Five Ways to Maintain Your Home This Spring

Today’s Guest Blog comes from Ray Flynn and Bret Engle – otherwise known as The DIY Guys – who spend their days showing their love for DIY home projects, repairs, and activities that promote green living. Check out their book, How to DIY Damn Near Everything, a must-have for every DIYer’s bookshelf!

We may associate cleaning with spring, but this season also offers an opportunity for essential home maintenance and DIY projects. After all, winter can take its toll, and the resulting damage may worsen and impact your home and finances. These following spring tasks are vital to keeping your house in excellent condition.

Deal with Your Exterior

Unfortunately, gutters and downspouts are prone to winter damage and could suffer further degradation without repairs, which means taking care of them should be pretty high on your checklist. It’s crucial to check them, clean obstructions (such as leaves or branches), and promptly deal with damage using roof and gutter sealant. Our roofs can also be vulnerable, so inspect them for any damage, such as loose tiles or brittle surfaces, and include antenna, chimneys, and skylights in your examination. Remember, ensure your safety by securing ladders, and make certain that the ground beneath you is solid and even.


Seal Where Appropriate

The end of winter heralds the return of pesky critters and insects, and they will often find entry points into your home if any exist. Go through your home, inside and out, and look for evidence of decay or holes, as rodents can squeeze through gaps the size of a small coin. Once found, how you seal them will depend on the location, as you could use cement mortar for foundations or steel wool for holes in walls. A sealant will also be necessary to keep temperatures comfortable since caulking around windows may erode and cause air leaks. However, caulking over an existing layer will undermine your efforts, so remove any remnants with a sharp tool, such as a putty or utility knife. Your home and your HVAC system will thank you for it.

Evaluate Your Yard

Our yards can be hardest hit by winter, but there is much we can do to restore them, from raking to mulching. However, central to a yard’s vitality are the trees that help landscape it, yet their health can suffer in winter. Given this, get to know warning symptoms, such as erratic colors or cavities at a tree’s base. Even if a tree appears healthy, these could be indicators of a serious problem. As with trees, wooden decking may exhibit the strain of poor weather, such as cracking or distortion of paneling. Thankfully, it’s relatively straightforward to re-stain decking, though you could also use paint to both conceal issues and clean out cracks.


Check Your AC

A change of season is welcome, but your home must be prepared for those changing temperatures. This is why it’s essential to check your HVAC system to ensure it can make the seasonal transition. Routine maintenance can be done yourself, like cleaning out components, vents, and assessing whether the air filter is dirty or in need of replacement. Also, when you’re taking care of filters, make sure you know the size you needShould your HVAC have any parts outdoors, like a heat pump, you will also want to confirm that there is no winter-related damage. Your HVAC can be a lifesaver come summer, and spring is the time to get it ready.

Cosmetic Tasks

We want our properties to be as pretty as possible, so spring is ideal to identify superficial issues and beautify things. Have your doors and trimmings been impacted by winter, or are they showing deterioration like flaking? Well, the calmer spring weather is the perfect time to apply fresh coats of paint. You can be as creative or restrained as you want, but consider an overall scheme, as this can help your home stand out as modern, bright, and attractive. Likewise, if your driveway still looks gloomy, spring is the time to transform it with power washingThis can also be essential, particularly if there is winter-related cracking, as your driveway may otherwise be susceptible to weed and moss infestation. Cosmetic enhancements can be a manageable way to revitalize your home for brighter days.


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

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.




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.”





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.





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.”


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.