Studio Brunstrum

Real Estate Chatter and More, With Millie Kepler

January 31, 2014

For 20 years Millie Kepler has been my go-to real estate agent. She has guided me through 4 moves in that time (both selling and purchasing each time), and in the process we have become good friends.

For 20 years Millie Kepler has been my go-to real estate agent. She has guided me through 4 moves in that time (both selling and purchasing each time), and in the process we have become good friends. Millie has been in the business for more than 30 years, 15 of those with Koenig & Strey in Libertyville, so she is a good source for real estate news on the North Shore. Recently we chatted about everything from the current housing market to her favorite clothing boutique.

Susan: What’s happening to home sales in our area?

Millie: Our data from 2013 shows that the percentage of homes closed and the number of homes on the market increased dramatically from the previous year. In Lake County the number of homes closed increased 37 percent and the number of units available increased 29 percent. On the North Shore those numbers are 28 percent and 25 percent.

Susan: What’s happening in individual towns?

Millie: In Libertyville the volume of homes closed increased 32 percent, in Vernon Hills 42 percent, in Lake Forest 39 percent and in Deerfield 48 percent. Not all towns enjoyed those increases, but overall the market is coming back.

Susan: Why?

Millie: People have a more positive attitude than they did when the recession hit in 2008. If employment statistics continue to rise we will continue to see improvements in real estate.  Last year was a better market than it had been for 5 years, and construction companies are excited because new home starts are improving too.

Susan: What do you see for 2014?

Millie: Inventory is low right now, so it’s a great time to sell!

Susan: What major trend have you been seeing?

Millie: A lot of people are remodeling, either for themselves or to sell. They are doing the cosmetics to take their home a step ahead of the competitor and get the best price: a fresh coat of paint in neutrals, new carpeting if it is worn and even updated appliances.

Susan: When do you like to get an interior designer involved?

Millie: As early as possible for the seller, to help make the property sparkle, and the buyer, to help them see the possibilities of a potential new home.

Susan:  Tell us a little about yourself, too.

Millie: I have lived in Libertyville since 1964 and in my current house since 1986. I have three daughters, 8 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren, most of them in the area.

Susan: What has been your largest sale?

Millie: It was a $2 million home in Kenilworth, but only 3,000 square feet!

Susan: Real estate agents do a lot of running around. What do you drive?

Millie: I have a 2010 Lincoln MKX with all the bells and whistles: GPS, hands-free phone, the works. I put 15,000 to 18,000 miles on it a year.

Susan: You always look great! Where do you shop?

Millie: Charles and Minerva’s in Libertyville. They always have something you won’t see anywhere else. I hate to go in! I spend too much money.

Susan Brunstrum
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