Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Look at the 2011 North Shore Real Estate Market!

2010 has been a great year, and I have enjoyed living and working in the North Shore as a North Shore Real Estate agent. Although the national housing market has seen its share of highs and lows over the past year, the North Shore Real Estate market has held steady and will only continue its upward climb to full recovery!

A recent article by Inman News gives insight into where the market is headed for 2011. While there is still room for improvement, you’ll see how the national market is slowing gaining its strength, and that this coming year offers a great opportunity to buy in Chicago’s North Shore!

1. Prices May Still Drop- With more foreclosures expected to come on the market in 2011, selling your North Shore home means being willing to price competitively. A report published by Standard & Poor’s notes that home prices may still drop another 7-10% throughout the coming year.

2. Smaller Homes- Gone are the days where people are buying large homes for the sake of having a large home. North Shore buyers are more conscious of smart investing and don’t feel the pull to buy beyond what they need. Many are also more aware of the environment and the additional costs related with heating and cooling a larger home.

3. Jobs Play a Major Role in Housing Recovery- The housing recovery for the next few years will rely heavily on the job market. With unemployment rates still projected to remain above 9% for 2011, full recovery for the housing market is not expected until 2012.

4. Mortgage Rates Remain Low- While mortgage rates may rise slightly; they are still expected to remain under 5% for 2011. This is great news for those looking to buy a North Shore home- 2011 will be a great year to do so!

5. Long term Goals- People are no longer just thinking of a house as an investment to turn around and sell to make money on; they’re beginning to think more long term. North Shore buyers are wanting to buy a “home” as a means to provide for needs of family and loved ones and are wanting to stay put for as long as possible.

If you have been considering a move to Chicago’s North Shore, but wanted to finish up the holiday season before starting a new endeavor; let me know! As the New Year rolls in, the market will begin to pick up, so you’ll want to start your North Shore home search early in the year. There are many beautiful homes to choose from in Winnetka, Glencoe, Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield and other North Shore communities! I would be happy to show you around and help you with each step in the home buying process. Please feel free to contact me anytime!

Happy New Year!

Janie Bress

Your North Shore Real Estate Expert

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Enjoy an Eco-Friendly Winter Season in Chicago's North Shore!

Living in Chicago’s North Shore means being a part of communities that truly care about the environment in which we live. From Glencoe to Winnetka and Northbrook to Highland Park and Deerfield; these North Shore communities take time each year to host events, and offer ways to get involved in helping to protect the environment.

As we’re in the middle of this season of giving with Christmas only a few days away; you may be thinking of ways to “give back” to the North Shore. One great idea is to recycle your Christmas tree! While you may not want to think about putting away your holiday cheer just yet; this service offered by many North Shore communities will gladly take your Christmas tree recycle it into mulch to be used around the city!

Looking for ways to go green in your North Shore home? Below are ways to “give back” by reducing your energy usage at home. While these may seem like small changes; they can produce big results! Not only will you save on your energy bill, you’ll enjoy knowing that you are doing your part in keeping your environment an eco-friendly place to live.

1. Set the Timer- Set your thermostat to lower temperatures while you’re away from your North Shore home or while you’re sleeping. This will automatically help reduce energy used as well as costs just by programming your thermostat.

2. Let the Sunshine In- During the day, be sure to leave blinds and curtains open to let in the sunlight and natural heat. At night, shut them to help “trap” the warmth.

3. Light a Fire- It’s amazing how a fire in your fireplace can heat up a room instantly! Consider lowering your thermostat on cooler evenings and lighting a fire instead. You’ll instantly feel cozier in the midst of Chicago’s chilly winters.

4. Bundle Up- Feeling chilled? Instead of turning up the thermostat, throw on a pair of socks or an extra layer. These small choices to not turn up the heat can really add up in energy savings!

5. Switch our Your Lights- From lamps to the Christmas tree, all of your lights can be changed out for energy efficient LED lights! With the sun setting earlier, you’ll be using your indoor lights more often. Also, the festivity of the season’s decorations can spike energy bill. LED Christmas lights can cut back on costs and energy usage.

6. Stop Leaks- Check all doors and windows for drafts. You can easily seal windows and doors to prevent the warm air from your North Shore home escaping while making sure the cool air doesn’t leak in!

7. Unplug- Not using an appliance? Unplug it! The Department of Energy notes that, even if appliances are not being used, they are still using energy. 40% of electricity used for your home electronics is used when they’re turned off, but still plugged in. Getting in the habit of unplugging will prove to be a smart habit in the long run!

I hope you can implement these tips or that they spark more ideas of ways you can reduce how much energy your North Shore home uses. I feel strongly that each of us can do our part, whether you’re a current North Shore resident or considering buying a home in Glencoe, Winnetka, Deerfield, Highland Park or Northbrook; we can all do our part to keep our environment healthy.

As you begin thinking about the start of a New Year, you may be considering selling or buying a home in the North Shore. If so, I would love to help you each step of the way! I have years of experience in the North Shore Real Estate market as a North Shore Real Estate agent, and can make the process as smooth and efficient as possible. Feel free to contact me anytime!

I appreciate your interest in my blog and my North Shore Real Estate services! 2010 was a great year and I’m expecting more great things for 2011!

Happy Holidays!

Janie Bress

Your North Shore Real Estate Expert

North Shore Real Estate
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Give Back This Holiday Season in Chicago's North Shore!

The holiday season in Chicago's North Shore is filled with beautifully decorated North Shore homes, endless events, concerts, and of course, shopping! And, while we all enjoy the festivities that Christmas brings; we all know there is so much more to the meaning and spirit of the holidays.

Giving back is a great part of this joyous season and there are many ways to do so! The North Shore has many opportunities throughout the year to volunteer and give back to its' communities of Winnetka, Deerfield, Glencoe, Northbrook and Highland Park. Each city understands the importance of helping out those in need within the community, especially during the holiday season! I've compiled five various ways of giving back in hopes of spurring on some ideas for how you can get involved and spread Christmas cheer this season!

1. Donate- Now is a great time to go through your closets and donate any clothes or shoes that you no longer need. Toys that have been outgrown, books and games can also be donated to various organizations around the North Shore communities and provide those in need with things they need and can use for gifts this season.

2. Volunteer- Many organizations in the North Shore are looking for additional help over the holiday season! Soup kitchens, retirement homes, homeless shelters and many others oftentimes host holiday parties or round up food, clothing and toys for those who are without this holiday season. Gather a few friends or family members to join you!

3. The Gift of Giving- Instead of buying another gift for a family member that they don't need; consider donating a gift on their behalf. Letting them know that one of their gifts went to someone with no Christmas gifts can be a very fulfilling gift!

4. Go Green- Give back to the North Shore environment by cutting back on the energy and resources you use this holiday season. Choose LED Christmas lights, wrap presents in recycled brown paper bags tied with festive string, turn down your thermostat and use your fireplace for added warmth and a cozy environement.

5. Feed the Hungry- The next time you go grocery shopping, stock up on canned goods and other non-perishable items that can be donated to a food pantry or homeless shelter. Gather with friends and family and put together Christmas food baskets that include cookies, hot chocolate, and other festive foods then donate to families you know who are in need or to a local shelter.

Ready to give back? There's a great opportunity taking place this weekend in the North Shore community of Deerfield!

This Saturday, December 18 from 10am to 2pm is the Deerfield Food Pantry and Toys for Tots Drive Through Drop-Off Day! Any new, unwrapped toys, canned food, personal care items and cleaning supplies can be dropped off at the parking lot at NWC Rosemary Terrace and Deerfield Road.

The toys will be given to children in need and the food and other items will be given to families, seniors and children in the Deerfield community who are without these items this holiday season. This events is sponsored by the West Deerfield Township, Deerfield Police Department, Marines - Toys for Tots, Deerfield Shopper's Court, Deerfield Bank & Trust, Italian Kitchen and Mutual Ace Hardware of Highland Park.

There are many other ways to get involved and give back to your North Shore community this festive season! One of the great things about living in Chicago’s North Shore is the heartfelt community spirit that each city provides. If you have been considering a move to any of the North Shore communities; please let me know! I’d be happy to show you around the available North Shore homes and answer any questions you may have about the North Shore Real Estate Market! I look forward to hearing from you!

Janie Bress

Your North Shore Real Estate Expert

North Shore Real Estate
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

House Hunting This Holiday Season in the North Shore!

Buying a home in Chicago’s North Shore during the holiday season may seem like the last thing you would want to do. The hustle and bustle of the season has you running from shopping to parties and special events, and the thought of adding one more thing into the mix may seem overwhelming. However, the holiday season can be the ideal time to start searching for your North Shore home!

According to a recent Case-Schiller report; the price of homes in the Chicago Metropolitan area seem to be holding. The past year has shown some upward ticks followed by further price reductions, but we are now where we were in October of 2002 before the market’s downturn. With the market beginning to balance out; we can rest assured that buying a home is once again a financially sound decision. Below you’ll see the course that the Chicago Metropolitan area market has taken over the past ten years. (Please click on image for larger preview).

So, with the market improving and the holidays upon us you may be wondering why now would be a great time to jump into the North Shore Real Estate market. I’ve gathered 5 reasons that can make this holiday season even more special as you begin searching for a home in Chicago’s North Shore!

1. Lower Prices- With the lack of people searching during the holidays for a home in Chicago’s North Shore; we’ve seen the prices soften. You can visit my website, to see a list of my current homes for sale in the North Shore! You’ll notice these homes are priced to sell and are a great deal for buyers.

2. Less Competition- Many buyers don’t think to take advantage of house hunting during the holidays, so you’re sure to avoid any bidding wars that would occur at a peak point in the North Shore Real Estate market. This will mean a less stressful home buying process for you!

3. Motivated Sellers- Sellers dread not being able to sell their homes before the holidays get under way. They’re very aware that most are not in the market to buy a home until Spring rolls around, which means; they’re motivated. They know showings of their home will greatly decrease, so any activity on their home is good news. Oftentimes they’re willing to come down on the price or be flexible with closing dates, and other extras.

4. Favorable Mortgage Terms- Mortgage lenders may be willing to lower interest rates or let go of some of their fees in order to gain your business. With fewer people shopping for homes; they will be experiencing a slower time in their business as well. Be sure to shop around to get the best possible deal.

5. Tax Deduction- Closing before the end of the year can mean you are eligible to deduct the interest component of your first monthly mortgage payment from your taxable income for this year. You may also be able to deduct any money you pay for points to reduce your interest rate. Of course you’ll want to consult with a North Shore tax advisor to talk over the full details.

While it may not seem convenient, taking the time to find your ideal North Shore home now can prove to be a stress free and cost effective decision! If you have your eye on a few of the beautiful homes in Glencoe, Highland Park, Northbrook or any of the other charming North Shore communities; I'd be happy to set up a time for you to see them!

As a North Shore Real Estate agent for over twenty five years; I can help you find the community and home that best fits your needs and lifestyle. Feel free to contact me anytime with questions you may have regarding the North Shore Real Estate market or to begin your North Shore home search! I look forward to hearing from you!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert

North Shore Real Estate
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bringing in December Like only the North Shore Can!

It's official. December is here! The North Shore is the ultimate place to be for the holidays. There is always an event of some sort - whether it be extravagant or intimate, for adults only or family friendly - the fun does not stop come December. Here are just a few ideas of how to get involved with the holiday festivities in your North Shore Communities - From Glencoe to Glenview, Northbrook to Winnetka.

Christmas Breakfast with Santa
Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022
Dates: December 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th
Time: 8:30- 10:30 am
Event: A buffet with miniature cinnamon rolls, seasonal fruit, scrambled eggs, turkey sausage links, hardwood smoked bacon and buttermilk waffles.

Hot Chocolate with Mrs. Claus
Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022
Date: December 20, 2010
Time: 11:00 am
Event: Listen to Christmas stories recited by Mrs. Claus while sipping hot chocolate and snacking on holiday cookies. The event also runs at 2 p.m.

Annual Winnetka Holiday Tree Lighting
Where: Chestnut St & Elm St, Winnetka, IL 60093
Date: December 3, 2010
Time: 5:30pm–6:30pm
Event: Join members of the Winnetka Chamber of Commerce and Village Council
for the annual tree lighting. Caroling begins at 5:30 p.m. and the group will move to
Caribou for hot chocolate after.

Holiday Sing
Where: Village Green, Elm St & Maple St, Winnetka, IL 60093
Date: December 24, 2010
Time: 6:00 - 6:15 pm
Event: Join families, friends, and neighbors at the 16th annual Holiday Sing on the Village Green. Gather around the Village Green and sing favorite holiday songs. Please bring your singing voices and your own candles or flashlight. This event will last approximately 25 minutes. The Village Green is located on Maple Street, in between Elm and Oak Streets.

Northbrook Symphony "Nutcracker"
Where: North Suburban YMCA, 2705 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062
Date: December 11, 2010
Time: 3:00 pm
Event: A special holiday concert at the Y features the Northbrook Symphony as well as a range of professional dancers and multi-media presentations. Selections from the Nutcracker Suite will be performed on December 11 at 3:00 and 6:00 pm. The various sections will showcase different program opportunities at the Y, including a wide variety of dance genres, yoga, gymnastics, swimming and fitness. Admission will benefit the Y's Capital Campaign. Don't miss this one-of-a-kind celebration of music and movement!

Chanukah Family Fun Day
Where: Lubavitch Chabad of Northbrook, 755 Huehl Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062
Date: December 13, 2010
Time: 10:00 am - 12:30 pm
Event: Kids of all ages can spin dreidels, have their pictures taken as Juda the Maccabee, do arts and crafts, play a Chanukah game show and snack on latkes and jelly doughnuts.

Holiday Dinner Party at the Viking Cooking School
Where: Viking Cooking School, 1140 N. Milwaukee, Glenview, IL
Date: December 13, 2010
Event: Start a warm, crackling fire; light the tree; and play some old familiar carols as you welcome your guests for a special holiday dinner. Experience your holiday tradition in a whole new way with our inspired, sophisticated and festive menu. $99. Type: Performing Arts.

As cliche as it may sound, the best thing about the holidays is spending time with family and friends. North Shore Real Estate is one of the most family-friendly, tradition-rich, close-knit areas in Illinois. There's always something to do and each event is another opportunity to begin a new tradition with your family or friends.

Communities like Winnetka, Illinois and Glencoe, Illinois are the kinds of places that people dream of living. They offer the perfect background to the holidays - from the beauty of the shoreline to the picturesque residential neighborhoods - they are like something out of a Christmas card. If this sounds like the kind of community you'd like to live in, I can help make that dream a reality. Give me a call, anytime. I'm always here to answer your questions about theis dream home real estate known as the Chicago North Shore.

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert

North Shore Real Estate
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