Wednesday, July 8, 2020

North Shore Beaches & Parks

Chicago North Shore Beaches/Parks
If you’ve been cooped up inside for too long this summer, allow me to fill you in on fun outdoor options on Chicago’s North Shore! Whether you live in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities, there is a nearby North Shore beach or park for you to enjoy. As your North Shore real estate agent, I am here to fill you in on these locations and COVID-19 updates for each one.

Evanston Beaches – Evanston has four public swimming beaches that are open for the season. You must present a daily pass or season token for beach admission. These include Lighthouse Beach, Clark Street Beach, Lee Street Beach and South Boulevard Beach. Other Evanston beaches are currently closed, but this could change at anytime. Beach hours are 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. through Sept. 7. 

Glencoe Beach – Only season passes are allowed this season, there is no daily admission. Season passes are sold out, but there is a wait list you can be added to. There is limited attendance as well, to maintain social distancing. Hours for season pass holders are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The beach is open to walkers only from 6 to 9 a.m. The Sprayground and playground are now open as well. 

Winnetka Beaches – Winnetka has several beaches. Lloyd Beach and Elder Lane Beach are closed due to storm damage. Tower Road Beach is open to season pass holders only. Daily passes are not available this year. Maple Street Beach is also open for season pass holders, for swimming and for non-motorized boat launching. Centennial Beach is open as a dog beach this season. When lake conditions are hazardous, the gate will be locked. 

Heritage Park – This park in Wheeling has over 100 acres of nature and recreation options. Take the 1.3 mile path that loops around beautiful Lake Heritage. Play pickleball or basketball at the courts. Book a tee time for golf at Chevy Chase or Rob Roy Golf Course. Head to the playgrounds, or pack a picnic and find shade in the open space. Practice social distancing while there. 

River Trail Nature Center – These grounds, trails and bathrooms have reopened in Northbrook from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Exhibit buildings remain closed. Parking will be limited to 50 percent capacity, so get there early! Pack a picnic or just walk the wooded grounds, trying to spot animals while learning about native plants and animals on these self-guided nature trails. 
 
These are some of your great outdoor options on Chicago’s North Shore this summer! Where do you love to spend time outdoors? Even just enjoying your own backyard is a blessing, with plenty of fun options, like grilling, playing lawn games, having s’mores around a fire pit, etc.

Wish you lived in a better community, or wish you had a bigger backyard? When ready to achieve your North Shore real estate goals this summer, give me a call, your North Shore real estate agent! I am here to help make your goals a reality!
  
Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Now is Time to Buy and Sell on Chicago’s North Shore!

If you haven’t been keeping up with real estate market news, as your North Shore real estate agent, let me fill you in on some key factors. This summer is the ideal time to both buy and sell, so I wouldn’t want this news to slip under your radar! If you want to buy and/or sell a home in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities, now may be your perfect opportunity.

For North Shore homebuyers, the great news is that mortgage rates are hovering near historic lows, and signs show that they will remain low for awhile. Freddie Mac said they predict an average mortgage interest rate of 3.4 percent for 2020. This week they were as low as 3.13 percent! By locking in a low rate, you can save thousands of dollars over the life of your loan, and even hundreds per month! So, whether you are buying your first home, buying a second home, or selling your current home to buy a new home, low mortgage rates will work in your favor.

The less positive news for buyers is that the inventory of homes for sale is still low. So, to better your chances at having one of your offers accepted, you should be preapproved by a mortgage lender before you start your home search, to give you a competitive advantage and accelerate the home-buying process. You should also work with a trusted real estate agent, so you know about homes as soon as they are listed, or even before they are listed to the public, so you get in to see a home as soon as possible, so you have a professional negotiator on your side when making offers, and so you have a professional to guide you through a bidding war if it comes to that.

For North Shore home sellers, low mortgage rates are also good news, because so many buyers are out and eager to buy while rates are low! Many listings are flying off the market because of supply and demand. In May, listings fetched nearly three offers each. The demand is high from buyers, the supply of homes for sale is low. These are perfect conditions for a home seller to sell their home fast, and for a great price.

The sooner you list, the better, because more homes are likely to enter the North Shore real estate market as the summer season continues, and as more COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. You can feel safe and secure showing your house now, as many safety guidelines are in place to protect homeowners and their space, even during live showings.

If you feel ready to buy and/or sell on Chicago’s North Shore this summer, or you’ve got questions about the local market or the home-buying and/or home-selling process, give me a call! As your local North Shore real estate agent, I can answer all of your questions and get your started just as soon as you’re ready. Don’t let this excellent opportunity pass you by!

Janie Bress
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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

North Shore Moving Tips

If you are ready to accomplish your North Shore real estate market goals this summer, in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities, I am here to help! As your North Shore real estate agent, I can assist you in selling, buying or both. The market is picking up! Home sales are up, mortgage rates are low and buyers are eager.

Whether selling or buying, a move is in your future. You should feel excited about your move, not anxious! To help with that, here are a few moving tips to help you feel prepared when the time comes:

1.  Have a packing plan, and get started. Even if your house isn’t listed yet, or you haven’t applied for a mortgage loan yet, it’s never too early to have a packing plan! As soon as possible, start decluttering and donating, recycling, selling or tossing anything you no longer need or want. The less stuff you have to move, the better! If there is stuff you know you won’t need before the move, like winter clothes or holiday decorations, get those boxed and stored early. Create a plan for each week, so you don’t get caught with everything to do last minute.

2.  Choose a moving date. When planning your move, whether across town or across country, it’s wise to plan ahead with your work schedule and to schedule with a moving company as soon as you know when you can move. Summer tends to be the busiest moving season, so aim for mid-week and mid-month if you can. Weekends and the beginning or end of the month are the busiest times.

3.  Research moving companies. Before scheduling with a moving company, do your research to find one that is professional, reliable and experienced! Ask around for recommendations, and read reviews. Determine if you’ll need full-service, self-service or specialized, depending on what you have to move, how much, and what your budget is. Full-service will handle everything. Self-service handles only transportation. Specialized handles items like antiques, art, pianos, etc.

4.  Consider moving insurance. By law, all moving companies must provide some sort of insurance. Ask your moving company what they offer and what is included in the insurance. Most insurance reimbursement is by weight, so if you have a valuable that doesn’t weigh a lot, that won’t help you much. Consider third-party moving insurance if you have many valuables. Another option, if you don’t have too many valuables, and they aren’t too heavy or large, is to pack them in your own vehicle and transport them yourself.

5.  Budget accordingly. Ask moving companies what they charge, and be sure to ask what is included in that price and what isn’t. Get a not-to-exceed estimate so you know what the max is that you’ll pay. If your belongings weigh less than estimated, you’ll pay less. It’s wise to have a moving company come out and give you an estimate based on your belongings, so you aren’t surprised. Also, don’t forget to tip your movers. It adds up, so best to be prepared!

Good luck planning your move! When ready to buy, sell or both in the North Shore real estate market, I am ready to help! Give me a call, your North Shore real estate agent!

Janie Bress
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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Show Off Outdoor Space As North Shore Home Seller

North Shore Home-Selling Tips
If you are gearing up to sell your North Shore home this summer, now is the time to spruce up your outdoor space. While outdoor space has been a growing selling point for most homebuyers, studies are finding that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, buyers are more interested in outdoor space than ever before. When ready to sell, you’ll want to show off this space in listing photos and details!

Here are some ways you could spruce it up now before listing:

1.  Spend time on your lawn. Keep it mowed, but not too short, which dries out the grass and could kill it. Keep it watered when not raining, fertilize, do what you need to do to keep it lush and green for photos. Prune your trees and bushes, and pull weeds from gardens, so everything looks clean. If you don’t have gardens, fill a few pots with flowers to flank your front entry with.

2.  Spruce up your curb appeal. Aside from your landscaping, power wash your siding, sidewalks, driveway, etc. Fill in any cracks in the cement of driveway or walkways. Restain your deck. Clean everything from your address numbers to your mailbox, and consider giving a fresh coat of paint to these areas, or your front door or garage door.

3.  Create a sitting area. Buyers are looking for outdoor areas to enjoy this summer, so stage your patio or deck with outdoor furniture that is clean and inviting. Set the table for photos with bright outdoor dishware. If you have a fire pit, clean it up and set it up so it looks ready to go. If you have a pool, keep it sparkling clean. Even if you only have a small backyard or a balcony, you could still set up social areas with a bistro set or a couple lounge chairs.

4.  Add features to your yard. If you really want to make your North Shore home stand out in listings right now, consider what you could add to your outdoor space to make it more desirable. Families with kids are looking for fences, pools, fire pits, play sets, bounce houses and basketball hoops. Upscale buyers are looking for outdoor kitchens, in-ground pools, hot tubs and cabanas.

However, keep in mind that the pandemic won’t last forever and that buyer interests are always changing. Talk to your North Shore real estate agent about what buyers are looking for most right now in your area, and how much an added feature would add to your listing value.

When ready to sell your home in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities, give me a call! As your North Shore real estate agent, I am here to answer any questions you may have and to guide you through the entire home-selling process. Mortgage rates are hovering near record lows, so buyers are eager to take advantage. Now is a great time to sell, despite the circumstances of the times. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Curb Appeal Tricks for North Shore Home Sellers

North Shore Home Seller Curb Appeal Tips
When selling a home in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities, curb appeal is always an important factor. Most buyers browse listings online, with the first photo usually the front of the house, and the front of the house is the first thing buyers will see in person. However, with buyers ‘window shopping’ online now more than ever, curb appeal has never been more important!

As your North Shore real estate agent, I’ve put together some tips on making your home’s curb appeal really grab buyer interest this spring:

1.  Keep your lawn green and pristine. Buyers will notice the lawn, and a green lawn this time of year is a beautiful contrast to your home’s exterior, adding a pop of color to the listing photos! Water your lawn when need be, and keep it mowed and groomed, trimming along the edges and around trees and driveway/walkways.

2.  Give driveways/walkways attention. They are what lead the buyer into your house. If they are dirty, full of debris after a storm, or contain cracks or weeds growing out of them, buyers will notice. You can easily pull weeds, fill cracks with caulk, and power wash. You can even end with a glossy sealer or coat of paint if you want to go all out.

3.  Add bursts of color. Your green lawn doesn’t have to be the only color in the photo. Bursts of color really help make photos and first viewings memorable. Add a couple flower pots to your front entry, or plant flowers in gardens or along bushes. Give your mailbox a coat of paint, or your front door, or add bright-colored window shutters around your windows.

4.  Pay attention to nighttime, too. Whether showings are scheduled at night, or potential buyers drive by at night, keep this curb appeal tip in mind. Clean your lighting fixtures and replace the bulbs. Make sure the bulbs are all the same wattage so no light outshines the others. Consider solar lights for the walkway. Give your home a warm glow.

5.  Spruce up the garage. This may be a big part of your home’s curb appeal, so spend some time there. Replace the garage door with a more modern one, or paint it the same color as the trim on the house. Purchase a DIY garage window kit to add windows to your door. Replace the lighting inside the garage, and keep it organized and clean for showings.

These tips will get you started on curb appeal this spring! When ready to sell your home in Chicago’s North Shore real estate market, give me a call, your North Shore real estate agent. Whether selling, buying or both, I can answer any questions you may have about the process, and fill you in on changes to the process due to COVID-19. We can talk virtually and discuss your options. I look forward to hearing from you!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

How To Sell Your North Shore Home Virtually

North Shore Virtual Home-Selling Tips
If you need or want to sell your North Shore home this spring, as your North Shore real estate agent, I can help! Real estate isn’t exactly business as usual yet, but homes are still getting bought and sold, thanks to the plethora of technology available in today’s world. If you’d like to sell, there are plenty of ways to make that happen. I am here to fill you in what you can do to prepare!

1.  Prepare your home for a sale. This step is mostly the same as it always has been. You still want your home to be as clean, organized and clutter-free as possible. Spend time going through each room and removing as much clutter as possible. Take belongings you no longer use to drop-off donation sites. Organize everything, from inside closets and cabinets to every corner of your basement. Scrub your entire house until it is spotless, inside and out. Trim bushes and trees, mow and water lawn.

2.  Stage your home to sell. You want your North Shore home to impress buyers from photos and virtual tours, so staging to sell is key. Since most sellers won’t be using a professional stager right now, you and I can discuss in a phone call or video chat the steps you can take to stage on your own. For example, you can set your kitchen table with matching dishware and a vase of spring flowers. Remove all clutter from kitchen counters except a bowl of bright, fresh fruit. Remove all personal photos, artwork, etc. and hang neutral scenery art. Hang crisp, white towels in bathrooms.

3.  Have an online marketing strategy in place. This is what I will do for you, but we can discuss over the phone or a video chat session! I will ensure high-quality photos, a detailed and accurate listing description, detailed neighborhood information and a virtual tour of the home. If a buyer still wants to see the home in person, we can discuss what steps you’d like to take next.

4.  Ensure a safe environment. Safety for everyone involved is my top concern right now, so if you decide that you are comfortable allowing an interested buyer to view your home in person, all guests must wash their hands or use alcohol-based sanitizer before entering the home, they must leave shoes at the door or cover with booties, they must wear a mask, and they must follow CDC guidelines on social distancing. You can also choose to just allow your agent in for a live video chat with the buyer, or we can talk about other virtual-only options.

It’s possible that once the stay-at-home order is lifted, home sellers in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities will come out in droves. Beat the competition, because mortgage rates are still low and buyers are still out! As your North Shore real estate agent, I am here to help. Give me a call and let’s discuss your home-selling options this spring.

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

How You Can Help on Chicago's North Shore during COVID-19 Pandemic

How to help on Chicago's North Shore
If you find yourself healthy, financially secure and wanting to help individuals or businesses on Chicago’s North Shore during this difficult time, numerous local businesses and organizations have created ways to do just that. As your North Shore real estate agent, I’ve put together a list for you to check out.

1.  Evanston officials have launched a new online portal to connect those who want to help with those who need help. Volunteers are needed at soup kitchens, to pack food for delivery to residents in need, for tutoring, to transport medicine and food, to distribute printed materials and more. You can also give monetary donations to cover the costs of these services. 

2.  NorthShore Foundation is asking for monetary donations to their NorthShore’s COVID-19 Response Fund to help caregivers continue to deliver expert care, to expand COVID-19 testing in the community, to increase availability of much-needed supplies, to hire and train additional staff and more. 

3.  Assembly Creators Market in Evanston partners with small business fashion and professional sewers to keep designers working. They are now creating face masks and 70 percent of each sale goes to the small business owner making the mask. You can donate or purchase masks from these small businesses. 

4.  Curt’s Cafe in Evanston has prepared and delivered over 3,500 meals to three different agencies serving individuals in need over the past two weeks. Students, staff and volunteers have helped make this happen. Donate a monetary amount to help keep those in need fed. 

5.  Northern Fork Catering Company is helping keep medical and first responder personnel well fed during this time. Just donating $10 provides an individually packaged meal and snack to doctors, nurses, EMTs and other critical responders.

6.  Toffee Break Desserts in Northbrook is offering a win-win solution. With every chocolate dipping kit purchased, a sweet treat will be donated to the local food pantry. You get to enjoy a delicious treat, and so does someone in need! 

7.  Zoup! in Glenview is offering a free cup of soup to ever frontline responder or medical worker every Monday in April. Share with those you know who could use this! 

8.  Village Inn Pizzeria is asking that every time you order a pizza, you also try to donate a canned food item. All items are donated to the Niles Food Pantry. 

For more examples of how businesses and organizations are helping out in the North Shore community, and how you can help, check out this North Shore Unites page. 

If you need assistance, or you know another way to help out that wasn’t mentioned, share in the comments! We are in this together, so let’s continue to find ways to reach out and help. Even just checking in on your neighbors, family members and friends is a great way to help.

If you have real estate goals you need to accomplish this spring in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities, reach out to me, your North Shore real estate agent! There is a lot we can do virtually, so don’t hold off. Let’s discuss your needs and see how we can bring them to fruition. Stay healthy!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Stay Connected during COVID-19 on Chicago’s North Shore

North Shore Family Dinners
If you’re experiencing cabin fever, boredom or loneliness at your North Shore home during this COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are many ways to stay connected with your community and loved ones, and ways to get involved in virtual offerings with others who share your interests and passions. As your North Shore real estate agent, I’m here to offer you some suggestions, so we can all get through this difficult time together!

1.  Reach out to family, friends and neighbors. Even though we have to social distance right now, we don’t have to stop talking. Call or text at least one friend, neighbor or family member each day. Set up at least one video chat each week. If you’re not good with technology, reach out for help. If you are good with it, create a tutorial for others to follow who aren’t as tech-savvy.

2.  Connect with those around you. If you’re lucky enough to live with others, consider yourself fortunate, and spend time connecting with them. Rather than everyone hanging out in their own rooms, set up game nights, movie nights, family dinners and baking nights, where everyone participates. Have a picnic in the backyard, play hide-and-seek, have daily or weekly check-ins to see how everyone is doing. If you have to be around each other, you might as well get along and connect!

3.  Join a virtual class. There are lots of free and low-cost offerings right now online, and this is a great way to connect to others you might not know, but who share in your interests. From virtual open mic nights and writing workshops to online yoga classes and free ivy league courses, there is something for everyone. Often these offerings have forums or comment sections, where you can share and connect with others who are taking the class as well. These help you feel connected to community, even from home!

4.  Help out in your community. This is a great way to feel connected to your neighbors and to do whatever you can to help those around you. If you’re healthy, make an appointment to donate blood. Reach out to seniors or those immunocompromised to see if you can help them with grocery shopping, or bring them cooked meals. Give a shelter animal a temporary foster home. Call your local food bank to see if they need donations. Order food, shop online or purchase gift cards from a local business.

If you are feeling lonely or emotional, reach out! We are all in this together, and we will get through this together. If you have North Shore real estate goals you’d like to accomplish, reach out to me! As your North Shore real estate agent, I am still here to help you accomplish your real estate goals in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities. Real estate never stops, so let’s set up a virtual meeting and discuss your needs. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

What to Do While Stuck in Your North Shore Home

North Shore Home Improvement Tips
Many of us are responsibly practicing social separation by staying in our North Shore homes until coronavirus blows over. If you find yourself already getting cabin fever, consider now a great time to accomplish some of the projects you’ve been wanting to do around the house! As your North Shore real estate agent, allow me to offer you some ideas, before you go stir crazy.

Declutter. Now is the perfect time to declutter your North Shore home. After all, no one likes spending time in a cluttered space, and clutter is found to increase anxiety, which none of us need right now. Grab some boxes or garbage bags and go through each closet, drawer, cabinet, etc. one at a time, removing anything you no longer need or use. Separate the unwanted items into piles to donate, sell, recycle or toss. You’ll feel so much better once this is done, and if you want to sell your North Shore home this spring or summer, you’ll be one step ahead of the crowd by getting this done now!

Spring clean. Once you declutter the home, take it one step further and get your spring cleaning done! Whether you usually spring clean your home, or it’s just something on your wish list every year, this year is the perfect chance to actually make it happen. Take one room at a time. Dust, vacuum, scrub, organize. Give each member of the family a list of chores, then reward all of you at the end. Clean your windows well so you can enjoy the spring sunshine and outdoor views while stuck inside. Clean out your refrigerator and pantry of expired food and condiments so everyone knows what’s safe to eat and what’s not. Again, house cleaning is another important step to the home-selling process, if this is on your future to-do list.

Home improvement. Now is also a great time to work on some of the home improvement projects you’ve been putting off. You might not want to head to the store for supplies, but see what you can order online, such as updated cabinet and drawer handles, modern lighting fixtures, or window treatments. If you have leftover paint stored in your house, consider giving your rooms a paint refresh. Do some DIY projects around the house. House Beautiful shared a great list of 27 DIY options for when you’re stuck in the house. If you’ve been wanting to turn a room into a guest room, or office, make the switch now. 

If you want to sell your home in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities, keep up with housing market statistics and get in touch with me. If you want to buy, organize your documents for a mortgage preapproval, start browsing listings and give me a call. As your North Shore real estate agent, I am here to help! I am still working full-time to make your North Shore real estate goals a reality this spring, so don’t hesitate to give me a call and let’s see what we can do!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Remove Common Odors from Your North Shore Home

Odor-removing tips for North Shore homeowners
If you are selling your North Shore home soon, working ahead on your spring cleaning, or planning for guests to visit for spring holidays or spring break, now is a great time to combat house odors! Often, the most common types of house odors are undetected by the homeowners. We get used to the smells we’re around all the time. But when someone else comes into the house, they might notice them. Getting rid of these odors is key, especially when selling!
As your North Shore real estate agent, here are some tips for removing some of the most common house smells:
Pet smells – If you have pets, you most likely have a pet scent going on in your house, whether subtle or not. Most pet owners worry about urine smell the most, but odors could also come from pet hair, ears, slobber, pet toys, etc. To remove the odors, first clean the pet! Give them a good DIY cleaning, or make an appointment. Vacuum not only your floors, but couches, pet beds, throw blankets, etc. Use a crevice tool to get in tight spaces. Use baking soda on the carpet, or if there are urine spots, use baking soda with a half-water, half-vinegar solution. Wash pet toys.
Must/mildew – Even if your nose is blind to these smells, your eyes aren’t blind to the sight of them! If you have a basement, crawlspace or anywhere you suspect mold or mildew, inspect the area for gray or white splotches. If you find any, use household cleaners on mildew. If it’s fuzzy, it may be mold and you may want to call in professionals. Prevent it from coming back with a dehumidifier in the basement, running the fan during showers in the bathroom, and improving air circulation. Deodorize these rooms in a pinch by setting out bowls of vinegar, baking soda, or even half an onion.
Old mattresses – It’s not your fault if old bedding has a smell to it. Every person sheds dead skin and body oils when sleeping, so these are going to build up no matter what. The easiest way to clean a mattress is to sprinkle baking soda over it, let it sit for an hour, then vacuum it up. Add a couple drops of an essential oil to the baking soda for a lasting good scent. Wash your sheets and bedding regularly. Use this trick on pillows if they can’t be washed, or run in washing machine if they can.
Kitchen odors – These are the most common types of odors, especially if you cook often. Take the trash out regularly, and put some baking soda or fresh coffee grounds at the bottom of a clean trash can to soak up smells. Clean out the fridge/freezer of spoiled food and clean the insides and all of the shelves. Open the windows/doors to help strong food smells escape faster.
For more odor tips, check out this House Logic article. When ready to sell and/or buy in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities, give me a call! As your North Shore real estate agent, I am here and ready to help you accomplish your North Shore real estate goals as soon as you are!
Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Pre-Mortgage Application Checklist for North Shore Buyers

North Shore Home-Buying Tips
If you are gearing up to purchase a North Shore home this winter or spring, what do you think is the first step to beginning the home-buying process? Starting to search the internet for a home? Before you do that, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage loan, as sellers will take you more seriously, the process with run faster and smoother, and you’ll know exactly what your budget is.

However, applying for a mortgage loan is also not the first step. There are a few steps you should take BEFORE you apply, and as your North Shore real estate agent, I am here to share these with you:

1.  Check your credit score. Your credit score has a huge bearing on what mortgage interest rate you’ll be offered. The higher your score, the lower your rate. Your credit score is a summary of your credit history. If your score is lower than you’d hoped, check your credit report for errors, and spend time paying off debt, paying bills on time, and lifting that score up. This takes time, so the sooner you start, the better!

2.  Get your documents together. Once you apply for a mortgage loan, you’ll have to bring in a lot of financial documentation. By finding these ahead of time and making copies, you’ll be more prepared for the process. For online mortgage applications, scan these documents onto your computer. Items you will need are tax returns from the past few years, W-2s or 1099s from the past few years, bank statements from the past few months, copy of driver’s license and social security card, employer contact info, pay stubs and so on.

3.  Shop around for mortgages. Before you apply, ask around for recommendations from your real estate agent and from friends/family who have recently bought homes. Check out online reviews. Apply for mortgages from a few different sources. As long as these applications are done within a two-week period, they count as a single credit pull, so more than one won’t hurt your credit any more than just one. Studies have found that buyers who shopped around for a mortgage saved thousands of dollars during the life of their loan! It’s worth the extra time and effort if it saves you money, right?

If you have any questions, or you’re looking for recommendations on mortgage lenders, give me a call! As your North Shore real estate agent, I can answer your questions and get you started on the home-buying process. Whether searching in Glencoe, Winnetka, Highland Park, Deerfield, Northbrook, Lake Forest, Wilmette, Evanston, Glenview, Riverwoods, Bannockburn, or other North Shore communities, I can help you find the home of your dreams!

Winter is the new spring when it comes to buying. Data shows that February is the busiest month for listing clicks online. Therefore, there’s no need to wait! If you’d like to buy, start today. If you’d like to sell, competition is low and buyers are eager! Give me a call for all of your needs in the North Shore real estate market this winter!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


North Shore Real Estate
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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Winnetka Real Estate Market Stats for December 2019

City Active Listings: There are a total of 77 properties actively on the market with the average listing price of $1,833,372 in Winnetka.

City Sold Listings: 17 properties closed last month in Winnetka with an average sales price of $961,412. The average time on market for these properties was 51 days. 



To view the complete report including additional detailed data, charts ad graphs, please

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


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

Northbrook Real Estate Market Stats for December 2019

City Active Listings: There are a total of 224 properties actively on the market with the average listing price of $653,015 in Northbrook.

City Sold Listings: 40 properties closed last month in Northbrook with an average sales price of $498,235. The average time on market for these properties was 52 days. 


To view the complete report including additional detailed data, charts ad graphs, please view the Northbrook market statistics

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


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

Highland Park Real Estate Market Stats for December 2019

City Active Listings: There are a total of 224 properties actively on the market with the average listing price of $879,402 in Highland Park.

City Sold Listings: 43 properties closed last month in Highland Park with an average sales price of $433,904. The average time on market for these properties was 83 days. 


To view the complete report including additional detailed data, charts ad graphs, please view the Highland Park market statistics

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!

Glencoe Real Estate Market Stats for December 2019

City Active Listings: There are a total of 55 properties actively on the market with the average listing price of $1,649,208 in Glencoe.

City Sold Listings: 11 properties closed last month in Glencoe with an average sales price of $893,555. The average time on market for these properties was 125 days. 


To view the complete report including additional detailed data, charts ad graphs, please view the Glencoe market statistics

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!

Deerfield Real Estate Market Stats for December 2019

City Active Listings: There are a total of 101 properties actively on the market with the average listing price of $574,926 in Deerfield.

City Sold Listings: 16 properties closed last month in Deerfield with an average sales price of $355,922. The average time on market for these properties was 54 days. 


To view the complete report including additional detailed data, charts ad graphs, please view the Deerfield market statistics

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert


North Shore Real Estate
View North Shore Listings
Visit My Website


Local Expert... with National Connections!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

How to Make Your North Shore Home More Sustainable

Sustainability is a hot topic in today’s world! People want to make their lives more sustainable, which includes their homes. If it’s a goal of yours to make your North Shore home more sustainable in 2020, as your North Shore real estate agent, I’m here to share some tips. The perk to sustainability is that many of these tricks can help lower your energy costs, and can increase your home value when you go to sell!

1.  Insulation and heating. Winter is a great time to tackle this step! Have an energy audit done to determine your home’s efficiency. Or, take the old fashioned route and hold a candle up near windows and doors to see where there are drafts. Either way, you’ll know where to air seal by caulking gaps. If your home was built before 1990, you may need to update your heating and cooling system. There are many new, more sustainable options, such as geothermal ground source heat or air source heat pumps. A programmable thermostat is a great, easy way to cut back on energy usage when you’re not home.

2.  Landscaping and water. When planning for your landscaping in 2020, opt for sustainable methods, such as growing native plants, incorporating permeable pavers, and using drip irrigation systems, all which help cut down on water usage. Planting large shade trees can help shade your home, cutting back on air-conditioning usage in the summer. Collecting rain water for watering your gardens on dry days will cut back on water usage. And of course, watering at the correct times of the day help the water properly absorb, like as the sun is rising, or when it is setting.

3.  Solar panels. These are growing more popular among homeowners with each passing year. The tax credit for the system cost is 26 percent in 2020, 22 percent in 2021, and 10 percent in 2022, so the sooner you add them, the more you’ll save! It’s wise to invest in solar panels and a battery storage system, to allow you to store energy when the sun isn’t shining. It’s an investment, but it can yield a huge decrease in energy costs over the long-run. For a less expensive approach, update your roof with light-colored shingles, which retain less heat.

4.  Lights. The cheapest source of lighting for your North Shore home is natural light! In the winter, always allow natural light to stream in during the day, warming your home and also making it more cheerful. For artificial lighting, LEDs are still the preferred choice. They use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Check out this sustainability article from Realtor Magazine for tips on how to make your home more sustainable in the areas of plumbing, natural materials, transportation, recycling and building materials as well. Lots of information is available to keep you busy this year!

When ready to achieve your North Shore real estate goals in 2020, give me a call! As your North Shore real estate agent, I am here and ready to help you achieve all of your home-selling and/or home-buying goals in the New 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!