Real Estate Market

In The Loop: Real Estate Chicago Style

August 2014 Market Update

While the number of for sale by owner transactions is on the decline, approximately 9 percent of sellers decide to go it alone and forego outside help from a Realtor®. Typically those that go this route have extenuating circumstances, such as already having a relationship with the buyer (which happened in 40 percent of recent FSBO sales, according to National Association of Realtors® data). However, NAR’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that most sellers benefit from the outside help of a knowledgeable advocate when selling their home. Aside from being experts in the field, Realtors® have the time, know the market and needs of the potential buyers, bring an objective and fresh perspective to the seller, understand the complexity of all of the processes involved, and have the ability to attract qualified buyers.  It’s because of these reasons that sellers using a Realtor® tend to get more for their homes, according to NAR’s report.

Let’s look at how many sellers sold their homes with a Realtor in August.

August 2014 Real Estate Market Update

Chicago Real Estate Sales – Detached Single Homes

The number of Chicago detached single homes selling in August 2014 decreased 6% for the month compared to August 2013. The average selling price increased by 19% to $840,922 and the average market time increased by 11 days. Homes sold for 96% of the listed price.

Neighborhoods included in these statistics are: Avondale, Albany Park, Edgewater, Irving Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Logan Square, Loop, Near North Side, Near South Side, Near West Side, North Park, North Center, Rogers Park, Uptown, West Ridge, West Town.


Sold Listings

Average Sold Price


Average Market Time

August 2014





August 2013






Chicago Real Estate Sales – Attached Single Homes

The number of Chicago attached single homes selling in August 2014 decreased by 14% for the month when compared to August 2013. The average selling price increased 12% to $419,408 and the average market time increased by 2 days. Homes sold for 98% of the listed price.


Sold Listings

Average Sold Price


Average Market Time

August 2014





August 2013






Chicago Real Estate Sales – 2-4 Flats

The number of Chicago multi-family properties selling in August 2014 decreased by less than 21% from August 2013. The average selling price increased 26% from August 2013 prices, and the average market time decreased by 45 days. Homes sold for 98% of the listed price.


Sold Listings

Average Sold Price


Average Market Time

August 2014





August 2013






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Modern man cave musts

man caveWhether in a workshop, garden or garage, American men have always enjoyed their personal spaces. With the rise of flat-screen technology, having a “man cave” became an official home improvement trend. In fact, a 2013 survey by online retailer Newegg found that more than half of American homes now have a man cave. Now, after more than a decade of partying, man caves have matured.

Modern man caves go far beyond pricey audio-visual components, a refrigerator and a couple of worn-out recliners. Today, luxury and entertainment features share space with practical ones, and when perfectly balanced, create a room to meet a variety of needs – relaxation, fun, family time and even work.

If you’re ready to create a man cave in your home, or take your existing guy-centric space to the next level, here are a handful of upgrades sure to make your cave feel like a castle:

Tech heaven

A TV is a must for any man cave, but it’s no longer enough to simply have a huge flat screen and a remote control. To really be worthy of your man cave, whether plasma, LED or LCD, a flat screen should have all the latest bells and whistles, including Internet access, 3-D, high definition and a full-motion wall mount. Surround sound and satellite signal (for visual and audio content) are also musts.

Tech needs don’t stop with A/V requirements, however.

Creating a computer center, complete with Wi-Fi, laptop and multiple screens, not only enhances gaming opportunities, it can allow your man cave to double as an office. A refrigerator is a man cave staple, and plenty of high-tech versions are available for smaller spaces like a converted basement or garage. Add a wine or beer cooler, or even a humidor to round out your tech needs.

Liquid realities

Man caves often wind up in a converted garage, finished basement or bonus room over the garage – scenarios that can make it difficult to incorporate running water into your plan. Cutting through the concrete floor of a garage or basement to install drainage can make adding a bathroom or wet bar cost-prohibitive, and it may be inconvenient to open drywall to add traditional plumbing to a bonus room.

Above-floor plumbing can make it easy and cost-effective to add water-dependent features that are both practical and luxurious. If you want to add a bathroom or wet bar to a smaller space, or one with a concrete floor, above-floor plumbing overcomes many of the challenges created by traditional plumbing.

Macerating systems for toilets (also known as up-flush plumbing) make it easy, cost-effective and quick to add a bathroom to a man cave. Drain pumps, often used for kitchens and sinks, are useful in creating a fully functional wet bar.

Thinking outside the cave walls

The very concept of a man cave is about going your own way, but early iterations seemed to follow the same basic, frat-style formula of sports-themed decor, cheap seating and high-priced tech toys. Today, man caves are as individual as the men inhabiting them. Look for ways to personalize the space for your interests and needs.

Have a passion for working out but don’t always feel like having an audience or trekking to the gym? Include some fitness equipment in your man cave. Prefer to get some work done late at night and don’t want to keep the family up? Park a desk and PC in a convenient corner. Love golf but can’t stand pool? Ditch that man-cave staple – a billiard table – and put in a mini putting green.

Finally, don’t overlook the fact that the king of the castle (or man cave) might want to invite his queen into the space. In fact, 89 percent of the men surveyed by Newegg said they would welcome a member of the opposite sex into their man cave. So be sure your man cave includes comfortable seating, dimmable lighting and a film collection that goes beyond sports and action flicks. (BPT)


Five ways to save big money on your cell phone bill

cell phoneCell phone plans these days can top $100 or even $200 a month, once you include the cost of data. That’s a lot of cash just to stay connected.

Fortunately, consumers can take a few easy steps to slash their bills - without sacrificing quality.

1. Switch to a no-contract provider           

You can cut your phone bill in half, or more, simply by switching to a no-contract provider. Consumer advocates point to no-contract plans as a smart option for consumers, offering competitive quality at substantial savings.

What about the quality of service? Not to worry: Many no-contract providers use the same networks as the big carriers. Look for language like “uses the world’s largest GSM network.” That just means they route calls over the same towers as one of the big networks.

No-contract plans are soaring in popularity. Nationwide, one in four cellphone owners has a no-contract plan. Consumer advocates are cheering the trend

2. Rely on Wi-Fi for data usage

The biggest reason cellphone bills are soaring is the cost of data. Everyone loves to stream music and video on the go and many people are paying big bucks for the privilege.

Take a look at your cellphone bill and see how much data you’re using each month. Chances are you can cut down on that number by using Wi-Fi wherever it’s available, which won’t count against your monthly data allotment.

Once your data usage levels off to a more reasonable level, make sure you aren’t paying for more than you need. You may be able to switch to a cheaper plan that includes less data.

3. Ditch unlimited talk and text messaging plans

Many cellphone users pay for unlimited talk and text, which is often necessary. Try limiting your monthly minutes and text message use and see if you can get by on a more slimmed-down, cheaper plan.

How do you cut back on minutes? Many apps, such as Skype, offer free talk services over Wi-Fi that enable you to chat with friends without running up your bill. Texting apps such as WhatsApp and GroupMe allow you to send messages for free.

4. Stop using 411 and other paid directories

We’ve all been there. You’re in a tough spot and can’t find the number of the closest gas station or pharmacy, so you dial 411 on your cellphone. Using 411 and other paid directories can add up quickly, costing a couple of dollars for each call.

Instead, try using your Wi-Fi connection to look up information on your phone’s Internet browser or maps application. Leading Web search engines like Google and Bing also offer free directory services.

5. Consider a family plan

It’s economics 101: buying in bulk saves money. This holds true for phone service, too. Most carriers offer some kind of family plan that offers meaningful discounts for getting the entire clan on the same calling plan. Some even offer shared data packages. (BPT)

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