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.

 

MEL SHANKLAND, REALTOR®

2018 D’APRILE PROPERTIES PLATINUM KEY SALES AWARD WINNER

 

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.”

 

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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.


Make Every Hour Count!

Ernest Hemingway once said, “I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”

We can relate. We LOVE sleep. Life for your average go-getter is inherently busy, and the idea of falling into your warm bed to drift off into a heavy sleep will almost certainly always draw a smile.

That’s why many people aren’t looking forward to March 10, the dreaded ‘Spring Forward’ of Daylight Savings Time. How DARE they take away an hour of our beloved z’s?

You could look at it that way. But glass-is-half-full kind of folk instead circle the 10th of March on their calendar with a bright red marker, knowing that they will have one extra hour of sunlight (or at least daylight) in their day.

Spring is inching closer – what will you do with that additional hour? We have a few suggestions:

  • Go for a Run: The average person can make it 2-4 miles in 60 minutes.
  • Watch Two Episodes of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross: ‘Cause if happy little trees don’t make your day, we’re not sure we want to know you.

Photo Courtesy: Biography.com

  • Get/Give an Hour Massage: Treat yourself, or treat your significant other!
  • Listen to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin 15 Times: You might want to sing it note for note…

  • Take a Hot Bubble Bath: For a better experience, add wine.
  • Build a Fort with Your Kids: Because it will make their weekend.

Photo Courtesy of: Healthy Gallatin

  • Try a new recipe: No longer winter, not quite spring…might we recommend some BFD (Breakfast for Dinner)?
  • Learn a Magic Trick: Make people think you’re a wizard. And always have an ice breaker at the bar.
  • Watch the Sunset with Your Spouse: Because it no longer takes place at 4:30 PM.

Photo Courtesy of: imgur.com

No matter what you do, change your Spring Forward mindset, and make the most of the time you’ve been given!

 

 


Top Tips for Converting Your Home into a Vacation Rental

Photo Courtesy of: Pixabay

Please welcome back Suzie Wilson, the creator of happierhome.net, and today’s guest blogger! Suzie has a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes, a talent she has crafted over 20 years as an interior designer!

Are you thinking of turning your home into a money-maker? Creating a place that is the perfect getaway can be a smart solution, not only boosting your income through renters but also preparing it to be more sellable at some point down the road.

Here’s how to make changes that catch travelers’ eyes and give you great ROI. 

Welcoming Interior

When it comes to making guests feel at home, think along the lines of an interior with broad appeal. Steer clear of immensely personal style, do some decluttering, and decorate in colors that reflect what might be drawing visitors to the area. For instance, if your property is on the shoreline, sandy beiges accented with cool blues might provide the right atmosphere. A cabin, on the other hand, could warrant earthy browns and greens. Choose decor that fits the environment as well, such as airy textiles in a lakeside property, or woolly blankets for a cozy cabin. At the same time, a depersonalized and uncluttered home are keys to selling; should you put your property on the market later, you’re already one step ahead. 

Photo Courtesy of: Pixabay

 

Stay Abreast of Issues

If you decide to list your home in the future, give it the proper upkeep it needs to be move-in ready. At the same time, your guests will feel most welcome if you put forward a spotlessly clean, well-kept presentation. Some people elect to hire a housekeeping service for some or all of the chores, although you can do it yourself with smart cleaning strategies. Gather effective cleaning supplies so you can whiz through with minimal effort. Start by investing in a quality vacuum, and research reviews from How to Home to ensure you’re getting the best one for the job. Fill a tote with wipes, sponges, an all-purpose spray, and some hard-hitting basics like vinegar and baking soda. As you go through the property, note any maintenance concerns and make sure you tackle them before the next guests arrive. 

Make Some Upgrades

A few changes here and there can boost your property’s appeal to renters as well as buyers. Bathrooms tend to be key points in both areas, so consider some upgrades that give you a good bang for your buck. Todd Whittaker Drywall suggests certain alterations provide especially good ROI — such as Universal Design elements and new fixtures — and they are smart additions in terms of making your place more rentable as well as sellable. Top off your refreshed bathroom by assembling a welcome basket. Consider putting together some breakfast goodies or locally made soaps and lotions. For a personal touch, add a note with any quirks about the property, as well as information about the area. Include things to do and anything unique to your locale, such as a great deli, your favorite historical sites, or the location of a must-see vista. 

Photo Courtesy of: Kiddie Holidays

 

Safe and Secure

Many people feel a little off-kilter in a strange place. In order to feel at ease, rather than a traditional key, a keyless lock gives both you and your guests some advantages. You can change things up between visitors, and there is no worry about a key or card getting lost or stolen. If your property might stand vacant for lengths of time, your main residence is far away, or you just want to bolster peace of mind, adding a smart security system is also a plus. It could raise your home’s ROI all the more should the time come that you’re ready to sell. 

 In order to impress guests, you want your property to be well maintained and inviting. At the same time, this can be a step toward raising your home’s value, should you elect to sell at some point down the road. For the best results, aim for a great experience that will not only provide optimal ROI, but it will also make your visitors want to keep coming back.

** Suzie Wilson is proud to announce that her debut book, The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House, is COMING SOON to online retailers and bookstores near you! Filled with tips, tricks, and other advice based on her 20 years of experience in interior home design, the book will set you and your home up for success.


Ryan D’Aprile – Coaching Moments: Lead Generation

 

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! 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 spends the entirety of the hour on lead generation – the most important component of a broker’s business.

 

Ryan D’Aprile

Founder, d’aprile properties

ryan@daprileproperties.com


And the Oscar Goes to…

Green Book, probably. Or Roma.

Personally, we’re pulling for Black Panther, because WAKANDA FOREVER!

But this post really isn’t about this year’s movies. No, in honor of Oscar Week – cause, you know, we dig homes – we thought we might put together a list of our favorite homes in recent film history. No garish mansions or sweeping castles on this list – simple residential real estate only.

Gone Girl

Sure, Neil Patrick Harris’ sleek lake house was (cough)…killer, but it was Nick and Amy’s suburban Missouri rental that truly caught our eye. Of course, Amy was a deranged sociopath with rather impressive knife skills for a homemaker, but you can’t deny that she had a chic sense of style.

 

Photo Courtesy of: The Movie District

Father of the Bride

Admit it – you watch at least part of this gem of a Steve Martin rom-com every time it comes on TBS. The Colonial Revival House that served as the site of the big wedding sold in 2016 for a cool $2 million. Looks like a steal if you ask us!

 

Photo Courtesy of: CBS News

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Despite the snow and the Chicago-setting of the script, the Griswold house is actually an exterior set on “Blondie Street,” a suburban block created specifically on the Warner Brothers back lot in Burbank, CA. The house has been featured in several films (including American Beauty and Pleasantville) and if you look closely, you can see the Murtaugh’s house from Lethal Weapon next door. We can certainly imagine having a big family holiday in this charming two-story.

Just don’t light a match anywhere near the storm sewer…

 

Photo Courtesy of: Hooked on Houses

The Money Pit

“THE STAIRS ARE OUT!!” Tom Hanks’ facial expressions alone are enough to recommend this underrated gem of a comedy. But the titular ‘pit’ is actually a stunning, eight-bedroom masterpiece with its own name: Northway. Located in the village of Lattingtown along the famed Gold Coast of Long Island, it went back on the market in 2018.

It can be yours for a cool $5.9 million.

 

Photo Courtesy of: Zillow

The Holiday

Cameron Diaz’s LA mansion was the very definition of modern style (for 2006, anyway), back when automatic shades were the hi-fi! But we’re not interested in Cali-chic: give us Kate Winslet’s fairy tale English cottage any day. From the (extremely) long walk up to the brick wall that lined the property, it seemed like something straight out of a painting. Which, to be honest, is not far off – the filmmakers could not find the perfect cottage for their seasonal flick, so they built one – in just two weeks.

Sadly, the interior was filmed separately, as the cottage itself was just a shell. 

 

Photo Courtesy of: Bustle

Something’s Gotta Give

Maybe our favorite on this list, Diane Keaton’s Hampton’s Beach House is simply striking. Maybe it’s the killer kitchen complete with large island, stainless-steel Sub-Zero refrigerator, and a Wolf range. Maybe it’s her character Erica’s bedroom alcove, with a desk situated right in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, creating the perfect writing spot. But no, honestly the real selling point here is the amazing beach access, complete with a beautiful twisting staircase leading down to the surf.

No wonder Jack shed tears.

 

Photo Courtesy of: PICTURESMO.COM

Home Alone

We finish off with a local landmark. The Winnetka wonder that plays home to Macaulay Culkin’s mini-mastermind, Kevin McCallister, is a red-brick Georgian-style Colonial. Known at the time for its spacious foyer and fantastic master staircase, the home has since seen a complete overhaul. Now it boasts a beautiful white kitchen and a serene screened-in porch. Considering that the home sold in 2012 for over one and a half million, and the fact that he paid for a Parisian vacation FOR FIFTEEN PEOPLE, we still can’t help but wonder what Kevin’s dad did for a living (COUGH)mafia accountant(COUGH).

 

Photo Courtesy of: AOL

What did we miss? What is your favorite movie home? Sound off in the comments! 

 


Enjoying the View From the Top

On January 26, d’aprile properties celebrated its fifth consecutive Summit event at the Chicago Downtown Marriott Magnificent Mile hotel. The year-end gala was sponsored by our dear friends and partners at Midwest Lending. This all-day event is truly the highlight of our year, where our agents, staff, and loan officer partners come together across four states to not only celebrate each others success and achievements, but also spend time together as a family.

The day portion began with a champagne toast and vendor expo, where attendees got to network with some of our most important business partners.

The audience then received a “State of the Company” presentation from our founder, Ryan D’Aprile. It was an opportunity to recap the company’s 2018 successes, while simultaneously getting a look at what the organization has in store for the future. He was followed by James Madejczyk, VP of Sales for our presenting sponsor, Midwest Lending, who provided an inside look at the mortgage industry in 2019. 

In the evening, it was time for everyone to let their hair down and have a little fun! A cocktail hour offered the chance for old friends to catch up…

…and an elegant dinner was followed by our annual awards ceremony, where agents were lauded for their sales achievements, their leadership, and their teamwork.

We want to take this moment to congratulate each and every one of our worthy award winners.

The entire event culminated in a silent auction whose proceeds were donated to Homes For Our Troops, our 2018 flagship charity organization, and one of America’s Top-Rated Veterans and Military Charities.

We cannot wait until next year!


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

ryan@daprileproperties.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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