The Understated Master Bathroom

Forget the extravagant bling of the 1980s and monochromatic spa look of more recent years. Home owners desire a more affordable, personal style, along with water and energy conservation.

Related Realty broker & designer, Lauren Schreyer advises on the latest trends and what people are looking for. View the full article to see what she had to say.

Vacation Preparation Tips for your Chicago Home


Whether youre going out of town for two days or a few weeks, there are things you can do to prepare your Chicago home for your absence and for your smooth return. Make sure your time away is worry-free and prepare your Chicago home with this vacation checklist!

Prepare for Your Departure

  • Ready your pets: Give the pet sitter or boarding facility detailed care instructions. Make sure the one you choose has plenty of your pets favorite foods, treats, toys, medicines and other supplies on hand.
  • Clean out the fridge: Throw away food that will expire while youre gone. Its also important to clean any spills and messes before leaving for your trip!
  • Tackle the laundry: Wash and put away laundry before you leave.  It will make your returning to your Chicago home much easier.
  • Prep your plants: Ask a friend or neighbor to water your plants, and be sure to leave multiple lists of all plants and their locations. Otherwise, invest in self-watering plant stakes.
  • Leave a light on: During a short trip, leave a few lamps on throughout the house to make it look occupied. For a longer vacation, invest in inexpensive automatic timers that can turn our lights on and off at staggered intervals, making your house look occupied. Alert your home-security service or a trusted neighbor so one or the other can keep an eye out as well.
  • Spray for bugs: Spray an insecticide in key areas so bugs will steer clear while youre gone.
  • Unplug and reset the thermostat: Temporarily adjust the thermostat so the air-conditioner or heater wont waste energy by running in an empty house. Unplug unnecessary appliances in preparation for your absence.
  • Hold mail and newspapers: A call to your post office and news carrier will put your mail and newspapers on hold so they wont pile up in front of your house while youre gone.
  • Make sure your lawn stays trimmed: An overgrown lawn will easily tip off that your household is empty.  Scheduling a lawn trimming will stave off any potential intruders.
  • Leave contact information with a neighbor: In the event of a home emergency such as flooding or fire, leave your contact information with a trusted neighbor.

Amenities That Todays Chicago Condos Cant Go Without

Today’s condo dwellers recognize the many advantages of living in less space. Condos often are in great locations, offer multiple amenities and relieve residents of the worries normally associated with home ownership.

In Gold Coast Chicago real estate, expectations are high among condo buyers that they’ll find outstanding amenities. Here are some of the must-haves in today’s Chicago condos.

Access to natural areas

Whether part of the condo property or in nearby parks, green spaces are on the radar of condo buyers. Well-maintained natural areas allow a taste of the outdoors for fitness activities, picnics, socializing and more while maintaining an urban lifestyle.

Top-notch maintenance

A primary reason people choose condos is relief from the worries of maintenance. Any Gold Coast Chicago Realtor will tell you that in a Chicago condo, you should expect a full-time maintenance staff or a contracted company providing regular pest control along with both preventive and emergency maintenance services.

Fitness and social spaces

Although space within condos may be at a premium, there’s an expectation that communal spaces will provide for a variety of needs. Upscale fitness facilities including pools, spas, steam rooms, weight rooms, yoga studios and more are de rigueur. Social spaces like meeting rooms, picnic areas, coffee bars and lounges also are popular.


Another major selling point of condos is security, including conveniently located and safe parking. Alarm systems, security lighting and security staff also are expected as par for the course in many Chicago condos.

Today’s Chicago condo buyer expects amenities that were considered luxuries just a few years ago: around-the-clock security and maintenance, access to natural areas, fitness and social spaces, and more. To find out more about homes for sale in Gold Coast Chicago, contact us today.

Quick DIY Ideas to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

Looking for Chicago real estate, but not sure you’ll find a home that’s green enough for you? Well, good news: With just a few easy DIY steps, you can make your Chicago condo or house much eco-friendlier. Still looking for the perfect place? Contact a Chicago realtor for help finding a space to green up.

Clean Green

Make your own cleaning products from vinegar, water and lemon juice. Use old newspapers to scrub and mop rather than throwing away paper towels or mop liners.

Paint Green

Every new home benefits from a paint update, but to keep things green, be sure to opt for an eco-friendly option. Many environmentally oriented paint lines exist these days, exterior as well as interior, so do your research before slapping on that fresh coat.

Light Green

It doesn’t get much easier than switching out bulbs. Opt for compact fluorescent lamps (commonly called CFLs), which cost more but save you (and the Earth) electricity, making them a great deal over the long run.

Garbage Green

Okay, so that’s a misleading title. The point is, even in areas like Chicago where recycling can be difficult, you can make a green difference by setting up a waste station, where you separate garbage, recyclables, yard debris for later disposal. Choose a home with an out-of-the-way nook or space to further this end.

See? You can green your home up quick with these simple ideas. To find out more, contact us today. We’re happy to help, and want to get you into that perfect home as quickly as possible, so you can start greening it up.

Homeowner Tips To Reduce Taxes

If youre looking to buy a Streeterville condo or house, you may be wondering how it will affect your taxes. While property taxes might send your total tax payments up, there are a number of steps you can take to offset the increase.

Mortgage Interest

Mortgage interest is fully tax deductible on all loans valued at $1 million or less. For larger loans, you will be able to deduct interest on the first million.

Second homes are also eligible for the deduction as long as you actually reside in them. To keep the deduction, youll need to use the home for the greater of 14 days of the tax year or for at least 10 percent of the days that you rented it out.

Walk With the Property Tax Assessor

Want to keep your property tax as low as possible? Walk your property with the property tax assessor while pretending that youre their friend that doesnt want them to buy Streeterville real estate. Point out defects like old appliances and roof problems to make sure your nice garden and fresh paint dont inflate their valuation of your home.

Check for Tax Breaks on New Appliances

Each year, federal, state, and local governments offer tax breaks on new appliances to promote things like energy efficiency and reducing pollution. If a new appliance is already on your radar, keep an eye out for available tax credits.

To find out more or to learn about Streeterville homes for sale, contact us today.

5 Home Tech Gadgets for Your New Chicago Condo

Are you a tech-oriented person who is going to be moving into a Chicago condo soon? If so, youll undoubtedly want to outfit your new home with the latest household tech gadgets. Following are five of the best.

Wireless Door Locks

Youll never have to worry about losing your keys again if you have a wireless door lock installed. Ask your Chicago realtor to recommend a good keyless access service.

Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Increase your quality of life by Outsourcing tedious vacuuming and sweeping chores to a robot. You can even program these to work their magic during times when you arent at home.

Wireless LED Light Bulbs

These provide you with the opportunity to control your household lighting from your tablet or smartphone. They also work remotely, so you can turn lights off and on while youre at work or on vacation.

Wireless Speakers

These work in tandem with your smartphone and music apps to fill your home with music with the simple tap of a screen.

Smart Alarms

Wifi-enabled home alarm systems will keep you, your family, and your personal possessions safer than ever before.

For more information on Chicago real estate, contact us today at your convenience.

5 Ways to Add Luxury to your Home

If you live in Chicago and are looking for Chicago real estate including Chicago condos, youll likely want to implement a few solutions to make your new home as attractive and comfortable as possible. You can add luxury to your home without spending thousands of dollars or hiring outside help.

If youd like to replicate the feel of a luxury hotel in your home, youll need a stylish bedroom. Your bed should be the rooms centerpiece. Implement matching sheets, pillows and curtains to create a unified theme. Be sure to include a number of plump down style pillows to create a luxurious feel. Opt for Egyptian cotton sheets along with a down comforter. Beyond the bed, consider adding an armoire for your clothes and possibly even an inside cabinet to hold a TV.

Your bathroom will be easy to spruce up for a luxurious feel. A small adjustment that you can make to a simple bathroom is the implementation of a new, more powerful shower head. Itll improver your showering experience more than you might imagine. Fill your shower with lavish soaps and scents. Add a new shower curtain, scented candles and some extra soft towels. If you can afford it, consider installing large mirrors and deep sinks.

Modify your homes entryway with a simple table. Choose a nice wood, marble or lacquer table that will function as your entryways starting point. If you have a rather small entryway, consider putting a large circular table in the center of the room that it leads into. Place a nice lamp on the table along with a flower arrangement, a few books and a possibly a bowl for odds and ends. If you decide to put your table near one of the  rooms walls, put a piece of art or a mirror above it for an extra bit of flare. Itll create the lavish aesthetic that you and your guests can enjoy.

If you need any assistance finding the right home for you and your family, reach out to a Chicago realtor today.

How to Find Furnish Bargains for Your Roscoe Village Condo

Living in Roscoe Village, Chicago provides residents with easy access to the quiet neighborhoods, amazing restaurants, boutique stores, and easy access to the hustle and bustle of Chicagos downtown via the Blue Line. Shopping for the perfect bargain furniture deals can be as easy as checking out one of the many boutique stores that are located within Roscoe Village. In fact, besides helping you navigate the waters of Roscoe Village Chicago real estate, we have decided to go one step further by providing the following tips for finding furnish bargains:

Tip 1: Go to Praha in Roscoe Village Furnished condos in Roscoe Village are typically decorated with a modern flair for the avant garde. However, before you begin to panic at the potential for costly furniture, be sure to check out Praha. Praha is a second-hand antique furniture store that specializes in finding the perfect wooden desk, retro kitchen table, or even antique bathroom scale. The stores stock constantly changes, so it is best to go with your wallet in hand; but dont worry, items typically cost a very fair price.

Tip 2: Check out Casa Couture Furniture Designs This one of a kind store specializes in turning antiques and other older pieces into modern home furnishings. While the prices of the items tend to be slightly higher than Praha, Casa Couture Furniture Designs is certainly a place to go to find a good bargain. The inventory changes on a weekly basis, so if you find something you like, be sure to grab it on the spot. By purchasing newly refurbished items, you can get a new modern look for typically half of the original designer price.

When it comes to furnishing Roscoe Village condos, we believe that you deserve the best at a fraction of the cost. So whether you will choose Praha, Casa Couture Furniture Designs, or find your own bargain furnishes store, we invite you to contact us for more information on Roscoe Village Chicago Real Estate.

Seven Things Must Learn If You Want To Flip Chicago Real Estate

Flipping Chicago real estate has become a very enticing venture for many people. With all the latest television shows making the process seem so simple and many of them telling you that you can flip a house with no money down. Sometimes its hard to know who or what to believe. Buying a home in Chicago to flip can be done, but you really need to learn the facts before you begin.

Seven Things You Need To Know About Flipping Houses

1. You are going to need cash if you want to buy and flip luxury Chicago real estate.

2. You will need a team to help you. Its almost impossible to try to do everything yourself.

3. Thoroughly study the market trends and the market comps before you buy anything.

4. Find an undervalued property and, if possible, thoroughly inspect it before you submit a bid.

5. Learn and follow the 70% rule.

6. The quicker you get the house completed and sold, the more money you will keep in your pocket.

7. Expect the unexpected. No matter how hard to try to prepare for possible contingencies, sometimes things happen that are out of your control and you will have to shell out some money to take care of those issues, even if you didnt budget for them.

Flipping houses can be exciting, but you really shouldnt go it alone. If you are interested in flipping houses in Chicago, please contact us today.

Home Improvements and ROI

When it comes to buying or selling Lincoln Park Chicago real estate, a variety of factors matter. While pricing it right is important, so is maximizing what the home is worth. To do this, home sellers can consider home improvements. Yet, not all home improvements offer the same return on investment. If you plan to sell, where should you put your money?

A Close Look at Homes for Sale in Lincoln Park Chicago

Before you list your home, take a look at a few home improvement projects that tend to offer the biggest bang for your buck in ROI. The following are some of the most sought after:

  • Updated bathrooms: Clean, new bathrooms really do get the attention of home buyers. They love the fresh start.
  • Modern kitchens: A whole kitchen makeover isnt going to get you dollar for dollar increases, but it will attract buyers. Simple makeovers of cabinets and countertops make an impression.
  • Painting: Get rid of dirty walls with a fresh coat of paint for a complete return on investment.

Other areas to consider making changes to in order to boost your Lincoln Park Chicago real estate value include the landscaping and flooring. Even inexpensive updates can make a big difference. Talk to your local, expert real estate agent today about all of the options available to you. Let us help you to list your home for what its really worth with home improvements.