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Chicago Real Estate Blog

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By Kipp Blackburn | Broker in Chicago, IL
  • East Coast, West Coast, Third Coast: An Interview with Someone Who’s Seen it All

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Chicago, Home Selling in Chicago, Property Q&A in Chicago  |  August 31, 2011 11:48 AM  |  4,702 views  |  No comments
    Some Americans settle down easily—They find a city that they love and they stick with it. Others seem to have a bit of wanderlust—They move from place to place often.

    Today we interviewed Carla Jackson, a woman who has been privileged to lived in three of the United State’s most prominent cities New York City, San Francisco, and Houston prior to her moving to Chicago. We asked Carla to tell us a bit about how each of these major American cities stacked up to the Windy City.

    You grew up in San Francisco, didn’t you?

    That’s right. I spent the first 18 years of my life living in San Francisco. It was beautiful, and I could really see myself moving there again at some point in the future, but it’s an incredibly expensive city, and I’m not quite ready to leave Chicago yet.

    Why did you decide to leave San Francisco?

    I decided to attend New York University, so I moved there for college.

    Rent in New York most have been expensive too…

    It definitely was. My rent was subsidized because I was a student, but I shudder to think what it would have been like if I’d been paying full price.

    How did you end up in Houston?

    I moved there for a job, and I stayed for four years because of it. I never really fell in love with the city, though, and I was happy to move to Chicago for another job a few years ago.

    And now you’re in Chicago! How does it compare to the other cities?

    It compares really well, actually. I certainly miss certain aspects of the east and west coasts—I miss the ocean and the mountains, for instance. But I’ve really been enjoying my time in Chicago. I love the people, I love the city, and I really love how affordable everything is. I’ve gotten a bit spoiled actually.

    For more information about Chicago and its unique charms check out this article on the CondoDomain blog!

  • Chicago in August: A Charming City, a Memorable Month

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Chicago, Home Selling in Chicago, Property Q&A in Chicago  |  August 31, 2011 8:08 AM  |  4,788 views  |  No comments

    Vogue travel writer Richard Alleman made Chicago his “destination of the month” in August. According to Alleman, Chicago boasts some of the best food in America:

    He writes “Chicago has given the country some of our greatest chefs: Charlie Trotter, Graham Elliot, Rick Bayless, and Grant Achatz, all of whom are constantly reinventing their cuisine and opening new restaurants in their home city. Achatz, for example, whose Alinea in smart Lincoln Park has been called the best restaurant in America, has just launched Next at 953 West Fulton Market, in the meatpacking district.”

    Alleman also found the city noteworthy for its stellar summer festivals and its scenic beaches:Beautiful Oak Street Beach “On a muggy summer’s day, Chicago has the sultry feel of a big beach town. Sporting an ocean-size lakefront, the city has numerous pristine stretches of white sands. Not quite Rio, the most popular of these urban beaches is Oak Street Beach, which is a two-minute walk under a tunnel from Cartier on the posh Magnificent Mile. If you don’t want to swim or sunbathe, soak up the scene with a drink or snack under an umbrella at the adjacent café.”

    Alleman also took note of slightly less touristy destinations in the city. He was also impressed, for instance, by Chicago’s architecture and its neighborhood charm. In particular, he seemed to appreciate the construction of many new hotels in downtown Chicago, including the Hotel Palomar, a luxury hotel which may drive more tourists to Chicago. And he was equally delighted by the many Frank Lloyd Wright homes scattered throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs—more than a few of which are for sale.

    Alleman was also captivated by the up-and-coming neighborhoods of Hyde Park and Logan Square. Both neighborhoods feature many charming condos and single-family homes.

    If you’d like to learn more about Chicago and its many wonderful neighborhoods, check out articles like this one on the CondoDomain blog!


  • The Neighborhood Files: Andersonville

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Chicago, Home Selling in Chicago, Property Q&A in Chicago  |  August 31, 2011 8:07 AM  |  4,654 views  |  No comments

    Chicago is, perhaps more than most cities, a city of neighborhoods. From the broad boulevards of Lincoln Park to the arty avenues of Pilsen, each and every neighborhood in this city possesses its own distinct energy and unique charm. And each neighborhood is worth learning a little more about. So, every other week, we’ll be featuring another neighborhood on this section of the blog, and we’ll interview someone living in that neighborhood—Someone capable of giving us the inside scoop on their ‘hood!

    This week CondoDomain sat down with Sam Coulter and talked to him about his experience living in the Chicago neighborhood of Andersonville.

    How long have you been living in Andersonville?
    Actually, I’ve only been living here for four months so far. But I used to visit all the time before I moved here.

    How do you like the neighborhood so far?
    I love it!

    What do you like most about the neighborhood?
    I really like the sense of culture that permeates the neighborhood. The Neo-Futurarium is just down the street from where I live—I see shows there whenever I can.

    I also like how welcoming everyone has been. I’m starting to feel like I’m part of a real community, and I genuinely believe that most of my neighbors are interested in maintaining Andersonville’s character and charm.

    What do you think distinguishes Andersonville from other Chicago neighborhoods?
    Personally, I believe that Andersonville is just as quirky and cultured as neighborhoods like Wicker Park or East Pilsen. But it’s a little more grownup than either of those neighborhoods. I see families and older couples all the time, and I like that. I think the neighborhood feels more grounded because they’re there.

    For more information about Chicago and its vibrant neighborhoods check out this article on the CondoDomain blog!

  • Fewer Homes Being Built, Many Older Homes Being Bought

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Chicago, Home Selling in Chicago, Property Q&A in Chicago  |  August 31, 2011 8:05 AM  |  4,638 views  |  No comments

    According to Shobhana Chandra of the Bloomberg News network, builders have begun construction work on fewer homes in recent months. Few houses are currently built, and it’s unlikely that construction will begin on new homes in the fall and winter months, meaning that the number of new homes built this year may be unusually low. This trend likely indicates that residential real estate ” is failing to contribute to U.S. growth two years into an economic recovery.”

    Chandra reports that “Housing starts fell 1.5 percent to a 604,000 annual rate, in line with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, from June’s 613,000 pace that was less than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Building permits, a proxy for future construction, also dropped.”

    She also notes that “Falling sales, foreclosures and a lack of jobs may keep delaying a rebound in homebuilding, depriving the world’s largest economy of a source of strength seen in the early stages of past recoveries. Concern over housing is prompting banks to maintain strict mortgage lending rules and was one reason the Federal Reserve said it would hold borrowing costs at a record low until at least mid-2013.”

    These facts and figures, dismal though they may seem, are not entirely negative, though. Many real estate experts believe that, although new constructions will continue to stagnate, many potential home buyers have shown a renewed interest in older constructions. Many of these buyers have made plans to renovate and remodel these older homes, potential galvanizing increased real estate activity in their cities.

    And, as long as the housing market remains somewhat depressed, interested home buyers will find that they’re able to score great deals on high-end homes.

    If you’re interested in learning more about the current climate of the real estate market in Chicago, check out articles like this one on the CondoDomain blog!

  • Chicago’s Five Favorite Architectural Triumphs (Part Two)

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Chicago, Home Selling in Chicago, Property Q&A in Chicago  |  August 31, 2011 8:03 AM  |  4,627 views  |  No comments

    Chicago is certainly a city of beautiful buildings. Steely skyscrapers dominate the skyline of the Loop. Elegant apartment buildings are scattered throughout neighborhoods like Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast. Edgy, arty lofts can be found in neighborhoods like Bucktown and Wicker Park. And many of Chicago’s museums and administrative buildings double as awe inspiring works of architecture.

    There is so much great architecture in Chicago, in fact, that it can sometimes be hard to appreciate all of the architectural beauty of the buildings in Chicago.

    For that reason, we’ve decided to feature a few of our favorite architectural triumphs on the CondoDomain blog this month. This week, we’ll be taking a closer look at our second architectural triumph: The Pritzker Pavilion.

    The Pritzker Pavilion was built by acclaimed architect Frank Gehry in 1999, although plans for the Pavilion were underway as early as 1935. In the 1930s, Jay Pritzker expressed an interest in building a large, outdoor concert hall suitable for the Grant Park Music Festival. His descendents were able to make his dream a reality near the turn of the century, when Gehry agreed to design and build the Pavilion in the center of Chicago’s Millennium Park.

    Today, thousands of Chicagoans and tourists visit the site of the Pavilion each year, and Millennium Park attracts more visitors than any other construction in Chicago—with the exception of Navy Pier.

    The Pritzker Pavilion has become emblematic of Chicago’s sleek, steely architecture, and people the world over are filled with joy when they see the clean lines and curvilinear forms of Frank Gehry’s modern masterpiece.

    As such, the Pritzker Pavilion is truly one of Chicago’s architectural triumphs, and every Chicagoan ought to take a trip to it at least once.

    To find out more about Chicago’s wonderful architecture, visit posts like this one on the CondoDomain blog!

  • The Neighborhood Files: River North

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Chicago, Home Selling in Chicago  |  August 31, 2011 8:02 AM  |  4,340 views  |  No comments

    Chicago is, perhaps more than most cities, a city of neighborhoods. From the broad boulevards of Lincoln Park to the arty avenues of Pilsen, each and every neighborhood in this city possesses its own distinct energy and unique charm.

    Each neighborhood is worth learning a little more about. So, every other week, we’ll be featuring another neighborhood on this section of the blog, and we’ll interview someone living in that neighborhood—Someone capable of giving us the inside scoop on their ‘hood!

    This week CondoDomain sat down with Adam Lee and talked to him about his experience living in Chicago’s River North neighborhood

    How long have you been living in River North?

    I’ve been living here for five and a half years.

    Do you own or rent?

    I rent, but I’ve started to look into buying a house of my own. I’ve been saving up money, and if I can continue saving as much as I am now, I should be able to buy a place of my own in two or three years.

    Why did you decide to settle down in River North?

    The location is unbeatable. I’m minutes away from the loop, and I’m near several train stations. I don’t own a car, so easy El access is definitely an important factor for me to consider whenever I think about moving somewhere new.

    What do you like most about River North?

    I love the many restaurants, stores, and art galleries located in the neighborhood. River North has a lot of culture and a good amount of nightlife.

    Would you consider renting in River North again?

    Absolutely. I hope to continue living here until I do decide to buy a place of my own. I love the neighborhood!

    For more information about Chicago and its vibrant neighborhoods check out this article on the CondoDomain blog!

  • The Neighborhood Files: Lincoln Park

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Chicago, Home Selling in Chicago, Property Q&A in Chicago  |  August 31, 2011 8:00 AM  |  4,685 views  |  1 comment

    Chicago is, perhaps more than most cities, a city of neighborhoods. From the broad boulevards of Lincoln Park to the arty avenues of Pilsen, each and every neighborhood in this city possesses its own distinct energy and unique charm. And each neighborhood is worth learning a little more about. So, every other week, we’ll be featuring another neighborhood on this section of the blog, and we’ll interview someone living in that neighborhood—Someone capable of giving us the inside scoop on their ‘hood!

    This week CondoDomain sat down with Jenny Gelda and talked to her about her experience living in Lincoln Park. Jenny moved to Chicago from Boston, Massachusetts five years ago, and she’s been living in Lincoln Park for three of those years.

    Why did you decide to move to Lincoln Park?

    I wanted to live in a neighborhood that was safe, family friendly, and relatively close to the loop. I’m also a big fan of architecture, and I love the architectural style of many of the buildings in Lincoln Park.

    Were you considering any other neighborhoods as well?

    I also seriously considered moving to Streeterville, or the Gold Coast. But really, I probably could have been happy just about anywhere. There are few neighborhoods in Chicago that I genuinely dislike.

    What do you like most about living in Lincoln Park?

    I love the quietness and the restfulness I find here. It sometimes feels like I’m living in a small, sleepy little town—It just so happens that that town is embedded in one of the largest cities in the U.S. I really feel like I get the best of both of those worlds.

    Is there anything you don’t like about living in Lincoln Park?

    I sometimes wish I lived a little further away from the hustle and bustle of city life. But if I ever start to feel overwhelmed, I just spend an afternoon at the Lincoln Park Conservatory, or the Lincoln Park Zoo. The park is one of my absolute favorite places in Chicago—Or in the world, for that matter.

    Do you intend to continue living in Lincoln Park?

    Absolutely. When it comes right down to it, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be!

    For more information about Chicago and its vibrant neighborhoods check out this article on the CondoDomain blog!

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