More Than an Agent – Loreal Urso

At d’aprile properties, our team members are a reflection of the communities we serve. Yes they are real estate agents, but they’re also husbands and wives, mothers and fathers. They are local area experts, because they have a personal investment in the neighborhoods that we call home. 
That’s why we’ve created ‘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:

Loreal Urso: Real Estate Agent and Professional Horse Trainer

If there is one thing that gives Loreal Urso a great sense of pride, it is her ability to balance her passions in life. Professionally, she is a full-time licensed real estate agent, and a proud member of d’aprile properties. Personally, she has been a professional horse trainer for well over 20 years.



As an agent, she loves to empower her clients by educating them on the real estate process, fully preparing them for one of the biggest decisions of their lives.
But when she takes off her agent hat, she enjoys nothing more than to slip into a saddle. Here she educates as well, preparing some of her customers for competition at local and national levels. But what she really loves is helping people simply enjoy their beloved senior horse as a member of the family, making the most of their time together. And finally, it provides her with another life experience to share with her beautiful daughter, Arianna.


In both arenas, Loreal has managed to build and maintain relationships, some for as long as 20 years. Her trusted clients become trusted friends, in part because they trust her to always look out for their best interests. “My secret lies in building honest and trustworthy relationships, and keeping sacred the values those relationships are built on.”




Mobile Phone: (847) 814-2113








Right Where We’re Supposed To Be

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. –Matsuo Basho

If you were to ask the average agent what the number one rule in real estate is, you will often hear the phrase, “Location, location, location.” Because the perfect home isn’t made up of just brick and mortar – it has to be part of the perfect community as well.

And when you’re a real estate company, the same rule applies to where you decide to place your offices. d’aprile properties could not be more excited to announce that we’ve found the perfect community for its 11th office!

But honestly, where’s the fun in just coming out and telling you? Think you could guess our newest location, based on pictures alone?

We’ll give you some hints. This amazing Chicago suburb can best be described as a ‘big small town’. Home to 40,000 residents, it blurs the line between suburban and rural.

Need more? Our newest home is an important stop on the Union Pacific NW Metra line, where thousands of commuters make the short, 50 mile trip into the heart of the downtown Chicago.

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, this beautiful burg takes pride in the amenities it provides its inhabitants.

Oh, and did we mention our office is smack dab in the middle of downtown?

All of this to offer, and we haven’t even talked about the lake. Oh wait…lakes. Sparkling water, pristine beaches, hiking trails, boat rentals, scuba diving, and so much more! Can you guess the spot? Let us know in the comments. It really is “A Good Place to Live!”

Happy to Rock the Boat!

On Tuesday, July 24th, d’aprile properties hosted our third annual Lake Geneva Boat Tour!


Thanks to our good friends over at Gage Marine, over 100 of our agents from all across Chicagoland boarded the beautiful and historic Lady of the Lake for a tour of all the amazing lakefront properties that this southern Wisconsin haven has to offer!


Our Fontana, Wisconsin office team played host, educating all of our visiting agents on the Lake Geneva market. After all, a majority of vacation home buyers in the Midwest market reside in the Chicagoland communities we serve daily. City and suburban agents can partner with our Fontana team to ensure that all of our clients find the home, investment property, or vacation getaway they’ve always dreamed of!


A great time was had by all! We can’t wait for next year!



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?