Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Outdoor Features That Could Sell Your North Shore Home This Summer

Spring is a wonderful time of year on Chicago's North Shore, but summer will be here before we know it! And if you're planning to list your home while the weather is warm, there is one area that you may want to turn your focus to in order to boost buyer interest— the outdoors!

Late spring and summer are ideal for spending days outside in the yard, gathering on the patio or entertaining on the deck and homebuyers will be looking for North Shore properties with outdoor spaces to offer. According to a new study, there are several outdoor trends that can help to sell your home this summer and I'm happy to share some of them with you below!

Privacy
In a past blog post, I shared how you can add privacy to your backyard in Glencoe, Winnetka, Deerfield, Northbrook, Highland Park and the surrounding areas— and for a great reason! Homebuyers are looking for their outdoor spaces to have an element of privacy, whether that means tall shrubs or hedges or even a gazebo.

Lighting
There is nothing like spending a summer night under the stars on the North Shore, but you'll also want to light up the space if you have evening gatherings. Add lights to the backyard or deck—solar lights are also an option if wiring is not available—to make your home more inviting in addition to safe.

Easy landscaping
Landscaping is a major part of curb appeal, which is known to pique buyer interest when searching for homes. However, it's not just any landscaping— it's low maintenance and easy upkeep that could seal the deal. Mulch and rocks will keep weeds away, while also reducing water evaporation, and perennials will provide color and charm without needing to be replanted every year.

Fire features
Does your North Shore backyard have a fire pit or outdoor fireplace? This could be a huge selling point for buyers house-hunting this summer! Consider staging your outdoor fireplace or fire pit with chairs around it to suggest the perfect entertaining spot.

It's going to be a beautiful summer here on the North Shore and I'm here to help you both sell your current property and purchase your next dream home in Glencoe, Winnetka, Deerfield, Northbrook, Highland Park and the surrounding areas!

Give me a call today!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


North Shore Real Estate
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Local Expert... with National Connections!

Locally or across the country, think of me as your national connection. I can help you with all your real estate needs anywhere in the United States. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

This Is the Best Month to Sell Your North Shore Home

It seems once spring rolls around that the calendar begins to fill up. Holidays like Mother's Day, warm weather activities, end of the year school functions and graduations keep us busy, but there is just one more item you might like to add to your to-do list this time of year— Selling your home.

With housing inventory trending much lower than it has been in the past, the ball is in the home seller's court this spring— but you could gain an additional edge just by listing this month. May is one of the best times to list your home on Chicago's North Shore as homes typically sell quicker and for more money than any other time of year.

But if you're still on the fence about listing your North Shore home this month, below are three reasons to move ahead:

The school year
Homebuyers on Chicago's North Shore tend to time their move to a new property around the school year. They begin their home search toward the end of the school year to avoid changing districts, move during the summer months and settle in before the new term begins in the fall. Listing your home now will allow you to catch the eye of these buyers looking to stick to the summer moving timeline.

The busy season 
It is no secret that the real estate market picks up in the spring and summer. By listing your home in May, you are able to market your property to the eager and motivated buyers just beginning their search. Buyers are excited and ready to buy at the start of the busy season, but toward the end of the summer, many decide to put their house-hunting efforts on hold until the following year.

The weather
The weather in Glencoe, Winnetka, Deerfield, Northbrook, Highland Park and the surrounding areas is beautiful this time of year. Not only are more buyers out and about looking for homes when the temperatures are warmer, but the weather is ideal for moving. Remember, not many buyers (or you, as a homeowner) like to move during the winter, so now is a great opportunity!

As your North Shore real estate expert, I can help you with every step of the home selling process. Contact me today to discuss what your home might be worth and for a list of available properties in the area!

I look forward to hearing from you!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


North Shore Real Estate
View North Shore Listings
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Local Expert... with National Connections!

Locally or across the country, think of me as your national connection. I can help you with all your real estate needs anywhere in the United States. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How to Calm Your Nerves of Buying a Home on Chicago's North Shore

Buying a home is a big step, there's no doubt about it. And now that the busy spring and summer real estate season is upon us, North Shore buyers may find themselves with a few extra butterflies when thinking of making a move.

As your North Shore real estate expert, I can help you calm your nerves about buying a home in Glencoe, Winnetka, Deerfield, Northbrook, Highland Park and the surrounding areas! I'm sharing a few ways below, but do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you have about buying this year!

Gather all of the facts about mortgages
Many homebuyers are unaware or misinformed of the requirements for securing a mortgage and as a result, put off buying altogether. To put yourself at ease, gather as many facts about mortgages as you can, explore the different loan options and what is necessary to qualify for each one. Once you've learned the in's and out's, you may find yourself much less apprehensive about buying.

Outline the costs
If you're worried about the costs of homeownership, it's time to sit down and map them all out. Write down what you currently pay for housing, utilities, maintenance, and other home-related expenses. You may be surprised to learn that the costs of renting are higher!

Be prepared
It is always wise to enter your homebuying journey with some savings as many homeowners will tell you, expenses can pop up when you least expect them. If you already have a savings in place, you can rest assured knowing that you will be prepared when these issues do arise.

Gather quotes
You can gather mortgage quotes from North Shore lenders across various mortgage loan programs— from 30-year-fixed-rate mortgages to 5-year-adjustable-rate mortgages. With these in your possession, you can better estimate what your monthly payment will be and if you can realistically afford to buy a home in Glencoe, Winnetka, Deerfield, Northbrook, or Highland Park.

Let's chat about how you can purchase a home on the North Shore this year, stress free! I look forward to hearing from you!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


North Shore Real Estate
View North Shore Listings
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Local Expert... with National Connections!

Locally or across the country, think of me as your national connection. I can help you with all your real estate needs anywhere in the United States. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How to Make Your Home the One North Shore Buyers Want

When the time comes to sell your North Shore home, you need to remove your homeowner hat and put on your buyer hat. Acting, and viewing your property, like a buyer will allow you to see the home in a whole new light and thus, identify how to make it stand out from the rest.

It may be difficult to set aside all of the memories and feelings you have associated with the house, but North Shore homeowners who begin to view their home as a product may just find that they sell quicker, and for more money. Below are three ways you can make your home into the one buyers want in Glencoe, Winnetka, Deerfield, Northbrook, Highland Park and the surrounding areas:

Focus on the kitchens and baths
These two areas of your North Shore home are the most popular and when updated well, can be what sells the property. If your kitchen or bathrooms are feeling outdated, you may like to consider a few renovations that can improve both your home's value and your chances of selling.

Easy updates in the kitchen include painting old cabinets in a bright, fresh color like white or another neutral, replacing fixtures like lighting and faucets, swapping out old cabinet hardware for new and installing new countertops in a stone like quartz, granite or marble.

Focus on the features
If you live in a Craftsman-style home, have custom features like barn doors, or sought-after design elements like subway tile, you will want to draw attention to them! These are all in high demand among North Shore homebuyers this spring and showing your home has them may be one way to attract buyers and close the deal. As your North Shore real estate agent, I am also able to share insight into what other details North Shore buyers are looking for this year.

Show off the outdoor space
Does your home in Glencoe, Winnetka, Deerfield, Northbrook or Highland Park have a beautiful backyard, updated landscaping, new deck or luxurious patio? Homebuyers are interested in homes with outdoor space, especially during the spring and summer seasons. Staging these areas to highlight their entertaining potential may be a lucrative idea if you're planning to sell within the next few months.

I have years of experience in helping North Shore homeowners showcase their property's best features to the many buyers in the market. Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions about selling your home, homes for sale in the area, or the current real estate market. I'm here to help!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


North Shore Real Estate
View North Shore Listings
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Local Expert... with National Connections!

Locally or across the country, think of me as your national connection. I can help you with all your real estate needs anywhere in the United States. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

5 Places to Enjoy Spring on Chicago's North Shore

Spring has sprung! The weather is warming, the flowers are blooming and the event schedule on the North Shore is only beginning to pick up for the busy months ahead. But that doesn't mean you cannot stop to enjoy a beautiful spring day in Glencoe, Deerfield, Northbrook, Highland Park, Winnetka or the surrounding areas!

Below are five places on Chicago's North Shore where you can enjoy the season and all that the local communities have to offer:

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd
Glencoe IL

A wonderful place to explore no matter the season, the Chicago Botanic Garden features a waterfall garden, cross bridges across glistening lakes, a Japanese Garden, English Walled Garden, trestles, art exhibits, tours by both train and foot— and so much more in their 26 gardens!

Glencoe Beach
999 Green Bay Rd
Glencoe IL

This North Shore beach is one of the most beautiful in the area! There are daily lifeguards on duty, a sprayground for kids, concession stand, volleyball courts, paddle boards, kayaks, sailboats and lessons in all of the above! What a great place to spend a spring day!

Ladd Memorial Arboretum 
2024 McCormick Blvd
Evanston IL

The Ladd Memorial Arboretum stretches along a 3/4 mile segment of McCormick Blvd on a 23 acre piece of reclaimed land. It is a hub of natural beauty and recreation and is open year-round for all to enjoy!

A.C. Neilsen Tennis Center
530 Hibbard Rd
Winnetka IL

A part of the Winnetka Park District, the A.C. Nielsen Tennis Center has 8 indoor and 12 outdoor courts, a nursery and complete pro shop. The Tennis Center also holds group and private lessons for all ages and abilities.

Northbrook Park District
545 Academy Dr
Northbrook IL

The Park District of Northbrook offers more than 1,000 recreational programs and facilities including outdoor aquatic centers, Sportsman's Country Club (with 27 holes of golf and lighted practice range!), the Northbrook Sports Center, Anestsberger Golf Course, Ed Rudolph Velodrome (for bicycle racing!) and more!

And remember, as your local North Shore real estate expert, I am always on hand to answer questions about the market, buying or selling a home! Do not hesitate to reach out!

I look forward to hearing from you!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


North Shore Real Estate
View North Shore Listings
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Local Expert... with National Connections!

Locally or across the country, think of me as your national connection. I can help you with all your real estate needs anywhere in the United States. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

North Shore Curb Appeal Projects That Pay Off At Resale

When it comes to impressing homebuyers, one area you will want to focus on this spring and summer is your outdoor space. Buyers are looking for a place to relax outside and if your North Shore home has just the place, don't miss your opportunity to play it up!

However, not everyone's green spaces are picture perfect. Many North Shore homeowners would agree that their yard could stand to be cleared of weeds, branches and leaves and their landscaping could use a spruce— in fact, the projects may already be on your to-do list!

So before you boost your home's appeal from the curb this season, take into account those projects that will both impress buyers and pay off at resale. I have decided to share a few with you below:

Tend to your current landscaping
That means pruning trees and trimming hedges, shrubs, bushes and any overgrown landscaping that is bringing down the outward appearance of your North Shore home. Take extra care removing weeds from garden beds and yards as this is one of the simplest tasks you can do that will have a major (and immediate) impact! You can also re-mulch around your existing landscaping if it's looking outdated or worn or flip it with a rake if it's able to be salvaged.

Plant trees
Did you know a mature tree can add anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 to the value of your home in Winnetka, Glencoe, Deerfield, Northbrook, Highland Park and the surrounding areas? According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, planting a tree is one of the best returns on investment you will see in the long run!

If you are planning to stay in your home for a while, you can plant inexpensive saplings that will grow large and tall over time, but if you're planning to sell within the next few years, consider planting larger trees to see the effects earlier.

Create an outdoor living space
Outdoor living spaces are one major selling point for buyers on the North Shore this spring! If you don't already have one, group together patio furniture in a way that promotes entertaining and conversation, add pavers underfoot and consider installing a fire pit.

Listing your home may be the best decision you ever make this spring and I am happy to help you move on and find your next dream home! Give me a call today to discuss your current home's value and your goals for a future property on the North Shore!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


North Shore Real Estate
View North Shore Listings
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Local Expert... with National Connections!

Locally or across the country, think of me as your national connection. I can help you with all your real estate needs anywhere in the United States. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Debunking Common Real Estate Myths on Chicago's North Shore

Whether you're thinking about buying a home on Chicago's North Shore this spring or selling your current property, you likely have a few reservations in the back of your mind or ideas about the real estate market that are holding you back. However, there are dozens of real estate myths floating around that are entirely untrue!

As your local real estate expert in Glencoe, Winnetka, Deerfield, Highland Park, Northbrook and the surrounding communities, I have sharing a few of those myths below and debunking them so you can feel free to take advantage of the excellent opportunities available for buyers and sellers this spring!

1. Myth: You Need 20 Percent Down to Buy A Home
Perhaps one of the most common real estate myths is regarding the down payment. No longer do you need 20 percent down to purchase a home! It is true that lending requirements have been strict in past years, but now you can even obtain a mortgage with as little as 3 percent down!

Do keep in mind there are other factors that will allow you to do so, like your credit score and verifiable income, but this common misconception should not keep you from purchasing a home on the North Shore this year!

2. Myth: You Don't Need A Real Estate Agent to Sell
Many homeowners on the North Shore are motivated to sell their own properties simply to avoid paying a real estate agent's commission, but that should not be all you consider in making that decision!

There are numerous parties involved in the sale of a home—from the inspector to the appraiser to the buyer and their agent—that you will be required to negotiate and correspond with throughout the process. You will also be responsible for the marketing strategy of your home! With an agent, you don't have to worry about any of the above! In fact, homes sold with a real estate agent sell for more money on average than those sold by the owner.

3. Myth: Spring Is the Only Time to Sell 
Spring is indeed the beginning of the busy real estate season, but it is not the only time to successfully sell your home. Summer and even winter can be equally as lucrative for North Shore homeowners! If you have questions about the best time to list in Glencoe, Winnetka, Deerfield, Highland Park, Northbrook and the surrounding communities, it is always best to consult your agent!

Do you have a question about the real estate market that isn't listed here? Do not hesitate to contact me! I am happy to walk you through the process of buying or selling a home on the North Shore this year!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


North Shore Real Estate
View North Shore Listings
Visit My Website


Local Expert... with National Connections!

Locally or across the country, think of me as your national connection. I can help you with all your real estate needs anywhere in the United States.