Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Appeal to Buyers this Holiday Season in Your Harbor Country Home!

We hope you enjoyed a great Thanksgiving this past week with friends and family in your Harbor Country home!  Now that the holidays are in full swing, the spirit of the season makes the colder days feel warm and bright and we’re sure you’re feeling the bustle and joy of the season.

If you’ve stopped by our blog, it could be that you have more on your mind than just the holidays.  You may be hoping to sell your Harbor Country home during this festive season and may be seeking advice on the best way to do so.  It can seem daunting, but selling your home during the holidays is not impossible.  In fact, you can use the holidays to your advantage by playing up the season to enhance the appeal of your home.  Here are a few tips on how to make the holidays work for the sale of your Harbor Country home!

1. Give Warmth- Just before a showing, be sure to turn up your thermostat a few degrees to make it extra toasty inside.  Prospective buyers will be thankful for the change from Michigan’s cold winters.  Put a fire in the fireplace to add an extra sense of warmth and highlight the cozy atmosphere that this feature of your home can bring.

2. Mind the Tree- While a tall Christmas tree can showcase a two story living room, be sure to be careful of the tree’s width.  The last thing you want is to have your Harbor Country home appear smaller than it really is.  Also, you’ll want to stick with a cohesive theme for your ornaments.  The family homemade ornaments may be meaningful to you, but can quickly make your tree look gaudy to outsiders. Keep it simple this year and remember, there’s always next year when you can display those keepsakes in your new home!

3. Complement Your Décor- You’ll want to make sure that your Christmas decoration palette matches or complements your current décor.  If the colors clash or seem to be fighting for attention, this can be very distracting to buyers and can take away from the great features of your home you’re trying to highlight.

4. Highlight the Highlights- Draw attention to a beautiful fireplace mantle with a few tasteful ornaments or enhance an arched doorway with hanging mistletoe.

5. Go Light on the Lights- An abundance of outdoor lights can leave Harbor Country buyers wondering what the front of your home looks like.  And, while you may love your giant inflatable lawn ornaments; it may be best to leave those in storage this year.  Everyone has different tastes and you don’t want buyers to be met at your home with a sense of “tacky.”

6. Add Holiday Adornments- Again, you don’t want to go overboard, but a simple evergreen wreath, a poinsettia center piece or hot cider simmering on the stove can create a very warm and welcoming atmosphere.  Of course it’s best to avoid overly religious flourishes as this can be off-putting to some.
7. Offer Tasty Treats- While you don’t want to come across as trying to bribe buyers, everyone loves holiday treats and having a plate full of cookies and candy can make the home showing a little sweeter.  Hot chocolate and apple cider are always welcome and buyers will feel that you have their best interest in mind.

We hope these tips give you just a few ideas on enhancing your Harbor Country home this holiday season to appeal to buyers!  

As always, we would love to talk with you about your Harbor Country Real Estate needs.  Our team of trusted advisors and Prudential Rubloff Harbor Country Real Estate agents here at Shoreline Property Advisors will answer your questions and guide you through the home selling process.

Feel free to contact us today to get started!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Race to Stop Hunger in Chicago This Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and many of you are excited for this kick off to the holiday season!  As Chicago Real Estate agents and property advisors here at Shoreline Property Advisors, we enjoy this time of year at it seems to draw the Chicago community closer together as friends, families and neighbors celebrate the season.

As we all know, Thanksgiving is a day to reflect on all that we’re thankful for while feasting on delicious food.  But, there’s another tradition that you can adopt as a way to get some exercise and give back to the community on Thanksgiving!  Whether you already live in Chicago or you’re visiting friends and family for the holiday, you may want to consider taking part in The Chicago Turkey Day 5K!  

The Chicago Turkey Day 5K
Lincoln Park, Chicago

Thursday, November 22 at 9am

The Chicago Turkey Day 5K will be taking place on Thanksgiving Day, November 22 beginning at 9am and everyone is encouraged to get involved.  This 5K Run/Walk is in its’ 35th year and will be taking place in beautiful Lincoln Park. With over 5,000 people attending, you’re sure to bump into neighbors and will enjoy this sense of community and interaction.  

This race will also be supporting local community organization the Greater Chicago Food Depository!  Bring canned goods to the race and the GCFD will distribute them to those in need.  You can also include a monetary donation when you register to give back even more!  In years past, over 10,000 pounds of food were donated and the goal is to exceed that number.  Whether you’re participating in the event or are cheering friends and family on, be sure to bring a few canned goods to donate!  

Not only is The Chicago Turkey Day 5K giving back to the community, it also is awarding some great prizes to its winners. Prizes will be awarded to the top three men and women in each age group and winners will be announced after the race.  Raffles, treats and much more will enhance the spirit of this event, so be sure to register today!  Children can get involved in the Plymouth Rock Ramble where prizes will be awarded as well!  For more information regarding location and registration, check out the Chicago Turkey Day 5K website.  

Even if you’re don’t want to run in the race, you can still be involved by cheering on others and donating to a great cause!  It’s events like these that remind us how great it is to call Chicago “home!”

If you’re considering buying or selling your Chicago home this next year, or you just find that you need a little advice on your home and the Chicago Real Estate market; please feel free to contact us.  We are here to help walk with you through your real estate needs and you can rest knowing that our years of experience will be put to work for you!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How to Throw an Eco-Friendly Holiday Party in Your Evanston Home!

Now that Thanksgiving is only a week away, we’re sure that many of you are getting your Evanston home ready to host friends and family for the celebration.  It’s a great time of year to enjoy living in Evanston and remember all that we have for which to be thankful.

In our line of work as Evanston Real Estate agents and property advisors, we believe in providing well rounded service to our clients.  That means, we’re not just giving advice on buying or selling a home, but also tips for how to enjoy the home in which you live. 

Your community is also a big part of your lifestyle and, for those of you living in Evanston, we’re sure you already have a list of reasons you love to call this great city “home.”  One of the highlights for us is that Evanston is committed to preserving its’ environment and takes a pro active approach to educating and providing opportunities for the community to get involved in its’ eco friendly endeavors! 

As you open up your Evanston home to friends and family, why not think through some of the ways you can contribute to Evanston’s green environment by hosting an eco-friendly holiday party!  Here are a few ideas to help you get started!

1. Buy Local- Shopping locally from farmers and other various growers for ingredients for your holiday party (or any time!) is a great way to cut down on our carbon footprint as well as help support sustainable growing in Evanston and surrounding areas.
2. Reusable Towels- When cleaning up after your holiday party; be sure to use reusable towels instead of paper towels.  Microfiber towels will hold on to dust, dirt and food particles since the fibers act like a magnet.  After cleanup, throw them in the wash and you’ll be able to reuse them over and over!
3. Switch to Convection- Now, we don’t expect that you’ll run out and buy a new oven before your holiday party, but this is something to consider for the very near future!  Switch from a conventional oven to a convection oven.  The difference?  A convection oven continually circulates heated air, which means food cooks more quickly and reduces energy usage by 20%!  Imagine being able to prepare food faster and save on energy- all from one appliance!
4. Cloth Napkins- These “things of the past” are making a comeback!  The average American will use around 2,200 paper napkins per year- which are never recycled!  Using cloth napkins will cut down drastically on waste and will make any event feel more special.
5. Chill Out- Be sure to put a pitcher of water in your fridge at least an hour before your party to ensure it’s completely chilled.  Those that prefer water won’t have to stand at your sink and let the water run until it gets cold.  The average kitchen faucet flows at a gallon per minute!  Thinking ahead can help to chill water before will reduce the waste that a running faucet will produce!
6. Nix the Microwave- As much as possible, reheat or cook items in the oven or on the stove.  Certain plastics can produce harmful fumes when put in the microwave and, while not overtly harmful, microwaves do leak radiation.  It’s just better for your health and for the environment to use other options as often as you can!
7. Glass Containers- Storing leftovers or dried foods in glass containers with lids are much safer than the plastic alternative.  When heated, certain plastics can break down and put chemicals into your food.  Learn more about harmful and safe plastics. 
8. No-Cook Dishes- Save energy and give your oven a rest by preparing dishes that don’t have to be cooked. Think: salads, fruit dishes, veggie dips, yogurts and much more!  You’ll find yourself being more creative and spending less time in the kitchen!
9. Fill the Dishwasher- To avoid wasting water and energy, be sure to have a full load each time you use your dishwasher.  Surprisingly, new energy efficient dishwasher can be more eco-friendly than washing dishes by hand!  Be sure to air dry and skip the pre-rinse cycle as most newer models are effective enough to get your dishes clean without the added step!
With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to hosting an environmentally conscious holiday party that you and your guests will be sure to appreciate.  In fact, you can put these into practice all year long to cultivate a “green” environment in your Evanston home!
If you don’t currently live in Evanston, but have been considering moving to this charming city just north of Chicago, please let us know!  We would be happy to answer your questions regarding the Evanston Real Estate market and lifestyle.
We look forward to hearing from you! 

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How To Streamline Buying a Home in Chicago This Holiday Season

Last week, we looked at selling your home and how pricing your home correctly from the beginning can be a key factor in getting your home sold.  This week, we wanted to focus on those looking to buy a home in Chicago this holiday season.

For whatever reason, whether due to a job transfer or extenuating circumstances, you may find yourself in the market to buy a home in one of Chicago’s vibrant neighborhoods.  And, while you may be excited about the opportunity to own a piece of the Windy City, you may not be too excited about the timing.

You understand that the home buying process can take some time, yet you’d ideally like to be settled into you new home in time for the Christmas season.  Is there a way to speed up the process?

You’ll be glad to hear our answer!  Yes, there are things you can do to help the process run more smoothly and efficiently, resulting in a quicker home buying experience.  As property advisors and Prudential Rubloff Real Estate agents working along the Lake Michigan Shoreline, our goal is to provide you with the information and guidance you need to navigate through your real estate needs.  Here are eight things you can to do streamline the Chicago home buying process this holiday season!

1.  Start Your Search Online- Instead of spending your time searching for open houses or for sale signs, get online to streamline your search.  There are many great homes in Chicago that you can view online.
2.  Get Pre-Approved- Finding the home of your dreams and then shopping for a loan is a risky move, as most home sellers won’t even look at an offer that’s not accompanied by a pre-approval letter.  Getting pre-approved ensures you know your exact budget and can save you from a bidding war if many are vying for the same home.
3.  Look for Motivated Sellers- Again, this shouldn’t be hard to find motivated sellers in the fall since they’re more than likely wanting to sell before the holidays.  Don’t settle for sellers who aren’t willing to budge on a home at the top of your price range; there are too many other great Chicago homes out there that will have motivated sellers.
4.  Prioritize Your Housing Needs- Finding a home fast means being flexible.  The longer the list of requirements, the harder it will be to find a home.  Keep your list short and to the point.  Focus on the key elements you’re looking for and let the extras fall as they may.
5.  Find a Great Agent- This may seem easy, but finding an agent that truly knows the Chicago Real Estate agent and can show your properties that are right in your price range and meet your style and needs can be challenging.  Of course, I’d love to help you in your home search and know that my experience and proven success will make the home buying process an easy one.  Bottom line?  Do your homework and really research local Chicago Real Estate agents.
6.  Negotiate Repairs- If an inspection reveals that the home you want to buy requires repairs, taking the responsibility off the seller can help you close the deal quicker. After obtaining estimates, ask the seller for a credit rather than asking them to complete the repairs themselves.
7.  Have Cash Ready for Closing- You don’t want to be scrambling for funds at the last minute, so be prepared for this important date. A day or two before closing on your Chicago home, you’ll get the final settlement statement, detailing the terms of your loan and all the closing costs. Be sure to get a certified or cashier’s check made out for the total amount you owe at closing, including the down payment since you can’t use a personal check.
8.  Have a Plan B- Because not every transaction goes smoothly, be sure you have a property or two as a backup; you don’t want to have to start from scratch!

We hope these tips give you the confidence needed to take the next step forward in buying a home in Chicago.  You’ll find there are a number of stunning homes currently on the Chicago Real Estate market from which to choose!

If you are ready to begin your Chicago home search or would like to sit down and talk with us about your home buying needs; please contact us today!  We would be happy to answer your questions and work with you to help you be settled in your new home to host family and friends this holiday season!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff