Luxury Chicago Condo Sales Continue in Cold Weather

November was another unexpected month for Chicago real estate, with the condo market continuing to deliver strong sales despite the winter chill that’s moved in.

Last month saw 35 sales of luxury condos (those priced a $1 million or higher) for a total of $57 million—right on par with the sales volume from the month prior to that. And that wasn’t the only trend hanging on—square footage was abundant in last month’s sales, as it has been for most of the year when it comes to Chicago condos.

The top sales each month continue to prove that buyers are looking for plenty of space (3,000 square feet and up), and that city living doesn’t mean sacrificing it. This has been the case with many of my clients transitioning from the suburbs into the city who still want a large home. Many clients are often surprised to learn that the move doesn’t have to be synonymous with downsizing. In fact, moving to the city opens up a whole new world of everything downtown has to offer, from shopping and dining to a shorter commute.

Packed with panache and square footage, here’s a detailed look at the top 5 most expensive sales last month, in descending order:

The-Legacy-Condos_exterior460 E Monroe St, Unit 3301
Original list price: $4.4 million
Sold price: $3.9 million
The Legacy is a showstopper among luxury condos in downtown Chicago, and this one is no exception. With 5,200 square feet of professional designed space, this combination unit spans the entire east face of the building, offering unobstructed views Lake Michigan and Millennium Park. Entertaining here is easy with a chef’s kitchen that adjoins a stunning great room, wet bar and balcony; not to mention a formal living and dining room with marble fireplace, a fabulous master suite with spa baths and walk ins, plus details like custom lighting, fixtures, AV and built-ins.

11 E Walton St11 E Walton St. Unit 3002
Original list price: $3.5 million
Sold price: $3.45 million
This 3-bedroom condo is another example of a lifestyle that comes with certain Chicago addresses. This one is located in the Waldorf Astoria, where residents can take advantage of 5-star amenities and services from the neighboring hotel. Its 3,436 square feet starts with a spacious foyer upon entering the unit, which then opens up to a large living room, a separate dining room and a spacious gourmet kitchen with a great room. All 3 bedrooms include private baths, and the unit includes two private terraces and wonderful views throughout. z

1340 N State Pkwy, Unit 1S1340 N State Pkwy, Unit 1N
Original list price: $2.995 million
Sold price: $2.781 million
This Chicago condo building is certainly one of a kind—it was formerly the Playboy mansion, converted now into 7 luxury units. This 3,250 square foot condo offers 3 bedrooms, 2.1 baths, plus a library, family room and expansive living and dining space. The thoughtful floorplan leaves plenty of room for entertaining in the front of the home while sleeping areas are toward the back. Details include high-end finishes and hardwood floors throughout, a butler’s pantry, custome Grabill cabinetry in the kitchen and a large private patio off of the kitchen and family room.

20090518_Trump_International_Hotel_and_Tower,_Chicago401 N Wabash Ave, Unit 38A
Original list price: $3 million
Sold price: $2.766 million
This River North beauty offers all of the exclusivity and panache that comes with living in Trump Tower. Perched on the 38th floor, the unit’s floor plan follows the dramatic eastern curve of the building, showcasing a panorama of Lake Michigan and the Chicago river through floor-to-ceiling windows. Its 3,400 square feet includes a spacious master suite with his-and-her baths and walk-in closets. Residents here can take advantage of all of the amenities and services that come with the Trump lifestyle, ranging from valet parking to in-room catering to the building’s state-of-the-art health center and spa.

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21202120 N Lincoln Park West, Unit 7
Original list price: $2.495 million
Sold price: $2.45 million
With just over 3,000 square feet, this full-floor Lincoln Park condo offers fabulous views of the park, lake, skyline and the zoo in Lincoln Park. It’s located in an intimate boutique building that is full of character, featuring an upgraded kitchen, master suite and plenty of storage space. Other details include wood floors, cove lighting and built-in speakers throughout the home.

You too may be surprised to learn what kind of properties are available in downtown Chicago if you’re considering a move from the suburbs, and I invite you to give me a call to discuss. Contact me at (312) 264-5853 or email me at

Chicago Real Estate In A Class By Itself

Trump Tower Chicago

Trump Tower in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Photo by Flickr/John Pickens Photography

Many of my clients shopping for luxury real estate are looking for anything but a run-of-the-mill property. They want something that stands apart from everything else on the market, whether that includes special features or amenities, a prime location or an iconic name that’s synonymous with luxury living.

The first building I always introduce my clients to is Trump Tower. This is one of my favorite buildings in the entire city of Chicago. And I’m not alone—a 14,000 square foot raw penthouse just sold in the building, marking the most expensive residential sale ever in Chicago real estate.

I think what appeals the most to my clients (and myself!) about Trump Tower is the endless list of amenities and the impeccable design that stands out in the Chicago skyline. I am originally from New York, and this building reminds me so much of Manhattan, with all of the panache but a considerably lower cost of living. Having sold two units in the building—one for $1.2 million and one for $2.7 million—I think buyers interested in Trump Tower are interested in the pampering that comes along with it. Take a look at some of the amenities and services offered here:

  • A 23,000 square foot health club and spa
  • In-building dining and nightlife at Rebar, Sixteen or the Terrace at Trump
  • Around-the-clock service from a top-notch staff, who provide everything from valet parking to in-room dining
  • A riverwalk made up of 1.2 acres of outdoor space, with retail shops, public relaxation areas, pristine landscaping and unparalleled views of the city.

Photos from the raw interior of Trump Tower’s 14,000 square foot penthouse, which just sold for $17 million.


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View Luxury condos for Sale in Trump Tower

Trump Tower Sale Breaks Chicago Record for Priciest Sale

With 14,000 square feet of un-designed space, the 89th-floor penthouse is a blank canvas for the new buyer, who paid all cash for the unit. This Chicago condos boasts 360-degree views of the city below, including a sprawling Lake Michigan, the Chicago river and the architectural skyline.

As far as getting it move-in ready, the buyer told the Chicago Tribune that he plans to work with the floor plan to customize it for entertaining and guests as well as a second home for his family. He also said Trump Tower in Chicago is unlike anything else in the city, saying “There are other high rises, but nothing quite as exotic as this.”

I must say, I couldn’t agree more. If you’d like to experience Trump Tower Chicago in person or see what’s on the market now, contact me for a personal tour at (312) 264-5853 or email me at

Refinancing Your Chicago Home for Extra Cash Requires Due Diligence

As real estate in Chicago and across the country continues to be in a good place, many homeowners are taking advantage of the market’s health by refinancing—specifically, using refinancing to cash in on some of the equity of their home.

A cash-out refinance allows a homeowner to withdraw cash form the equity of their home when changing the interest rate on their mortgage. The cash might be used for home repairs or upgrades, to reduce debt or pay for other large expenses.

Those refinancing their mortgages are on the rise, according to a recent article in the Wall St. Journal. More so, those taking out cash with their refinance is at the highest its been since 2008. Both are indications of rising home values and the confidence of borrowers to capitalize on it.

But while there’s the allure of cash that is seemingly just “sitting there,” it’s especially important for borrowers to know exactly what they’re getting into before doing a cash-out refinance. There’s the potential risk of getting into too much debt should home prices fall, and there could also be alternative options for getting cash that would bring less risk and cost for the homeowner.

Here are a few considerations to make if you’re looking into a cash-out refinance on your Chicago home:

What’s the money for? Using the cash for upgrading or improving your home could bring the long-term benefit of increasing its resale value. Using it to pay off credit card debt could also be beneficial since the interest rate is likely significantly lower. Buying a big-ticket item or paying for a vacation with the money is a riskier option, especially because you are putting your home on the line if any payments are missed.

Is there a lower interest rate? If your move is motivated by just the cash, make sure you would actually be refinancing into a lower interest rate. If you locked in your loan in the last few years, chances are interest rates were under 4% and you won’t likely get a fixed rate lower than that now. An adjustable-rate loan with a lower rate upfront could still end up costing you more in the long run.

Don’t forget closing costs. If you’re looking to save money, don’t lose sight of the fact that refinancing in not free. Closing costs are about 2% of the loan amount, and refinancing means starting over with a loan’s “early payments” of mostly interest charges. The latter can be helped by opting for a shorter loan.

Consider a HELOC. A home equity line of credit could be the better option, depending on your situation. The interest rate will likely be a bit higher, but the amount borrowed is probably smaller and borrowers pay less in interest charges on a HELOC than on a mortgage. There are also far lower closing costs.

There are a number of different approaches to refinancing and it’s crucial that you work with a mortgage professional who has your interest in mind. You want to work with someone who can explain all of the different types of nuances that come with each type of loan and the refinancing process to ensure it’s in line with what you’re looking to accomplish.

For more information on Chicago real estate loans or refinancing, contact me at (312) 264-5853 or email me at

Chicago Luxury Condo Buyers Searching for Large Square Footage in October

Space: for some, it’s the ultimate commodity when it comes to real estate, and luxury properties in Chicago have much to offer by way of generous square footage. When taking clients out to see luxury condos, I’ve found that square footage is almost always the first piece of criteria they bring up.

There’s even a magic number: 3,000 square feet seems to be the minimum that many buyers are seeking for their new home. Many of these clients are moving from a single-family home in the suburbs and are moving into the city for their last “hoorah,” so it’s the last move they are planning to make in their lifetime.

Last month’s Chicago luxury condo sales showed this same trend I see with my own clients. With 32 condos sold totaling $57 million, square footage was again the name of the game among these properties.

Here’s a detailed look at the top five most expensive units that closed last month, in descending order:

Chicago real estate at 65 E Goethe65 E Goethe Street, Unit 5E
Original list price: $4.95 million
Sold price: $4.8 million
Square footage: 3,800
A 3 bedroom, 2.1 bath unit in one of Lucien Lagrange’s masterpieces, this building boasts an eclectic architectural style on the outside with large, open living spaces on the inside. This 8-story building is among the most coveted in luxury real estate in Chicago, with a rooftop terrace garden, portal windows, French doors and Juliet balconies made from hand-forged iron.

ritz118 E Erie Street, Unit 34E
Original list price: $3,248,400
Sold price: $3 million
Square footage: 2,707
While this unit is under 3,000 square feet, it still offers ample space for a 2 bedroom Chicago condo. Not to mention, it’s located at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, which offers the legendary service of the Ritz-Carlton hotel group and a number of jaw-dropping private spaces for its residents to enjoy. The building’s Landmark Club includes a grand salon, private staff, screening room, athletic and spa facilities and much more. This sale in particular was also made in cash.

Chicago real estate at Park Tower 800 Michigan Avenue800 N Michigan Avenue, Unit 2701
Original list price: $3.2 million
Sold price: $3 million
Square footage: 3,197
Bought by an all-cash buyer, this 3-bedroom, 3.1 bath is located in the Park Hyatt Residences, which is adjacent to the Park Hyatt Hotel. Residents can take advantage of all of the hotel’s amenities, including room service and the on-site health club. This unit features east-facing lake views in nearly every room, with hardwood floors, a chef’s kitchen, gracious master suite with built-ins, and a 150-square foot balcony.

77-E-Walton-St-27A-Chicago-IL-6061177 E Walton Place, Unit 27F
Original list price: $2.9 million
Sold Price: $2.915 million
Square footage: 3,486
Located in the Residences at 900, which puts residents just off the Magnificent Mile and offers sweeping views of the city down below. This 27th-floor unit features floor-to-ceiling windows, 10-foot ceilings, 4” white oak floors throughout, a Snaidero kitchen, a lavish spa master bath and state-of-the-art technology. Residents here can also take advantage of valet parking.

1040 n lake shore1040 N Lake Shore Drive, Unit 7A
Original list price: $2.685 million
Sold price: $2.575 million
Square footage: 3,020
This 3-bedroom unit was recently totally rehabbed all the way down to the studs and drywall, and now showcases flawless attention to detail in the custom millwork, 5” walnut floors, new windows and a wide open floor plan that maximizes the views of the lake, park and skyline. The 4.5 baths features Cacatta, Crema Marfil and Dakota Stone, while the kitchen boasts top-of-the-line appliances. You’ll also find a paneled alderwood library with a dry bar and integrated AV system.

If you’re in the market for a new Chicago condo, I always encourage clients to familiarize themselves with last month’s sales so you have a leg up when you start your own search. Knowing the details of what properties have sold, with what features, for what price, will help you gauge where the market is at and what you might be able to find within your budget.

For more details on these Chicago condos sold last month, or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 264-5853 or email me at

Chicago Luxury Homes Right Around The Corner From Culture & Great Restaurants

A number of Chicago condo buildings in Lincoln Park overlook the part itself, which boasts a beautiful pond, zoo, restaurant and more.

A number of Chicago condo buildings in Lincoln Park overlook the part itself, which boasts a beautiful pond, zoo, restaurant and more.

One clear reason that Lincoln Park is a favorite neighborhood in Chicago is that there is no lack of things to do. This is a hip, happening area day and night, with all of the comfort of a residential block in the ‘burbs.

And the “places to go, people to see,” in Lincoln Park is still growing. The famed theater company Steppenwolf recently announced expansion plans to its campus on Halsted Street. The new 400-seat theater will be designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, some of the city’s star modern architects. The Steppenwolf name is already one of Lincoln Park’s cultural gems, and the expansion will add to that as well as the area’s architectural significance.

Search Luxury Homes for Sale in Lincoln Park

A few other highlights among Lincoln Park destinations include:

Alinea: Another Halsted hot spot, this is Chef Grant Achatz’s famous restaurant and one of only two in the city to receive the highest rating of three stars from the Michelin Guide.

Boka: Also located on N Halsted, Boka is another fixture on the Chicago restaurant scene, honored with one Michelin star and recognized by Food & Wine Magazine.

Lincoln Park: The park itself is a beautiful place for a stroll in sun or snow. Tucked inside is a conservatory, zoo (with free admission!), North Pond, a restaurant and more.

McMansions: Burling, Howe and Orchard are some of the city’s most prestigious blocks, known for its huge, pricey single-family homes that can go for $5 million on the low end to $20+ million on the high end. On the market currently is an estate on Burling Street that spans 5 city lots, 7 bedrooms and a whopping 20,000 square feet for $18 million.

North Avenue Beach: On the eastern edge of Old Town, North Avenue Beach is the place to be on a sunny Chicago day. With a sandy beach hugging the shore of Lake Michigan, you’ll find sunbathers, volleyball games,

2400 N Lakeview: For architecture buffs, this is Mies Van Der Rohe’s last residential high-rise building in the city. Built in 1963, this is a full-amenity building features 1, 2 and 3-bedrooms homes and overlooking Lincoln Park.

There are plenty more reasons why Lincoln Park is one of the most sought-after areas for Chicago real estate. This is one of my favorite neighborhoods, and I would love to give you a tour if you’re in the market for a new home. Contact me at (312) 264-5853 or email me at

Strategies for Bidding Against a Cash Buyer for a Chicago Luxury Home

Even with the high-end price tags of luxury real estate in Chicago, it’s not uncommon at all to find buyers snapping up covetable properties with an all-cash purchase. And it’s not just about offering the highest price with cash in hand. Buyers who pay cash often have the upper hand in a multiple-bid situation, since the financing is guaranteed and the sale can close quickly.

So in a competitive market, what’s a non-cash buyer to do? As long as you have the financials to back it up, a jumbo loan is still a great option for luxury real estate buyers. Even when pitted against cash buyers, jumbo borrowers can still bring a strong offer to the table with the right negotiating strategy.

Here are a few steps for jumbo borrowers, as recently highlighted by the Wall St. Journal:

1. Go beyond the pre-approval letter. A pre-approval letter from a lender is a no-brainer when shopping for a home; it shows your able to secure the right amount of financing for the purchase. But they aren’t foolproof. Jumbo borrowers should take this one step further and get a pre-underwriting letter from a lender. This requires a deeper analysis of the borrower’s income, assets and tax returns and therefore holds more weight than a pre-approval alone. It can also help you close a loan in just 14 days, compared to twice as long for a pre-approval.

2. Waive the financing contingency in the purchase contract. This is what allows a buyer to walk away from the deal if their loan isn’t approved or if an appraisal comes back higher or lower than expected. This is attractive to sellers who don’t want to deal with a potentially shaky deal. And while they aren’t paying for the home in cash, jumbo borrowers may very well have enough cash to cover any appraisal/loan differences, so they wouldn’t need to back out of the deal.

3. Consider waiving the title or property inspection contingency. This is another part of the contract that lets the buyer walk away from the deal if anything comes up in the property inspection. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t do your due diligence before choosing this option. Buyers can conduct a title search, review a building’s financial history or other research to see if everything is in line. And many luxury buyers plan to make significant changes or upgrades to a home, so you may not even be too concerned with what is there to begin with and won’t require an inspection.

4. Look for cash. See if you can get temporary access to cash by liquidating assets or borrowing against them, then refinance after your home purchase is complete. Even a part-cash offer brings some weight to the negotiating table, even if you still plan to take out a mortgage for the long term. Though, don’t forget about your taxes—cash buyers who plan to refinance need to do so within 90 days of the home loan in order to deduct the mortgage interest on your income taxes.

5. Be flexible with the seller. Does the owner have certain move-out terms? Accommodating any special requests from the seller can make your offer even more attractive, so be sure to communicate any extra factors like this in your offer.

Above all, it’s important to work with an experienced real estate agent who has successfully won deals for borrowers in multiple-bid situations. Like I said before, it’s not always just about who is bringing the highest price, but who is bringing the right price on the right terms.

There are a number of nuances involved in this process that I would be happy to walk you through if you’re considering purchasing luxury real estate with a jumbo loan. Contact me at (312) 264-5853 or email me at

The West Loop is a Happening Place for Chicago Luxury Real Estate

Photo from flickr/ajdoudt

Mary Bartelme Park in Chicago’s West Loop Neighborhood. Photo from flickr/ajdoudt

Lake View, Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast—these are neighborhoods we know and love when it comes to Chicago real estate in a can’t-beat-it location. But there’s a new neighborhood on the tip of buyer’s tongues: the West Loop.

Historically a factory and warehouse district, the West Loop today is filled with things to do, from dining at a new restaurant to perusing an art gallery. Just west of Chicago’s business district, the West Loop is a calming escape from downtown without leaving the city behind, making it a new destination for young working adults and families alike. The neighborhood was even recently highlighted by the Wall St. Journal as a hot area for working and living in the city.

And real estate buyers aren’t the only ones flocking to the near west side. New restaurants, retailers and businesses (Google, Twitter and Uber to name a few) have all made recent moves or plans to the West Loop, which has in turn spurred the development of luxury condos nearby.

Here are a few things that have folks headed west:

Restaurant Row: This foodie-friendly area is just that. An edible enclave with sushi, bakeries, breweries, butcher shops and more all within a few blocks of each other, including Girl and the Goat, Vivo and many others.

Industrial edge: The warehouse style of the West Loop isn’t gone, nor forgotten. But when it comes to real estate, that urban aesthetic can be found in upscale lofts and other charming converted buildings.

Creative confines: Art galleries, design stores and culture spots in Greektown are just a handful of ways to keep busy in the west loop

Schools: West Loop is home to Mary T. Skinner West Elementary school, which is ranked among Chicago’s top public schools.

Luxury real estate: Smaller communities within the West Loop like the Fulton Market Center and the Randolph Street Corridor have become ideal locations for developing high-end condos that allow for a quick commute to work and plenty to do for play.

Luxury Real Estate in Chicago’s West Loop
There are a number of Chicago condos to choose from in the West Loop. High-end real estate here offer generous square footage, and you get much more for your money in the West Loop than you might along the lake, which can cost as much as $1,200 per square foot. Without a lot of inventory, properties here move quickly–but, here are a few examples of what you might find in the West Loop:

canal st333 N Canal St, Unit 3301
List price: $1,500,000
Square footage: 2,855
Price per square foot: $525
This 3-bedroom condo is currently on the market, offering forever views of Chicago’s iconic architecture. The home is classically appointed with sophisticated finishes and a great floor plan that includes 11-foot ceilings, a 350-square foot gallery/foyer, private master suite and stone flooring throughout. Three deeded parking spaces are also included.

jackson728 W Jackson Blvd, Unit 1001-02
Sold price: $1,547,500
Square footage: 5,619
Price per square foot: $275
This stunning corner unit was sold for an incredible price for the space it offers. The open layout includes a formal dining space, chef’s kitchen with granite, Sub-Zero and Wolfe appliances, custom built-ins throughout and a huge master suite. It also includes 3 heated garage parking spaces.

canal st333 N Canal St, Unit 3702
Sold price: $1,589,000
Square footage: 4,163
Price per square foot: $381
This barely-lived-in penthouse is located in the Riverbend building, with 12-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, 360-degree views of the lake and river and two enormous, private terraces. The floor plan allows for open living spaces and 3 large bedrooms.

aberdeen122 S Aberdeen Ave, Unit 6N
Sold price: $1,601,844
Square footage: 4,286
Price per square foot: $373
A combined top-floor unit just built in 2012, with an elegant interior that features 11-foot ceilings, stone counters, contemporary Italian cabinetry, private elevator access and much more.

canal st333 N Canal St, Unit 3701
Sold price: $1,799,000
Square footage: 4,100
Price per square foot: $438
Another Riverbend unit, this penthouse was completely renovated to include more than $750,000 in upgrades like a chef’s kitchen, Poggenpohl cabinetry and top-of-the-line appliances. You’ll also find breathtaking views of the city and lake, large terraces made for entertaining, walnut floors throughout, a huge master suite with oversized bedroom. Riverbend is also a full amenity building within walking distance to downtown.

To see what’s on the market in the West Loop or take a stroll through this up-and-coming neighborhood, contact me. I’d be happy to show you what everyone is loving about the West Loop. Contact me at (312) 264-5853 or email me at

Light Is A Major Factor When Purchasing A Chicago Luxury Home

If natural light is limited, there are a number of ways to brighten things up that could improve the value of your home. Photo via Houzz/Traditional Dining Room by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators Michael Abrams Limited.

There are a number of no-brainers to consider if you’re buying a Chicago home or evaluating the resale value of your own home. Location, size, special features, and…lighting?

It’s true: lighting is an important factor in a home, both in terms of the natural light that is let in and the lighting configurations from room to room. Buyers typically love a home that is bathed in sunshine during the day; bright natural light makes a space feel open and airy, even when winter weather is right outside.

But good lighting is also associated with healthy living. Scientists have found that this seemingly simple functionality can greatly affect our moods, sleep cycles and even our quality of life, as was recently covered by the Wall St. Journal.

So if a home is low on natural light, it is especially important to address the issue with a lighting expert to ensure the lighting inside helps make up for that deficit. LED lighting is at the forefront of home lighting technology, and is credited with providing a finer adjustment of brightness, color and intensity and even mimicking the changes to natural daylight throughout a day’s time.

While the right lighting will depend on the room, what it’s used for, and of course, the lifestyle of those who live there, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you aren’t “in the dark” when it comes to proper lighting. If you’re building a Chicago new construction home, these are important tips you’ll want to consider in the design of your home, not only for your own comfort, but to increase resale value down the line. Here’s a basic room-by-room guide to lighting your Chicago home:

Living room: Brighter, white light is ideal for group gatherings for things like playing games or watching a movie. But having the ability to dim is equally important, so the lighting temperature can be turned down in the hours before bedtime.

Kitchen: Lighting with a high color-rendering index is key in the kitchen, helping colors and details stand out to make food look better.

Bath lighting: Color rendering is also important in the powder room, especially in vanity lighting that illuminates personal grooming activities like shaving and applying make-up. Dimmable lighting is also ideal allow adjustment between different ages and preferences for those using the room.

Bedroom: Dimmable warm light in an adult’s bedroom is ideal for preparing the body for sleep. In a child’s room, bright white light will help wake them up in the morning or tackle tasks like homework, but a warmable, dimmer light is also important for bedtime hours.

Hallways: The guide for hallways and stairs is to provide enough light to navigate, but not so bright that it’s jarring and might cause someone to stumble or bump into something.

Lighting an Art Collection in Your Chicago Home

Achieving ideal lighting in every room is only part of the story. If you display any type of art in your home or even have a vase collection, it’s important to provide the proper lighting for each piece. Lighting plays a huge role in any art collection (big or small) and can make a huge difference in how your home looks. If you’re working with art in your home, I am happy to recommend an amazing lighting expert who has provided lighting for countless luxury homes, including the home of a major contemporary artist who has work in museums all over the world.

If you’re interested in learning more about building the perfect lighting around an art collection or in your Chicago luxury home, contact me and I will be happy to talk to you more about it. Call me at (312) 264-5853 or email me at

Single-Family Luxury Home Sales Much Lower in September

The weather is cooler, winter months are soon to arrive—and it appears the luxury home market in Chicago may be going into hibernation, if September’s sales are any indication.

Last month, just 17 luxury homes closed in Chicago—those priced from $1 million all the way up to $5.9 million. To compare, luxury home sales just one month before in August hit records, topping $110 in total sales volume.

Even with an unexpected slowdown, the top five most expensive sales should be no surprise. Three were found in Lincoln Park and one each for the Gold Coast and Lakeview. These are the most sought after neighborhoods when it comes to luxury real estate in Chicago. Lincoln Park has a number of coveted blocks lined with gorgeous mansions (one of them making an appearance in last month’s sales), and the Gold Coast is known for its historic atmosphere filled with upscale homes, condos and brownstones.

It’s also interesting to note that many buyers are still purchasing homes with cash. Even as luxury buyers have a number of attractive financing options for jumbo loans from lenders, it’s still not uncommon to see cash purchases for homes priced well into the millions.

Starting with the most expensive sale, here are the details on September’s top luxury home sales:

1863 howe1863 N Howe St
Original list price: $4.55 million
Sold price: $5,866,704
This 6,000 square foot five-bedroom is a brand-new addition to Howe Street, one of Lincoln Park’s (and even Chicago’s) most affluent blocks. On an extra wide lot, this home promises plenty of space, but wasn’t yet designed so the buyer can have a head start on building their dream home customized just for them. The home was built by BDG&C, a well-known design/build firm for high-end custom homes. The fact that this home sold more than a whopping $1 million above its original list price also offers insight into how interested luxury buyers are in new construction properties in Chicago.

2112 Sedgwick2112 N Sedgwick St
Original list price: $$3.695 million
Sold price: $3.45 million
Nestled in East Lincoln Park, this is a one-of-a-kind home on a massive double wide lot more than 50 feet wide. The home was built from lot line to lot line, creating a generous 7,000 square feet on the interior with 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. The space in this home doesn’t end with the square footage, however—the ceilings are 11”6” high with tall windows. Hardwood floors, a deluxe chef’s kitchen, a sunroom and multiple entertaining spaces grace the interior, while a huge private yard and gardens enhance the exterior.

1235 w belden1235 W Belden Ave
Original list price: $2.75 million
Sold price: $2.8 million
A corner home in Lincoln Park, this 5-bedroom, 4.1 bath boasts gracious room sizes from the master suite to the great room to the fabulous kitchen. Other features include a wine cellar, built-in outdoor kitchen, infinity bath in the master suite and two outdoor spaces.

74 e elm74 E Elm St
Original list price: $3,199,999
Sold price: $2.36 million
Old world class meets new world amenities in this Gold Coast beauty. The 6,500 square foot home is an original 1891 structure that has been fabulously restored with all the bells and whistles you can imagine: 4 levels of living, extra tall ceilings, a chef’s kitchen, second community kitchen with wine room and 4 en suite bedrooms. The home also includes ample outdoor space with a terrae and roof deck.

3717 bosworth3717 N Bosworth Ave
Original list price: $2.45 million
Sold price: $2.325 million
Another custom home built in 2013, this 5-bedroom in Lakeview boasts fine craftsmanship throughout. With a huge kitchen with double SubZero appliances, a great room with a built-in banquette and direct access to a heated terrace, this is a great space for entertaining year round. The beautiful master suite includes a spa-quality shower and separate soaking tub. Other features include a 3rd floor den, two rooftop decks, and the “best mudroom ever,” according to the listing.

It will be interesting to see what October brings for the Chicago real estate market and if the sales slowdown continues among luxury homes. I recommend buyers keep an eye on recent sales trends to know what they are expect when they begin their search for a home or are ready to make an offer. To see what is on the market now, contact me at (312) 264-5853 or email me at

September Luxury Chicago Condo Sales Turn Lower in September

The September market is generally the start of the fall market for real estate in Chicago. Any potential buyers usually want to start their search for a new home so they can be moved in before winter weather moves in.

But this September didn’t quite show signs of that fall market moving in. Sales of Chicago condos last month were not nearly what would be expected for this time of year. Only 11 Chicago luxury condos—those sold for $1 million and higher—sold last month, with the highest sale peaking at $4.8 million. Total sales for the month were a mere $20 million.

Comparatively, August saw more than $90 million in luxury condo sales and July clocked in at close to $75 million. So September sales were significantly lower than recent months.

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

Chicago real estate at 65 E Goethe65 E Goethe St, Unit 5E
Original list price: $4.95 million
Sold price: $4.8 million
This 3-bedroom unit spans 3,800 square feet in Chicago’s Gold Coast. 65 East Goethe is one of architect’s Lucien Lagrange’s masterpieces, with an eclectic architectural style on the exterior and large, airy units on the inside. This building is full of elegance and character, with 8 stories, a rooftop terrace garden, portal windows, French doors and Juliet balconies of hand-forged iron.

1040 n lake shore1040 N Lake Shore Dr, Unit 7A
Original list price: $2.685 million
Sold price: $2.575 million
Nestled on the coveted Lake Shore Drive, this 3-bedroom, 3,020 square foot Chicago condo was totally recently rehabbed, leaving flawless attention to detail. The interior was fitted with custom millwork, cased openings, 5-inch walnut floors, new windows throughout and an open floorplan to maximize views. The baths are built with Calacatta, Crema Marfil and Dakota stones, plus top-of-the-line appliances, integrated AV systems and a paneled alder wood library.

The-Legacy-Condos_exterior460 E Monroe, Unit 6201
Original list price: $2.035 million
Sold price: $2.02 million
THis 3-bedroom, 3.5 bath condo stretches more than 2,000s square feet in The Legacy at Millennium Park, one of the Chicago luxury market’s hottest buildings that continues to have a presence on each month’s sales report. The building offers 2, 3 and 4-bedroom condos with enviable views of the park, lake and city. Amenities for residents include a pool and steam room, 24-hour door service, fitness center and access to the University Club.

10 E Delaware10 E Delaware Pl, Unit 14E
Original list price: $1.7999 million
Sold price: $1.78 million
10 E Delaware is one of the newest buildings available in the Gold Coast, and a favorite among luxury buyers. This condo in particular was a former model unit, with more than 2,000 square feet and upgrades like whole house audio, video, lighting, motorized shades, custom wall coverings, draperies and built-ins. You’ll also find the best of the best in the kitchen, with Poggenpohl cabinets and Subzero and Wolf appliances.

2608 lakeview2608 N Lakeview Ave, Unit 9A
Original list price: $1,812,500 million
Sold price: $1,757,500
This rarely available unit in an upscale luxury building is an east-facing penthouse with a private elevator foyer. The gracious layout allows for sweeping park and skyline views, with a fabulous new kitchen and master bath. With three bedrooms and 4.5 baths, this Chicago condo spans more than 3,700 square feet.

With buildings that offer buyers the same square footage of a single-family home, plus the services and amenities that come with luxury condo living, Chicago condos are a covetable choice for those moving from the suburbs or who want to live in the heart of the city without a lot of maintenance. I encourage my clients who are considering a condo purchase to take a look at the units that sold last month to get a feel for what’s selling, for what price and what you might be able to expect for your own situation.

To see additional details on last month’s sales or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 264-5853 or email me at