Neighborhood News-Rogers Park, Uptown, Chicago Loop, River West, Old Town

Welcome to the first full weekend in May! A convergence of events…from Cinco de Mayo (Thursday, May 5) to Polish Constitution Day and the Kentucky Derby (Saturday, May 7) to Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 8) and you’ve got the makings for an amazing Chicago weekend!  

Life is a Cabaret…This could be the start of something big! Friday, May 6 begins a celebration of Chicago Cabaret Week, where you can enjoy Chicago’s wide-ranging entertainment  for just $15 to $30 from May 6 to 16! Participating cabarets include Alliance Française (River North) The Cliff Dwellers Club (Loop) Davenport’s Cabaret (Wicker Park) DePaul School of Music (Lincoln Park) Drew’s on Halsted (Northalsted) Epiphany Center for the Arts (West Loop)  Hideout Inn (Bucktown) Newport Theatre (Lakeview)One Mother’s Day show, on Sunday, May 8, is Judy, Liza and More: A Mother’s Day Concert, at Le Piano, 6970 N. Glenwood Avenue, from noon-1:30pm. Real-life mother/daughter duo Nancy Hays and Mary Heffernan perform classic solos and duets, including a young Liza Minnelli joining her mother Judy Garland on the stage of London Palladium theater. For a complete schedule, show tickets, and venues, click here.

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a healthy run at Montrose Harbor on Saturday, May 7! The Cinco de Miler Runis a five-mile race along Lake Michigan, featuring a 3-story piñata, breakfast tacos, a free beer, and  live mariachi music. For registration and more information, click here

Wolność i Pokój dla Świata! (Freedom and Peace for All!) Chicago’s Polish Constitution Day Parade is one of the biggest in the country. The Polish National Alliance sponsors the parade, which celebrates the 231st anniversary (1791) of the Polish Constitution. The parade steps off Saturday, May 7, at 11:30am on Balbo Drive and Columbus Drive. The Parade is followed by a public concert at the Chopin Garden, at 11th Street and Michigan Avenue, immediately following the parade. For more information, click here.

And they’re off! Watch forbig, fancy hats and mint juleps around town as the Kentucky Derby, the crown jewel of Triple Crown horse racing, steps off at 5pm on Saturday, May 7. River West’s Time Out Market Chicago , 916 W Fulton Market goes all-out with a Kentucky Derby Watch Party, starting at 3pm. They urge you, at this 21+ event, to “come dressed in your Derby Best for a chance to win a TOMC gift card, prizes for best hat & best dressed.” Mint juleps, whiskey sours & old fashioned specials. For more information, click here.

Immerse Yourself…in the artof Frieda Kahlo…and take Mom! Experience Frida’s artwork on a monumental scale accompanied by ravishing music at Old Town’s Lighthouse Immersive, 108 W. Germania Place. See how her art is the self-expression of overcoming pain and adversity. Tickets are available now for Sunday, May 8. For more information, click here.

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review – Viva Cinco de Mayo and feliz día de la Madre! (Happy Mother’s Day!)

Two holidays come within three days of each other this year, Cinco De Mayo (Thursday, May 5) and Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 8). And Chicago’s restaurants are going all out to honor both… with pasión! 

After two years of Covid-19 to-go, and socially distanced celebrations, this is the perfect year to celebrate both with your nearest and dearest! 

Cinco De Mayo

River North’s upscale Mercadito, 108 W. Kinzie, serves authentic Mexican cuisine, specialty tequilas and 75 different mezcal libations. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy tacos made with fresh shrimp or brisket, guacamole and chips, or specialties like ceviche michelada, habanero, flautas, street quesadillas and more! Open Thursday from 12pm-11:30pm. For information and reservations, click here.

Artango Bar and Steakhouse,4767 N. Lincoln Ave, in Lincoln Square, will be serving such mouth-watering Argentinian steakhouse specialties as Asado de Tira, (slow-grilled short ribs) and Bife de Chorizo in itsrichly decorated Art Nouveau and Neo-classical dining room. On Cinco de Mayo, rock out to Latin Rhythms with DJ Noiz starting at 7pm. Drink specials, including $5 Margarita Shots and $10 Flavored Margaritas. For reservations, click here

Right off of I-90/94, Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton Market, in River West, celebrates Cinco de Mayo, as the website indicates, with Latin fusion cuisine, exotic cocktails, and one-of-a-kind desserts inspired by the cuisine & culture of Mexico, South America, and Central America, including King Crab enchiladas and Chocolate tamales for dessert.   Mariachi performances from 6pm to 9pm. For reservations and information, click here.

It’s worth noting that all three restaurants also plan celebrations for Mother’s Day. Feliz día la Madre

Mother’s Day

Room with a view Streeterville’s Signature Room at the 95th, 875 N. Michigan Avenue, promises spectacular views along with a three-course brunch menu and welcome toast of Signature Room Sparkling Brut from 11am-5pm. Feast on such specialties as Lobster Bisque, Smoked Salmon Benedict, and Cinnamon French Toast. Dessert options include their Signature White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake, Brownie Sundae, or Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. $65 per adult, $35 per child (ages 4-12) tax & gratuity not included. For information and reservations, click here.

Breakfast is served! Craving enormous cinnamon rolls, pancakes with lingonberries, and Norwegian lox omelettes? Ann Sather in Lakeview, 909 W. Beaumont, Broadway Restaurant, 3415 N. Broadway, and 1147 W. Granville (at Broadway) is serving breakfast only on Mother’s Day. All Egg Entrées Served with Your Choice of Two Sides: Two Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, Two Hot Biscuits & Honey, One Sweet Muffin, Toast, Hash Browns (Add Cheese $.50), Fresh Fruit, Sliced Tomatoes (in Season), Apple Sauce, or Low Fat Cottage Cheese. Who could ask for anything more? For more information, click here.

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Choosing the right light bulb

If you are past middle age like me, you probably get a little confused when you enter the lighting area of the big box store. We have more choices than ever. Gone are the days when incandescent bulbs were the norm, and your only choice was wattage. 

The lightbulb label now gives more information than ever. It gives you three key things. It will tell you the lumens. More lumens mean more light. An old 100-watt bulb produces 1,600 lumens. Watts used to be useful to determine brightness but now it indicates how much energy your bulb is using. An LED bulb uses only 13 watts. The last indicator is temperature. All light has a Kelvin temperature from warm to cool. Warmer is yellow, cooler blue or white. You can adjust as you like but here is a guide for light temperature:

Bedrooms need to be warm and soothing-2700-3000K.

Bathrooms need to be brighter so choose-3000-4000K.

Regular living spaces like bedrooms-2700-3000K.

Kitchens need to be clear and bright-3000-4000K.

Offices and basements need cool daylight-3500-5000K.

As far as choice of bulb one is at the top for energy efficiency and variety: LEDs. Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs were all the rage a few years ago; remember the squiggly twisted bulbs? But these are fading fast as LEDs are so much more efficient for energy use and longevity. 

So choose your bulb according to lumens, wattage and Kelvin temperatures. That is enough if the bulb is used in a non-enclosed fixture. If you need a bulb for a ceiling fixture, you will need an enclosure-rated bulb. LEDs are very efficient but do give off some heat. Bulbs will indicate that they are enclosure rated.

Most older dimmer switches were made for incandescent bulbs and will not work well, or at all, with LEDs. You will need to change out these switches for LED rated ones if you need this feature. Hopefully this information will make it a little less confusing going down that bulb aisle. For a great variety of every bulb imaginable check out www.bulbs.com 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

The Danger of Over-Leveraging in Real Estate Investments

Leveraging is one of the biggest advantages that real estate investors have at their disposal.

In fact, real estate investing is designed with leveraging in mind. It helps first-time investors get started in real estate investing when there’s little money from the get-go, and is a keen way to multiply initial investment capital to help build long-term wealth.

When leverage works the way it should, it can significantly boost returns, and help you gain equity a lot faster so that you can turn around and continue investing in other properties. It can afford you with appreciation on 100% of the property’s value while others pay it off so you can accumulate wealth much faster.

But over-leveraging is dangerous, and can put your entire financial profile at risk.

While debt can significantly multiply your reward, it can also just as easily multiply your risk.

Owing too much in a specific property compared to what it’s actually worth and the income it’s generating can put you in a negative leverage and equity position.

Negative leverage occurs when the return portion of the investment property is less than the interest rate on the loan.

Of course, it’s expected that real estate values will fluctuate over time. But if you’re teetering on the edge of profit versus loss based on the amount of leverage you’re holding, it could spell disaster. Any significant change in the value of your property at any given time can have a major impact on your investment.

When values drop or when interest rates increase on your debt, your equity will inevitably decline. Depending on how much you owe versus what you own, you could wind up with no equity – or negative equity.

If you invest in commercial real estate, your loan will generally last between 3 to 5 years. That means you haven’t got much time to play with when it comes to paying down the principal portion unless any returns are put back into the loan. With limited equity on the property, lenders will likely refinance the loan at a higher interest rate, making it even more expensive to hold the investment property.

And let’s not forget about all the other expenses that could pop up unexpectedly, including vacancies, repairs, and other factors that could affect your profits.

Over-leveraging to invest in a property that has no immediate returns or exit is quite frankly a bad idea. If the property is not yet rented, or there’s no immediate buyer lined up, over-leveraging is simply like walking the plank, especially if you’ve got no reserves to cover you.

Let’s say you’ve purchased a property for $500,000 with a $25,000 downpayment. If the value of the property declines by 30%, it’s now worth just $350,000, but you’re still stuck paying interest and principal on the full $475,000 loan. And if the amount that you collect in rent drops too, you could be at great risk of defaulting on the property.

If you were using the cash flow from that investment property to pay off your loan on other investment properties, you could wind up with a whole investment portfolio in foreclosure just because of one bad, over-leveraged loan and a lack of reserve capital to back you up.

How Much Leverage Should You Use?

Before you agree to a loan to make a purchase on an investment property, you’ll need to decide what would be a safe area to stay in when it comes to using leverage to boost returns and avoid being upside down on your loan. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Don’t bet on steep rises in appreciation. Lots of real estate investors have lost a ton of capital because they assumed that recent history would repeat itself. Even if property values in the area have been appreciating at a 15% rate over the past few years, for example, it doesn’t mean this trend will continue into the near future. Betting on this is risky business, and can lead you to buy at higher prices and borrow more than what the property may realistically bring in for you.

Put in a hefty downpayment. The higher the down payment you put forth, the less your outstanding principal will be. Sure, you can put as little as 3% down on a real estate loan, but this leveraging will likely run you into trouble if the income that your investment property generates is close to the interest rate you’re paying on your loan. If the market happens to soften at some point, or you experience a higher vacancy rate than you anticipated, you could find it impossible to carry the loan for the property.

Meticulously – and realistically – calculate your cash flow. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to real estate investing is overestimating your cash flow and being naive about the financial fallbacks that could realistically creep up and affect your returns. Make sure you’ve accounted for every dollar and every possibility when calculating your cash flow. If the margin between rental income and mortgage costs and expenses is slim, you’re putting yourself at risk.

Keep your long-term investment goals clear. Understanding where you’d like to be in 5, 10 or even 20 years will help you decide how much you should leverage to buy a property. Not only should you be looking at the real returns of a property, you should also think about whether you’ll be using those returns to put back in the property to pay down the principal, or turn around and purchase another property.

The Bottom Line

Levering is obviously a necessity when it comes to investing in real estate and reaping the most rewards for the initial dollars invested. In fact, it’s leveraging that allows massive profits from real estate investments to be made.

But using it prudently and avoiding huge loan ratios that your current financial situation cannot support is critical. While leverage is a tool that can help you realize significant returns, it’s got to be used with a good dose of skill and expertise in order for you to avoid losing your shirt.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – May’s Arrival Brings Return of Popular Events!

Welcome to another weekend as we bid farewell to April and embrace the arrival of May with its various holiday celebrations sprinkled throughout the month along with some of Chicago’s most popular events returning to the scene live and in-person!

In anticipation of Cinco de Mayo, May’s first holiday coming up next week, please welcome back the Cinco de Mayo Bar Crawl in Wrigleyville this Saturday (11 a.m.-6 p.m.) at Wrigleyville’s Best Bars.  Tickets include admission to all participating bars, a free brunch buffet, gift cards to use on the crawl, giveaways, and more!  And, since all the venues, which include Old Crow, Moe’s Cantina, Deuce’s, and others, are within walking distance of one another, you and your friends can have one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, more!!

Looking to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on its actual day which is this coming Thursday?  Then click link above for a full list of events taking place in Chicago and the Chicagoland area.

Welcome back to the 6th annual One of a Kind Spring Show to the Merchandise Mart (222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza) in the River North neighborhood this Saturday (10 a.m.-7 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m.-5 p.m.).  This unique shopping event supports the creative community with more than 300 jury-selected independent artists from across North America making everything from fashion to fine art to home ware, accessories, gourmet goods, and more!  Plus, talk directly with the artists themselves while also enjoying live music, gourmet cafes, hands-on workshops and more.  There’s something for everyone at this show!!

Welcome back to the Chicago Market for Makers at Artifact Events (4325 N. Ravenswood Ave.) in the Lakeview neighborhood this Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-5 p.m.).  This much anticipated event will host 90+ talented makers specializing in one-of-a-kind home décor, fashion, art, design, food and more in a fun and inspiring environment!  Besides admission, your ticket also includes a free market tote, free DIY stations, and fun photo walls.  Plus, it’s family and pet friendly!!

It’s time again for Craft Brews at Lincoln Park Zoo located at 2400 N. Cannon Dr. in the Lincoln Park neighborhood this Saturday (6 p.m.-10 p.m.).  Beer tasting stations will be set up throughout the zoo’s beautiful gardens for this one-of-a-kind, after-hours experience for adults only.  Ticket holders will not only get to savor a selection of over 100 craft beers and ciders but will also get to enjoy food for purchase, music, lawn games, and of course the zoo’s amazing animals!

Celebrating the amazing brewers on the Northwest side of Chicago, the Northwest Brewfest 2022 will be held at Sway Dance Chicago (3317 W. Irving Park Rd.) in the Irving Park neighborhood this Saturday (1 p.m.-5:30 p.m.).  This Brewfest offers 14 brewers and fermenters for you to sample during two sessions:  Session 1 (1 p.m.-3 p.m.) and Session 2 (3:20 p.m.-5:20 p.m.) since capacity is limited.  Check out the lineup of participating brewers at the link above!

Lastly, the Chicago White Sox are hosting the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday and Sunday (1:10 p.m.) at Guaranteed Rate Field (333 W. 35th St.) in the Bridgeport neighborhood.  Hope they do better than the North Siders did last weekend!!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News – Streeterville, Lakeview, Ravenswood, Magnificent Mile, Albany Park

La Dolce Vita…finito! Eataly’s SpringFest, 43 E. Ohio Street, is taking over the Streeterville marketplace on Friday, April 28, from 6pm-11pm as their finale to Vino Month. Unlimited food, unlimited drink, and unlimited entertainment. They’re even inviting guests to dress up in their best retro-Italian attire, so the organizers put on your red lipstick, sunglasses, and ascot – best dressed has the chance to win a special prize! Ready for an Italian experience you won’t forget? Tickets are $99 per person. Who could ask for anything more? For tickets, click here.

Frustrated in Lakeview… RASHEEDA SPEAKING, aproduction of the Shattered Globe Theatre Company at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, tells the story of Jaclyn, the only Black woman in her workplace, and her experiences a series of frustrations in this comedy-turned-social thriller about workplace racism. Directed by Associate Artistic Director AmBer D. Montgomery, the play runs throughJune 4. For tickets, click here.

When in Ravenswood…With Mother’s Day approaching (Sunday, May 8), now is the best time to find an amazing, handcrafted gift made by a Chicago artisan! The Ravenswood Mother’s Day Gift Market returns on Saturday, April 30, at the Ainslie Arts Plaza, 4836 N. Lincoln Avenue, from 11am-4pm. Shop gifts from local retailers and artisans. Kid-friendly, the market features sweets and baked goods, beauty products, handmade jewelry, original artwork and more. For more information, click here. 

Through the Lookingglass AliceFrom Saturday, April 30 to July 31, join Alice on her fantastical trip down the rabbit hole along with the renowned Lookingglass Theatre Company. Come to the Magnificent Mile’s Water Tower Water Works,  821 N. Michigan Avenue, for a theatrical Wonderland! Directed by ensemble member David Catlin, from the books of Lewis Carroll, the circus-themed show runs 90 minutes with no intermission. Fun for the whole family! For tickets, click here.

Albany Park Brewskis…Northwest Brewfest at Sway Dance Chicago, 3317 W. Irving Park Road, offers samples of fourteen brewers during two-hour sessions on Saturday, April 30. Capacity is limited. Session 1 starts at 1pm- 3pm, check-in starts at 12:40pm. Session 2: 3:20pm – 5:20pm, check-in starts at 3pm. Goes without saying: You must be 21 or older to participate. Tickets for one session will be $35, and attendees receive an official Northwest Brewfest sample glass upon entry.  Click here to purchase tickets.

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review – Spring forward with The Smith!

Smith [smiTH] noun

“1. A maker skilled in creating happiness.”

The owners of The Smith

River North is home to such a place. The owners of this American bistro say “The Smith is the maker. We are all empowered to be makers; makers of great food, great cocktails, great hospitality, warmth, fun, energy and smiles. Everyone is a maker; the guests, the cooks, the bartender. We can all be The Smith and make great things.”

And what do these ‘makers’ prepare? For Spring flavors in a downtown location, they are a must for elevated, cooked-to-order American fare in a stylish, architectural space with outdoor seats. 

At breakfast, or brunch on the weekends, start with The Smith Eggs Benedict, pairing black forest ham, English muffin, hollandaise, poached eggs, and home fries or mixed greens. Avocado Toast is spicy on whole wheat, with red pepper flakes, lemon, and poached eggs. Even a Simple Scramble is elevated with apple-smoked bacon, and your choice of home fries or mixed greens. Several reviewers rhapsodized over The Smith’s Vanilla Bean French Toast, with maple butter and caramelized bananas. 

On the weekends, The Smith Brunch includes a Benedict Johnny, a twist on Johnnycake and Eggs Benedict, is served with cheddar cornbread, maple chicken sausage, poached eggs, and a roasted tomato hollandaise. Shrimp + Grits are jalapeño cheddar grits with baked eggs, scampi butter, and blackened shoestring potatoes. A brunch cocktail is included with any egg, griddle or steak and eggs item.

The Smith serves a large variety of Oysters from around the world at their Oyster Bar, available throughout the week and weekend, including Fishers Island, from Block Island, NY, Puffer Petite, from Wellfleet, MA, and Pink Moon, from Prince Edward Island, Canada.

For weekday lunch, try The Smith Burger, with bacon shallot jam, American cheese, crispy onions, pickles, and TSB sauce, on a brioche bun. Eggplant Milanese comes with burst yellow tomatoes, baby mustard greens, and parmesan in white balsamic, or a Pot of Mussels in chardonnay broth, with dijon, tarragon, and fries. For a Korean twist, try Vegetable Bibimbap, with sushi rice, shiitake, spinach, edamame, house-made kimchee, and a sunny-up egg.

For dinner, the menu of fresh-prepared, made to order steaks,  oysters and other menu items is joined by Fork + Knife Fried Chicken, with jalapeño cheddar grits, green tomato marmalade, and hot honey. Or, try Shrimp Scampi, with barley risotto, asparagus, English peas, marinated and spring onion. 

But….save room for dessert! Strawberry Shortcake Sundae has strawberry ice cream, red velvet shortcake, strawberry jam, toasted pistachios, in a waffle cone. S’mores in a Jar combines chocolate pudding, graham cracker crumble, toasted marshmallow, and a dark chocolate crunch bar. Mmmm!

The Smith is located at 400 N. Clark Street, and is open for indoor and outdoor dining, delivery, and pick-up. Monday-Wednesday, they’re open 8:30am- 9pm, Thursday and Friday, 8:30am-10pm, Saturdays, 9:30am-10pm, and Sunday’s, 9:30am- 9pm. Happy Hours are Monday-Friday, 3pm-6pm. For reservations, click here. 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Peppers and their uses

If you are not familiar with the vast variety of peppers in your market here is a quick guide:

  • Banana peppers are generally quite mild but may have a gentle kick. They are usually yellowish green and are good for quick pickling, salads and stuffing.
  • Anaheim peppers are light to medium green and are similar to banana peppers, although a bit hotter. They are good to put in salsa and chili verde. 
  • Piquillo peppers are also quite mild although their red color would indicate differently. They are a Spanish pepper often stuffed and served as Tapas.
  • Padron peppers are light green, another Spanish type, also mild but may have a bit of spice. Blister them over a fire, douse with oil and salt and eat whole.
  • Poblano peppers look a bit like green peppers but flatter and elongated. They are a very dark green. They are the main component in chili rellenos and are good for all sorts of stuffing. Generally they are mild, but may be a little hot at times. 
  • Red Thai peppers look more lethal than they are. They are spicy but not killer. They are small, thin and red, and especially good in curries and other Indian food.
  • Jalapenos are one of the green hot peppers you will see the most in supermarkets. They range from medium spice to very hot. A must for salsas and great on the grill stuffed with cheese. 
  • Fresno peppers are similar to jalapenos but tend to be a tad milder. Great for all southwest or Mexican cooking. 
  • Shishito peppers are green and medium sized. They tend to be more hot than mild. Prepare them as you do Padron.
  • Serrano peppers are slender, small and light to medium green. They pack a hot punch. The smaller they are the hotter. Good anywhere you need heat, salsas, curries and Mexican food. 
  • Cayenne peppers are South American and spicy hot. Mostly used as a dried spice but fresh in many Asian dishes. 
  • Habanero peppers are usually the hottest peppers found in supermarkets just about everywhere. They are small, rather round and usually orange to reddish in color. Very popular in Caribbean and Latin American cooking.

Try a new pepper or two in your cooking! Try a small piece first to gauge the hotness and use accordingly. You might be surprised at how much your cooking is better with a little shot of heat. 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

What to Consider When Deciding Between New Home Construction and Resale

If you’re in the market to buy a home, you’ve got choices.

Aside from the actual type of property – condo, townhouse, detached, etc – you need to decide whether to take the resale or new construction path to home ownership.

But the decision can be a tough one, considering the pros and cons that come with each. And not only is this a financial debate, it’s also about different lifestyles.

Here are some key considerations about both buying resale and new home construction to think about before you make your final decision.

Level of Customization

If you buy resale, you’ll likely be looking at quite a few properties before you find one that matches your tastes and needs exactly. Buying an existing home usually means you’ll need to be willing and ready to make some sacrifices, unless your bank account allows for some serious tweaking.

Whether it’s the choppy floor plan or the lack of a master ensuite, the downside to buying resale is that you probably won’t be able to tick off every single one of your desires, unless you’re prepared to dump a lot of money in future renovations.

If you choose to buy resale, determine what your wants and needs are in a potential property before you start looking. For example, if you absolutely must have a double attached garage and a main-floor laundry room, be prepared to sacrifice other things to get them in case you just can’t find a house that meets all your criteria.

Of course, you just might find your dream home that fits within your allotted price range. But it’s always better to be prepared for the unknown.

One of the biggest advantages to buying a new home, on the other hand, is the opportunity to customize the home to precisely match your wants and needs. Whether you want an open floor plan, a combined living and dining room, a walk-in closet, or a walk-up to the backyard from the basement, you can design the plans accordingly before the home is built.

Not only that, but you also have the ability to choose the finishes, such as crown molding, granite countertops, or hardwood flooring. With a new build, you have control over how your home will look when it’s done, which isn’t always the case with a resale.

Efficiency

New homes are much more energy efficient compared to properties built decades ago. From the insulation, to the HVAC systems, to the windows and doors, there’s no question that new home construction will offer you a much higher degree of energy efficiency.

You’d be amazed at the cost savings that come along with an energy efficient property. In fact, new homes that cut the amount of energy used to operate it typically come with an average of 20% savings in utility bills, which translates to an average of $400 on annual savings.

A house that was built in 1950 will certainly cost more to operate than a new home that is built to today’s more modern standards. Of course, you can always update the home to bring it up to par, but you’ll need to be prepared to pay the bill to pay for such an endeavor.

Upfront Costs

Unless you buy a resale home that needs a ton of work (and, therefore, money), the upfront costs of a newly built home can be a lot higher.

Not only are you paying for the home itself, you’ve also got to flip the bill for things like window blinds, french doors, a fence, landscaping, and other items that the builder won’t be putting in for you.

In addition, you’ll need to pay a deposit to the builder to hold the desired location of the new home. While this price can vary, you can expect it to run around 10% of the cost of your newly constructed home. And the longer it takes for the home to be fully built, the longer that money will be sitting with the builder, rather than somewhere else where it could have been collecting interest.

Make sure all these upfront costs are discussed with the builder and accounted for before you move forward with new construction.

Sellers of resale homes don’t typically take the window treatments with them, nor will they be ripping out the fence or french doors, either. All these little extras that you might not have thought about before can really add up in a lot of savings when you buy a resale compared to a new home build.

Speed of Closing and Possession

When you buy a resale property, you can generally expect to get the keys to the place anywhere between 30 to 90 days after an offer is accepted. That’s a lot less time than the average new come construction closing date, which can be weeks or months – or longer – after the initial deposit is put down.

And if there are any delays throughout the process – which there almost always are – you can expect that initial closing date to be pushed out even further.

If you don’t have much time to play with, then a resale makes much more sense.

Established Neighborhood Versus Bare Bones

One of the best perks about buying an existing property is that you’re buying into an established neighborhood. The trees are mature, the schools are built, the area amenities are settled, and internet connections are secured.

Newly constructed homes, on the other hand, typically don’t have these features. Instead, it could take years before any of these amenities are available. In the meantime, you’ll have to put up with a lot of dust, plenty of noise, broken cell reception, and nothing green to look at outside for a while.

Cookie Cutter Versus Character and Charm

New-build homes typically offer clean lines and modern designs, but they often lack the charm that’s more typical with existing homes. Inside resale homes, you can often find lovely architectural details, like built-in shelving units, leaded glass, and vaulted ceilings, which offer a unique feeling to each property.

New homes in subdivisions often have that ‘cookie cutter’ feeling, where every house on the block seems to be just about the same. While you can always add that classic charm and character to a new home, it’ll come with a price tag.

The Bottom Line

Not every buyer necessarily wants the same things in a home or neighborhood. You’re definitely going to have a bunch of questions throughout the home buying process, so make sure you answer them before you take the plunge. To make sure the decision you make is the right one one, be sure that you’ve got excellent representation, regardless of whether you choose to go the resale or new construction route.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – We’re in For a Warm Treat!

Springtime in Chicago brought snowflakes and chilly temps this past week, but this weekend we’re in for a warm treat!  Shed those winter coats, it’s time to get out and enjoy the warm, balmy weather heading our way before the next chill returns.

Let Inside Chicago Walking Tours show you the fascinating second side of an architectural boat tour with Beyond the Boat: Explore the Stunning Interiors on Saturdays and Sundays (1 p.m.-3 p.m.).  This 2-hour walking tour shows you the interiors of some of the best buildings along the Chicago River.  From Art Deco interiors to vaulted lobbies to thoughtful extras like reflecting pools, digital art walls and more, these interior spaces will absolutely delight you whether you’re an architecture buff or not!  And, if you haven’t taken the architectural boat tour yet, here’s the Link.

Taste some of the most delicious donuts in Chicago at this Saturday’s Chicago Donut Fest from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Moe’s Cantina (155 W. Kinzie St.) in the River North neighborhood.  Come join us as we celebrate our love for these delicious, sugary treats!  A ticket gets you donut tastings and 3 drink tickets for beer or mimosas along with giveaways and more!!  It’s been said that happiness is having a donut in one hand and an alcoholic beverage in the other.  I guess I’ll have to find out if that’s true!

Bring your family and fur babies to the Spring Scavenger Hunt – Dog Friendly taking place at McKinley Dog Park (corner of Pershing Rd. and Western Ave.) in the McKinley Park neighborhood this Sunday (11 a.m.-2 p.m.).  This scavenger hunt takes place throughout the beautiful 70 acres of McKinley Park and begins promptly at 11:15 a.m.  Teams will be selected and sent off with a list of things to search for and take a photo of.  Plus, if you bring your dog along, extra points will be awarded per photo that includes your pooch!  Then make your way back to the Dog Friendly Area at 12:45 p.m. where points will be tallied, and winners announced.  May the best team win — Woof!!

Calling all sports fans!  Here’s who’s in town for this warm, balmy weekend:

The Chicago Cubs are hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates this Saturday and Sunday (1:20 p.m.) at Wrigley Field (1060 W. Addison St.) in the Wrigleyville neighborhood.  Time to work on those tans!!

The Chicago Bulls are hosting the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Eastern Conference First Round/Game 4 this Sunday (12 p.m.) at the United Center (1901 W. Madison St.) on the Near West Side.  Cheer them on to another victory!!

Finally, the Lake County Home Show takes place this Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) at the Lake County Fairgrounds (1060 E. Peterson Rd.) in Grayslake.  This free event, with free parking, provides a massive selection of exhibitors highlighting thousands of the latest home improvement products and services presented by local and national experts!  It’s the largest home & garden show in the entire Chicago area and is the best and easiest way to save time and money with great, exclusive show specials for your remodeling, repairing, and/or beautifying your home projects both inside and out!!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago