Chicago Relocation

The Future of Green

August 11, 2014

Blog Author Image
John D’Ambrogio

Some comments from Baird & Warner‘s Sean Hyland

The green initiative has become a major trend in America over the past several years.  Everyone wants to reduce their carbon footprint and live healthier and do things that involve the word “sustainable.”  As a major trend in the country, we have seen this initiative affect many different areas of life, including the real estate industry.

We have already experienced the infiltration of certain green products in our living spaces and how many eco-friendly homes have popped up in the market.  Green products and houses attempt to lessen the hazardous effects that humans may have on the environment and create a healthier lifestyle for all.  As people become more knowledgeable and careful with the environment, we will continue to see eco-friendly ideas as major trends of the future.

But what will those trends lead into?  Currently we are working toward a greener and more environmentally friendly lifestyle, but what is the ultimate goal of these practices?  Many would say we want to achieve true sustainability, where we live harmoniously with the environment and are able to benefit from nature without destroying it, allowing for future generations to do the same.  The green initiative helps us do just that.

In terms of real estate and the housing market, this means that we are trending towards greener living arrangements, AKA eco-cities.  An eco-city is an entire city that is designed to function smoothly for human life while, at the same time, producing no negative externalities for the environment.  There are already many eco-cities in existence (with Tianjin, China being the largest) and others in still in the planning stages.  Chicago is currently not considered an eco-city, but it has become considerably more eco-friendly.  However, as the green trends continue, we can expect more eco-cities to rise up.

The more popular these cities become, the higher the demand will be for people to build and purchase these homes.  As the market becomes more densely inhabited by green homes and eco-cities, it may be who of you to better understand the ins and outs of the green market.   And if you find yourself on the buying end of an eco-city property, don’t think that these homes are just for hippies trying to become one with nature.  These houses offer many benefits for humans too.


Smart Homes

June 2, 2014

Filed Under
Luxury Homes,Technology
Blog Author Image
John D’Ambrogio

Some comments from Baird & Warner’s Sean Hyland

Today marks the start of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where the innovative tech giant is expected to announce their entry into the smart home market.  That’s right, smart homes, not just smart phones.

A smart home  is a house where all electronic devices can be controlled via a remote system in a phone, tablet, computer, or the user’s voice.   This includes heating, lighting, security and other appliances.  No longer will you have to suffer through the agonizing uncertainty of whether you forgot to turn off the stove or lock the front door on your way out, the smart home system will put your mind at ease.  You can adjust these devices from anywhere with your remote control.  Certain smart home technology can even detect when you’ve left and will monitor your home to keep it at the settings you’ve typically preferred.  I know, pretty reminiscent of the Jetson’s house.

So now you’re wondering how this new technology will affect the real estate market.  Well, experts at the Eindhoven University of Technology have written an interesting paper on the subject, which you can read here (fair warning though, it’s a whopping 16 pages).  The introduction of smart homes could cause major changes for real estate in terms of insurance, leisure, home security, education, and data collection.

While this technology may seem very futuristic and improbable, it is actually a lot more imminent than we may believe.  There are already tons of home automation products  for sale and there are several smart homes currently on the market (I hear Bill Gates  has had some great smart home technology for years).  Experts in the field have marked smart homes and home automation systems as a major trend of 2014.  Sales of these products are expected to increase to $9.5 billion by 2015 and to $44 billion in 2017.

Get ready Chicago, it’s the future.





Chicago’s Taxman

April 3, 2013

Blog Author Image
John D’Ambrogio

As Beatle George Harrison sang on Revolver, there is no escaping the Taxman’s ever vigilant gaze.  Just ask Richard Parrillo whose 2012 property tax was the highest in all of Chicago’s nine counties.  At $246,780 his property taxes were higher than the median home sale price of July 2012.

Parilllo was not alone at the top.  Crain’s compiled Chicago’s top ten most expensive property taxes proving that a beautiful home with a beautiful view comes at a cost.

Most of the top properties reached their title thanks to construction or renovations.  Karen Citow, owner and founder of Reach Yoga, built a new 11,894-square-foot home in Glencoe causing her property taxes to triple between 2010 and 2011.  The new home placed her in with the other top ten.

While most people gawk at such prices the number probably didn’t come as a great surprise to the homeowners or at least should not have been out of the blue.  Baird & Warner’s Katherine Malkin told Crain’s, “None of them have made money because they’re ignorant to what costs are.”

Eight of the ten on the list appealed their taxes due to their astronomical prices.  Only two were successful in lowering the price – the rest were not so lucky.

Some comments from Baird & Warner‘s Elizabeth McGrath




Fun Fact:  John Lennon wanted to be suspended upside down from the ceiling while he was spun around a microphone to sing the track on Tomorrow Never Knows.  George Martin quickly showed him that the same effect could be created without the acrobatics.



The House That Jordan Built (Well, Is Selling)

January 23, 2013

Blog Author Image
John D’Ambrogio

Here are some comments from Baird & Warner’s own Tom Gill.

On February 29th 2012, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Michael Jordan listed his Highland Park home for sale through Baird & Warner realty. ABC news reports that this home can be yours. The heir to his home. For $29 million. Despite pleading to my parents, this home cannot be mine, and for whatever strange reason no bank is willing to give a 30 million dollar loan to a junior in college. This piece of Chicago can only be very few peoples actually. It would take a large celebrity to match a price like this or a random Michael Jordan fan, with extremely deep pockets.

Don’t be fooled. The home isn’t solely worth that much because it belonged to the King of Chicago sports or because maybe he scribbled a signature somewhere inside the house. It comes complete with an indoor basketball facility (obviously), 32,683 square feet, 3 garages capable of holding 15 total cars, combined with tennis courts, a pool, a pond and a putting green.

As much as I wish I could own this house, it’s only slightly out of my price range. But if you have the financial position to live in one of the most famous most luxurious houses in the Chicago land area, I highly suggest you do, and invite me over for a visit. Who knows, MJ might even throw in an autographed picture to go with it.



Six Figure Rentals

December 27, 2012

Blog Author Image
John D’Ambrogio

Below are some comments from Baird & Warner’s own Tom Gill.

USA Today wrote an interesting article on high priced rental homes. Below are some excerpts and comments.

Homes in popular cities like Miami, Los Angeles and New York are now being rented for six figures per month as what I’m going to dub, super rentals; Homes with monthly dues above $100,000 per month.

My first thought when reading the USA today article that referenced these homes was surprise. Who on earth would rent a home for that kind of money per month. Why wouldn’t you just buy your own house for that much? My second thought was realizing the type of consumers that these homes are geared towards.

In a hypothetical situation where I have millions and millions of dollars, it isn’t completely crazy to rent a house at that price. It’s a short term commitment that is private and similar to an accustomed way of living someone in that fiscal situation is most likely used to. The people who live in these houses are typically not planning on staying put there for an extended amount of time, but have the money to recreate a lifestyle they are inured to. It also provides space and security that you couldn’t find in a hotel. The article in addition points out that many of these people also have their own staff or crew that accompanies them, so a large house makes most sense to house them. While these super rentals have been around for some time, they are growing in popular areas like New York and Beverly Hills, and are common for actors or actresses that are shooting a film away from home.

As an average person, I still think it’s crazy to rent a house at that price. Although if I was in the market to rent a house like that, I might not think it was so crazy.


Michael Jordan’s Home Listed for $29MM

February 29, 2012

Blog Author Image
John D’Ambrogio

As reported in the Wall Street Journal this morning, “Michael Jordan has put his longtime home in Highland Park, Ill., on the market for $29 million, according to the company marketing the listing, Luxury Portfolio International.”

Check out the stats:

NINE  bedrooms

more than FIFTEEN  bathrooms and

FIVE fireplaces.

The famous MJ  led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championship titles, has “23″—his jersey number—engraved on the gates of the property.

Katherine Chez Malkin of Baird & Warner has the listing.  At $29MM, it is believed to be the most expensive property ever listed in the State of Illinois, or the midwest for that matter.




Stage it!

June 30, 2010

Blog Author Image

A recent article on had an amazing article on staging!  It brought up a number of points that you should consider when staging luxury real estate in Chicago.

For instance, it makes the comment “poor stagers believe life is unfair, while rich stagers feel life is what you make it.” It goes on to point out that the “poor” way to look at it holds a feeling of entitlement (I paid a million for this house and I NEED to get a million out of it), while the “rich” way is to look at the market TODAY, and use tools like staging to maximize your chances of getting the highest price in the shortest amount of time in TODAY’S market. By improving the appearance of their real estate they’re becoming “market makers;” by pushing the image of their home higher in the minds of potential buyers. 

The article goes on to propose that one’s unconscious beliefs about money and their ability to have it may be at the root of why some people fail and some thrive. Maybe a little deep for an article on staging. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting read, and a great article to review before staging your  Chicago Luxury real estate!



Million Dollar Foreclosures?!?

May 11, 2010

Blog Author Image

Foreclosed homes are old, un-kept, not-so-nice looking properties… Right?

Nope, no more! CNBC just published an article “High-End Homeowners Falling Into Foreclosure Trap” by Joseph Pisami discussing the newly found high-end in the foreclosure market.
Quoting few experts, including Baird & Warner’s Jim Kinney, VP of Luxury Home Sales, Pisami provided interesting data and some clever observations about increasing luxury foreclosures.

“We’ve seen an increase, in the million-plus range, of the number of foreclosures and short sales in the greater Chicago area.” sayed Kinney in the article.



Tribune’s Umberger on market conditions

May 5, 2010

Blog Author Image

The Chicago Tribune’s real estate writer Mary Umberger shared her thoughts about Chicago real estate and the current market conditions. Mrs. Unberger’s article “Market Turnaround or Numbers Game?” also featured Baird & Warner’s Jim Kinney, the Vice President of Luxury Home Sales. Read the whole article here.


What is luxury?

April 29, 2010

Blog Author Image


Forbes Life recently ran an editor’s note entitled “Credit Worthy” by Gary Walther. His points were intriguing – why, as the Dow takes a dive, does the interest in luxury lifestyle often rise? Yes the wealthy will always have money and now is an incredible buying opportunity, especially in Chicago Luxury Real Estate.  But the article had some interesting other points, particularly that price is not the essence of luxury, it’s a by-product.

So maybe it is more of the craftsmanship than an overinflated price that makes something “luxury.”

Don’t fixate on the incredible price tag that comes with some of Chicago’s luxury developments – if you’re in that price range look at the things like views, craftsmanship and upgrades. Spend the time to determine what luxury is – quality construction, careful attention to detail, etc.  

Luxury is not your possessions, it’s your lifestyle!