Over-The-Top Kid’s Closets For Chicago Luxury Homes and New Construction

Luxury homes are no stranger to lavish master suites that include expansive dressing and vanity areas. But there’s a new suite in the house getting major design attention—the children’s closet. Homeowners are beginning to make investments into this oft-forgotten storage space to create a big-time closet design that combines a unique aesthetic and necessary function into one.

If you take a look at luxury listings in Chicago, high-end homes always have a handful of features that make a property stand out from the rest. It was likely just a matter of time before luxury homeowners and new construction buyers came up with something new to make their homes—and their little ones—feel special and important.

Boutique-style closets for the kids are, of course, larger, and might also include shoe racks, designer wallpaper, a chandelier or two and elegant organizational tools (think velvet-lined drawers or modular systems that grow as a child does). Besides creating a special space for children of any age, a tailored closet can teach them to organize their belongings at an early age.

A custom kid’s closet via Houzz. Photo by Dominick Tringali Architects.

The Wall St. Journal recently covered this new trend, noting that many projects start from simple vanity, with parents taking the opportunity to be a bit more adventurous in an Internet-sharing-worthy design. But a high-end closet system can also increase a home’s value when it comes time to sell, especially if the space is adaptable enough to grow with the child who uses it.

Akin to a cute child, the custom closet can certainly emit the “oohs” and “aahs” from anyone who sees it. It’s a fresh take on luxury home design that I think many buyers will find clever, both visually and functionally.

The Importance of Chicago Luxury Home Trends

If you’re building or remodeling your property, its important to think of what will play into your home’s resale value. I have extensive experience in working with new construction properties that include the most cutting-edge features, finishes and appliances, and would be happy to discuss with you what changes serve as “value-adds” to your home.
My eye for detail and the nuances that come with floorplan reconfiguration are of a great service to understand how certain elements can tie back to your home’s overall value. To discuss your home project and what trends are at the forefront of luxury real estate, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Ultra-Luxury Homes Still Trending Among Chicago Home Sales in November

It’s not surprising that sales among luxury Chicago homes were down in November, with 32 $1 million-plus homes sold for a total of $50 million. However, we still saw a continuing trend from October, which was sales that favor the buyer, with deals closing at significantly lower prices than the original list price.

In November, four out of the top five homes sold were sold at at least $100,000 less than the original listing price. The discrepancy is a sign that sellers are being more flexible and realistic in getting their properties sold before winter officially moves in. And these homes are moving quickly—the top five homes sold in anywhere from two to 102 days. Sellers may not be willing to keep their homes on the market in order to hold out for their asking price.

Trends Among November Home Sales

Because this isn’t prime real estate season, there weren’t as many ultra high-end sales that we’ve seen in the last few months. The top sale was a modest $3.5 million. But one consistency we’ve continued to see is buyer’s gravitation toward properties on extra-wide lots. Four out of the top five sales were on lots larger than the typical 25 feet x 125 feet.

With that, let’s take a closer look at the top luxury Chicago homes that sold last month, in descending order:

21122112 N Sedgwick St
Original list price:
$3.45 million
Sold price: $3.45 million
This vintage home was gutted and awaiting renovation—the luxky buyer would have the opportunity to create their dream home in a coveted location in Lincoln Park. Situated on a 50 x 124 foot lot, the home was built to be 6,000 square feet but zoned to be expanded beyond 10,000 feet—all decisions the buyer will be able to make themselves. Features of the property include a four-car garage, hugh ceiling heights and amazing roof views.

12431243 W Wrightwood Ave
Original list price:
$2.95 million
Sold price: $2.8 million
This new construction home is a completely refreshing, unique design on a 37.5 x 125 foot lot. Inside is an amazing layout for everyday living and entertaining, with gracious room sizes and a custom eat-in kitchen. The kitchen’s details include quartzite countertops, dual Subzero refrigerator/freezers and a butler’s pantry. To make the most of Chicago summers, this home has over 1,500 square feet of outdoor space, including a huge raised patio, lush backyard and secluded rooftop terrace. The lavish master suite has an amazing closet space and true spa-like bath, and four generous-size bedrooms all sit on one level.

172172 W Eugenie St
Original list price:
$2.75 million
Sold price: $2.525 million
While this home is on a narrow lot—25 by 75 feet—it still spans more than 5,000 square feet with four bedrooms and 5.2 baths. This Lincoln Park/Old Town gem has been fully remodeled, including premium hardwood floors, designer light fixtures and hardware, elegant crown moldings and wainscoting throughout. The dream chef’s kitchen includes an imported French La Cornue oven range and stunning 8-foot kitchen island. There’s plenty of natural light inside and a rooftop deck with city skyline views outside. And finally, the great location is on a corner lot, tree-lined street just steps from beaches, parks, shopping, entertainment, dining and more.

431431 W Superior St
Original list price:
$2.699 million
Sold price: $2.51 million
This rare find in River North’s mansion district went through a full renovation in 2012 and has been meticulously maintained. Spanning about 7,000 square feet, it has been customized to perfection, featuring Brazilian cherry floors, a gourmet kitchen with two islands and Italian cabinetry, spa=like baths and an elevator to all floors. A central atrium and high ceilings brings in amazing sunlight throughout. On the top floor, a lavish master suite includes a kitchenette and two private terraces.

15421542 W Nelson St
Original list price:
$2.285 million
Sold price: $2.170 million
Another extra-wide (35.8 feet) corner lot, this beautiful brick custom home is full of remarkable details: Extensive millwork, gracious room sizes, high ceilings, oversized doors and windows and built-in custom cabinetry. On the second floor, you’ll find a sun-filled master suite with sitting room, fireplace, walk-in closet and lavish spa bath; laundry room; and three additional bedrooms. The penthouse level features an ensuite bedroom and a dreamy play space. On the lower level is an entertainment area, wet bar, office, laundry, bath, mudroom, abundant storage and an ensuite bedroom. This home also boasts spectacular outdoor spaces: three decks, plus a brick paver patio for play or car parking.

For additional information on the Chicago luxury homes that sold last month or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

October Luxury Home Sales in Chicago Show It’s a Buyer’s Market

They say the real estate market can change on a dime, and October’s luxury home sales in Chicago are certainly proof of that. Looking at the top sales for the month, it’s clear that many of the deals were made in favor of the buyer.

I’ve always encouraged buyers to get serious about their home search in the fall months, as the best time to purchase luxury real estate and obtain a real “deal” usually begins in mid-October and continues through the end of the year.

In the case of October’s Chicago luxury home sales, the list price versus the sold price shows some considerable discounting on these properties, showing that the buyers were in a good place to negotiate with motivated sellers who likely want to offload their properties before the end of the year.

Buyers Looking for Size, Outdoor Space in Chicago Luxury Homes

Another common denominator we can see among the top home sales in October is lot size. Three out of the top five homes sold were on lots larger than the standard 25 x 125 feet.

When it comes to luxury real estate, the lot size alone can tell us a lot. It typically means a more spacious interior with larger rooms, as well as big backyards or ample outdoor space. That’s why a large lot has become the standard that upper-bracket buyers are looking for, especially those coming from cities like New York and San Francisco and looking to maximize the space they get for their dollars.

In total, October saw 41 luxury single-family homes sold, for a total sales volume of $61 million. Let’s take a closer look at the five most expensive:

2122 N Seminary Ave
Original list price: $3.495 million
Sold price: $3.195 million

2122-n-seminary-aveSpanning 5,850 square feet, this stunning home was built to meet the highest standards. Some of the luxurious highlights include a handsome carved Indiana limestone façade, unusually tall ceilings, an extra-wide interior, solid walnut doors, substantial molding and trim, a custom elliptical staircase and three fireplaces. The interior décor comes from renowned designer and architect Joan Crag to create a comfortable, sophisticated aesthetic that is perfect for family living and entertaining. On the main level, you’ll find an English-style custom kitchen with a large island, built-in banquette and a pantry closet. Two large decks off of the family room as well as multiple rooftop decks provide plenty of room to enjoy Chicago’s summer weather. On the lower level, a recreation and media room offer even more entertaining space.

1302 N Ritchie Ct
Original list price: $2.795 million
Sold price: $2.55 million

1302-n-ritchie-ctLocated in the heart of the Gold Coast, this elegant Potter Palmer rowhouse has been gut renovated to ensure no detail or expense was spared in creating a timeless property made for modern living. On the first floor, find soaring ceiling heights, fireplaces in living and dining rooms, a custom kitchen with Italian limestone and top-end appliances. The second floor features two bedrooms and two baths, while the third floor is entirely dedicated to an extravagant master suite complete with lake views and a sumptuous marble bath with the finest fixtures. The fourth floor boasts two additional bedrooms, a stunning library with lake views, a fireplace and wet bar. At the very top, a roof deck offers lake views and at the bottom, a flexible lower level that can be used as a family or playroom. All new systems )elevator, HVAC, windows, doors, wiring, plumbing) made this home turnkey ready for the lucky buyer.

2131 N Kenmore Ave
Original list price: $2.47 million
Sold price: $2.4 million
2131-n-kenmore-aveThis home has a great Lincoln Park location that puts you just steps away from the best shopping and dining. The interior includes dramatic ceilings, custom moldings and state-of-the-art finishes that all culminate into a sophisticated aesthetic. An open living/dining room provides plenty of space to entertain, while the luxe eat-in kitchen has a butler’s pantry with wine fridge, large breakfast bar and custom stone flooring. A spacious great room includes custom-built storage and access to a bluestone terrace, garage deck and rooftop deck. The master suite is spectacular, with custom storage, fireplace, a private terrace, and a lavish bath. With six bedrooms, ample outdoor space and an attached two-car garage, this home is a rare find among Chicago homes for sale.

1839 N Burling St
Original list price: $2.695 million
Sold price: $2.385 million
1839-n-burling-stLocated on one of the most sought-after blocks in Lincoln Park, this transitional home opens to southern light and has all of the luxury bells and whistles throughout. The DeGiulo kitchen includes a Subzero fridge, two refrigerated beverage drawers, two dishwashers and a six-burner Wolf range with griddle. On the second level are four bedrooms, including a master suite with dual clostes and spa bath with steam shower, dual sinks, vanity and Jacuzzi tub. A penthouse family room has a wet bar, separate office and access to two rooftop decks with unbeatable city views. A long lot (131 feet) allows for a private backyard.

3657 N Greenview Ave
Original list price: $2.595 million
Sold price: $2.35 million
3657-n-greenview-aveThis huge Southport Corridor home is on a double corner lot (47 feet wide, compared to the standard 25 feet), making it an oasis within the city limits. Recent updates to the home include new windows, a new kitchen on the main level, a gut renovation to the master suite, a and new paint. The main level is fitted with charming pocket shutters, leaded glass windows, inlaid floors and a built-in hutch. This home is located in the Blaine School District, across the street from a playground and ideal for a buyer looking for character and outdoor space in the city.

To learn more about the homes that sold in October or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Trends in Chicago Luxury Home Design: High-End Countertops

This is the time of year when many folks are thinking about whether they will sell their home in 2016. That means a lot of thought and attention are going into what makes a luxury home sell quickly in today’s market.

It’s not uncommon that the word “luxury” is used without consideration as to what real luxury is all about. It’s not simply a high price, square footage or a great location. So what makes a home a true “luxury” property?

While the main criteria for a property (like size and location) of course play a role, I believe luxury is defined by a home’s accoutrements. The finishes, the materials, the details and the odds and ends are what bring the luxury lifestyle to a home. These are the things that differentiate a home from the rest. It’s what makes it unique and cutting-edge and causes prospective buyers to walk in and feel that “wow factor” as soon as they walk in the door.

It’s important to pay attention to even the smaller features of a “luxury” home, and the latest au courant addition to a kitchen is show-stopping stonework. While granite has certainly had long been the attention-getter in a high-end kitchen, homeowners are now bringing unusual varieties of stone—such as limestone, schist and labradorite—into their home design. Taking the stone less traveled, if you will, is yet another way sellers can help their property stand out in the market.

The Wall St. Journal recently highlighted this trend of moving away from expected granite finishes. Here are a few examples of kitchen stonework that are anything but run-of-the-mill:

Via Houzz / Contemporary Kitchen by Silver Spring Kitchen & Bath Designers Aidan Design

Quartzite is clean, elegant and ultra-modern in a light, natural shade as is shown here. It’s an ultra-durable material that can produce the same aesthetic as marble but with the hardiness of granite.

Via Houzz / Traditional Kitchen by Buffalo Kitchen & Bath Designers Artisan Kitchens and Baths

Made from semi-precious stones, labradorite brings a stunning dose of deep color and functions as a durable, non-porous surface in the kitchen.

Via Houzz / Farmhouse Kitchen by San Francisco Architects & Building Designers Walker Warner Architects

Limestone is a predictable stone for the facade of a home, but is less expected in the kitchen. It can work smoothed out as a countertop or an elaborate focal point like the wall shown here.

Via Houzz / Contemporary Kitchen by New London Architects & Building Designers Bonin Architects & Associates

Similar to granite in its chemical markup, Schist is medium or coarse-grained and can resemble the distinctive layering of slate.

Updating Your Chicago Home When it’s Time to Sell
For the prospective seller, making updates to the details of your home can make all the difference in determining the value of your property. For a kitchen refresh like this, I can assist you with sourcing the right materials that will set your home apart. I have consulted on a number of home design projects with the goal of resale value in mind, as well as working with clients on new construction projects—each of these involves selecting luxury finishes and materials that make a space feel truly upscale.

For more information on what updates and changes will impact the resale value of your home in 2016, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Unique Features and Design Trends to Differentiate Your Luxury Chicago Home

Home design “trends” can come and go with a swift season. What was en vogue one year can quickly change, so it’s important for homeowners to evaluate upgrades and changes they want to make to their homes and consider what it could mean for their resale value down the road.

Conversely, it’s also important to think about what characteristics and features will set your home apart when you’re ready to sell. In today’s luxury real estate market, there are a handful of go-to features buyers are always looking for—square footage, location, outdoor space, etc. But it is the unique, luxury aspects of a home that can wow a buyer from the get-go and make sure your home sells quickly.

Keeping that in mind, it can be tricky to navigate which home improvements are worth the investment, which can range from small to big (and so can the return on investment) I’ve recently read about three interesting home features that I think are worth considering in order to make a home stand apart from the rest.

kohler faucet

Photo via Kohler

Professional grade kitchen updates: The sink faucet may seem like just a functional piece of the kitchen, but for luxury buyers, this is one of those details that goes a long way. I find that many of my clients looking to purchase luxury real estate in Chicago are usually into cooking, and the kitchen design and features are extremely important in what they’re looking for. One common way to upgrade the kitchen is to use professional-grade appliances or fixtures that add to the luxury and wow factor of a home, as mentioned in this Wall St. Journal article.

For the home chef, a commercial sink faucet is one of those additions that could be a major plus when it comes time to sell your home and you want to differentiate it from other high-end properties on the market. Industrial fixtures are typically larger, with taller spouts, detachable sprayers and a bevy of other ultra-functional features. Kohler, for example, sells a professional-style faucet with a squeezable handle that will run you around $2,000.


Add a warm welcome: Seemingly just a functional piece of the home, the mailbox can easily become a showpiece for a luxury home, and was also recently highlighted in this article from the Wall St. Journal. The mailbox is one detail that each and every guest sees before they enter your home, so it’s no surprise that it might get a little extra attention, especially in neighborhoods like Lincoln Park where homes run up into the $3 million to $5 million range.

Since I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, where every detail counts, I thought this was a great design element to explore and take a look at the various custom options that are available. A high-end mailbox helps provide a luxury house with the pizzazz it deserves.

When it comes to upscale mailboxes, you can find everything from clean and modern styles to bold and bright to more classic shapes. Finding one that pairs well with the style of your home is your best bet, as this is yet another detail that people will notice (before they’ve even stepped inside!)

aquarium architecture

Interactive art pieces: This is truly one ultimate way to add major wow factor to your home: A freshwater fish tank. The Wall St. Journal recently highlighted the home aquarium as an “interactive piece of art” in luxury homes. A custom aquarium can be designed with the homeowner’s imagination. Companies specializing in custom fish tanks can create just about anything—an underwater garden that spans an entire wall, an aquarium in the shape of a favorite object or even a technology-driven tank that can be maintained via an app on your phone.

While visually, an “aquascape” is a powerful design element in a home, there could be other benefits as well—researchers have found that aquariums can lower blood pressure. And a custom tank can run as little as $10,000, which may not sound like a small cost, but compared to the potential return on investment when it’s time to sell your home, it may definitely be something to consider.

If selling your Chicago home is anywhere on your radar for the next several years, I’d certainly consider evaluating what improvements might be made that could pay off when that time comes. For luxury buyers, it’s all about the details, so while some changes might seem minor, they can speak volumes to the buyer who is looking for that certain something in a new home.

For more information on home design trends or to take a look at what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Differentiate Your Chicago Luxury Home with a Bathroom Spa

In today’s real estate market, most luxury buyers are looking for a turnkey property—that is, the only work needing to be done before move in is turning the key. My clients are generally looking for a home that doesn’t require significant work, but also one that differentiates itself from other homes in the market.

If you’re considering selling your home or even thinking about your home’s resale value, I encourage you to take a look at various home trends to get a feel for what is important to buyers. Ensuring that your home has a “wow” feature will help it stand out on the market as buyers shop and compare one home to another. Features like these are what help a property sell quickly, particularly in the luxury market.

One trend that’s currently luring in high-end buyers? An upscale master bath that rivals a luxe spa.

The modern-day WC is no longer simply a functional space, but a relaxing place to retreat at the end of the day. It’s not just about upgraded finishes and additional square footage. Today’s luxury bath means a number of bells and whistles that turn utility into tranquility, right in your own home.

Kohler, whose showroom you can find inside Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, offers a number of innovative products that take bathroom design to the next level, including:

via Kohler

via Kohler

A step up from the traditional whirlpool tub, the BubbleMassage Tub surrounds the bather in tiny bubbles that can be zoned and intensified to specific areas of the body. An optional chromatherapy feature radiates a soothing color palette into the water.

Kohler's Moxie Showerhead fits a wireless speaker to add a sound to your shower.

Kohler’s Moxie Showerhead fits a wireless speaker to add a sound to your shower.

Shower accouterments like shower heads and body sprays get the ultimate tech upgrades with a digital showering system that integrates water, steam, sound and light with touch-screen controls.


Left: Kohler’s Numi Toilet; Right: Kohler’s Veil Toilet

Kohler’s Numi Toilet features a sleek white-box exterior, with a touch-screen remote, hands-free opening and closing, bidet functionality, built-in speakers, heated seat and more. Or if you’re more focused on aesthetics, the Veil Toilet is mounted to the wall for a clean, modern look.

A bath remodel can really run the gamut in price–anywhere from a few thousand dollars to well into the hundreds of thousands, depending on the level of luxury you’re going for. But focusing on an area like this that is important to buyers could have a big payoff when it’s time to sell your home.

Houzz has a list of great things to think about if you’re considering your own bath remodel. Even if you have no immediate plans to buy or sell, it’s important for home owners to know what the most-desired features are among luxury buyers. That way, if you’re wanting to undertake a home project, you can consider what room or space or upgrade might be the best investment for your property—not to mention enjoying yourself along the way.

For more on today’s trends in luxury real estate in Chicago or to learn more about what buyers are searching for, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Another Record Month for Chicago Luxury Home Sales in December

Sales in the Chicago luxury real estate market continued to defy expectations over the holidays. Single-family home sales were on a tear through the cold winter weather and the business of the holidays, with 50, $1 million-plus homes sold.

Eight of those homes were actually sold over the $3 million mark. And rather than go over the top five most expensive homes sold last month, I’d like to take a closer look at those top 8 sales to provide the nuances of what is happening on the market. It’s important for buyers to have a clear idea of the features and different aspects of high-end sales to give you an expectation of what the market will look like when you’re considering a home purchase.

And there was one important name found among those top 8: Lincoln Park. This sought-after neighborhood reigned supreme among last month’s single-family home sales, with a whopping 7 of the 8 having a Lincoln Park location.

Top Chicago Luxury Homes to Sell in December

Here’s a detailed look at the top properties sold last month and what each had to offer:

701701 N Kingsbury Street
Original list price: $4.25 million
Sold price: $4.025 million
The only home out of the top 8 not in Lincoln Park, but instead in the heart of River North on a coveted corner lot. Immaculate and recently renovated, this home features over $1.2 million in custom finishes and now features an in-home elevator, home movie theater, a 60-foot spiral staircase, a 1,000+ square foot master suite and a 700-square foot terrace.

19051905 N Burling St
Original list price:
$4.190 million
Sold price: $3,987,500
Magnificence best describes this 7,000-square foot 7-bedroom home on an oversized lot in Lincoln Park. Burling Street is one of this neighborhood’s most esteemed blocks, home to rows of “McMansions” and some of the city’s elite. This home features everything from a grand staircase to a 4-stop elevator to skyline views from two roof decks.

37443744 N Wayne Ave
Original list price:
$3.595 million
Sold price: $3,513,966
The extra-wide lot size (35 feet compared to the standard 25 feet) allows for 6,500 square feet, six bedrooms and an ultra-spacious interior. Ceilings reach up 13 feet, over a dramatic elliptical staircase, chef’s kitchen and great room, and multiple entertainment areas.

19031903 N Howe St
Original list price:
$3.595 million
Sold price: $3.415 million
Designed by Cannon Frank, this home is a significant piece of architecture in the coveted Lincoln Park. There is an unprecedented level of upgrades, details and features, including a dramatic entry, 11.5-foot ceilings, 4-inch walnut floors, custom built-ins, smart home automation, roofdeck and skyline views and a jaw-dropping glass conservatory on the penthouse level.

18381838 N Hudson Ave
Original list price:
$3.595 million
Sold price: $3.375 million
Fitted with 5,800 square feet and 5 bedrooms, this spectacular home in Lincoln Park is brand new construction on a prime block. On the outside, this masonry home showcases a limestone façade on the outside and plenty of luxurious details on the inside: a stunning chef’s kitchen with custom cabinetry, a master suite, 2 decks on the top floor, total home automation and three gas fireplaces.

19211921 N Dayton St
Original list price:
$3.295 million
Sold price: $3.295 million
This new construction property in Lincoln Park was built by Savane Properties to feature everything a luxury buyer is looking for: refined finishes, a superb floor plan, designer custom chef’s kitchen with commercial-grade appliances and a spectacular master suite. While the home was mostly complete, the buyer still had some leeway to work with the builder to customize it to their liking. It’s also important to note that, despite the upper-end price tag, this buyer paid cash for their new home.

19271927 N Cleveland Ave
Original list price: $3.595 million

Sold price: $3.275 million
This spacious 6-bedroom home in Lincoln Park offers 6,400 square feet over a spacious floorplan that welcomes abundant natural light throughout. This home includes 2 laundry rooms, walnut floors, and elevator with access to all floors, a DeGiulio kitchen and a number of outdoor spaces: a patio with fireplace, three terraces and a roof deck over the garage. The East Lincoln Park location is just a short walk from parks, the Lincoln Park Zoo, Lake Michigan and shopping and fine dining.

19061906 N Burling St
Original list price:
$3.59 million
Sold price: $3 million
This Lincoln Park mansion stretches over 7,525 square feet with a stunning French architecture design. The features within the home’s 3 floors include 9 natural stone fireplaces, 2 decks with skyline views off of the penthouse room, a chef’s kitchen, a master suite and spa bath that’s dressed to the nines, a grand staircase and a paved patio with an outdoor kitchen and shower.

For more information on these Chicago luxury homes or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Excellent Schools Bring Premium Prices for Luxury Chicago Homes

Whether you’re raising preschoolers, high schoolers, or even just thinking about building a family, there’s a good chance you’ve thought about where they’ll go to school. Being in the right district has become an incredibly important factor of Chicago real estate, with proximity to well-rated schools correlating with quick sales and higher prices.

Today in Chicago, just the mere mention that a home for sale is within a particular district sets the phones ringing off the hook from broker to clients. A good local school can be one of the biggest drivers in a community, and parents are willing to go to great lengths to to live in a neighborhood that has one. Chicago was even recently named in a list of top 10 U.S. markets where booming real estate values and good school districts had strong correlations.

There are a few schools that parents are gunning to get into as they shop for a Chicago home:

Audobon School: A neighborhood school in Roscoe Village, Audobon enrolls students from pre-kindergarten to 8th grade. It boasts state-of-the-art technology, award-winning programs in a variety of subjects and National Board-Certified teachers.

Blaine Elementary School: In Lakeview, Blaine is classified as a fine arts magnet school and was ranked one of the best schools in Chicago in Chicago Magazine. More than 90 percent of the students here meet or exceed the district average in test scores.

Alexander Graham Bell School: Another K-8 school in North Center, Bell is known for its diversity and 3 school programs within the school: a neighborhood program with standard statewide curriculum, a regional gifted program and a deaf students program all the say from Pre-K through 8th grade.

Hawthorne Scholastic Academy: This K-8 public school in Lakeview is a literature and writing magnet school known for its high ranking in the city and the state. Students are accepted here through the Chicago Public Schools magnet lottery.

John C. Coonley School: A premier school also located in North Center, Coonley serves students from preschool to 8th grade and offers gifted and talented classes and special education programs as well as standard statewide curriculum.

The Ogden International School of Chicago: This neighborhood school serves students from preschool all the way up to 12th grade. The school has an international gifted program for 6th to 8th graders as well as several baccalaureate programs.

Note that most (if not all) of these schools have an important enrollment note: they are neighborhood schools, so they enroll and teach those within the boundaries of their neighborhoods. Being in proximity in one of these schools is the way to get in. So for many parents, location is at the top of their real estate wish lists in order to enroll in the school they want for their children.

Finding a Chicago Home Near a Great School

Location near some of these schools can quickly drive up the price of Chicago real estate. But many parents are willing to pay premium dollar for a new home than the alternative for their children’s schooling: attending an extremely expensive private school. There are a number of options in terms of private schools, but the ones that are at the top are certainly very expensive—around $25,000 per year. If you consider going private all the way through high school, that can easily amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The cost of private school surely factors into wanting a location that’s near one of these well-ranked public schools. The Wall St. Journal recently covered this same topic, and offered a few great tips for getting in a neighborhood with a good school:

  • Know your definition of a “good school.” Is it solid test scores? An award-winning music program? What makes a school well-known for being a “great school,” may not be the same goals you have for your children.
  • Is private school an option in a more affordable neighborhood? A competitively priced private school could actually end up being the same or even less expensive than a hefty mortgage you may have to take on to get into a coveted district.
  • Are there up-and-coming areas? Communities that are growing around a school can increase property taxes and those tax receipts can flow back into the school district, allowing the neighborhood school to thrive along with a new neighborhood.

If you’re in search of a Chicago home near a great school, give me a call. I’d be happy to talk about your options and introduce you to some of the neighborhoods that these schools call home. Give me a call at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.



Single-Family Luxury Homes in Chicago Sold Amazingly Fast in April

Single-family luxury homes were flying off the proverbial shelves last month, with 4 out of the top 5 most expensive homes selling in less than a month.

April’s luxury home sales (those priced a $1 million and higher) totaled $57 million in sales, coming from 33 properties. Seven of those sales were more than $2 million.

Bucktown Becoming a Destination for Chicago Luxury Real Estate

Bucktown is certainly coming into its own—this Chicago neighborhood took two spots on last month’s priciest home sales. In recent months, we’ve seen a number of new construction properties sell in Bucktown, many of which take advantage of wide lots, modern architecture and happening surroundings.

Just back in January, Bucktown saw its second highest-priced sale ever at $3.1 million. The highest (before April’s sale) was $3.68 million. So last month’s most expensive home sale in the city was likely a record-breaker for the neighborhood as well.

Square Footage Sold Chicago Single-Family Home Sales in April

Chicago’s luxury homes are proof that you don’t have to head to the suburbs to get more space. Of the top five homes sold last month, every one spanned more than 5,000 square feet, many thanks to wide lots and multiple levels.

Starting with the most expensive, here are details on the top 5 home sales in Chicago last month:

1837 N Winchester Ave
Original list price: $3.895 million
Sold price: $3.7 million
April’s top sale sits on a double lot in the heart of Bucktown. It also sold in just 23 days, despite its phenomenal price tag. This one-of-a-kind contemporary estate boasts an amazing floorplan perfect for entertaining, floor-to-ceiling windows and a 2-story atrium that washes the home with natural light. You’ll also find exotic woods throughout, extensive custom cabinetry, a state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen and a spectacular lower level. The outdoor space includes a large deck and yard, with a pool and hot tub above the attached garage.

1962 N Burling
Original list price: $3.1 million
Sold price: $2.8 million
Burling is one of the most prestigious streets in Lincoln Park, but that’s not even one of the major highlights on this home. Spanning 6,500 square feet, this home is rich with luxury, including outstanding architectural details, a limestone façade, and extra-wide interior, two fireplaces and a 3-story atrium. Each room is generously sized, from the eat-in gourmet kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances, large family room with wood beam ceilings, a large terrace, and generous lower level with a rec room, 5th bedroom and bath.

3627 N Lakewood Ave
Original list price: $2.795 million
Sold price: $2.75 million
Also a newer property in the Southport Corridor, this single-family home is on an extra wide 30-foot lot, spanning 6,900 square feet in total. With 4 bedrooms and 3 baths, the home features a custom-designed kitchen, radiant heat on the lower level, baths and front steps, smart home technology and quality millwork throughout. Abundant outdoor space is another perk, not to mention the home’s location in the Blaine School District (one of the city’s best).

1858 N Paulina St
Original list price: $2.599 million
Sold price: $2.59 million
A brand-new Bucktown home, this property resets the standard of elegance and urban style in Chicago real estate. Its location on a wide corner lot allows for an interior width over 21 feet and 5,400 total square feet. A spacious, open floor plan is detailed with exemplary finishes, custom, oversized windows, industrial metal workmanship and custom mahogany. Out back is a raised yard with a fireplace for soaking in summer weather.

1316 W Henderson Ave
Original list price: $2.45 million
Sold price: $2.275 million
A generously sized 6 bedroom, 6,000 square-foot Lakeview home, this property is on an extra-wide lot and has been completely upgraded and customized. The home was just built in 2010 and was “barely lived in,” with high ceilings, a walk-in wine cellar, home theater, private patio and deck. Impressive millwork is detailed throughout, including coffered ceilings, custom cabinetry and built-ins.

If you’re in the market for luxury real estate in Chicago, take a look at the sales from the previous month to get an idea what to expect—in terms of price, location, availability and what your budget will get you in today’s market. For additional details or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 254-5853 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Lincoln Park was Hot in March, with the 5 Most Expensive Chicago Homes Sold

Cash: in real estate, it is king. And in last month’s sales of Chicago luxury homes, it certainly ruled the roost.

There were 33 closings of luxury Chicago homes in March (meaning single-family properties that sold for $1 million or higher). Luxury homes sold totaled $52 million, with the most expensive sale ringing up for $3.5 million (a stunning modern home in coveted Lincoln Park).

Luxury sales are still going strong, despite low inventory and the advantage held by sellers in the Chicago real estate market right now. It seems luxury buyers still have quite a bit of cash on the sidelines, which certainly helps negotiate a good deal, no matter what advantage the seller may have.

One thing that stands out among last month’s sales is three of the top five most expensive sales were paid for with cash. That likely played a role in the fact that these homes closed for about $200,000 (or more) off of the asking price.

If you’re interested in a single-family home in any of Chicago’s much-loved neighborhoods, you can search Chicago homes for sale on my website. Find your dream home in neighborhoods like Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Gold Coast and many others.

Top Chicago Homes Sold in Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park has long been one of the most coveted neighborhoods in Chicago, and it’s not losing that status anytime soon. This is a community that has everything: great schools (both public and private), tree-lined streets, proximity to public transportation, a plethora of dining, entertainment and shopping options plus plenty of parks and places to enjoy the outdoors.

It’s no surprise then, that Lincoln Park was home to the top 5 most expensive sales in March. There’s rarely a month without a Lincoln Park home on this list, but last month proves this neighborhood is hotter than ever. Here’s a closer look at the top five sales:

1924 N Orchard St
Original list price:
$4.075 million
Sold price: $3.5 million
It’s no mystery as to why this was the most expensive sale last month. At the heart of this architecturally significant Chicago home is something nearly every buyer wants: space. This home is on a 50’ x 132’ lot, features a huge yard, boasts 19-foot ceilings and an open and airy layout of nearly 6,000 square feet. The interior has been exceptionally designed, with custom draperies, millwork and maple built-ins. The master suite is truly a suite: his-and-her walk-in closets, a sitting/yoga room and a spa bath. The home is also features whole-home automation including a security camera and controlled access gate.

2053 N Fremont St
Original list price:
$3.45 million
Sold price: $3.45 million
This Lincoln Park home is a 6 bedroom new construction home spanning more than 5,500 square feet. The location near Armitage and Halsted is one of Lincoln Park’s best areas, near everything from transportation to dining to shopping. Plenty of natural light comes in to the four bedrooms on the second floor, plus 3 additional rooms than can serve as bedrooms, offices or exercise rooms. The rest of the features include everything on a luxury wish list: expansive gourmet kitchen, spa-like master bath, 5 fireplaces, 2 laundries, outdoor space and a heated 2-car garage.

1871 N Dayton St
Original list price:
$2.695 million
Sold price: $2.475 million
Another newer construction property in Lincoln Park, this 5-bedroom, 5,200 square foot home features ultra-luxe details like custom millwork, a granite and stainless steel kitchen and a whopping five fireplaces. The large master suite has five (five!) closets with a waterworks bath suite. And there’s much to love from top to bottom: A sun-filled conservatory on the 3rd level includes a roof deck with skyline views. On the lower level, you’ll find an entertainment theater system and wine cellar. And a professionally landscaped deck above the garage is ready for summer entertaining, complete with a pizza oven and its own fireplace.

2643 N Magnolia Ave
Original list price:
$2.89 million
Sold price: $2.4 million
This Lincoln Park home was built within the last 5 years, boasting breathtaking design down to every architectural detail. It’s also on one of Chicago’s most sought-after streets. The 6,000 square foot interior exhibits a contemporary sophistication with high ceilings, light-filled rooms and an enormous gourmet kitchen. The oversized lot stretches 35 feet wide, a feature many of today’s buyers are looking for in Chicago homes.

1740 N Wells St
Original list price:
$2.8 million
Sold price: $2.387 million
While this vintage home may have seemed understated on the outside, the inside is welcoming and ideal for entertaining. The first three of five levels are connected by a center staircase made of iron and oak. A game room/bar showcases antique stained glass with stainless steel details. The living space is generous with 7,200 square feet, and high ceilings that make it ideal for showing off art and collectibles.

I highly recommend that potential buyers review the previous month’s sales to see what sort of deals have been made on the types of properties they might be looking for as they close in on making a purchase. Noting trends like last month (with a good number of cash transactions) can also indicate what you might need or want to have in order to negotiate a good deal.

For more details on these or other homes sold last month, feel free to contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.