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Spooky season is here! Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up is your one-stop shop for all things fall fun! Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up offers a ton of activities, including axe throwing, carnival games, a full bar, photo ops, Chicago's largest corn maze, and so much more! Make sure to get your tickets and stop in for a spell!
It won’t be long before brisk fall days give way to overnight frost and freeze advisories. Avoid the potential toll a Midwest winter can take on your biggest investment by planning ahead and following these important tips for winterizing your home.
With energy prices skyrocketing, there’s never been a better time to make sure your home is well-insulated and properly sealed off from the elements. Screens should be removed and storm covers replaced over all windows and doors where appropriate. Additionally, caulk holes and openings around windows and doors to prevent cold air from seeping in. Whether hiring a professional or purchasing products from your local hardware store, various weather stripping and seals are available as additional heat loss protection methods.
Often an afterthought, the attic and crawlspaces can be a culprit behind high heating bills. Be sure to double-check your insulation in these areas, which should always remain about 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. Furnaces, boilers, and chimneys should also be serviced each season to ensure they’re running safely and efficiently. And consider installing an energy-efficient or programmable thermostat as another way to keep your energy bills at bay.
Be particularly mindful if your water pipes are situated in an area susceptible to cold temperatures. Amid freezing temperatures, keep a trickle of water running from your faucets to protect against freezing or bursting pipes, and keep cabinet doors under kitchen and bathroom sinks open so warm air can surround the pipes. In the event that your pipes do freeze or burst, knowing how to shut off your home’s main water valve can save you from troublesome water damage. Putting away hoses and shutting off the water to outdoor spigots is also a good idea.
Inspect gutters for debris to prevent against potentially dangerous ice dams, and keep trees trimmed to avoid weak branches breaking in the snow, ice, and wind. Testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is also imperative headed into the winter months.
You’ll also want to avoid slips and falls, so be sure to beat the rush and be prepared with snow removal equipment, as well as deicing salt for steps, sidewalks, and driveways. If you have pets, keep them safe too with special brands that are gentle on their paws. And don’t forget to bring them inside during cold and inclement weather.
Once you’ve prioritized the items that will protect you and your home during the coldest months, consider the ways you can winterize purely to enhance your time indoors. For example, homes with sunrooms or screened-in porches can often be seasonally insulated, while baseboards or portable heaters can be added to prolong the time spent in these spaces.
Prior to the first frost, bring in smaller outdoor plants and enjoy them year-round. If you have a couple of favorites that are easy to transplant, start to acclimate them by bringing them in overnight, and then gradually keep them inside throughout winter and early spring. It will undoubtedly add a little color to what can sometimes feel like a particularly gray time of year. This is especially easy to do with potted herbs and comes in handy for seasonal comfort cooking.
Selling your home can be bittersweet—while you’re eager to get it off the market and move on, saying goodbye can be emotionally draining. Not to mention physically taxing considering the proper preparation that goes into getting your house ready to sell.
What it shouldn’t be is overwhelming. Here are some main areas to tackle and a breakdown of what needs to be done to get your home from “for sale” to “sold.”
Deep Clean and Decluttering
There’s maintenance cleaning, and then cleaning your home so that it’s marketable. This means paying attention to the things you may normally bypass like cleaning any window treatments and getting the floors professionally done. Try to make the bathrooms and kitchen look like they haven’t been used (re-caulking could do wonders!), and don’t forget about your home’s exterior.
“The first thing buyers see when they walk up to your house is the entryway—so you need to make sure it gives a positive first impression. Especially for private showings, your front door area needs to be in pristine condition. While your real estate agent unlocks the door, the buyer looks around and notices every minor imperfection,” HomeLight points out.
They also emphasize the importance of cleaning your roof, putting a fresh coat of paint on an unobstructed front door and even the benefit of cleaning your mailbox.
Remember to clear all countertops of personal items and any everyday products. You ultimately want the people viewing the home to envision themselves in the space.
Part of selling your home is detaching from it, and this means removing family photos and anything that could cause a distraction when a potential buyer is viewing the property.
“You want to present buyers with an impersonal, clean environment so they can imagine the home perhaps decorated with their own photographs, furniture, and art objects. Depersonalizing your home makes it easier for potential buyers to visualize how the home might look filled with their own items,” according to The Balance.
Update and Organize
Depending on your budget, making minor updates to the kitchen and throughout the home can lend to your chances of selling quicker. Paint the cabinets and update their hardware if possible. Cover all holes and cracks in any walls. You want to anyone viewing the home to be looking at a clean slate.
Be sure to organize closets and even consider renting a storage unit for extraneous items (personalized pieces or family heirlooms).
Buy light bulbs! All the lights in your home should be to on to optimize the clean, clutter-less space you’ve curated.
Speaking of curation…now that you’ve depersonalized and freshened everything up, add some inviting yet neutralized flair to the home. Buy fresh flowers, add some new (understated and chic) throw pillows, hang fresh towels in the bathrooms, and rearrange the furniture in a fashion that makes the space feel open and inviting.
Even though you’ve removed your personal touch, you can still impress potential buyers with tasteful and universal styling skills.
At RDM Group Chicago, we pride ourselves on our top-of-the-line marketing and our team has been rated in the top 10% of Chicagoland agents. Once you’ve gotten your home sale ready, we'll run a comprehensive market analysis to properly price your house—helping you quicky capitalize on this life-changing sale.
Top Halloween Activities in Chicago
Corn mazes and cider mills are a mere baby pumpkin step toward bracing the Halloween season—October is for the fearless. Clutch those spiced lattes and check out these activities in the city for your graduation from cute to spooks!
Ever wonder what sort of skeletons the city’s infrastructure holds? OK, not literal remains! But there are rumors of buildings being haunted, and a tour can give you the insight to what lurks in the Congress Plaza Hotel, Lincoln Park Zoo, the former site of H.H. Holmes’ Murder Castle and other famed sites (allegedly) harboring ghosts.
North Halsted Halloween Parade
Held in the heart of Boystown, the North Halsted Halloween Parade has been ranked one of the 10 Best Halloween Celebrations in the U.S. by Fodor’s Travel. Kicking off on October 31st at 7:30pm is a rowdy procession initiated by a Chicago Thriller flash mob made up of ghouls inspired by the famed music video. They precede drag queens, cosplay, and a competition for best costume.
Are you up for 24 hours of the scariest cinema the industry has created? Music Box theater believes in you. Starting at noon on October 23rd, brave the theater’s chosen lineup of spine-chilling features. For a break from nail-biting and white-knuckling your armrest—there will be special guests, giveaways, and surprise vendors. Passes allow you to come and go throughout the day!
This family-friendly event celebrates the less gory side of Halloween to highlight the inherent art of the holiday. Featuring large-scale puppets, costumed performers and intricately decorated floats, the parade is made possible thanks to some of Chicago’s most renowned artistic institutions, including Lookingglass Theater Company and the Art Institute of Chicago— to provide an elaborate and surreal experience downtown.
While it’s that time of year to partake in suspense and trickery, once Halloween dies down and you’re still in the market to buy or sell real estate—transparency and reliability is most important. Our team prides on providing that while assisting you in the buying or selling or process. The only surprises will be the fun ones!
Headlines broadcasting news of interest rate hikes and rising mortgage rates have been coming at consumers fast and furious for most of 2022. And there’s no question the housing market has seen a deceleration as a result of that economic equation. But for home buyers seeking out deals or looking to protect themselves against inflation, now may be the perfect time to take the leap, especially for those who have their heart set on new construction.
The slowdown is affecting all property types and locations differently and new developments are no exception. While inventory has been historically low within the vertical, pre and new construction have still felt the impact of a slowing market, creating wiggle room in list prices. An additional benefit of investing in a development still under construction is that developers are usually incentivized to sell a certain percentage of units quickly in order to meet financial requirements.
Some may not have the fortitude for such a big purchase that is largely incomplete, but Cyndy Salgado, executive vice president of development sales for @properties Development Group, believes the risk is minimal and the rewards – especially now – are countless.
“While not all buyers feel comfortable purchasing a pre-construction home sight unseen, a buyer who can come to the table with a vision for what that space will ultimately deliver stands to overcome any feared disadvantages with the chance to choose the best unit at the most competitive price,” said Salgado.
Despite the recent decrease in demand, inventory has still not caught up to pre-pandemic levels, keeping new construction prices somewhat stable. However, developers are typically willing to negotiate on pre-construction whether for a lower contract price after a development has just been released, or for upgrades, and even closing costs.
Investors who aren’t on a tight timetable are also at an advantage when considering a new development. “Our pre-construction buyers often have a lot of flexibility in their lives and aren’t as impacted by delivery dates,” said David Tufts, partner with @properties Development Group. Tufts added that a new development is a great opportunity for individuals that have the discretionary income for a second home that they don’t need to move into right away.
Pre-construction can also serve to protect your money, as hard assets like real estate are still very much in favor because they offer a hedge against inflation. The investment will become more valuable over time, increasing in equity as the monthly payment stays the same. Home appreciation is affected by a variety of factors including market conditions and location, but currently, the national average appreciation rate is 2% month over month and 14.5% year over year.
For information on a variety of premier new construction developments within Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Georgia, visit @properties Development Group.
WRITTEN BY @PROPERTIES
The days may be getting shorter, but don’t let that fool you into thinking there aren’t plenty of activities to fill your fall calendar. Between brews and boos, you’ll have no trouble staying busy whether you’re on the North Shore or heading to the city. Here are some events to check out this fall.
Chicago Beer Fest
Craft brews have exploded in popularity over the last few years, and Chicago has embraced the trend with a variety of festivals. One of the largest is the Chicago Beer Festival, which will be held inside the Field Museum on October 8th from 7 to 11 p.m. Not only will the event feature over 65 breweries showcasing fall seasonal beers, but some of the museum’s exhibits will be open for viewing as you enjoy your favorite ale.
Move over Oktoberfest, you’ve been replaced by reptiles! Each Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in October, the Wildlife Discovery Center at ELAWA Farm in Lake Forest will host Croctoberfest. The five-week event will allow guests of all ages to experience Crocodiles and other reptiles up close and personal in a safe environment. There will be additional programs occurring in conjunction with the reptile demonstrations.
There’s nothing like having a Big Ten football stadium in your own backyard. Head to Ryan Field in Evanston to watch the Northwestern Wildcats go head-to-head against gridiron rivals. The team is scheduled to have seven home games this season, so get ready to break out your purple and white.
Night of 1,000 Jack O’Lanterns
Kick-off spooky season in Glencoe at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, where over 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins will light up the night. Night of 1,000 Jack O’Lanterns runs from October 12-16th and October 19-23rd and tickets can be purchased online. The event features professionally carved pumpkins – some as large as 150 lbs – with images of Halloween characters and celebrities, as well as nods to Chicago. Take in the festive atmosphere with music, carving demonstrations, snacks and sips.
Haunts and Hayrides
Both just a short drive from the North Shore, Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm and Didier Farms offer an endless array of fall activities. Whether it’s a corn maze, haunted house, hayride or pumpkin patch, both locations are fun for all ages.
Antiques and Modernism Show
For over 50 years, Winnetka’s Community House has hosted the Antiques and Modernism Show featuring dealers from around the country. Held from November 4-6th, this year’s event invites attendees to explore or purchase an array of distinctive merchandise and will also feature speakers and design workshops. If you’re looking for heirloom furniture, ornate rugs or exceptional pieces of jewelry, this is the place to be!
Open House Chicago
Throughout October, the Chicago Architecture Center hosts Open House Chicago, a free public festival that offers self-guided history and architecture tours around Chicago and surrounding suburbs. In previous years, participants have toured everything from theaters to notable apartment buildings and historic homes.
WRITTEN BY ANGIE SELL
For parents, mid-August and early September mark the glorious return of back-to-school season. It’s also a popular time of year to move, especially for families looking to settle into their new surroundings before that first school bell rings.
While it’s always key to stay organized during a move and beyond, it becomes all the more important when you’re establishing a new routine. So to gain some insight, we talked to home organization experts Cathleen Staley with Simplify and Lindsey Kach with NEAT Method, who shared their thoughts on how to organize to suit the needs of both kids on the go and parents looking to control the chaos.
Edit Down Your Belongings Before You Move
Staley started her business in 2014 with the idea of helping people organize their homes. Little did she know that eight years later, 75 percent of her business would be comprised of moving families.
“Typically, when helping someone with a move, our ideal scenario is starting in the home they’re moving from so we can help them edit down the belongings they take with them,” said Staley. “Moving is expensive, so being mindful of getting rid of things you never use before you land in your new space is important.”
While some only see hassles involved with moving – especially with school-age kids – Staley looks at it as an opportunity. “A move is a blank canvas that allows you to make organization sustainable whether in closets, cupboards, a mudroom or garage.”
A Simple Formula
Kach says home organization is a simple formula but approaches each client individually. “Each space is different, and every family has their own needs – it’s always up to the client and how they are comfortable approaching their organizational needs,” she said.
Specific to back-to-school, Kach noted that a “command center” for paperwork, homework and mail is particularly important, while “grab-and-go snack zones” and “lunch preparation stations” also keep things manageable for busy families.
She suggests having a method for housing bulky sports equipment and recommends storing seasonal items that aren’t in use. “A garage with industrial shelving, wall grid systems and various stations is a great way to organize and air out equipment that is in use, while basements can be used for out-of-season storage,” Kach said.
Making Your Move Manageable
Noting that moving can be filled with emotions and elevated stress levels, Staley said her goal as a professional home organizer and moving concierge is to help alleviate that feeling. In addition to helping pack, unpack and organize, Staley and her team will handle “to-do” items for clients such as calling utility companies, landscapers or even enrolling in a new school district. “We’ve had a lot of success eliminating that overwhelmed feeling that can accompany a move,” said Staley.
As part of Simplify’s services, prior to a move, Staley and her team will also work with real estate agents to help stage a home prior to selling, as well as schedule movers and coordinate the donation of unwanted items. Based in Chicago’s North Shore, Simplify has helped individuals across the country.
NEAT Method has teams throughout the United States and Canada and will also correspond with movers, closet build-out companies, and interior designers to ensure a seamless experience for clients. The company features its own line of high-end organization tools for every room in the house.
WRITTEN BY ANGIE SELL
Roscoe Village: A Little Town of Its Own
Few neighborhoods in Chicago offer the same kind of family-oriented yet stylish, trend-setting vibe found in Roscoe Village. It’s designated with its own welcome sign for a reason. Plush with finely manicured front yards, patio dining and one-of-a-kind boutiques, Roscoe Village serves as a chic oasis in our bustling metropolis.
Whether you start at Damen or Western to travel down Roscoe, there are blocks of shopping, dining, and prime real estate to peruse. Here are some staple locations along Roscoe St., perfect for a day outing in the Village.
Brunch at Lucy’s Café
Family-owned—with the option of most meals being animal product and gluten free—this quaint and health-conscious dinery can host the perfect start to your day in Roscoe Village. With a soothing beach coast vibe, their menu boasts brunch favorites like benedicts and French toast alongside a variety of signature salads for a guilt-free fuel up.
Shopping at The Denim Lounge
According to the boutique’s owner, “three qualities make up a great pair of jeans: comfort, durability and wash,” and that’s the exact standard he and his team have curated for their store. Complete with couches, TV and a beer cooler, shopping at the Denim Lounge offers comfort while their product—that expands beyond jeans to include tops, dresses and sportswear for women, men, and kids—is inspired by NYC brands and a combined 60 years of fashion experience.
Drinks at Village Tap
Coined “Chicago’s Premiere Neighborhood Tavern,” this local watering hole is known for their sophisticated draft list and spacious biergarten. It’s an ideal spot for a mid-day beverage while you explore the area. With a full food menu, their beer list, wine, and cocktails can be accompanied by a light snack too!
Dinner at John’s Place
You’ll want to cap off your day in the Village with a dinner at one of the neighborhood’s well-known restaurants. Established in 1994, John’s is the kind of place that is inviting and warm with a quality of dining that has kept up with trends but never compromised its tradition.
This is just a mere sample of what Roscoe Village entails. With a range of novelty shops, dining that spans different cultures and an overall family-friendly environment, this neighborhood is in a stylish, high-end yet welcoming class of its own. Our team would be happy to show you listings in this area, and the greater Chicago area.
Consider it Wrigleyville’s older, more sophisticated but inviting sibling. You can take in a Cubs game then skip the rowdiness of that area, by going just a few blocks west to enjoy the shops and dining of Southport. It’s an opportunity to do some adulting in style.
Flush with chic boutiques—both commercial and independently owned—mixed in with posh eateries and some dive bars for balance, the Southport Corridor is a treasured destination spot renowned in the city. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in this trendy yet timeless area.
Brunch at Southport Grocery and Café
Get energized for your day in the corridor by having a delightful brunch at the neighborhood’s namesake café. Offering up everything from cupcake pancakes to their signature breakfast sandwich, this local favorite deliciously runs the gamete of sweet and savory. They have a great kid’s menu too! Fun fact: they support local farmers so there’s even more motivation to dine here, beyond their from-scratch inspired cuisine.
Afternoon Shopping at Johnny Was or Uncle Dan’s
With an elevated boho vibe, Johnny Was offers an intriguing selection of high-end embroidered pieces with eclectic and vibrant patterns unique to their brand. The clothing isn’t just works of art though, they’re also geared for comfort and livability.
That’s a daintier shopping option. If you’re needing to cater to a more rugged retail experience, Uncle Dan’s Outdoor Store is just down the street—featuring well-known outer wear brands and all your adventure gear needs.
Dinner at Coda di Volpe
Once dinner time rolls around, you can indulge in authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas as other well modern-Italian dishes. The menu has a great variety of offerings including tasty craft cocktails and a fabulously curated wine list. The restaurant has an upscale vibe in a neighborhood setting, perfect for a casual weeknight meal or a special celebration one.
Night Cap at Lange’s
Get some steps in after that hefty, delectable meal and head back south on the strip for some pool and beverages at this classic dive bar. It’s such a dive, it doesn’t even have a website! They’ve been serving domestic brews and rock and roll long enough to rely solely on word of mouth—and their iconic real estate on Southport.
Chicago is a city known for its individualized neighborhoods—each offering their own kind of charm and aesthetic. You won’t soon forget Southport’s. If you’re looking to buy, we are happy to show you properties in this area, and throughout the greater Chicagoland.