Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cook County Homeowners Can Now Appeal Assessments Online

One of the most common complaints from homeowners that I hear these days is "if I want to sell my home I'll get less than last year, but my taxes are higher" - I know, it doesn't make much sense. However, Cook County finally made it a little easier for homeowners to appeal their assessment. Click here to go to the website and file your appeal. If you need help, contact me and I'll happily help you fight the power!

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Have a Happy and safe Halloween!

Here's wishing you all a happy and safe Halloween! Trick or treating hours in Norridge this year are from noon to 6 p.m. To find hours in other communities, click here.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Real Estate market takes major upswing in Norridge!

Although I am constantly monitoring what is going on in the Norridge real estate market, every so often it is good to analyze the big picture. I am constantly asked if "things are getting better" and they are. But you don't have to take my word, just look at the numbers.

I went back over the last two years --from October 2008 to today and looked at home sales from each year in Norridge. Here is the results:

From October 23, 2008 to October 23, 2009: 80 homes sold at an average price of $280,275.
It took an average of 82 days once listed to sell the homes.

From October 24, 2009 to today: 123 homes sold at an average price of $296,700. It took at average of 83 days once listed to sell the homes.

So, while market time remained the same, the amount of homes sold rose a whooping 54 PERCENT! AND SALES PRICES INCREASED MORE THAN 5.5 PERCENT (OR $16,425.)

For more detailed information, feel free to contact me today at 847.878.3724 or via email.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Norridge to consider revising residential building code

Adoption would require fire sprinklers in new construction homes

Following the lead of several near suburbs, the Norridge City Council is considering adopting a new residential building code, requiring fire sprinklers in new construction homes.

Norridge currently follows the 2003 version of the International Code Council’s Residential Code, according to Norridge Building Commissioner Brian Gaseor. The group issues new building codes every three years. Gaseor said he expects city council members to vote on whether to implement the ICC’s most recent residential code, which was issued in 2009, in the next 2-3 months. The major change in the code is the requirement of sprinkler systems in all new construction homes.

While Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Skokie currently require sprinklers, there are questions that they present.

George Met, a general contractor and remodeler from Met Builders, Inc. recently dealt with sprinklers at a home his company built in Skokie.

“The requirement was a surprise to us,” Met said, explaining that it was recently adopted when he submitted the blueprints to the Skokie Village for approval.

“My client wasn’t happy but we had to follow the rules. It was a five-bedroom home and cost him about $12,000 extra,” Met said, adding that cost was not the only issue they faced.

“The home had vaulted ceilings and with that you can’t install the sprinklers in the walls. You have to install the highest sprinklers in the attic and if you’ve ever been in an attic in the winter, it is like an icebox,” Met said. “You have to make sure the attic is properly insulated and also the pipes.”

That is a lesson Inverness resident Sam Francione learned the hard way –and somewhere pipes usually do not freeze – at his summer home in Scottsdale, Arizona where sprinklers are required. Francione, who was in Illinois at the time, arrived late one evening to his home in Scottsdale to what he described as “a disaster.”

“We arrived around 11:30 p.m. and water was running out the front door,” Francione said. “It was getting cold at night and my neighbor had turned on the heat for me that morning because he knew I was coming in. Everything was fine at that point. But by the time we arrived, it was a disaster.”

Francione said the one of the sprinklers in the ceiling had burst, either from the freezing temperatures or from a sonic boom caused by Air Force fighter planes that were training in the area. Either way, the result was a collapsed ceiling, extensive water damage to the master bedroom, two guest bedrooms, hallway, closets, living and dining room, furniture and Bose speaker system. He estimated the damage at $75,000.

“It was covered by my homeowners insurance but they tripled my rate after that,” Francione said.

Nathan Kriska, Supervisor of Building and Zoning in Skokie, said the cost to install the sprinkler systems can vary. “It is usually between $7,000 and $15,000 depending on the size of the home and the type of system. There are many options these days, including some with recessed heads that drop down.”

Kriska said that some residents complained about the initial cost but feels it is worth it for the added safety.

“It’s a life-safety issue more than anything. It just gives someone that much more time to get out of the home,” Kriska said. “They don’t typically save your home. If it doesn’t burn it may flood it, but it can save your life.”

He added that Skokie, like most villages, had public hearings about the sprinklers.
“There was no real opposition. The truth is, most people don’t attend public hearings,” Kriska said.

The building code that Norridge will vote on was issued by the International Code Council, which is a group consisting of state and local government agencies as well as contractors and elected officials. ICC spokesman Steve Daggers said that it is important to note that the code is just a set of guidelines and not set in stone.

“Villages can follow them, take stuff out or add to them,” Daggers said.

In 2009, 12 building permits were issued for new construction in Norridge, according to the Village Building Department. The number was down because of the slow real estate market and poor economy, according to department officials.

Park Ridge is one of the cities in the area that has a sprinkler requirement –implementing its requirement in March 2001, well ahead of the ICC’s 2009 code, according to Steve Cutaia, Building Administrator for the city.

“We have almost 600 homes with sprinkler systems in them and very few complaints,” Cutaia said. He explained that another concern, besides cost, that some residents had was whether the sprinklers will go off if a resident burns food in the oven.

“The sprinklers are set off by temperature sensors, not smoke sensors,” Cutaia said. “And they don’t go off in every room if only one room is hot.”

While some may view sprinklers as a tradeoff between water and smoke damage, Park Ridge Fire Marshall Kevin Plach credited them for saving a home on December 23.
“It was a basement fire and the sprinklers confined it to that area. The house was saved and the residents were back in their home for Christmas.”

Plach added that the sprinkler requirement was “one of the best things we’ve done, especially considering how quickly new homes burn because of a lot of engineered construction.” As for resident objections, Plach said the requirement “did not slow construction in the least.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Free First-time & Repeat Homebuyer Seminar Febrary 27

Because of the overwhelmingly positive response, along with the tax-credits that will expire soon, I am please to announce that I will be leading another free seminar.
The seminar will take place Saturday Febrauary 27 from 1-3 p.m. at the Eisenhower Public Library in Harwoood Heights. Be sure to RSVP soon as space is limited. Also, feel free to let friends know about this event. For more details, click here!

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

For all you doom and gloomers...

Closed home sales in Norridge were up 60% in 2009 as compared to the year before! That's right, 114 homes were sold in 2009 compared to 72 in 2008. With the tax credits and low interest rates, the time really has never been better for buyers. If you are considering selling, you should give this serious consideration.

Yes, it is true that loans are tougher to obtain, but this is a good thing. Loose purse strings is what burst the bubble to begin with. While some have likened the market to a collapse - it is really a correction.

Real estate continues to be one of the best investments out there.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Top 10 reasons to sell during the holidays

Many of you may think that the holiday season is a slow time for real estate. That misconception is often times fostered by Realtors who want to take the month of December off. The truth is,it is actually a great time, and NEVER MORE SO THAN THIS YEAR! With interest rates at ALL-TIME low and the extension of the first-time buyer tax credit, you cannot afford to waste time! Below is a list of some reasons why the holiday season is ideal to sell!

1. Buyers looking are truly serious
2. Your house looks great decorated
3. People are always looking 365 days/year
4. Less competition (less homes on the market)
5. Moving costs are usually less expensive
6. Interest rates are great!
7. May be a tax benefit (Especially for First-Time Buyers!)
8. Easier to schedule a closing
9. Be in your new home for the New Year
10. More time to shop while I show your home

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