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Chicago Living, Market Updates, Real Estate Tips, and Buying & Selling in Chicago.


July 16, 2018

South Loop Is Changing!

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The Chicago South Loop is changing! South Loop has established itself as one of Chicago's most bustling, quickly growing neighborhoods. South Loop not only boasts many residential developments, but is also changing shopping in Chicago. 

GW Properties, a Chicago developer, is planning to create another big retail project near the Roosevelt Road shopping strip, where numerous stores and restaurants already exist. GW Properties plans to build a three-building retail project at 1113 S. Jefferson St, where a current Marathon gas station and garage sits. The project is just north of Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen and just west of the Maxwell, yet another big shopping center that opened several years ago. 

That isn't the only retail development blooming in the South Loop. Another retail project is underway at Roosevelt Road and Des Plaines Street. With current zoning, this project could be developed into about 230,000 square feet. 

Further down Roosevelt Road, more development is taking place. Related Midwest is planning to develop "The 78", which is a 62-acre development bounded by Roosevelt Road, 16th Street, Clark Street, and the Chicago River. "The 78" will include a five-acre riverfront with bikeways, a seven-acre public park that follows the Chicago River until engineers straighten it out, and the Discovery Partners Institute, a research hub in the University of Illinois system. 

"The 78" development project is also in conjunction with the Wells-Wentworth Connector, a new road between the Loop and Chinatown. The development will also include a new Red Line CTA station at 15th Street and Clark Street. The development is also planning to move the Metra line west. 

This new development opens up more housing in the Chicago Loop, with more apartments and homes to be developed. 

For any inquiries or interest in homes in Chicago, be sure to contact us at anytime!


Posted in Chicago Living
July 12, 2018

Tips and Tricks for Small Space

Are you struggling with your square footage? Maybe your apartment feels cramped and cluttered. Whether it's your bedroom, living room, or kitchen, your home should be a place that you can kick up your feet and relax, all without worrying about how small your home feels. 

So how do you make your small home into a comfortable, relaxing escape to recharge after a long day of work? Follow our tips below to design your small house the best way it can be. 

1. Colors

  • Go monochromatic. Using only one shade of color makes a room feel more open and connected. 
  • Choose light colors for your walls and floors. Dark rooms tend to absorb colors and close up a room, but lighter colors can make a room appear brighter and larger. 
  • Use stripes. Stripes give the illusion of lengthening. You can effectively use this by installing striped wallpaper or buying a striped rug. 

2. Light

  • Natural light makes a small space appear larger. However, not every home can have that luxury. If you can, consider installing canned recessed lights, which are installed in a way that blends it into the ceiling beautifully. Not only that, this upgrade can actually attract homebuyers, so if you decide to sell, you also benefit. Win, win!
  • Reflecting lights can make a room feel larger. For example, use mirrors as decor, use the stainless steel surfaces in your kitchen or the glossy surfaces in the bathroom. 

3. Vertical Height

  • Tall ceilings or vertical height can make a narrow home appear much larger. Draw the eye upward by mounting curtains higher. Ceilings also look tallest when painted with a white colors. This color can be either flat or high gloss, but when deciding, consider the maintenance of either finish. 
  • Furniture can also help the appearance of vertical height. Bookshelves, furniture with legs, and lofted beds all  make your home look taller and bigger. 

4. Space

  • Utilize the space you do have in the best way you can. Use multipurpose furniture or hidden storage items. Use floating furniture, such as floating shelves. 
  • Declutter. Keeping your space clutter free is the best way to make it appear larger. The less amount of small objects your home has, the more optically large it seems. 

Making your small home appear bigger isn't just a matter of what you see, but also of how comfortable your home will be. For any inquiries about buying or selling your home, contact us at anytime! 

Posted in Decor/Design
July 10, 2018

Taste of Chicago

For Chicagoans, the summer consists of crowded beaches by Lake Michigan, hot weather approaching 100 degrees, and of course, the traditional Taste of Chicago. 

This year, the Taste of Chicago is held from July 11-15th. The Taste of Chicago is a ticket based food festival with local participating restaurant and food trucks and is the world's largest food festival. The Taste of Chicago does not only offer food, but beverages, music, entertainment, art, and fun for everyone. 

Admission to the Taste of Chicago is always free. To purchase food, tickets are sold for $10 for 14 tickets. Smaller samples of food can be purchased for 1-6 tickets. For more information about the 2018 Taste of Chicago, check online here or here

The first Taste of Chicago was held on July 4th, 1980 as a one day event. The Taste of Chicago was started by Arnie Morton, acting as a successor to another festival- ChicagoFest. The first Taste of Chicago took up three blocks north of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, with 250,000 people that showed up. The turnout surpassed expectations of 100,000 people, and Taste was moved to Grant Park the next year where it has remained ever since. Food options back then included hot dogs, ribs, and Italian ice with tickets for merely 50 cents each. The tickets were sold in strips of five, where three tickets could buy a slice of Eli's cheesecake. 

Thirty-eight years later, the Taste of Chicago has many impressive achievements- it's the largest festival in Illinois and has inspired a multitude of "Taste of" events. It usually receives 3 million visitors and serves over 200 menu items. In 2014, for the first time since the inception of the Taste, the Taste of Chicago was closed because of severe weather. 

For a full guide of the foods available at Taste, check out this comprehensive guide. For more tips and tricks, check this out. 

If you have any questions about Chicago, from real estate to fun summer events, be sure to contact us at anytime! 

July 9, 2018

Real Estate Wire Fraud - Buyers Beware!

Buying a home can be the dream of a lifetime, but can turn into a nightmare if not careful.

In a report by ABC7 Chicago, a local couple was the victim of a real estate scam when they were buying a home in Wilmington, Illinois. This couple lost $307,000 after being scammed during the purchase of their dream home. Unfortunately, this real estate scam could have happened to anyone! So, how can home buyers avoid falling victim to this scam? 

The couple wired away $307,000 to scammers who posed as their real estate attorneys. These scammers made it look as though the email was coming from their real estate attorney's assistant's email address. The scam was so realistic that it included an attachment with the attorney's letterhead, the address of the couple's purchase, title insurance company information, detailed instructions, and the exact balance owed.

This isn't the only case of real-estate fraud! The FBI has said that this real estate scam is a crime on the rise. In 2017, nearly 1 billion ($969 million) was targeted in the scam, according to The Chicago Tribune

Cyber security experts say that there are usually only small warning signs, such as "sentences in the fake letter with poor English." 

"In fact, they can look like they are coming from your title company or your lawyer," Shawn Kanady, a cyber security expert, says, "Absolutely, anyone can fall for it. Especially if an attachment comes along that looks like your closing documents. It's almost like another form of verification for you; here's my closing document and it's coming from this, so it must be real." 

What You Can Do

So what can you do to protect yourself from this scam?

Before you wire funds:

  • confirm with your mortgage consultant or title representative by calling a phone number that is trustworthy. 
  • verify the full email address of the sender. However, some scammers can make a fraudulent email address that appears to be correct, so it's always best to confirm instructions by phone. 

If you wired funds and realized it was fraudulent:

  • immediately request a wire recall through your bank. In a story by Time, a victim of the scam was able to get all funds but $400 back. 
  • report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center immediately. The FBI says that "it may be able to stop the transfer and recover consumers' funds if the wire transfer amount is $50,000 or more.", according to The Chicago Tribune

Be sure to follow these tips during your home purchase. If you are in need of consultation or an agent, contact us at any time!

Posted in Buying
March 22, 2018

5 Things to Do This Weekend

There are a wide range of activities for you to do this weekend, no matter if you are a parent who is eager to take your children out to enjoy the first weekend of spring, nature lover who want to mesmerize at the beauty of spring flowers, a health enthusiast, or a Snoopy lover.  



Egg-streme Egg Hunt

Location: Vaughan Athletic Center, Aurora, IL

Date and time: Sunday, March 25th, 2018 at 1 pm

Egg-streme Easter egg hunt obstacles for different age groups where little ones compete for fun and collect eggs along the way.  Don't forget to dress for the weather as this is an outdoor event.

*Registration and admission fee may apply



Location: The Sanctuary Church, Romeoville, IL

Date and time: Saturday, March 24th, 2018 from 9 am - 12 pm

Glow-in-the-dark egg hunt, petting zoo, pony rides, bounce house, donuts, crafts, face painting and interactive Easter story.  This event is free!

*Reserve your free tickets ahead of time.


Macy's Flower Show: "Once Upon a Springtime"

Location: Macy's, Downtown Chicago, IL

Date and time: Sunday, March 25th - April 8th

This flower show features heroic characters triumph over competing forces to usher in the beauty of spring.


Good Food Expo

Location: UIC Forum, Chicago, IL

Date and time: Friday, March 23rd & Saturday, March 24th

This food fest displays locally-grown organic cuisine and samples. The food expo also features leaders in agriculture, chef demonstrations, and real-life farmers!


Snoopy and the Red Baron Exhibit

Location: Elmhurst History Museum, Elmhurst, IL

Date and time: Starting Friday, March 23rd at 1 pm - Jun 17th, 2018

This new traveling exhibit from Charles M. Schulz Museum is opening its exhibit in Elmhurst.  The exhibit features reproductions of Schulz's original comic strip artwork, WWI artifacts, photos, film clips, models, collecting and more inspired by the Flying Ace.

*Please check the museum website for detail hours.






March 15, 2018

5 Things to Do This Weekend

1. St. Patrick's Parade and Chicago River Dyeing

One of Chicago's favorite traditions, the St. Patrick's Day Parade and Chicago River Dyeing, takes place this Saturday!

Date: Saturday, March 17, 2018

Time: River dyeing at 9 a.m.; Parade at noon

Be sure to check the road closures and public transit information ahead of time. 


2. Chicago Flower & Garden Show

This is absolutely for you if you love nature.  It's a great way to get some new inspiration and education on converting that rooftop, backyard, or just your indoor space.  They also have kid activities for the whole family to enjoy.  

Dates: March 14-18, 2018

Location: Navy Pier


3. Chicagoland Family Pet Expo

Pet lovers! You will find more than 200 exhibits of pet-related products and services.  Be sure to check it out if you love fun entertainment and attraction for the whole family.

Date: March 16-18, 2018

Location:  Arlington Park Racecourse


4. Maple Syrup Festival & Sap's Rising

Learn about the history of maple syrup making by walking in the sugar maple forest for an educational trip.  *Different activities on different dates.

Date: March 17 & 18, 2018 

Location: River Trail Nature Center, Northbrook


5. Get Sticky! Maple Syrup Day

75-minute guided tour on discovering the secret of turning tree sap into syrup while enjoying samples along the way.

Date: March 17, 2018

Location: Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center, Oak Brook


*Please check ahead for admission and event detail as some require registration.


June 9, 2017

U-Pick Strawberry Farms

Who doesn't love fresh strawberries?  If you are looking for some fun activities to do with your family while enjoying the beautiful summer weather, then fruit picking is perfect for you.  

Since we are in the strawberry season, here's a list of the farm that is not too far from the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago.  Some of these farms also offer other fruits and veggies picking.

Knutson's Country Harvest

13550 Townhouse Road

Newark, IL 60541



Olive Berry Acres

2575 West Mine Road

Mazon, IL 60444



Stade's Farm and Market

3709 West Miller Road

McHenry, IL 60051



Susie's Garden Patch

10258 US Highway 20

Garden Prairie, IL 61038



Thompson's Strawberry Farm

14000 - 75th Street

Bristol, WI 53104


Please let us know if you know of other farms and which one you like better!

Posted in Activity
March 8, 2017

How to Avoid Home Shopping Burn-Out

Do you find yourself searching and browsing for that perfect home, but only find yourself more overwhelmed and frustrated? Don’t you wish your dream house will appear right on your screen or in front of you at just a snap of your fingers? Unfortunately, this is not possible. The question is how many houses does a person need to see before he or she finds that “perfect” one?

Finding a home is never easy! It takes effort and sometimes “luck” in order to come across the one that is truly for you.  Some find theirs in just a few showings, while others are exhausted night after nights of searching, and yet, they still can’t seem to find “the one” even after compromising a few criterion. The simple truth is that sometimes, we just have to realize that there might not be that perfect house waiting for you, but you can certainly make a nearly perfect house into YOUR perfect home.  So how can we do that?

Let’s start with finding a house …

This is similar to an employee seeking a position. That person needs to know where he’s starting from and where he wants to be.  He will need to evaluate positions using a set of criterion, such as:

Current & future …..

  • Job descriptions
  • Work Schedule
  • Location of the position
  • How his values and missions align with the company’s

After these important details have been carefully evaluated, there are still other factors that need to be considered.  For example, the values of the company, the company size, its reputation, compensation, and as well as the possibility of promotion.

To avoid being frustrated in finding your nearly perfect house, you should also do a similar kind of evaluation.  It is crucial that you identify what is important to you; the must-haves and the must-not-haves for your next house.  You will definitely have a better idea of what is truly important to you as you go through a few property tours.  Here are just some ideas for you to start making your list:

  • Size or type of the house – number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and etc.
  • Features and structures – number of stories, basement, attic; bricks, frames, and etc.
  • Location of the house – where the house is located;  city, near the city, or far from the city; public transportation, and what kind of neighborhood.
  • Price – price of the house, including the insurance and the property taxes

Just like in job hunting, after having the general and important ideas, the next thing is to come up with a list of the details. For example, determine if a family room, garage, fireplace, and etc. are important to you.

To prevent yourself from getting lost in a sea of properties online, you can find a comprehensive list here that can help you to make the whole buying process easier and more enjoyable.

Posted in Buying
Feb. 9, 2017

Traveling Oyster Bar


Oysters and whiskey?

Logan Oyster Socials, a traveling oyster bar, will show you at Beef & Barley this weekend with a two-hour event at your choice of afternoon or evening session.  It features East and West Coast oysters that paired with four Koval whiskeys. 

In addition, each ticket includes an amuse bouche, shrimp, additional oysters after the guided pairing.  Don't forget your raffle ticket for a chance to win Beef & Barley gift certificates, Koval products or even more oysters!

$59, or $115 per couple.

3:30-5:30 p.m. or 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 12

Beef & Barley

3001 N. Ashland Ave.

Posted in Chicago Living
Jan. 31, 2017

HGTV-Style Home Renovation

I’m sure you’ve seen the shows on HGTV where the hosts are buying a home and then renovating it to a beautiful home. I often have people scratching their heads on how these people are actually buying a home and fixing it up. Well, most mortgage loan programs are just focused on buying a home. We have a program that allows our borrowers to buy the home, as well as add the renovation costs into the loan! Plus, most mortgage programs require a property to be in sound condition with no structural defects or required repairs. Not the 203k Home Renovation Loan! It's made for homes needing anything from a light spruce up to major repairs, improvements or new additions. Here are a few important things to know about a 203k Home Renovation Loan:


        Combine Purchase and Improvements

  • The 203k loan covers your purchase price and the cost of improvements. The proposed work must be supported by a "value upon completion" appraisal. You can save by financing renovation costs into the original mortgage rather than racking up credit card bills or dipping into reserve savings later.

        Create the Perfect House

  • If you're having trouble finding the right house in the right location, the 203k is the perfect solution. Just take a well-located home, add your own personalization and improvements, and make it "just right."

        Determine Your Eligibility

  • As with the regular FHA program, credit requirements vary yet can be more flexible than with conventional financing. There are no income limits or first-time buyer status requirements.

        Minimize Out of Pocket Costs

  • The 203k can be obtained with as little as a 3.5% down payment. Gifts can be used, sellers can contribute toward closing or costs can be rolled into the loan amount right along with your pre-paid taxes and insurance.


Applying for the 203k requires more work than other loans, but given all the advantages, it is a great option to consider! If you want to learn more or already think a 203k is right for you, reach out, and we'll work together to get you started today. Our phone number is 847-840-8117, email is, or you can visit our website at


How to do a HGTV style home renovation loan from Nick Magiera on Vimeo.

Posted in Buying, Investing