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More Than Just Houses in Elmhurst

by Thomas Makinney

There has been a good deal of news lately about the upswing in the housing market. Here in Elmhurst, we’ve seen home prices creeping up while supplies of homes for sale are dropping. This is great news for the industry recovery, but there’s another facet of the real estate market that sometimes goes unnoticed – the commercial sector.

In the interval between Christmas and New Year, a 15,317 square-foot retail property on the corner of St. Charles and State Rte. 83 here in Elmhurst sold for about $6.7 million. The property currently houses a Verizon store as well as Smashburger and Qdoba restaurants. While we may quickly glance at that news and then just as quickly forget about it, this transaction actually says a lot about the health of our local economy.

Commercial real estate investment is a good indicator of the overall economic health of a region. Investors have to consider local vacancy rates, the level of employment in the area, and the likelihood of property value increases in the coming months. On a national level, the latest results from the National Real Estate Investor/Marcus & Millichap Investor Sentiment Survey are very promising. The Investor Sentiment Index hit its highest level ever in the third quarter of 2012. The Index measures investor views on key points such as occupancy rates of commercial properties, property values, and plans to expand commercial real estate holdings. This points to a growing level of investor confidence as well as plans to increase commercial real estate buying in the coming months. In other words, investors are becoming more confident in both a general economic and a more specific commercial real estate recovery.

Confidence has a way of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy whether we’re talking about individual or economic achievement. If we believe in it, chances are pretty good that we can make it happen, and that’s exactly how we feel here at Gracik Makinney. With community knowledge, industry experience, and personal dedication, the Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group is the perfect place to start to meet all of your real estate goals. Contact us today at 210 N. York Road in Elmhurst, or at (630) 567-5902.

Christmas Tree Delivery for Elmhurst Next Year?

by Thomas Makinney

The holiday season can be very stressful as we try to fit too many chores and errands into just a few weeks. While not yet available here in Elmhurst, City Tree Delivery provides a service to the Chicago area that may just make this time a bit less hectic for many people.

Local small business City Tree Delivery offers its customers Michigan-grown Fraser Fir Christmas trees delivered straight to their doors as well as set-up, removal, and recycling. Commercial grade LED lights and American-made tree stands are also available either for sale or for rent. The company also offers decorating services for both commercial and residential customers. The products are also available at their tree lot at Big Star in Bucktown (1531 N. Damen).

A member of 1% for the Planet and Trees for the Future, City Tree’s business motto is “Dedicated to Sustainability while Delivering Convenience.” More than one percent of the company’s revenues are donated to local Chicago schools and parks. Owner Chris Hohenstein reflected on the business models of some of his competitors, “Big box retailers, their trees come from all over the country. Many take short cuts, pay minimum wage, or do not necessarily care how they dispose of waste at the end of the year. I once asked another lot what they did with unsold trees, and they said they put them in the dumpster in Iowa.”

The trees have been going quickly this year, and the company’s second order is already sold out. As a response to concerns about deforestation, City Tree partners with a non-profit organization that plants one new tree for each tree ordered through the company. Hohenstein looks forward to expanding into Elmhurst next year with its home delivery service and possibly a second tree lot somewhere in the western suburbs. The current lot in Bucktown is open from 10 am to 9 pm Thursday through Tuesday until Sunday, December 23, or you can reach them by telephone at 312-476-9627.

Small businesses tend to have brave hearts and are willing to make their ideals integral components of their business plans. That’s just one of the reasons why we’re so committed to Elmhurst and our local businesses. With community knowledge, industry experience, and personal dedication, the Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group is the best place to start when you’re ready to become part of our community. Contact us today at 210 N. York Rd in Elmhurst, or at (630) 567-5902.

On the Move in Elmhurst

by Thomas Makinney

Moving can be a stressful experience, but by focusing on the possibilities waiting for you in your new location, the event becomes much more pleasant. That’s our philosophy here at Gracik Makinney Group as we move into our new offices at 210 North York Road near the intersection with West 3rd. In addition to helping our clients move ahead with their own real estate goals, the Gracik Makinney Group is making this move to better serve our clients. As of December 13, we will be in our new location. Drop by anytime for a visit to see our new digs!

Blue Ribbons Sprout in Elmhurst

by Thomas Makinney

The trees near Lincoln Elementary and Bryan Middle School here in Elmhurst have recently sprouted a crop of blue ribbons. It’s part of the celebration honoring the two schools as “Exemplary High Performing” institutions as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.

Back in September, the schools were notified of their achievements – 2 of only 21 in the state, and 269 nationwide to be awarded blue ribbon status. In early November, Lincoln Principal, Kathleen Tomei, and third-grade teacher, Barb Clancy, joined Bryan Principal, John Glimco, and eighth-grade teacher, Kurt Baumeister, on a trip to Washington, D.C. to accept their awards. Last week, students at both schools were able to celebrate with pep rallies, dignitaries, and a flood of school spirit.

Among the dignitaries invited to attend celebrations at the schools were District 205 Superintendent, David Pruneau, Elmhurst Mayor, Pete DiCianni, District 205 School Board President, Jim Collins, and Illinois State Board of Education member, Jim Baumann. “This is a significant accomplishment, “ said David Pruneau, “that is indicative of all the work that goes on in all of our schools.” All of Elmhurst’s schools are very highly rated across the board by GreatSchools.org, and earn a score of 9 out of a possible 10 citywide in addition to very high individual ratings.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “The National Blue Ribbon School Program was the brainchild of the second Secretary of Education, Terrel H. Bell, named by President Reagan. Best known for commissioning the study of American education that resulted in A Nation at Risk, Bell created the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award in 1982 to bring public attention to the best schools in the United States and to facilitate communication and sharing of best practices within and among schools.”

We really love celebrating the achievements of our schools and our students. Their accomplishments reflect the spirit and vitality of our communities, and offer proof that Elmhurst is an excellent place to call home. The Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group can help you make the most of Elmhurst, too. With community knowledge, industry experience, and personal dedication, our team is the best place to start on the road to home ownership in Elmhurst. Contact us today at 540 South York St. in Elmhurst, or at (630) 567-5902. Please note also that we are moving in early December to 210 N. York Rd., Elmhurst.

Confidence is Building Here in Elmhurst

by Thomas Makinney

The National Association of Home Builders recently released their Housing Market Index report for November showing a solid increase in builder confidence for the seventh consecutive month. It now stands at 46, a five-point gain from last month. This is great news for communities across the nation as well as for us here in Elmhurst.

The NAHB Housing Market Index measures builders’ perceptions of both current single-family home sales as well as expectations of sales for the next six months. It also looks at the rate of traffic in prospective buyers that builders are experiencing. After combining these ratings, an adjusted index is produced showing the rate of confidence the builders have in the market overall.

In November’s report, two of the three indexes registered gains. The factor rating current sales conditions showed the largest increase – an eight-point gain to 49, its highest mark in more than six years. The factor measuring sales expectations for the next six months remained above 50 for a third consecutive month, notching up a two-point gain to 53. The factor measuring traffic of prospective buyers stayed unchanged at 35, though it had posted a five-point gain in October.

NAHB Chairman, Barry Rutenberg, a homebuilder from Gainesville, FL stated, "Builders are reporting increasing demand for new homes as inventories of foreclosed and distressed properties begin to shrink in markets across the country." He adds that with these improving conditions as well as continued low mortgage interest rates, many buyers who were undecided are becoming more and more motivated to purchase a new home.

Even though builders’ confidence rates are still somewhat tentative – not yet solidly above 50 at which an equal number of builders view the market as both good and poor – they are showing consistently strong upward trends from month to month. At this time last year, the HMI stood only at 19. Some conditions still present difficulties for the market such as tight lending conditions for both builders and buyers, but overall confidence is definitely on the upswing.

For Elmhurst, this means that now is one of the best times in recent memory to get into the real estate market, and the Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group can help you make the most of this trend. With community knowledge, industry experience, and personal dedication, our team is the best place to start on the road to home ownership in Elmhurst. Contact us today at 540 South York St. in Elmhurst, or at (630) 567-5902. Please note also that we are moving in early December to 210 N. York Rd., Elmhurst.

November Newsletter

by Thomas Makinney

As of October 2012, Elmhurst YTD sales are down 9%, from 922 to 839 homes sold. Year-To-Date October 2012 vs. Year-To-Date October 2011, the average price in the Elmhurst Area was down 1.49%. The YTD average price was down from $384,152 to $378,429. The YTD median price decreased 9.48%, from $320,000 to $303,500. As of November 24, 2012 there were 321 active listings in the MLS, representing a 7.35-month supply of inventory (MSI). Remember, 5.5 months is considered a "balanced" market by most. Year-To-Date average Days on Market (DOM) were up from 132 thru October 2011 to 141 thru October 2012.

MARKET SUMMARY - ELMHURST

  New Listings / % Change Closed Sales Avg. Price / % Change Median Price Days on Market
October 2012 66 / -4.35% 47 $359,774 /11.64% $311,500 137
October 2011 69   27 $322,254   $293,250 138
Year-To-Date 2012 839 /-9% 439 $378,426 /-1.49% $303,500 141
Year-To-Date 2011 922   369 $384,152   $320,000 132

 

 

The statistics presented in Market Tracker are compiled monthly based on figures and data generated by MRED for detached single family and attached single family properties. Due to possible reporting inconsistencies, Days on Market (DOM), average prices and rates of change should be used to analyze trends only. Property and statistical data sourced from MLS is solely for your personal, non-commercial use in buying or selling a property and is deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be verified. All representations and warranties regarding the information are disclaimed. Reproduction or any other use is prohibited.

 

Ready to Start Saving on Your Home Energy Use?

Sign up for a complete Home Energy Savings assessment today at the discounted price of $49

The Home Energy Savings Program is a joint program of Nicor Gas and ComEd that makes it easy for you to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home. We provide comprehensive Home Energy Assessments to identify promising energy-efficiency upgrades, and then provide instant rebates and prequalified contractors to help you complete the recommendations.

If you like, we’ll even install some simple energy-saving products during the assessment. Currently assessments are only $49 and offer services that could cost as much as $500* elsewhere (promotional price valid while funds last).

Benefits include:

  • Instant rebates of 70% up to $1,750 when you complete recommended energy-efficiency improvements such as insulation and air sealing.
  • Free installation of up to 10 CFLs, high efficiency faucet aerators and shower heads, hot water and cold water pipe wrap
  • Installation of a programmable thermostat, if desired, at a discounted price of $22.62.
  • A customized Home Energy Savings report detailing ways to save up to 20%† on your energy usage.

read more here!

 

Join Us!

The Gracik Makinney Group is looking to hire a new agent. If you are talented, motivated, and aspire to be part of something great, we're Elmhurst's fastest growing real estate group, and we need you!

We offer a good workplace and positive culture in order to be most productive. We invite you to contact us today for further information.

 

Lighting Up Elmhurst's Winter Nights

by Thomas Makinney

Throughout human history, we’ve found ways to light up the long winter nights, and we’ve created sparkling traditions and customs in the process. For the next several weeks here in Elmhurst, we can enjoy dazzling events that light up the season.

The Museum of Science and Industry began a holiday tradition in 1942 with just one tree dedicated to the Allies of World War II. Today, Christmas Around the World & Holiday of Lights includes a 45-foot tall Grand Tree with more than 30,000 lights and 1,000 ornaments. The event also features 50 smaller trees representing various cultures and holiday traditions from all around the world. Stroll through the trees with intermittent falling “snow” and take in special performances on the Holiday Stage. School choral groups will perform during the week, and ethnic song and dance performances will take place on the weekends throughout the exhibit, which runs from 9:30 a.m. ‘til 4:00 p.m. November 15 through January 6.

The Lincoln Park Zoo presents Zoo Lights throughout the zoo grounds beginning on Friday, November 23 and continuing every Friday through Sunday until December 26. From then, the lights will stay on every night until January 6. In addition to an amazing display of lights, this annual family-oriented event will also offer holiday crafts and activities, animal encounters, 3D displays, live ice carving, carousel and train rides, and a musical light show. Santa will also be on hand for photos until December 23, and the first 1,000 attendees each night will receive holiday specs.

The John Hancock Observatory offers Santa in the Sky every weekend from November 17 through December 24. Featuring Santa and his seasonal helper, Observatory mascot Seemore Miles, the event also includes face painting, holiday activities, free family photos, and one free child’s ticket to the Shedd Aquarium. The cost is free with admission to the Hancock.

Right here in Elmhurst, the Park District invites the public to the annual tree lighting at Wilder Park, and also to “join the holiday spirit in an old-fashioned celebration.” From 6 – 8 pm on December 6, participants can decorate a holiday tree of their choice in the park. Pre-registration is required for decorating; go to the Wagner Community Center (630-993-8901) to select your tree and register. On the night there will be entertainment, treats, and a visit from Santa. The district will also be collecting non-perishable food items for the local pantry.

Elmhurst’s location as a suburb of Chicago gives us the best of both worlds. We enjoy the benefits of both a vibrant metropolitan lifestyle and a small city’s sense of community. The Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group can help you take advantage of this, too. With community knowledge, industry experience, and personal dedication, our team is the best place to start on the road to home ownership in Elmhurst. Contact us today at 540 South York St. in Elmhurst, or at (630) 567-5902. Please note also that we are moving in early December to 210 N. York Rd., Elmhurst.

Elmhurst Real Estate is a Good Bet

by Thomas Makinney

Real-life Monopoly® tycoon, Warren Buffett, is often on the forefront of promising financial investments – that’s how you become a tycoon in the first place. It’s great news then for Elmhurst homeowners, as well as for those who want to become homeowners, that Mr. Buffett has recently acquired a real estate franchise from Prudential and Real Living with a plan to launch a new brokerage.

The new brokerage, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, will start up next year, and will specialize in residential properties. It will be based in Irvine, CA led by a team of former Prudential Real Estate executives. Clearly Mr. Buffett sees great potential in the residential real estate market and is willing to make a substantial financial investment in the outcome. Home Services already owns local brokerages in 21 states employing some 16,000 agents. This deal will create a national franchise for the company with some 75,000 in the network. Chicago area brokerage firm Koenig & Strey, the Gracik Makinney Group’s parent company, will number among them.

The fact that Warren Buffett sees such promise in the residential real estate market is good news for us all. All summer long we’ve seen promising market statistics pointing to a genuine recovery in process. With a financial investment of this scale in the residential market, it seems more likely than ever that home ownership is back on track and heading in the right direction.

Warren Buffett is sometimes treated as if he has a rare gift of financial foresight. In fact, what he has in abundance is common sense. He shops for bargains, makes careful investments of both time and capital, and thinks about purchases as long-term investments. He’s even quoted as saying, “Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.” The fact that Mr. Buffett has decided that now is a good time to expand his holdings in the residential real estate market is just another sign that home ownership is once again a good investment.

Long-term interest rates remain at record low levels, and here in Elmhurst there are wonderful homes for sale in excellent neighborhoods. The Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group is here to help you make the most of these opportunities. With community knowledge, industry experience, and personal dedication, our team is the best place to start on the road to home ownership. Contact us today at 540 South York St. in Elmhurst, or at (630) 567-5902.

How Much Home Can I Afford in Elmhurst?

by Thomas Makinney

This is a great time to enter the property market – the best time in recent memory, in fact. Here in Elmhurst interest rates remain at all-time lows, and home prices are still very attractive. But given the hard housing lessons learned nationwide of late, how do you know how much house is right for you?

Lenders have a very specific formula they use to determine how much to lend to you. Even if a lender approves your application for X amount, that doesn’t mean you should actually spend that much on a home. Consider the following to find the right balance for you and your bottom line.

Know your monthly income. If you’re a salaried employee, this is simple. If you work on a commission or tip basis, consider both high and low income months, and find a realistic point in between to call an average. Also, consider the stability of your income. Today’s job market is less predictable than in the past, so bear this in mind as you calculate your predictable income.

Know your debt load. Car loans, credit card payments, child-care costs, and other debts must all be factored in to your monthly budget.

Know your monthly expenses. These costs are in addition to your debts, and include such things as grocery bills, mobile phone bills, commuting costs, Internet fees, and so forth.

Know how much you can reasonably put toward a down payment. Most lenders today expect buyers to put down at least 20% of the purchase price plus pay for closing costs. Bear in mind that you should also keep an emergency fund for unexpected expenses, and don’t assume that all of your savings can safely go toward a new home purchase.

Know how long you can plan to stay in your new home. Real estate today just doesn’t appreciate at the same rate it has in the past, so you’ll need to plan to stay put for at least 5 years before breaking even.

Now is an excellent time to consider a property purchase, and Elmhurst is an excellent place to call home. The Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group is here to help you make the most of these opportunities. With community knowledge, industry experience, and personal dedication, our team is the best place to start on the road to home-ownership. Contact us today at 540 South York St. in Elmhurst, or at (630) 567-5902.

September Newsletter

by Thomas Makinney

August 2012 Real Estate Market Trends

As of August 2012, Elmhurst YTD sales are up 18%, from 292 to 346 homes sold...that's great news! Year-To-Date August 2012 vs. Year-To-Date August 2011, the average price in the Elmhurst Area was down 3.01%. The YTD average price was down from $391,874 to $380,059. The YTD median price decreased 4.83%, from $320,500 to $305,000. As of September 24, 2012 there were 372 active listings in the MLS, representing a 7.59-month supply of inventory (MSI). Remember, 5.5 months is considered a "balanced" market by most. Year-To-Date average Days on Market (DOM) were up from 137 thru August 2011 to 142 thru August 2012.

MARKET SUMMARY - ELMHURST

  New Listings / % Change Closed Sales Avg. Price / % Change Median Price Days on Market
August 2012 78 / 2.63% 39 $342,804 /-10.71% $300,000 130
August 2011 76   49 $383,926   $326,000 136
Year-To-Date 2012 697 /-11.44% 346 $380,059 /-3.01% $305,000 142
Year-To-Date 2011 787   292 $391,874   $320,500 137

 

 

The statistics presented in Market Tracker are compiled monthly based on figures and data generated by MRED for detached single family and attached single family properties. Due to possible reporting inconsistencies, Days on Market (DOM), average prices and rates of change should be used to analyze trends only. Property and statistical data sourced from MLS is solely for your personal, non-commercial use in buying or selling a property and is deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be verified. All representations and warranties regarding the information are disclaimed. Reproduction or any other use is prohibited.

 

Investing in Real Estate

Today's low interest rates and stabilized home prices have created some great investment opportunities!  Investing in real estate has unique advantages over other types of investments:

  • Interest in mortgage loans are tax-deductible.  Investors can lower their tax liability while increasing their equity.
  • Renters pay down your mortgage loan.  Investors reap the benefits of rental income, which offsets your mortgage cost and build equity.
  • Real Estate values increase over the long term.  Real Estate is limited and will always be in demand. 
  • 1031 exchanges are available to defer taxable income when you are ready to sell.

Many investors are taking advantage of these great market conditions. Have questions? Give us a call. We are happy to help!

 

Chicago-area Home Prices Post Third Straight Strong Increase

  -  -

from Chicago Real Estate Daily

A closely watched index of local home prices posted a third straight strong increase in July, rising to its highest point in nearly a year.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of Chicago-area single-family home prices rose 2.7 percent from June to July, according to a report released this morning. The local index jumped 4.6 percent from May to June and 4.5 percent from April to May.

The July index number is the highest for the area since September. Chicago-area prices are still are down almost 1 percent year-over-year, according to the report.

A 20-city composite price index increased 1.6 percent from June to July and was up 1.2 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to the report.

“The news on home prices in this report confirm recent good news about housing,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a release. “Single-family housing starts are well ahead of last year's pace, existing home sales are up, the inventory of homes for sale is down and foreclosure activity is slowing.

“All in all, we are more optimistic about housing. Upbeat trends continue. For the third time in a row, all 20 cities and both composites had monthly gains.”

The July increase was the fourth in a row for the Chicago area. Prices rose 1.2 percent from April to May.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, Chicago-area prices rose 0.8 percent in the period, compared with a 0.4 percent rise for the 20-city index.

Chicago-area prices still are down about 31 percent from their peak in September 2006, according to Case-Shiller data.

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 25

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