Ryan D’Aprile – Coaching Moments: Morning Routine


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 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 talks about the benefits of creating a successful routine to start your workday.


Ryan D’Aprile

Founder, d’aprile properties












How to Shovel Snow Without Breaking the Bank (Or Your Back)


It’s the Midwest – snow is a fact of life. Sure, it has its perks. It’s fun to sled on. You can form it into a ball and fling at someone who can take a joke (and a shot to the arm). And boy does it look beautiful while falling slowly on Christmas morning.

But unless you are under the age of 10, dear Reader (and if so, go out and play!), snow can also be a major antagonist when it comes in a flash instead of a flurry. After all, at some point, you’ll need to get out of your driveway. Your pup will need a place to pee. And if you live in the city, there is little doubt you’ve dealt with the prospect of having to clear out a parking space on the street before someone tries to swipe it (DIBS!).

Shoveling snow is not only an inconvenient chore, it’s also a serious health hazard if done without proper care. According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, more than 11,500 adults and children are sent to the hospital across the country each year for snow shoveling-related injuries. These range from bad backs and broken bones, to more serious situations such as fatal heart attacks. Your best bet is to invest in a quality snow blower that will bear the burden for you. But for those battling blizzards on a budget, a little planning will go a long way.


So before you slip on your boots and head outside to start scooping, consider the following safety tips:

Choose Your Weapon: To battle the snow effectively, you need the right shovel. Yes, shovels can vary drastically in both quality and style, so be sure to pick the one that best suits your situation. Length can be key, depending on your height. If in doubt, go long to prevent excessive crouching or bending, and choose a shovel with a natural curve. A sharp metal edge at the end will also help you break through layers of ice without too much force. You can get your hands on a quality shovel for $25-50, depending on your needs.

Assume the Position: The best way to avoid painful back issues is to try and keep your head, neck, and tailbone lined up. Avoid arching your lower back, which naturally puts undo strain on your upper back and shoulders. Just like your personal trainer is always yelling – work that core! Take a deep breath, and do your best to tighten up your midsection with every scoop; this motion will keep your spine more stable and protect your vertebrae from getting in a twist.

Show a Little Patience: It’s easy to jump hastily into the shoveling process. Most people start right out of bed in order to make that morning meeting or get the kids to school on time. But attacking heavy snowfalls head first without prep or process can lead directly to injury. Do your best to shovel at least an hour after eating, and hold off on your morning coffee/caffeine until after you’ve finished. Instead, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Make sure to stretch, and warm up a bit by walking in place. Wear multiple layers of clothing, including a warm hat, gloves, scarf, and boots (preferably with non-slip soles).

You’ve got this! With the right tools and approach, ridding your property of the season’s snowfall won’t put pressure on your spine, or your pocketbook. Before you know it, you’ll be back in the warmth and safety of your home, able to admire the winter season properly…through the window!


Tips for Downsizing: Helping a Senior Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Let’s say hello again to guest-blogger Jim Vogel, co-founder of ElderAction. Jim and his wife Caroline dedicate their time to helping ensure that senior citizens thrive throughout their golden years by sharing pertinent resources and information. Today he provides a somber but important message:

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific type of dementia that largely affects seniors over the age of 65. Over five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s; 36 million people are affected worldwide. The disease can progress over the course of anywhere from two to 20 years, but the average amount of time people with Alzheimer’s live after diagnosis is only eight to 10 years. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is very important. The earlier signs of dementia are caught, the more effective medications and therapy are at treating it.

Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • Memory loss
  • Issues with planning and problem solving
  • Ordinary tasks are suddenly difficult
  • Confusion with times and places
  • Vision changes
  • Troubles with vocabulary and communication
  • Misplacing items
  • Poor judgments concerning things like money or hygiene
  • Social withdrawal and loss of motivation
  • Mood swings that include feeling depressed, scared, or anxious


Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Caregiving, Downsizing, and Alzheimer’s

If a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, they will eventually need a caregiver to handle their needs. Caregiving involves ensuring they make it to doctor’s appointments, and emotionally supporting them in the event of a loss, among many other tasks. An important thing that caregivers can help Alzheimer’s patients with is beginning the process of downsizing. While an Alzheimer’s patient may be able to age in place during the early stages of the disease, they will need to move to an assisted living situation for their health and safety as it progresses. Starting the downsizing process as soon as possible will make that transition less stressful.

What to Throw Out

Ask friends or family if they have a paper shredder you can use during the downsizing process, because a lot of the trash will be documents and files that are no longer needed. A lot of the information in these documents may be useless, but it’s better to shred than be sorry. Also, prepare to throw out clothes that are unwearable — things that are stained, stretched out, ripped, or destroyed. If you really hate the idea of adding more clothing to your local landfill, you can give old threads a new life through a textile recycling program. You should also be prepared to throw out memorabilia, including old trophies, medals, and awards. And while you can hold on to some physical copies of photos, you’ll want to free up space by trashing a majority of them. Consider investing in a tablet and uploading images of each photo so your loved one can have a digital photo album they can flip through whenever they want.


Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

What to Donate

Kitchen gadgets and small appliances (think: toaster, waffle iron, mixer, etc) are great donations for local charities, especially if they’re in good condition. Old holiday decorations are also great for thrift shops — just avoid donating things like strings of lights with the bulbs blown out. Finally, clothes that are in good enough condition to wear again can be donated to nonprofits. Consider looking into specific charities for certain outfits. For instance, if your loved one still has a number of office-appropriate dresses and suits in her closet, Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing them with clothes and skills they need to land a job.

What to Sell

Books and movies are perhaps the easiest items to sell, though you likely won’t make much off of what you get rid of. Contact your local used bookstores and see if they offer a pick-up service. Furniture is another smart thing to sell. List items on sites like Craigslist or Letgo to make some money off items that deserve a second chance. If you’re really motivated, try throwing a yard sale to get rid of everything from framed artwork to throw pillows. After the sale is done, you can contact a local thrift shop to pick up whatever is leftover.

Alzheimer’s patients may be able to care for themselves in the early stages, but eventually, a caretaker has to step in and help. One of the things to start with early is downsizing possessions for when they move out of their current home. Above all, caregivers should be there physically and emotionally for their senior loved ones during the downsizing process.


Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Never a Dull Moment: Chi-Town Events We Look Forward To in 2019

Chicago. This city is unique, one of the greatest in the world for reasons too many to count. But off the top of our heads?

Best pizza on planet earth. The lakefront. Bill Murray. Wrigley Field. Blues, jazz, soul, and gospel. Second City. Buddy Guy. Navy Pier. Seventy-seven unique and eclectic neighborhoods, bursting at the seams with doctors, artists, soldiers, nurses, and teachers.

To live here is to wake up every day in the cultural epicenter of this country, and we couldn’t be more proud to represent it. The Windy City is afire no matter what month of the year, as the color and character of this amazing town shines through no matter the season.  Turn down any street corner, and you’ll happily stumble onto an art festival, food tasting, or concert.

2019 is already shaping up to be a memorable year for Chicagoland. Let’s take a look at five unique Chicago events that we can’t wait for in the year’s first half.


Photo Courtesy of: Chicago Tribune

1/25 through 2/7 – Chicago Restaurant Week: For the twelfth consecutive year, spend two weeks on a culinary cruise hosted by hundreds of celebrated restaurants from all across the city. This year’s Restaurant Week will be the largest ever, with nearly 400 local venues participating, alongside 45 suburban eateries.


Photo Courtesy of: Time Out Chicago

2/5 through 2/10 – Chinese New Year in Chicago: The Year of the Pig begins on February 5th, with a kick-off celebration honoring centuries-old Chinese customs and traditions, coinciding with the arrival of a new moon. Dining, dancing, and dragons in the street; it all culminates in the crazy, colorful Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown on February 10th.


Photo Courtesy of: Goldstar Events

3/9 – Yacht Party, Chicago’s Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day Booze Cruise: Sure, you’ve done the parade. You’ve marveled at the emerald green Chicago river. But if you really want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style, you couldn’t do better than boarding a three story, 140-foot luxury yacht on Lake Michigan. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Chicago’s most iconic landmarks, then dance the night away at the after party!


Photo Courtesy of: Do312

4/5 & 4/6 – Baconfest Chicago: An annual celebration of the world’s most perfect food. From local craft bacons and bacon-related products, to bacon-inspired cocktails and brews, Baconfest appeals to the porcine enthusiast in all of us. Not your average food festival, Baconfest has raised over $400,000 and distributed more than 1.2 million meals to hungry people in the area since 2009.


Photo Courtesy of: Chicago Tribune

6/8 & 6/9 – Printer’s Row Litfest: Considered the largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest, Printer’s Row Litfest is a must-attend for any book lover. The festival features features a jam-packed lineup of author talks, panel discussions, workshops, cooking demos, music, readings, children’s programming, and poetry readings and slams. Have a great time while soaking in a little bit of knowledge and culture.


Photo Courtesy of: Deidre Hayes Photography

5/17 through 5/23 – 7th Annual Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF): Taking place at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre, CCFF will give Chicagoans the opportunity to see the some of the year’s most talked-about films weeks or even months before making their box office debuts. While 2019’s lineup is yet to be announced, last year’s festival saw the local premieres of current Oscar-hopefuls Eighth Grade and First Reformed, and included a special 25th anniversary screening of Jurassic Park.

The city of Chicago never stops moving, and we’ll be spending the first half of 2019 doing our best to keep up.  We hope you’ll join us!

Make the Most of Moving Day

Photo Courtesy of: qtmoving.com

Have you ever asked a friend to help you move into a new house or apartment? The reaction is almost always comical, as if you just asked them for their kidney while slowly twirling your mustache. Their eyes swell, and sweat trickles down the side of their head as they frantically search for an excuse that won’t make them look like a complete jerk. That old football injury all of a sudden rears its ugly head for the first time in 20 years. Or your friend, who is an only child, remembers that their niece’s birthday is that same weekend. 

It’s completely understandable – moving stinks! It’s the opposite of fun, takes up your whole Saturday, and then laughs at you on Sunday when you struggle to get out of bed. This is exactly why more and more people these days are hiring professional movers to get the job done. It is especially prevalent in the city, where often times you need an expert to get your couch up three flights of stairs, around two corners, and through that narrow doorway. Sure, you may end up spending a little bit more money, but you’ll spare your back and save your sanity.


Photo Credit: Furnish N Flip


Remember that when choosing the right mover for the job however, you need to consider more than just price. Research each company and their policies thoroughly. Don’t forget, you are letting someone you don’t know into your home, and giving them access to your possessions. The reality is that there are a lot of scams out there, and companies looking to take advantage of innocent customers. A little due diligence goes a long way to ensure you’re protecting your family and your property.

As with most things, you can complete your search for local movers online. Make sure to take the following into consideration when choosing a company:

  •       How long has the moving company been in business, and are they licensed?
  •       Do they have any reviews online, and have they won any awards or accolades for service?
  •       How many movers will be on the job? How long will the job take?
  •       Will the moving crew wrap and protect your furniture to prevent damages?

Once you’ve narrowed down your choice, be sure to then visit either the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org), or the American Moving and Storage Association (www.moving.org). Both sites will allow you to read reviews of various candidates, as well as see any complaints that have been reported.

Finally, check your current homeowners or renter’s policy – your personal items may already be covered financially during a move as part of your current plan. If not, you may want to consider purchasing supplemental moving insurance (Movinginsurance.com is a good place to start, or simply call your current home insurance provider). Once you’ve done the necessary homework, you’ll feel comfortable letting someone else transfer your belongings from your old house, to your new home.  


Photo Courtesy of: thumbtack.com

We’re Midwest Lending and We Pre-Approve this Message

**Midwest Lending is an independently owned residential mortgage broker, serving Illinois and Indiana. Senior Loan Officer James Madejczyk is the Director of Sales for Midwest Lending Corporation, with over 16 years in the industry.

When is the right time to get a pre-approval?

No matter whether you’re looking to buy a home now, or several months down the road – the answer is: ASAP. The idea is to make sure you are comfortable with the particulars involved as you BEGIN your search. By getting pre-approved before you start looking at homes, you give yourself time to take any financial steps necessary to put yourself in the best possible position to make an offer.

What is the main reason for getting a pre-approval?

There are two. The first is easy – knowledge. The decision to buy a home is one of the most important you will make in your lifetime, and there is a lot of information out there to digest. What will your monthly payment look like? How much cash will be needed upfront? The sooner you start this process with a mortgage professional, the more prepared you will find yourself. Plus, you will now have a partner on your side, ready with answers for any questions that come along the way.

The second reason comes when you’re ready to make that offer on a property. Having a pre-approval gives the seller confidence that you have taken the proper steps and are financially qualified to buy their home. Think of it like a resume for a new job, only instead of your work qualifications, you’re proving your financial responsibility. 

What type of costs are involved with getting a pre-approval?

It should come to a grand total of $0. If you’re being asked for money at time of pre-approval, find someone else. Most lenders will provide the service free of charge – and keep in mind that you are not obligated to work with the lender who pre-approves you. You may ultimately choose to work with them, but if and only if they help you make an informed decision and offer terms that fit your needs.

When is the right time to shop for my final lender? 

This is best done when you are at, or near, going into contract. You can compare terms of a few different lenders and make sure you are in the best position possible.

So how do I choose?

By being selfish! Make sure you find someone who will act in YOUR best interest. Ask any and all questions, and pay particular attention to how they are answered. Your mortgage professional’s dedication to providing you the all the details you need to make an informed purchase decision will make your choice for you.


A Better Experience, for Everyone



James Christopher Madejczyk
Director of Sales, Senior Loan Originator