Crib Chatter is On Vacation This Week

Record low inventory?

It is WORSE than 2013 when I had to go to like 2 posts a month because there was nothing to chatter about. But, there’s a lot that appears to be coming on the market in the upper bracket. We may have to concentrate on the upper bracket market for the rest of the summer if things continue like this.

If you aren’t under contract in a week or two, then you’re priced wrong because nearly everything is selling instantly.

Do you have stories of getting involved in bidding wars?

Have you heard of buyers waiving inspections?

Tell us your war stories this week.



Cheaper Than Renting? A Studio in The Brewster at 2800 N. Pine Grove in Lakeview

2800 n pine grove approved

This studio in the historic Brewster building at 2800 N. Pine Grove in East Lakeview just came on the market.

The Brewster was built in 1893 as a luxury apartment building and it has internal iron staircases, cat walks and a huge skylight.

Not only did Charlie Chaplin live in one of the penthouses in 1915-1916, but several movies were filmed in the building including the Untouchables and Child’s Play.

The listing says this studio is one of the largest studios in the building.

It has high ceilings with crown molding and a fireplace along with parquet floors in the main living area.

The kitchen has a big window and wood cabinets and what looks like an original built-in cabinet.

It has white appliances and a European style washer/dryer unit, which is somewhat rare for this building which also has a laundry room.

There is a window air conditioning unit.

There’s no parking with the building. It’s available to rent in the neighborhood.

The listing says this is being sold “as-is.”

It is listed at $110,000. If you put 5% down and finance for 30 years at 3.8%, even while paying PMI, that’s a monthly payment of $732.

There’s taxes and the $238 HOA too.

But does it make sense to buy this rather than pay the record high rents in the neighborhood?

Lucas Augustyn at Chel Group Realty has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit 7J: studio, 525 square feet

  • Sold in September 1995 for $24,000
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in June 2015
  • Currently listed “as-is” for $110,000
  • Assessments of $238 a month (includes doorman, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $1874
  • No central air- window unit
  • Euro-style washer/dryer in the unit
  • No parking
  • Living area: 21×9
  • Kitchen: 9×7

4-Bedroom Victorian on a Double Lot in Roscoe Village Returns: 1805 W. Cornelia

1805 w cornelia

This 4-bedroom single family home at 1805 W. Cornelia in Roscoe Village just came on the market.

If it looks familiar that’s because we chattered about it numerous times in 2012. You can see our original April 2012 chatter here.

In 2012 it was described as a “Victorian”.

Built on a double sized Chicago lot of 50×125, it has a pergola, fire pit, perennial garden and greenhouse. In 2012, it also had a koi pond. I wonder what happened to that?

For a time, the property was also marketed as the house and the second lot separately.

You can see the two separate listings in our October 2012 chatter here.

But none of it sold and it was withdrawn.

It has since returned to the market with a “total remodel.”

In 2012, the main level was carpeted with those individual flooring squares. It now has hardwood floors.

The kitchen has maple cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

There are two master suites. Two bedrooms are upstairs while two are on the main level.

The location, near the El line and the Metra line, is still the same.

It also still doesn’t have parking, but the house does have central air.

Last time, they tried to sell at the bottom of the market.

This time, they are selling at the top.

Will they be more successful this time?

Leigh Marcus at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

1805 W. Cornelia: 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in September 1995 for $93,500
  • Sold in April 2002 for $335,000
  • Was listed in April 2012 for $899,000
  • Withdrawn
  • Currently listed for $750,000
  • Taxes now $15410 (they were $9965 in 2012 which was just for one lot. Second lot was $6279)
  • Central Air
  • No parking
  • Bedroom #1: 17×25 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 15×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 8×12 (main floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 11×11 (main floor)

Live Near the Hot Division Street Corridor: A 2/2 at 1058 N. Paulina in the East Village

1058 n paulina approved

This top floor 2-bedroom at 1058 N. Paulina in the East Village neighborhood of West Town just came on the market.

For those of you have been reading this blog a long time, you might recognize it as we chattered about it when it was on the market in 2010.

See our chatter here.

Back then, some of you thought it was a little pricey for a “cookie cutter” condo. But that was in 2010, when we were still in the middle of the bust.

You may recall that it has a small Juliet balcony off the front of the unit and a deck off the back that is accessed through a separate hallway.

The listing says it has a “gourmet” kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops.

The master suite has a walk-in closet and a spa bath.

It has all the other features buyers look for, including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and garage parking.

This unit didn’t sell in 2010 when we last chattered about it, but it finally DID sell in 2012.

A lot has changed in the neighborhood since 2010. The Division Street area has gotten even hotter as more restaurants and bars have opened.

This unit is listed for $90,000 more than the 2012 purchase price, and, at $419,000, would be a new record high for this property.

Will it get the premium in this market?

Sam Shaffer at Chicago Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1200 square feet

  • Sold in April 2002 for $295,000
  • Originally listed in April 2010 for $359,900
  • Withdrawn
  • Sold in July 2012 for $329,000
  • Currently listed for $419,000
  • Assessments now $118 a month (they were $150 a month in 2010) includes water, common insurance
  • Taxes now $4739 (they were $4114 in 2010)
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Garage parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 14×10
  • Bedroom #2: 11×10


Would You Endure a Co-Op Interview? A 1-Bedroom at 2440 N. Lakeview in Lincoln Park

2440 n lakeview

This 1-bedroom in 2440 N. Lakeview in Lincoln Park came on the market in October 2015.

2440 N. Lakeview is one of the high rise apartment buildings built along the lakefront and along Lincoln Park in the 1920s age of luxury.

Built in 1927, it has just 94 units, and is a co-op.

This unit faces the landscaped courtyard.

It was on the market in 2014 and early 2015 before being pulled and “upgraded” with new electrical wiring, light fixtures and plumbing.

The original oak flooring was refinished throughout and there’s new maple flooring in the kitchen.

The kitchen has the original wood kitchen cabinetry with new appliances.

The unit has tall ceilings and crown molding that were a given for this time period.

5 original windows were also restored.

There’s no washer/dryer in the unit but the building does allow it (why didn’t they do it when restoring the unit?)

It also doesn’t have central air.

2440 N. Lakeview is one of the few buildings with its own parking garage. Parking is leased for $135 a month.

The building only allows 80% financing.

HOAs include the real estate taxes and a bunch of other expenses including cable, the Internet, heat, and gas.

There’s no leasing. It is 100% owner occupied.

No dogs are allowed.

And in order to buy, you have to pass board approval, including an interview.

Co-op interviews are rare in Chicago, unlike in New York where it is fairly common.

Would you be willing to interview with a building in order to buy an apartment?

Jane Domvrot at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #2C: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 1200 square feet, co-op

  • I don’t have the prior sale
  • Listed, after upgrade, in October 2015 for $298,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $289,999
  • Assessments of $1055 a month (includes heat, gas, cable, Internet, real estate taxes, doorman, exercise room, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes are included in HOAs
  • No central air
  • No in-unit washer/dryer (but allowed)
  • Parking is leased in garage for $135 a month
  • Bedroom: 12×22
  • Living room: 14×22
  • Dining room: 12×21
  • Gallery: 7×11



Do You Have the Vision to Transform This Brick and Timber Loft? 540 N. Lake Shore Drive in Streeterville

540 n lake shore drive

This 1-bedroom loft at 540 N. Lake Shore Drive in Streeterville just came on the market.

It’s a large, 1280 square foot 1-bedroom with 12 foot timber ceilings and multiple walls of exposed brick.

In fact, all 4 living room walls are brick, with one painted white.

There are two windows in the living room and hardwood floors in part along with porcelain tiles in part.

The bedroom also has a window along with a built-in bed, storage and a glass block wall.

The kitchen has those white cabinets with the natural wood trim (original to the 1980s or 1990s, I think) and a mix of white and black appliances.

There are 2 full baths, including a huge master bath with a soaking tub.

The unit has central air but no in-unit washer/dryer, although the building does allow it so one can be installed.

Parking is rental in the building for $205 a month.

This is the only authentic loft condo building in Streeterville.

This loft is a blank slate kind of property, awaiting your touch.

Do you have the vision to restore it to its loft glory?

Matt Laricy at Americorp has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #210: 1 bedroom, 2 baths, 1280 square feet

  • Sold in January 1995 for $145,000
  • Sold in March 2006 for $253,000
  • Currently listed for $319,724
  • Assessments of $757 a month (includes heat, a/c, doorman, cable)
  • Taxes of $4341
  • Central Air
  • No in-unit washer/dryer but can be installed
  • No deeded parking but rental parking for $205 a month in the building
  • Bedroom: 16×20
  • Living room: 20×19

Love Big Brick and Timber Lofts? A 2/2 at 835 N. Wood in Ukrainian Village

835 n wood

This 2-bedroom loft in the Meter Building at 835 N. Wood in the Ukrainian Village came on the market in December 2015.

It has the features loft lovers look for including exposed brick, timber ceilings and a bow truss.

It’s a south corner unit with 1800 square feet.

The kitchen has a commercial Viking stove with walnut and limestone counters.

The bathrooms have luxury finishes including Duravit, Grohe, Toto and Ann Sacks tile.

The loft has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and 2-car heated garage parking included in the price.

It has reduced $59,000 since December and went under contract in April 2016.

It has since re-listed.

Are big lofts still the “in” places to live?

Jamie Connor at Conlon has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #304: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1800 square feet

  • Sold in September 1998 for $200,000
  • Sold in July 2006 for $425,000
  • Sold in June 2012 for $475,000
  • Originally listed in December 2015 for $619,000
  • Reduced to $560,000
  • Under contract in April 2016
  • Re-listed at $560,000 (includes 2 heated garage spaces)
  • Assessments of $367 a month (includes exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger)
  • Taxes of $6504
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 17×12
  • Bedroom #2: 8×12



8 Years and One Foreclosure Later, a 2/2 at 708 W. Barry in Lakeview Returns to Crib Chatter

708 w barry

This 2-bedroom at 708 W. Barry in Lakeview just came on the market.

If it looks familiar, then you’ve been reading this blog a long time as we actually chattered about it (and a second unit in the building) in 2008.

You can see our March 2008 chatter here.

And the July 2008 chatter here.

Both times we debated the height of the ceilings as this building has five stories which, apparently, isn’t common in this part of Lakeview.

The last time the second floor unit was listed, it was priced at $489,900.

This unit didn’t actually sell in 2008. A lis pendens foreclosure was filed in 2009 and the bank took it back in 2010.

It sold in 2011 for just $290,000 from the bank.

The building was constructed in 2005 with 8 units and has an elevator.

The units have the finishes from that era. The kitchen has cherry cabinets, stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops.

This is a picture from the 2008 listing but the kitchen looks the same except it now has a backsplash.

708 w barry #1R kitchen

This property has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and rare 2-car parking.

It’s back on the market, this time for $420,000.

Will it sell again in the $400,000s like it did in 2005?

Jeanine Sekera at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

  • Sold in November 2005 for $454,500
  • Was listed in March 2008 for $489,900 (including 2 parking spaces that were NOT tandem)
  • Never sold
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in August 2009
  • Bank owned in August 2010
  • Sold in June 2011 for $290,000
  • Currently listed for $420,000 (includes 2 parking spaces)
  • Assessments are now $297 a month (they were $149 a month in 2008) (includes exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $4289
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 13×10
  • Bedroom #2: 10×8

Does a Townhouse on the 12th Floor Make Sense? 55 E. Erie in River North

55 e erie

This 3-bedroom townhouse at 55 E. Erie in River North was on the market for a few months in 2015 and then recently came back on in January 2016.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you.

It is a townhouse on the 12th floor of this building (as seen in the right on the picture above.)

It’s 4 stories and has its own private entrance, just like most townhouses at ground level.

The townhouse has both stairs and an interior elevator to each level.

The first floor is the living/dining/kitchen.

The master suite takes up the entire second floor with the other two bedrooms on the third floor.

The fourth floor has an indoor and outdoor kitchen along with a 1,000 square foot private rooftop deck which is landscaped and has a pergola.

The listing says the property has been “completely gutted.”

It has a custom kitchen with white cabinets and dark stone countertops with Subzero, Wolf and Miele appliances.

There’s also a wood paneled den with coffered ceiling.

2 parking spaces are included in the building’s garage and you get the benefit of the doorman and other high rise amenities.

Is this a nice compromise for someone who wants the levels of a single family home but with the security of a high rise?

Margaret Baczkowski at Jameson Sotheby’s has the listing. See the pictures here.

55 E. Erie SH-2: 3 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2 half baths, 4325 square feet

  • Sold in September 2005 for $2 million (per Zillow)
  • Originally listed in April 2015 for $3.195 million
  • Withdrawn in November 2015
  • Re-listed in January 2016 for $2.999 million
  • Currently still listed at $2.999 million (includes 2-car parking in the building’s garage)
  • Assessments of $2460 a month (includes heat, gas, doorman, cable, Internet, exterior maintenance, scavenger, exercise room)
  • Taxes of $39,592
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer on the second floor
  • Elevator (am assuming homeowner pays for maintenance of this)
  • Bedroom #1: 15×19 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 15×15 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 24×16 (third floor)


Not Everything Is Selling in a Day: Smart Tech Home in West Town Reduces: 900 N. Richmond

We last chattered about this 4-bedroom “Smart Tech” home at 900 N. Richmond in West Town (East Humboldt Park???) in February 2016.

You can see our chatter here.

If you recall, this is one of several dozen similar homes that have been built in West Town, Avondale, Logan Square and other gentrifying neighborhoods since the bust.

These houses were called “Smart Tech” because the floors were flaxseed sealed oak hardwoods and they used no VOC paint. There were also LEED appointments.

They were meant to be townhouse alternatives, i.e. affordable starter homes in up and coming neighborhoods.

Here’s what one of them looked like on Rockwell in West Town:

1214 n rockwell approved

The house on Richmond has the same open concept as the others, with living room, dining room and kitchen on the main floor along with a floating stair case.

The kitchen has modern white and gray gloss cabinets, quartz counter tops and stainless steel appliances. There is also a kitchen island.

3 of the 4 bedrooms are upstairs and the master bedroom has an ensuite bath.

The fourth bedroom and the recreation room are in the lower level.

There’s a two-car garage, a concrete patio and a pergola. It is a corner lot so the yard is also fenced in.

Originally listed in February 2016 at $589,000, it has been reduced $19,100 to $569,900.

The market is red hot, especially for single family homes.

Why isn’t this selling?

Karen Biazar at North Clybourn Group still has the listing. See the pictures here.

900 N. Richmond: 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2400 square feet, 2 car garage

  • Sold in December 2000 for $357,000
  • Lis pendens filed in January 2012
  • Sold in December 2012 for $65,000
  • New construction home sold in April 2014 for $449,000
  • Originally listed in October 2015 for $589,900
  • Withdrawn in December 2015
  • Re-listed in February 2016 for $589,000
  • Reduced in April 2016
  • Currently listed at $569,900
  • Taxes of $6145
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 15×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 14×9 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 10×10 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 15×10 (lower level)
  • Recreation Room: 13×33 (lower level)