Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Enjoy the 4th of July on Chicago's North Shore!

Chicago’s North Shore is bustling with activity as each North Shore city gears up for the upcoming 4th of July holiday!  For many, this celebration includes getting together with family and friends, grilling out, spending time outdoors and seeing fireworks.  This holiday also is a great way to get to know the community in which you live!  Neighbors have the chance to meet up at local events, and North Shore residents are able to take in more of what their city has to offer.  Whether you live in Evanston, Wilmette, Chicago, Highland Park, Glencoe, Skokie, or any of the other surrounding areas; we hope you get to take advantage of the special events that are taking place!
As North Shore Real Estate agents, we’re always looking for ways to help people who are new to the area, connect.  We understand that living in Chicago’s North Shore is much more than about having a fantastic home; it’s also about feeling a part of your surroundings and experiencing the North Shore lifestyle.  We enjoy helping people find a home and a strong sense of community!
If you’ve recently relocated to the area, are already a resident of the North Shore or are just visiting loved ones for the holiday weekend; we wanted to highlight a few of the fun events taking place in celebration of our freedom!  
The celebration on Monday, July 4, begins with a parade at 10:00 am in downtown Highland Park. The Parade is followed by Fourth Fest at Sunset Woods Park, which includes a petting zoo, pony rides, food and music! Fireworks by the City of Highland Park are at dusk at Wolters Field and are a great ending to an exciting day.
The Village of Skokie 2011 Independence Day festivities kick off on Monday, July 4 a noon with a parade on Oakton Street! The celebration continues into the evening with a concert and fireworks display at Niles West High School, with a “Picnic in the Park,” featuring food, drinks and music beginning at 6pm.  You won’t want to miss the spectacular 3-D Fireworks Fest beginning at dusk. Skokie’s traditional customized 3-D fireworks glasses will be distributed to the first 10,000 visitors, so get there early!
The Fourth of July Parade starts at 10am on Monday at Elm and Glendale Streets. There will be a flag raising ceremony, children's flag parade and family activities at the Village Green starting at 11am. Fourth Fest begins at Duke Childs Field at 6:30pm.  Bring a lunch or buy food from the vendors. A concert will begin at 7pm and the fireworks spectacular show on the North Shore at 9:15pm makes for a fun-filled day!
The 2011 Parade in Evanston, themed Sun and Fun in Evanston for Today's Youth, will start at 2 p.m. and wind from Central Park Avenue East on Central Street. There will be various activities, such as playground sports, throughout Evanston throughout the day that offer fun for the whole family. The Twilight Concert, featuring the Palatine Concert Band, will play from 7:30pm to 9:00pm and the Lakefront Fireworks, launched from Clark Street Beach, will start at 9:15pm!
We hope you enjoy celebrating the 4th of July with family and friends and can take part in one of these events in Chicago’s North Shore!  If you are new to the area, or are considering a move to a North Shore city; these events will be a great way for you to get  a feel for the North Shore environment and to get a taste of the community!  
If you have questions about living in Chicago’s North Shore, or are ready to begin your home search; please let us know.  With our teams’ experience in North Shore Real Estate, we can provide you with a holistic approach to our service and ensure that you not only find a great North Shore home in which to live, but a vibrant community and lifestyle as well.  
Please contact us today to get started!  Have a safe and happy 4th!

The Thomas Team
Chicago's #1 Real Estate Brokerage

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Celebrate Art This Weekend in Chicago's North Shore!

As Chicago North Shore Real Estate agents we enjoy, not only helping people buy or sell a North Shore home, but helping them discover the North Shore lifestyle.  Living in Chicago’s North Shore means being surrounded by a wide variety of things to see and do.  Whether you venture into downtown Chicago for a night on the town, or want to take in the local park in your neighborhood; living in Chicago’s North Shore has much to offer.
An example of life in the North Shore is taking place this weekend with the 14th Annual Highland Park Festival of Fine Craft.  This free, two-day outdoor event runs Friday, June 25 through Saturday, June 26 and is open to everyone!  Come experience the craftsmanship and creativity of over 100 local artisans.  You’ll enjoy live entertainment, activities for children, high quality foods from local restaurants and a silent auction.  This anticipated event gives Highland Park residents the opportunity to meet local artists and buy directly from them, which is a great way to interact with the Highland Park community and give back to its committment to art.
The Highland Park Festival of Fine Craft benefits The Art Center of Highland Park.  This center is a non-profit school and gallery with a focus in providing the best in contemporary art and craft to Highland Park.  The Art Center is celebrated for advocating for local artists and building a community wide appreciation for the arts through educational programs and exhibits.  To learn more about The Art Center or the Highland Park Festival of Fine Craft; please visit The Art Center website.
It’s special events like this that take place throughout Chicago’s North Shore that builds a sense of community and an unparalleled quality of life.  If you’ve been considering buying a home in Highland Park or any of the surrounding cities such as Evanston, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Skokie, Glenview, Wilmette or even Chicago; please let us know!
We would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the North Shore Real Estate market and even show you some of the homes that are currently available in Chicago’s North Shore.  Our goal is to help you find the home that fits your needs and lifestyle while being a trusted resource that can help you get comfortable with your new surroundings.  Please feel free to contact us today with your questions or to get started in your Chicago North Shore home search!
We hope to hear from you soon!

The Thomas Team

Chicago's #1 Real Estate Brokerage

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Consider These 5 Tips Before Buying Your North Shore Home

We hope you’re all enjoying the early summer days here on Chicago’s North Shore!  It is a beautiful time of year to get out and take advantage of your North Shore neighborhoods local events, parks and outdoor activities.  For many, the warmer weather offers a great opportunity to do the house hunting they’ve been wanting to do this year.  An abundance of new homes on the North Shore Real Estate market and plenty of open houses provides you with a great chance to see what’s currently on the North Shore market.
If you are considering buying a North Shore home this year, you’ll want to be sure to take note of these five tips before beginning your home search.  While now is a great time to buy, the past few years have brought about some changes to the home buying process.  As Chicago North Shore Real Estate agents, it’s our goal to keep you updated and well informed on what buying in today’s market entails.  
1. Live Within Your Means- This is a lesson that our country seems to be learning collectively. We’ve seen the damage that can come from buying homes we can’t afford and digging ourselves further into debt.  Buying a North Shore home that fits your budget as it stands now will give the home a chance to appreciate. In the long run, your finances will be healthier and you’ll more than likely be able to afford your dream home next time around.
2. Think Long-Term- When buying a home in today’s market, you want to plan for the future. Consider your basic needs such as security, proximity to your job and other daily activities, the school system and room to grow if need be. You want to plan to be in a home for a minimum of three to five years.

3. Research and Take Advantage of Low Rates- Many lenders are encouraging buyers to lock in a long-term loan, such as a 30-year mortgage, to ensure taking full advantage of the historically low interest rates. An adjustable rate mortgage can work for some buyers, but you’ll want to discuss with your Chicago North Shore Real Estate agent about which option is best for you.

4. Be Prepared to Make an Offer- Before you even begin searching for your North Shore home, you’ll want to get pre-approved for a loan. This not only helps you determine your home buying budget, but will make the process run much more quickly once you’re ready to make an offer. This will also force you to get your credit in order and gives you the opportunity to correct any credit issues before entering the North Shore Real Estate market.

5. Find a Recommended Chicago North Shore Real Estate Agent- Having the right agent journey with you through the home buying process will make all the difference. Conduct research online or talk with family and friends to get their recommendations. Many North Shore Real Estate agents have testimonials on their websites that will give you a good indication of other buyer’s and seller’s experience with that agent. You’ll want to find an agent who has experience in the Chicago North Shore Real Estate market and with whom you feel you can work with for however long it takes for you to find your North Shore home.

We hope these home buying tips are helpful as you begin the house hunting process!  If  you have further questions or would like more information about current homes on the market, or about the North Shore Real Estate market in general; please feel free to contact us anytime!  Our goal is to make buying a North Shore home a relaxed and efficient process and would love to help you each step of the way!

The Thomas Team
Chicago's #1 Real Estate Brokerage

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

4 Tips for Securing your Dream Home on Chicago's North Shore

As many of you know, now is a great time to buy a home in Chicago’s North Shore!  Low mortgage rates and historically low home prices make it a great environment for those hoping to buy a North Shore home this year.  While the spring season tends to be the most active time for buyers and sellers in the North Shore, as North Shore Real Estate agents, we can attest that the market is still very lively with new homes coming on the market each week.
If you’ve been considering purchasing a home, you may still be a little leery of the competition and how that will translate into what type of home you’ll actually end up being able to buy.  We know that it’s disappointing to find your dream home in Chicago’s North Shore only to be outbid by another buyer.  Our goal as Chicago North Shore Real Estate agents is to not just help you find the home in the North Shore that fits your needs and lifestyle, but to make sure you get your ideal home! 
Here are four tips to avoid being outbid and to secure your new North Shore home.

1. Beat the Crowd- Make it clear to your agent that you want to be made aware of new North Shore homes as soon as they come on the market. This will help ensure that you are on top of the competition in seeing new homes and being able to make the first offer. You’ll also want to keep your offer deadline as tight as possible so the listing agent has less of a chance to entertain other offers. 
2. Do Your Homework- Many people are not able to pay all cash for a home. However, having a letter from your lender stating how much you’re qualified for will give you a boost! Be aware that the average down payment in today’s Chicago North Shore Real Estate market is 20%. This type of preparation will help set you a part from other bids.
3. Aim High- If you’re still worried about an all-cash offer taking precedence over your bid; make sure your bid is the highest. Sellers want to get the most they can from their home and will almost always take the higher bid over an all cash one. Your North Shore Real Estate agent should provide a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of homes in the Chicago North Shore area. This will give you a good idea of what other homes like the one you’re bidding on are selling for and will help you come up with a reasonable offer. 
4. Relax- A demanding buyer can deter sellers. We know the strains the economy has put on home owners over the past few years and many sellers have their home on the market because they have no other option.   Be willing to work with the sellers’ time constraints on closing dates and don’t demand help with closing costs. Being sensitive to the sellers needs can be a great way to make the seller feel good about accepting your offer.  Of course your Chicago North Shore Real Estate agent will be able to help you determine when to push for your wants and when to back off for the seller.
If you have questions about the Chicago North Shore Real Estate market, or are ready to begin searching for homes in the North Shore; please let us know!  Our team of experienced Chicago North Shore Real Estate agents is here to help you throughout each step of the home buying process.  Feel free to contact us today to get started!

The Thomas Team
Chicago's #1 Real Estate Brokerage