Chicago Real Estate News & Community Happenings

How to Improve a Home Using Smart Technology AdditionsSmart technology can improve your home's value, make your home more attractive to buyers and can also make the experience of owning a home more satisfying. Knowing how to use choose technology in the home is important if you're hoping to make this kind of upgrade to your property. These tips will help.

Make a List of Wants

Smart technology can improve the experience of living in the home in many different ways, but it is most often used to improve efficiency, reduce utility bills and make living in the home more convenient. Making a list of wants can help you decide what parts of the house you would like to change first.

Are your utility bills too high? You may benefit from a smart thermostat and installation of smart lights. Are you

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Tips for Selling a Home for the Easiest ExperiencePutting your home on the market means more than sticking a "For Sale" sign in the yard. You want it to sell fast and bring a premium price. To accomplish this, it needs to show well. What will buyers like? Have you maximized this? Before you pull the trigger, make sure these eight things are in action.

Start Outside

Selling a home begins before buyers walk through the door. A neglected yard and overgrown shrubs encourage them to drive right past. Either do it yourself or hire a landscaper to keep it mowed. Trim trees and hedges, weed flower beds, and dispose of any leaves or debris. Plant a few pleasing flowers and add some potted plants in front to create a nice look. But don't go overboard.

Create an Inviting Entrance

The entrance

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Under the right circumstances, a home warranty can save home owners money and anxiety. However, many first time home buyers have never had experience with home warranty companies, and do not know whether or not the home warranty is right for their needs. Knowing how home warranties work and what they do and don't cover can help you decide whether or not to purchase a home warranty when you buy a home.

Difference Between Home Insurance and Warranty

One of the big questions home buyers ask is, what is the difference between home owners insurance and a home warranty?

Home owners insurance covers certain types of damage to your home's structure, and also covers loss of possessions under certain circumstances. Fire and theft are common types of

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How to Move to an Area with a High Cost of LivingWhen moving to a place with a higher cost of living (HCOL), earning power generally increases, and options for jobs might take a boost as well. These tips can help new homeowners make the transition.

1. Estimate Your New Purchasing Power

When living in an area with a lower cost of living, some might be surprised by how salaries differ in places like San Francisco or New York City. However, do not get lost in the digits. While a person's take-home pay may be a bit different after making the move to an area with a high cost of living, it's important to do research on what these numbers mean in this new area in a general sense.

2. Take Time to Understand the Local Market

Even home buying can be a bit different in areas with a higher cost

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How to Plan an Interior Color SchemeJust as there are valid reasons to consider the effects of interior air quality and light on human health, there is powerful evidence that color has an effect on mood and on both mental and physical well being.

Color psychology is not an exact science, but it is sophisticated enough to influence the choice of wall colors for hospital lobbies, treatment spaces and patient rooms. Sterile, antiseptic white is no longer considered the best option to promote healing, or to instill confidence and encourage concentration in a school. Just the opposite, in fact.

Color influences mood and behavior. Classrooms should encourage calm and concentration. For a hospital, colors best suited for resting are in order, but other colors stimulate healing in

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How to Buy a Fixer Upper to Flip it For ProfitProfessionals on television make property flipping look easy. In fact, flipping requires a great amount of knowledge concerning real estate markets, remodeling trends, material costs, trade skills and more. Before jumping into the market, would-be flippers should be sure they are in a position to make a worthwhile profit.

Knowing the Cost

Flippers who do not have a solid grasp of the costs of property ownership will quickly find themselves accumulating debt rather than profit. 

Of course, there is the sales price of the home, but there are also plenty of costs that go along with the sales price. First, both the buyer's and seller's real estate agents will collect a certain percentage of the sales price as a commission, which can cut into

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How to Choose Between Different Mortgage OptionsFor most buyers, the process of purchasing a home requires being approved for a mortgage before the sale can occur. But with so many choices available, it can be difficult for buyers to choose the one that will best fit their current needs and budget. Prospective home buyers who are struggling with this decision can use this guide to determine whether one of these three popular mortgage options will work for their home buying situation. 

Fixed-Rate Mortgages

For many buyers, a fixed-rate loan with a low interest rate is the best possible option when purchasing a home. Fixed-rate loans offer a stable monthly mortgage payment that keeps housing costs affordable and make budgeting easier throughout the repayment period, typically consisting of

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Saving for a Down Payment Using Your 401(k)Shopping for a new house is an exciting process and feeling comfortable looking within a particular budget is usually how most people approach it. However, what happens if your dream home, in the Chicago Dearborn Park neighborhood or elsewhere becomes available and it’s just slightly out of reach in terms of cost? It would be disheartening to let that option go due to not having a large enough down payment, but what if the funding could be secured after all?

Some individuals who utilize their company’s 401k don’t realize that they can actually draw upon that money to fund a down payment on a home. By borrowing against oneself, a prospective homebuyer might come up with the money to make their dream home a reality.

How A 401k Loan Works

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What Happens at a Home InspectionFor many households today, the purchase of a home is likely to be the biggest investment made during their lifetime. Because of this fact, it is important for buyers to make sure they are getting a good value for the money they spend. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is for home buyers to make their offer to purchase contingent upon the results of a professional home inspection performed by a qualified inspector. But it is important to also remember that there are no perfect homes, so it can be helpful for buyers to understand some key points about the home inspection process before they begin.

The Inspector is as Important as the Inspection

Since the choice of a home inspector is up to the buyers, it is important that they choose an

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March 2015 Events in Chicago

Although March is typically associated with dyeing the river green and all the rest of Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities, it’s also the beginning of [somewhat] warmer weather and the long-awaited spring season.

With that, a host of events, both indoor and outdoor, are happening all month long and if you’re looking for something to do other than take down a few green beers over the next few weeks, here’s a look at some of the most exciting things happening around downtown Chicago in the month of March:

March 1st: Kicking off the busy month is Chicago’s annual Polar Plunge, and this year’s celebrity guest is Vince Vaughn. Join hundreds of other plungers and brave the icy cold water of Lake Michigan!

Events:

March 7th: One of the more unique

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