317 W. Webster, #2, Chicago

Exquisitely located in Lincoln Park on beautiful and private Webster Street, this 2 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom duplex up is walking distance to Lincoln Park Zoo, Oz Park and the Chicago Lakefront Trail. Interior features include 2 EcoSmart fireplaces, Carrera marble countertops, high end appliances including Wolf oven and range. Exterior features includes private balcony and common rear deck and courtyard as well as private ROOF RIGHTS for beautiful views of Chicago. Convenient to public transportation, only steps to the CTA Bus and Brown, Purple and Red lines. Garage parking included. $699,000. Email Grace@GoroBrennerGroup.com for showings.

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1951 N. Cleveland, #2N

Nestled on one of Lincoln Park’s most charming and historic streets, this 2 bed/2 bath condo is walking distance to award-winning restaurants, shopping and convenient transportation. The property features smart home technology including Lutron lighting systems, Schlage Smart Sense locks and Nest systems. Chef’s kitchen features 42-inch cabs, granite countertops, SS appliances and large center island. Living areas feature gas fireplace, 9 ft. ceilings, recessed lighting and gorgeous, oversized sliding front windows. Hardwood floors throughout. Private deck off the rear and common roof deck with spectacular city view. Exterior parking space included.

2 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | Rear Deck | Common Roof Deck | Parking Included



Contact Grace Goro for more information: grace@gorobrennergroup.com

First Time Homebuyer Checklist

Buying your first home is an exhilarating experience! It may mean you’re growing your family or you’ve finally gotten that promotion that will allow you to make a big investment. However, it can also be a very stressful time. Through the help of your realtor, lender and other great resources, you can be fully prepared for this exciting transition. The following steps map out the best way to prepare for your home purchase:

9 Months Out

  • Check your credit score. A Federal Trade Commission study found one in four Americans identified errors on their credit report, and 5% had errors that could lead to higher rates on loans. Knowing in advance will give you time to fix any errors or raise your credit score if necessary.
  • Talk to a mortgage broker to find out what you can afford. Lenders look for a total debt load of no more than 43% of your gross monthly income (called the debt-to-income ratio). This figure includes your future mortgage and any other debts, such as a car loan, student loan or revolving credit cards. Look for a mortgage broker who will shop for a competitive loan rate for you among multiple lenders.
  • Prioritize what you want in your home and neighborhood. Unless you’re buying new construction, no home will have everything you want. In order to focus your search and find your ideal home, it’s important to know what you can and can’t live without.

6 Months Out

  • Contact your realtor to map out your timeline and discuss your goals. An agent will work in your best interest to find you the right property, negotiate with the seller’s agent and shepherd you through the closing process.

3 Months Out

  • Focus your search and start actively looking at homes. At this point, hopefully you’ve scoped out neighborhoods that interest you and browsed through potential homes online. Now your realtor will schedule times for you to go out and view the homes.
  • Work with your lender to get approved for your loan. He or she will most likely require your W-2 forms, pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, credit card and loan statements, and more.

2 Months Out

  • Make an offer on a home. It usually takes at least four to six weeks to close on a home. If you have a firm move-out date, allow enough time to deal with any hiccups that can delay closing.
  • Get a home inspection. One of the first things you’ll do after an offer is accepted is have a home inspector look at the property. If the home inspector finds something that needs repair, that may cause you to restructure the deal and could delay closing.
  • Find a real estate lawyer. Your agent will most likely be able to recommend someone to you that he or she has worked with in the past.

1 Month Out

  • Stay in constant communication with your realtor, your lender and your lawyer. You’re in the home stretch and you want to ensure that everyone has their ducks in a row for closing.
  • Get insurance for your new home. Don’t forget to secure insurance before closing. You’ll need to provide proof of insurance on or before closing.
  • Do a final walk-through of your new home. This usually occurs the day of closing to make sure the home is in the shape you and the seller have agreed upon.
  • Get a cashier’s check or bank wire for closing. You’ll get the amount owed at closing a few days before closing so you can secure a cashier’s check or arrange to have the money wired. Regular checks aren’t accepted.

While this list might seem overwhelming, your real estate agent will be there every step of the way to walk you through it. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions at Julia@reprealestate.com.

Information taken from Houselogic.com. Photo taken from City of Chicago. 

Residential and Commercial Construction Underway in Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park’s newest infrastructure is impossible to miss! While traffic is a real bummer around the Clybourn Corridor (what else is new?), the latest development – dubbed New City – will bring a bevy of shopping, restaurant and entertainment options to residents. Mariano’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and King Bowl America are just a few of the new hot spots coming your way. According to Curbed, the 19 story residential tower is targeted to open on July 1, while the commercial sections will open throughout September and October.

Take a tour of this mega development.

Brown and Purple CTA Trains Disrupted after Lincoln Park Fire

A fire at the 1800 block of North Sheffield late last night is causing delays for commuters this morning.

Officials say Chicago firefighters were called to the former Mulligan Public School at roughly 1 a.m. on Tuesday to extinguish the flames. No one was injured in the 3-alarm blaze, though neighbors were evacuated from their homes as a precaution.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

For information regarding your CTA commute and updates on potential delays, visit their website here.

End of Summer Market Snapshot

Market Trends

  • In August 2014, 10,370 homes sold in Chicago. This marked a 13.3% decrease from August 2013 sales of 11,963 homes at a time when more homes were available for sale.
  • The median price in August 2014 was $215,000, up 9.1% from $197,000 in August 2013.
  • The time it took to sell a home dropped year-over-year in August with listings averaging 53 days until sale, a 10.2% decrease compared to 59 days in August 2013.
  • Chicago saw a 15.3% decrease in year-over-year home sales in August 2014 with 2,414 sales, down from 2,850 in August 2013 when more homes were on the market.
  • The sales forecast for September, October and November suggests a downtrend both on an annual and monthly basis. Annually, the three-month average forecasts point to a decrease of 5.4% to 4% for Chicago. On a monthly basis, the three-month average sales are forecast to decrease by 7.5% to 10.1% for Chicago.
  • In August 2014, 2,092 houses were newly filed for foreclosure in Chicago. This is down 18.5% from August 2013, and 10.2 % from July 2014. In August, 2,888 foreclosures were completed, down nearly 59.1 % from August 2013 and 1.9% from July 2014.
  • The foreclosure inventory of homes for sale is 32,720 in Chicago.

State of the Market

  • Home prices posted gains over last year in a consistent trend.
  • The inventory shortage that has held back the market all year continued in August.

Information from the Chicago Association of REALTORS®.

Hidden Hot Spots: Lincoln Park

About a year ago I was walking down Armitage in Lincoln Park when I spotted a 20-something guy eating a Long John donut with a strip of bacon on top. Only days later I dropped a couple dollars in that same area and looked up to find myself staring at a place called Glazed and Infused. This was the place – the home of that mouth-watering donut. It tasted every bit as good as it looked, as did the apple fritter, the blueberry lemon glaze and the Old Fashioned.

In honor of the extra pounds I gained from frequenting Glazed and Infused, I present to you Lincoln Park’s hidden hot spots! Whether they’ve been scrunched between two loud bars or are sitting pretty on a back road, these tasty joints serve up unique dishes sure to clench a Midwesterner’s pallet.

Annette’s Italian Ice
924 W. Armitage
Favorites: Oreo and Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Watermelon Italian Ice

Glazed and Infused
939 W. Armitage
Favorites: Maple Bacon Long John, Blueberry Lemon Glaze, Apple Fritter

Sarks in the Park
444 W. Fullerton
Favorites: Loretta, Chorizo Disaster, Captain Crunch French Toast

Kingsbury Street Café
1523 N. Kingsbury
Favorites: Salmon Hash, Breakfast Chilaquiles, Eggs Benedict

Via Carducci
1419 W. Fullerton
Favorites: Insalata di Bietole, Papparedelle alla Bolognese, Pollo Parmigiana

2221 N. Lincoln Ave
Favorites: Duck Confit Mac and Cheese, Cabernet Braised Beef Short Rib

Dawali Mediterranean Kitchen
1625 N. Halsted
Favorites: Spicy Hummus, Chicken and Beef Shawerma, Falafel

This list is by no means an extensive one. If you have any favorite hidden gems, please share them with your fellow Chicagoans!

Best BYOBs Chicago

Best BYOB’s Chicago

The fall equinox creeps closer every day. September 23. When I look at the calendar now, it reminds me of all the times my mom used to drive me passed middle school the summer after I turned twelve years old.

“Don’t look it at!” I’d scream before diving onto the floor mats, which were always caked with the mud I’d track in after soccer practice. “If you don’t see Emerson, it’s like it doesn’t exist. And if it doesn’t exist, I never have to go back and then summer will go on forever!”

This is me still. A decade and three years later, I avoid eye contact with anything and everything that symbolizes the end of summer. Except the knee-high boot section of Nordstrom’s fall catalog. Naturally.

It’s just so weird because yesterday I fell asleep upset after I dented my bumper when my car slid into the back of an F-150 during the polar vortex, and today I woke up and there were only 11 days left in August.

Obviously, I am dreaming.

And in this dream I must be having, my mind has somehow found a way to conjure up very seemingly real memories of twelve BYOB’s that I supposedly visited during this phantom summer that I’m expected to believe I already had.

This reminds me of something that’s bothered me for much of my adult life, which is how Romy and Michele’s high school reunion would have gone way better for them had Michele just remembered the freaking recipe for glue from her dream. I mean, hello? If you have a dream that tells you to, “raise the viscosity by adding a complex glucose derivative during the emulsification process,then you write that $#!* down! I just don’t get it.

So in case this is really only a dream and summer is still just around the corner, I’m writing down my personal list of the Best BYOB’s on Chicago’s North Side.

 90 Miles Cuban

Logan Square

2540 W. Armitage

Favorites: Mariquitas, Choripan, Ropa Vieja


Tango Sur

3763 N. Southport


Favorites: Provoleta, Pez


Enso Sushi & Bar

Bucktown/Wicker Park

1613 N. Damen

Favorites: Comiskey Park Maki, Crispy Spicy Tuna Maki



1865 N. Milwaukee


Favorites: Guacamole, El Tico, Pepito Sandwich


Dawali Mediterranean Kitchen

1625 N. Halsted

Lincoln Park

Favorites: Spicy hummus, Chicken and Beef Shawerma


Butcher and the Burger

1021 W. Armitage

Lincoln Park

Favorites: Anything with truffle mayo and an egg


Chilam Balam

3023 N. Broadway


Favorites: Corn Masa Memelas, Flautas


Athenian Room

807 W. Webster

Lincoln Park

Favorites: Gyros, Chicken Kalamata Style, Fries

(*Technically not a BYOB unless you count buying a drink next door at Glasscott’s and bringing that over – which I do).


Birchwood Kitchen

2211 W. North Ave.

Wicker Park

Favorites: Croque Madame


Lush Wine & Spirits

2232 W. Roscoe Street

Roscoe Village

Favorites: Meat & Cheese Platter


Kyoto Sushi

2534 N. Lincoln Ave.

Lincoln Park

Favorites: Miami Roll, Philadelphia Roll

Sultan’s Market

2057 W. North Ave

Wicker Park

Favorites: Falafel, Salad Bar

Most Dog Friendly Neighborhoods, According to Me

It’s pretty safe to say that I go to a lot of buildings on a regular basis. And I mean, a lot. It’s essentially the most important aspect of my job as a real estate agent in Chicago to go and check out real estate in Chicago. Shocker, I know. But while most people expect me to relay things like, “The doorman at SoNo is the best. People love him,” or, “You have to see the running track on the roof at 900 N. Kingsbury. Four laps to a mile, it’s huge!” or, “Every single layout at Clock Tower Lofts in Bucktown is different. That’s 113 unique layouts in one building, for crying out loud.”

I do notice and relay all these things, of course, but there are also other little nuances you notice as you go in an out of these buildings in all of these different neighborhoods. So, today I feel like relaying a little of what I have seen in terms of pet-friendliness. Actually, dog-friendliness, to be specific. Because, let me tell you, with the weather warming up I have been spotting borderline stampedes of dogs coming in and out of buildings, or up and down the streets of some neighborhoods, and it is awesome.

Why, you ask? Because it’s SO entertaining. And don’t worry, non-dog-people, these friendly beasts aren’t completely taking over, (besides, often times there are separate service elevators for dogs, and if there’s not I have noticed lots of owners prefer taking the stairs anyway) it’s just that it’s kind of like having a front row seat at Westminster Dog Show, and while some of the pups are scrappy little guys, others are practically ‘Best in Show’.

Even just the other day, I was in the lobby of a building that I was showing my client when a nice man walked around the corner with this gorgeous brown, black and white dog prancing in front of him, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of its flowing mane. Yes, its flowing mane. “That’s a Bermese Mountain Dog,” my client said. “The purebreds are kind of rare, actually, because they’re so expensive.” I had no idea! But I totally got it. This bowser was ‘Best in Show’ material, for sure.

Anyway, it got me thinking. It feels like recently there are dogs everywhere! Dogs in walk-ups, dogs in lofts, dogs in high-rises, single-family homes and studios. BUT, the abundance of puppy love in some neighborhoods, also makes you notice when another neighborhood has no love for these four-legged fur balls at all. So, here is my unofficial list of the most dog-friendly neighborhoods in Chicago, as decided by yours truly.

5.) Wrigleyville

Really, I should give the five spot to Lakeview as a whole because it’s a very dog-friendly area and also the closest (in terms of proximity) on this list to Montrose Dog Beach, but it’s great to see the hungover college kids taking Fido on walks during my Sunday showings and I have to give them props for being such diligent owners. A+ you guys.

4.) Roscoe Village

Roscoe Village is super family friendly, for those who didn’t know that already, and from the looks of it lots of them end up deciding to add a furry friend to their growing brood (probably due in part to the irresistible insisting of a four-year-old who had been begging for months). It’s adorable to see the whole crew going on walks together: one parent holds the leash, the other pushes the stroller, and both sip on the Starbucks that they picked up over on the corner of Roscoe and Seeley. I dig it.

3.) River North

It always surprises me that most people don’t know how dog friendly this area actually is – especially the pocket near Kingsbury and Erie. I swear, every time I go into any building in this area I always see at least three dogs. I think there may actually be more pups than people! What’s even more amazing is how well-behaved they all seem to be. They are the definition of city dogs and I love it.

2.) Lincoln Park

I had a severe internal struggle as to whether or not River North or Lincoln Park deserved the number two spot on this list. It was close, but I gave it to Lincoln Park. Every time I’m out walking my own dog he makes at least four friends, and then dodges a fifth (unfriendly) growler, as we go. There are little puppy water bowls outside almost every shop in the summertime, and then there’s Wiggly Field on Sheffield and Schubert. I mean, how could you not give the top two spot to a neighborhood with a park named Wiggly Field? Side note, and word to the wise, if your dog likes chasing squirrels, maybe rethink walking him through the actual park, Lincoln Park. I learned that the hard way.

1.) Wicker Park

It might surprise people that I chose Wicker Park to take the number one spot, but there was just one overwhelming reason that I simply could not ignore: In the summertime, nearly every outdoor patio on Division is dog friendly. People leave their condos, apartments and homes to walk on down to Division where they can tie up their dogs and bask in the sun as they enjoy an ice-cold beer. Then, when they’re finished, they can walk their pup next door and do it all over again. I should mention the same could probably be said for Ukranian Village, but I haven’t noticed as many dogs there as I have in Wicker Park. Bucktown gets an honorable mention as well, as they have a dog park at Churchill Field on Damen that gets a lot of visitors.

So that’s my list! And if you don’t like it? Too bad.

Just kidding! You can always email me your suggestions at SellWithGrace@gmail.com. You can also email me for questions regarding Chicago real estate, or when buying or selling your home. FYI to potential sellers out there – for a totally free home valuation (done personally by yours truly!) visit www.grace.straubmilito.com/sell

Thanks, and enjoy the heat wave out there everyone!

Featured Tour Property – 2550 N. Lake Shore Drive, N1701

Every Tuesday, my team and I visit a number of incredible properties during our Tuesday Broker Tours, and every week I choose my favorite to share here as a ‘Featured Property’ of the week. This week, I’ve chosen 2550 N. Lake Shore Drive, N1701.

Built in 2012, 2550 N. Lake Shore Drive is another breathtaking luxury condo building by Lucien Lagrange, architect of other groundbreaking projects such as 65 E. Goethe St., 840 N. Lake Shore Drive and the Waldorf Astoria (formerly the Elysian), on East Walton, to name only a few.

Mr. Lagrange is known for his expansive, extravagantly finished units featuring such unique and memorable touches as 16-foot ceilings, marble floors or mahogany windows.

In a city grounded in “less is more” modernism, Mr. Lagrange’s influences—primarily the beaux arts classicism of his native Paris—have resonated with the “more is more” public—or, at least, the segment of it shopping for luxury condominiums.

2550 N. Lake Shore Drive, in particular, is a 39 story, 218 unit building. Its units range in price from $600,000 – $6,000,000 and from 900 – 5,000 square feet. Amenities include door person, valet parking, library, theatre room, hospitality rooms, pool, fitness room, dry cleaning, dog run, and so much more.

Unit N1701 is a 3,518 sq. ft. luxury residence with three bedrooms and four and a half baths, and includes three garage spaces. It is listed for $3,499,000.

To schedule a private viewing of this, or any unit in 2550 N. Lake Shore Drive, contact Grace Goro at SellWithGrace@gmail.com.

For sources, click here.

It’s Winter in Lincoln Park

It’s winter in Chicago! I know it’s been a little while since my last post – everything just got so busy gearing up for the holidays that I barely had time to catch my breath! But now that the snow has settled I thought there’s no time like the present to take in this winter wonderland. So my dog, Pono, and I took off through Lincoln Park to document as much holiday spirit (and beautiful real estate) as we could. It really is a wonderful life 🙂

Remembering 918 W. Schubert

918 W. Schubert, #3

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This was one of my most memorable deals, I have to admit. I always say that I love what I do because I get to work with friends, family, and friends of friends or new acquaintances who are sure to work their way into my heart. In the case of 918 W. Schubert, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with one of my closest and oldest friends.

Her partner was looking for a condo in Lincoln Park, and being from out of state he really wasn’t sure exactly what he was looking for or where he was looking to find it. So, we had a meeting of the minds and between him, his girlfriend, and his family we were able to narrow down the perfect grid for him to really focus his search on.

We determined that Lincoln Park had everything he was looking for. This particular location, near Sheffield and Diversey, had easy access to public transportation, was walking distance to a seemingly endless number of restaurants and bars, and had great street parking. But most importantly, the block felt warm and welcoming.

It was just one of those situations where they knew as soon as they walked in. He was home. A month and a half later he was all moved in. Since then, the two of them have done an exceptional job of making the condo their home. Every time I go to visit I am more and more impressed with how beautifully they’ve decorated. With any luck I’ll get my friend to let me feature her in a home decor post! I’ll keep you posted!