Spring Has Sprung

 

“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” — Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

It’s finally here! The spring season is upon us. The gray gloom of winter has been cast aside, as the flowers begin to bloom and the sun lingers a little longer in the sky. The power of change is never more evident than at the onset of the spring.

The desire to make changes is all in your mindset. When you really think about it, New Year’s Day arrives at a rather unfortunate season for those of us sitting west of the Prime Meridian! In January, all we want to do is start over, to break out of our post-holiday doldrums. Unfortunately, committing to a change in lifestyle is so much harder when faced with bad roads, sub-zero temperatures, and two feet of snow.

 

That’s why we can be forgiven for our almost mad obsession with April’s approach, and its promise of warm weather walks and late bedtimes. Of course, in the real estate industry, spring makes up the beating heart of our season, when those looking to buy or sell their homes are poised and ready for their own dramatic transition.

Lucky for you, d’aprile properties agents began ramping up their own efforts long before the ice melted! Our dedicated team members have spent months studying the market, and fine-tuning their marketing plans for success right out of the gate. If 2019 is going to be your year, get in touch with your d’aprile properties agent now – they’re poised and ready to help you realize all of your real estate dreams!

 


Making Our Own Luck

This past Saturday, March 16, our Naperville Agent Team proudly participated in the West Suburban Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the fourth consecutive year! Our ‘Parade Mobile’ was all decked out, and our Canine Captain, Sydney, lead the way!

 

The parade attracts over 3,000 participants and more than 15,000 spectators, annually. It is a fantastic family event enjoyed by all ages, in celebration of Irish heritage and culture. 

 

We’d like to thank all of our agents and their family members who came out to make this another great event for d’aprile properties in the western suburbs! A special shout out to Martha Harrison, REALTOR®/Expert Truck Driver, whose skills behind the wheel allowed us to highlight our various real estate services.

A special thank you as well to Sue Liston and Operation Support Our Troops – America for their wonderful partnership (and generous candy donation)! We can’t wait until next year!

 


Ryan D’Aprile – Coaching Moments: Your Prospecting Questions Answered!

Our Founder, Ryan D’Aprile, has begun a monthly podcast series for Keeping It Real, the only podcast made by Chicago real estate brokers for Chicago real estate brokers. You can check out the podcast in its entirety HERE.

Welcome once again to Coaching Moments! Apparently one hour on Lead Generation just wasn’t enough! If you listened to last month’s episode, you know that Ryan spent a full hour on the subject. But our good friends over at Keeping it Real had such an overwhelming response from their listeners that this month Ryan spent another full hour answering their questions!

Don’t worry if you missed the last episode – you can jump right in with this one!

 

Ryan D’Aprile

Founder, d’aprile properties

ryan@daprileproperties.com


Spotlight on Success – Margaret Labus, Managing Broker

 

Spotlight on Success was created to showcase the achievements of Top Producers within the d’aprile properties family, so that their ambition, work ethic, and morality might serve as an inspiration to others looking for fulfillment in their professional and personal lives.

 

MARGARET LABUS, REALTOR® + MANAGING BROKER, WI OFFICES

2018 D’APRILE PROPERTIES PLATINUM KEY SALES AWARD WINNER

Success isn’t built in a day. At what point did you realize that your business approach was working?

It was after year three that things really began to click. For the first few years as a new agent in this business, you’re in the weeds. You’re running around, with only one thing on your mind: do right by your clients. Eventually, you build confidence, and then one day things click. You pick your head up and realize that you now have the time to work on a business strategy.

My own strategy came from the realization that real estate is all about perspective. It’s all about first setting the right expectations, then learning to always keep the end goal in mind. I’ve sold real estate all over this country, and after 15 years there is very little that stumps me. Just go out there with your clients’ best interests in mind at all times, and try and help them stay out of the pettiness that can come with negotiations. Don’t let them get bogged down in the back-and-forth, keep that end goal in sight, always.

As a Managing Broker, how do you maintain your own successful business, while also helping those around you grow and thrive?

It really is a fine balancing act. Finding the time to maintain your own individual business while also helping develop a team of agents who are all at different experience levels is tricky. I learned long ago that rather than treating the two roles as separate, I could utilize the time I had to teach through example. I am extremely transparent about the tools that I use and the strategies that I employ in my own process. And while I wish that I could download all the information in my head to pass on to others, the truth is experience comes from doing, not telling. I do my work out in the open, whether I’m succeeding with a time-tested technique or failing at trying something new. It gives my agents the opportunity to gain their own perspective, and decide what does and does not fit their own approach.

What role does the culture of d’aprile properties play in that balance?

d’aprile had the type of culture I was always looking for: collaboration instead of competition. I’ve always believed in the idea that gratitude fosters abundance. When I share my experiences with other agents – both my wins and my learning moments – that allows me to be even more creative. It isn’t about protecting the secrets of my success, so that others won’t come and steal them. If I give away that knowledge, I know that there is always a well inside of me that I can go back and tap for more. Without that abundance and without that gratitude, that well dries up. The ability to share within this company’s amazing culture is fundamentally what helps me be successful.

And of course, I’m still learning. My newer agents are always reminding me of those early moments we all have, when experience isn’t guiding you yet and you react to adversity with panic. I will get a frantic phone call, and immediately say, “OH RIGHT, I remember when that happens. I’ve been there – this is how I dealt with it.” They help remind me of the lessons I learned early on, the ones I can never allow myself to forget. I always tell them, “There’s no mistake you can make that we can’t fix together.”

 

MARGARET’S WEBSITE

FIND HER ON FACEBOOK

 


Spotlight on Success – Mel Shankland, REALTOR®

Spotlight on Success was created to showcase the achievements of Top Producers within the d’aprile properties family, so that their ambition, work ethic, and morality might serve as an inspiration to others looking for fulfillment in their professional and personal lives.

 

MEL SHANKLAND, REALTOR®

2018 D’APRILE PROPERTIES PLATINUM KEY SALES AWARD WINNER

 

What mindset do you bring to your job that helps you find consistent success?

This is going to get done. When I first meet a new client, they naturally bring their own questions and concerns to the table. Maybe they have a short window in which to sell their home. Or maybe they’re worried that something on their credit will prevent them from buying one. I tell them that it isn’t about the obstacles in our way, it’s about finding the most creative way to get around them. I tell them, with no hesitation, that we will make it happen, and if they put their trust in me, I will get them where they want to go. Confidence begets confidence – if I’m 100% sure of my own ability and my own process, then they’ll find confidence in themselves to make the right decisions.”

How does d’aprile properties as a company and a culture help foster your success?

d’aprile properties is just a different kind of company. The coaching is personal – it’s about taking what is already there inside you and using it to succeed. And it’s not just Ryan D’Aprile’s coaching, it’s the training and support I’ve received from other successful agents in the company from day one. They realize that there is enough business out there for all of us, and that the company only succeeds if the individuals do. Now that I’ve found some success, I love to offer my experience and advice to new agents. And I’m still learning, always learning.

What would you say to someone who, no matter how hard they try, is struggling to reach their goals and find success?

“‘Never give up.’ I repeated that phrase in my head over and over when I first got into the business, because there were times when I just wanted to throw my hands in the air. You have to come to terms with the fact that the only battle you’re facing is You vs. You. Grab hold of the ‘You’ that is unique and amazing, and kick the ‘You’ that only brings doubt and anxiety into your life to the curb. That way, there’s nowhere to go but forward.”

 

MEL’s WEBSITE
Find her on Facebook


d’aprile properties comes to Gurnee and Lindenhurst!

When you’ve got a good thing going, it’s only natural to want more.

At d’aprile properties, we love being an integral part of the communities that we serve. Each has its own personality, its own unique flavor that draws people toward it, looking for a place to call home. That’s why we will always look to grow, to expand outward into new neighborhoods and meet amazing new people. This business is all about building relationships, and the best part of our job is the opportunity to share in our clients’ experience as they embark on their own personal journey as homeowners.

We aren’t looking to blend in with the local flavor. Instead, we hope to find communities that already share the qualities that form the foundation of our company’s culture. Innovation. Independence. Positivity. And with that in mind, we are proud to announce that d’aprile properties has come to the exceptional northern Illinois communities of Gurnee and Lindenhurst.

These locales exist as wholly unique residential markets on their own, but together they form a bridge between our Illinois and Wisconsin markets. Seated within 10 miles of the state border, residents commute back and forth, connecting the cosmopolitan “collar counties” of Northern Illinois with the agricultural focal point that is the Eastern Ridges and Lowlands of Southern Wisconsin.

But Team Gurnee and Team Lindenhurst aren’t new to their respective neighborhoods. Managing Broker Alex Attiah has been providing real estate services in the area for the last 18 years. Together with his wife Deb, Alex formed REIT Homes, an independent brokerage in Grayslake. They soon relocated their home office to Gurnee, and expanded to Lindenhurst in 2017. Their unique brand of expert local real estate services has resulted in significant growth, and the team has expanded to more than 40 agents in two offices. Alex knew that the time had come to join forces with a brokerage who shared their ideals, a company who was forward-thinking, genuine, and not afraid of change.

In d’aprile properties, Alex knew he had found the right match. “After meeting with the d’aprile Leadership Team, I knew we were aligning ourselves with good, genuine people. We’ve been looking for a true partnership, where our team could join a culture that is independent, innovative – and most of all – positive. d’aprile properties is a ‘yes culture’ – when faced with a challenge, they simply ask themselves, ‘How can we make it happen?'”

Gurnee thrives on commerce; with its booming retail market and wealth of entertainment options, the city is always moving. Lindenhurst offers a little more peace and quiet; the close-knit community and its inviting landscape provide the perfect backdrop for families and small businesses. According to Alex, while Gurnee and Lindenhurst may offer different things to different people, the two neighbors combine to form the perfect lifestyle. “Gurnee is uniquely alive; people filter into it from the surrounding areas, drawn to all the amazing amenities it provides. Lindenhurst is more serene alternative – a bedroom community with a wonderful mom-and-pop feel. Together, they offer a little something for everyone.”

Alex wants the communities of Gurnee and Lindenhurst to know that while the name on the front of the building may be changing, his teams’ approach to customer service has not. “Our dedication to serving the communities of Gurnee and Lindenhurst has never wavered. We will always give 110% of ourselves to you, because we ARE you. We’re your neighbors. We’re parents at your kids’ schools, shouting on the sidelines of their soccer games. We’re behind you in line at the grocery store, and beside you at the gym. We will always support you, because this is our home, too. We are so excited for what the future will bring, and are proud to bring the trusted brand of d’aprile properties to this amazing area.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.


Make Every Hour Count!

Ernest Hemingway once said, “I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”

We can relate. We LOVE sleep. Life for your average go-getter is inherently busy, and the idea of falling into your warm bed to drift off into a heavy sleep will almost certainly always draw a smile.

That’s why many people aren’t looking forward to March 10, the dreaded ‘Spring Forward’ of Daylight Savings Time. How DARE they take away an hour of our beloved z’s?

You could look at it that way. But glass-is-half-full kind of folk instead circle the 10th of March on their calendar with a bright red marker, knowing that they will have one extra hour of sunlight (or at least daylight) in their day.

Spring is inching closer – what will you do with that additional hour? We have a few suggestions:

  • Go for a Run: The average person can make it 2-4 miles in 60 minutes.
  • Watch Two Episodes of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross: ‘Cause if happy little trees don’t make your day, we’re not sure we want to know you.

Photo Courtesy: Biography.com

  • Get/Give an Hour Massage: Treat yourself, or treat your significant other!
  • Listen to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin 15 Times: You might want to sing it note for note…

  • Take a Hot Bubble Bath: For a better experience, add wine.
  • Build a Fort with Your Kids: Because it will make their weekend.

Photo Courtesy of: Healthy Gallatin

  • Try a new recipe: No longer winter, not quite spring…might we recommend some BFD (Breakfast for Dinner)?
  • Learn a Magic Trick: Make people think you’re a wizard. And always have an ice breaker at the bar.
  • Watch the Sunset with Your Spouse: Because it no longer takes place at 4:30 PM.

Photo Courtesy of: imgur.com

No matter what you do, change your Spring Forward mindset, and make the most of the time you’ve been given!

 

 


Top Tips for Converting Your Home into a Vacation Rental

Photo Courtesy of: Pixabay

Please welcome back Suzie Wilson, the creator of happierhome.net, and today’s guest blogger! Suzie has a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes, a talent she has crafted over 20 years as an interior designer!

Are you thinking of turning your home into a money-maker? Creating a place that is the perfect getaway can be a smart solution, not only boosting your income through renters but also preparing it to be more sellable at some point down the road.

Here’s how to make changes that catch travelers’ eyes and give you great ROI. 

Welcoming Interior

When it comes to making guests feel at home, think along the lines of an interior with broad appeal. Steer clear of immensely personal style, do some decluttering, and decorate in colors that reflect what might be drawing visitors to the area. For instance, if your property is on the shoreline, sandy beiges accented with cool blues might provide the right atmosphere. A cabin, on the other hand, could warrant earthy browns and greens. Choose decor that fits the environment as well, such as airy textiles in a lakeside property, or woolly blankets for a cozy cabin. At the same time, a depersonalized and uncluttered home are keys to selling; should you put your property on the market later, you’re already one step ahead. 

Photo Courtesy of: Pixabay

 

Stay Abreast of Issues

If you decide to list your home in the future, give it the proper upkeep it needs to be move-in ready. At the same time, your guests will feel most welcome if you put forward a spotlessly clean, well-kept presentation. Some people elect to hire a housekeeping service for some or all of the chores, although you can do it yourself with smart cleaning strategies. Gather effective cleaning supplies so you can whiz through with minimal effort. Start by investing in a quality vacuum, and research reviews from How to Home to ensure you’re getting the best one for the job. Fill a tote with wipes, sponges, an all-purpose spray, and some hard-hitting basics like vinegar and baking soda. As you go through the property, note any maintenance concerns and make sure you tackle them before the next guests arrive. 

Make Some Upgrades

A few changes here and there can boost your property’s appeal to renters as well as buyers. Bathrooms tend to be key points in both areas, so consider some upgrades that give you a good bang for your buck. Todd Whittaker Drywall suggests certain alterations provide especially good ROI — such as Universal Design elements and new fixtures — and they are smart additions in terms of making your place more rentable as well as sellable. Top off your refreshed bathroom by assembling a welcome basket. Consider putting together some breakfast goodies or locally made soaps and lotions. For a personal touch, add a note with any quirks about the property, as well as information about the area. Include things to do and anything unique to your locale, such as a great deli, your favorite historical sites, or the location of a must-see vista. 

Photo Courtesy of: Kiddie Holidays

 

Safe and Secure

Many people feel a little off-kilter in a strange place. In order to feel at ease, rather than a traditional key, a keyless lock gives both you and your guests some advantages. You can change things up between visitors, and there is no worry about a key or card getting lost or stolen. If your property might stand vacant for lengths of time, your main residence is far away, or you just want to bolster peace of mind, adding a smart security system is also a plus. It could raise your home’s ROI all the more should the time come that you’re ready to sell. 

 In order to impress guests, you want your property to be well maintained and inviting. At the same time, this can be a step toward raising your home’s value, should you elect to sell at some point down the road. For the best results, aim for a great experience that will not only provide optimal ROI, but it will also make your visitors want to keep coming back.

** Suzie Wilson is proud to announce that her debut book, The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House, is COMING SOON to online retailers and bookstores near you! Filled with tips, tricks, and other advice based on her 20 years of experience in interior home design, the book will set you and your home up for success.


Ryan D’Aprile – Coaching Moments: Lead Generation

 

Our Founder, Ryan D’Aprile, has begun a monthly podcast series for Keeping It Real, the only podcast made by Chicago real estate brokers for Chicago real estate brokers. You can check out the podcast in its entirety HERE.

Welcome once again to Coaching Moments! As the driving force behind d’aprile properties, Ryan’s primary focus is to personally provide one-on-one coaching to the 300-plus agents who make up the d’aprile properties team. He is focused on providing for his agents and staff through his impassioned motivational skills, dynamic teaching style, and his dedication to lifelong training. He has built a collaborative organization based on a foundation of culture, character, and community.

In today’s podcast, Ryan spends the entirety of the hour on lead generation – the most important component of a broker’s business.

 

Ryan D’Aprile

Founder, d’aprile properties

ryan@daprileproperties.com


And the Oscar Goes to…

Green Book, probably. Or Roma.

Personally, we’re pulling for Black Panther, because WAKANDA FOREVER!

But this post really isn’t about this year’s movies. No, in honor of Oscar Week – cause, you know, we dig homes – we thought we might put together a list of our favorite homes in recent film history. No garish mansions or sweeping castles on this list – simple residential real estate only.

Gone Girl

Sure, Neil Patrick Harris’ sleek lake house was (cough)…killer, but it was Nick and Amy’s suburban Missouri rental that truly caught our eye. Of course, Amy was a deranged sociopath with rather impressive knife skills for a homemaker, but you can’t deny that she had a chic sense of style.

 

Photo Courtesy of: The Movie District

Father of the Bride

Admit it – you watch at least part of this gem of a Steve Martin rom-com every time it comes on TBS. The Colonial Revival House that served as the site of the big wedding sold in 2016 for a cool $2 million. Looks like a steal if you ask us!

 

Photo Courtesy of: CBS News

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Despite the snow and the Chicago-setting of the script, the Griswold house is actually an exterior set on “Blondie Street,” a suburban block created specifically on the Warner Brothers back lot in Burbank, CA. The house has been featured in several films (including American Beauty and Pleasantville) and if you look closely, you can see the Murtaugh’s house from Lethal Weapon next door. We can certainly imagine having a big family holiday in this charming two-story.

Just don’t light a match anywhere near the storm sewer…

 

Photo Courtesy of: Hooked on Houses

The Money Pit

“THE STAIRS ARE OUT!!” Tom Hanks’ facial expressions alone are enough to recommend this underrated gem of a comedy. But the titular ‘pit’ is actually a stunning, eight-bedroom masterpiece with its own name: Northway. Located in the village of Lattingtown along the famed Gold Coast of Long Island, it went back on the market in 2018.

It can be yours for a cool $5.9 million.

 

Photo Courtesy of: Zillow

The Holiday

Cameron Diaz’s LA mansion was the very definition of modern style (for 2006, anyway), back when automatic shades were the hi-fi! But we’re not interested in Cali-chic: give us Kate Winslet’s fairy tale English cottage any day. From the (extremely) long walk up to the brick wall that lined the property, it seemed like something straight out of a painting. Which, to be honest, is not far off – the filmmakers could not find the perfect cottage for their seasonal flick, so they built one – in just two weeks.

Sadly, the interior was filmed separately, as the cottage itself was just a shell. 

 

Photo Courtesy of: Bustle

Something’s Gotta Give

Maybe our favorite on this list, Diane Keaton’s Hampton’s Beach House is simply striking. Maybe it’s the killer kitchen complete with large island, stainless-steel Sub-Zero refrigerator, and a Wolf range. Maybe it’s her character Erica’s bedroom alcove, with a desk situated right in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, creating the perfect writing spot. But no, honestly the real selling point here is the amazing beach access, complete with a beautiful twisting staircase leading down to the surf.

No wonder Jack shed tears.

 

Photo Courtesy of: PICTURESMO.COM

Home Alone

We finish off with a local landmark. The Winnetka wonder that plays home to Macaulay Culkin’s mini-mastermind, Kevin McCallister, is a red-brick Georgian-style Colonial. Known at the time for its spacious foyer and fantastic master staircase, the home has since seen a complete overhaul. Now it boasts a beautiful white kitchen and a serene screened-in porch. Considering that the home sold in 2012 for over one and a half million, and the fact that he paid for a Parisian vacation FOR FIFTEEN PEOPLE, we still can’t help but wonder what Kevin’s dad did for a living (COUGH)mafia accountant(COUGH).

 

Photo Courtesy of: AOL

What did we miss? What is your favorite movie home? Sound off in the comments!