APPRAISERS AND SELLERS REALLY NEED OUR HELP!

We are happy to be closing this afternoon on the sale of a 2 bedroom condo in West Rogers Park, in spite of inaccurate Zillow estimates and misleading MLS data.  More and more I see how the role of a real estate agent is to advocate for a client’s property and their needs.

When I met with the sellers in June to talk about selling, they told me they really need to move to get their son in a high ranked High School, as he is an honor student. They shared that they weren’t sure they could sell the home, based on what they were seeing as values on Zillow.

I showed them the comparable sales and they could see that Zillow wasn’t accurate.

We priced the home correctly and had an offer within 2 weeks.

The buyer’s agent making the offer tried to justify the low offer, saying it wouldn’t appraise out. I reviewed our comparables with her.  We negotiated and the buyer ended up agreeing on a price that was much higher than she initially offered.

I met with the appraiser 10 days ago and shared my comparables.  He commented that several of mine were superior to the condo, and shared his assumptions, that were based on MLS data. I let him know about the inaccuracies in the MLS listing. One comparable showed it had an owned parking space but in fact there is no parking in the building and is instead rented next door.

Another comp said they had a swimming pool when in reality it was more like a grotto/wading pool.  I had several comps that were higher than the appraiser’s and he wanted to discount them saying they were east of Ridge.  I let him know that the condos are in an area with schools and parks that are inferior to our location.  I made sure he fully understood the value of my client’s condo, its location, its schools, park, and safety.

The appraisal came back at the sale price of the condo, and so we are closing today. Now the sellers are very excited to work with us to start looking for a home in Taft HS district.

Helping our Buyers, Sellers and Investors Make their best real estate Move with Maggie!

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR THE 9TH ANNUAL GLENWOOD ARTS FESTIVAL

Rogers Park is counting down until its 9th Annual Glenwood Arts festival! This year’s free event will feature 100+ artists, open studio walk, food, drinks, music and live entertainment on three outdoor stages all within the Glenwood Avenue Arts District. The kick-off begins Friday August 20 at 6pm and will feature Belly-dancing and Fire-dancing performances, and The New Iberians, a Blues and Zydeco band from Portland Oregon. The festival lasts all weekend with local vendors and shops.   It also features an eclectic mix of entertainment: Blues, Rock, Jazz, Hip Hop, World Music, Poetry, Drumming, Break Dancing, kids’ performances and more.

“The Glenwood Arts Festival has always been a lot of fun, it’s great to be able to eat a delicious slice of pizza, get a henna tattoo, dance to the blues and have your fortune read all at the same time! The festival really shows the eclectic spirit of Rogers Park,” says Rogers Park resident April Link.

The festival showcases the Rogers Park neighborhood, which invites you to share in the community:   meet local artists, buy local food, enjoy a whole weekend of music and pick up a one of a kind item created by local artists.

The 9th annual Festival takes place on Friday August 20 till Sunday August 22, from 12:00pm to 9pm, with after hour events planned around the neighborhood. The festival is located in the Glenwood Arts District at Glenwood and Morse, take the red line and get off at the Morse stop.

Adele Paslaski, Move with Maggie Team

ROGERS PARK COMMUNITY GARDENS HELPING TO SPRING UP HOUSING PRICES

In May, The Rogers Park Garden Group, whose motto is: People + Plants = A Caring Community, A Beautiful Community,   A Working Community, awarded 17 small project grants for their Adopt a Way Program. The grants were made available for public parks, parkways, two businesses, two commercial street scapes, a school, and two houses of worship.

Projects like these can directly impact not only the local area’s spirit but it can also mean growing property values for the surrounding area’s homes and condos. An article published by the The American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association stated, community gardens can effect the surrounding area as far as 1000 feet (or about 3 blocks around the garden).   The nicer the garden the more it can impact the value, as much as 9.4 percent over a 5 year period in certin neighborhoods.

Rogers Park has a long history of supporting its public spaces and parks. One of the first projects began in 1952, as a grassroots effort, when community members banded together and stopped private developments on the lakefront. They ensured that today’s Rogers Park residents still get to enjoy the beautiful unobstructed beach, even without having to cross busy Lake Shore Drive. Today the effort to create green spaces for the community to share is still going strong in the Rogers Park area.

Rogers Park has many garden spaces for its residents to enjoy. This offers Rogers Park residents outdoor spaces to get back to nature, as well as the chance to farm and harvest their own crops. One such community garden can be found just behind Devon Hardware, on Boseworth near Shreiber Park.   This garden is in its second year. Community members began this year’s growing season on May 1st and it’s scheduled to last through to about September.

Another garden space can be found at 1401 W Devon Ave, Uncommon Ground, a progressive resturaunt that grows its own food on the rooftop garden.   Their rooftop garden is the first of its kind in the neighborhood.   They grow a large variety of organic food that they then cook fresh and serve in the downstairs restaurant.

Uncommon Ground   is not the only restaurant in Rogers Park that has taken advantage of their rooftop space. The Heartland and the No Exit Cafe have started a container garden on their rooftop, a perfect example of how community members can grow healthy food and promote a green lifestyle using creativity and innovation within unused space.

These gardens add color and tranquility to the Rogers Park neighborhood. These gardens are bringing community members together, creating a more engaged group of neighbors who take pride in their community.   To get your hands in the dirt contact the Rogers Park Garden Group for their upcomming event Pondering The Pond on June 29th at 7pm, where you will learn what it takes to keep an aquatic garden.

Adele Paslaski, Move with Maggie Team

ROGERS PARK: REVITALIZATION PROTOTYPE

The late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota said when everyone does better, everyone does better.   Look no further than Chicago’s Rogers Park Neighborhood to understand the truth in Wellstone’s statement.     Everyone seems to be doing better in Rogers Park thanks to a tightly-knit community of stakeholders – residents, businesses, property owners, local leaders – all visionaries whose passion helped revitalize a once-blighted neighborhood.   This community’s motivation to renew a once-vibrant area celebrated its first step toward creating change in 2003 when it became a Special Service Area.

The spirit of community revitalization is the mission of a Special Service Area.   SSAs, which date back to the late 1970s, provide a variety of services and projects to promote and preserve neighborhoods like Rogers Park.   SSAs fund these endeavors through a small tax levy.   The funds from the SSA tax can only be used to provide services within the boundaries of the specified neighborhood.

Rogers Park, the north side gateway into Chicago, is the second busiest hub and a diverse historic neighborhood.   Being a gateway location, it has made great economic sense to restore this area (known as SSA #24).     In the 6 years since Rogers Park received Chicago’s stamp of approval to become an SSA, the neighborhood looks better, feels safer, and has become a distinctive niche area and a destination for natives and visitors alike.

To achieve beautification, SSA funds provided street cleaning, graffiti removal, pressure washing of commercial area sidewalks, repainting of public amenities, installation of new landscaping and neighborhood banners (such as the notable Clark Street banners).   When you visit Rogers Park, note the attractive makeovers of small business facades.

Thanks to a dedicated community and the funds of the SSA, Rogers Park has been empowering others to do better.   Rogers Park Business Alliance and The School of the Art Institute spearheaded a win-win partnership between interior design students and local business owners through The Windows Project.   Begun in 2004, design students have gotten real world experience in redesigning storefronts, while business owners’ facades received an artful makeover.     The partnership brought aesthetics and a distinct image to Rogers Park, which has attracted not only natives who value shopping locally but also curious visitors who want to check out the festivals and distinctive culture of Rogers Park as an artist’s haven.

Advertising and marketing campaigns on behalf of Rogers Park, funded by the SSA, were significant in making the area the destination it has become.     Attend an event in the neighborhood, such as the Glenwood Arts Festival, Celebrate Clark Street Fair, or perhaps a sidewalk sale (sponsored by the SSA) and you will note how much Rogers Park offers.

The Glenwood Arts District, sponsored by the SSA, is indeed a haven for the artist, the arts enthusiast, and everyone in between.   A source of neighborhood pride for Rogers Park, the Glenwood Arts District has been instrumental in the area’s cultural distinction.   The district could well be a prototype for other communities who want to designate a special area to celebrate and integrate the arts.   Entertainment and arts venues, theaters, studios/galleries, restaurants, stores and more have created a vibrancy that has people talking.   Keeping with this culture is the “Mile of Murals,” which covers the retaining walls of the El tracks.    During a sold-out local district tour which took place back in Spring 2009, Glenwood Avenue and parts of Morse Avenue were highlighted.   Business owners opened their doors to welcome attendees and share their experiences of being a part of this dedicated arts district.

Wherever you live, put Rogers Park on your list of places to visit in Chicago.   You’ll see proof of how a devoted and passionate community (and Special Service Area) can transform itself and showcase its beauty.     Rogers Park will show you how when everyone does better, everyone does better.

Architect Edward Steinberg’s Influence on Devon Avenue and Beyond

The 1920’s era architect Edward Steinberg of Rogers Park designed storefronts on Devon Avenue in Chicago, a synagogue, and three local theaters.

Of particular interest is the Genesee Theater in Waukegan, which has been restored to its original splendor. The Genesee Theatre was built in 1927 and designed by Steinberg, with the building originally housing the theater, 11 retail spaces and 44 apartments. Work began on the restoration project in 2001, and the theater was reopened for live performances and concerts in early December 2004.He designed two other theaters that have not survived, the Belpark Theater and the State Theater. Later, Mr. Steinberg designed a four unit apartment building in 1927 that was his family home.

To view this amazing property, click here.   As the family business grew, his daughter was the interior designer on some of his projects.

Bungalows Get Historic Status in West Ridge

You may say Maribeth Brewer and Jo Stavig are bonkers for bungalows.   These two West Ridge residents (friends and neighbors) are intent on gaining National Register Bungalow Historic Status for the majority of the bungalows in the West Ridge neighborhood.   In gaining Historic Status, bungalow owners who spend at least 25% of their home’s value in rehabilitation are provided property tax relief.   To accomplish this and with the help of volunteers, Brewer and Stavig had to photography over 240 homes and garages in the area, as well as comb through endless data on microfiche at the UIC library.

Both women restored their own West Ridge bungalows almost to their original glory.   They agree that it was not for the faint of heart.   First they had to undo the restoration efforts that owners during the 60’s had done.   “In doing so, they removed the jewelry of the house,” says Brewer.   Three stained glass windows had been removed and replaced with Lannon Stone filling.   Then they had to remove a non-working fireplace and the work just continued from there.

In Spring of 2003 the pair decided to create a grass roots movement to get area bungalow owners together to discuss bungalow renovation, plants, masonry, plumbing and preservation.   Sixteen residents attended the first WRBN (West Ridge Bungalow Neighbors) meeting.   The result was a commitment from all to assist each other in preserving and appreciating these homes.

In their work getting the West Ridge bungalows registered, they discovered that the National Register requires a number of bungalows per block.   Ironically, that eliminated their homes.   That did not stop Brewer and Stavig though, who are committed to helping others get their historic district designation.

Reprinted from WRBN Blog

Waldorf School loses green space to Loyola

Chicago Waldorf School will soon be handing over their coveted Sophia  Garden to Loyola University for development purposes.  

Waldorf School is a private, non-mainstream school which focuses – among other things – on nature and the environment.   The school is located in Rogers Park near the University, and has been using this garden space by verbal agreement with the university for  nearly eleven  years.   It is much needed space for the children to run and play, as well as to cultivate vegetables, herbs and flowers – part of the students’ curriculum.

Sheree Moratto, co-administrator of Waldorf said the school has known this would only be temporary, and has  been going back to Loyola each year to ask for  the continuation of use  for another year.  This has fostered a unique relationship between the school and the university.   Loyola never required Waldorf to pay for the land, and Loyola is continuing to work with Waldorf to look for an alternative space.   The school would like to find a permanent spot to purchase, but is not sure they can afford it.  

Parents and school personnel are  extremely upset about this change in events.   For Waldorf, open space is a valuable commodity and  the  Sophia Garden  is devastating to lose.   Still, Moratto is confident about relocating the garden, and willing to work with Loyola as both institutions continue to develop in the area.

“Having the ability to observe the natural world unfold in a setting that’s not engineered by human beings is a critical component to Waldorf education,” says Moratto.   “If we don’t have [the garden] down the street, we’re going to find a way to have it down another street.”

To read more about  this story, click here.

Rogers Park, Evanston Summer Camps Abound

After the long and dreary winter we’ve experienced, it’s hard to believe that summer is  actually right around the corner, and now is the time to get your children enrolled in summer  day camp.  

If you live on the north side of Chicago, you’re in luck.   You have dozens of options to choose from.   There are camps that focus on literally every activity under the sun–from academic camps to yoga camps, and everything in between.   Traditional day camps are the favorite of many, and there are many such camps in Rogers Park and Evanston.   Here are  two of the local favorites:

Rogers Park

Kid’s Playing Camp– Partners with St. Scholastica Academy, 7416 N. Ridge, Chicago.

This camp is a well-kept secret, according to many satisfied parents.   There are three sessions: 6/21 – 7/3, 7/7 – 7/18 and 7/21 – 8/1.   You can sign up for one, two or all three sessions. This camp has a generous drop off and pick up policy.   Drop off is between 8 and 8:30am, and pick up is between 3:45 and 5:00pm.  

Activities include sports, music, cooking, drama, science, arts and crafts, photography and swimming.   Every Wednesday is field trip day, when the children venture out to museums and recreational activities.  Fridays are swimming days, when the children get to swim and play at the beautiful Northeastern University pool.   Camper/counselor ratio is 1:6.   Fees are $300 – $325 per session.

Evanston

McGaw YMCA Day Camp

This camp fills up quickly every year. Ten weekly sessions run from June 16 – August 22. Camp Rainbow is for the younger kids – ages 2.5 – 5 years old, and Camp WaNaGo is for kids from 1st to 5th grades.  

Both camps fill their days with activities ranging from arts and crafts, sports, games, learning activities and swimming, and weekly field trips. Regular camp hours are 9am – 4pm (shorter hours for the little ones), and extended hours are available for an additional fee. Per week fees for non-YMCA members are $203, and for members, $169.  Each week focuses on a different theme.  

For a comprehensive listing of Chicago-area camps, visit here.  

Rogers Park Boasts a Rich History

Rogers Park  is situated in the Northeast corner of Chicago.   With its Neighbors Evanston to the North, Skokie to the West and Lake Michigan to the East, its residents love its convenient, as well as  scenic,  location.

In the mid-1800’s, Irishman Phillip Rogers purchased approximately 1,600 acres of government land,  after which Rogers Park was eventually named.   In 1872 his son-in-law, Patrick Touhy subdivided the land near what is now the intersection Lunt and Ridge Avenues.   People quickly and steadily moved into the area, and it was incorporated the Village of Rogers Park.   Starting in the 1860’s, rail service provided round-trip  transportation from Rogers Park to downtown Chicago. When the Northwestern Elevated Railroad opened in 1908, Rogers Park population increased dramatically.  

Due to housing shortages during World War II, large apartments and homes were subdivided into smaller ones.   Population greatly increased, particularly in the area North of Howard.   Around 1960 new construction and renovation began, and has continued to increase ever since.

Entertainment has always  been an important park of life in Rogers Park.   During the first half of the century, four grand movie palaces were widely utilized:   The Howard, Adelphi, Granada and Norshore theatres.   Rogers Park at one time had a country club, and a ball club, and for years and even today,  a live theatre community has flourished.

In the past, Rogers Park was  viewed  largely  as a Jewish and Roman Catholic community. Over the past century that has changed, due to changes in immigrant population.   Today, the neighborhood supports a variety of religious denominations.

In the early years, Irish, German and Luxemburgers  came to settle in  the area,  but by  the 1960’s the neighborhood was home to  Russian and Eastern European immigrants. In the 1970’s, immigrants from Asia  moved in, and the neighborhood experienced growth in the African American population as well.

Today, Rogers Park  is one of the most culturally and economically diverse neighborhoods in the nation.   There are over  63.000 residents who call Rogers Park home.   People who live there enjoy true diversity, as there are more than 80 languages spoken.

In a city known for its homogeneity within neighborhoods, Rogers Park  is truly  a unique jewel.

Premier Jazz Venue hits Rogers Park

Come September, Rogers Park will be home to what some are hoping will be Chicago™s next great Jazz venue.   Dad Andy McGhee, son Devin McGhee and friend William Kerpan – three music lovers, are transforming the old Morse Theatre into a beautiful music club, intent on booking national acts.  The venue is situated on Morse Avenue, a few blocks from the lake and less than a block from the L stop.

The old Morse Theatre opened in 1912 as a nickelodeon and vaudeville house.   It was very popular until the mid-20™s, when other similar venues such as the Uptown and Granada opened, and it closed its doors for the first time.   It became a movie theater in the mid-30™s, and finally a Synagogue in the mid-50™s.   Other than small retail businesses occupying its storefront, the theater has not been used since.

Six  million dollars have been allocated to transform this old theater into a club unlike anything Chicago has seen in recent years.   Typically, music venues that require people to œseek them out flourish in Chicago.   In addition, Rogers Park has the unique advantage of being sandwiched between the North Side neighborhoods, and North Shore suburbs such as Evanston, Wilmette and Winnetka. Area businesses such as the Morseland at 1218 Morse Avenue, The Heartland Café at 7000 N. Glenwood Ave, and Duke™s Bar at 6920 N. Glenwood, welcome the foot traffic.

The club has announced a partnership with WFMT Radio Network to arrange live classical broadcasts from the facility. The brothers hope to bring in such acts as Saxophonist David Sanchez, New Orleans pianist Ellis Marsalis and Chilean vocalist Claudia Acuna, just to name a few.

Details about the Morse Theatre

Seating Capacity: 299

Square Feet:   18,000

Instruments:   Concert grand piano, Hammond B-3 organ

Broadcast: Dedicated audio booth; Webcast and broadcast-ready

Cinema: 20-foot projection screen

Address:   1328 W. Morse Avenue