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Old 02-23-2015, 09:41 AM
 
14 posts, read 10,043 times
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Hello all,

My wife and I looked at a few Condos at the 1580 Sherman Optima Building. The units a bit on the smaller side, at least what we saw, but we really like the location. We have a young daughter and really like that it's in down town, close to Metra and all the restaurants/coffee shops.

Our realtor is not very impressed with that particular building and he kept telling us how there is a high rate of rental units, how the building doesn't have a door man etc, how we will have a hard time selling our unit down the road etc.

I wanted to reach out to see if anyone lives or has lived in the building or if you know anyone who lives there. Or if you simply know anything about this particular building.

Would truly appreciate your input!
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:08 AM
 
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I would listen to the local real estate agent.

Evanston is not Chicago and even Chicago is not Manhattan. The kind of people that rent in building like these in this area are often in two camps -- short term folks going through a life transition and older people that will end up in a care type facility.

Families with school aged children rarely choose to own in a buildings like these in a town like Evanston. I have no reason to believe this will change. Folks drawn to the "excitement of urban living" would quickly grow weary of chains like Chilis, Jimmy Johns or even uninspired local chains like Las Palmas. Things are far different in desirable part of Chicago.

If you cannot afford a more family suited place you might be better off renting as many folks experience a net loss on ownership of condos like these.
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Old 02-24-2015, 12:15 PM
 
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An NU professor with children that I know who lives in that building likes it very much. I walk by there often and ABSOLUTELY do not see the people chet is describing. I see yuppies. I see professors. I see families. Get more information.
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Old 02-24-2015, 12:23 PM
 
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You do not see the Chilis? The Jimmy Johns? Give me a break! I was in downtown Evanston just the other day and it is NOTHING like Chicago Gold Coast or Lincoln Park! It is NEVER going to be as hip as someplace like Wicker Park.

The "Optima" building is convenient to the the NU campus and it would absolutely make sense for someone like a VISTING PROFESSOR in transition to consider it but ANY real estate professional ought to be able to produce reams of data going back decades that show condo ownership in towns like Evanston is NOT a good long term strategy.

The OP probably looked at this unit -- http://www.redfin.com/IL/Evanston/15.../home/12704422
The redfin agent feedback is telling --
Quote:
This foreclosure is in rough condition. Low quality flooring and baseboards, original kitchen is rough, lower floor so view and exposure are not very good. No closet in master bedroom.
That is from somebody that would BENEFIT from selling the place. Says alot...

That a look at time on market for these places -- there is no one clamoring to buy these units! Some have been sitting on the market for going on SIX MONTHS! They carry a HOA assement of almost $500/mo DO THE MATH! With the high property tax and the assement you are BLEEDING OUT something close to TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR for a place that is NOT GOING TO GET MORE VALUABLE! Why? Take a look at this photo -- the goofy layout of this building means people on their balcony can practially TOUCH YOUR LIVING ROOM -- http://www.redfin.com/IL/Evanston/15...photoSlideShow



If the OP wants to RENT in a building like that the almost certainly would be money ahead.

Last edited by chet everett; 02-24-2015 at 12:37 PM..
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Old 02-24-2015, 12:35 PM
 
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chet and 2325 i appreciate your feedback.

we are making the move for our little daughter. my wife and i really love evanston down town and spend almost every weekend there. my concern was more who actually lives in buildings like optima. i don't want to end up in a building with no kids, in a building with students and retired people. nothing against them, but that's not something we are looking for.

we are also looking into town homes in evanston. we heard good things about courts of evanston. so that is also something we are exploring right now.

we are looking for something newer, we really don't like vintage.

thanks again on your input.
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Old 02-24-2015, 01:09 PM
 
15,287 posts, read 16,828,849 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
You do not see the Chilis? The Jimmy Johns? Give me a break! I was in downtown Evanston just the other day and it is NOTHING like Chicago Gold Coast or Lincoln Park! It is NEVER going to be as hip as someplace like Wicker Park.

The "Optima" building is convenient to the the NU campus and it would absolutely make sense for someone like a VISTING PROFESSOR in transition to consider it but ANY real estate professional ought to be able to produce reams of data going back decades that show condo ownership in towns like Evanston is NOT a good long term strategy.

The OP probably looked at this unit -- http://www.redfin.com/IL/Evanston/15.../home/12704422
The redfin agent feedback is telling -- That is from somebody that would BENEFIT from selling the place. Says alot...

That a look at time on market for these places -- there is no one clamoring to buy these units! Some have been sitting on the market for going on SIX MONTHS! They carry a HOA assement of almost $500/mo DO THE MATH! With the high property tax and the assement you are BLEEDING OUT something close to TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR for a place that is NOT GOING TO GET MORE VALUABLE! Why? Take a look at this photo -- the goofy layout of this building means people on their balcony can practially TOUCH YOUR LIVING ROOM -- http://www.redfin.com/IL/Evanston/15...photoSlideShow



If the OP wants to RENT in a building like that the almost certainly would be money ahead.
Seriously, Chet - there is more in downtown Evanston than Chilis and Jimmy Johns. You have Joy Yee's Noodle Kitchen, the Flat Top Grill, Bangers and Lace, Bar Louie, Boltwood, Chef's Station, Creperie St. Germaine, Dave's Italian Kitchen, Dixie Kitchen, Giordano's Pizza, Kankasu, KOI Fine Asian, Lao Sze Chuan, Le Peep, Lou Malnati's (must be recent), Mumbai Indian Grill, Mt. Everest Restaurant, Sashimi Sashimi, Tapas Barcelona, Thai Sookdee, That Little Mexican Restaurant, Tommy Nevin's, Trattoria Demi and more all within easy walking distance of each other near Davis, Church, Sherman and Chicago Ave.

I kinda agree that condos don't hold their value, but that is all over, not just in Evanston.

Not sure about the layout of the building as I haven't been in it. The particular unit you showed looks small, nonetheless, the location is an excellent one. I am not sure how the people in unit 810 would be able to touch the living room of unit 602 either. Not sure where you get that. Despite that I agree that these condos are not a very good deal.
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Old 02-24-2015, 01:14 PM
 
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I can understand wanting something other than "vintage" -- lots of people prefer the look of a more "up to date" building. The problem with a building that is poorly sited is that even if you as owner invest in upgrades to your unit the lack of nice sightlines and the yucky mix of chain restuarants will never attract buyers willing to pay a premium.

I am not saying that all of downtown is a mess, just that having been in downtown just this past weekend I could not help but notice how totally "unhip" many of the places to eat are and sadly too many are very close to this building. It does "look cool from the street" but the units themselves are not a good value.

In general townhomes do have a little better track for ROI -- you get more people that appreciate the relative lack of noise-generating neighbors above you and nobody is disappointed in "no views".

That said if you can bring yourself to consider a single family home you almost certainly will do better financially. It is not all that hard to hire a firm to cut the lawn in the summer if you don't want to do that and there is no shortage of folks that'll shovel snow in the winter. The lack of HOA fees means you have more money in your pocket to pay for any needed maintenance. It is a tradition that has proven to be very beneficial to the financial position of generations of homeowners. This is not my favorite part of Evanston but it the home is updated and really looks livable, with a low property tax bill this is the kind of place that somebody really could do very well with -- http://www.redfin.com/IL/Evanston/18.../home/13629303. Even the roughest parts of Evanston are nothing compared to Chicago, you have lots of options for schools, and the potential to really experience diversity first hand.

Last edited by chet everett; 02-24-2015 at 01:22 PM..
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Old 02-24-2015, 01:27 PM
 
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chet - i really don't want to buy a single family home. it probably does make financial sense but i just don't want to be "attached" to any work. i grew up in a single family home and my dad was always working on something...and to 80% that was his choice and not a need.

we are in no rush but also know that we need to be ready to jump on something that's good. good properties fly in evanston. it's unbelievable how soon something can sell in evanston.

thanks again guys on all your input.
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Old 02-24-2015, 01:33 PM
 
28,383 posts, read 67,903,744 times
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Good properties do go fast when they are priced right. Conversely that should tell you a lot about properties that languish...

There are dozens of higher end condo on the market in downtown Evanston, many of the building are just about brand new. Loads of inventory...
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Old 02-24-2015, 02:47 PM
 
36 posts, read 54,391 times
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chet, that house you suggest is NOT in a good area. This is simply incomparable to the apt location. And, since you decided to make assumptions re the professor -- its not a visiting academic transient. We are talking a tenured professor and a highly respected person whose family loves taking advantage of the walkability of Evanston downtown, minus the constant needs to work on the house. Sounds like OP's values match. Of course the OP will have many more options come March/April, even though the great ones will not linger long.
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