State of the Housing Market

“How is the market looking these days?”

As real estate professionals, we’re asked this question daily. We hear it from clients, we hear it from friends. We hear it from strangers at parties, and from family at the holiday dinner table. As industry experts, it is an important question for us to approach, but not an easy one to definitively answer.  

The ebb and flow of the housing market in the United States affects every aspect of the real estate industry. It causes interest rates to rise and fall, and consumer confidence to swell and fade. Making things even harder to predict is the fact that the market is cyclical – never resting for long on one end of the spectrum or the other.

Without question, the housing market in the United States has shifted in the last year, resulting in a loss of momentum from its peak in 2016. Several key factors contributed:

  • Rising Home Prices
  • Rising Mortgage Rates
  • New tax laws that reduce incentives for homeownership

But while it is true that each of the above conditions has had a tangible impact on our current market, looking at the recent past only tells half the story.

Moving forward into a new year, it isn’t hard to find hope. After all, the economy is humming; workers’ wages are on the rise, and unemployment has fallen to a level not seen in decades. There are strong indications that both homebuyer demand and home inventory are increasing, and could begin to bridge the gap between a stalled housing market, and a national economy on the rise.

So why does the current slump continue? It comes down to one simple factor – uncertainty. The decision to buy or sell a home is packed with pressure, and most individuals get their information from television and online news. At best, the opinions of these various outlets can differ dramatically. At worst, they cause panic and stress by only offering up worst-case scenarios.

So our best answer to the question, “What is the state of the market?” Put simply, it’s fluid. It changes from one day to the next, often in ways that are impossible to predict. And if you only look at it from a national perspective, you may never find the right time to dip your toe in its waters.

It is imperative instead that you look at the opportunity to buy or sell a home from one perspective and one only: your own. With a results-oriented real estate agent serving as your guide, expertise and an established process will be the catalyst for a swift and successful transaction – not the influence of the market at large.

As we head ever closer to a new year, you owe it to yourself to experience what full-service real estate truly means. It’s time to find out how d’aprile properties has distinguished itself as the premiere real estate brokerage in the Midwest.

It’s time to discover what makes d’aprile different.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Never Too Late for the American Dream

When you meet the unassuming and uniquely awesome Ms. Diane Mowrer, you can’t help but be pulled in by her enthusiastic spirit. An avid cook, decorator, and self-proclaimed ‘neat freak’, her personality and sense of humor crackle with energy. She constantly wears a broad, genuine smile and is quick with a joke – even if it’s directed at herself.

A former executive assistant with Chase Bank, this mother of five is a DIY-kind of girl. Spontaneous and creative, she prefers tackling remodeling projects head-on, and getting her own hands dirty. Having recently become a homeowner for the very first time on her own, she now has the opportunity to begin a new chapter in her life, on her terms.

All at the tender young age of 79. (Don’t worry, she gave us permission to tell!)

For 25 years, Diane had been renting an apartment in the Western Suburbs. She labored up and down flights of stairs daily, and had no choice but to constantly clear snow from her uncovered car come winter. But perhaps the biggest burden to bear was the lack of opportunity to turn her living space into a real home, forced to stare at drab paint colors and dated fixtures chosen by someone other than herself. Creativity needs a canvas, after all.

Diane hadn’t been actively looking to move, but like so many others she often passed time looking at properties online with a curious eye and an open mind. One day she realized a condo that had previously caught her attention had come back on the market in Lombard. As luck would have it, her granddaughter Sara Press just happened to be a highly-skilled d’aprile properties real estate agent, so after breakfast one morning in the area, Diane asked if Sara could show her the property. Before they left, she was ready to make an offer on what would soon become her new home.

Sara guided her through every step of the home buying process, and even brought in a little help from Erin Stojakovic – a mortgage professional with our good friends over at Midwest Lending. That’s how on August 8th – just a couple of months shy of her 79th birthday – Diane found herself sitting at the closing table, being handed the keys to her very own home.

After almost eight decades, you would think she took some time to relax, and savor the moment. But no, not when there was so much she could do, without anyone’s permission but her own! Walls and cabinets were soon painted, countertops and carpeting were replaced. And a stand-alone cupboard will be custom built for the kitchen, after she drops the ceiling and installs canned lighting. But reluctantly, she admits that these can wait until after the holidays. She has cookies to bake, after all. And she already knows where she’s putting her tree.

Diane once lived paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet. But with patience and some strategic saving, she realized that homeownership was well within her reach. When asked if she had any advice for other seniors looking to start over, she simply said, “Never give up. With the right people beside you, it’s easier than you think.”

If only all of use could be so positive, so young at heart. Thank you Diane, for letting d’aprile properties be part of your story. It has many more chapters to come.


What It Means to Serve – Military Family Appreciation Month

Today, more than two million courageous men and women proudly serve their country, representing the United States military and its reserve components. These individuals, serving both domestically and abroad, wake up each and every morning with one purpose: to defend the principles on which this nation was founded, so that its citizens can live free. 

They are Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers. They selflessly sacrifice their lives for a cause greater than themselves, and they deserve all the support and respect that we as their fellow countrymen can offer. But we must never forget those who stand beside our servicemen and women every day, even as they are forced to stay behind.

They are the heroes on the homefront: the spouses, children, and parents of our military members, who answer the call with dignity and grace. While they may not wear a uniform, they know precisely what it means to serve their country. Bearing the heavy burden of long deployments and difficult moves, these steadfast patriots often put their own careers on hold, in order to support their family and protect their household.

They’re your neighbors. They go to school with your children, and you see them at the grocery store. And while their struggle takes place daily, they bear their burden in silence, so those they advocate see nothing but strength and stability.

November is Military Family Month, and it is our duty to honor and support the families of our troops and veterans for their unwavering devotion and contribution to our freedom.

In 2018, d’aprile properties continues to partner with Homes For Our Troops, widely recognized as one of America’s Top-Rated Veterans and Military Charities for seven consecutive years. A privately funded nonprofit organization, they build and donate specifically adapted custom homes nationwide to post-9/11 veterans and their families. To join us in this cause, visit our fundraising page HERE.

These people are the backbone of our military, the fuel that keeps the home fire burning. If you’re looking for a way to personally salute the heroic families who stand by our armed forces, remember that even the smallest act of kindness can bring welcome relief to those who simply long to see their loved ones come home safe.

  • Say “Thank you”
  • Write them a note
  • Leave a care package at their door
  • Offer to babysit
  • Volunteer your time by shoveling their walkway, or carrying their groceries
  • Donate to a veterans’ charity on their behalf

Or when in doubt, simply ASK them what they need. Because each and every one of us, no matter how strong, can benefit from the charity of others. We rise by lifting each other.

 


d’aprile locales – Chicago’s Most Haunted Hotel!

Photo Credit: Odyssey
Welcome to ‘Locales’, a series that highlights vendors, businesses, and organizations who stand out in their respective communities through their passion and purpose.
HALLOWEEN EDITION!
May we introduce you to: The Congress Hotel
THEIR STORY: The hotel first opened its doors way back in 1893, with guests arriving by horse drawn carriage via the cobblestone streets leading up to the front entrance. Over the last 125 years, the Congress Plaza Hotel & Convention Center has evolved gracefully, consistently offering every modern amenity a guest could ask for, while never losing its sense of history and grandeur. Its reputation as the “Landmark of Chicago Hospitality” comes well earned, as The Congress has played host to countless celebrities, U.S. Presidents, and dignitaries from across the globe.
Photo Credit: Erik Allix Rogers
THEIR VIBE: Impeccable customer service from a world-class staff will define your stay at The Congress! The 871 guest rooms and suites feature all sorts of fashionable accommodations – not to mention some of the most breathtaking views the city has to offer. These 14 stories of excellence are located right in the heart of the city, just minutes from Chicago staples such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium.
But The Congress has earned another reputation altogether; the title of Most Haunted Hotel in the city of Chicago!
WHAT’S HOT: With Halloween almost upon us, we’d be remiss not to mention some of The Congress’ more colorful history! As it turns out, some of the hotel’s earliest and most famous (infamous?) guests included Dr. H.H. Holmes (America’s first official serial killer), Al Capone (whose ghost is said to still haunt the north tower), and an unnamed former employee who is only known as ‘The Hand of Mystery’. Why, you ask? Oh it’s not big deal. He was simply trapped behind a wall when it was plastered and ended up suffocating. And apparently, his hand can be seen sticking out of the wall!
Photo Credit: Dan DeBaun, WJON AM 1240
Despite this harrowing history, we wholeheartedly recommend The Congress for wedding ceremonies, company events, or simply for an amazing hotel stay.
Just don’t book room number 441; it receives more security calls than any other room!

THE CONGRESS PLAZA HOTEL & CONVENTION CENTER

520 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago, Illinois

(312) 427-3800

Photo Credit: PBS.com

d’aprile Locales – Pier 290

Welcome to ‘Locales’, a series that highlights vendors, businesses, and organizations who stand out in their respective communities through their passion and purpose.
May we introduce you to: Pier 290
THEIR STORY: No one knows the history of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin quite like Gage Marine, who can trace their roots back to 1873 and the launching of the original Lady of the Lake. President Bill Gage realized quickly after taking over the family business that, in order to please both the lake locals and visitors alike, you need to provide them all with the perfect spot to gather for good food, good spirits, and spectacular sunset views. Mission accomplished: with the opening of Pier 290 in 2012, he quickly accomplished this tasteful trifecta of lake living.
THEIR VIBE: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.
Just stepped off your boat and looking for a craft cocktail to quench your thirst after a long day on the lake? You’ve come to the right place.
Looking to grab a quick bite while watching all the boat and jet ski action on a summer afternoon? Pull up a chair, they’ve got you covered.
Maybe you’re in search of the right place to simply sit back, exhale, and watch the sun trail off below the horizon?  A candle-lit table awaits.
The point is – no matter what your reason is for stopping by – no one offers a better view of lake life than Pier 290.
WHAT’S HOT:  Checking out the menu, it’s hard not to gravitate toward the Chilean Sea Bass, served on a sauté of tomato succotash and veggies, glazed with sweet Thai chili sauce. Wash that down with Pier 290’s house cocktail, the Happy Ending – vodka, fresh lemon, lime and orange, a dash of bitters, and topped with Squirt over ice.

PIER 290

1 Liechty Dr

Williams Bay, Wisconsin 53191

262-245-2100


A New Place to Call Home – Crystal Lake, IL!

At d’aprile properties, we know that our clients appreciate the value of local market expertise, and every d’aprile properties agent combines empathy and experience in order to exceed the expectations of our customers. We’ve established lasting relationships with a wide variety of clients, with every manner of home want and need.

Which means we’ve seen a little bit of everything. So when we began scouting sites for our newest office location, it only made sense to establish our roots in a place that offers a little something for everyone.

That’s why we chose Crystal Lake, Illinois; a spirited community of color, character, and culture. Because home isn’t always where you came from. Sometimes, you can find it in a place where you simply feel like you belong.

The longstanding motto of Crystal Lake is “A Good Place to Live,” and it’s no secret where that moniker comes from!  Over 40,000 residents enjoy a wealth of amenities, from a wide variety of dining and shopping options, to a Park District that boasts more than 1,600 acres of parks and open space – all surrounding the 230–acre lake that provides the city its name.  The area retains its small-town charm and hospitality, despite being only a short 50 miles northwest of Chicago.

The sparkling gem of Crystal Lake remains the Three Oaks Recreational Area.  Feed your thirst for adventure by taking advantage of its pristine beaches, hiking trails, boating options, and scuba diving adventures.  

Photo Credit: www.crystallake.org

But if you’re craving a more intimate night out, our bustling and historic downtown area is thriving with an array of independent shops and restaurants. Featuring two of the best public school systems in the region, high-quality municipal services, and one of the lowest tax rates in the area, it is easy to see why so many Chicagoland residents have decided to make Crystal Lake their home!

d’aprile properties is committed to providing an inventive and action-oriented environment for our team of agents, one that allows individuals with true focus and ambition to thrive and succeed from their very first day. Our agents routinely rank among the top producers in each of our individual markets, and consistently outpace industry income. We’re looking to bring this same culture of success to Crystal Lake. If you’re interested in joining our team, visit our website, and come discover what makes d’aprile different!

 


Top Tips for Cleaning Your New Home Before Moving In

 

Let’s say hello again to guest-blogger Jim Vogel, co-founder of ElderAction, who focuses on helping ensure seniors thrive throughout their golden years by sharing pertinent resources and information. He also knows a thing or two about keeping a happy home!

Purchasing a new property is exciting, and chances are you’re anxious to move in as soon as possible. However, your new place can harbor hidden dirt and debris that you would be better off without. Here are the best ways to create a clean, move-in ready environment so you can breathe easier in your new home.
Take It From the Top:  Cleaning is probably going to be more of a chore than you envisioned. No matter how spotless the house looked when you visited, when items are moved out dust and debris can be stirred up. On top of that, cardboard boxes seem to always leave some residue of their own. Bed, Bath and Beyond suggests you begin cleaning by looking at what’s overhead.  Light fixtures, crown molding and corners likely harbor dust and cobwebs.
What’s Underfoot?:  Carpet fibers can hold a wide variety of allergens and pollutants, so even if carpet appears clean give it thorough cleansing. If there are stains, start by trying to identify them. Popular Mechanics offers several handy tips for treating stains with common household materials. Once you address those spots and marks, steam clean the carpet. The detergent and steam will help penetrate the fibers, loosening and lifting dirt.

 

Dusty Drapes and Blinds:  Did your new home come with the window coverings from the previous owner? Even if you don’t intend to exchange them later with your own, some experts note they can hold allergens and dust in the fibers, folds and crevices. Remove them for washing or vacuum them thoroughly.
Scrub Those Appliances:  When you’re moving into a new home, some professionals note an often overlooked area of concern is the kitchen appliances. Give the refrigerator, oven and microwave a thorough cleansing before you use them.
Sleep Tight:  Especially after all your hard work, you don’t want to bring dirt and allergens into your new home. If your mattress is five years old or older, it’s likely home to bacteria, dust mites and other yucky microorganisms. Instead of trying to catch some shut-eye with all those freeloaders, research some mattress reviews to find one that fits your sleeping style and body type so you’ll rest easy in every way.

 

Deep Breathing:  Ensuring you and your family members are breathing clean air will help you rest easier in your new abode. As Sears explains, the air inside your home can be worse than you might think, laden with pollutants such as household cleansers, fumes from paint and other toxins. Be sure to change the filter in your home’s HVAC system for starters. It’ll not only help keep the air clean, it will also help the system run efficiently. If in doubt, one idea is to have your home’s air quality tested. And before your family spends a night in the new house, another recommendation is to properly install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Move-in Ready!:  Before moving into your new home, clean thoroughly. Make sure all the ugly little particles from its previous life are removed, and don’t bring in any new ones. Your new home will be a breath of fresh air, thanks to your wise choices!

asd


More Than An Agent – Kyle Naylor

Welcome to ‘More Than an Agent’, a series that highlights members of the d’aprile family who serve our communities outside the world of real estate. 
This week, we’d like you to meet:

Kyle Naylor: Real Estate Agent and Volunteer at Wright-Way Rescue

Practicing gratitude – the act of reflecting on all you’re thankful for, and then finding creative ways to express it – can have all sorts of positive effects on an individual. As our very own Kyle Naylor discovered, when we make the effort to help lift another up, we often find our own spirit rising to a whole new level.
Through hard work and dedication, Kyle has built a successful business in Lakeview over just a few short years. But his contributions to the d’aprile team go beyond the closing table; he’s also become something of a goodwill ambassador, consistently collaborating with team members, while always bringing positive energy to company events and fundraisers.

 

One of Kyle’s passions outside of real estate was born from the simple desire to help a friend who was going through a bad breakup. Kyle suggested that the two of them participate in a gratitude exercise by volunteering at a local animal shelter. The idea was to focus on the good and pure aspects of life, rather than letting negative emotions take hold and fester. A day spent at Wright-Way Rescue in Morton Grove would give them both a whole new perspective on how to practice gratitude.
Wright-Way is a no-kill Adoption Center, providing state-of-the-art shelter for future pets awaiting their forever homes. Aside from their obvious success finding good spots for animals in need (over 30,000 since 2003), they also offer the opportunity for individuals to volunteer their time to help out Chicagoland’s furriest residents. Individuals can take part in a wide range of do-gooding deeds that suit all interests, experience levels, and time constraints.

 

Kyle himself has participated in a wide variety of soul-warming tasks, including dog-walking, pet playpen time, and ensuring that each of the animals’ beds are clean and ready for a good night’s sleep.  They even offer a ‘kitty room’ – a connected smart suite that allows children spending time in the hospital to interact with kittens via a live feed.
Kyle lauds Wright-Way as an organization, noting how easy it is to volunteer, and how engaged and supportive the staff are. “I’ve had a blast with them. They offer an incredibly rewarding way to get out and do something for someone other than yourself.”

 

That sense of self-fulfillment did more than just boost Kyle’s spirits. It also had a major impact on his decision to add to his own family. While he considers himself a lover of all animals, Kyle is the proud papa of one Sascha Baron Kitty, who he describes as, “a comedic genius.”

 

KYLE NAYLOR, REALTOR®

D’APRILE PROPERTIES – LAKVIEW OFFICE

Mobile Phone: (303) 877-3023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Day On the Links

 

Sometimes, after a hard day’s work, a little time out of the office is the cure for what ails ya! On September 25, d’aprile properties was once again excited to join our friends at Midwest Lending, who sponsored our annual Golf Outing! Agents, Loan Officers, and Support Team members got together for a day on the links at Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton, IL.

 

d’aprile properties and Midwest Lending are close partners in the real estate market, and the camaraderie was even more intense on the course! A shotgun-style tournament was held, and 4-person teams had a blast taking part in a little healthy competition.
The sun was shining, the smiles were bright, and the backswings (for the most part) were true. A great time was had by all, and we are already looking forward to next year’s event! Thanks again Midwest Lending!

 

 


Hope. Fight. Win.

As the summer comes to a close, sandals and swimsuits are quietly replaced with socks and sweaters. Children grumble at the beginning of another school year, while their parents go about their daily business with an innocent mix of pride and relief. And just as the leaves on the trees begin to fall in love with the ground, nature’s grand finale greets us with an explosion of vibrant, fleeting color.
As we begin the month of October, another color entirely will come to the national forefront. The year’s tenth month is known as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), signified by the bright pink hue of the ribbons proudly worn by those who champion the cause. An annual health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities, its primary focus is to increase awareness of the disease, while raising funds for its diagnosis, treatment – and most importantly – its prevention and eventual cure.
**Consider:
  • About one in eight women in the United States (more than 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed, along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
  • Although death rates have been decreasing since 1989, about 40,920 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2018 from breast cancer.
While the numbers are grim, it is important that we acknowledge them, in order to face them head on. What’s even more important is thorough education on breast cancer itself, allowing women and men (who, in 2018, are expected to be diagnosed with 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer) to make educated choices on their own personal behalf. As a national debate currently rages on regarding the importance of early detection vs. over-diagnosis and over-treatment, we at d’aprile properties believe that any level of increased awareness is a positive for us all.

 

Each of the links below will take you to the home of an organization dedicated to fighting breast cancer in their own way. No matter which direction you choose to take, it will be a step toward knowledge. The only way to eventually bring an end to this horrible affliction is through charitable funding, medical expertise, and most of all, education. The battle against breast cancer needs patients, nurses, and doctors working together to make informed choices, with only the best tools and resources at their disposal.
That’s how we create hope. That’s how we fight. And in the end, that’s how we win.

 

The American Cancer Society

We’re on a mission to free the world from cancer. Until we do, we’ll be funding and conducting research, sharing expert information, supporting patients, and spreading the word about prevention. All so you can live longer — and better.

National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

We provide help and inspire hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services.

Breast Cancer Action

Breast Cancer Action’s mission is to achieve health justice for all women at risk of and living with breast cancer.

National Breast Cancer Coalition

NBCC is advocates, scientists, incredibly motivated stakeholders, women, men, mothers, daughters, all united around one goal: ending breast cancer.

 

**All statistics provided by Breastcancer.org