OK, so I’ve got opinions

Written by Angus on November 15th, 2014

If you’ve ever looked at houses with me, you’ll know what I think. I don’t hold back. It’s my job to make sure that you have all of the relevant information to make an informeSo, yes.. I'm the guy taking pictures of his foodd purchase. I had opinions 25 years ago when I started in this business and I’ve got them now. This is generally a really good thing for my clients, because a lot of knowledge comes with those opinions.

Not so with Yelp. Yes, I am a happy Yelper. I try not to be too mean and generally give places more than one chance if things weren’t good. Also, because I read reviews prior to going to places, I tend to be a more happy camper, than not.

So, if you wonder what/were I like for Breakfast, lunch,  tacos or where I like to shop... look no further.

 

Crime Free Prevention Programs… Good, bad, unfair?

Written by Angus on November 15th, 2014

Several towns in Chicago’s western suburbs have adopted a “Crime Free” program (Aurora and Naperville are two) and others have similar programs under different names.

Sketchy neighbors - Crime Free - Selectively?

“Crime Free” applies only to renters.. scoundrels can buy wherever they want. (isn’t “scoundrel” a great word?)

I’m an investor, if you are an investor you might want to talk to me before plunking down your hard earned dollars.

Aurora requires that all rental properties be licensed as well as the landlord/owner or property manager. There are yearly fees to be paid and fines doled out. At least it’s a consistent citywide program and the rules remain steady. The landlord only has to show the city that they  did the background work. This is now a MAJOR city department.

Naperville’s program is neighborhood specific, meaning that homeowners associations can sign onto the program.  Sounds great! Why not opt into a “Crime Free” program? The problem in Naperville is that those same associations wield their own rules and bend the city program to fit their own ends. It’s not consistent at all. In some cases it’s downright mean spirited.

But are any of these programs really fair? Background checks on tenants are very common and to have them mandated seems a bit innocuous, I’ve been doing them on all properties for years. Landlords have a right to know who they are renting to.. but do the neighbors? Bad associations are like bad government. And there are plenty of bad associations.

As a homeowner, you probably have little regard for this inequity.. understandably so. Until it affects you. If you need to move, but can’t or don’t want to sell… you get to deal with this too.

What about the renters? Why don’t they get the same information as their neighbors? How do renter’s know what kind of neighbors they have? And are the tenants aware that in those specific neighborhoods, some of their neighbors have more personal information than maybe they should?

Is your Naperville neighborhood safer? Are your taxes going down because of the city’s extra revenue stream?

What constitutes a crime worthy of eviction?… a domestic disturbance, loitering, being busted for smoking marijuana (anywhere), DUI…

Feel free to voice your opinion. What are your thoughts about the selective “Crime Free’ movement?

 

 

Real Estate Buyer’s Market – Seller’s Market – What is it and how are things looking.

Written by Angus on September 30th, 2014

What does it mean when we say a “it’s a Seller’s/Buyer’s market?”

How to determine whether we are in a seller's market or Buyer's Market

How to determine whether we are in a seller’s market or Buyer’s Market

Data gathered from the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors: 

Through August of 2014 the Chicago area has a 5.2 month supply of housing available, according to the National Association of Realtors that indicates a “Seller’s Market” , other indicators of this hold true as well:

The average sale price for the Chicago area was $227,320 which was an increase of 7% over the previous year. Total inventory for the area is down 2.2% from August of 2013 or 14.7% if calculated on a 12 month average.

In 2013 the average market time for a property in the Chicago area was 129 days, through August of 2014 the market time is at 99 days.

Nationally, as shown in the graph below we’ve been in a seller’s market. Prices are rising on average across the country.

National statistics for homes for sale - number of months indicating a Seller's Market

National statistics for homes for sale – number of months indicating a Seller’s Market

 

Want to know the market conditions for a specific area in Chicago’s western suburbs? Let me know in the comments, or contact me privately

 

Standard Market Opens May 20th in Naperville

Written by Angus on May 17th, 2013

Standard Market Naperville

Standard Market is coming to Naperville! The upscale market was approved by the Naperville City Council to locate at the old Frank’s Nursery and Crafts site, just east of Ogden on Aurora Avenue

This store should fit in nicely with Naperville’s other Grocers. Standard Market is known for their prepared foods, upscale decor , broad wine and cheese selections and The Standard Market Grill.

 

 

 

 

I’ve got books about Naperville

Written by Angus on March 27th, 2013

I have several copies of the book “A View of Historic Naperville from the Sky-Lines” By Genevieve Towsley. I purchased them with good intentions of giving them out, but I haven’t.

These are nice hardcover books that are “A collection of articles of historic significance” the collection is from the old Naperville Sun (before it was ruined). They make a nice coffee table book and I would be happy to pass off my extra copies (free!) to any locals that might be interested. Call, e-mail me or use a contact form and I’ll drop one off. Comments are welcome, but you may want to keep your personal information… personal.

I will comment below if I run out

 

More than you probably want to know about me… in my Meme

Written by Angus on March 27th, 2013

Angus in a kilt - 5 years old acting like Bobert BurnsI was originally memed by my friend Linda Davis… so I responded with my meme inserted in the comments of Jays enormously popular post .

My friend Teri Isner then was nice enough to meme me… and then Bonnie Erickson & Kay Van Kampen!

So I’m having a chat with my bud (the most awesome loan guy) Jeff Belonger (the g is pronounced like the first g in George) and he wants to know why I didn’t post my meme where people could comment on it. So I did, but I inadvertantly made it a members only post on Active Rain.. I am reposting it here for any that might be interested.

I’m going to include my original meme and add to it for Teri, Bonnie and Kay… since I didn’t do it the right way the first time.

The Original Post:

I named, and they complied:

Kristal Kraft, Ann Cummings & Elaine Reese – Thanks!

1. I got my first real job at the age of 11 delivering Chinese food for a Rush street restaurant called The Cantonese by bicycle (including in the snow) I always had a job after that.

2. I was an only child for most of my life, raised by my mom because my father passed away when I was a baby. I’ve always been one to keep busy. Somehow I inherited the job of getting the groceries early in life and to this day I still love to do the grocery shopping…. all of it. So, yes that’s me at the store and if it’s after midnight it means that I am so busy with Real Estate that it’s the only time I can get it done. In my teens my Mom married my best friends Dad, while they were only married for a few years Tom and I still consider each other brothers.

3. I have a fear of speaking in groups and frequently can get tongue tied… this would not normally be too bad but I will occasionally sit on panels or make presentations to large groups… it’s gone from a major near-heart attack kind of overwhelming fear to a simple heart racing dumbstruck kind of fear. Some of you have been able to witness this… usually I muddle through because it is a requirement to share in some of the groups that I have been fortunate enough to be invited to join.

4. I love to read. I’ll read the self help books and how to’s… but I really love to read novels… lot’s of them, 1-2 per week… usually intrigue, mystery, action, political/legal/financial thrillers… in my younger, less busy days… I would read a book every 1-2 days.

5. At the age of 9, Bobby Schuller broke off pieces of chalk in the locker doors (where you could put a lock, if we were allowed) in the Hall at my elementary school… then told my fourth grade teacher that I did it. I had just (finally) earned the right to be a “door guard” and she took it away from me. I haven’t trusted authority since. (not that I hold a grudge or anything)

The new stuff:

6. I thought I was Scottish… My name is Angus, I could quote Robert Burns (A fig for those by laws protected…) at 5 and they made me wear a kilt and for goodness sakes… I ate Haggis … isn’t that a lot of suffering for someone that just has a Scottish name? My Grandfather (Angus) was named after his Doctor (Angus Beaton)… which I discovered upon his death when I flew to Connecticut to pick up his ashes and drive them to Concord, New Hampshire…. where I met a lot of family that I didn’t know. The Woodbury’s have been here since the 1600’s and we are all related through the 2 brothers that got off the boat (from England)

7. In the mid 90’s when I built my first site and submitted it to Yahoo, they told me it might be days or weeks before it would show… but I had impulse control problems and checked frequently… finally the new listing for Angus Woodbury showed up, I clicked the link and it took me to another new site by another Angus Woodbury III.. go figure. His branch of the family came from the “other” brother. We exchanged e-mails for a while.. my oldest Angus the 4th was enthralled… so we asked him if the kids had come up with some of the same nicknames. His list was very much the same as ours.

8. I run 4 miles three days a week and lift weights on alternating days… my body fat hovers at around 10%… as an ex-smoker I am in better shape today than at any other time of my life. But I still like greasy fried foods. edit: (Quick update… my knees don’t like me running anymore, so I compensate) 

9. I love Thai food! (see my new review of Montri Thai on Yelp!)

10. I was born in Seattle, moved to New York (Manhattan and Rye) and Connecticut (Byram) before settling in Chicago at the ripe age of 6. I was mugged by a couple of other 7-8 year old boys within 2 months of moving to the city. 

Bonus #11 I love being in the real estate business. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude that I found something to do that I enjoy so much.

Angus

 

 

 

 

Just got my Not good for Real Estate Nikon Camera Back today

Written by Angus on March 19th, 2013

Nikon sent my brand new broken camera back to me…

 

 

So what now? Paperweight? Doorstop…anchor?

 

Turn the camera off, remove the lens cap, and turn the camera on. Nikon Coolpix Camera L810

 

The Naper Settlement – History in the heart of Naperville

Written by Angus on March 17th, 2013

 

The Naper Settlement - Naperville IL

Central Naperville offers a little of the unexpected… history in the form of a piece of land preserved as it might have been in the 1800’s. A cultural museum called the Naper Settlement

Located on Aurora Avenue, just steps from Naperville’s thriving downtown and renowned riverwalk… the Naper Settlement preserves a long and rich history to the benefit of the community. A 13 acre 19th century village complete with costumed villagers.

Enter the Settlement at the Pre-Emption house, a hotel and tavern where Grover Cleveland and Abraham Lincoln would stop for a pint or two. Abraham Lincoln once gave a speech from the Pre-emption house roof. This building is a recreation of the original which was located just a couple of blocks away.

The Pre-Emption House - The Naper Settlement - Naperville IL

 

The expansive grounds are home to many historical buildings… one of the most notable being the Martin Mitchell Mansion a beautifully restored mansion and carriage home from 1883. A three year renovation at a cost of 2.8 million dollars has returned this magnificient building to it’s former grandeur. The Martin Mitchell Mansion is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

 Martin Mitchell Mansion - The Naper Settlement - Naperville IL

In addition to it’s many magnificient structures, the settlement is home to many of the more modest dwellings of Naperville’s early settlers, including a log house, blacksmith shop, chapel (available for weddings) and firehouse.

Not only does the Naper Settlement offer a delightful return to yesteryear but it reaches out as a vital member of the community, hosting numerous events for the town (Civil War Days, Classic Cars and Art shows etc…) and hosting many outings for the local schools. Truly one of Naperville’s hidden gems and a beacon of community spirit!

Visit my site for more information about Naperville or Naperville Real Estate call Angus at 630-717-7386

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Bad Nikon experience – Nikon L810 Coolpix camera doesn’t work and they won’t fix it.

Written by Angus on February 19th, 2013

I was looking for a new ultra-wide angle lens camera for my real estate business. The Ultra Wide Angle is important because they capture so much more of the room. Have you ever looked at real estate pictures of bedrooms and all you can see is the bed? A good wide angle lens will capture the room the way your eyes do.

I’ve been using the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX-37 which is a great camera and has a wide angle lens of  25mm. I like the camera but wanted one that gets wider without distortion (curved walls etc…) I used to have a great Kodak v570 that was a 22mm ultra wide angled lens camera, but sometimes you had to correct the distortion and ended up losing some of the benefits.

Nikon  L820  I got a lemon and a bad warranty from Nikon USA - Buyer Beware

I started shopping around and was looking at another Panasonic, a Pentax (great reviews) a Fuji (known for good low light pictures) and the Nikon L810. I settled on the Nikon because it was a good bang for the buck camera and offers a 22.5mm lens, the Nikon is not known for great low light pictures but I thought the trade offs would be worth it. I shopped around and ending up buying a new one on Ebay. The camera showed up, sealed in the original packaging, Sams Club sticker on the back and looking great! I’ve had a lot of luck buying things on Ebay, including expensive electronics.

Nikon COOLPIX L810 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 26x Zoom NIKKOR ED Glass Lens and 3-inch LCD (Black)

Took the lens cap off, turned it on and got this error message

“Turn camera off remove the lens cap and turn camera on”

when I turned it on… tried several times and was able to get a few pictures taken… then, nothing. Unable to get the camera to work at all.

Called Nikon USA and they had me send the camera in. So, I did. I just received notice from them that it will cost me $109.50 to get it fixed (paid 175.00 for it a few days before).

Nikon acknowledges that there is nothing that can be done when this happens, the camera is dead.

I called them and they said that there is no warranty because I bought this from a third party. I explained that the camera is brand new, the warranty was only registered to me, and besides.. this is a known and acknowledged problem by Nikon. The camera is a brick when this happens, completely useless. How is this different than if I had received it as a gift?

I am not going to invest more money in this camera, particularly without any backing from the factory. I’ve read accounts of this happening on the replacement cameras too. Mea Culpa … I’m out the initial $175.00 and I learned that Nikon is not a company that I want to do business with.  This is my second and last Nikon Camera.

I’m still in the market for a good camera, I think it’s going to be the Panasonic Lumix LX5, or the Pentax  X-5… Much as I love my Panasonic.. I’m leaning towards the Pentax. They both get good reviews.

 

 

A handy product for homeowners #1- Wood Scratches

Written by Angus on February 8th, 2013

Old English Wood Scratch CoverIf you have natural /stained woodwork, cabinets or furniture you’ve probably been subject to some of the same things that we have… scratches and other blemishes. We could blame it on the kids, the dog, the carpet installers.. but, wherever the fault lay… sometimes the finish just gets scratched.

For heavy duty blemishes, you may have to resort to using a stain. We’ve done this and also used stain to make small scratches disappear. This takes a bit of commitment and some preparation.

A couple of years ago our flooring guy (Rob at Exploring Flooring (630) 393-2020) told us about Old English Scratch Cover and it was a game changer. Light and medium scratches just disappear with a rag and a swipe.

We also use Old English to wipe down and refresh our oak cabinets… the product comes in two different shades (test on a small area first) but we’ve found that we usually use the darker one, even on our medium toned cabinets. We gave all of our cabinets a good going over as we were replacing the hardware (think of those handles as “jewelry”) and then everything was just so fresh.

When we put our last home on the market we used Krud Kutter To get rid of finger/handprints on the doors and stairway railings and then wiped everything down with Old English, it made us wish that we had done it sooner…  when we moved into the new place we did it all immediately.

While I am sure that there are other products out there that will do similar things, I’ve had great success with this little (less than $5.00) bottle of magic for homeowners.

I’ve found it available for sale at local grocery and hardware stores.