Chicago Luxury Home Sales Total $53 Million in February

It’s easy to see from month to month what puts particular homes at the top of the list for most expensive sales. From generous space (both in square footage and lot size), to floor-to-ceiling luxury to premium locations, the most expensive homes often have a number of common features that high-end buyers are searching for.

Another sure sign of hot property? Three words: Sold before print. Two of February’s top 5 most expensive home sales made it off the market as quick as they were listed. And it’s no surprise that the top 5 were all found in Lincoln Park, one of the city’s long sought-after neighborhoods for luxury homes.

33 Luxury Chicago Homes Sold in February

Luxury home sales for the month of February totaled $53 million (those homes sold for $1 million or more), but the top sales weren’t the extraordinary $4 million or $5 million homes we’ve seen in recent months. The most expensive sale, a brand-new beauty in Lincoln Park, was sold for just under $3.5 million.

Search luxury homes for sale in Lincoln Park

Here’s a closer look at the top five most expensive homes that were sold in February:

Luxury home for sale in Lincoln Park1861 N Fremont St
Original list price: $3.45 million
Sold price: $3,440,500
Handsome brick and limestone, 5,200 square feet and its location on a tree-lined street are just a few reasons why this new construction home sold before it was officially listed. Inside you’ll find custom cabinetry and millwork throughout, six bedrooms, a professionally designed natural stone bath and a radiant heated lower level. Outdoors, you’ll find a tremendous space with a garden and rooftop deck with covered patio and fireplace.

Luxury  home for sale in Lincoln Park at 2664 N Geneva Terrace2664 N Geneva Terrace
Original list price: $3.395 million
Sold price: $3.153 million
Built on an extra-wide lot, this 7-bedroom home in Lincoln Park was built by acclaimed builder Stuart Rose with plenty of luxury inclusions. Massive rooms spread over 7,800 square feet, with a huge master suite, a third-floor theater with wet bar and lower level rec room and office The eat-in kitchen boasts a 60-square foot island and Subzero, Thermador and Miele appliances.

Luxury  home for sale in Lincoln Park at 2100 N Dayton2100 N Dayton St
Original list price: $3.285 million
Sold price: $3.140 million
An all-brick single-family home on a corner lot in Lincoln Park, this 5-bedroom boasts tons of space: From the 5,600 square feet, to dramatic ceiling heights to a 900-bottle wine room. Eight south-facing windows bring in plenty of natural light, and four composite decks enable outdoor living to its fullest.

Luxury  home for sale in Lincoln Park at  2126 N Kenmore in Chcicago2126 N Kenmore Ave
Original list price: $2.995 million
Sold price: $2.85 million
Stunning, tasteful and elegant—this new construction single-family home in a great location features fine architectural details and high-end finishes throughout. With 5 bedrooms, 4.1 baths and 5,050 square feet, this Chicago home includes a sun-filled penthouse room, a wine cellar, four outdoor spaces, a courtyard and a garden, all in one of the most sought-after communities in Chicago.

Luxury new construction at 3726 N Bosworth in Chicago3726 N Bosworth Ave
Original list price: $2.3 million
Sold price: $2,335,135
This 5 bedroom, 4.2 bath home is brand-new construction on a tree-lined street in Lincoln Park. With a limestone façade on the outside, the inside spans 4,800 square feet and includes tastefully designed millwork and ceiling treatments, luxurious baths, a custom kitchen with commercial-grade appliances and a radiant-heated lower level. This home’s location puts it within the Blaine School District, one of the most coveted boundaries for parents who want their children to attend this top-rated elementary school.

Now that we’re officially into spring, the Chicago real estate market will likely continue to pick up momentum. I encourage all potential buyers to take a look at recent home sales such as this, so that you enter your search with a good idea of what is moving on the market and for what price. For additional details on recently sold homes 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.

On the Chicago Real Estate Market: Dynamite Condo with Views in Boutique Old Town Buiding

Chicago condo for sale at 1212 N Wells

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Perched on the 15th floor, this just-listed Chicago condo is located in a high-demand boutique building and packed with must-have features and amenities. Not to mention its coveted location in one of the city’s downtown-adjacent neighborhoods.

Address: 1212 N. Wells, #1504
Size: 2 bedroom, 2 bath
Neighborhood: Old Town
Price: $415,000

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Here’s what you’ll find in unit 1504:>/strong>

  • Entertaining-friendly kitchen with island and 42-inch cherry cabinets
  • Brand-new dishwasher, oven and microwave
  • Generous natural light from east and south exposures
  • Separate dining area, fireplace and private balcony
  • In-unit washer/dryer

A sought-after boutique building, The Neapolitan has plenty of perks as well, including:

  • Assigned/deeded parking
  • A 24-hour doorperson
  • Ample storage space
  • Fitness center
  • Tennis and basketball courts
  • Clubhouse party room
  • Rooftop sun deck (just in time to welcome a warm Chicago summer!)

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Chicago’s Old Town: One of the City’s Favorite Neighborhoods
The building at 1212 N Wells earns itself a walkscore of 95, a good indicator that its in the heart of plenty to do and see. One of the city’s more historic neighborhoods, Old Town offers everything from art to eats among its old brick alleys and charming Victorian-era building.

At the heart of Old Town’s entertainment is the comedy scene. The Second City and Zanies Comedy Club are two top choices for catching laughs in Chicago. A handful of top-notch local theaters call Old Town home as well.

Shopping options range from foodie boutiques to children’s shops to luxe pet stores. And dining runs the gamut from sushi to pasta to barbecue, most from family-owned restaurants unique to this neighborhood.

Old Town’s location between Lincoln Park and downtown Chicago means easy access to what the city has to offer. The purple and brown “El” trains and a number of CTA bus lines can zip you to other parts of the city for work or play.If you’re in the market for a Chicago condo, I encourage you to check out Old Town to see what it has to offer. This is a fantastic neighborhood for families, professionals, and anyone who wants a time-tested location for enjoying Chicago to its fullest. To learn more about this Old Town condo for sale or to take a tour of the neighborhood, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

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Big Change for Chicago Luxury Condo Sales in February

After several months of strong sales in the luxury condo market, February’s numbers signaled a slowdown among luxury condo sales. As 2014 ended and we moved into the winter months, luxury real estate wasn’t showing many signs of hibernating, with high-end sales continuing all the way up into the $5 million range.

But last month, Chicago luxury condos—those sold for $1 million or more—totaled just $35.8 million. That number was not only a drop from January, but also indicated a shift in what types of properties were selling. There were considerably less ultra-luxury properties sold (those over $2 million) than we’ve seen in recent months. 

Of course, none of this is terribly surprising since Chicago is no stranger to a winter slowdown in real estate. The cold weather isn’t always so inviting for house hunting. But with spring right around the corner, I would guess that this market change will be fairly short-lived.

If you’re considering purchasing a home in the near future, it’s important to have some knowledge about what is currently selling on the market. Each month I like to wrap up the most noteworthy luxury deals—typically the most expensive—to illustrate what types of properties are going for what price. That way, you can get a sense of what features, amenities, space, etc. you might expect for your own budget.

Here’s a detailed look at the top 5 most expensive Chicago condo sales in February:

340 on the Park

340 E Randolph St., Unit 5403
Original list price: $2.8 million
Sold price: $2.58 million
Located in Chicago’s Lakeshore East neighborhood, this 2,750-square foot, 3-bedroom unit features one of the neighborhood’s trademarks—exquisite views of the lake, city, and parks below. Its location also offers easy access right into downtown, and is within walking distance to several parks, Michigan Avenue, the loop and the beach. Inside, you’ll a lovely kitchen with upgraded Snaidero cabinets, a custom Ann Sachs backsplash, Hyland Design custom shelving and much more (including bamboo floors!). The building itself offers residents a fitness center, indoor lap pool, steam/sauna room,H 24-hour door staff and a winter garden. It’s also important to note that the buyer for this sale paid cash.

Search Chicago condos for sale at 340 E Randolph

ritz118 E Erie St., Unit 29G
Original list price: $1,997,430
Sold price: $1,997,430
The Ritz-Carlton Residences is an exceptional, 89-unit building with 40 stories, a private city club and an unbeatable location just off of the Magnificent Mile. And of course, it’s all backed by the legendary service of The Ritz-Carlton, with a five-star staffed that has been trained by the renowned hotel group. The building’s Landmark Club includes a grand salon, private staff, a wine room, a billiards room, a screening room, plus athletic and spa facilities. This 2-bedroom unit stretches across 2,874 square feet high on the 29th floor.

View 118 E Erie condos for sale

415ENorthWater415 E North Water St., Unit 3106
Original list price: $1.999 million
Sold price: $1.95 million
A beautiful penthouse-level condo on the edge of Lake Michigan, this 3-bedroom unit has a gracious floorplan that features walk-in closets, and enormous living room, 2 spacious balconies and a custom kitchen. It’s 3.498 square feet also make it ideal for entertaining. The building itself also offers residents a full amenity package, putting everything you need just a few steps from the front door.

Search Chicago condos for sale at 415 E North Water

416 w deming416 W Deming Pl., Unit 3
Original list price: $1.849 million
Sold price: $1.78 million
This 3400+ square foot new construction condo in East Lincoln Park is the first resale in a boutique building developed by Larry Booth and Ogden Park. The 13-unit elevator building is just steps from North Pond Café and Lincoln Park. Taking up the entire 3rd floor, the condo features 9 ½-foot ceilings, fantastic views through floor-to-ceiling windows, a fireplace, high-end finishes, top-of-the-line appliances and a spectacular balcony that can be accessed through all bedrooms.

Chicago real estate at 840 N Lake Shore Dr840 N Lake Shore Dr., Unit 402
Original list price: $1.749 million
Sold price: $1.683 million
This stretch of Lake Shore Drive is one of the most sought-after addresses in the city, and this building one of the more coveted ones for luxury buyers. This 2-bedroom Chicago condo features 2,100 square feet, making it feel more like a spacious home in the ‘burbs than an urban condominium. The Parisian-style building was designed by Lucien Lagrange, and features amenities like a 24-hour door staff, valet parking, storage lockers, individual climate-controlled wine cellars and exercise facilities. This was also a cash sale.

Search Chicago condo listings at 840 N Lake Shore Drive

There are some buildings, such as those along Lake Shore Drive or the Ritz-Carlton Residences, that are often found among the top sales from month to month. But others—such as the new construction development in Lincoln Park—are appearing for the first time. Last month’s sales especially illustrate the range of what you might find among high-end Chicago condos at a variety of price points.

For further details on last month’s home sales, or to discuss what you might be looking for in your own home search, contact me for updated listings of what’s available: Call me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Chicago Condo for Sale: Unbeatable Views, Spectacular Updates in Lake Point Tower

Chicago has a number of truly show-stopping buildings—the one that stand out in the skyline and can be often be identified even if you’ve never been to the city.

Lake Point Tower is one such building, and what you see on the outside may only be topped by everything it has to offer on the inside. On the market now is a stunning two-bedroom unit with a long list of sought-after features:

Address: 505 N Lake Shore Drive, Unit 2910
Size: 2 bedroom/2 bath
Price: $695,000 (priced to sell!)

One of the most covetable offerings of this Chicago condo is the view. Uninterrupted southeast and southwest views make for breathtaking panoramas in the main living space and bedroom.

You’ll also find loads of upgrades: marble floors, top-of-the-line appliances, custom cabinetry and built-ins, brand-new carpet and fabulous finishes throughout. The kitchen and baths are both elegantly designed down to every detail.

Plus, a space for 2-car garage parking is also available for $115,000.

And that’s just the unit itself. Lake Point Tower is a favorite among luxury condo buildings in Chicago. Its unique architectural design, list of amenities and supreme location are just a few highlights. Some of the features you’ll find in Lake Point Tower include:

Skyline Park: This 2.5-acre wooded park sits three floors above the street. It includes a playground, duck pond, and an outdoor garden designed by renowned Chicago landscape architect Alfred Caldwell.

A motor court: One of few Chicago buildings with this luxury feature, Lake Point Tower’s motor court is one of distinction. It’s the largest pull-in, circular driveway in the city and sits under a two-story rotunda with an open skylight that illuminates the garden at the building’s entrance.

Privacy: The building literally stands alone on this part of Lake Shore Drive, surrounded by Lake Michigan on three sides. Not only does that create an urban home that feels “away from it all,” it also provides stunning unobstructed views of the lake and city skyline.

Amenities: Indoor and outdoor pools, an outdoor BBQ area with tables for enjoying the upcoming warm weather, and an on-property dry cleaner, dentist, spa, grocery store and restaurants.

Location: Within just a few blocks of Lake Point Tower is a few famed Chicago destinations: Navy Pier, shopping along the Magnificent Mile, Ohio Street Beach, the Art Institute, Symphony Hall, Millennium Park and the theater district are all a walk away.

If you’re in the market for a Chicago condo with an unbeatable location and killer views to boot, come see Lake Point Tower for yourself. You’ll be stunned at everything the neighborhood, building, and condo have to offer for this price. Contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Sheldon Salnick, Chicago Luxury Real Estate Specialist, Joins Dreamtown Realty

I’m excited to announce that I’ve recently made the move to a new Chicago real estate firm, Dream Town.

Dream Town is focused on not just successfully navigating how the market works today, but how it will work tomorrow. From rethinking the role of the real estate agent, to evaluating and implementing better ways to communicate with buyers and sellers, Dream Town takes a fresh approach to the real estate market that is both invigorating and necessary.

Here are a few ways Dream Town is making this industry better for each and every one of its clients:

An online focus: Dream Town employs internet-wide marketing strategies and cutting-edge tools including a front-page presence on Chicago’s most powerful search engines and strategic partnerships with other top websites. After all, this is where today’s buyers are, and it’s a key place to be able to communicate with buyers and sellers alike. Dream Town was the first real estate firm in Chicago to realize the importance of the web, and their diligence toward making this the best experience for clients has given them a very competitive edge.

Going social: Dream Town’s social media presence isn’t one to ignore. The company has earned itself more than 50,000 followers on Facebook, making it the most popular brokerage page in Chicago and among the top across the nation. You’ll even find a first-of-its-kind MLS app that allows visitors to search for Chicago homes for sale directly from Facebook.

Database marketing: The exhaustive database employed by Dream Town quickly and accurately matches buyers to the homes that fit in with even the narrowest criteria. The firm has more than 500,000 registered users on its website and the most powerful real estate search engine in Chicago real estate.

This comprehensive strategy has yielded great results for Dream Town clients. Buyers can find a finely tuned selection of prospective homes to find what you’re looking for. For sellers, it earns thousands of qualified buyers will see your home daily across the web. And nothing makes me more excited to be a part of this team than to read the many, many testimonials from happy clients—you can find over 1,000 of them at dreamtown.com/testimonials.

And because Dream Town is independently run, agents like myself are able to engage in closely monitored planning to sell your property or work diligently to find the perfect match if you’re looking to buy a home. My past real estate sales include:

Single-family home at 1845 Orchard: $5 million
Single-family home at 1755 N Mohawk: $3 million
4 bedroom/3 bath condo at 2550 Lakeview: $2.75 million
Condo at Trump Tower: $2.7 million
Condo at 65 E Monroe: $1.125 million

…and many others.

I am really looking forward to this new partnership and seeing the results for my clients, new and current. If you’re looking for a Chicago real estate broker, contact me to discuss the difference that comes with working with Dream Town. Give me a call at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

New Construction in NYC Takes Cue from Chicago Architecture

This time of year, there’s a little thing that could easily put a, damper on the luxury experience that comes with upscale living: curbside slush deeper than your ankles.

But there’s one architectural feature among condo buildings that makes this seasonal struggle much more tolerable: the motor court.

A recent article in the Wall St. Journal highlighted the old-world motor court as making a “comeback” among new construction buildings in New York City. But this architectural perk can be found in several Chicago condo buildings, which makes me wonder if Chicago has provided a bit of inspiration for the big apple’s new construction properties.

Dating back to the early 1900s, the motor court is a driveway that leads to an open area near the entrance of a building, allowing for passenger unloading and pick up. The extra space means residences can unload things like groceries, luggage, etc. away from the street.

New York Luxury Right Here in Chicago

Maybe it’s our especially fierce winters, but Chicago has been onto this for awhile, and I’m wondering if a few well-recognized buildings here perhaps influenced the upcoming trend in Manhattan.

Here are a few luxury condo buildings in Chicago that feature a motor court:

Lake Point Tower: This lakeside beauty was built in 1969 with this exact feature that is popping up in New York. The motor court at Lake Point Tower is one of distinction; it’s the largest pull-in, circular driveway in the city and sits under a two-story rotunda with an open skylight that illuminates the garden at the building’s entrance. Another highlight is Skyline Park, a 2.5-acre outdoor garden designed by renowned Chicago landscape architect Alfred Caldwell that sits three floors above the street.

Waldorf Astoria (formerly known as The Elysian): Famed Chicago architect Lucien Lagrange drew inspiration from French style to design this richly detailed motor court. The result is a European elegance that offers both visual interest and convenience for residents here.

1000 S. Clark: While still in development, the motor court planned for the new luxury building at 1000 S. Clark has been described as “dominating” the entrance. This one is a more modern rendition, large and cleanly landscaped in line with the building’s sleek design.

One of the most distinctive features of luxury real estate in Chicago is the architectural significance of many of the buildings here, from well-designed motor courts and beyond. Perhaps the big apple is catching on, but the beauty of Chicago is that real estate here is a fraction of the price you would find in NYC.

NYC Features for a Chicago Price

The best comparison to real estate in New York and in Chicago is the price point. Luxury real estate that easily compares to some of the finest buildings in Manhattan cost a fraction of the price. Chicago brings all of the benefits of living in a major urban area (major businesses, architectural significance and plenty to see and do) without sacrificing space, budget or quality of life.

Smaller Down Payments Makes Purchasing Chicago Real Estate Easier

Purchasing real estate in Chicago may be getting easier for some buyers, as many mortgage lenders are lowering the amount required upfront for a down payment.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reported that banks are lowering requirements to as low as 3 percent of the purchase price (and, in some cases, even less) for a down payment, compared to a more typical 20 percent. That combined with other more flexible options could take certain pressures off of homebuyers, making it easier to buy a home.

This is good news for luxury real estate in Chicago, where a standard down payment could mean tens of thousands of dollars. Jumbo loans—mortgages for more than $417,000 in Chicago—are also having the down payment bar lowered, so qualified buyers may be able to part with less cash up front if they’re obtaining a mortgage.

Lending Flexibility for Chicago Homebuyers

Lowered down payments aren’t the only enticing offer coming from lenders. Some are waiving mortgage-related fees, and others are allowing down payments to come from third parties, like family members. But while these exceptions seem to be becoming more available, they may not be advertised—so it’s worth simply asking your lender what might be considered.

Of course, the core lending requirements haven’t changed. Buyers will still need a healthy credit score, steady income and a low debt-to-income ratio. And in some low-down-payment cases, borrowers may need to show a cash reserve that would cover 12 months of mortgage payments after the home purchase.

While these new offerings may make things easier, there are still a number of things to consider if you’re looking to lower your down payment on a Chicago real estate purchase:

1. Property value. A small down payment may mean there could be a greater discrepancy between the amount owed on a mortgage and the value of a property, if home values were to decline.

2. Other costs and fees. Borrowers should do their due diligence to compare the costs of a loan, from interest rates to upfront fees and other costs. A low interest rate might be enticing up front, but if it’s coupled with higher fees, the savings may not be worth it in the end.

3. Shop around: Some lenders may make private mortgage insurance a requirement if you’re borrowing with a low down payment. But many do not. And costs can vary by lender depending on if it plans to sell or hold your loan after its funded. Shopping around will give you a good idea of all of the offers out there and help you find the right loan for your situation.

Lending Changes a Win for Luxury Buyers

The easing up on lending is due to a few things. One, mortgage originations were down significantly in 2014. The dollars funded were down a whopping 39 percent, the lowest since 1997.

There have also been efforts by the Obama administration to make home ownership more obtainable to more buyers. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently amended their minimum down payment from 5 percent to 3 percent, and the Federal Housing Administration (who has offered a low-down-payment option for some time) lowered the annual mortgage insurance premium.

All in all, this is certainly good news for anyone considering a home purchase, and it makes now a great time to take action. Even luxury homebuyers with cash on hand to make a home purchase may look to a mortgage loan to take advantage of these offers and avoid spending the bulk of their savings.

If you’re considering purchasing a home in Chicago, contact me to discuss your financing options and see what might be a good first step for your home buying purchase. Contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Confirming Square Footage is Critical When Purchasing Chicago Real Estate

The majority of my clients have one thing in particular at the top of their real estate wish list: square footage. Generally, the more the better. And while a listing sheet should accurately list the square footage of a home for sale, it’s still important for a buyer to do his or her due diligence to confirm that number.

Square Footage Should be Confirmed in Chicago Real Estate
Unfortunately, it’s not terribly uncommon for a real estate listing to claim a square footage that differs from official records of a property. There’s even a case on the west coast in which the buyer expected a home to have a whopping 5,000 more square feet than it did in reality.

For Chicago real estate buyers, it’s important that you have an independent assessment to determine the square footage of a home you want to buy. There are plenty of realtors who don’t list the square footage at all, or they may pick up the number from a previous sale without actually verifying it’s validity.

All-cash deals don’t require an appraisal or any sort of evaluation to confirm the number, so discrepancies are not unheard of. Be aware that many realtors—especially inexperienced ones—may forget to put in a contract that a cash sale is contingent on an appraisal, thus taking away any “out” you have if the number isn’t what the seller or selling agent claims it to be.

But what happens if you’re in a multiple-offer situation and the time for an appraisal weakens your offer? There are ways around this issue, even if you’re purchasing with cash. I would be happy to discuss the ways you can protect yourself if you’re competing for a “hot” luxury Chicago home.

What’s Included in Real Estate Square Footage
It’s not necessarily the seller or selling agent is trying to deceive potential buyers (though that isn’t unheard of, either). More commonly, there is a discrepancy between what is calculated into a square footage number. Some of the areas that might be included in an inflated number are:

Patios: Outdoor space should NOT be included when considering how large the home or condo is, period.

Garage: For a Chicago townhome, the square footage of the garage IS included, since it is contained in the home. However, a one- or two-garage still isn’t living space, so I immediately let my clients know that a property with garage space should be reduced by 200-400 square feet. This becomes trickier when you’re purchasing a very large property, and you may be inclined to confirm the size of the garage and whether that measurement is included in the reported square footage.

Balconies: The space afforded by a balcony should NOT be included in the square footage of a property.

Below-grade living space: This is another tricky one. Nearly all realtors include the below-grade space in square footage, but I still think it’s important for buyers to know how much of that is accounted for in this space. Typically, when pricing a home, below-grade level living space is priced lower per square foot than the main house. So that could make a big difference if you’re looking at a very large space.

I have worked with many developers and on a number of construction projects, and would be happy to discuss in more detail how that number is determined.

If you’re unsure of how to confirm the square footage of a Chicago home for sale, contact me and I would be happy to walk you through the process. Contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Myths of Obtaining a Jumbo Loan for a Chicago Luxury Real Estate Purchase

If you’re a luxury buyer looking to purchase a Chicago home, your strategy for doing so might be obvious—pay cash outright and avoid the “hassle” of a loan.

Buyers who can afford to purchase a home in cash are often turned off by the idea of a mortgage—the burden of an interest rate, paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI) and spending much of your cash on a down payment that you might as well pay cash for the whole thing.

But the answer to many of these objections might lie in a jumbo loan. A jumbo loan (for amounts over $417,000 in Chicago) is more enticing than ever to the wealthy buyer, with lower rates and favorable terms that don’t mean spending your savings in one fell swoop.

I’d like to dispel 3 important myths that Chicago luxury real estate buyers might have heard about obtaining a jumbo loan for their home purchase:

You’ll need a large down payment. Traditionally, banks want at least 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. But luxury buyers who are borrowing a jumbo loan could have a bit of leeway here. For one, a down payment on a jumbo loan is still a good chunk of money. For a $1.5 million home, a 15% down payment is still a significant amount of cash that “invests” the buyer into the purchase and makes them unlikely to walk away.

And while some might see a low down payment resulting in a higher loan-to-value ratio, many buyers see this as a money management strategy that affords them extra liquidity in their funds to keep in the stock market or other investments.

Strict mortgage lending standards also keep high loan-to-value loans from reaching the point of risk that they did several years ago. Borrowers still must have a strong credit score, reserve funds and a debt-to-income ratio under 35% to qualify.

You’ll pay a higher interest rate. Right now, rates are historically low to begin with. And many lenders are offering their jumbo loans with a lower rate to entice borrowing instead of paying for cash. So even if you put down less than 20% of the purchase price, you’ll still be well-positioned for a low interest rate.

You’ll need private mortgage insurance. A jumbo loan is not a conventional loan, which means it’s not a government-backed loan like many mortgages. That makes them privately held, so banks/lenders can decide individually if they want to charge borrowers private mortgage insurance—and most of them do not.

I would be happy to put you in contact with a lending expert who can give you more information on purchasing a Chicago home with a mortgage versus paying cash. With today’s loan market, it might be worth considering for a luxury real estate purchase especially. To learn more about jumbo loans or to see what’s on the Chicago real estate market, 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.