How to be Successful as a Buyer

More contracts were written on properties this January than in the past nine Januaries. We’re still a few months away from spring, {or maybe not since it was 70 degrees in Chicago this weekend!} and it’s already very busy… I don’t know for sure, but right now it feels like there are even fewer places on the market than last year, or maybe there are just more early year buyers… either way, it means it’s even more competitive for buyers. That’s great for property values which continue to climb, but it can be really discouraging for people who want to buy a property and…

Sellers, let’s talk family photos

I’m in the middle of reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. Part of the message is that you can’t have room for the new things, until you’ve gotten rid of the old things. Personally I think this is 100% true, but man it can be such a deal to let go of the old stuff! Am i right?! This could be happening in any area of your life, but few things epitomize this struggle better than the dreaded family photos in a property for sale. Especially when they are really big… and mounted in a very prominent place, like over the fireplace…

The biggest ‘secret’ of selling your house

In the real estate world it’s already spring, even if mother nature isn’t on board quite yet. And it’s busy. There is a huge demand for listings, but that doesn’t always ensure automatic success as a seller. Today’s post is all about something that I don’t think any agent shares with their sellers, but it really is the essence of how to get what you want out of the sale of your house. Before you even think about thinking about starting to declutter or moving even one piece of furniture to get your house ready to sell, you have to be in…

Architecture | Politics | Energy

Even if it’s the most boring year of your life, it’s still a big year for everyone… Personally, it’s been a huge year for me. But before I could get my big news put together and finish reworking everything to do an official relaunch… the Cubs went and won the World Series – after only 108 years – kind of a huge deal, especially here in Chicago…. and then we had the election… with a pretty surprising outcome. How can I compete with either of those things?! First the Cubs stole my thunder and then the Election rained on my…

Please don’t buy {or build} an ugly house

When you’re buying a new house it’s important that the inside space really works for you. But it’s also important that the outside doesn’t look like shit either. Sometimes I look at a building and I honestly don’t know – 1. what the person who designed it was thinking, or 2. who on earth thought it was great looking and what an awesome idea it would be to buy it. In one way I can totally get behind the idea of ‘to each their own’ and that everything is beautiful in some way… to someone… but also – some buildings…

Uptown Kitchen Transformation – In Progress

One of my favorite things about renovations is seeing the progress as the space transforms, so I’m super excited to be able to share that with you for this project. I’d already mentioned before that we decided to keep the existing cabinets and repaint them. This is an awesome way to get a big change for a lot less cost, and these kitchen cabinets were a classic style and in good condition, so it really made sense to keep them. So how do kitchen cabinets get re-painted you ask? Well, for starters – I would not consider this a DIY…

Kitchen Renovation – Getting Started and Making Decisions…

Oh my goodness, how time flies. When did it turn October?! (yes, I know it was eight days ago) Needless to say, I am way overdue to share more info about Eugenia’s renovation. When we first started talking about her style and possible approaches to the space, Eugenia and I kept talking about keeping things light and bright. The more I thought about what to propose, I just kept feeling like it would be so fun to do the base cabinets a darker color and have the counter and top cabinets white. I don’t know why I kept thinking that,…

Northside Condo: A New House Gets a New Personality

When I met my client Eugenia and her husband Ethan a few months ago, they had just put an offer on a new condo here in Chicago. They were super excited about their new home, but wanted some help making a few changes to update it and really make it them. Here are some photos of what we started with. One of the biggest challenges when looking for a new house is also being able to see past the decor and style of the current occupants. You have to learn to see past the furniture, the paint, the decor… because all of that is…

Real Estate 101: Buying in the Seller’s Market

Last time we talked about selling in the current Seller’s Market. Today, we’ll cover things if you are buyer. Feeling nervous about pulling the trigger and buying a new place? Fear not! It’s so exciting to be looking for a new place no matter when it’s happening, and this post offers some quick suggestions for how to make sure you find that perfect place, even in an environment with a little more competition and a little less selection than in other times. Are You Ready Financially Have you talked to a mortgage broker and are you pre-approved? {Not just pre-qualified} Have…

Real Estate 101: Tips for Success in the Current Seller’s Market {for sellers}

It’s time to talk about real estate! I first started working in real estate five years ago in the worst summer of the entire recession. It was super awesome. I took a break and went back into the corporate world in order to avoid homelessness, {hey, you gotta go what you gotta do right} met some awesome people and had some amazing experiences. But I really love and missed working with people in the big transition of finding and moving into their new space, so this year I dove back in and boy are things different than just a few…