One Reason Why Some Chicago Luxury Condos and Penthouses Sell for a Premium

In my last 7 or so years of working with luxury condo buyers in Chicago, there is one piece of advice that has remained the same: look for a property with above-standard ceiling heights.

Ceiling heights play a huge role in the luxury real estate market, as this is a key way in differentiating one condo from another. The standard ceiling height is 8 feet, but an above-standard height ensures that a home will sell quickly and at a premium, which is an important consideration even as a buyer who is thinking about resale value.

That’s why a number of luxury buildings in Chicago feature at least 10-foot ceilings in every unit. Trump Tower, a favorite among luxury buyers, has a standard of 10-foot ceilings, but some floors go as high as 16 feet.

10-foot to 11-foot Ceilings Favored Among Buyers

The Wall St. Journal recently highlighted how important ceiling height is in real estate in other high-end markets. The article noted that buyers will pay a premium for even one extra foot, property with 10- to 11-foot ceilings versus the standard 8-feet can have a price as much as 50% higher per square foot.

So why 10 to 11 feet and not, say, 15 feet? Isn’t bigger better? The 10- to 11-foot mark is often the sweet spot for buyers, providing the extra cubic space that feels luxurious, but without being so overwhelmingly tall that furniture and artwork feel stunted in the space.

The article affirms advice I’ve been giving out for many years to buyers purchasing new construction properties. And it sounds like developers are heeding this advice, as well, as many are coming to the conclusion that raising the ceiling heights by even a few inches will help sell their properties as compared to the competition.

Penthouse Units that Go to Great Heights

While 10 to 11 feet is a “standard” for many luxury properties, Chicago penthouses are often in a class of their own. It is not unusual to have 14-foot ceilings as commonplace in penthouse unit.

Ultra-high ceilings are often sought after by art collectors who are looking for major wall space to hang their works. And since penthouse units often offer sky-high views, the super-high ceilings give way to big windows that showcase the panoramas you can only find in these types of properties.

Depending on the type of property, ceilings heights can play a major role in its design, its level of luxury and its appeal to upscale buyers. I would be happy to demonstrate a few different buildings for you to see how the different ceiling heights play into your preference. I can also give you a list of buildings that are in your budget and details on the ceilings heights of each, so you can see the difference in price between a standard ceiling height and one that might add a few inches.

For more information, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at


Square Footage was Key for Chicago Condo Luxury Sales in August

When my clients are looking at purchasing a Chicago luxury condo, they generally aren’t looking to sacrifice space. In other cities, condo living might indicate downsizing, small-space urban living, but Chicago has a great offering of buildings that feature the same amount of space you’d find in a single-family home, often with coveted amenities and services on top of it.

If they have the budget, I always recommend my clients look for a Chicago condo with at least 3,000 square feet. That seems to be the minimum square footage that a luxury buyer wants, whether they are a family with children, empty nesters, or other. And if you look at last month’s top luxury condo sales, the square footage number definitely holds up among the top five most expensive sales.

The top five condos sold have square footage ranging from just a hair under 3,000 square feet, all the way up to 5,143 square feet. All of them are also found in some of the city’s most popular buildings, noted for their prestige and coveted locations in Near North and the Gold Coast.

Finding out what sets one Chicago condo building apart from the rest is an important part of the research process if you’re looking to buy. If you’re considering a purchase, contact me at (312) 498-5080 for input on some of the unique features you’ll find among these buildings that will help you narrow down which is best for you and your family. Or, take a look below at the details for each of the top five condos sold in August (starting with the most expensive sale):

21-e-huron-st21 E Huron St, Unit 4801
Original list price: $5.5 million
Sold price: $4.5 million
This full-floor, top-floor penthouse is absolutely spectacular—and with 5,143 square feet and unobstructed, 360-degree views, this one certainly earned its way to the top sales spot in August. A private elevator opens up into this unit, which was recently renovated to include custom millwork, custom lighting, a 700-bottle wine cellar and a master suite with enormous walk-in closets and luxe bath. An enormous terrace and balcony provides coveted outdoor space. Other features include a state-of-the-art HEOS sound system by Denon, a security system and two penthouse parking spaces. The Lucien Lagrange-designed building is also full-amenity, offering a fitness center and spa, a sundeck, an indoor pool and Jacuzzi, a business center, private theatre and wine cellar.

800NMichigan800 N Michigan Ave, Unit 5301
Original list price: $5 million
Sold price: $4.4 million
Park Tower is one of the most iconic buildings in Chicago, with an unbeatable location right on the Magnificent Mile. This 4,200-square foot unit is high on the 53rd floor, allowing for stunning views; it was also recently remodeled with the finest finishes to create an impeccable home for modern living.

4EastElm4 E Elm, Unit 225
Original list price: $4.1 million
Sold price: $4.1 million
The new construction condos in 4 East Elm have been no stranger to the top luxury sales over the last few months—the building is now over 80% sold. This 3,516 square foot unit is one of just 35 modern, sophisticated half-floor residences in the building, each with elevator entry, high-end finishes and at least three exposures, many with expansive city and lake views. Amenities include an outdoor pool, whirlpool, sun deck, fitness center, screening room and clubhouse lounge.

50echestnut50 E Chestnut, Unit 1701
Original list price: $3.75 million
Sold price: $3 million
This full-floor Chicago condo in the Gold Coast stretches a generous 4,000 square feet, with 3 bedrooms and 3.1 baths. The building is sleek and contemporary, with breathtaking views in all directions. This unit in particular boasts an open floor plan that allows for spectacular vistas through floor-to-ceiling windows, with Lake Michigan to the east and the iconic Chicago skyline to the south. Private terraces on the east and west sides allow for intimate outdoor space to take in the view. The full-service building includes a top-floor fitness center, a landscaped garden, a sun deck and dark run. Residents of 50 East Chestnut are just steps from everything the Gold Coast neighborhood has to offer, including cultural institutions, world-class shopping, dining, Lake Michigan and the Magnificent Mile.

77-e-walton77 E Walton Pl, Unit 25D
Original list price: $2.65 million
Sold price: $2.52 million
This 3 bedroom, 2,940 square foot condo is a rarely available “D” tier floor plan at a sought-after luxury building in the Gold Coast. With beautiful views from the 25th floor, this unit features spectacular finishes, floor-to-ceiling windows, 10-foot ceilings and hardwood floors throughout. The Snaidero kitchen has two dishwashers and two refrigerators, and the master suite includes a lavish spa bath.

For more information on Chicago’s luxury condo buildings or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at

Real Estate Sales Were All About Chicago Luxury Homes in August

Chicago’s summer’s successful run in luxury home sales continued in August, fighting the slump that is often typical for this month. Not only was it not a “slow” month, but the ultra-luxury segment (homes sold for more than $2 million) had a great month, with 13 properties sold.

There were 49 total luxury homes sold in August, for a total sales volume of $82 million. The highest priced property to sell in August went for $3.391 million—not quite as high as the $8+ million sale we saw on Howe Street in July. What’s interesting about the homes that sold last month is the trends you can see among the most expensive homes—notably, extra-wide lot sizes (four out of the top five were on non-standard lots wider than 25 feet) and the fact that cash is still king among luxury buyers (three of the top five homes sold were purchased with cash).

Here is a more detailed look at the top five most expensive Chicago homes sold last month, in descending order:

image2121 N Dayton St
Original sale price: $3.45 million
Sold price: $3.391 million
Located steps from Armitage Avenue, this brand-new, 5,200 square foot home showcases the timeless design and meticulous workmanship Foster Design Build is known for. The elegance begins with radiant heated limestone steps that lead into a beautiful foyer. One the main floor is a formal living room with wood-burning fireplace, a dining room with coffered ceilings, a chef-grade, eat-in kitchen and a true mud room. The lavish master suite boasts a spa bath with soaking tub, enclosed water closet, steam and rain showers. Two ensuite bedrooms and laundry room are on the second floor, and the top floor (lit by a skylight!) features another bedroom, full bath and a den that opens onto a 35-foot lanai with an outdoor fireplace and mounted TV. The lower level features radiant heat, two bedrooms and an additional full bath. Other details include wiring for whole-home automation; oak floors throughout; poplar wood casings, moldings and trim; and Ann Sacks tile.

image1953 N Dayton St
Original list price: $3.595 million
Sold price: $3.313 million
On a double-sized lot on one of Lincoln Park’s most desirable blocks, this home has plenty to offer for the luxury buyer—and the one who indeed bought it paid cash. The home was recently renovated with the highest quality finishes, and boasts a number of envious features throughout, including high ceilings, stunning mill work, hardwood floors and three-panel custom doors. The gracious living room features a custom stone fireplace and a bay window that is just asking for a grand piano in it. A gourmet oak and white eat-in kitchen includes quartz countertops and Wolf and Subzero appliances. The family room opens up to an enormous backyard that makes this a perfect city oasis, complete with a lush Japanese zen garden and basketball court.

image3432 N Janssen Ave
Original list price:
$3.575 million
Sold price: $3.1 million
Custom designed on an extra-wide, 75-foot lot, this 4-bedroom single-family home is flooded with southern light. The open floor plan makes it ideal for entertaining, along with a large chef’s kitchen that includes an expansive island and built-in banquet. The master suite opens up to a balcony and includes two large walk-in closets and a fireplace. Other house features include heated floors in the kitchen, a heated back rest in the kitchen banquet, exterior heated walkways, a top-of-the-line security system and extensive landscaping work. There is also a four-car garage that includes a full gym above it. This home is located on a prime one-way street and is only a short walk to shops and restaurants. It’s also worth noting that this too, was a cash purchase for the lucky buyer.

image2049 W Dickens Avenue
Original list price:
$2.999 million
Sold price: $3.025 million
Yet another brand-new luxury home on an extra-wide lot—this one in Bucktown was sold to another cash buyer. Inside, you’ll find nearly 7,000 square feet of living space, with gracious room sizes, oversized doors and windows and quality craftsmanship throughout. The extra-large chef’s kitchen features restaurant-grade appliances, and oversized lighting with seating and plenty of storage. A great room has access to three terraces, anchored by a gorgeous marble fireplace. A huge master suite runs the width of he home and is on the same level as three additional ensuite bedrooms. The home’s lower level offers a recreational space, media room, optional wine cellar and a guest suite. And entertaining is as easy outdoors as it is in, with 1,300 square feet of alfresco space, including a heated patio with fireplace, a deck above the 3.5-car garage and a secluded terrace off of the living, dining and great room.

image3643 N Lakewood Ave
Original list price:
$2.799 million
Old price: $2.767 million
Another new construction property—this one from Bloomfield Development—built on a 30-foot, extra-wide lot, just a short walk from Southport Corridor. Two of the home’s signature features is a raised patio outside the family room and an attached breezeway to the garage. The custom, French-inspired limestone and brick façade is a only trumped by the beautiful interior, which includes handcrafted cabinetry, stained oak hardwood flooring, polished nickel hardware, Italian marble countertops and custom-designed tile. The kitchen includes Subzero and Wolf appliances and the bath, lower level and front entry boast radiant heat to combat Chicago’s winter chill.

I always encourage my clients and prospective buyers to review the previous month’s home sales to give them an idea of what types of properties are selling for what price. That way, they can compare recent sales to their own budget and wish lists and understand what they might be up against when they’re ready to purchase as well.

For more details on the single family homes that sold last month in Chicago, or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at


Chicago Luxury Condo Sales Were on a Tear in July

No summer slump here. Chicago luxury condo sales had yet another strong month in July, which is highly unusual for a mid-summer month. One of the reasons for the high sales volume is a ground-breaking price on a unit in the Waldorf Astoria, which sold for $11.7 million. That’s a price that many pay in New York and San Francisco for luxury properties that are half the square feet of homes you’d find in Chicago.

While that property was certainly the standout, there was a number of other notable sales in July, as well. Ten of the 53 luxury condos ($1 million and up) were sold for more than $2 million. Total sales volume for the month was just under $94 million, an outstanding number for the middle of summer.

Here’s a closer look at the top Chicago condos that sold last month, starting with the most expensive:

Waldorf Astoria Chicago11 E Walton, Unit 5200
Original list price: $13.9 million
Sold price: $11.7 million
Spanning an entire floor in the Waldorf Astoria, this unparalleled residence was a custom build from top to bottom with the finest finishes available. It’s also interesting to note that the buyer opted to pay cash for the home. With 4 bedrooms and 4.1 baths, this Chicago condo features gracious, flowing living spaces, a beautiful paneled den, home theater, glass encased wine cellar, an incredible master suite with dream closet and a true spa bath that leads to an unbelievable private pool area.

ritz118 E Erie St, Unit PH1
Original list price: $10,850,400
Sold price: $8.632 million
This is the penthouse of all penthouses, located on the top (40th) floor of the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Chicago. A full-floor unit, this property was more than 6,000 square feet of raw space, with 12 to 18 foot ceilings plus 660 square feet of private, south- and east-facing terraces. The service of the Ritz-Carlton Residences is unmatched, with on-site, five-star staff to cater to residents’ every need. Residents here also have access to the Landmark Club, Chicago’s only private, residential city club located on the 10th floor of the building (which also boasts an unbeatable location just off of the Magnificent Mile).

270EPearson270 E Pearson St, Unit PH16E
Original list price: $4 million
Sold price: $4.3 million
A duplex penthouse unit in a luxury boutique building, this Chicago condo has undergone a number of refinements to create an elegant living space. The interior features an open floor plan with 12-foot ceilings, an open millwork staircase, gourmet kitchen, crown moldings, hardwood floors, custom finishes throughout, tremendous closet space and ensuite bedrooms. Outside, you’ll find 800s square feet of outdoor space with spectacular lake, city and park views. The building is just steps from Michigan Avenue, with high-end shopping, dining and transportation.

4EastElm4 E Elm St, Unit 17N
Original list price: $3.1 million
Sold price: $3.135 million
The brand-new building at 4 East Elm has been the darling of luxury real estate in recent months, taking up many spots on the top sales lists. This unit in particular was a 3,095 square foot, 3 bedroom, 3.1 bathon the 17th floor. With just 35 half-floor residences, the building has been very popular among luxury buyers, thanks to a number of features including elevator entry into every unit, 3 exposures with city and lake views in most units, and high-end finishes. Building amenities include an outdoor pool, whirlpool, sun deck, fitness center, screening room and clubhouse lounge.

328WisconsinSt328 W Wisconsin St, Unit 3N
Original list price: $2.6 million
Sold price: $2.6 million
This is a new, boutique building in the heart of Lincoln Park with just 7 units. This 3-bedroom home spans 3,801 square feet of gracious, light-filled space that includes a library with wet bar, 41-foot gallery wall for art collectors, a large master suite with his/her closets, 8-foot interior doors, 10-foot ceilings, plus two terraces. Contemporary finishes throughout include Snaidero cabinets, Subzero, Wolf and Miele appliances and quartz countertops.

If you’re considering a home purchase, contact me for a private tour of some of the exceptional properties that the Chicago real estate market has to offer right now. I can provide first-hand details on each of the buildings and explain why some are apt to increase in value more so than others. Or if you’re just getting started, I can send along images and details of 5-10 properties I think you’d want to check out. Contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at

Chicago’s Luxury Home Sales Were Terrific in July, with a $8.3 Million Sale on Howe St

Luxury Chicago homes proved to still be on a tear with sales in July. The month saw 66 luxury ($1 million and up) Chicago homes sold, totaling $109 million in sales volume. Twelve of the high-end homes that sold were even over the $2 million mark, a price tag that is considered ultra-luxury for Chicago real estate.

The highest priced sale last month was a home on Howe Street, a block that has long been known for its “McMansions.” This home in particular was only on the market for 56 days, which reinforces the idea that prospective buyers who are on the fence should bite the bullet and make a purchase. Interest rates are low, but so is inventory, so the market is only going to get more competitive.

Howe Street and its neighboring blocks, Burling and Orchard, are among the most prestigious streets in all of Chicago. Their Lincoln Park location makes homes here ideal for families, putting them close to great schools, parks and other entertainment; and many residents love the neighborhood feel of this area even though it’s just a quick jaunt into downtown. I would be happy to give you a private tour of what makes this neighborhood truly special, and introduce you to other prestigious homes and buildings in the area.

Top Luxury Chicago Homes that Sold in July

The top five single-family properties to sell last month all pushed past a $2 million sale price. Here’s a closer look at the top homes that sold, starting with the most expensive:
1944 N Howe St
Original list price:
$8.6 million
Sold price: $8.3 million
A brand-new construction home in one of the most sought-after areas in Lincoln Park, this breathtaking home offers every imaginable space for gracious living. With 6-bedrooms and 6.3 baths, this home sits on an extra-wide, 42-foot lot, allowing for a whopping 10,500 square feet of interior space. There is also more than $3,500 square feet of outdoor space between open-air terraces, two outdoor fireplace areas and a penthouse skydeck with panoramic skyline views. The home boasts thoughtful design throughout, including a five-stop elevator, ample entertaining space and a seamless blend of indoor and outdoor living. The state-of-the-art finishes and gorgeous fixtures were all chosen with the most discerning eye for elegant and tasteful living.

1929 N Cleveland Ave
Original list price:
$3.899 million
Sold price: $3.825 million
This fabulous 6,400 square foot property is on one of the premier blocks in East Lincoln Park. Inside, the home is beautifully designed with a blend of transitional finishes, dramatic ceiling heights, designer window treatments, custom lighting, hardwood floors, and home automation with Sonos audio system. Five large bedrooms include a spacious master suite with dual closets and spa baths; there is also a den with en suite custom office, a penthouse-level rec room with wet bar, a gym and catering kitchen. The outdoor space has been thoughtfully designed to accommodate entertaining, with an outdoor kitchen, a garage top deck with pergola and a rooftop deck with skyline views.

1763 N Wilmot Avenue
Original list price:
$3.999 million
Sold price: $3.8 million
A new construction home from LG construction and development, featuring an exceptional design by Northworks Architects and Planners. This 6 bedroom, 6.3 bath home was built on a unique oversized lot at the end of a cul-de-sac, with a private gated alley, 3-car attached garage and massive yard. Inside, find generously sized bedrooms along with a stunning gourmet chef’s kitchen with Subzero, Miele and Wolf appliances, designer stone work, custom millwork and abundant light throughout.

2215 W McLean Ave
Original list price:
$2.899 million
Sold price: $2.75 million
This showstopper sold before the listing was even officially public, and it’s easy to see why. Designed by Studio Dwell Architects, this property has one several awards for its warm, modern design—which spans three lots in Bucktown. The home boasts expansive outdoor space that is paired with private indoor/outdoor living areas—a rarity in Chicago—plus a meditation courtyard and heated in-ground plunge pool. The interior features read like a who’s who of luxury living: Copat Italian cabinetry, integrated appliances by Miele, Wolf and Subzero, Lauzon engineered oak flooring, Lutron automated lights and window treatments. There is also a steam room and sauna, radiant flooring in the garage, lower level, office and master suite, separate HVAC zones, snow-melt system for walkways and sidewalks and a five-car attached garage.

2621 N Dayton St
Original list price:
$2.775 million
Sold price: $2.675 million
There aren’t many details on this new construction home, as it sold before the listing was completed—which means it must have had a lot to offer beyond its 6 bedrooms, 4.2 baths and limestone interior.

Chicago Real Estate Versus Other Major Cities

It’s important to note that what is considered ultra-luxury real estate in Chicago is far beyond what you might get in New York, San Francisco or London for the same price. A home like the one on Howe Street would easily cost 3 times that amount in those cities. Real estate in Chicago continues to be a good investment, especially since the stock market could become frothy in the near future.

Right now, I have a special offer for my clients: Receive $2,500 at closing for a home purchase of $500,000 or more. That is a nice influx of cash that can help cover moving expenses, décor updates, paint and a number of other things that come along with a new home. Visit my website for more details on the offer, and give me a call if you would like to discuss further.

For more information on purchasing real estate in Chicago, or for additional details on what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at

Updating Your Chicago Luxury Home to Sell Faster and at a Higher Price

Since the real estate market has been especially favorable to sellers as of late, I’m seeing a lot of clients who are deciding to make a change and putting their long-lived-in homes on the market. Some of these homes have been lived in for quite a long time, which means there may be some important steps to take before it’s market-ready for a quick sale.

If you find yourself in this scenario, it might be time to bite the bullet and make some minor modifications to your home in order to maximize the price upon selling it. Even if you’re living in a unit or neighborhood that is netting high sale prices, if your property isn’t up to par with those that are being bought, you may not see the same results.

The Washington Post recently addressed this topic in “Don’t resist your real estate agent’s suggestion to upgrade that dated décor.” The article noted that buyers typically only get a single look at a potential home, and one of the main things they are evaluating is how much work is needed to bring it to their standards. For a home that hasn’t been updated or renovated, there are a few aesthetic-focused tricks that can go a long way, like paint or replacing fixtures.

It will cost a bit of money upfront, but making strategic changes before putting your home up for sale can help it sell faster, and you could get that money back in the improved sale price.

What to Consider Updating Before Putting Your Home on the Market
I have found that kitchens and bathrooms tend to be prime areas in a home for an update. These are the rooms with the most “parts” to them and can look outdated quicker than say, the blank canvas of a bedroom.

If you’re putting your home up for sale, it’s understandable to not want to make a huge investment in the space, but just enough to help buyers imaging themselves in the home. Here are a few suggestions that don’t require a hefty monetary investment:

Kitchen cabinets: Dark wood cabinets can quickly make a kitchen feel dark and unwelcoming, and updating them with a fresh coat of white paint will transform the entire room. White is the color in these days, loved for its ability to lighten and brighten a space.

Kitchen countertops: Speaking of white, a white backsplash that complements the cabinetry would be another great way to update the room; Pair it with a new countertop in gray, black granite or even a faux material that can provide a completely new look without a renovation.

Bathroom fixtures: If you’re home is sporting a pastel toilet from the decades of yore, replace it with a white one. You’ll be surprised how much it helps the bath feel more up to date. Do the same for the sink, tub and tiles, swapping them out for white finishes. Tubs and tiles can be difficult to replace, so consider re-glazing as that will be much less expensive to make sure all of the pink/yellow/green is out of the bathroom.

Floors: It is not terribly expensive to have the floors re-sanded and stained in a nice mahogany finish. Doing this make a home feel luxurious and inviting to buyers.

Wall colors: A colorful home might be your signature, but odds are it’s not going to appeal to prospective buyers. Stick to universally loved white, cream and taupe colors on every wall.

Consult with an Experienced Broker
If you’re considering selling your home, I am happy to provide some feedback on what would help your home get ready for the Chicago real estate market. I can bring in a professional expert at no cost to you to get specifics on what might detract buyers from your home and help you address them before going to market.

I’ve worked with interior’s expert Joseph Rice many times, who brings his talents to help seller’s homes look their best before going on the market. There was one client in particular who we worked with to stage their condo for a sale, which Joseph can do at no cost to the seller—working with existing furniture, editing knick-knacks, etc. That condo sold in just two weeks!

I am also running an offer for my clients right now to receive $2,500 at closing when they partner with me to sell their property. If you’re home could use some sprucing up before selling, that influx of cash could certainly help offset any unexpected costs when the sale has closed. Contact me for additional details at (312) 498-5080 or email me at

How to Maximize a Chicago Luxury Home’s Sale Price

Painting your Chicago home before sellingIt’s no secret that color plays an important role in selling a luxury home.

If the colors are too, well, colorful, then a buyer might not be able to see past them and quickly decide a home isn’t their style. But if they are too bland, the home could seem uninteresting to a buyer looking for something they feel is special.

When I’m working with a seller to get their property sold, many don’t want to spend the time, money and energy to paint the home they’re planning to move out of. But, it’s a really important step that a seller can take to expedite the sale of their home. And I have found that sellers who do paint before going up for sale are always quite surprised at how quickly the home sells—and often at a higher price than they expected.

When it comes to the appearance of a luxury condo or home for sale, I always stress to my seller clients the importance of having a consistent color palette throughout the home. And secondly, a home with lighter paint colors throughout will typically sell faster than one with different dark colors as its background.

If you decide to give your home a fresh coat before putting it on the market (and I’d highly recommend it), you’ll be faced with another all-important question: What color?

Because color does indeed play a role in real estate, I always like to stay on top of the most recent colors that paint manufacturers and new construction developers are selecting for high-end properties, and there are a few clear trends at work right now.

The Paint Color of the Moment: White

When selling a home, you want to choose colors that a broad spectrum of buyers will identify with—across tastes and styles, lifestyles and interests. This topic was recently covered by the Wall Street Journal, and the article highlighted that the color that gets a home sold fast might not be considered a color at all: white.

Benjamin Moore selected “Simply White” as its 2016 color of the year, and the hue has endured among builders, developers and designers, particularly in urban areas. Experts associated its increased popularity with an increased focus on well-being, as the color is light, clean and refreshing.

Not to mention, white is a great canvas for buyers who are art collectors or design aficionados and won’t detract from art, architecture or design elements in a home. White won’t look dated, and gives buyers a neutral palette to imagine themselves living there.

Color in Your New Chicago Home

As paramount as color is when selling a home, it’s also an important part of the post-purchase process. After you’ve bought a home, it’s typically a next step to personalize it with your own chosen paint color and other décor.

For that reason, I’m offering my clients $2,500 at closing when they purchase or sell a home with me for $500,000 or more. If you’re looking to put that money toward painting, I have teamed up with an expert who can help you along the way. Click here to learn more about this special offer.

For more advice on getting your Chicago home ready to sell, or to talk more about your upcoming real estate moves, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at

Chicago Luxury Condo Sales in June Skewed Toward Ultra Luxury

When we look at the previous month’s Chicago condo sales, there are typically one or two sales that fall in the ultra-luxury category. But in June—a month when warmer weather moves in and the extremely high-end sales tend to slow down—there were an unusually large number of ultra-luxury condos sold. The month saw 13 condos sold for $2 million or more, with the most expensive sale going all the way up to $6.7 million. Total sales volume for the month was $135 million.

So where is all of this ultra-luxury action happening? Four out of the five most expensive condo sales were new construction at 4 East Elm, a new luxury high rise in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast. This area is seeing resurgence in luxury new construction, but 4 East Elm offers something that many buildings do not: privacy. The building is comprised of half-floor units, so there is very little sharing of space compared to other luxury condo buildings.

Top Chicago Condo Sales Offer Generous Square Footage

In recent years, I’ve noticed that luxury condo buyers have their sights set on one feature in particular: space. The magic number is usually at least 3,000 square feet, and that number holds true among the condo sales from June, as each one of these sales offers well over 3,000 square feet of living space. The most expensive unit sold clocks in at a whopping 5,400 square feet.

Search Chicago condos with more than 3,000 square feet

While the price tags on these luxury Chicago condos might seem high, the cost per square foot of a condo in Chicago is significantly less expensive than some other major U.S. cities. The Chicago condos sold in June came to about $1,241 square feet, whereas New York or San Francisco real estate can easily cost more than $3,000 per square foot.

Here’s a closer look at the size and space of the Chicago condos that sold last month, starting with the most expensive sale:

image4 E Elm St, Unit PH23
Original list price: $6.69 million
Sold price: $6,692,192
As I mentioned, 4 out of the top 5 Chicago condo sales last month were in this building: 4 East Elm. As of last month, the property had sold 75% of its 35 half-floor residences, before this 5,400 square foot penthouse unit sold on the 23rd floor. The luxury Chicago condos in 4 East Elm boast elevator entry into each unit, high-end finishes, and at least three exposures with expansive views of the city and lake from most units. The building is billed as the ultimate oasis of luxury and privacy, with an outdoor pool, whirlpool, sun deck, fitness center, screening room and clubhouse lounge.

4 E Elm St, Unit 19S
Original list price: $3.9 million
Sold price: $3,936,052
This unit on the 19th floor spans 3,486 square feet, with 3 bedrooms and 3.1 baths.

4 E Elm St, Unit 18S
Original list price: $3.8 million
Sold price: $3,792,709
Identical to the unit above it, this 3 bedroom, 3.1 bath is on the 18th floor and offers 3,486 square feet of living space.

50echestnut50 E Chestnut, Unit 3701
Original list price: $3.795 million
Sold price: $3.722 million
If a half-floor residence in 4 E Elm isn’t enough space, 50 East Chestnut has your number. This Gold Coast building offers full-floor residences made for gracious living, with stunning views, delightful details and more. This 37th floor unit was customized to perfection, with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows with Lutron treatments, Snaidero cabinetry, Calcutta marble countertops, walnut floors, Venetian plaster walls, Ann Sachs tile and Wolf, Subzero and Miele appliances. With 3,550 square feet, this unit offers all of the quality and style you expect from the Gold Coast.

4 E Elm St, Unit 21N
Original list price: $3.6 million
Sold price: $3.6 million
With 3 bedrooms, 3.1 baths, this Chicago condo offers 3,135 square feet on the building’s 21st floor.

Having worked with luxury clients in Chicago for more than 25 years, I understand that space is really the name of the game when it comes to condo living, especially that magical 3,000 square feet. I’ve made it simple to search Chicago condos that offer a minimum of 3,000 square feet of living space on my website, so you can see firsthand what is on the market and at what prices. I would also be happy to show you the floor plans and other building details for these units to give you an idea of what it has to offer.

For more information on last month’s sales, or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at

June was an Amazing Month for Ultra-Luxury Chicago Home Sales

There was certainly no summer slump to be seen among Chicago luxury (and ultra-luxury) home sales in June. Last month, there were $158 million in sales volume for luxury single-family home sales, with sales ranging from $1 million all the way up to $4.8 million.

Luxury buyers are noticing that with interest rates being historically low and the stock market potentially going higher, now is an ideal time to purchase high-end real estate. It’s also interesting to note that buyers relocating from New York and San Francisco are finding the Chicago market to be more affordable luxury, as real estate in their current locations can be two to three times more expensive. And the space that’s available likely doesn’t compare to these other urban areas, as luxury buyers in Chicago are snapping up homes on extra-wide lots as soon as they hit the market.

Lincoln Park the Most Sought-After Neighborhood in June Sales

It’s nothing new to see Lincoln Park homes among the top luxury sales, but in June, 9 out of 12 ultra-luxury homes (those sold for $2 million-plus) were in this neighborhood. Lincoln Park is a wonderful neighborhood for young professionals, families and empty nesters alike, thanks to its central location, residential atmosphere and plenty of things to do, from dining to nightlife and theater. For those with children, Lincoln Park is a favorite for its proximity to great schools, both private and public.

Read: Real Estate Considerations for New Parents

Here’s a more detailed look at the top five homes that sold in June, starting with the most expensive:

843 W Webster Ave843 W Webster Ave
Original list price: $4.999 million
Sold price: $4.775 million
Located on a double lot on one of the most sought-after blocks in Lincoln Park, this thoughtfully designed residence spans a generous 6,785 feet. The home has been completely renovated for modern living, starting with a sun-filled main level that features a double foyer, herringbone flooring and access to a large rec area with a full-size sport court. A grand staircase leads to the expansive living area that offers abundant space for entertaining, and next to that is a large dining room with French doors that leads to a separate great room. A chef’s kitchen features state-of-the-art appliances, wet bar, large breakfast bar and large cabinets. And on the top level, you’ll find 4 of the home’s five bedrooms, including the master suite with walk-in closets and terrace that extends the entire width of the home.

2015 N Clifton Ave2015 N Clifton Ave
Original list price: $3.75 million
Sold price: $3.65 million
This is a newer construction Chicago home that lets in plenty of light from every angle. With 6,250 square feet on a 28-foot lot, this four-level home features a master suite with three walk-in closets, a flex room on the 3rd level and two bedrooms on the lower level. A stunning kitchen features custom cabinetry, integrated refrigerator and freezer, a Wolf 6-burner stove, 2 ovens, 2 dishwashers and butler pantry. The home is prime for entertaining, with a large great room next to the kitchen that flows directly into the outdoor area featuring an outdoor grill station, patio and garage roof deck with fireplace. Exquisite details throughout include a showstopping elliptical 4-story staircase, beautiful crown molding and trim details, four fireplaces and four-stop elevator.

1900 N Burling St1900 N Burling St
Original list price: $3.35 million
Sold price: $3.125 million
On one of the most prestigious blocks in Lincoln Park, this pristine home has been renovated to perfection, with amazing attention to detail and an extra-wide, open floor plan. The space lends itself to entertaining, with a light-filled living room, separate dining room and custom-designed high-end chef’s kitchen with commercial-grade appliances. A great room overlooks a professionally landscaped yard and deck, and a penthouse conservatory makes for perfect in-home office space, with a rooftop terrace that offers sweeping views of the city skyline. A lower level family room, full bath and mudroom could convert to another bedroom if desired.

626 W Arlington Pl626 W Arlington Pl
Original list price: $2.849 million
Sold price: $2.675 million
A grand, extra-wide home spanning 6,320 square feet on a huge 50 x 174 foot lot. That massive space allows for the best of all worlds inside: a classic Victorian red brick façade, a lofty, light-filled interior and tremendous green space outdoors. The main level flows perfectly for entertaining, along with dramatic ceiling heights, hardwood floors, oversized windows and garden views. The dining room doubles as a library with custom built-ins, and the eat-in kitchen boasts a design from Roy McMakin. The home’s spacious master suite includes a sitting room and brand-new contemporary bath. A lower level serves as a one-bedroom apartment but could be incorporated into the main residence to add additional living space.

1853 N Fremont St1853 N Fremont St
Original list price: $2.65 million
Sold price: $2.562 million
Another highly sought-after Lincoln Park location, this exquisite 4,500-square-foot four bedroom home has been embellished with an Architectural Digest flare. Every detail uses the most high-end finishes, and features throughout include custom Marvin arched doors/windows, Christopher Peacock custom cabinetry, smart home system, reclaimed herringbone white oak floors, radiant heat floors and much more. The outdoor space includes a beautifully landscaped paver patio off the main living area and an oasis-like roof deck complete with river birch trees, an outdoor shower and city views.

Reviewing last month’s sales is a great way for buyers to get an idea of what various features, locations and square footage might cost and allow you to compare those to your own budget. I have an extensive history of selling luxury real estate in Chicago, and would be happy to talk to you more about what you might be looking for in a home purchase–and for a limited time, I’m offering $2,500 cash at closing for clients who make a purchase over $500,000 with me.

For more details on the homes that sold last month, or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at

Due Diligence is a Must When Purchasing New Construction

Now that new construction real estate has made a comeback throughout the U.S. and in Chicago, brand-new properties are understandably some of the most coveted properties on the market. But the rise of new construction and the costs associated with it has led to some developers cutting corners to maximize their margins. That means, rather than high-end, authentic finishes and details (like “real” hardwood floors, plastic over other materials, etc.) they are turning to faux details that look similar aesthetically but lack the quality that a true luxury property should have.

The Wall St. Journal recently covered this move toward faux materials in new construction properties, and this trend could be making its way into Chicago as the costs of construction continue to increase along with the cost of purchasing land.

It is in a buyer’s best interest to understand that some luxury features in their home only have the appearance of luxury, and they should be diligent in understanding what went into their potential home. There are a number of building materials today that look and feel like the “real” thing, so it may not be something that concerns you as a buyer. But it’s important to note that the difference between real and faux can certainly come into play down the line when you’re thinking about that property’s resale value.

A few areas where “faux” is more common, and therefore should be inquired about, include:

Floors: Many upscale, luxury condos are not using “real hardwood” floors, which are more expensive but also of a much greater quality than their prefabricated floors, which some developers are using. Real hardwood floors are individual, raw wood pieces that are hand-laid by a professional floor installer. Buyers of a new construction property should have some input on the flooring, especially choosing the stain color and type.

Crown moldings: Determine if the crown moldings used in a new construction property are made of wood or plastic. You’ll also want to note the amount of seams that are visible, and these can expand as the condo or home ages, and is a sign of less-than-lux quality.

Lighting: If a developer is using track lighting in an expensive, high-end home, this is also a workaround. Recessed can lighting is more expensive than track lighting, but is a less obtrusive, better design option in a home’s lighting plan. Model units or homes will sometimes use can lighting that will end up being more expensive if you choose them as an option in the actual unit that you buy.

Because of the many considerations and nuances that need to be worked through when buying new construction, it’s best to work with a real estate broker who brings a solid background in this area. I have sold an extensive amount of new construction condos and homes in Chicago, working with some of the most prestigious developers and projects in the city. If you’re thinking about purchasing a new construction home in Chicago, contact me to learn more about what’s on the market and considerations you’ll want to make during the process.

Contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at