Downsizing “from” Oak Park & River Forest “to” Oak Park & River Forest!

There are many reasons you may be thinking of down-sizing from one home to another. And to do so you don’t need to leave the beautiful area of Oak Park/River Forest! Now… some may say, “You don’t get it, Steve, it is time for us to get out of here!” OK… well for you snowbirds, that may be a different story. But, I meet many people over the course of the year that want to talk to me about down-sizing from their current large home, townhouse or condo to move into something smaller, less expensive and maybe even more maintenance free… right here in the village.

Here, I am going to share with you some of the questions or issues that arise in these conversations. This is just an outline of factors. There is a whole discussion that goes beyond what you read here. But if my article can help spark the dialogue … then here you go.

  1. “I want to downsize but still need a good amount of space. Can I get that here in OPRF?” – You may be getting ready to move out of your 3200 sq. ft. center entrance colonial in the NW corner of Oak Park and want smaller but not too small. Sure you can get the space. Our area has a good number of condo buildings with larger units in them. However, instead of a 2 bedroom condo, look for condos that offer 3 bedrooms! That 3rd bedroom doubles as a spare room for guests and as an office or a TV room. If stairs are not an issue at this point, we have many townhouse complexes with the space you need. A number of the townhouse complexes are 3-4 stories tall and that bonus space is all the way at the top – the penthouse, if you will. Spacious Oak Park condos or townhouses come in all price ranges from the upper $200k to the luxurious mid-$600k range.

  2. “Can I find attached units (condos, townhouses, etc.) with outdoor space?”- You certainly can! But how much space are you expecting? Full yard? Not likely, but you were probably looking for less maintenance anyway. A place for a small 4x5 ft garden patch is possible and delightfully manageable. For instance, take a look when driving around town. See these newer townhouse complexes built in the last 10-15 years? Most of the units have a little pad or patch of space right at the front door entrance.  

    Take 101 N. Euclid – “the Euclid Terraces” - as an example. Many of these residents have actually finished their small front patches of land into nice patios large enough to enjoy morning coffee for two to four people around a small table. For the townhomes that are in a row… does the end unit have a semblance of a yard? Many of these yards may look to be common space but they could actually belong to a specific unit. Often, the end unit has the right of use or may even own the land. Case in point, the 413 Wisconsin unit D currently on the market has a typical front deck area. Additionally, it has a 1st level concrete pad off the garage entry just for a grill. The pad even has an awning over it to protect you from the elements!

  3. “I need a building with an elevator and I really don’t feel like there are many options here in OPRF. Is this true?” - Well, we have basically three types of condo building in the area. 1) Vintage - I can count on one hand the number of vintage buildings that have elevators in them. The 333 S. Oak Park Ave and that portion of the Decker Building that is on Pleasant are the only two that immediately come to mind. 2) 50’s or 60’s or 70’s era buildings. They may not be the prettiest buildings in town but they have elevators… many have laundry facilities on the same floor as the unit (i.e. 221 N. Kenilworth) and many have parking spaces most of them “covered” but not a garage. And finally, 3) newer construction… these most definitely have elevators, and there are plenty of new construction condos being developed in Oak Park, especially within walking distance of downtown restaurants, shops, and transportation.

  4. “I’m not staying here! Taxes and assessments are too high!” I understand the frustration, but take some time to research and compare. Many empty nesters start their downsizing journey looking towards the city. You may find a beautiful 1 bedroom condo in the “Loop” in the $400k range with a view of the lake and so much more!! (i.e. 360 E. Randolph) The taxes may look extremely attractive too. ONLY $4900 a year! But what are the assessments? Ah…. now we see. Assessments are over $750 a month! Compare that to a similar 2 bedroom condo in newer construction or a renovated building here in OPRF. The overall “cost savings” end up being negligible and you are likely to gain so much more in space and convenience in Oak Park.

This next step in your life is dictated largely by how you plan to spend your leisure time. Think about the uses you anticipate for the spaces in your future home. Think about the things you can live with and the things you can’t live without. I guarantee you, there is a place for you to call home again in Oak Park & River Forest.

Two Steves // One Community

Having been a realtor for the last two decades, I have seen my share of bizarre situations, odd coincidences, and shocking discoveries. Nothing tends to surprise me anymore. Also, for the last two decades, I have spent my days, nights, and weekends in and around Oak Park and River Forest. You have welcomed me into your homes, and have seen me at local events and immersed in the community that I both work and live in.

So you can imagine my confusion as the discovery of the following unfolds...

Lo and behold, there are two of us with a mere letter distinguishing us from having the same moniker and working the same "local beat" in Oak Park. 

Hold onto your hats, friends....I am not the talented Steve Schering, Pioneer Press & Chicago Tribune reporter… I am Steve Scheuring, Realtor and Local OPRF Expert.

Don't get me wrong! I want to thank all of you who feel I am the ever so dedicated reporter and eloquent writer, Steve Schering.  But alas… I am not. 

I like to think (hope) I am good at a few things… father, husband, brother, son and the agent helping you move in, out, and around the local area.  But writing?... I am okay, but as this blog can attest, not as good as Steve Schering!!! There isn’t a spell check program powerful enough. 

 Steve Schering, the reporter, has been covering local stories for a number of years. But recently a large amount of my very own friends, clients and even family... (yes… my own family!)… have thought that all of those articles were by me. If any of them knew me well enough, they would be able to distinguish me from my writing twin based on sheer punctuation alone!!! (!!!!!!!)

 And to confuse things even more… Steve Schering himself is a photographer and I am as well!  Still, my photography centers on specialized real estate photography. I am also one of many volunteer photographers for the OPRF Marching Huskies and the occasional pro-bono photographer for other local school groups. 

Recently, Steve and I met face-to-face at an OPRF high school football game. He's a fantastic individual. I had to resist the urge to ask for a selfie. I want to thank Steve Schering, the reporter, for allowing me to put this post out there.  May we continue to co-exist as separate individuals in this wonderful community. Thanks, Steve!

-From Steve.


8236586272_5b9057f164_o (1).jpg

I want to start off by immediately stating that every entry… every post you SEE or read on this blog I want you to feel like it was worth even the quickest of glances… even the shortest of visits. Sure… this is MY creative outlet. Yes… I sell homes full-time in the Oak Park/River Forest area of Illinois. I have many passions but this blog is about the photography. I strive to make sure you exit from each post having learned something or at the least you say to yourself, “That shot was cool.”

Some basic info to know about this blog in no particular order…

  • I sell homes so 75% of the blog’s content will have to do with homes. And I sell OLD homes because that is what we have here… mostly.

  • Many of the posts will have to do with the crazy stuff I find in older homes! You wouldn’t believe what I see… Both beautiful and scary.

  • Many times I will post on topics that have nothing to do with homes! I may post a photo that displays some other passion of mine like road cycling or automobile racing or…

  • Many times I will pop a photo in my personal gallery with no verbiage just because I think you followers would enjoy seeing it and maybe it needs no words.

  • Unless otherwise stated all photos are mine taken by me.

  • Unless otherwise stated all photos are taken using a Sony NEX-7 and an assortment of Sony E-mount lenses and possibly an old Nikkor lens or two affixed to the NEX using a Fotodiox adapter ring. The NEX is a mirrorless compact camera system.

  • I use Adobe’s Lightroom software to keep track of my photos and I like to use the same for minor editing. Occasionally I will need to use Adobe’s Photoshop to remove an imperfection or car in the driveway.

  • So I encourage you to subscribe… follow… and here we go!