Neighborhood Spotlight - Andersonville Chicago - Kelseyshawchicago.com
CategoriesChicago Day in the Life Neighborhood Spotlight Uncategorized

Andersonville: Neighborhood Spotlight

Neighborhood Spotlight - Andersonville Chicago - Kelseyshawchicago.comAndersonville was one of the first neighborhoods I got to experience outside of the usual tourist attractions when I would visit Chicago. In high school my photography class took a field trip to Uptown & I wandered over to Andersonville. I loved Clark St. & the ‘restaurant strip’, the quirky atmosphere of eclectic shops, & the overall diversity that the neighborhood offered. Later, I took dance classes at Gus Giordano Dance School which advanced my love for the neighborhood.

Distinctive to Andersonville is a lack of national chains. Most businesses are local to Chicago & that is something I really love. Bakeries, antique stores, bars, coffee shops, boutiques, & breweries – There is something for everyone.

Must Visit:

  • George’s Ice Cream & Sweets – As you are aware by now, I LOVE ICE CREAM. Despite being lactose intolerant… George’s is the spot in Andersonville for something sweet.
  • Reza’s Restaurant – Come here with an appetite & with a group as the portions are large & it’s common to share – reservations accepted
  • Hopleaf Bar – Belgian-inspired kitchen & insane beer collection. My favorite item on the menu is the Mussels & Frites. No reservations—first come, first served
  • Jerry’s – Don’t miss this place! With so many options in Andersonville I sometimes forget about Jerry’s but whenever I go I wonder why I don’t go more often! Interesting decor, great menu with a lot of solid options, & great beer list. Pro Tip: Get the House Jalapeno Poppers, you won’t regret it – reservations accepted
  • M. Henry – Andersonville has numerous spots for Brunch, but M.Henry is a classic. Straight forward & delicious, you know you will be happy if you come here for breakfast, brunch, or lunch. A late summer sunday brunch is best enjoyed here. – No reservations—first come, first served
  • Octavio – New to the neighborhood, Octavio is a new age Mexican restaurant with an insane collection of tequila + a bright & inspired menu. Also, I will say I come here often for the cool interiors, I am a sucker for design so I love this space. – reservations accepted
  • Lady Gregory’s – By far my fav go-to spot in Andersonville. You always know what to expect: good food, great cocktail, & a huge rotating beer menu. Don’t miss the brunch, because the Brioche Custard French Toast is as good as it sounds. – reservations accepted

Must Do:

  • Midsommarfest – First week of June: The annual street festival along Clark Street between Foster and Catalpa for two days and three nights of music, dancing, kids’ entertainment, and delicious food.

As always, these are just my most recommended & only a few of my favorites, but if you’ve been to Andersonville tell me your favorite spots!

Chicago property taxes
CategoriesBuyers Investors Real Estate Sellers

What Do Rising Property Taxes Mean For You?

Chicago property taxes

In Chicago, specifically referencing Cook County, property taxes rose in 2018 & everyone is left wondering – What now?

This year, 2018, was a reassessment year for all of Chicago, so homeowners & hopeful homeowners will receive increases – for example, I had clients who’s taxes went up a shocking 83%.

So, as a Seller, should you lower your asking price because of rising taxes? As a Buyer, should you low ball the Seller & justify your offer price due to the anticipated tax increase?

My opinion to both of those questions is: No.

This past Spring & Summer we were in a Seller’s market, so the chances of Seller’s having the hindsight to adjust their asking price to outweigh the impending tax burden were slim to none. While the market is starting to stabilize into the Fall, I still advice my Buyers against submitting offers asking for a significant tax proration, due to the lack of inventory the ball was still in the Seller’s court so we need to be reasonable, but definitely take the impending tax hike into account.*

While this tax bill hit everyone with some ‘sticker shock’, we need to recognize that the previous reassessment figures sent out in the 2015 Triennial were based on 2012-2013-2014. 2012-2013 was coming off the worst real estate crash since the Great Depression, so those previous assessed values were low – because the market was artificially low.

My best advice is ALWAYS do your due diligence, talk with your Broker & Attorney on the anticipated increase & be sure to understand how it will affect your bottom line. Be aware of exemptions that may alleviate the tax burden & be explicit with your questions so you are fully aware of what you are committing to with the sale or purchase of your home. Communication is key.

The good news, if you did purchase or are currently an owner in Cook county, you can appeal & most homeowners appealing to the Assessor’s Office do not use an attorney. 51% of residential appeals to the Assessor’s Office are successful; the amount of reduction varies, however. If you are looking for more guidance I do know a great tax appeal attorney – so reach out to me to discuss your options.

If you’re appealing your property taxes: 

  • Someone appealing does NOT have to (do) the work. The assessor’s office will look up comparable properties for them. If someone wants to submit their own list of comparables, that is, of course, fine. We just make it clear that appellants don’t have to worry about how “long” it’ll take to file an appeal. It is a one-sided form which takes approximately five minutes.
  • Appeals are for the purpose of reducing the Assessor’s valuation of a property. They do not automatically reduce a future tax bill. Dollar amounts of tax bills are decided by the tax rates and levies in individual communities (school districts, etc.). Most property tax revenue goes to public schools.
  • If someone “loses” an appeal and does not receive a reduction, their assessed value will NOT go up. It stays the same for the three years between triennials (unless they appeal the following year and win).
  • If you are successful in one of your appeals, the reduction will be reflected on the second-installment tax bills to be mailed in the summer of 2019.

Helpful links:

Click Here to Appeal Online

Illinois Property Tax Calculator

For more information on this, check out this article.

Kelsey Shaw - Real Estate Broker
CategoriesChicago Day in the Life Neighborhood Spotlight Uncategorized

Southport Corridor: Neighborhood Spotlight

Southport Corridor | Where to eat, drink, & play | KelseyShawChicago

Southport Corridor is easily one of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago. It is a little pocket of Lake View & offers tons of shopping, restaurants, bars, & activities. I have lived & do most of my business in Southport Corridor, so I consider myself a neighborhood expert. Check out some of my favorite spots below.

Must Visit:

  • Coda di Volpe – Southern Italian fare from the family behind The Gage. Lovely interiors with a wonderful, impressive menu, & attentive staff – Reservations accepted & encouraged.
  • Tuco & Blondie – Come for the instagram wall, stay for the margarita’s & amazing patio (dog friendly). Reservations accepted & encouraged.
  • Southport Grocer – Modern, simple, & fun menu. Kitchen set amongst an upscale grocer – but come in early as they close at 3pm. First come, first serve.
  • Real Good Juice – Because sometimes you need to be healthy; Real Good Juice offers locally-sourced, organic juices & smoothies. Not only a juice bar, Real Good Juice also offers delicious food & my favorite – No-yo Fro-yo: almond milk based soft-serve. Favorite Flavor? Bluice Wayne
  • The Butcher’s Tap – Looking to escape the Wrigley crowds? The Butcher’s Tap won’t disappoint. HUGE beverage menu & locally sourced food items. Plus it’s two levels & has the cutest patio. First come, first serve.
  • Lange’s Lounge – Because I love a good dive bar & you should too! If you want to catch a game but don’t want to wait endlessly for a libation in Wrigleyville, come to Lange’s for some reasonably priced beer & great company. No food here, but they welcome you to bring some pizza from D’Agostino’s as long as you give them a slice. First come, first serve.
  • Ella Elli – For a more discerning evening, stop at Ella Elli for a lovely dinner & intricate cocktails. With an outdoor patio, this is definitely the perfect girls night out or date night spot. Reservations accepted & encouraged.

Must Do:

  • Music Box Theater – Music Box Theater has been a staple of the Southport Corridor since 1929. Staying true to its original architecture & design, this charming theater provides an experience unlike any other. Showing primarily independent & foreign films, my favorite time to visit is during the Holidays for the Christmas Sing-a-long. Plus there’s a bar in the theater, so that’s always fun.

If you’ve been to Southport Corridor, tell me your favorite spots!

What is PMI?
CategoriesBuyers Chicago Real Estate Renters

What is private mortgage insurance?

What is PMI?

As the first post in the First Time Home Buyer Series, I want to address the initial question clients always have when looking to get a mortgage: What is private mortgage insurance?

Private mortgage insurance, PMI, is a type of mortgage insurance from private insurance companies used with conventional loans. Similar to other kinds of mortgage insurance policies, PMI protects the lender if you stop making payments on your home loan. PMI can be arranged by the lender and provided by private insurance companies.

So, what is PMI? The ultimate catch 22**

Most lenders require PMI when a homebuyer makes a down payment of less than 20% of the home’s purchase price – or, in mortgage-speak, the mortgage’s loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is in excess of 80% (the higher the LTV ratio, the higher the risk profile of the mortgage) – https://www.investopedia.com/mortgage/insurance/

While it helps borrowers attain a loan with a lesser down payment & potentially become a home owner sooner, its purpose is to protect the lender. Important to note: Similar to interest, property tax, and homeowners insurance, payment of your PMI does not build equity in your home.

You may be thinking that buying insurance on your mortgage may sound a little strange, but it protects the lender’s investment in the home. While yes… it’s another fee you need to pay, it’s advantageous to homeowners as it makes home affordability a reality sooner.

PMI MISCONCEPTIONS

  • PMI isn’t just for people who can’t afford a 20% down payment. It’s also for people who don’t want to put down 20%, so they have more cash on hand for repairs, remodeling, furnishings, emergencies, etc.
  • PMI isn’t forever. Borrowers pay their PMI until they have accumulated enough equity in the home that the lender no longer considers them high-risk.
  • The rate of your PMI depends on the size of the down payment and mortgage, the loan term and your credit score. The greater your risk factors, the higher the rate you pay.

 

**Disclaimer: I am not a mortgage professional, always consult with your lender regarding mortgage decisions. If you are wanting to get connected with some of my highly suggested lenders in Chicago (& elsewhere) contact me.

CategoriesChicago Neighborhood Spotlight

Wrigleyville: Neighborhood Spotlight

What to do in Wrigleyville, Chicago | Kelseyshawchicago

As a previous Wrigleyville resident, take it from me: this is one of the most fun neighborhoods in Chicago. Steps from the Friendly Confines, you can’t beat this little pocket of Lake View. Wrigleyville is home to the second oldest stadium in baseball and beloved 2016 World Series championship team, The Chicago Cubs. A magnet for sports fans, young professionals, & families alike; this neighborhood is exceptionally attractive to those seeking vibrant nightlife with numerous bars along Clark, Addison, and Sheffield Avenues.

Must Visit:

  • Wrigley Field – GO CUBS GO! Of course, you can’t come to Wrigleyville without catching a Cubs game!! If you come on an off day, take a tour of field & get the insider experience. If you are lucky enough to get to a game, you obviously need to get a Chicago Dog – but BEWARE: you must not order from the counter, you need to go to a stand & ideally you want to go to the penthouse deck facing Hotel Zachary/Clark for the best dog, city views, & a little known spot within the stadium. Be sure to take a quick walk in the new Gallagher Way before, after, or during the game for a break from the crowds. Lastly, if you are in the bleachers (which is a guaranteed great time) don’t forget sunscreen & be ready to get on TV!
  • Dutch & Doc’s –  American fare & classic cocktails, this new restaurant definitely filled a void in the neighborhood. A two-story dining room provides the coolest experience at the corners of Addison & Clark, just across from the world famous Cubs Marquee. Be sure to get the Mac & Cheese & Mudslide cocktail, because who doesn’t love cheese & a boozy milkshake. Reservations accepted & encouraged.
  • Hotel Zachary – Inspired by the designs of world-renowned Wrigley Field architect and Chicagoan Zachary Taylor Davis, Hotel Zachary is where history and style come together. The bar is so beautifully designed, grabbing a cocktail here transports you back in time. If weather permits, do your best to grab a seat on the terrace & take in the views of the ballpark.
  • Big Star – A new addition to the neighborhood, this has easily become one of my favorite spots. Amazing margarita’s, tons of great menu items, & a two-story open air restaurant this is a great pre-game, post-game, or non-game day spot. Get a pitcher & the Big Star Hot Chips.
  • Al’s Beef – Famous for their Italian Beef’s, this is one of my favorite late night/post game spots. Grabbing a quick & guaranteed delicious italian beef always makes me a happy girl. Ask for the Gypsy Fries, you won’t regret it.
  • Sluggers – It’s an experience we all need to have. Unreasonably expensive beers, fun music & a rowdy dance floor, batting cages, & carnival games – what more do you need!
  • Old Crow – If you love country music, cold beer, BBQ, & fresh air; Old Crow is a must visit. Great bands, live karaoke, & pretty solid deals make this a neighborhood favorite.

If you’ve been to Wrigleyville, tell me your favorite spots! Or interested in living in the area, contact me to get started.

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