Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Experience All That New Buffalo Has to Offer!

As the Shoreline Property Advisors team and Prudential Rubloff real estate agents serving Lake Michigan’s Shoreline, we enjoy taking the time to highlight what makes each town along the shoreline so unique.  Whether you currently live in Evanston, Chicago, the Indiana Shoreline or a community of Harbor Country, or are considering relocating to one of these areas; our goal is to provide you with a sense of what each location has to offer.
Today we’re highlighting New Buffalo situated in Michigan’s Harbor Country area.  This quaint lakefront town was incorporated in 1836 and became the end of the line for the Michigan Central Railroad in 1849.  From 1911 to 1921, the Grand Beach area grew to become known a popular resort destination and New Buffalo has been building on this fantastic beach allure ever since!  
If you currently live in New Buffalo or have been considering buying a New Buffalo home this year, you’ll want to take part in one a favorite local event taking place next weekend.  The New Buffalo Winter Festival draws in locals and visitors alike as this event celebrates the winter experience along the Lake Michigan Shoreline.  Below is an overview of what will be taking place!
New Buffalo Winter Festival 
Downtown New Buffalo

Saturday, February 4 & Sunday, February 5
- This yearly event is a great opportunity to gather with family, friends and neighbors!  Events all day on Saturday offer a wide variety of things to do while the ball is a perfect way to end a day of fun.  Enjoy ice skating, free sleigh rides, ice sculpting demonstrations, shopping downtown and much more!
Bev’s Second Season Ball includes dinner and dancing, and a charity auction.  Begin your evening with an open bar and hors d’ oeuvres at 6:30pm followed by dinner at 8pm and decadent chocolate lovers dessert at 9pm.  Dancing till midnight gives you a chance to mingle with friends and place your bids at the silent auction.  
The festival continues on Sunday morning with a Chocolate Chip Pancake Breakfast at local favorite, Michigan Thyme.  You won’t want to miss being a part of this highlight of the winter season in New Buffalo!  View more information about the event on the New Buffalo website
We hope that you’re able to be a part of the fun next weekend!  If you have been interested in relocating to, or buying a vacation home in New Buffalo; let us know!  Our team of experienced New Buffalo Real Estate agents would be happy to guide you to the home that fits your needs and lifestyle.  You’ll enjoy the community lifestyle that New Buffalo has to offer as well! 
Feel free to contact us today to get started with your New Buffalo home search!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Top Projects To Get Your Harbor Country Home Sold!

Selling your Harbor Country home can feel like a daunting task as you think of appealing to current buyers and making sure your home is in top condition.  However, with the help of a trusted Harbor Country Real Estate agent, selling your Harbor Country home can be an efficient and stress free process!
As the Shoreline Property Advisors team, we have often been asked which home projects are the most important for the sale of a home.  We believe that seller participation is the first step to successfully selling a home!  When a seller cares about how buyers view their Harbor Country home; it shows.  
If you’re considering selling your Harbor Country home this year, below are some of the top projects you can do to ensure your home stands out from amongst the competition.  
Top Energy Efficient Project: Add Insulation
- Adding proper insulation will not only add value to your home, but will save you money. This energy efficient project will reduce up to 30% of heating and cooling costs. Those looking to buy a Harbor Country home will be searching for homes that are more eco-friendly and adding insulation or even replacing old windows with new energy efficient ones will appeal to buyers.

Top Budget Friendly Project: Clean and Conquer Clutter
- The best way to update your home is to remove any excess furniture or knickknacks that don’t serve a purpose. Not only will this make your Harbor Country home appear larger, but it will give your home a more updated feel. This cost effective project is a great one to do during winter months when you’d prefer to stay indoors. If you’re planning on selling your home, buyers will appreciate this clean and updated look as they’ll be able to better envision their belonging in your home.

Top Kitchen Project: Upgrade Appliances
- Kitchen’s are one of the top places that people will want to see upgrades and where you will get the most return on investment. The top kitchen project is to upgrade your appliances. Of course stainless steel appliances are today’s standard, so if you haven’t upgraded yet, now would be a great time to do so. Another upgrade that’s possible for those who already have stainless steel appliances are energy efficient options. Switching to these “green” appliances will cut down on your energy bill and will be better for the environment as well.

Top Bathroom Project: Refresh Fixtures
- Bathrooms are another space where many will want to see upgrades. An easy way to refresh bathrooms is to change out the fixtures. From lighting to the vanity or even just the cabinetry hardware; there are many cost effective updates that can be made in a bathroom.

The Top Storage and Organization Project: Maximize Storage Space
- Give yourself more space instantly by organizing your closets and cabinets. Clean out things you no longer use and consider investing in a closet or pantry organizer. This will immediately give the appearance of extra room as well as being easier to maintain.

Top Landscaping Project: Tidy Your Lawn

- Curb appeal speaks volumes for how you care for your Harbor Country home overall. A lawn that is well manicured and aesthetically pleasing will appeal to most no matter what the size. Harbor Country buyers will want to know they can simply maintain the lawn you’ve cared for rather than having to put in a lot of time and money for updates. Even in the middle of winter, having a path shoveled and winter greenery on your porch can create a welcoming first impression.

Top Outdoor Living Project: Add Outdoor Living
- This is a project that will have to wait until the Harbor Country welcomes back warmer weather, but adding outdoor living space is like adding square footage onto your home. Imagine lounging in a new outdoor living space and hosting outdoor dinner parties this summer. Whether you’re going to be living in your Harbor Country home for the next twenty years or will begin the home selling process soon, this update will add value and character to your home.
Top Big Ticket Project: Finish the Basement
- Finishing your basement, while a seemingly large project, is much less expensive that adding an additional room onto your home. You’ll want to be sure to have a professional inspect your basement for its moisture level before you begin. Adding carpeting or a fresh coat of paint may be all your basement needs to gain a finished appearance. This additional living space may be just the thing for which buyers are searching.
So, whether you’re planning on selling your Harbor Country home this year, or are just looking for ways to increase the value of your home; these top projects should help you get started!  
Because we deal with the Harbor Country Real Estate market as Harbor Country Real Estate agents on a daily basis, we have our finger on the pulse of what it takes to get a home sold!  If you have questions about selling your Harbor Country home or are ready to get started; please let us know!  
We would love to put our years of selling experience to work for you!  

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Create an Eco Friendly Environment in Your Chicago Home this Winter!

With the start of the new year, many of us have made commitments to follow through with our list of new years resolutions.  And, while it’s great to have goals for 2012, the way to succeed is to have practical steps you can take to achieve them.  
A common resolution for this new year is to be more environmentally friendly and, as a team of Chicago Real Estate agents and advisors, we wanted to highlight some of the ways you can be eco conscious in your Chicago home.  It may not seem like you’re making a difference with some of the minor changes you make, but with everyone doing their part, it can result in an energy efficient community!  
Chicago is known for its winters, and it can tend to be a time where utility bills climb in order to stay cozy in your home.  While many Chicago homes are upgrading to “green” appliances and HVAC systems, there are other ways to be environmentally friendly without spending a fortune.  You’ll even find that these practical changes can lower your energy bills this winter!
1. Set the Timer- Set your thermostat to lower temperatures while you’re away from your Chicago home or while you’re sleeping. This will automatically help reduce energy used as well as costs just by programming your thermostat.
2. Let the Sunshine In- During the day, be sure to leave blinds and curtains open to let in the sunlight and natural heat. At night, shut them to help “trap” the warmth.
3. Light a Fire- It’s amazing how a fire in your fireplace can heat up a room instantly! Consider lowering your thermostat on cooler evenings and lighting a fire instead. You’ll instantly feel cozier in the midst of Chicago’s cold winters.
4. Bundle Up- Feeling chilled? Instead of turning up the thermostat, throw on a pair of socks or an extra layer. These small choices to not turn up the heat can really add up in energy savings!
5. Switch our Your Lights- From lamps to overhead lights, all of your light bulbs can be changed out for energy efficient LED lights! With the sun setting earlier, you’ll be using your indoor lights more often. LED lights can cut back on costs and energy usage.
6. Stop Leaks- Check all doors and windows for drafts. You can easily seal windows and doors to prevent the warm air from your Chicago home from escaping, while making sure the cool air doesn’t leak in!
7. Unplug- Not using an appliance? Unplug it! The Department of Energy notes that, even if appliances are not being used, they are still using energy. 40% of electricity used for your home electronics is used when they’re turned off, but still plugged in. Getting in the habit of unplugging will prove to be a smart habit in the long run!
Although we’ve had a milder winter so far, we hope these tips are helpful and that they spark even more ideas of ways you can make a difference, not only in your Chicago home, but in your Chicago community as well! 
If you don’t currently own a home in Chicago, but have been considering buying a home this year; please let us know!  We’d enjoy the opportunity to work with you and help you find the Chicago home of your dreams.  There are a variety of homes currently on the Chicago Real Estate market, so you’re sure to find one that fits your needs, budget and lifestyle!
Feel free to contact our team of experienced Chicago Real Estate agents!  We look forward to working with you!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Home Buyer Sentiment & The Lake Michigan Shoreline

How do prospective home buyers feel about the Chicago and Lake Michigan Shoreline real estate market? We can tell you that buyers are interested in our market, and they are actively looking. The combination of low mortgage interest rates and affordable home prices are drawing buyer attention.

In fact, despite the challenges of the economy and real estate market, over 80% of Americans feel that now is a good time to buy a home. This comes from a survey released last month by the Mortgage Bankers Association. 

The survey also revealed that younger, well-educated buyers are the most attracted to the market conditions we have today. In other words, these buyers have done the math! As the employment outlook continues to improve, it's reasonable to expect them to pounce on opportunities. 

Some buyer momentum has already started. The Pending Home Sales Index for November 2011, increased by 7.3%. National contract activity in November reached the highest point we've seen in 19 months. Not only are new buyers entering the market, but those who had earlier setbacks, are returning. 

While the glass is half-full for home buyers, it will be awhile before market strength returns. Home sellers will continue to be challenged by the presence of distressed properties; prices are expected to remain soft as a result. Buyers, while being interested in the market, have higher hurdles to clear for mortgage approval. Affecting both sides, lender home appraisals can be off the mark and spoil a deal. This is why professional expertise is a must in today's market.

At Shoreline Property Advisors, we understand that buyers and sellers have unique needs and every real estate transaction is different. When you are buying or selling a home, it’s more than a business deal; it’s part of an important personal goal, and a milestone event. A lot of money is at stake, details matter, and market experience counts! Call on our team of dedicated professionals to help you.

Your real estate questions are always welcome! Contact us for market information about the Chicago North Shore area, Evanston, the Indiana shoreline or Harbor Country.

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff