- Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check is one of the best ways to save without thinking much about it.
- Living within a budget right now will help you save money for down payments while also paying down other debts that might be holding you back.
- What are you willing to cut back on to make your dreams of homeownership a reality?
3 Tips for Making Your Dream of Owning a Home a Reality [INFOGRAPHIC]
Source: Simplifying the Market
Written by Nicole Regan
It’s time to find your dream house but there’s just ONE thing standing in your way: selling your old home. So how do you stage your current home to make it photo ready? Glad you asked!
Here are 5 simple tips to make your home full-price listing worthy:
When we were house hunting, we were naturally drawn to clean and well-organized homes.
As soon as you decide to sell, start decluttering. The easiest way? Secure a storage unit. All those things you’re not using take up valuable real estate, making your home feel smaller than it really is. Packing items in a storage unit before listing will not only help sell your place, but also make packing easier once your offer is solidified. Your home will feel spacious and open, especially in photos and showings.
Curate Your Home
Do you have different styles, patterns, and colors under one roof? If so, it may confuse and distract buyers from the bones of your home. One way to keep buyers on track is to ensure everything is cohesive and flows.
This may mean storing away unique or outdated furniture, re-painting walls or even rearranging furniture. Not everyone will be a fan of your plush shag rug or crazily-printed wallpaper. So make sure you appeal to the masses when deciding what to show.
Clean Out Your Closets
If your closets are bursting at the seams, how will potential buyers know how much storage your home has? Winter coats stuffed in the corner and jam-packed shelves won’t impress anyone. It makes your home feel smaller than it actually is.
To best showcase your storage space, pack away all out-of-season clothes (this should be almost half your wardrobe!) Hang remaining clothes on matching hangers, all facing the same direction, and clear clutter from floors and closet shelves.
When doing this, you’re again getting ahead on packing, which is a major bonus if you sell your house quickly.
One of the keys to a quick sale is making buyers feel like your house could be their own. Depersonalize by packing away certain collections, photos, and mementos that may be distracting. If your office has memorabilia of your favorite sports team, consider replacing the jersey hanging on the wall with an abstract painting.
When people can imagine themselves living in your home, they are more likely to put in an offer quickly.
Increase Curb Appeal
When people see your home for the first time, you want to ensure they don’t drive away before stepping foot in the house.
Creating curb appeal is easy to do and you can find our best tips here. If the outside of your home looks inviting, people will be eager to see what they will find inside.
By following these simple tips, you’ll have your home showing-ready in no time.
According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $2,840 this year when filing their taxes. This is down slightly from the average refund of $2,895, last year. [Read more…]
You may have heard, “The spring market begins after the Super Bowl.” That of course was last Sunday, and from all early indications, the spring market of 2018 has begun. As the busiest time of year for the housing market, spring – actually, February through May – brings opportunity for buyers and sellers alike. If you’re thinking about selling your home, here are some keys to success.
Begin with a Comparative Market Analysis
Get an opinion of your home’s value from an active real estate pro. After all, “What is my house worth?” is probably the biggest question on your mind – and that’s why a Comparative Market Analysis (“CMA”) is so important. A real estate broker will prepare a CMA to give you a snapshot of your home’s current value based on comparable properties in your area. This will help you determine the appropriate asking price for your home when it comes time to list.
The peak season for real estate has begun, and your home should be in great showing condition at all times. While this may seem daunting, your agent can recommend services to help you get ready. Declutter and prep your home for showings and open houses by following these tips.
Yes, Do Those Necessary Home Improvements
Inspections aren’t just for homebuyers. If sellers order an inspection prior to putting their home on the market, they can identify and address issues that could arise during the escrow period. Sellers should also keep in mind that many buyers today are looking for a home that is turnkey and move-in ready. If you thought you might want to “do something” to your home, chances are your buyer will have the same idea. From painting to re-finishing floors, home improvement projects can boost a home’s sale-ability and also give it a more current look.
Have a Marketing Strategy
From the time-tested yard sign to cutting-edge content marketing, there are numerous tactics for marketing a home these days. Having a comprehensive marketing plan positions your home to get the broadest exposure and to achieve the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time. It also makes the selling process a lot more seamless. Without a doubt, the most successful sellers (and their brokers) create and follow a strategy that is tailored to their specific listing.
Spring brings more competition in real estate, which means sellers need to be flexible on matters beyond just negotiating price. You might be asked to show your home at the last minute, to close quickly, or to satisfy an unusual request. Be open minded at all times and keep the end goal in mind. Don’t reject an offer just because it potentially requires more work than anticipated. If a buyer makes an offer, they are interested. Keep them engaged and work towards an agreement. After all, that’s how you can make your next move, too.
This post originally appeared on the @properties blog
8-18 Chicago Theater Week – Various theaters
10-19 Chicago Auto Show
10 – 3/25 Chicago Botanical Garden Orchid Show
16 For The Love Of Pets – Begyle Brewing
Written by Ari Bendersky
You know when you see someone jogging and it’s less than 20 degrees outside and you think: “that man must be insane?”
Then you think how much fun it would be to bundle up, lace up a pair of skates and hit the ice — yeah, not so crazy anymore is it?
Once you get moving, do a few laps around the rink, maybe fall a couple (or five) times and your body starts heating up, you realize just how great playing and exercising in the cold really is.
Get those skates, grab the kids or call some friends, and hit one of these great outdoor ice skating rinks in and around Chicago.
Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon
On the north end of the fantastically fun Maggie Daley Park, adjacent to Millennium Park, is the Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon that attracts locals and tourists to skate the town red in swirly, zig-zag fashion.
You can rent both figure and hockey skates ($12-$14 depending on the day of the week) and grab a hot chocolate.
Best of all, admission is free.
Millennium Park McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
Open through March 4, the festive ice rink set between Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park is one of the most popular places to skate in the city.
You can pop by for a few twirls on the open rink before or after your lunch, dinner or drinks at one of the many nearby restaurants: Acanto, Cindy’s, Seven Lions or Park Grill.
You can rent skates — or get your pair sharpened — and admission is free.
Chicago Blackhawks Ice Rink at Winter Wonderfest
The magical, seasonal land that is Winter Wonderfest is set inside Navy Pier. In addition to numerous rides and attractions, you and the kids can spend some time on the indoor Chicago Blackhawks Ice Skating Rink.
Buy your tickets online for $27 (adults) and $12 (kids between 36 and 42 inches).
A temporary rink near the fountain inside Wicker Park, Wicker Ice will be around into February for anyone who wants to skate or play hockey.
Check out the Facebook page for a schedule of different events.
There’s no admission fee, but you do need to bring your own skates.
Midway Plaisance Park Ice Rink
Head to Hyde Park to skate in the midst of the Midway. The neighborhood’s sprawling swath of parkland just south of the University of Chicago dates back to the late 1800s.
The Midway Plaisance Park ice rink sits among 83 acres and includes a warming house.
You can free skate, take lessons and participate in pick-up hockey games.
McFetridge Sports Center
If you’re not a fan of the cold, but love to skate, pop over to Avondale’s McFetridge Sports Center.
While much ice time is reserved for hockey games, figure skating and synchronized sessions, free skates and “rat hockey,” a.k.a. pick-up games for adults and kids get time, too.
When you’re done, grab a bite at one of the area’s great eateries, like one of our favorite fried chicken restaurants or put back a pint at Metropolitan Brewing’s tasting room.
Part of the Skokie Park District, The Skatium is an indoor space with both a full-size rink for open skates, hockey games, figure skating and more.
There is a smaller rink that is also available to rent for private parties.
You’re just a few minutes from Old Orchard, where you can grab lunch or spend hours shopping.
The Peninsula Sky Rink
When you’re feeling a little fancy, there’s no better place to indulge than at the Peninsula Hotel.
Yes, you could do afternoon tea or have dinner at Shanghai Terrace, but when you want to go for a whirl, step out onto the Peninsula Sky Rink.
This 2,100 square-foot outdoor rink sits among towering pine trees in the shadow of the John Hancock building, four stories above Michigan Avenue’s bustling crowds.
Enjoy hot drinks and snacks while listening to festive music, but be sure to call ahead to ensure availability — the rink gets packed even on the coldest days.
Skating runs adults $15 and $10 for kids 12 and under. All proceeds benefit the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and also Hephzibah Children’s Association so your good time continues to deliver smiles.
Eldridge Park Lagoon
Up for a little adventure?
Head to Elmhurst’s Eldridge Park, where the lagoon gets used for ice skating — when the ice has gotten thick enough.
Staff will test the lagoon in six different locations and ensure it has a consistent three-day thickness of at least eight inches before opening the lagoon for skating.
So once you get the green light, it’s open season.
Admission is free and you’ll need to bring your own skates.
Park District of Oak Park
Being such a large and diverse city allows for Oak Park to offer a variety of places to ice skate.
You can hit a few places like Austin Gardens, Longfellow Park and Paul Hruby Ice Arena, which are open at various times. The first two are outdoor rinks while Paul Hruby is an indoor arena; admission for that is $7 and you can rent skates for $3.
Check the Oak Park district website for the schedules, which get updated quite frequently.
Watts Ice Center
With two lighted outdoor rinks set over three acres in Glencoe’s Watts Park, how can you not have fun in this winter wonderland?
Open through the first week of March, Watts Ice Center welcomes figure skating, hockey and good ol’ free skate.
Admission for kids under 3 and adults over 65 is free; otherwise kids between 3 and 17 will pay $6, while adults 18 to 65 pay $8. You can rent skates for $4.
Tell us what we missed in the comments! Where are your favorite places to ice skate in the winter?