Lake Forest’s Turnaround Year

By | Press Release

For the town of Lake Forest, one of the silver linings to the many challenges of 2020 was a big turnaround in the local real estate market. Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, area housing rebounded as homebuyers sought to accommodate lifestyle changes such as working from home, e-learning, and the desire for more space – inside and out. As a result, Lake Forest home sales increased a whopping 55% vs. 2019, and the average sales price rose 7.4% to $923,406 (BrokerMetrics LLC).

Perhaps most telling was the huge upswing in sales activity we saw over the summer. Year over year, the number of homes under contract increased 144% in June and Months’ Supply of Inventory plummeted to 3.3 months, down from 14.2 for the same period in 2019.

While Lake Forest’s resurgence came faster than anyone would’ve expected, it wasn’t entirely unforeseen. @properties co-founder Thad Wong predicted back in January 2020 that Lake Forest was primed for a strong year.

We’ve seen this trend play out at Kelmscott Park as well, with sales up 100% compared to the same time in 2019. “Buyers’ desire for more square footage and outdoor space translated to more demand in the suburbs and Kelmscott Park in particular,” said @properties broker, Andra O’Neill. “The large floor plans and lush landscapes at Kelmscott Park are a natural choice for buyers looking for more space in a beautiful suburban setting.”

Projects like Kelmscott Park fulfill today’s homebuyers’ desires with spacious condo and single-family home floorplans, as well as a wealth of amenities and outdoor living. Kelmscott Park buyers also maintain some of the same conveniences of the city, with easy access to the town’s shops and restaurants, Lake Forest’s Metra station, and Lake Michigan.

So, what’s in store for 2021? More of the same. Inventory in Lake Forest remains low as the market continues to move this winter. Furthermore new construction hasn’t caught up with demand, making communities like Kelmscott Park particularly attractive to homebuyers. To learn more about the community, visit www.kelmscottpark.com.

9 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

By | Press Release

Energy is one of the highest costs of homeownership. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to ensure that you save energy—and, in turn, save money and the environment.

Here are 9 ways to make your home more energy efficient:

Lower Your Thermostat

Save energy in the winter by lowering your thermostat when you’re asleep or away from home. This slows down heat loss and saves energy while your system works a lot less hard. This same concept can be applied in the summertime when you set the thermostat to a higher temperature. In addition to saving money, the habit of adjusting your thermostat will also save you a chunk of change on your next heating and cooling bill.

Check Your AC Unit

Make sure your HVAC system has a high seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER). A higher rating is better for efficiency and will help you manage cooling and heating costs. At Kelmscott Park, we’ve installed 15 SEER condensing units for cooling, which offers up to 50% higher efficiency than a standard air conditioner. These save a lot of money and require less energy to function.

Then Check Your Gas Furnace

Let’s face it: come wintertime, your gas furnace is your best friend. That’s why it’s imperative that you have an up-to-date furnace that’s in good condition for those brutal winter months. Look for high efficiency gas furnaces noted by “AFUE,” which stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. At Kelmscott Park, we have 96% AFUE gas furnaces that are designed to conserve energy and save you money.

Compost Old Food

Rather than tossing food scraps in the trash, keep them in a container or in a pile outside. The food decomposes into organic material, which can then be added to soil to help plants grow. The process keeps materials out of landfills and creates an all-natural fertilizer for all of your plant and landscaping needs. For a list of items that can be composted, check out this article from The Spruce.

Install Low-Flow Showerheads and Toilets

According to HGTV, “showers are responsible for up to 30% of typical household water use.” Low-flow shower heads mitigate the amount of water wasted, and make a big impact when it comes to conserve water and energy. They also lower annual heating costs and reduce your monthly water bill. Low-flow toilets also have added energy efficiency benefits, and are included in every home at Kelmscott Park.

Turn Off the Water

Speaking of water, did you know that you could save up to 8 gallons of water by turning off the tap when you brush your teeth in the morning and at night? Imagine how much that could add up over time! Conserving water is an essential way of saving energy, so be sure to turn off those running faucets and fix those leaky pipes.

Keep It Cold

According to the Energy Department, water heating accounts for the second largest energy expense in your home. Washers use 90% of energy to heat the water and 10% to actually run the motor. You can use less energy by washing your clothes with cold water and, when possible, air drying them instead of using the dryer.

Unplug Unused Chargers and Devices

Avoid “energy vampires” by unplugging all unused cell phone and battery charges when they aren’t in use. Energy vampires are responsible for approximately 10% of your energy bill, so unplug your chargers, devices, electronics, and appliances when you can.

Use ENERGY STAR® Products

ENERGY STAR® products use less energy than regular products, and meet strict criteria set by the US Energy Protection Agency or the US Department of Energy. From air conditioners to refrigerators to washers and dryers, there are a wide range of ENERGY STAR® products to choose from that are made to help you save energy. We’ve included several optional Energy Star appliances at Kelmscott Park, including washer/dryer packages, refrigerators and

For more information on Kelmscott Park, visit www.kelmscottpark.com.

Lake Forest’s real estate market was dead. Then came COVID.

By | Press Release

The very things holding the suburb back—big traditional homes far from the city—are now attractive during the pandemic.

By: Dennis Rodkin

Crain’s Chicago Business

In the fall of 2017, the real estate market in Lake Forest had been so slow for so long that officials launched an ad campaign that used such slogans as “Safety has found a home here.”

At the time, that line was meant to appeal to families who were worried about rising gun violence and other crime in Chicago, but three years later, there’s “a different kind of safety people are looking for,” says Deborah Fischer, a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago agent who was part of the group that organized the “Welcome Home” campaign.

A safe place to live is now “a big house on big property where you can safely social distance,” Fischer says. “We have those.”

Widespread lifestyle changes prompted by the pandemic—working, schooling and getting recreation all at home—have lifted many real estate markets this year as people trade up to larger spaces, commuting worries behind them since working full time in an office again is an open question. Few markets in the Chicago area have felt the shift as sharply as Lake Forest, which turned almost overnight from a moribund housing market into one of the suburbs’ most dynamic.

More homes sold in the six months just ended than in each of the four 12-month periods before that. Midwest Real Estate data reports 367 homes sold in the six-month period ended Oct. 25. Yearly average sales volume has averaged 320.

Lake Forest was among the suburbs where Crain’s reported sales in August were double what they’d been a year before, and in September sales were up 130 percent: 60 homes sold, compared to 26 in September 2019.

A year ago, the inventory of homes on the market in Lake Forest could fuel 14 months of sales. Now there’s roughly three months’ inventory.

“It’s been crazy,” says Corky Peterson, another Berkshire agent in Lake Forest. “The number of people looking up here from the city has skyrocketed.”

“They’re coming from Chicago but from other suburbs, too,” says Andra O’Neill, an @properties agent. The draw is the same wherever they come from, she says: “bigger space, bigger property, good prices and lower taxes.” The predominant property tax rate in Lake Forest is 5.3 percent, the lowest of any municipality in Lake or Cook County.

Sales records don’t show where buyers come from. But Peterson and three other agents all say much, but not all, of the increased buying is by families moving from the city.

Peterson represented buyers from Lincoln Park who paid $4 million for a 19th-century colonial revival on Westminster Avenue in mid-October. He declines to name them, and county records don’t yet identify them, but Peterson says the 10,800-square-foot home suits their need for home offices and school space. The 2.6-acre property includes an outdoor pool, and it’s a few blocks west of the town beach and a few blocks east of the Metra station and Lake Forest’s gracious century-old Market Square downtown center.

The setting is reassuringly like Lincoln Park, with the lakefront, shopping, dining and CTA all close at hand.

While Lake Forest’s mansions used to feel too old, too big and priced too high, a lot has changed in the interim.

Too old? Not a problem. “When you’re working from home, you don’t want that open plan,” Fischer says. “You want libraries, double libraries for him and her.”

Too big? Space is the primary luxury in a year of shutdowns.

Priced too high? Asking prices have dropped after years of slow sales. Typical is the 10,000-square-footer on Circle Lane that came on the market in October 2015 at nearly $6.75 million and lingered for years, with occasional price cuts. In March 2020, the price came down again, to just under $3.7 million, and in August it landed a buyer. The sale closed in late October at the last asking price.

The median price of a home sold in Lake Forest in the first nine months of 2020 is about $740,000, up 0.7 percent or essentially flat with the same period last year, according to monthly statistics from the Chicago Association of Realtors and MRED.

Historically low interest rates, while not unique to Lake Forest, are also giving buyers more bang for their buck in house shopping.

With few people commuting now and the possibility that the five-days-in-office workday may be gone for good, “some say we are not as far from Chicago as previously thought,” says Mona Hellinga, a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago agent.

Will the comeback in Lake Forest’s real estate market last? No one can say, but real estate agents are confident, in part because “people are finding the value we always knew was here,” Fischer says, and in part because more pandemics and shutdowns may lie ahead.

The $4 million buyers on Westminster, Peterson says, are keeping their Lincoln Park home for weekends. Down the line, they may move back there and make the Lake Forest house their weekender.

“People who lived in the city don’t want to give that up, but this year they want refuge,” says Kelly McInerney, an @properties agent. “I think some of the bigger Lake Forest homes that were bought this year will become second homes” when life returns to normal.

In that, she says, “it would be back to the old days,” when Lake Forest was a hub of country estates and gentlemen’s farms for the wealthy elite of Chicago.

My Perfect Day in Lake Forest

By | Press Release

My Perfect Day in Lake Forest

By: Andra O’Neill

Lake Forest is a special place. From its local restaurants and shops to its diverse natural surroundings, it’s a tight-knit community with a lot to offer.  When I have days off or am in between appointments, I love exploring the city and visiting my favorite spots. Here’s how I spend a day in Lake Forest.

I begin my day hiking a few miles of the trail at Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve. This hidden gem has over 600 acres of incredible nature and is the best place to jumpstart the morning. I follow up my hike with a stop at Evereve. The store has great basics, as well as comfortable athletic gear, so I can always find a cute item to buy. I stop by Courtyard Wines to grab a bottle of wine for a friend’s housewarming party later in the week and walk over to Lake Forest Food & Wine for a quick lunch, where the staff always greets me with a warm smile and incredible service. My go-to order is the chicken and Havarti roll, it’s healthy and easy to eat on the go. After lunch, I like to do a bit more shopping, and walk around the corner to Lake Forest Bookstore to grab a new book. I love that everything is close together downtown, and that I never have to go far to find my latest read or client gift.

A new book in hand, I take Deerpath Road towards Lake Forest Beach. It’s only a 30-minute walk, so when the weather permits, I like to put in my headphones and listen to music as I head to the shore. The beach is clean and is a frequent haunt for residents come summertime. There’s a playground, volleyball court, and, of course, the beach itself, which is the perfect spot for unwinding. I often come here to read by the water and relax and find that it’s one of the most beautiful beaches on the North Shore.

My favorite way to end the day in Lake Forest is with dinner and drinks at Deer Path Inn. The historic landmark’s English Room serves an expansive list of fresh and delicious meals. I like to dine on the Courtyard patio with friends and family, and always order the cobb salad. For a more casual meal I like visit The Bar at Deer Path for their super fresh sushi selection.

Lake Forest really sells itself but if you need more convincing, come visit me at the Kelmscott Park sales model where I’d love to share more about my experiences and the hidden treasures Lake Forest has to offer.

With only a few condominium units left time is running out to take advantage of the only new construction luxury option in Lake Forest. Reach out today to learn more about our fantastic closeout prices and to schedule a tour. 

Al Fresco Dining in Lake Forest

By | Press Release

Food and drinks always taste better outside. Surrounded by natural beauty and a gorgeous downtown area, there are plenty of restaurants in Lake Forest that fit the bill. Here are five of our favorite spots to enjoy a meal al fresco.

Deer Path Inn

Voted Travel + Leisure’s top resort in the Midwest for the second year in a row, Deer Path Inn offers a  heralded dining experience. Locals gravitate toward the secluded atmosphere of The English Room’s courtyard patio, which boasts beautiful lighting, warm décor, a fountain, and a fireplace. Start dinner with the Ahi Tuna Nachos and follow up with the Cider Fish N’ Chips or Chicken Picatta as you embrace the warmth of summer’s final days.

The English Room also serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch, as well as the inn’s coveted “Afternoon Tea” dining experience, which has seatings Tuesday through Saturday between 2:30 to 3:30 pm.

Kuro Bistro

What was once a Burger King featured in the movie Ordinary People has become home to Kuro Bistro. Serving up a contemporary approach to Asian cuisine, Kuro Bistro’s patio is the perfect place to taste therestaurant’s standout dishes and fresh flavors. Order the

Hawaiian Taco starter and Summer 13 roll for a meal that’s sure to secure your next visit.

Francesca’s Intimo

A Lake Forest staple since 2001, Francesca’s Intimo brings the taste of Rome, Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio to the North Shore. Enjoy a glass of wine on the patio and be sure to order the Salmone Alla Fresca, a grilled salon dish with avocado, basil, and lemon over asparagus. You can’t go wrong with the Pollo Alla Salvia, which comes with a sautéed chicken breast that’s topped with prosciutto and mozzarella.

The Peanut Gallery

Sister restaurant to The Gallery, The Peanut Gallery answers Lake Forest’s desire for a refined but fast-casual dining experience. Stop by for ice cream or shakes, or grab a seat on the outdoor patio for lunch or dinner. Our favorite menu items include the Korean Hot Chicken sandwich and the Turkey Burger with fries.

Egg Harbor

Rounding out our list of places to dine al fresco in Lake Forest is Egg Harbor. Locals love this tried and true breakfast and lunch spot, which is known for its breakfast potatoes, blueberry pancakes, shakshuka, and chorizo chilaquiles. Grab a seat on the outdoor patio or in the tented parking lot, which is set up to accommodate diners amid COVID-19.

Kelmscott Park is only a short walk from many of these great Lake Forest restaurants. With only a limited supply of available units and homes, time is running out to see what all the talk is about. Reach out today to schedule a tour. 

New condo model at Kelmscott Park features the sunny 04 floorplan

By | Press Release

The new condominium model at Kemscott Park features the spacious 04 floorplan. This unique layout offers an open concept with a large living room, adjoining dining area and chef’s kitchen with center island. The large chef’s kitchen boasts custom floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, Wolf, Sub-Zero, and Asko stainless steel appliances, and stone countertops.

This 1,772 sf condominium includes 2 large bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. A truly unique feature of this floor plan is that both bedrooms feature en-suite bathrooms and the primary bedroom includes 2 walk-in closets. This plan also includes a den, adjacent to the dining area, offering the perfect spot for a home office or media room. Additionally, the 04 plan has a full laundry room with side by side washer and dryer.

Kelmscott Park’s maintenance-free community features a fitness center and indoor and outdoor lounges. Located just a quick walk from downtown Lake Forest and the Metra, buyers are falling in love with the gracious floorplans, high end finishes, and impressive features.

Contact our team today for to schedule a tour!

Explore the Outdoors: Kelmscott Park and Beyond

By | Press Release

Explore the Outdoors: Kelmscott Park and Beyond

Spending time outside is good for the mind and body, which is why we tapped Mariani to design the grounds here at Kelmscott Park. With carefully planned natural spaces, our community offers a quaint and lush private oasis for residents to enjoy.

Outside of Kelmscott Park, Lake Forest boasts a wonderful selection of public outdoor spaces, which have never been more prevalent than amid the COVID-19 crisis. The following are our favorite places to explore in Lake Forest:

Derwen Mawr Nature Preserve

Located between Wester Laurel Avenue and Deerpath Road, Derwen Mawr Nature Preserve features 26 acres and travels along the Skokie River. The preserve’s trail winds through wetlands, meadows, and woods filled with wildlife. Visitors can park at Deerpath Middle School and cross Deerpath to find the trailhead.

Everett Farm Nature Preserve

Once a tree nursery, the Everett Farm Nature Preserve now has two circular trails that journey through diverse natural landscapes among the preserve’s 35 acres. Home to several mini-habitats and 20 species of birds, there’s a good chance you’ll make a feathered friend on your hike. Parking is located on James Court.

Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve

Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve is considered one of Chicagoland’s most beautiful forest preserves. The preserve sits on 250 acres with incredible views of Lake Michigan and rolling terrain, bluffs, and ravines. Visitors have access to approximately 4.5 miles of hiking trails and 1.3 miles designated for bicyclists. You can enter the preserve on Sheridan Road at Old Elm Road and Simonds Way.

Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve

Hike or bike on the four-mile trail at Middlefork Savanna. Considered one of the hidden gems of the North Shore, the preserve spans 600 acres and is home to rare tallgrass, a range of natural landscapes, and various species of flora and fauna. If you drive, park at Elawa Farm off Waukegan Road.

Skokie River Nature Preserve

As Lake Forest’s oldest and largest nature preserve, Skokie River Nature Preserve features 12 miles of trails, gorgeous flowers and trees, and a swinging bridge over the Skokie River. You can even spot native birds and plants of the Lake Chicago prairie lands. Drivers should park at the end of West Laurel Avenue to access the preserve.

Contact us here more information about the new homes at Kelmscott Park and to schedule a private in-person or virtual showing.

Kelmscott Park Contactless Tour Options

By | Press Release

The health and safety of our clients and our community is paramount during this unprecedented time. With this in mind, the Kelmscott Park team is now offering a variety of virtual showing options in addition to private contactless appointments. Select your showing preference when completing the form here. A sales associate will be in contact shortly to schedule.

Virtual Showing

Join one of our sales associates on Facetime, Zoom or Skype for a tour around our model homes from the comfort of your sofa. Reach out today to book your Virtual Showing.

Virtual Tour

State-of-the-art virtual tours are available for all of our model homes. Click the links below to view on your personal computer or mobile device.

Condo Model Unit 102

Condo Model Unit 203

Contactless Showing

An in-person showing of our available unoccupied homes with the utmost safety precautions.  All doors will be open and lights turned on. Our sales associates will guide the tour from a safe distance and will wipe down surfaces before and after each showing. Contactless showings are available by appointment only. Schedule your appointment here.

The Benefits of Buying New Construction

By | Press Release

Buying new has it’s perks

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your life. So, when it comes down to deciding whether to buy new construction or an existing home, it’s important to determine what’s best for you based on your lifestyle, and your needs and wants. Here we outline the benefits of buying a new home:

  • Customization: Nobody understands your tastes better than you do. With new construction, you can choose and upgrade features of the home, or work with an architect and builder to completely design from the ground up. If personalization is a priority, consider the flexibility that new construction offers.
  • Modern amenities: Many new homes feature today’s most sought-after finishes and amenities. At Kelmscott Park, we offer everything from luxury appliances and smart-home technology to outdoor living space and open floor plans with plenty of areas for entertaining.
  • Energy-efficiency: Newer systems for HVAC, electrical, and plumbing can keep utility costs down and have less impact on the environment. They are also less likely to require servicing for the first few years of use.
  • Less maintenance: There is usually less upkeep when you buy new, so you can spend more time enjoying your home rather than taking care of repairs.
  • Move-In Ready: Forget about having to rely on delivery times of new appliances or waiting to finish renovations or last-minute repairs. Once built, new-construction homes are move-in ready from the inside out.
  • Clean: Now more than ever, it’s important to consider a home’s cleanliness. It might give you peace of mind knowing that no one has lived in your home before you, and that there will be no surprises when it’s time to move in.

Contact us here more information about the new homes at Kelmscott Park and to schedule a private in-person or virtual showing.

The Bonus of a Great School District

By | Press Release

Let’s talk about schools

We’ve all heard the old real estate adage, “location, location, location,” but nowadays it’s more like “schools, schools, schools”. Now, more than ever before, school districts are THE deciding factor for home buyers.

A home in a desirable school district can hold a better resale value than a similar home in a less-stellar district.  According to research conducted by Realtor.com, home values inside highly rated school districts were 49% higher than the national median home price. For access to a top-tier school district, buyers are more willing to compromise and pay a premium. Furthermore, homes in top-ranking districts often sell faster than homes in less desirable districts. Realtor.com found that these homes sell eight days faster on average when compared to comparable product in less desirable districts.

While not all buyers at Kelmscott Park have school aged children, the value of their homes is boosted by the extremely desirable Lake Forest School system. Consisting of six public elementary schools, one high performing high school, and five private schools, Lake Forest has one of the most sought-after school districts in Illinois.

Along with the top-rated schools, Lake Forest offers many afterschool programs and community activities. Champions is the before and after school program offered for kids in grades K-8. Children have time every day to explore their own interests in areas like creative arts, reading and writing, math and science, etc… The program also offers homework help, as well as teaches children healthy habits. Each individual school offers a variety of clubs and activities, such as eSports club, music production club, running club, and more.

Lake Forest Elementary School District 67’s boundaries includes the City of Lake Forest only. The boundaries of Lake Forest Community High School District 115 include the communities of Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, and Knollwood.

New virtual showing options now available, reach out today to schedule your tour!