Good news is we’re halfway through January! Bad news? It’s still winter in Chicago. So, you might as well as enjoy it! Join the Chicago Polar Bear Club for their 17th annual Polar Plunge fundraiser this Saturday at Oak Street Beach (1000 N. Lake Shore Dr.) in the Gold Coast neighborhood. The plunge will take place at noon sharp and will be done as one big group.
Buying a home - especially for the first time - can be an overwhelming experience. It's not surprising that buyers tend to have a plethora of questions to ask their agents before they take the plunge. Here are some of the most common queries you'll ever hear a buyer ask their agent.
Lincoln Park: Lincoln Park Zoo presents Murder Mystery Dinner: Totally 80s, Totally Murder. This fabulous, interactive 80s theme party has the audience participate in a live-action Clue-style game!
I have been eyeing the menu at DryHop for months and I finally got to go this week. Located at 3155 N. Broadway, DryHop is a brewery and kitchen with a cool and unassuming atmosphere. The menu is packed with tasty, gastropub creations.
The growth of your houseplants will slow during the winter months. The light coming in through the windows is down an average of 50%, especially in colder climates. You might have to move plants that need bright light to get the maximum amount of light.
A real Christmas tree can be a significant fire hazard if it's left indoors to dry out for too long. When the holidays are over and the time has come to take the tree down, there are many ways that you can recycle that Christmas tree that has added some festive cheer to your interior throughout the holidays. Here are a few ideas to help give you some inspiration.
After being teased with spring-like temps this past week, it’s back to reality this weekend. But that doesn’t mean we have to give up on warmer temps altogether! Check out these events for some summertime fun during winter!
Lakeview: Get ready for the TNK Festival Kick-Off Party in collaboration with Cards Against Humanity, this Tuesday January 16. The party is at Tied House Loft at 3157 Southport Ave. This pop-up party begins the 5-day Chicago music festival that unites many independent music venues in the area.
While marriage rates may have been on the decline in recent years, homeownership continues to be a goal for many Americans, regardless of marital status. But those who do have plans to marry have the choice between buying a home together before marriage or after.
New Year’s Day can be a tricky time to find someplace to eat in the city. Many restaurants close for the holiday, or have limited hours. We knew we’d be in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, as we had plans to see a movie at the Davis Theatre. A friend of ours recommended Garcia’s, a Mexican restaurant at the intersection of Western and Lincoln.
I’m sure many of us want to get rid of clutter in our lives. We all wish to live a simpler life without being surrounded by unnecessary stuff. The kitchen is one place where so many things find a place to gather unused.
Much like a mechanic might be more likely to notice an odd sound coming from a car, an interior designer will be more inclined to spot problems with the decor in your home. It's what they do every day and is something they've been trained for.
Welcome to your first weekend of 2018! And, with ‘ole man winter’s arctic grip on the City, we’ll just take our weekend fun indoors!!
Buying a home for the first time comes with its own set of lessons to be learned and potential mistakes to be made. Here are some of the more common lessons first-time homebuyers have learned from their own experiences that you may want to take into consideration.
Bucktown and Wicker Park: Need an activity for the kiddos this weekend? Volumes Bookcafe (1474 N Milwaukee Ave) hosts a bi-weekly story time in the children’s section. This Saturday, January 6, at 10 am, listen to Miss Kimberly read 2-3 books.
Another Saturday- another brunch. This weekend took me to Twisted Spoke, a biker bar in Wicker Park. Located at 501 N Ogden, this was the perfect spot for an early morning brunch. We got there at about 9 am on Saturday morning and were the only customers.
Pain in your body is caused by inflammation. Whether it’s in your joints, muscles, or other areas pain can really disrupt your life. I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s an auto immune disease where your immune system attacks your joints, causing them to degrade. It also causes much inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues.
Maybe you relocated to another city and needed to move right away. Or perhaps you found a great deal on a home that closed really quickly, prompting you to move all your belongings into your new abode long before finding a buyer for your current home. Whatever the reason may be for moving out of your home before it sells, leaving it vacant can turn out to be a big mistake.
Here in Chicago, we’ll be bidding farewell to 2017 and ringing in the new year of 2018 with unique and memorable ways to celebrate for both families and adults-only!
When it comes to keeping small children and pets safe near swimming pools, specific measures are absolute musts, such as having a fence around the perimeter of the water. But even with safety measures like these in place, anything can happen. Drownings can and do still occur even with the best of intentions.
Lakeview: Start your New Year off with a few laughs at the Laugh Factory! This Tuesday, January 2, they put on the 10 best standup acts in the city for just $10. You must be 18 years or older and there is a two drink minimum (either non-alcoholic or alcoholic). So far, this week features Lainie Lenertz.
With the coldest temperatures we’ve seen yet this winter, this week took me on a search for comfort food. And for me, that means tacos. The Taco Joint was the perfect spot to get my Taco Tuesday fix. Located at 1969 N. Halsted, it’s small and dimly light, with a warm and charming atmosphere.
It’s that time of year again: the time to plan out the coming year. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of people set goals for their business and personal life. We can all asses our weaknesses and think about what we can do to better ourselves.
When it comes to applying for a loan, your credit score matters - a lot. At some point, you'll likely need to take out a loan for whatever reason, whether it's to purchase a home, buy a car, or even just to take out a personal loan to cover any one of life's big expenses.
This is it folks! The last weekend before we celebrate Christmas on Monday. And, whether you’re all set or just getting started, Chicago’s holiday events and traditions will make this the merriest Christmas you’ve ever had!!
Bucktown and Wicker Park: Have you seen a Blackhawks game yet this season? Join Lottie’s Pub for their Blackhawks bus trip! The Blackhawks play the Wild on January 10 and you want to be there to see it! Tickets are $80 and include a bus ride to and from the United Center.
October saw a decent increase in sales across the country, the strongest since June. But the squeeze on inventory continues to put a damper on sales year-over-year. Here are the national sales for the month of October as compiled by the National Association of Realtors.
This week took me to The Monkey’s Paw, a charming farm-to-table gastropub in Lincoln Park. The atmosphere is positively delightful. The lighting is warm and dim, there are gorgeous hardwood floors, and they have a beautiful Christmas tree right as you enter.
With guests coming over for the holidays, it’s a good idea to do a quick safety check around the house. Falls are the leading cause of injuries in the home in the United States. Every 20 minutes an elderly person dies from a fall.
As if buying a home isn’t a large enough expense that comes with hefty monthly mortgage payments, there are other fees that are tacked on to the overall cost, including Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) in many cases.
We’re getting down to the wire. Christmas Day is just 9 days away. And, leave it to Chicagoans to come out in full force to enjoy the city’s holiday traditions!
Lakeview: Mercury Theatre presents the story of The Christmas Schooner. This heartwarming story is about the first Christmas tree ship and the family who risked their lives to bring Christmas to Chicago.
The new year is right around the corner, and along with all those resolutions everyone is making comes a whole slew of home design trends that homeowners will be coveting and implementing into their interiors.
I was feeling adventurous this week and I wanted to try something totally new. Lucky for me, I found Jin Ju, a contemporary Korean restaurant in Andersonville. Their website says, “We call ourselves contemporary because we offer our guests traditional Korean dishes in a modern atmosphere where either the novice or someone very familiar with Korean cuisine would be comfortable and have an amazing experience.”
Our first snowfall last week makes me think of our beautiful feathered friends around the backyard. Winter can be a difficult time for them as we get more snow cover. Much available food will soon be completely covered by snow. With a few feeders and seed outside, you’ll have a wide variety of birds in your backyard this winter.
You’d be amazed - or even disappointed - at how much waste your home might be responsible for creating. In fact, the average American produces about 4.4. pounds of garbage every single day, which amounts to over 700,000 tons of trash produced daily based on the national population.
There is no reason for anyone who is in Chicago this weekend to NOT celebrate the spirit of the holidays! Check out the following holiday events for you, your family, and friends’ enjoyment!!
Foreclosure is not nearly as rampant as it was a decade ago when the housing market crashed, but it’s still a very real scenario for many homeowners across the country. No homeowner wants to be the victim of foreclosure, but it can easily happen if mortgage payments aren't kept up with.
Lincoln Park: It’s time to bust out your ugly Christmas sweater! It’s the Ugly Christmas Sweater Lincoln Park Zoolights Crawl. This crawl bar hops through Lincoln Park and will pass through the breathtaking Zoolights at Lincoln Park Zoo. To end the night, there will be a vote for the Ugliest Christmas Sweater.
An evening in Andersonville is one of my favorite ways to spend a night in the city. After seeing a Christmas show at Mary’s Attic, we wanted to find a bite to eat. We stopped in at Jerry’s Sandwiches.
Make sure all outdoor lights and decorations are rated for outdoor use. Only use heavy duty, outdoor rated extension cords. Always use ground fault circuit interrupter receptacles (or portable GFCIs) to prevent electric shock.
As the malls are bustling with busy holiday gift shoppers and airports and bus terminals are filled with travelers eager to visit family, you might have your mind set on something completely different - buying a new home. But is this really the time to buy?
As we enter the last month of 2017 with the holidays fast approaching, Chicagoans will have an opportunity to experience holiday magic all month long with these events!
Despite the fact that the prevalence of foreclosures has decreased since the housing crash a decade ago, it still happens quite often. Fortunately, there are ways to curb foreclosure proceedings if you find yourself in default of your mortgage, and one alternative is to work out what's known as a 'deed in lieu of foreclosure'.
Bucktown and Wicker Park: Whirlyball presents a Holidaze Brunch this Saturday, December 2, at 11 am. This fabulous holiday event features a 3 hour brunch buffet, drinks (including Bloody Mary’s, Jim Beam cocktails, Tito’s cocktails, and mimosas), and a game of your choice. You can choose between bowling and Whirly Ball for your game! Buy your tickets now!
This week took me to the exciting Southport neighborhood. This area is bustling with shops, restaurants, and bars, all within walking distance of the Southport brown line stop. After stopping by the Amazon bookstore (if you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it!), we decided to stop in at Crosby’s Kitchen for dinner.
I always cook Thanksgiving dinner knowing we’ll have copious leftovers. There are so many ways to prepare leftovers, even the most leftover-hating family member will love them! Many are quick and can be made with pantry staples.
Many homebuyers are typically very excited to begin their house hunting journey. But they often wind up booking showings and visiting open houses before they've even had the chance to determine what their financial situation is like and how much they'd realistically be able to afford in a new home.
Are you over-stuffed from your Thanksgiving meal? Are you exhausted from your Black Friday shopping spree? Then take advantage of these holiday events that will help you to unwind this weekend!
Lincoln Park: With chilly weather here to stay, now’s the perfect time to check out one of Chicago’s fabulous museums. The Chicago History Museum has a new exhibit, “Vivian Maier’s Chicago”.
Since the emergence of the internet, the home search process has transformed significantly from years ago. Technology has been the single biggest influence on the change in how buyers search for their next home to buy.
I love Lakeview; it’s the neighborhood that made me fall in love with Chicago. So naturally, it’s my go-to neighborhood for discovering new restaurants. This week, I found Bluebird (2863 N Clark St.). It’s inconspicuous from the outside, you might miss it if you’re not looking for it.
By now, all shopping and a lot of your prep work is done. Dishes, cutlery, utensils, pots, pans, and linens are all sorted. Set the table the night before and cover with a clean white sheet. Do a quick vacuum and dust early, then it’ll be off your list. Do wash up in the kitchen as you go, it makes your job so much easier at the end.
The holidays are typically marked with all sorts of festive decorations, but perhaps none is more prominent and attention-grabbing than a Christmas Tree. When it comes to decorating your tree, you don't necessarily have to break out the same old decorations year after year.
Winter is coming- and so is the holiday season! This weekend marks the beginning of the Christmas season! Check out our picks for getting your cheer on this weekend!
When it comes to buying a home, financing the purchase is a critical component of the overall transaction. Here are some interesting home financing stats as gathered by the National Association of Realtors' Research Department.
Lakeview: Ready to get your laugh on? Come on down to Hitch Cocktails at the Annoyance Theatre! The show runs every Friday at 10 pm until December 29. It starts with an audience suggestion, then the players create a full length thriller in the style of Alfred Hitchcock.
This week had me feeling a little more fancy! After the release of Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list in October, I couldn’t wait to try one of the restaurants. The Bib Gourmand is awarded to restaurants that provide high quality food for a good value. The designation is different than Michelin’s star awards, which are more prestigious. However, with such a competitive dining market in Chicago, the Bib Gourmand is a huge honor.
I normally use a white board on my refrigerator for regular family schedules. And it’s great for large meal planning too! Schedule shopping trips and add notes like “Order turkey and pies!” Or “Move turkey to fridge for thawing!” (you’ll need one day for every four pounds frozen) This way, you’ll see it every day. Your complete schedule is on your legal pad, of course. Following are tips and handy tricks to make the day go smoothly.
Every component in your home has a certain life expectancy, some longer than others. As a homeowner, you'll find yourself repairing or replacing things in your home every so often - it's just part of the deal.
To honor and remember those who have dedicated their lives to defending our freedom and civil liberties, Veterans Day (which falls on Saturday) is a time for all Americans to thank and honor those who have selflessly served in our military during wartime and peacetime!
Bucktown and Wicker Park: Ever wanted to do a walking tour of Bucktown and Wicker Park? You’re in luck! Bizarre Bucktown Walking Tours offers you just that! This tour features information about the area’s history, neighborhood mysteries, and ghosts.
Houzz is easily the most popular online platform for anything to do with home design and remodeling. Since the site launched back in 2009, it has grown immensely in popularity, as well as in services. Here are some impressive numbers that Houzz manages to keep growing every year.
This week brought me two of my favorite things: brunch and Andersonville. It’s so fun having friends visit from home, because we can take them to our favorite places in Chicago! We love Andersonville and knew it would be the perfect spot for Sunday brunch.
For some people, the thought of having a houseful of people over for Thanksgiving is akin to giving a speech to a large audience: terrifying and to be avoided. Not necessarily! I grew up in a single-family household and my mother worked full time, leaving little time for cooking.
Your home has been cleaned, de-cluttered, staged, and is picture-perfect and ready for the market. But what about you? Are you ready to handle the sales process appropriately?
Oh Boy! Now that Halloween is behind us, the holidays will be here before you know it. But, we’ve got this weekend to enjoy first with a variety of fun and slow-paced events before the non-stop holiday hoopla begins!!
Thanks large in part to the lack of housing inventory in California, home prices have skyrocketed over the years. This puts home sellers in a great position to realize huge profits, especially if they've held onto their properties for a few years and allowed appreciated to boost value.
Lincoln Park: The Goose Island brewery is back open for business! Located at 1800 N. Clybourn, the brewery underwent significant renovations and is now ready to serve customers. The renovations include an expanded brewery on site and the kitchen is now run by chef Marcus Rasmussen.
Slowly but surely, I am making my way through Chicago’s deep dish pizza restaurants. This week took me to Pizzeria Due, which touts itself as the “birthplace of the original deep dish pizza”. Ike Sewell created deep dish pizza back in 1943, combining Italy’s old and authentic recipes with large quantities of meats, spices, vegetables and cheeses to create a hearty and filling meal.
Most of us have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in our homes, but that is usually the extent of our planning. The majority of people surveyed estimated they would have at least six minutes to escape a fire in their home.
Once you've made the decision to sell your home, it's time to find a real estate professional to list it on the market. Listing your home requires a few key tasks: signing a listing agreement contract with your chosen realtor, coming up with an appropriate listing price according to the current market, and prepping your home for showings.
Halloween Weekend in Chicago offers lots of pumpkins, parties, costumes, candy galore, scary movie screenings, spooky tours, and many other Halloween events for the entire family! But, “beware” of things that go bump in the night!!
What does the average homebuyer in the U.S. look like in 2017? Here are a few stats that will help paint that picture more clearly.
Lakeview: Kick off Halloween week the right way at the Music Box Theatre! At 7 pm this Monday evening, the Music Box hosts "Hex-a-Long Hocus Pocus". Hosted by Dick O’Day, this showing is family friendly and interactive, inviting audiences to shout, scream, sing, and cheer along with the Halloween classic "Hocus Pocus".
Sometimes, there’s just nothing better than a grilled cheese sandwich. And on those days, there’s Cheesie’s. Cheesie’s is a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant with 5 locations in the Chicagoland area. I went to the location on Belmont, just off the Red line stop (958 W. Belmont)
Winter is just around the corner and many of us are using supplemental heat to save on the high cost of heating fuel and gas. While this is a good idea, we need to remember that these heating sources can be very dangerous if not used safely. These items can be a major contributor to residential fires. However, they can be prevented!
Contractors provide homeowners with an estimate of cost for specific home renovation projects, but this number can easily be inflated when all is said and done. Here are the top reasons why renovations tend to go way over budget.
Many homeowners throughout the country have built up enough equity in their homes that can be pulled out and used for many of life's major expenses. Yet while there are various ways to get that money out, one popular way is through a cash-out refinance.
Our next holiday is approaching quickly. To get you into the spirit this weekend, the hauntings and magic of Halloween begin!
Lincoln Park: Chicago’s list of Michelin-endorsed Bib Gourmand restaurants was released last week and neither Lincoln Park nor Old Town made the cut. This year, 54 Chicago restaurants were honored. The Bib Gourmands recognizes more budget conscious restaurants, typically offering a two-course meal and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less.
Brunch is becoming a weekly ritual for me, and I’ve gotta tell you, I’m not upset about it. This week took me to The Bongo Room. The Bongo Room has three locations in the city. We visited the Andersonville location during prime time brunch time on a Sunday, around 10:30 am. We waited about half an hour before getting a table.
We need to think of carbon monoxide detectors this time of year when we start to use the furnace. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas. The symptoms of exposure often mimic that of a head cold or the flu. The symptoms include nausea, dizziness, fatigue, vomiting, etc. As such they can often be mistaken.
You've fallen in love with a home and are ready to put in an offer. But before you do, are you entirely certain that all the items that you believe come with the home purchase will be left behind when you get the keys to the home?
Even in October, one would be hard pressed not to find something fun to do on their weekend. In fact, there’s never a dull moment here in Chicago, as you will soon find out!
You may not realize it, but there are tons of toxins that are filling the air in your home. Luckily, there are plenty of house plants you can get that will help purify the air in your home while sitting pretty.
Bucktown and Wicker Park: Hoosier Mama Pie Co. has expanded into a neighboring storefront, added more seats, and an espresso bar. The new section opened this past Saturday at 10 am. Located at 1618 W. Chicago Ave., the popular spot has been slinging pies to its customers for 8 years. Espresso service launched on Tuesday, with drinks available until 2 pm.
Living near Asia on Argyle is both wonderful and dangerous. And I mean dangerous for my waistline. There are SO many incredible restaurants. But there is one stand-out for me: Pho 777. This is my favorite Vietnamese restaurant. Period. We went in on a Wednesday night at 7 pm and had no problem getting a table.
While there has been mostly summer-like weather around Chicago lately, it is October. Halloween is not far away and cooler temperatures are coming! There are many ways to bring in fall colors and foliage for decorating inside and out of your home.
Before buyers move into their new homes, escrow needs to close. That means all conditions and contingencies in the contract need to be met within a certain time frame, and all necessary documents must be signed by the closing date specified in the purchase agreement. At that point, buyers will get the keys to their new abode and are free to move in.
Are you ready to take on another weekend in Chicago jammed packed with not only fall activities but also an exciting race? Let’s see! Come out and enjoy a day of Fall Fun in the Parks at one or more of the following events hosted by the Chicago Park District.
The selling process can definitely be intense and even overwhelming at times. After all, we're talking about a massive investment. There are plenty of efforts made to find the right buyer who is qualified and interested in buying your home, but even after you think you've found the right buyer that will see the deal through, there's still a chance that they may back out.
Lakeview: Lakeview residents can already see the development of the new, six-story, mixed-use development next to the Belmont “L” stop. Now, the two ground level retail tenants are confirmed and scheduled to open in the spring. The first floor at 945 W. Belmont Ave. will be split into two 2,00 square foot shops.
This week took me to the exciting Logan Square neighborhood for dinner! Logan Square is bustling, full of hip restaurants and cool bars. Our pick for the week? Mi Tocaya Antojeria, a charming Mexican restaurant located at 2800 W. Logan Blvd. We came in around 7:30 on a Tuesday night and the place was packed.
You might not know it, but fall is the best time to plant trees, bushes, and shrubs. When you plant in the fall, trees have time to establish themselves without dealing with the stress and heat of summer.
The odds of problems being uncovered during a home inspection are pretty high, no matter how minor. Just about every house has some issues, even new ones. It's pretty common for buyers to make repair requests with the seller, especially if certain problems are more significant than others. But while some requests may be reasonable, others are not.
The transition is complete! It’s time for a great line-up of fall weekend activities as Chicagoans celebrate the autumn season!!
Buying your first house is a big deal. Considering the magnitude of such a purchase, you want to make sure you've got all your ducks in a row before you take the plunge. Here are a few things every first-time home buyer should do before making that big purchase.
Lincoln Park: Are you feeling nostalgic? Check out the 80s/90s pop-up store in Lincoln Park. Located at 810 W. Armitage Ave., owner John Agnello is slinging 80s/90s clothing at his store called SGMC. His Armitage pop-up opened at the end of August and has been so popular, he’s extended the lease to the end of October. If business continues as well as it has thus far, this pop-up won’t be his last!
You must, I repeat MUST, try this week’s restaurant. My life has been forever changed by Athenian Room. Located at 807 Webster Ave., this unassuming Greek restaurant is a true Chicago gem.
After a relatively mild summer, the heat has descended upon the Midwest with a vengeance. Even though October is less than a week away, we have been in the grips of a horrible heat wave. Usually with this much heat, we get a lot of rain. Unfortunately, even before this heat came in, we had not had a decent rainstorm for weeks.
One of the most common - and important - contingencies that buyers insert in their real estate contracts is the home inspection. Without it, buyers will never have a chance to identify any major underlying issues with a home before they buy it.
How do we welcome the autumn season here in Chicago? With plenty of food, libations, art, music, and summer temps for an amazing fall weekend, of course!
Landlords typically do some research on prospective tenants before they hand over the keys to their properties. After all, they're not going to just let anyone live in their units without verifying what they'll be like as renters.
ucktown and Wicker Park: The outdoor pool at Midtown Athletic Club is finally open! So is the accompanying 182 seat restaurant- Chromium. The restaurant is open to members of the athletic club, as well as guests from the coming hotel, The Hotel at Midtown. The 75-foot long pool opened September 10, after numerous construction delays. The pool will become an ice rink in the winter.
This week’s restaurant has quickly become one of my favorite places in Chicago. Nando’s Peri Peri is a delightful spot, with 12 locations in the Chicagoland area. We visited the Lakeview location (670 W. Diversey). The decor is unique, charming, and colorful and there are a large number of tables.
Many everyday household items don’t get the attention they need. Here are my recommended cleaning suggestions!
Your exterior space is just as important as your interior and warrants an equal amount of attention as far as decorating is concerned. Your landscaping should be inviting and welcoming, and when done right, it can actually add some extra value to your home.
As Chicagoans prepare themselves, or not, for the official arrival of autumn next Friday, there are plenty of summer fests still on the menu for this last summer weekend! One of the most celebrated, annual flavor-filled food happenings returns for its 5th year to the Lakeview neighborhood on Southport Avenue between Roscoe and Addison Streets this Saturday and Sunday (11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.) with the Sam Adams’ Lakeview Taco Fest.
Lakeview: Do you want to snag tickets to potential postseason Cubs games at Wrigley Field? Well now is your chance! You have one week to register here. Register online before Tuesday at noon and you’ll be entered into a random drawing to purchase single tickets for a potential Wild Card game and National League Division Series.
When it comes to valuing homes, the key is to compare them to other properties that are very similar in a number of ways. Real estate professionals typically look at other homes that are similar in location, style, size, design, and age compared to the subject property in order to get an accurate idea of the home's value. In addition, only homes that have been recently sold should be looked at, as market conditions can fluctuate very quickly.
This week took me to Pho’s Spicier Thai Cuisine. We went to the Lakeview location (3332 N Lincoln), right off the Paulina brown line stop. The outside is unassuming and the place is so small, if you blink, you might miss it. We came in on a Wednesday evening, so there wasn’t much foot traffic.
Start by making a schedule- don’t leave all the laundry for one day. Cleaning bedrooms and changing linens? Do the linens and the towels that day. When you make your weekly schedule, carve out time for a load or two. We all multitask and I’m sure most of you do this already, but throw a load in when you are doing other jobs around the house.
When it's time for you to apply for a mortgage, where do you turn to in order to get one? Should you work with a mortgage broker, or a direct lender? Or are they even the same thing?
The calendar may say it’s still summer, but the temps outside say differently. So, it’s time to face reality as Chicagoans begin their transition to the fall season this post-Labor Day weekend!
Unless the home you're buying is fresh off the builder's hands, it's likely going to have some blemishes, no matter how minor they may be. Ideally, you should have included a home inspection contingency in your purchase agreement, which will give you the opportunity to have the home inspected in greater detail.
Lincoln Park: Philly Bros is coming to Lincoln Park! The new outlet is scheduled to open September 16 at 734 W Fullerton Ave. Steak isn’t all that’s on the menu, though. A few other menu items caught my eye, including the Fried Oreos for dessert: three fried Oreos topped with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream, and powdered sugar. Make sure to check out this new fast food spot when it opens!
In my continued search for the best burger in Chicago, this week took me to The Bad Apple. Located at 4300 N Lincoln Ave., this North Center bar is touted by Eater Chicago for having one of the best burgers in the city. As always, I love taking a group with me, so we can all try different things.
Think carefully before choosing colors. Dark colors are often compelling as they add warmth and depth, but be careful. They can make a small room appear even smaller and darker. Try a darker accent wall for the same effect. Lighter colors open up a room; blues and greens are calming and great for bedrooms.
When shopping for a home, there's a possibility that you may come across a property that's sharing a driveway with the home next door. That means that one driveway needs to be shared between the two adjoining neighbors.
Most of us will have an extended weekend as we celebrate Labor Day this coming Monday. Could this be summer’s last stand? Let’s find out!
Your credit score plays a huge role in your eligibility to qualify for a mortgage. If you're planning to buy a home in the near future, you'd be well-advised to understand exactly how it's broken down.
Lakeview: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is opening its 5th Chicago outpost at the Park at Wrigley Field. Opening in April 2018, the shop will occupy 2100 square feet. Other Jeni’s locations include Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Old Town, and Wicker Park. Founder Jeni Britton Bauer is creating a baseball themed ice cream with honey-roasted peanuts, caramel, and popcorn.
This week took me to Wilde, a charming restaurant and bar in Lakeview East. Located at 3130 N Broadway, Wilde describes itself as an “upscale Irish bar and restaurant”. We came in with a group of seven people on Wednesday night and were seated right away; always a plus when you have a large group.
With our good weather in Chicago this summer, we’ve had an abundance of green beans. Thankfully, they are very easy to freeze, enjoy, and prepare for easy recipes through the long winter months.
Buying a home is a big deal, and comes with plenty of important decisions that need to be made. If it's a single-detached property that you're looking for, you might be struggling to choose between one-story or two-story homes.
As we head into the last weekend of August (yes, already), there is no shortage of fun to be found here in Chicago!
Buyers are often unable to visualize what a home can potentially look like before any updates have been made. That's why it's highly recommended for sellers to employ a professional home stager to revamp their home in order to help it appear more attractive to buyers on the prowl.
Bucktown and Wicker Park: Stan's Donuts is celebrating its founders 88th birthday this Saturday! To celebrate, Stan's will be slinging their famous glazed donuts for just 88 cents (usually $1.80). Chicago's first Stan's donuts opened in 2014 at 1560 N. Damen Ave. in Wicker Park. Owner Rich Labriola has since opened five more locations, with two in the works.
If you're a religious reader of this weekly restaurant review, you've probably sussed out a couple of things. First, I love to eat (although, that one is pretty obvious). Second, I particularly love breakfast. So, this week's review will come as no surprise to you.
I love tomatoes more than any other vegetable. They are so versatile and growing your own is easy, whether you live on a few acres or grow them on your balcony. I always have at least 10 plants, so this time of year I usually have more tomatoes than my husband and I can eat. Thank goodness I have ways to preserve this awesome tomato flavor well into the winter. I freeze to preserve; the easiest, quickest and safest way I know.
Homebuyers are always in search of the lowest price on a home purchase. The more house you can get with the smallest amount of money, the better. But snagging a great deal on a home requires a few savvy tactics aside from blatantly throwing the seller a lowball offer. If you go about things the right way, you just might be able to walk away with the home of your dreams at a price you can comfortably handle.
As we inch closer to the fall season with each passing weekend here in Chicago, it’s still summer and there are plenty of neighborhood fests to take advantage of!
Sellers have various avenues they can take to offer buyers incentives to purchase their homes, and one of them is through seller financing. Most home purchases are done with the assistance of financing in order to help make it feasible for buyers to claim title on a property, and sometimes buyers can turn to the seller themselves rather than the bank when it comes to obtaining financing for a home.
Lakeview: A new liquor store is hoping to occupy the space of a former clothing store on Halsted. Located at 2154 N. Halsted, the store has received mixed opinions from people in the area thus far. One local resident said she doesn’t believe this fits in in with the character of the community and feels the community doesn’t need a liquor store. Another resident said he believes this would be good for the area. Owner Bhupendra Patel hopes to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals sometime in the next week.
Slowly but surely, I'm making my way through the pizza of Chicago. It's an arduous task, but someone's gotta do it. This week took me to Lou Malnati's. With 48 locations in the Chicagoland area, it's a Chicago institution.
Think your house is too dark for houseplants to be happy and thrive? Think again. These varieties are beautiful and do especially well in low light. As a bonus, they are incredibly easy to care for.
Home values have skyrocketed over recent years in many markets across the country. Homeowners who decide to sell anytime can potentially make a big profit if they have a lot more equity in the home compared to what is still owed on their mortgage.
Preparing for another school season here in Chicago? Take a break this weekend and have fun getting to know your neighborhoods!
Out of all the energy consumption in the U.S., about 40% is used by residential and commercial properties. More specifically, residences rank third highest in energy consumption in the country. Given these stats, what is all this energy going towards in the average American home?
Lincoln Park: Runn Chicago opens later this month at 1448 W. Willow St. Owner Keith Kimble was inspired to start Runn with an epiphany: Why wasn't anyone doing running classes on treadmills the way they did spinning classes on stationary bikes? The running club will have an open house on August 27.
Last night I had the pleasure of going to one of my favorite restaurants in the city. This is a bold statement, considering the wealth of great food our city has to offer. But, I stand by it. Hopleaf (5148 N Clark) is a fantastic restaurant/bar in Andersonville.
Regardless of whether or not it's a seller's market, it's always helpful if your home has the features that buyers are looking for. Here are the top 11 characteristics that today's buyers want when shopping for a new home.
Even though schools in Chicago don’t start until after Labor Day, many of our Northwest Suburban school districts will be starting in the next few weeks. Make this the year you get the kids organized and make school mornings relatively stress free.
Before you seal the deal on your real estate contract, you'll want to do one last thing after all is said and done - perform a final walk-through of the home. Anything can happen from the day you visit the home to closing. A final walk-through is extremely important for buyers to identify any issues that go against the contract. If there are any, they could delay closing or crush the deal completely.
Isn’t it fitting that as we welcome the month of August (which by the way is still summer), cool temps arrive? What’s even more fitting is that football season kicks-off next month! Well, summer may be winding down but not here in Chicago!
Lakeview: The Foo Fighters announced a surprise show this Friday as part of Lollapalooza. Unfortunately for fans, tickets sold out within 26 minutes. Lollapalooza starts on Thursday in Grant Park, with a lineup that includes stars like Chance the Rapper, Lorde, and The XX.
Trying to find a restaurant for a special occasion in Chicago is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Ok, maybe it’s not quite that difficult, but it does pose quite a challenge. With so many incredible places to eat, picking just one is tricky! With some diligent searching, my best friend and I settled on Fountainhead for my birthday dinner this weekend.
Borax is a natural mineral mined in North and South America. In the United States, the largest veins are found in Death Valley, California. The term “20 Mule Team Borax” refers to the large team required to move the borax for processing. Borax has many uses and has been used in households since the 1800s.
One of the keys to making a profit on a fix and flip is to sell as quickly as possible right after rehabbing is complete. The longer it takes to sell the place, the less money will be left in your pocket. When you factor in the carrying costs and the potential for market conditions to fluctuate, you stand a much better chance of reaping a higher profit if you sell quickly.
Who’s tired of Chicago’s summer street festival season? I hope your answer is the right one because this last weekend in July is packed with them! And, if your answer isn’t the right one, remember winter is longer than summer around here!!
A big part of making a prudent buying decision is ensuring that you know what you're getting. When it comes to buying a house, you want to takes steps to find out if there are any issues with it. If there are, you'll want to identify how serious the problems are and whether or not they will influence your decision to go through with the deal.
Bucktown and Wicker Park: A new public park is coming to the Wicker Park neighborhood. After a proposal passed City Council on Wednesday, the new park will be developed on a patch of city-owned land next to the Kennedy Expressway.
I always manage to find myself in Andersonville for a meal. The neighborhood is so charming, I walk through at least once a week. And with the plethora of restaurants and bars, I never have trouble finding a new spot to try. This week took me to Replay, an arcade bar/restaurant in the heart of Andersonville.
Flash floods (as the words indicate) can happen quickly. Heavy rains that drop several inches in a short amount of time can cause floods that become dangerous in minutes. If you are out driving, you may come upon a flooded road.
If you've got a big expense to pay for, you may not necessarily have to take out a personal loan if you don't have the liquid cash to cover it. Instead, you may be able to pay for the expense with the equity you've built up in your home, if you have any.
We’re definitely in the “dog days of summer” here in Chicago as we roll into another July weekend! So, be sure to dress appropriately and stay hydrated as you venture out to one of the City’s summer fests!!
Over the past decade, millions of Americans lost their homes due to foreclosure after the devastating housing crisis hit the country back in 2008. Not only is losing a home to foreclosure emotionally distressing, it can also wreak havoc on your credit score. Taking a major ding on your credit rating can seriously hamper your ability to take out another mortgage, or any other type of loan for that matter.
Lincoln Park: If you don’t already have plans tonight, you’re in luck! The 17th Annual Green City Market Chef BBQ is tonight from 5:30 to 8 pm. This is a Chicago summer must, with over 100 of Chicago’s best chefs cooking up creative, tasty concoctions using produce and meats from Green City Market vendors. Admission is $125 for adults and $25 for kids 12 and under.
Choosing a restaurant in Chicago can be an onerous task. With so many amazing places to choose from, how do you ever settle on a spot? I've taken to the recommendations of natives. Don't get me wrong, I love going out and searching for my new favorite place to chow down.
With our busy schedules these days, it often seems like the last thing we think about is a good night’s sleep. Of course, the thinking in the old days was that 8 hours was the minimum for good health and effective rest. Now we know that the optimum is 7 hours but the absolute minimum is six good hours. Yes, that means good REM sleep.
For many Americans, homeownership is a major goal in life. While many may be content renting into the foreseeable future, many others hope to one day have their name on title of a property they can call their own.
Who’s ready for another Chicago summer weekend packed with fests, food and fun? If so, let’s get you started with these events!
Many homeowners choose to renovate their homes rather than moving to a new place. Improving your home can help update the construction and systems, add more much-needed space, or add a higher level of convenience for all household members to enjoy.
If you're a How I Met Your Mother fan, you know that it is of the utmost importance to find yourself a neighborhood bar. Everyone's got to have their MacLaren's! When my best friends moved to Chicago, we found ours. Bar on Buena is a charming, cozy neighborhood bar.
July 4th marks the middle of summer. Most places in the country are experiencing warm temperatures with varying amounts of rain. Even if you are getting regular storms, you may still have to water. Often storms seem to drop a huge amount of water, but much of the rain runs off before it can do much good. It’s those slow, day-long rains that really benefit the lawn and garden.
Considering buying an older home? There are plenty of benefits of taking this route versus buying new construction. Older homes have a lot of character, are usually located in more established neighborhoods that are closer to urban centers, and are typically surrounded by mature greenery. That said, older homes may also require some improvements considering the aging of the construction materials.
A “tasteful” summertime experience awaits you with the arrival of milder and less humid temps for your weekend outdoors!
There are different ways to hold title of a property. While joint tenancy and sole ownership tend to be more common, there are other less common ways to own real estate, including 'tenants in common'. There really are no limits on how many people can be on title to a home, though realistically, lenders will have specific requirements that can restrict who is allowed to be on title.
Bucktown and Wicker Park: West Fest is back this weekend for its 13th year! This annual street party is a Chicago favorite. The fest will run from July 7 to the 9th and is both kid-friendly and dog-friendly. It's located along the 1800 to 2000 blocks of Chicago Avenue, from Wood Street to Damen Avenue. There is no admission fee; however a $5 donation is suggested to help offset costs and support the West Town Chamber of Commerce, as well as two local public schools.
You know when you find a new restaurant you love and you just can't stop going there? That's what happened to me with this week's restaurant find. Goddess and Grocer is an amazing, reasonably priced deli with locations all over the city.
If you are new to my blog, here are a few easy ways to stretch your family budget. Even if you are comfortable financially, why pay more than you need to? I know some people that make a game of finding bargains and give the money they save to charity. Have doubles from BOGO deals at the grocery store? Give the extras to a food bank!
For sellers, a short sale is not an ideal way to sell a home. But for buyers, it may be a great way to snag a great deal on a home. That said, a short sale is not exactly like a conventional sale, and there could realistically be a few hurdles for buyers to have to jump over before this type of real estate transaction comes to a close.
Not only do Chicagoans get to welcome the month of July on a weekend, but some of us are lucky enough to have an extended four-day weekend as the July 4th holiday falls on Tuesday!
After searching for a new home, negotiating an offer, and going through escrow, buyers are aware of the steps that need to be taken to ensure a successful transaction. But the work isn't over just yet. As soon as you get the keys to your new abode, there are a few things that need to be tackled before you kick your feet up.
Lakeview: The Park at Wrigley Field continues to expand with the addition of new restaurant Brickhouse Tavern. It boasts four bars and two outdoor terraces, all with a view of the Wrigley plaza. The tavern is named after famed Cubs broadcaster Jack Brickhouse and has a huge wall installation made entirely of baseball bats.
Andersonville is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago. There are so many shops, bars, and restaurants to explore; I always find a new place I love. This week, I happened into Polygon Cafe. I came in around noon and there were only a few other tables, always a pleasant surprise.
Vinegar is a natural solvent that can be used to clean the house without the use of harsh chemicals. These chemicals are not only unhealthy to breathe, but they're also not good for the environment.
After searching for the perfect place to call home, you finally find one that perfectly suits your family and lifestyle. You decide to put in an offer and cross your fingers that all goes well at the negotiating table.
You’re not going to believe that Chicago welcomed in the “official” start of summer this past Wednesday, as our weekend temps will be more like spring temps! But, that might not be such a bad thing for this weekend’s outdoor festivals!!
Bucktown and Wicker Park: Do you miss the 90s? Well, you're in luck! Kel Mitchell (yes, that Kel Mitchell!) of Nickelodeon shows such as "All That" and "Kenan and Kel" will host a 90s-themed bar crawl this Saturday in Wicker Park. Wear your best 90s outfit or dress as your favorite 90s character! The crawl is scheduled from 2 to 9 pm and will stop at 11 bars.
Fixing up your home is a great idea when you've decided to put your home on the market. However, you need to be careful with the types of projects you take on and what you decide to invest your time and money in. While some projects may bring in a high ROI, many others won't let you recoup all that money spent.
Bar food is always a toss-up. You never know if you're going to happen on a hidden gem or wish you had decided to eat at home instead. This week took me to a very surprising hidden gem! Finley Dunne's Tavern (3458 N. Lincoln) is an unassuming sports bar in Lakeview.
The majority of residential real estate contracts typically come with a contingency that allows the buyer to have the home inspected by a professional before the deal is sealed. Buyers usually pay for this service themselves, while sellers simply allow them to book a few hours to inspect the home from top to bottom. So, if the buyer is arranging - and paying for - a home inspection, why should you as a seller pay to have your own pre-inspection done?
We can all benefit from safety awareness around our homes. Although all of us are at risk of falls, older Americans are especially vulnerable. Falls are the leading cause of reduced independence in people over 65, with 1 in 4 falling every year. More than 25,500 older adults died from falls in 2013 alone.
The home selling process is an intricate one that involves a number of steps and contingencies. One of the more common processes involved in a real estate transaction is a title search, which is conducted to ensure that the person who is selling the property actually has the legal right to do so.
Lakeview: Houndstooth Saloon is celebrating their 11th anniversary this weekend! Houndstooth has been serving up Southern-inspired American food, an extensive draft beer list, and craft cocktails since 2006. On Saturday night, they'll celebrate their birthday with their customers by offering 11-cent (yes you read that right, 11 CENTS!) Smirnoff cocktails and $1.11 Bell's Brewery drafts. Stop in for cheap drinks and good, down home Southern food!
I've officially found a new favorite restaurant obsession. Middle East Grocery (1512 W. Foster Ave.) is a charming restaurant and grocery store combination in the heart of Andersonville. I stopped in on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, looking for a quick and easy lunch.
In the summer, we often don’t feel like cooking; even less like eating. There are some easy salads to put together and meats to cook, that require minimal effort. Even if it’s too hot to grill outside, there are ways to cook inside that don’t heat up the house.
Thinking of putting in a pool in your backyard? You've got a lot of options to choose from. Modern pool design is constantly evolving as homeowners' tastes become more sophisticated and available technologies help improve building and design techniques.
WOW-- what a weekend the City has lined up for us as summer temps roll into town and festival season swings into high gear!
Lincoln Park: The zoo isn't just for kids anymore! Tonight marks the first "Adults Night Out" of the season at Lincoln Park Zoo. Admission is $12 for zoo members and $15 for non-members. From 6:30 to 10 pm, the zoo is open to adults only. The Park Place Café, Café at Wind Things, and the Landmark Café will all serve food and alcoholic beverages are available for purchase as well.
There's really only one reason why sellers would choose to go the FSBO route - to save money on realtor commissions. Unfortunately, what many of these sellers do not realize is that it's highly possible to actually wind up wasting money due to costly mistakes made throughout the process that could have otherwise been saved had they hired a professional to help in the first place.
Summer in Chicago is finally here! And with the coming of warmer weather, the patios of Chicago are open in full force. This week took me to a particularly lovely patio at Noodles in The Pot. Located at 2453 N. Halsted St., this charming Thai restaurant is tucked into the bustling Lincoln Park neighborhood.
A good landscape is not perfectly even. Try grouping your plantings in odd numbered groups of three or five. Within the group, have plants with different blooming times. This way from a distance, it will always look full and interesting throughout the year. Always check that plants will thrive in your climate. Most plants at local home and garden centers only carry local types but always check. Sometimes less is more.
Buying a fixer upper is a great way to quickly add equity into your home shortly after purchasing it. Rather than paying for the best house on the block that's already been upgraded as much as it can be, buying a home in need of some serious TLC will provide you with the opportunity to add this extra value to it yourself while benefitting from added equity.
There is definitely no shortage of street festivals this weekend in Chicago as we welcome in the month of June and another summer season!
Condominium living might not be for everyone, but there are definite perks to them, including affordability, desirable location, and access to amenities. They're particularly well suited for those who like the idea of having someone else take care of many aspects of their property for them.
Bucktown and Wicker Park: It's never too early to get excited for a festival! The highly anticipated Wicker Park Fest is back this year from noon to 10 pm on July 29 and 30. This huge street party features local bands, a kids festival, food and retail vendors, and more.
Roscoe Village is a quaint neighborhood with hidden restaurant gems on every corner. I was lucky enough to visit one such gem this week. Wishbone has been serving up made-from-scratch, down home Southern food for nearly 25 years.
I’ve seen an awful lot of kale in many forms in grocery stores lately. It has really come into its’ own with different varieties offered at most stores. It turns out kale is a nutritional powerhouse! It is high in beta carotene, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K. It is a good source of sulforphane, a potent anti-cancer fighter; as well as in lutein, which is great for your eyes. It is also a good source of fiber. It is a very dark green vegetable, similar to spinach, but with many more nutrients.
It's very exciting when your real estate deal closes, but it's imperative not to rush the process until you've dotted all your "i's" and crossed all your "t's". There are a few key documents that need to be reviewed before you move in, including the certificate of occupancy (CO).
Finally, Memorial Day Weekend has arrived here in Chicago and one can only hope that it brings us some summer temps! After all, it is the “unofficial” start of summer, which has been a long time coming this year!!
Living in an HOA community has its perks, but how you deal with your HOA can make a big difference in your enjoyment of your home and surrounding community.
Lincoln Park: The Chicago History Museum (1601 N. Clark St.) is adding a new event to their monthly calendar. The museum hosted their first of a monthly series: "History Happy Hour" this Tuesday. Happy hour is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Tuesday's event kicked off with a tasting from Koval Distillery! Each month, local breweries and distilleries will be featured.
One of the best things about living in a big city is the magnitude and proximity of delicious restaurants. This week took me to Tweet, a brunch-only destination in the Uptown neighborhood. Their website states, "Our goal at Tweet is to prepare and serve, with love, the freshest, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, organic when possible: eggs, dairy, vegetables and fruit, subject to market availability."
Here in Chicago, spring can be a fleeting thing. It’s either raining and 50 degrees or 85˚ with 40 mile-an-hour winds. Whatever weather we are blessed with, on any given weekend everyone wants to get outside after a long winter.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to save some cash whenever you can, especially when it comes to operating your home. In fact, you'd be foolish not to take advantage of money-saving tactics if they're simple and don't come with consequences.
Chicago is an amazing city year-round, we all know that! The start of summer also signals the beginning of festival season. Get your festival on this weekend!
Buying a house is most likely the biggest investment you will ever make, so before you dive head-first into the deal, you'll want to have some questions answered about your mortgage. After all, you'll be responsible for making good on your mortgage payments every month for years, so make sure you're well advised about your home loan before you sign on the dotted line.
Lakeview: Big things are coming to the Lakeview neighborhood in 2018! The first food hall north of the Magnificent Mile will open next year at the corner of Broadway and Sheridan. Lakeview Market will house both bars and food vendors and will be open daily from 10:30 am to 10 pm. Some vendors will be open until midnight on weekends.
Normally when someone suggests a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, I'm hesitant to go along with it. I am so glad I didn't shy away from Handlebar. Located at 2311 W. North Ave., this cozy spot is tucked into the busy Wicker Park neighborhood. Handlebar serves made-from-scratch vegetarian and vegan comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
What kid doesn’t like to dig in the dirt? My grandkids love to help plant flowers and work in the garden. They especially enjoy watering, the garden and each other! It’s also a great way to introduce more vegetables into their diet.
Having the only home on the block that's up for sale means less competition for you. But what happens when one or more of the neighbors decide to follow suit and plant their own For Sale signs on their front lawns? How can you compete to make sure your home stands out from the crowd?
What a weekend Chicago has in store for us! Not only will Mother Nature be cooperating with plenty of sunshine but we’ll be “Celebrating Moms” with events on both Saturday and Sunday!!
Owning a home and having homeowner's insurance go hand-in-hand, but how well do you really know your policy? Have you taken the time to read over your policy front to back? Few homeowners fully understand their insurance policies and all the little details that they contain.
Lincoln Park: Still looking for Thursday evening plans? You're in luck! The Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce is hosting the inaugural "Lincoln Park Uncorked", a wine crawl along Armitage Avenue and Halsted Street.
Wicker Park is an explosion of restaurants and bars, making it one of the hottest food neighborhoods in Chicago. After a matinee at a theatre nearby, a group of us stumbled into Antique Taco. We started with two classic appetizers: guacamole and queso.
Old- fashioned remedies have survived many years for a reason: they work! Epsom salts are one of these. Epsom salts are comprised of magnesium and sulfate. They get their name from a small borough in Surrey, England called Epsom. The salts were first discovered in the bubbling springs there. Epsom salts have many uses in the home and garden besides soaking a sprained ankle.
It's not called a "family room" for no reason. This important space in the home is dedicated to serving as a retreat for everyone in the home whenever they feel the need to chill out, play, and just hang with loved ones. Based on this description of what a family room is and should be, it needs to be designed and decorated accordingly.
I so look forward to weekends in Chicago because there is always something fun going on rain or shine, cold or hot! This weekend is no exception as Chicagoans begin gearing-up for the arrival of summer!!
The actual purchase price of a new home is typically a hefty amount - every buyer knows that. But what many new homebuyers might not realize is how much extra they'll have to spend above and beyond what the actual home costs.
Bucktown and Wicker Park: After more than 70 years of business, Sam's Red Hots is leaving Bucktown. Don't cry yet; it's being replaced by Jr's Red Hots! If all his ducks are in a row, owner Arturo Torres Jr. predicts the new eatery will open next weekend.
I make it a point to seek out some of my favorite cuisines in the city. Italian food always seems to be left off that list. I love Italian, it's just not always at the forefront of my mind when choosing a restaurant. Luckily, one evening, my date suggested Frasca Pizzeria + Wine Bar.
The weather this spring has definitely been up and down. We have had wonderful sunny days in the 70s, then the next day? Cold and rainy. We cannot always wait for the perfect day to choose our plants at the garden store.
Do you know how much your home loan will cost you? It's a critical question that you need to ask if you're going to be able to budget accordingly. Luckily, the answer to this can be found on the Loan Estimate, which recently replaced the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) as well as the Truth-in-Lending (TIL) disclosure statement under TRID guidelines.
It looks like we’re going to have a chilly, wet weekend as we close out another April here in Chicago. But those April Showers won’t dampen our spirits!
Whether you’re moving out of your current home or are just looking to purge a bunch of stuff you no longer use, an estate sale can be a great way to clear out things you no longer use and even help you make a good chunk of change at the same time.
Lakeview: 5 months into water main construction on North Broadway and merchants are beginning to quote The Who and say, "We're not gonna take it!" Clouds of dust have been stirred up by the construction and business owners are reporting a significant loss of business.
Brunch in Chicago is practically a ritual and this week was no exception. However, weekday brunches can be more difficult to come by. Thank goodness for Kanela Breakfast Club!
Container gardening can work well for just about any living situation. They work as well on the back deck of a single-family house as they do on the balcony of a high-rise condominium. Choose your container to fit in the space you have.
While there are certainly similarities between selling different forms of real estate, there are also some differences that should be noted as well. Before you even begin the listing process for your condo, it would be wise to understand what these differences are.
Not only will Chicagoans be taking care of business on Earth Day, which happens to fall on Saturday this year, but they’ll also be having fun and relaxing too!
Most people would automatically assume that a home located directly on a golf course would be worth much more than a similar home on a block that isn’t, and they'd be right most of the time. The idea of having crisp, clear views of pristine, meticulously maintained greenery is often enough to prompt buyers to up the ante in terms of offer prices.
Bucktown and Wicker Park: The food scene in Wicker Park continues to expand with the addition of new sushi restaurant Sushi Taku. Located at 1904 W. Division St., the restaurant opens on Wednesday. The menu is extensive, offering 22 signature rolls. Owner Tom Li has billed the Fire Dragon roll and Spicy Crispy Tuna Roll as two of his favorites.
I know I've mentioned before how much I love Asian food, but it bears repeating. I. Love. Asian. Food. This week took me to Spoon Thai, a charming restaurant located between Ravenswood and Lincoln Square.
Perennials are often forgotten in the landscape, although they still seem to carry on year after year. But if you give them a little extra care, they will reward you with more numerous, bigger blooms and more attractive plants.
It can be devastating to be turned down for a mortgage after getting your heart set on buying a new home. While lenders have loosened their lending criteria somewhat since the financial debacle nearly a decade ago, it can still be challenging to get approved for a mortgage if your credit score is low, your debt-to-income ratio is high, or your income is unstable. Ideally, lenders want borrowers to be able to check off all requirements before extending a mortgage.
Grab your basket, don your bonnet and hop to it! It’s Easter weekend in Chicago which means there are a breadth of Easter events for families taking center stage all weekend long!!
Lakeview: So many exciting things are coming to Wrigley Field with the addition of the new Wrigley Plaza. Located just north of Clark and Addison, the new plaza is titled "The Park at Wrigley Field."
Your home is likely your biggest asset, which is why a sound homeowner’s insurance policy is crucial. Heed the following advice to ensure you obtain the best insurance coverage possible for your home.
One of the best parts of having friends visit is showing off Chicago's amazing food scene. I live very close to Andersonville, which has some incredible restaurants. Little Bad Wolf has been on my list for weeks!
We often think that once better weather comes we can leave birds on their own. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is nary a bud out yet; not even one seed. Spring and summer are high feeding times. Defining territory, building nests, and raising young takes a lot of energy and our bird visitors will supplement their wild feeding with our backyard food.
The majority of real estate purchase agreements will include a contingency to have a home inspection before a buyer takes the keys to a home. It’s not uncommon for buyers to gloss over issues with a home that a licensed home inspector might be able to catch. If there is a major issue uncovered, it will certainly be the subject of renegotiation.
Easter Celebration at Chicago’s Roosevelt Collection will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at The Lofts at Roosevelt Collection (150 W. Roosevelt Rd.) in the South Loop. The fun begins with an Easter Egg Hunt divided into three sessions – 10:00 a.m. for kids with special needs, 11:00 a.m. for toddlers, and 12:00 p.m. for kids five and up; so all kids will have an equal chance to search to their hearts’ delight!
In the majority of cases, real estate closings happen on time as per the scheduled date. However, there are times when such closings may be delayed for any number of reasons.
Lincoln Park: The Lincoln Park Cultural Center is ready for a little sprucing up. The 90-year-old building, located at 2045 N. Lincoln Park West, is part of a program called "Save Chicago's Treasures". The 26 million dollar program is geared towards long-awaited repairs for 20 Park District buildings. Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave a statement, saying, "Some of our field houses are more than 100 years old.
Kuma’s Corner promotes a simple ethos on their website: "Support Your Community. Eat Beef. Bang Your Head." Now with 5 locations in the Chicago area, this burger hub dishes up local, homegrown food, craft brews and spirits, and some seriously heavy metal.
Small rooms can be a challenge when decorating. It’s best to stick with lighter colors but they don’t need to be various shades of white. Light grays, blues and greens are considered cool colors and are very soothing for a small room. When you do choose a paint, bring home samples in various shades to try out. Paint looks different when dry and in different light.
Who doesn’t want to score a great deal on a home? Getting a fabulous property for the lowest price possible is one of the primary goals of buyers and their agents.
Thank goodness, the weekend is here! I feel like I’m in hibernation all over again with the abundance of rain these past few days. So, what do you say? Let’s get this weekend started and welcome in April but beware of its Fool!!
Imagine being mortgage-free or having access to tax-free money that can be used to cover any one of life’s major expenses? For eligible American homeowners aged 62 years or older, this can be a reality thanks to Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM’s). Backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), these reverse mortgage programs enable seniors to take out some of the equity in their homes and even choose how they withdraw the money.
Lakeview: A new gelato shop is opening in the Lakeview neighborhood next month. Frio Gelato, an Argentinean shop, will fit right into the "Argentine Alley" that includes an Argentinean steakhouse and empanada restaurant. This is the second outpost of Frio Gelato (located at 3721 N. Southport Ave.), with the first in Evanston.
Always on the hunt for a new Asian restaurant, last week took me to Little Wok. Located at 3144 N. Broadway St., this intimate spot is perfect for date night. The menu is gigantic, with both a Chinese and Japanese section. My date loves spicy food, so he ordered the Hot Pepper Chicken, hoping it would be the spiciest thing on the menu.
Laundry is either a large or small job, depending on the number of people in your family. If you have children, unfortunately it will be a daily chore. Nevertheless, everyone in the family should be responsible for bringing their own laundry down and even younger children can help with sorting and folding. Make sure you DO the laundry. Just getting it into the dryer is not done. Folded and put away is finished!
Usually, buyers move into a home they purchased only after escrow closes, but there are times when buyers get possession of the home before closing. While not very common, buyers who ask to move into the home before closing might have a variety of reasons to do so.
As wintertime events begin to wrap-up their season, springtime events are springing up all over the city and the Chicagoland area!
Bucktown and Wicker Park: Always looking for your next caffeine fix? You're in luck! Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea Bar opens next Wednesday in the Wicker Park neighborhood. Located at 1620 N Milwaukee Ave, the shop has a grand opening planned for Wednesday, March 29.
When you obtain a mortgage, the interest rate that you are given will have a significant impact on how much the loan will cost you. Obviously, the lower the rate, the more affordable your mortgage will be. In this case, a larger proportion of your payment will go towards the principal portion compared to a mortgage with a higher interest rate.
The Lakeview neighborhood has a veritable cornucopia of exciting restaurants, making it nearly impossible to choose a place to eat. Wandering up Clark St. earlier this week, I happened upon HopCat. The large, colorful stained glass windows are immediately inviting. The promise of over 100 beers on tap didn't hurt either!
Dawn dishwashing liquid is one of the best de-greasers there is. We have all seen the commercial where it's used to clean birds after oil spills. It is effective on grease while being gentle on birds’ feathers and skin.
It’s often recommended for buyers to close at the end of the month - or at least as close to it - in order to avoid being stuck with having to pay more prepaid interest when the deal closes. This is often a good strategy to save money, but it needs to be fully understood in order to find out how much money truly is saved at the end of the day.
Ok, so some of us got dumped on with snow this past week, no big deal – the weekend is upon us, the snow will be gone and spring is officially here on Monday. It’s time to shed ‘ole man winter and begin planning for the awakening and blooming of spring!
Having poor credit can make it tough for you to buy a car, get a small business loan, and be approved for a mortgage. If your credit is lagging, there are habits that you can adopt today to improve it.
Lakeview: Senator Elizabeth Warren is scheduled to speak at the Music Box Theatre on April 22. She will be speaking about her new book, "This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class". Her talk begins at 2:30 pm and books purchased at the event will be pre-signed by the Senator.
I had friends in town from Austin this weekend, so naturally, we had to take them to have classic Chicago deep dish pizza. What better place than a Chicago staple, Giordano's? We started with the calamari appetizer. It was a huge platter, with a mix of fried calamari, green beans, lemon rings, banana peppers, and shaved fennel.
You only need a few square feet of soil to provide vegetables for the whole family. Raised beds are the best way to grow healthy vegetable plants. Many times, plants die or develop disease from sitting in water that does not properly drain. Timbers work well, but make sure you get wolmanized wood.
Your home has been on the market for a few weeks now with no offers coming in, despite all the showings that have been booked. What could be the problem?
There’s nothing quite like St. Patrick’s Day here in Chicago! Chicagoans celebrate Irish culture and tradition throughout this great city of ours this weekend, since the actual holiday falls on a workday (next Friday)! So, don your best green outfit and become Irish for a day, because there is no shortage of ways to celebrate!!
Bucktown and Wicker Park: Tapster, Wicker Park's first pour-your-own beer bar, opens at 7 pm this Friday. Located at 2027 W. North Ave., the bar has 62 taps and 70 seats. Patrons can pour themselves up to 2 pints (32 ounces) of beer, wine, and kombucha. They'll have an electronic "tapcard" that will dispense and charge drinks by the ounce.
Your mortgage broker will ask you a number of questions when you’re applying for a home loan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask a few questions of your own. Buying a home is a huge decision, and the type of mortgage package that you opt for is just as important.
Brunch in Chicago is an absolute necessity. With so many great options, it can be daunting to find the perfect weekend spot. Reservoir , located in the Buena Park neighborhood, is a fabulous brunch option. The restaurant is small and unassuming, with an intimate and charming atmosphere.
We all think we know what foods are the most healthy for us but do we actually know which are best? Following are the best choices in each food group for a balanced, healthy diet. Some may surprise you or their nutritional benefit has recently been re-thought.
For homebuyers who are struggling to come up with a minimum 5% down payment that conventional mortgages require, an FHA-backed home loan can sometimes be the best route to take. The criteria is also not as strict as conventional mortgage programs, which means stellar credit isn’t always mandatory to be accepted.
Just knowing that the official start of spring is just 15 days away now has most Chicagoans getting out more in anticipation of fest season and getting some green around here!
Coming up with a sizeable down payment these days can be pretty tough, especially when you consider the soaring home prices that buyers have been facing lately. Conventional mortgages require at least 5% down, but a minimum of 20% is needed in order to avoid having to pay the extra costs associated with private mortgage insurance (PMI).
Lakeview: Ella Elli, opening March 7, is a new upscale restaurant in the Lakeview neighborhood. Located at 1349 W. Cornelia Ave., it will offer dishes rooted in Mediterranean cuisine, with Italian, Moroccan, French, and Spanish influences. The venue seats 74 people and seeks to be an elegant option for a night out.
I will unabashedly state that tacos are my favorite food. Having just moved here from Austin, I'll admit that I've been skeptical about the taco scene here in Chicago. However, I've been assured by native Chicagoans that good tacos do exist in the city and so my search for my favorite Chicago taco has begun.
Make some vinegar/ lemon rind/ water ice cubes to clean your garbage disposal and sharpen the blades too! Put a 1-inch piece of lemon rind into each section of an ice cube tray. Fill with ¼ cup vinegar to 2 cups water. Freeze, then throw into the disposal. Grind with plenty of fresh cold water. Clean, fresh and sharp.
Buying a home is a huge event. In fact, it's likely the most money you’ll ever spend in one single purchase. This is definitely not the kind of transaction that you want to regret after you’ve locked into a deal. It’s not buying a sweater - you can't just return it after you’ve bought it.
We’re at that time of year again where we are teased with spring-like temps, even though it’s still winter in Chicago! But that’s no reason why we can’t begin our countdown to spring!!
Bucktown and Wicker Park: Do you love to get a good sweat on? Do you imagine yourself as Rocky Balboa during your workouts? Title Boxing Club is the spot for you. The nationwide boxing franchise will be opening its first Wicker Park location later this summer.
I have a friend, who for privacy's sake shall remain unnamed here, but he is obsessed with burgers. Since we left Austin, he has been on the search for the perfect Chicago burger. His standards are very high, so going to a burger joint is a journey of anticipation, elation, and potential disappointment. This week took us to Umami Burger in Wicker Park.
We’ve had some unusually warm weather here in the Midwest. Of course, I’m Irish, therefore any pleasure will be followed by something horrible. “We will pay for this”. I’ve had a crazy busy two weeks, so my time this weekend has been filled with regular cleaning and errand running. Now is the time to do some preliminary de-cluttering so when spring arrives in full force, we’ll be ready for the heavy-duty stuff.
When you buy a home, you have the option to include a home warranty in the sale of the property, or purchase it after the deal closes. These warranties cover the repair or replacement of any mechanical systems or major appliances that come with the home and are good for a certain time period.
With potentially record-breaking warm temperatures this weekend, it's the perfect time to get out and explore our beautiful city! Start by taking the whole family out to Stand Up Paddle Kids! This is Chicago's only stand up paddle boarding company with a program specifically geared to kid and families. Every Sunday morning at 10 am at the beach, you and your kids can learn this awesome water sport!
Home inspections are important clauses to include in a purchase agreement. They provide buyers with the opportunity to uncover any potential issues with the property in question before signing on the dotted line.
Lincoln Park: Soup for a cause? Yes please! Bruce Sherman, executive chef of North Pond, is leading "Soup for Solidarity". Coming together with 20 other chefs in the Chicago area, the proceeds will go to three nonprofit organizations: The Immigrant Workers' Project, The Southwest Organizing Project, and Centro Romero.
I'm a sucker for great Asian food and there is no shortage in Chicago. I am so happy to have stumbled upon Del Seoul, a tucked away Korean Street BBQ restaurant in Lakeview. The restaurant is small and unassuming, with counter service and a limited number of tables.
Although it almost seems like spring these days around Chicago, we who are natives know there will be plenty of cold days left when a crockpot full of goodness with some fresh baked rolls will be very welcome. Here are three recipes guaranteed to satisfy you. They also work when the weather is warm and you don’t want to over-heat the kitchen. Replace the rolls with salad.
It’s customary to call a real estate professional to help you when you’re on the prowl for a resale home, but what about if you’re interested in new construction? Isn’t it enough just to deal with the builder to choose a lot, select your home’s layout, and seal the deal? After all, you don’t have to deal with a seller or need a home inspection.
Chicago is definitely a city that knows how to provide fun events for everyone, even during its cold winter season! In fact, we’ll celebrate anything – like pizza and Cupid!!
Bucktown and Wicker Park: Hebru Brantley, an acclaimed Chicago artist, debuted his second solo show "Eat Crap King" at Vertical Gallery on February 4. Brantley is a contemporary artist whose work is inspired by Japanese anime and street artists such as Jean-Michael Basquiat, KAWS, and Keith Haring.
Holding an open house shortly after your home hits the market is a great strategy to attract prospective buyers. Make the most out of your open house by following these tips.
This week's restaurant travels took me to Cohiba Cuban Cuisine. Located near the intersection of Broadway and Diversey in Lakeview, don't blink or you'll miss this hole-in-the-wall gem. There were only a handful of customers when I came in, so I was seated right away.
If you are going to buy your first house, it’s good to invest in a basic tool set. This can really save you money by doing small jobs yourself. It’s also a great idea for a wedding or graduation gift. You can find tutorial videos on You Tube to show you how to do various tasks, including repairing holes in the wall or doing simple plumbing jobs, like replacing a faucet.
Popcorn ceilings were pretty popular from the 1950s through to the 1980s because they were affordable and made finishing a ceiling easy. But these days, popcorn ceilings - which are typically sprayed-on stucco - are nothing more than an outdated eyesore.
This Sunday brings us “Super Bowl LI,” and whether you’re a football fan or not, it’s hard not to get caught up in all the hype and hoopla! But before then, there’s quite a “super” line-up for Saturday.
Lincoln Park: Pizzeria Bebu is coming to the Lincoln Park neighborhood, opening today. Located at 1521 N. Fremont St., this cozy spot is offering crispy, thin-crust pizza. The pizzas are baked quickly, for just 3 1/2 minutes, in a gas-powered brick oven.
Out of all the questions that clients have when it comes to real estate transactions, how commissions are paid is one of the most common. Who's responsible for paying the commission? How much is it? When and how is it paid?
Ya'll. YA'LL. If you can't tell, I lived in Texas for almost 10 years. And my mama is from Louisiana. Which means I have a deep rooted, almost obsessive love for Southern food. So, you can imagine my happiness when I found Big Jones.
Here are three easy dips for Super Bowl Sunday. They are simple and so delicious. You can make them as spicy or as mild as you wish, but I guarantee they will be crowd pleasers.
All those tax returns that you’ve been filing over the years could one day prove to be very important documents if you ever decide to buy a home in the future. While they might just be gathering dust in your filing cabinets, at some point you might need to submit your tax returns to your lender in order to provide proof of your taxable income.
As we close out the last weekend of January 2017, there’s no denying that it’s still winter in Chicago as the cold temps return. But, that doesn’t mean Chicagoans are going to hibernate either!
Just about every homeowner knows the danger of carbon monoxide and how it can build up in the home without offering any signs of its presence. It’s colorless and odorless, and can be deadly.
akeview: Poke bowls are the newest foodie craze to hit Chicago. FireFin Poke Shop, a Chicago chain, will open two new restaurants this spring; one in Wicker Park and one in Lakeview. The new Lakeview spot is at 3200 N Halsted St and will be able to seat between 30-40 people.
Since moving to Chicago from Austin, I've been on the hunt for good Mexican food. I couldn't have been happier to stumble on Fiesta Mexicana, located at 2423 N Lincoln Ave in Lincoln Park. We came in on a Wednesday night and were seated right away.
Unexpected guests coming over? No time to clean? Here is an easy way to go around the entire house in about an hour and have it look presentable. Always work from top to bottom, bringing the dirt down to the floor. Make sure you clean the floors last.
When it comes to revamping your home, you’d probably rather focus on projects that will improve the visual esthetics of the space. New kitchen cabinets, refinished hardwood floors, and updated light fixtures are the types of cosmetic jobs that can really make a big difference in the look of your home.
Remember folks, we’re still in the middle of the dog days of winter, despite the mild temps and rain around here. Not that I’m complaining! But adding some excitement to our wintery humdrum lives is what the weekends are for!!
Bucktown and Wicker Park: There's nothing like a good old-fashioned speakeasy, is there? The Violet Hour in Wicker Park would agree with you on that one! Whether you're a regular or checking it out for the first time, the Violet Hour is here to please. They just released their Winter 2017 drink menu and it looks delicious.
Whether you can’t stand cleaning your home or just don’t have the time to dedicate to it, there are professional house cleaning services available that can take the load off and handle the dirty task for you. Not only does it save you time, it can also save you a lot of headaches, too.
I am a sucker for Vietnamese food and I've heard Tank Noodle is one of the best in Chicago. Located at the corner of Broadway and Argyle in Uptown, this popular spot is part of the Asia on Argyle district.
Even a very clean home can have odor problems. Check out these natural ways to get rid of odors and leave your house smelling wonderful.
Finding the perfect home and negotiating a deal that both parties can agree to is a huge accomplishment. But as stressful as that process is, waiting for closing day to arrive can be just as nerve-racking.
Getting back into the swing-of-things after the holidays can be a daunting task especially when it’s winter time. But Chicago has you covered with a weekend that’s sure to provide some relief from the winter temperatures!
Renting out your own apartment is exciting and liberating, especially when you’re just moving out on your own for the very first time. There are various expenses that you don’t necessarily have to worry about that come with homeownership, including mortgage insurance, property taxes, maintenance fees, and others.
Lincoln Park: Your tastebuds have been waiting and it's finally time… the list of restaurants for Savor Lincoln Park 2017 has been released! If you're not already familiar, this one-night-only event will include food, drinks, silent auction items, and even a vintage photo booth.
This week took me to Dawali Mediterranean Kitchen. Located at 1625 N Halsted, this spot is both surprising and unique. I came in on Saturday night, planning to see a movie afterward at the nearby Arclight Theatre.
With cold weather across the nation since the holidays, many people will be using their fireplaces. There are a few safety tips that need to be followed (although some are obvious), especially if you have young children in the house.
When it comes time for you to shop for a mortgage, you’ll be faced with plenty of options, one of which is whether to “lock” or “float” your mortgage rate. What do each of these mean, and what are their differences? More importantly, which option is best for you?
The Holidays are behind us and that means it’s back to reality next week for all of us. However, we do have a weekend left before then, so let’s make the most of this post-Holiday weekend!
Buying a home is a big deal, and can be pretty complex and overwhelming if you don’t team yourself up with a real estate professional. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t come out on the other side of a real estate transaction successfully.
Lakeview: A small, brightly lit building between 3800 and 3900 North Lake Shore Drive has caught the attention of Chicagoans. What used to be a bus switching station is now a storage area for the Sheridan Garden Triangle.
Indoor allergens come from three main sources. The first are dust mites: microscopic creatures that can trigger allergic reactions in many sensitive people. Live dust mites, their waste, and dead mites are the main causes.
You bought your investment property for the sole purpose of making money. But the profits should still roll in once you decide to part with the property and sell it. When it comes time to list your investment property for sale, getting the most money out of the deal is most likely where your focus is.
Wabi Sabi is a brand new sushi spot in Uptown. It opened at the beginning of November in the Windsor Center shopping strip, near the Sheridan/Windsor intersection.
As we bid adieu to 2016 and welcome in 2017 this weekend, Chicago once again offers New Year’s Celebrations for Everyone!
Homebuyers have been enjoying incredibly low mortgage rates for many years now. In fact, the average annual rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages has only hit 4% once over the past five years.
The original Pequods Pizza was opened in “1970 in Morton Grove where they started a cult following for its pan style pizza with a caramelized crust edge.”
As the end of 2016 approaches, there's New Year's Eve celebrations to plan and business goes on as usual.
Now is the time of year for many of us to plan our goals for 2017. For a long time, I along with many others would decide on “resolutions” for the new year. These usually involve losing weight and going to the gym. Unfortunately, 2 or 3 weeks into the year most resolutions are not fulfilled. There are several reasons for this. The first is calling them resolutions, I prefer to call them goals.
It’s a small, unassuming space, but it’s a crucial one nonetheless. Bathrooms are one of the more important rooms that can add a great deal of value to a home if they’re modernized and up-to-date, not to mention bring years of comfort and pleasure to those who use it.
When it comes to selling your home, you want it to be in pristine condition to impress the slew of buyers who will come across it. Many home sellers will often invest in professional home staging services in order to showcase their homes in the best light and attract as many buyers as possible, which in turn will help bring more sizeable offers to the table and get the property sold in a relatively short amount of time.
It can be a real challenge to find the perfect rental unit in the location your desire, in a complex you love, and at a price point you can afford. When you finally do land one, you might be a little over eager to sign the lease.
It’s the weekend before the Holidays and here in Chicago we’re still spreading good cheer with all the holiday season has to offer!
There's still time for last minute shopping and holiday festivities as we count down the days to Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa!
When it comes to mortgages, there’s no one-size-fits-all scenario. Every home buyer is different and has a unique set of financial circumstances that will dictate what type of home loan makes the right choice.
As I write this we in Chicago are bracing for a foot of snow. Although these tasks would have ideally been done a month ago. Those of you who are still without major snow cover can stay a little warmer and save a few heating bucks with these tips.
Located at 661 N. LaSalle Blvd in the Gold Coast area is Fogo de Chão, “a fine dining, full-service Brazilian steakhouse or churrascaria.” There are two other locations, one in Naperville at 1824 Abriter Court and the other in Rosemont at 5460 Park Place.
Many people might assume that being a real estate agent requires nothing more than making a few phone calls a day, putting up a couple of images online, and quickly negotiating a deal.
The weather outside will be frightful in Chicago this weekend but the Holiday Spirit around town will be delightful! Are you ready?
Our featured neighborhoods continue with events and specials to lend a hand during this month of holiday shopping!
It’s no secret that any water that’s pooled in any part of your home will cause nothing but problems. And if there are drainage issues in your home, you’ll likely experience these problems pretty quickly.
I am a big fan of real trees for Christmas. Nothing smells better than that crisp pine fragrance from a real tree. Many of my family and friends like the convenience of an artificial tree. For one you can put it out and not take it down for a month, not so with a fresh one. We have made picking out the tree and bringing it home a holiday tradition.
Located at 330 North Wabash in Chicago’s Loop, Travelle is definitely an experience you want to have in this lifetime. The restaurant is located on the second floor of The Langham Hotel and easily accessible by public transportation.
Everyone knows what an open house is. Sellers essentially give free reign to prospective buyers to meander through the home for a couple of hours to scope out the property and get a feel for whether or not they might be interested in further pursuing a potential offer.
We’ve got three weekends before Christmas, and Hanukkah, are upon us, so I say, it’s “Time to Get Our Jingle On!”
Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are over, there are plenty of opportunities to spread holiday cheer for everyone when you shop locally. Nearly all of Dean's Team’s featured neighborhoods have great offers you can take advantage of through the holiday season.
When you first apply for a mortgage, you might not give too much consideration to the prepayment penalty - but you probably should.
I’m sure everyone knows that plants provide oxygen through the process of photosynthesis but you may not know the extent that house plants can be beneficial in many other ways. Scientists suspect that the mere presence of plants can boost mood and concentration.
Located at 1131 North State Street, Bistrot Zinc, has become one of my change of weather favorites in Streeterville. According to their website, “Bistrot Zinc is an authentic French bistrot, serving classic "neighborhood" French food.
Homeowners are typically open to any efforts that will effectively help to reduce their utility bills as well as their imprint on the environment, and green roofs can help do exactly that.
Now that Thanksgiving and Black Friday are behind us, Chicagoans will embark on officially getting into the Holiday Spirit this weekend!
Thinking about buying a home in the new year? It’s never too early to start preparing for the big purchase to ensure you’re on solid ground. While finding yourself a seasoned and trustworthy real estate agent is a critical step in the game, there are a number of things you should be doing even before that to make sure you’re adequately prepared to buy.
We're continuing our closer look at varied non-profit organizations located in our featured neighborhoods to promote the scores of ways we can give back in honor of Thanksgiving and throughout the year.
There are ways to use leftovers that go beyond the usual soup. But a quick soup can be made by quickly sautéing sliced onions, celery and carrot till soft. Add a quart of low sodium organic chicken stock. Simmer 10 minutes then add two cups each chopped turkey and cooked noodles.
Located in Lincoln Square at 4518 N. Lincoln Avenue, Bistro Campagne is definitely a true French bistro.
When it comes time to sell your home, take a close look around and see if your place has the goods that buyers are looking for. Considering the magnitude and expense of such a purchase, buyers want to fall in love with the home they plan to buy, and certain characteristics can help make that happen.
Yep, yet another Thanksgiving and Holiday Season are upon us, and in true Chicago fashion, it’s time to officially kick them off this weekend! They’re Back!!
There are so many ways to give back to our community and reach out to those in need. Donations and volunteering come in many forms and we're using the Thanksgiving season to deem several of these services as newsworthy.
Whether you’ve got dogs, cats, hamsters, or bunnies running around at home, they’re part of the family. We love our pets, but that doesn’t mean potential buyers necessarily want to see them - or any evidence of them - when they’re scoping out your home for sale.
A big meal with many guests coming can be quite intimidating. There are many tips and strategies that can make the day go smoothly and will let you have fun with your guests and not spend the entire day in the kitchen.
Located at 2701 N. Halsted, Sapori Trattoria is a great local Italian restaurant in Lincoln Park. The front should not fool you to the restaurant’s size, which includes a back room and upstairs space. The restaurant has been around since 2001 and was opened by Chef Anthony Barbanente.
The opportunity to get a great deal on a property through a short sale is very real. However, many times there’s no money to be saved in this type of real estate transaction, and the process can be a lot more complicated that your average contract.
Another glorious, albeit chilly, fall weekend brings Chicagoans kick-off time to the Holidays and then some!
Today is Veterans Day. Let us commemorate with pride and dignity the men and women who have served our nation's Armed Forces. Whether or not you support our government's ideologies for its military purposes, it is undeniable that the Americans who have chosen to give their lives, time and energies to serve and protect deserve the tribute.
Real estate investing offers plenty of options for those looking to build wealth through this particular avenue. With mortgage rates as low as they are today, now is a great time to get into the real estate investment market, and a multi-family property is something you might want to consider for many reasons, including the following.
So, you’ve decided to host Thanksgiving dinner this year. Congrats! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Any holiday spent around eating great food is number one in my books. There are many shortcuts and tips to make the day go smoothly and let you have some fun not spending the entire day in the kitchen.
Moe's Cantina is in the heart of Wrigleyville at 3518 N. Clark Street. We were there on the night the Cubs won the World Series and I have to admit there are a lot of great things about this restaurant.
Luxury homes come with a host of ornate and opulent amenities and features that might tickle your fancy. Whether it’s a massive beach house overlooking the ocean, a sprawling expanse backing onto the 9th hole on a golf course, or a penthouse perched high above the city scapes with its own private elevator, properties valued in the millions will offer features that will leave you mesmerized and even completely overwhelmed.
After the week we just experienced here in Chicago with a Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship, turning it down a notch this weekend may not be such a bad idea! Besides, we gain an hour as Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday as well!!
Closing costs can add a lot more money to the final price tag when buying a home, and much of them need to be paid right out of the gates. Some of these fees might seem like they came out of nowhere and can be difficult to understand, like origination fees or title insurance.
Amidst the excitement of the Cubs winning the World Series last night and Election Day this coming Tuesday, the Chicago Humanities Festival still has many events available from today 11/3 to next Saturday, 11/12.
It’s the first week of November already! Boy, does time fly. Thanksgiving week will be here before we know it. Now that we have enough time it’s good to plan for an easy and stress-free holiday.
When heading over to the West Loop for brunch, you really need to go check out MAD Social located at 1140 W. Madison Street. We had a group of five of us so got a chance to taste a good portion of the menu.
There are plenty of advantages of having a VA home loan compared to a conventional mortgage, including a minimal down payment requirement, no Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), and competitive interest rates.
Did you know that Halloween is said to be more Irish than St. Patrick's Day? Its origins come from an ancient Celtic festival for the dead called “Samhain.” The Celts believed the ghosts of the dead roamed Earth on this holiday, so people would dress in costumes and leave “treats” out on their front doors to appease the roaming spirits. Well, here in Chicago, we’ll be appeasing those roaming spirits ourselves this weekend!
If you wind up ending your work week feeling like a zombie then slog your way out to the Culver's at 6943 W. Roosevelt Rd. to join the 7th Annual Zombie Walk & Pub Crawl tomorrow, Friday 10/28. The organized event kicks off from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. with zombie make-up if you don't wear your own.
Real estate listings are very cleverly written. After all, there’s only so much space allotted for a thorough description of a property, so just the right words need to be used to paint a good picture of the home.
Oil stains on kitchen rugs usually meant throwing them out for me! Then I found this simple natural cleaning hack. Sprinkle the stain liberally with baking soda. Work it in with a wet cloth. Let the rug dry overnight, shake and voila, stain gone. Baking soda absorbs the grease. It’s wonderful for this as well as being a great gentle abrasive and deodorizer.
Isla Pilipina Restaurant is a Lincoln Square restaurant located at 2501 W. Lawrence Avenue in the Family Plaza. It’s really easy to get there on public transportation too, either by bus (Western or Lawrence) or Brown Line. The restaurant is very casual and has a pretty homey feel to it.
Before you get the keys to your new home, there are a few steps you’ll need to go through first. After you’ve got your credit and finances in order, got pre-approved for a mortgage, found a reputable real estate agent to work with, and found the home of your dreams, the actual real estate transaction can begin.
With all the hoopla going on around here with the Chicago Cubs, Halloween is just around the corner, but before then, this weekend brings Chicagoans some great pre-Halloween festivities in preparation for Halloween!
They’re the infamous words buyers and sellers will hear at auctions. These platforms have long been used to buy and sell a host of different goods, including real estate. Buyers are hoping to snag a good deal, while sellers are looking to get their properties off their hands in a short amount of time.
It's not too late to take advantage of this year's Restaurant Week brought to you by the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce. From last Sunday, 10/16, through tomorrow, Friday 10/21, participating neighborhood restaurants have been offering specials such as prix fixe menus, freebies, and discounted prices.
Put a pot of Mums on each step leading to your front door. They bloom in sun or shade. Keep them blooming longer by watering when dry and removing spent flowers. They come in a wide variety of colors and sizes and will bloom till the hard frost.
Located at 103 S. Main Street in Naperville, Q-BBQ is not to be missed. They also have locations at 124 N. Marion Street in Oak Park, 70 S. LaGrange Road in LaGrange, and 79 US Highway 41 in Shererville, Indiana. Each location has a slightly different look and feel but the best part is their food.
Bamboo has become one of the most popular “green” and environmentally-friendly materials used in many aspects of home construction and decor. This sustainable material is not only durable, it’s also attractive, and can be taken outdoors and incorporated into a wonderful landscape design.
Well now, we have what very well may be an Indian Summer this weekend with temps in the 70’s which happens to be perfect timing for Chicago’s outdoor events taking place this weekend!
'Tis the season for all things spooky, giving the International Museum of Surgical Science (1524 N. Lake Shore Dr.) a chance to shine by candlelight for a Night at 1524 walking tours and reception tomorrow, 10/14, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Pretty much everyone knows that a home’s size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and location have a huge impact on the value of a property. For instance, a 3-bedroom detached home backing onto a golf course will most certainly hold more value compared to a 2-bedroom townhouse that’s situated near train tracks.
Around Chicago we’ve had many days with rain. While the amounts were small it has kept the conditions for mold very favorable. Mold occurs naturally in nature and is necessary for the decomposition of organic material like leaves and dead trees. It’s when the mold invades the house that problems occur.
Located at 4539 N. Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Square, Gather is one of those restaurants where you get to taste amazing food and have an incredible dining experience. According to their site, “When you walk into Gather, you walk into our home. With our friendly and knowledgeable staff, open kitchen design and approachable wine list, we’ve created an atmosphere perfect for celebrating every day.”
Every home purchase transaction should be initiated with an earnest deposit to the seller. In fact, it’s rare for sellers to accept offers without a deposit. This monetary offering essentially tells the sellers that buyers are serious about purchasing the home, and shows their willingness to meet all of the clauses detailed in the contract.
We’re only in the second weekend of October and already there’s a marathon-packed weekend planned for all Chicagoans!
Homeowners must have property insurance to protect their homes from damage, theft, or liability. Lenders will likely not even approve you for a mortgage if you don’t take out a policy. Homeowner’s insurance might seem like another pesky bill to have to pay, but many shoppers aren’t fully aware of certain factors that can cause these premiums to go up.
La Creperie located at 2845 N. Clark Street in Lakeview is definitely a local gem if you want to taste a world class crepe. The restaurant was opened in 1972 by Germain Roignant and his wife. The front room maintains its farmhouse roots with beautiful wooden accents. The feeling of a true French bistro in the countryside is the feeling you have.
This year marks the 10th Anniversary Tour of Midnight Circus' partnership with the Welles Park Advisory Council to bring cutting edge, live circus performers to parks around the city to raise funds for local park improvements.
We need to do a double check around the exterior of our homes before winter sets in. Now the weather is still fairly nice so it’s a lot easier to work outside. Many of these simple tasks will prevent costly repairs down the road and save you money on energy too.
Keeping your home safe is a crucial component to being a homeowner. After all, we’ve all got locks on our doors and windows for a reason. Other homeowners have added other layers of protection, including installing security cameras or alarm systems. While these are very helpful, home security systems have evolved a great deal over the years thanks to the emergence of digital technology.
It’s that time of year again where Chicagoans celebrate “All Things Fall” as we head into the month of October!
Alderman Brian Hopkins is looking out for you and your family as flu season approaches by sponsoring the 2nd Ward Family Health and Resource Fair in the Loggia Room of Latin School of Chicago at 59 W. North Blvd. this Saturday, 10/1, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Nothing says caring like FREE flu shots and health screenings. City and state agencies will also be on hand to provide health and resource information.
It takes a lot of money to run a home, but you could be spending more money than you really need to. Cutting back on how much energy your home uses can help you shave a huge chunk of money off your monthly utility bills, and it can be a lot easier than you may think. Small changes here and there can really add up to significant savings.
Fall is really the ideal planting time for trees and large bushes. Most nurseries and garden centers will discount these in the fall in order to not have to store them over winter. Planting now will give the trees 6-8 weeks to assimilate before the hard freeze sets in. When spring comes the trees already have a head start and will take off!
It was a beautiful weekend here in Chicago this past weekend – sunny, cool and somewhat lazy. I had been out having tea at a local coffee shop and really needed to have something to eat before I got extremely hangry! Since I was in Lakeview, I met up with a friend over at Bar Pastoral, located at 2947 N. Broadway.
Location, location, location. The phrase may have become somewhat of a cliché in the world of real estate, but it still remains the most important factor in determining the true value of a property. When you’re in the market to buy, you’re not just purchasing the physical home, but you’re also buying into the surrounding neighborhood as well.
Well, as the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them!” That’s right, autumn is officially here and there’s nothing we can do about it so in true Chicago fashion we’ll just celebrate it and welcome in fall! Chicagoans are always ready to celebrate something!!
Finally there's some good news coming from the base of something stamped with the name "Trump". Wendella Boat tours, located at 400 N. Michigan Ave. at the base of Trump Tower, has been honored for one boat crew's rescue of a man who had leapt from the DuSable Bridge at Michigan Ave. on June 4th.
There are plenty of reasons why stucco is so popular among homeowners: it’s durable, it’s easy to maintain, and it looks good. If it’s applied properly, stucco can last as much as 50 years, as long as it’s well taken care of.
We are now in mid- September and despite the rather warm weather lately cooler weather is right around the corner. We can take advantage of the good weather now to prepare for the coming winter.
Prepare yourself for a local hidden gem. This past weekend we stopped in at BRGRBELLY located at 5739 W. Irving Park Road in Portage Park. And let me tell you, it’s a little easy to miss if you’re not looking for it which is part of its charm.
Buyers are typically the ones to request a home inspection before they agree to finalize a home purchase. However, sellers also have the option to conduct a few inspections on their homes before they choose to list their homes.
Not only are the temps beginning to cool down in Chicago but so are the City’s summer street festivals! Not to fret though since autumn street festivals will step right in!!
45th Ward Alderman John Arena is hosting a free Shred-a-thon event this evening, Thursday 9/15, in the Hoyne Bank parking lot at 4729 N. Milwaukee from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. Shredding documents that include personal information such as social security numbers and account numbers can help declutter your home and prevent identity theft. For your information so that you may be prepared for potential audits, the IRS recommends holding on to your income tax records and supporting documents for either 3 years following the date of filing or the tax return's due date, whichever is later, or up to 7 years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction.
Your home may have reflected your style a few years back - but today, not so much. Now you suddenly realize that your puffy sofa looks crammed in your living space, or that flower-ridden wallpaper looks a tad on the tacky side.
We are all trying to eat a little better as we get older. I’ve recently lost 20+ pounds by doing a few things differently in my diet. I’m by no means eating completely clean or actually even close but if you really start to think before planning, shopping and eating you can really make a few manageable changes that can really make a difference.
When you’re ready to buy a house, you don’t necessarily have to depend on your bank to get a mortgage. These days, consumers have a lot more options when it comes to obtaining a home loan, including credit unions.
This past Friday, I went to Seafood Hot Pot located at 1130 West Argyle Street in the Andersonville/Edgewater neighborhood. This is actually a second location to the flagship located at 2171 South China Place in the South Loop.
There are little signs everywhere that we’re approaching the end of summer and the beginning of autumn! But the larger sign is this weekend’s Chicago’s “Change of Season” Happenings!!
When it’s time to move, you may be faced with the decision to either buy or rent. This conundrum isn’t just reserved for young adults moving out of their parents’ homes, but also to empty nesters or professionals who are relocating for a new job opportunity.
School's back in session and no one deserves a happy hour drink more than our Chicagoland teachers. Ampersand Wine Bar at 4845 N. Damen Ave. is showing their appreciation by providing 1 complementary glass of wine to any teacher during happy hour, 5:00 - 6:00p.m., on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays throughout September to help take the edge off and ease into another school year. Bring your school ID or some sort of proof of your educator status just in case.
Water can do major damage to your home if it’s not contained. It can weaken your home’s structure and foundation, cause mold and mildew, and invite unwanted ants and termites. If your home experiences a leaky appliance or a burst pipe, it’s best to get the issue under control as soon as possible before all that water wreaks havoc on your home.
Even though we have had some cooler days we will still be in for some more hot days. During the week I just want something quick, easy, cool and relatively healthy.