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Dupage County Tax Reduction Lunch & Learn

by Thomas Makinney

Here is a great opportunity to empower the residents of Elmhust and Dupage County to appeal their own taxes. The upcoming real estate property tax reduction seminar, sponsored by MORe affiliate committee, is designed to help Dupage County understand that they do have options when it comes to their real estate taxes. The event is open to the public with just a $10 registration fee.

Along with the seminar, a complimentary lunch will be sponsored by Liane Luckett of Home Warranty of America.

The following are the times and locations for Dupage County:

  • Thursday, March 4th - MORe Downers Grove Office, 6655 Main St.
  • Wednesday, March 10th - MORe Naperville Office, 1815 Diehl Rd.

Both events will be held from 12 -1:30 p.m. with Registration at 11:30 a.m.

Speakers:
Anastasia M. Poulopoulos, AppealMyTaxes.biz, Inc.
Nicholas Masella, State Certified Appraiser

For the full registration form, click here.

Maria and I will be there to answer any questions that you have. Whether they be about Dupage real estate taxes or Dupage real estate in general, we are more than happy to help!

We'll See You There,
Tom Makinney

Elmhurst, IL February Real Estate Market Trends

by Thomas Makinney

The various graphs below will give you a visual report of Elmhurst, IL market statistics gathered using data from MRED*. The graphs are updated on a monthly basis so it’s easy to see the latest real estate market trends in Elmhurst. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

  

*Midwest Real Estate Data LLC

I make no claim as to the accuracy of this data and have provided this data as a service to others.


Elmhurst: A Vibrant, Walkable Community

by Thomas Makinney

Elmhurst Takes No Shortcuts On Road To Livability


The scene at York Rd. and Schiller Ct. in downtown Elmhurst. (Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune / July 12, 2009)

You must be a townie, says author Tracy Kidder in "Home Town," if "you don't shed identities. You accumulate them."

So Pete DiCianni admits he is the product of the "seven-kids, one-bathroom bungalow" on Highland Avenue, the father who campaigns for the rights of autistic children, a former member of the high school's "Long Green Line" cross-country team — and the mayor.

And this, says DiCianni, is why he and his wife, Rosemarie, chose to raise their family in his native Elmhurst, a city of 45,000 townies.

"This is a town where people know you and your parents and your kids," says DiCianni. "You go to the grocery store, and you see your daughter's coach. You go out to dinner, and you see your mom's church friends."

Clearly defined by Illinois Highway 83 on the west, Interstate Highway 294 on the east, Grand Avenue on the north and Roosevelt Road on the south, Elmhurst is one of DuPage County's more mature suburbs, settled in the 1800s and long ago land-locked.

While some suburbs struggle to achieve the New Urbanism ideal, with houses on grids that surround a pedestrian-friendly downtown, Elmhurst had this all along. Granted, its downtown looked pretty bleak during the 1970s, after shopping malls put most merchants out of business, but it has since seen a revival. "Now, our downtown has less than a 3 percent vacancy rate," reports DiCianni.

Dozens of restaurants on Elmhurst's main drag, York Road, now supplement the iconic Hamburger Heaven, which has been pouring root beer since 1948. The few retailers that survived the '70s, such as Al's Hobby Shop, are joined by funky newcomers that reflect the high style of the new high-income residents. A century after people escaped to Dr. Henry Lindlahr's sanitarium in Elmhurst for his "nature cure" (guaranteed to cure everyone but the "violently insane" with sunbaths instead of drugs), Elmhurst is still a retreat for its residents.

Thousands commute by train daily to the city, while others use the highways that encircle Elmhurst to reach jobs in every direction. Elmhurst is not just a bedroom community, though; major employers in town include Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, Elmhurst College, the school district and Superior Ambulance Service.

Evenings and weekends, says DiCianni, families feel safe bicycling or walking in downtown Elmhurst or on the Illinois Prairie Path that bisects the town. A recent police log included a bar fight, counterfeit money passed at a restaurant, several DUIs and $3,000 of tools swiped from a contractor's van.

DiCianni says that thanks to York Community High School's long-time winning cross-country coach, Joe Newton, Elmhurst has more than its share of runners. "Thousands of people show up for charity runs," says DiCianni, who still runs. Elmhurst's housing stock ranges from 19th Century mansions to new downtown rowhouses and condominiums.

Elmhurst neighborhoods are evolving as new houses replace aging ones on "teardown" lots. College View is the neighborhood of choice, and where the price tags are the highest.

"Now, the range of housing is from $120,000 for a fixer-upper to $3 million for a new house on a teardown lot," reports Realtor Bob Shiga of ReMax First in Elmhurst. "Twenty years ago, young people couldn't afford to buy here, so they went to Villa Park or Lombard. Now, in this market, they can." Likewise, he says, downsizing seniors can find condominiums here for less than $150,000. Many homebuyers are drawn by York Community High School, which typically ranks in the top 40 of Chicago-area high schools in average ACT scores. Children walk to Elmhurst's elementary and middle schools. Private schools include two Catholic high schools.

"This is a town where school referendums pass," says DiCianni. "We've added on to every school in the last few years and rebuilt the high school in 1999." The schools clinched the deal for Kevin York, who bought a new house in Elmhurst in 2003. "We wanted to live closer to Chicago and to the airport, but didn't want to sacrifice a good school district," says York, who moved from Naperville with his wife, Jill, and their three children. "We like being in a town where the kids can walk to school or to the YMCA to play basketball and we can walk to a dinner and movie on the weekend."

Built by Joseph Wangler Custom Construction in Elmhurst, the Yorks' 4,750 square-foot Williamsburg-style house features amenities such as radiant-heated floors, a media room and steam shower. "We're in an older neighborhood that has older and younger people, and we all look out for each other," he says. "But, we have a new house with lots of custom details."

York appreciates Elmhurst's cultural offerings, which introduced him to the town when his high school band played with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. "I could tell, even at that age, that this is a town that supports the arts," he recalls.

Elmhurst College, where 3,300 students study liberal arts, hosts an annual Jazz Festival, band and choral concerts, and plays. Its library has one of the largest collections of Chicago Imagist and Abstractionist works. Its grounds double as an arboretum, touting 650 plant species.

The lines between college and community blur by intention, says Denise Jones, the college's senior vice president. "We share everything from libraries to tennis courts," she says.

As part of its pledge to be a green neighbor, the college launched its Bike Program, which gives a bicycle and helmet to every student who agrees to leave his car home and encourages the use of Zipcar car-sharing.

Circling the college campus are the Elmhurst Art Museum, which includes a Mies van der Rohe house; the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art; the Elmhurst Historical Museum; and the new public library. The former library, which was the Wilder residence in its first life, is now a park district facility. The historical museum is the former Glos residence and one of Elmhurst's architectural treasures.

Residents and college students mix at community events. They include the St. Patrick's Day and Memorial Day parades, a farmers' market, a pet parade and, for vintage-car enthusiasts, the Cool Cars Under the Stars, a weekly summer event.

One of DiCianni's missions is to keep sales tax revenue flowing by encouraging people to shop locally. "This helps keep our property taxes lower than in many other DuPage County towns," he says. Key to this plan is Elmhurst's row of car dealers on Grand Avenue, which, despite the recession, is still vital. Public and private dollars in Elmhurst help serve its special-needs population, notes DiCianni. "These are not needs that we sweep under the rug," says DiCianni. "In fact, people step up to serve and support organizations including Ray Graham Association, CSLD (Center for Speech and Language Disorders) and ECAF (Elmhurst Children's Assistance Foundation)."

Senior citizens, which include his mother and her peers, are a community priority too, says DiCianni. Services such as taxi rides and counseling are city-subsidized.

"We respect the seniors who built this town," says DiCianni. "This is a place where you can raise your kids, but stay when you retire. Embracing the young and old — that's what a community does."
 

Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune

Housing Market Trend - Buyer's Frenzy in Spring 2010

by Thomas Makinney

Spring is traditionally the busiest season in real estate for both buyers and sellers, and this year is truly a buyer's market. In 2010 several factors affecting the current housing market trend show the real estate market forecast to be much busier than usual over the next several months, so discerning sellers should take notice. The unofficial beginning of the spring home buying season starts after the Super Bowl, which will be very early this year on February 7, 2010. This is when, new buyers flood the market in early spring, granting new vitality to the market. In response, many fresh properties enter the market along with lots of properties that were taken of the market at the end off last year. This always results in a buying and selling frenzy that is fueled by fresh money and increased competition in the marketplace.

This year in particular the housing market is predicted to be very active with a positive real estate market outlook and here's why. The 4th quarter of 2009 saw a huge increase in home sales nationwide, caused in part by the expiration of the Federal Housing Tax Credit for first-time homebuyers. This helped to clear the increasing inventory of unsold homes, many of which were foreclosures and short sales that had been helping to scuttle home prices.

Now that the Federal Housing Tax Credit has been extended into April and expanded to include current home buyers and those with higher incomes, there will be thousands of more Americans rushing to buy before it expires April 30, 2010. Also, just this week the Federal Reserve announced that it intended to keep key interest rates at historical lows, near zero percent. As the credit crunch starts so loosen a bit, these low rates will entice many more would be buyers to take advantage of this extreme buyer's market. Though interest rates remain low for now, one can assume that once they start to rise they will rise quickly and sharply to help alleviate inflationary trends in the market.

The housing market trend, however, will continue to be controlled by a few key factors, namely the unemployment figures and consumer confidence. These two key points are the "Wild Card Factors," according to Geoff Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) at the University of Illinois. His real estate market forecast indicates that increasing unemployment could torpedo a rising market and falling consumer confidence could also stagnate the market, despite all other factors. Thus, the housing market trend is only that, a trend, and offers no guarantees for the future.

Adds Hewings: "While we are more optimistic about 2010, we are clearly still suffering the effects of the recession and they are likely to continue well into 2010 and 2011." People who are losing their jobs or fear losing them will be hesitant or unable to purchase a new or more expensive home.

Hewings predicts a rise in home sales in early 2010 followed by a possible double-digit increase by mid year. This rise is home sales, however, will most likely die off in the 3rd and 4th quarters, as it does every year. Thus, the real estate market outlook is positive in the 1st and 2nd quarters, but slows in the last half of the year.

Bottom line - if you plan to buy or sell your home in 2010, earlier in the year will be much better than later. Sellers will see a slight increase in sales prices due to the influx of fresh buyers and the rush to beat the April 30, 2010 deadline for the tax credit. Buyers will be able to take advantage of historically low interest rates before the Fed raises them and can cash in on the Federal Housing Tax Credit, not to mention having a much greater selection of homes listed for sale.

This year, the current market trend might cause the real estate motto of "Location, location, location" to change over to "Timing, timing, timing."

Brendan Kottenstette is a real estate broker with DMD Chicago Realty (http://www.dmdchicagorealty.com ).

DMD specializes in discount broker services and doctor loans for medical residents and new doctors. Read more about their doctor mortgages program at: http://www.dmdchicagorealty.com/real-estate-for-doctors.html.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brendan_Kottenstette
By Brendan Kottenstette

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