Archive for the ‘@ Properties’ Category

We’ve gone a pick’n and came back with a healthy list of our favorite Farmers Markets right here in the Chicagoland area.There’s no better place for local, sustainable food than farmers markets, which carry the freshest fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. Now that the warm weather has finally arrived, hitting your local farmer’s market is a great excuse to get outside.


Green City Market

Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.

South end of Lincoln Park, at the intersection of Clark & Lincoln.

In 2011, the AARP named Green City Market one of the 12 must-see farmers’ markets in the United States, and the event has been growing ever since. With a line-up of 60+ vendors, it’s no wonder it’s known for it’s large selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and baked goods.


Evanston’s Farmers Market

Saturdays 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Intersection of University Place and Oak Ave.(behind Hilton Garden Inn, east of East Railroad Ave).

Celebrating it’s 39th year this year, it’s definitely worth venturing up to north for this market of more than 50 vendors. It still offers a big selection without the big crowds in the heart of the city. Known best for their large amounts of berries, corn, tomatoes, and flowers…lots and lots of flowers! BONUS: this market offers hands-on experience with this summer’s free canning workshop that features take-home samples and raffled items (canning workshops will be July 12, July 19, August 30 and Sept 6. Workshops at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.). Market visitors will learn about the benefits of canning for healthy, sustainable living.


Wicker Park Farmers’ Market (a.k.a WPFM)

Sundays 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Wicker Park Ave. & Damen Ave. 

This market may be small in size, but they are big on education. From fresh fruits and veggies, baked goods, meats, cheeses, and flowers, this market focuses on teaching kids and adults about the food we eat from the farm to the table, straight from the farmer’s mouth.



Oak Park Farmers’ Market

Saturdays 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Pilgrim Church Parking Lot – 460 N Lake St.

The Oak Park Farmers’ Market offers high quality, locally grown produce in the friendly, historic Village of Oak Park. Between the sounds of live bluegrass music, the smell of fresh, homemade donuts and an incredible variety of nature’s freshest fruits and vegetables, this is a great way to escape from the city.


Farmer’s Markets are a great way to support local farmers and enjoy the freshest tastes that nature has to offer. Be sure to check out the City of Chicago’s Seasonality Chart to see when your favorite fruits and veggies are best to eat!

Have a favorite Farmer’s Market in the Chicagoland area? Be sure to share with us it in the comments section below!

Submitted by Michelle @dziubs



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Chicago-area home prices keep climbing


© 1999 EyeWire, Inc.

Chicago-area single-family home prices were 8.7 percent higher in August compared with the same month last year, the 10th straight year-over-year increase in a closely watched index.

Chicago-area prices rose 1.6 percent in August compared with July, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller indices released today.

The 20-city index rose even more than Chicago year-over-year, up 12.8 percent compared with August 2012, according to the indices.

“Both composites (10- and 20-city) showed their highest annual increases since February 2006,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. “All 20 cities reported positive year-over-year returns.”

His statement noted that while all 20 cities rose in August compared with July, “most cities showed deceleration compared to July.” For example, Chicago-area prices rose 3.2 percent from June to July.

In the 20-city index, prices rose 1.3 percent from July to August.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, prices rose 0.1 percent from to July to August in the Chicago area and 0.9 percent in the 20-city index.

Local prices are down about 24 percent from their peak in September 2006, according to S&P/Case-Shiller data.

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The Chicago Rental market is the highest this year than it will be in the next 30 years. Large rental building will make a big dent next year in the rental market in the Chicagoland Area. One way to help your rental unit stand out is to make sure when people see it they are impressed.

Obviously the first steps in this process are to clean the unit after the previous renter has left. Very few rentals get top dollar if they are not clean when they are rented. Additionally this includes any normal maintenance items; clean air vents, HVAC filters, clean windows, repair towels racks, change locks if appropriate, make sure the garbage disposal is in working order.

Now you are ready to make your rental truly shine:

1. Light.


Look at this picture above. Which desk would you rather work at?

Light is so incredibly important. How many people do you know who live in caves? I suggest removing those normal light bulbs and install bright light bulbs. Even if it is only for showings. Next open all the blinds. People love natural light in their home. It makes people feel clean, alive, and healthy, so take full advantage of the light that does enter your home. Does your unit not have much light? Why not take advantage of one of the newest fashion trends by buying and installing a large mirror near the natural light coming into the home. Specifically the fashion is to buy a very large mirror with a large thick frame and lean it against a wall. This makes the environment feel brighter and larger.


2. Color

Color has a double edged sword in rentals. Color can be incredibly attractive but painting walls is not a good decision. There is a great compromise though. First paint all the walls white or eggshell or a similar color. Make sure that the color of the walls is not disrupting to anyone. This is about making your unit attractive to the largest amount of people possible. People see white as blank and ready for their own customization. People see a colored wall as used and as someone else’s home.

Instead of painting walls colors; install bright items. Weather this be pictures, art, furniture (even if it won’t stay when they move in), wall trim, curtains, rugs, table clothes, napkins, towels, shower curtains, flowers, soapdishes, or even the frame to your new mirror. These items make the place seem friendly but the potential renters know they these are easily removable so it doesn’t detract from their desire for the place if their fashion sense doesn’t match yours. (yes, we all know yours is better. )

3. Show the benefits

When people see a rental unit, they usually only see it once. Regardless just as if they were buying a condo or home, people wonder what it will be at night and at different times of the day. Solve this question for them by taking photos of the views at different times during the day/night. Have these photos pasted next to the windows they were taken from. This shows the potential renter how great it will be when the city lights are lit. Don’t have views? Simple, do not do this. You want to draw attention to the benefits of this place not the downsides.

Another opportunity is location and ease of transportation. If this is something your unit has, then show it! Give each potential renter a list of the nearby items of transit and their proximity to you in terms of distance or time. “It only takes 2 minutes to walk the 2 blocks to the EL.” or “The Ashland bus comes right in front of the buidling and can take you to xxx in 10 minutes.”

Got any questions? Shoot me an email. I’m 100% free advice.


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A good friend of mine sent this to me and I thought I would pass it along.


Being happy in life is the first step to success, in my mind. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be unhappy. It’s all up to you. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Check out this great list that outlines some of the things that make happy people, well, happy. It was written by Chiara Fucarino, a freelance writer, on the blog Successify! and was recommended to me by Eric Rees, Intero’s Director of Information Technology.

Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

  1. Don’t hold grudges. – Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your well-being, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.
  2. Treat everyone with kindness. – Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.
  3. See problems as challenges. – The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.
  4. Express gratitude for what they already have. – There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.
  5. Dream big. – People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.
  6. Don’t sweat the small stuff. – Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.
  7. Speak well of others. – Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.
  8. Never make excuses. – Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.
  9. Get absorbed into the present. – Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.
  10. Wake up at the same time every morning. – Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.
  11. Avoid social comparison. – Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.
  12. Choose friends wisely. – Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.
  13. Never seek approval from others. – Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.
  14. Take the time to listen. – Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.
  15. Nurture social relationships. – A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.
  16. Meditate. – Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.
  17. Eat well. – Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.
  18. Exercise. – Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.
  19. Live minimally. – Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.
  20. Tell the truth. – Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.
  21. Establish personal control. – Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.
  22. Accept what cannot be changed. – Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

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As I am in the trenches of the Chicago real estate industry, I figured I would let you know what’s happening. Basically there has been a large resurgence of properties popping onto the market.

It seems that the thinking for many 2013 sellers was simply “let’s wait till the new year and then list our place.”  It is a logical step. The agents here at @properties are very busy with these new listings.

The buyers are a bit different ironically. Obviously most buyers are search and perusing the online listings but most do not look forward to braving the cold and going to the many excursions that help them truly narrow down the properties.

Overall buyers are busy working and watching Lance and his tribulations on TV, but that will soon change as each day the hours are getting more bright and the weather a little warmer.
Have a great weekend,


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I’ve been involved with many Condo sales in the City of Chicago and have developed a short list of things people don’t think about during the purchase of a Condo and frankly they should. I recommend all my clients to look at these items, because although they may not seem important now, in the future, they will be extremely important.

  1. SOUNDS: When you are in a Condo, you live on, next-to, above, below, beside, and around people and traffic. How will the sounds they make affect you. I am asked all the time when I show condo units: “Are the floors concrete?” This question is a little like asking if the movie Avatar is the greatest movie ever because it has grossed the most money. The majority of units do have a type of concrete between the floors but in reality it is 2″ thick and usually rests on wooden trusses. Don’t misunderstand me and think that it doesn’t help, because it helps a lot. We just should also remember that its not the thickness of a concrete block 8-10″ thick wall.
  2. RENTING: This may become very very important to you later on and buildings vary considerably in the way that they deal with owners of condos who desire to rent their units. Why? FHA standards dictate it. The number of people that are able to buy condos in a building affect the market value of those units. Because of this, ensuring that your building allows future buyers to get low down-payment FHA financing is in the management’s best interest. Therefore the building complies with all FHA Condo building guidelines and one of those guidelines are a maximum number of units that are rentals within the building. The standard is 30%. In other words; 70% of the condo units in the building must be occupied by their owners. Because of these restrictions, associations have ways to choose who is able to rent their units. One way is by forcing each condo owner to wait a prescribed period of time before being able to rent their unit. Another way is to change Rental fees to the condos who are renting. Another way is to forbid it. Find out what your future condo association does.
  3. MANAGEMENT: This is the Condo Association and understanding what it will be like to deal with this organization is a good way to research whether you would like to own a unit in the building. Do they respond quickly? Are they keeping the common areas and elevator clean and working? Are they Self-managed or is it a professional management company? Are there fees for anything? Like a corporation associations have bylaws and articles of Incorporation and meeting minutes. You should review all of these.
  4. ASSESSMENTS: This is your bread and butter. This will affect whether you are headed to get steak on a Friday night or Ramen noodles. What are the assessments? Have they changed lately? Do they plan to change them in the future (ask the association president.)? What does the association hold in their reserves for emergencies? Are there any special assessments for special repairs currently? Will there be soon? Will there be any special repairs soon?
  5. PESTS: The City of Chicago has pests just like every large city. The rules regarding the disclosure of pests is not as strict as other laws. Because of this, it is best and smartest to ask questions. Has the association ever purchased extermination services for this building? – The great thing about this question is that its hard to be evasive when you respond, because they know you can look the answer up. They are more inclined to be upfront and honest with you from the start if you ask and phrase your pests problem in such a way. Also keep in mind, simply because they have had issues in the past doesn’t mean the building isn’t a great investment for you, but the key to any investment is appropriately understanding the risks and rewards and weighing them fairly.
  6. CONSTRUCTION: It may be because of my education in Construction Management but regardless, when I look at a condo; I look at the details in its construction. The builders of a condo buildings are no different from the many builder’s I’ve worked with doing commercial construction. A few key pointers are look at the hardwood. #1 Is it real hardwood? #2 How are the seams between the boards and at the edges of the floor? #3 Are there any cracking or loud creaks? Another thing to look at is the trim and door frames. #1 look at the joint between two pieces of trim or crown molding. Are they hard to spot or easy? #2 Are there any cracks above the door frames? #3 Do all the doors close properly and how are the doors sitting on their frames? Are they flush? Finally look at caulking throughout the kitchen and bath. Are there areas where water could seep? These aren’t deal breakers but they show the quality of the building finish construction, which is usually a good indicator of general non-finish quality of craftsmanship.

Please contact me with any questions about any of this. That’s what I’m here for.
~ Kyle

Residential Real Estate Consultant
C: 630.542.9500   F: 312.254.0222
LEED Accredited Professional

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The case-schiller index just came out. Check out these amazing results.

If you own a home, it’s already worth more now than it did a few months ago. This makes you think you should hold on to it and keep earning the money. Why not right?.. The only time I could disagree with that logic is if you are planning to purchase a new larger home. In that specific case, these next few months would have a larger affect on a larger home, than they would on your current smaller home. Regardless of what you do, if you own a home you’re in for a treat. If you don’t own a home, call me and lets solve that problem, because then you can profit too.
Have a great week!


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