Tips for Accommodating Your Home-Based Business’ Growth Spurt

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Once again, we welcome Jim Vogel, co-founder of ElderAction, who focuses on helping ensure seniors thrive throughout their golden years by sharing pertinent resources and information.

Do you run a business out of your home? If so, you’re in good company. A recent study showed that more than half (69 percent) of all businesses in the United States were started in someone’s home. In fact, even Apple got its humble start as a home-based business when Steve Jobs launched it from a garage. (That very same garage is now listed as a historic site.)

For Carrie Wilkerson, founder of The Barefoot Executive, the primary motivation for starting a business was getting out of debt and providing a better life for her children. As a wife and mother, Carrie worried that long hours spent working at a day job would prevent her from watching her children grow up. She decided to start her own home-based business, and now runs multiple six-figure businesses from her own home — and with the love and support of her family.

Although it’s true that not all businesses will see the success that Wilkerson or Jobs have seen, that doesn’t mean your business can’t be successful. You’ve probably heard that most small businesses don’t survive their first year, but new data is actually showing this might not be true. On the contrary, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that only 20 percent of businesses survive their first year. Nearly half of all businesses survive for five years or more, and one in three businesses will last 10 years or longer.Whatever your reasons for starting a business might be, if you’ve survived this long and your business is growing, congratulations! You’re living every small business owner’s dream. Now that sales are rolling in and the demand for your products and services is increasing, all the freedoms of running your own business from home are at your fingertips.

Although it’s a good problem to have, sometimes business growth means your home office can no longer accommodate the site of your business. If that’s the case for you, then it’s time to find a way to make your home accommodate your business growth so you can reach your full potential. For many small business owners, that means two things: upsizing your home and funding more growth.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Upsizing Your Home

If your home no longer accommodates your business, consider upsizing. There are a few key things that home-based entrepreneurs should look for in a new home.

  • Price and expenses. Before moving into a bigger house, make sure you can afford it. It won’t do your business any good if you are stuck in a mortgage that’s beyond your budget. You’ll either get burned out with the hustle or you might have to give up your business ventures all together to focus on making ends meet with a full-time job.
  • Office space. Home-based business owners have to consider something that other homeowners don’t: where to work during the day. You’ll need a quiet, distraction-free room that is large enough to accommodate any office supplies, inventory, desks, and other equipment related to your business.
  • Location, location, location. Consider how conveniently located your new home will be, including high-speed internet access and distance to clients.

Funding Your Growing Business

Regardless of whether you’re upsizing your home, you’ll also want to consider how you’ll fund your continued business growth. Business credit cards or loans can be a great way to do this. When securing a credit card or loan for your business expenses, it’s important to understand processing fees and rates and how to lower transaction fees.

The things listed above may not be the most fun considerations when running a business or purchasing a new home. However, it is crucial to consider them before you make a big decision. Otherwise, you might get locked into a mortgage for 30 years that isn’t right for you and only ends up hurting your business. Save yourself some trouble and money by researching these things in advance so you can make the right decision for you — and for your business.

Photo Credit: Death to Stock

A Day in the Sun

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. –English Proverb


When you love what you do, every day is a day at the beach. But every now and then, you need to actually feel the sand between your toes. On June 28th, d’aprile properties held its third Michigan City Bus Tour – an event that combines our love of unique homes and beautiful communities with a little fun in the sun.

d’aprile takes what we call an ‘Interstate Approach’ to real estate in the Midwest. You see, the majority of second home buyers in the Midwest market reside in the Chicagoland communities we serve daily.  Our presence across the Midwest allows us the opportunity to help clients find the home, investment property, or vacation getaway they’ve always dreamed of.

And there are few places in this area more beautiful than the northern border of Indiana, along the shores of stunning Lake Michigan. That’s why, on a clear Thursday morning in June, two buses loaded with agents from Chicago and its suburbs headed east on I-94. Our Michigan City, Indiana team of agents were there to greet them, ready to showcase the warm hospitality and colorful properties that represent the beach communities of northern Indiana and southern Michigan. It was a day to remember!


Lunch at Barlett’s Fish Camp – a big thanks for the good eats, and the great customer service!


The team got to tour several luxurious beachside properties, each with it’s own unique flavor!


And the evening ended with a beautiful sunset on the roof of the amazing Sunset Grille!


We can’t wait till next year!

d’aprile Locales – On Tour Brewing Company – West Town

At d’aprile properties, we feel that the word ‘community’ means more than a subdivision or zip code. A community is defined by the character of its people – a combination of work ethic, pride, and spirit that brings everyone together, in a place they happily call home.  That’s why we’ve created ‘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:

On Tour Brewing Company

THEIR STORY: For Owner/Founder Mark Legenza, it began as a hobby, brewing homemade beer in his garage with friends for eight years. That hobby quickly became a passion, and after winning home-brewing awards at both the local and national level, gave him confidence that he could successfully open his own place. Today, that passion has become a lifestyle, as this third-generation Chicagoan has returned home to open On Tour Brewing Company along West Hubbard Street. Once an area known for its industrial factories and warehouses, the emergence of several local breweries has locals referring to this West Town neighborhood as ‘The Brewing District’.

THEIR VIBE: A wide variety of carefully crafted beers is what brings you in the door, but for the team at On Tour, there is more to the experience than barley and hops. “When you host a party at your house, there are certain things you have to provide your guests: cleanliness, hospitality, and a nice, comfortable space that has something for everyone,” Legenza says. “My wife and I are always the ones hosting parties, and I wanted to bring that same at-home feeling to your local brewery.” On Tour is immaculately clean, and kid-friendly. But what makes it unique is the enormous garage door that, when weather permits, is open wide along a peaceful street, welcoming the sunshine and fresh air to the overall ambiance.

Take a 360º Virtual Tour of On Tour Brewery


WHAT’S HOT: Perfect for quenching your thirst, treat yourself to On Tour’s current favorite, Cities – a goes-down-easy Mexican Lager that Legenza perfectly describes as ‘super-crushable’ on a hot Chicago summer day.

For more information on On Tour Brewery, check out their:

All photos courtesy of On Tour Brewing Company

Home For Our Troops and #daprilecares: Rebuilding Hope

The word ‘home’ means different things to different people. To some, it’s simply where they lie down to sleep at night. To others it’s where they were raised, the place that gave birth to their earliest and most cherished memories.

But to the hundreds of thousands of our US military women and men stationed overseas, the concept of home represents something much bigger. Each and every day, they sacrifice precious time spent in their physical home, in order to strengthen and protect the one that we, as Americans, all proudly share. Whereas most of us long to return to our own house after a hard day, our service men and women spend their nights yearning simply to get back to their friends and family, and the very nation they call home.

In 2018, d’aprile properties has proudly partnered with Home 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 with significant injuries.

Their aim is simple: honor the sacrifice of these amazing individuals by restoring their freedom and independence, enabling them to rebuild their lives back home. To date, HFOT has built 250 specially adapted houses nationwide, with another 90 veterans on their current project list.

Through our #daprilecares program, d’aprile properties has pledged to do whatever it can to help ensure that this fantastic organization gets the funding and support it so richly deserves. Through the combined efforts of our individual Agents and staff, we hope to do whatever we can to impact the lives of these veterans, who have selflessly given so much to protect our freedom.

Our motto has always been, “Charity Begins at Home.”  But the idea of ‘home’ has to go beyond brick and mortar. It must be expanded, to represent the sense of community that all of us, as Americans, strive for.  It means doing what we can to help others feel safe, supported, and valued. It’s about making people whole again.

We hope that you will join us on this journey. If you would like to help our cause, please visit our donation page, at

How to Help Your Dog Adjust Come Moving Time

Once again, we welcome Jim Vogel, co-founder of ElderAction, who focuses on helping ensure seniors thrive throughout their golden years by sharing pertinent resources and information.

Do you think moving is stressful for humans? Try looking at it from a dog’s point of view. Mother Nature designed your pet to associate familiar sights and sounds with safety. Placing him/her in strange surroundings that lack their normal environmental cues can make them feel insecure and fearful. This can happen even if the new home has a bigger yard and other pup-friendly perks. Never fear, though. You can help them adjust to the change by using the following tips.

Choose a Dog-Friendly Neighborhood

You love your cold-nosed companion so much that it’s almost impossible for you to understand that not everyone feels the same way. Still, whether it is due to fear, allergies, or simply personal preference, some people just aren’t big fans of dogs. In the ideal scenario, your neighbors will welcome all of your family members, furry ones included. However, here are some warning signs that your potential new neighbors may not greet your beloved pooch with open arms:

  • They have no dogs of their own. Beware of communities where pets are scarcer than pink elephants – or where pink elephants are the pets, for that matter.
  • They act leery or hostile when you try to introduce them to your dog. It’s always a good idea to take your four-legged family member with you to inspect a prospective neighborhood. If you find yourselves shunned, then it’s best to look elsewhere for a new home.
  • Local anti-barking rules are unreasonable or burdensome. It makes perfect sense for an area to crack down on incessant animal noise, but sometimes it can be taken to the extreme.
  • The neighborhood lacks pet stores, vets, dog parks, and similar accommodations. This may signal an anti-animal area. At the very least, it means you will have to go out of your way to provide these essential services for your pup.
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Let’s say you’ve found a home in an area that will welcome your critter with open arms. That’s great! But remember that your dog has no concept of such uniquely human inventions as mortgages and moving vans. According to the ASPCA, it’s only natural for them to feel uneasy when they see you boxing up your belongings for the big day. Here are some tips for helping them make it through the moving process:

  • Try to keep them out of the house while you’re packing things. One family member could take your dog for a walk, or a trip to the dog park, while the rest of you get ready for the move.
  • Keep their schedule as close to normal as possible. Maintain their usual feeding, walking, and playing times. This will help them have a reassuring sense of continuity throughout the upcoming changes.
  • If you must keep them at home while you’re preparing to move, then give them a “safe room” where they will be out of your way. This is vital for everyone’s safety.
Photo Credit: Pexels

Tips for Selling Your Home

One way to minimize everyone’s moving-related stress is to keep your home as appealing as possible to buyers. Here are some things you can do to help sell your home as quickly as possible:

  • Lighten things up. Keep the blinds or curtains open during showings, use high watt bulbs in lighting fixtures (if safe to do so), and trim your hedges to allow added sunshine to enter the home. Buyers love a bright, cheery house.
  • Make some space. Buyers want to picture your home with their furnishings in it, not yours. So remove as much furniture as possible without compromising your comfort.
  • Send the dog packing for the time being. This may sound cruel, but the presence of a pet is a huge turn-off for many buyers. Showings are a good time for your pup to visit the park or go for a walk around the block – under the guidance of a human family member, of course.

Following the tips in this post will help make your upcoming move a positive experience for all involved. The hard work will pay off when your dog realizes that his/her family is still by their side, just like always. Good luck and happy pet parenting.

Photo Credit: Pexels

#daprilecares – Let’s Keep a Good Thing Going

They say charity begins at home, and we wholeheartedly agree.  

But it can’t end there.

When choosing the focus of our 2017 flagship charitable campaign, we at d’aprile properties were looking to support a local organization whose efforts go beyond mere fundraising.  That’s why we chose to partner with Misericordia, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities.  The staff at Misericordia not only provide housing and medical assistance to those in their care; they focus on maximizing their potential.  The goal is to help residents find purpose in their everyday lives through personal interaction, meaningful employment, and a sense of community.  Nothing builds courage like a feeling of independence. 

But you can’t truly understand the scope of this mission until you see it in action.  So we decided to tour the Misericordia facilities at 6300 N Ridge Ave., to get a better idea of all that they accomplish day in, and day out.  Because the truth is, we don’t need to save the lives of these amazing individuals.  The dedicated team at Misericordia is already doing that.  We just want to help give them the means to continue their incredible work, in whatever way we can.

When you first step foot on the 31-acre Rogers Park campus, you can’t help but be in awe of of the scope of Misericorida’s endeavors.  More than 600 children and adults live and work on these grounds, from all manner of racial, economic, and religious backgrounds.  Misericordia’s Executive Director, Sister Rosemary Connelly, guides the Sisters of Mercy and almost 1,000 staff members in their efforts to ensure that each and every resident is housed, cared for, and encouraged to grow as an individual.  

The home itself provides the full continuum of care to meet the diverse needs of residents whose ages currently range from infants to senior citizens. But beyond that, Misericorida is a fully-functioning community, offering services that provide education, spiritual guidance, and a variety of social and recreational activities.  Many residents are encouraged to work off campus at various Chicago businesses, while others provide all manner of services to outside companies who outsource their projects directly to campus.


And we haven’t even mentioned the incredible art department, the fully functioning bakery, or the coffee grounding and packaging service that operate right on campus!  You see, while Misericordia receives funds from entities such as the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, they cannot fund the cause on government aid alone.  They rely on the hard work and dedication of their residents and staff, along with the generous donations from corporations, foundations, individuals, and families.  And they could use your help.

That is why throughout the remainder of the year, d’aprile properties will be bringing stories of courage and dedication, directly from the residents and families supported by this incredible organization.  We hope you you might join us on this mission, to help raise funds and ensure that some of Chicago’s most important citizens are given the chance to live the life they deserve.  

To donate, simply click on this link:


This Is the Life

You call this work??

Every job has its perks.  Some people get to work from home a couple of days a week.  Others get free gym memberships.  Gourmet coffee in the break room, perhaps?

At d’aprile properties, we consider ourselves lucky every minute of every day, because we love what we do.  But some days are just a little better than others.  And the perks are everywhere…

We’re proud to represent the Geneva Lake community.  Our Wisconsin agents – working out of our Fontana office location – are local market experts.  Their mission?  To ensure that the entire Midwest recognizes all of the beauty and serenity that Lake Geneva has to offer.  

That’s why this year we partnered with our good friends at Gage Marine, in order to host our Illinois based agents for a series of boat tours, showcasing just how amazing life on the water can be.  


You see, the majority of second home buyers in Geneva Lake reside in the Chicagoland communities we serve daily.  That’s why our Wisconsin and Illinois agents work together, to ensure that our clients dreams of lake living become a reality.

And what better way to familiarize ourselves with the area than with a little ‘market research’?


When you love what you do for a living, can you really call it work?  






The Best Tips For Seniors Thinking Of Buying A Home In Chicago

This week we welcome Jim Vogel, co-founder of ElderAction, is passionate about promoting senior health and safety. He focuses on helping ensure seniors are able to thrive throughout their golden years by sharing pertinent resources and information.

If you’re a senior who has recently decided to buy a house in Chicago, you might be thinking about how to downsize or how to find a home that will be more accommodating during your golden years. Depending on where in the city you’re looking to relocate, it may be difficult to find something that has everything you’re looking for, so it’s important to have a good plan in mind before you make any decisions.

Though it’s a big city–the third largest in the U.S., in fact!–decently-priced homes can still be found in Chicago’s best neighborhoods. It also has a ton of great parks and communities full of people who look out for one another, which makes it a wonderful choice for those looking for a place to spend their golden years. Here are some of the best tips on moving to the Chicago area:

  •       SET SOME GOALS

One of the most important things you can do when looking for a home is to figure out what you want from it. If your current home has stairs that will become hard to traverse every day, or a lawn that’s too much to take care of, put those on the list of things you don’t want. Think about your health and the wellbeing of your spouse or other loved ones; will it be affected by the layout of the new home? If so, it will be important to focus on that first.


You’ll want to do some research on the homes that fit your needs to find out what the price ranges are, how well-kept they are, and whether the neighborhood is right for you. If you don’t live in the area, there are plenty of online forums that can help you narrow down your search, but it’s always best to take a visit and explore in person, in part because it will allow you to see for yourself what amenities the home has and what types of repairs may need to be done.

 It’s also important to look into any state laws regarding home ownership and how the transfer of deeds is handled. Different states have their own laws where this is concerned and it will be extremely helpful to be well informed on them.

  •       SET A BUDGET

Many seniors live on a limited income, which can make it difficult to secure financing for a home. But there are some options: 

  •       Option 1: You can sell your current home and use the profits as a nice down payment, living in a rental during the time between the sales
  •       Option 2: You can ask a family member to cosign on a loan
  •       Option 3: You can borrow the money from a friend or loved one or ask an adult child to put the home in their name.

Keep in mind that Chicago offers many different homes for many different budgets, and it’s also relatively walkable with the “L” train system making public transportation an efficient way to get around and plenty of businesses and stores within most neighborhoods. 


It’s important to find the right people to help you move when the big day comes, especially if you have special needs, such as a company that can handle extra large furniture. Do some research to find the best movers for the job. Keep in mind, too, that now is a good time to downsize. While you’re packing up, consider whether some items could be sold, donated, or sent to storage. Keeping your new home organized and free of clutter will make it more livable and easier to navigate.

Remember that buying a home is a big decision, and you should never feel pressured to enter into a deal that you don’t feel comfortable with. Talk to your family before making any major decisions and make sure you’re completely happy with the final outcome; after all, you’ve earned it!

For more information regarding, visit their website HERE.

Cutting the Ribbon!

They say that you can BE a good neighbor only if you HAVE good neighbors.  

On Wednesday May 31st, d’aprile properties celebrated the Grand Opening of its newest office location in downtown Park Ridge, IL.  Mayor Marty Maloney was on hand to conduct the ribbon-cutting ceremony, sponsored by the Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce.  Our agents and staff joined together for a toast, as local business owners, vendors, and residents stopped by to officially welcome us to the neighborhood.


This city has shown us nothing but kindness and generosity since we began construction.  We couldn’t be more proud or excited to be a part of this Uptown community, and we look to continue to bring our unique culture and work ethic to the local real estate market.

On behalf of each and every one of our agents, as well as our founder and Co-CEO Ryan D’Aprile, we would like to personally thank the citizens of Park Ridge for their incredible hospitality.  We look forward to making you proud.

So if you’re looking to buy or sell – or if you’d just like to see what we’re all about – we’d love for you to stop by and see us at 145 S. Vine Avenue!  It’s time to find out what makes d’aprile different.

#daprilecares – Help Us Support Misericordia!

Through our #daprilecares campaign, we proudly sponsor charitable programs throughout the Midwest. We are a reflection of the communities we serve; and being a part of a community means looking out for one another, in any way that we can.

Each year, we also choose one organization to partner with on a twelve month, multi-channel fundraising campaign. By utilizing the collective volunteer strength of our entire team, we can be agents of real change for a worthy cause.


But the question is: how do you choose? Here in the Chicago area, we are surrounded by countless amazing and tireless organizations, all looking to better the circumstances for a group of people other than themselves.  How do you decide on one in particular?

Simple – with so many worthy candidates, you choose one that hits close to home.   

For 2017, we have partnered with Misericordia, a not-for-profit corporation who seeks to improve the quality of life for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities.  They not only provide housing, employment, and medical assistance to those in their care, but also strive to help them find purpose and meaning in their everyday lives.


Many of our agents and staff members have family or friends whose quality of life has been dramatically improved through the efforts of this amazing facility.  A real job, healthcare, and a place to live and interact with friends and family?  There are some things you can’t put a price on.  

We hope you’ll join us in support of Misericordia.  Should you wish to donate, please visit our FirstGiving page, and help us in our goal of raising $50,000 in 2017.

#daprilecares #agents4change2017 #charitybeginsathome