boiler room

More than two-thirds of the more than 85,000 unique visitors to YoChicago each month are new to the site, and only 14% of our visitors come directly to the site. Seventy-seven percent of our visitors come here via organic search. What those numbers tell us is that we’re meeting our objective of providing information about ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 5, 2014

YoChicago launches condominium review series

55 East Erie, fitness

Late last year we began a series of apartment reviews and they’ve proven popular, contributing to a more than 70% year-over-year increase in our traffic in July. We’re waiting on the stats from our server logs, but YouTube Analytics indicates that we reached more than 90,000 unique visitors last month. Condo buyers need access to ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 4, 2014

Chicago condo smoking bans and more

2626

The smoking ban at the 2626 N Lakeview condominiums is old news by now, but you’ll get an expanded look at some of the legal backdrop in the latest issue of the Chicagoland Cooperator. The publication focuses on issues relevant to local condos and co-ops. The June issue of the publication has a roundup of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 14, 2014
ChicagoNorth Side

An updated look at a sold-out Montana Row

Montana Row

New construction homes in viable neighborhoods by builders with a track record have been selling before completion during the past several years. When we last looked in on Montana Row, 25-foot wide rowhomes in the 1500 block of Montana in Lincoln Park, only one of the fourteen homes remained available for sale. All of the ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 7, 2014

Are you paying real estate taxes on personal property?

Barrington kitchen

A number of real estate websites include the sales history of a listed property and include both the price reported in public records and the price reported in the Multiple Listing Service. Those prices are often, surprisingly, identical. I say “surprisingly” because the value of personal property included in a real estate purchase should be ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 20, 2014

Rising prices and thin sales volumes spell danger

Aerial, East Garfield Park

If you’ve been an observer of Chicago’s real estate cycles for an appreciable amount of time, you’ve seen the current script played out repeatedly. Call it Apocalypse Tomorrow: it begins as an action adventure movie and frequently ends as a horror show. The protagonists are affluent, young, would-be home buyers who can’t afford the home ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 28, 2014

Are websites increasing racial and economic segregation?

Homefacts

It’s been 10 years since journalist Bill Bishop began writing about “the big sort” and five years since the publication of his book. Amazon summarizes Bishop’s thesis: Armed with startling new demographic data, he made national news in a series of articles showing how Americans have been sorting themselves into alarmingly homogeneous communities — not ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 24, 2014

Chicago real estate video shootout – YoChicago vs Crain’s and Chicago Magazine

YouTube

YoChicago’s YouTube channel has taken you to more Chicago places and inside more Chicago spaces and introduced you to more of the faces that shape Chicago real estate than any other source. We think we’re the clear leader in Chicago real estate video, and YouTube’s metrics strongly support that claim. Chicago Magazine and Crain’s Chicago ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 28, 2014

Chicago passes energy use benchmarking ordinance

1K Fulton

The Tribune reports that the City Council, by a 32-17 vote, passed a controversial ordinance that requires buildings larger than 50,000 square feet “to disclose how much energy their buildings use and how they measure up against their peers.” The ordinance was opposed by BOMA Chicago. The group suggested that the ordinance would disadvantage older ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 12, 2013

Lake Forest chapel converting to walk-in closet

Lake Forest chapel

Over the years I’ve been in a number of homes that had attached private chapels, several of them capable of seating dozens of people. The chapel pictured above is far smaller than many a walk-in closet that I’ve seen. According to a real estate agent quoted in Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily, the buyers plan ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 6, 2013

These developers are liars, cheaters and scammers

4300 block S Michigan Ave

The following comment has been sent to our trash bin: “Avoid Avoid Avoid! [Name redacted] are liars, cheaters, and scammers! Run away!” The comment came from someone with the screen name “Beware” and was posted with an email address that doesn’t resolve to a valid account. We have, of course, no way of knowing whether ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 6, 2013
Tips & adviceHome inspection

Why real estate agents don’t like Tomacor

Tom Corbett

Find out why agents don’t like us is one of the menu items on the website for Tomacor, a local home inspection firm. A few of the reasons listed on the site: Pompous, arrogant, patronizing. This guy is a jerk! He couldn’t find a problem if it bit him in the ass. He sucks! I’ve ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 4, 2013

Navigating Chicago’s northwest suburban real estate market

Beth Repta

Chicago’s northwest suburban real estate market has been hot recently, with a limited number of homes for sale and many of them becoming involved in multiple offer situations. What can buyers and sellers do to have a competitive edge in this fast moving market? Coldwell Banker’s Beth Repta serves up some tips for buyers and ...

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Posted by sponsored post on August 15, 2013

Is your selling agent getting a referral fee from your buyer’s agent?

Volo water tower

Realtors like to boast that they “specialize in residential properties in the city and suburbs,” but that’s a hollow claim, often a silly one. It’s simply impossible for an agent, with rare exceptions, to know city and suburban markets well enough to provide competent representation to a client on both a city sale and a ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 2, 2013

Are international investors buying up Chicago?

Aerial view of Gold Coast

A post at HGTV’s FrontDoor site has this headline: “Trending: International Investors Buying Up Chicago.” International house hunters, according to FrontDoor, represent “a smoking trend” and they’re reaching out to an obscure Chicago firm rather than one of its internationally-known ones to seal the deal. My take: there’s more smoke being blown than trend to ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 11, 2013

Check out the cribs and ignore the chatter

Sabrina at CribChatter performs a useful service for real estate buyers by diligently searching out and spotlighting interesting new listings, and revisiting ones that have lingered on the market for a while. Sabrina recently suggested in a comment that s/he’s “thinking about shutting the site down:” CribChatter’s traffic is at 5 year lows. People want ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 11, 2013