d’aprile locales – Chicago’s Most Haunted Hotel!

Photo Credit: Odyssey
Welcome to ‘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: The Congress Hotel
THEIR STORY: The hotel first opened its doors way back in 1893, with guests arriving by horse drawn carriage via the cobblestone streets leading up to the front entrance. Over the last 125 years, the Congress Plaza Hotel & Convention Center has evolved gracefully, consistently offering every modern amenity a guest could ask for, while never losing its sense of history and grandeur. Its reputation as the “Landmark of Chicago Hospitality” comes well earned, as The Congress has played host to countless celebrities, U.S. Presidents, and dignitaries from across the globe.
Photo Credit: Erik Allix Rogers
THEIR VIBE: Impeccable customer service from a world-class staff will define your stay at The Congress! The 871 guest rooms and suites feature all sorts of fashionable accommodations – not to mention some of the most breathtaking views the city has to offer. These 14 stories of excellence are located right in the heart of the city, just minutes from Chicago staples such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium.
But The Congress has earned another reputation altogether; the title of Most Haunted Hotel in the city of Chicago!
WHAT’S HOT: With Halloween almost upon us, we’d be remiss not to mention some of The Congress’ more colorful history! As it turns out, some of the hotel’s earliest and most famous (infamous?) guests included Dr. H.H. Holmes (America’s first official serial killer), Al Capone (whose ghost is said to still haunt the north tower), and an unnamed former employee who is only known as ‘The Hand of Mystery’. Why, you ask? Oh it’s not big deal. He was simply trapped behind a wall when it was plastered and ended up suffocating. And apparently, his hand can be seen sticking out of the wall!
Photo Credit: Dan DeBaun, WJON AM 1240
Despite this harrowing history, we wholeheartedly recommend The Congress for wedding ceremonies, company events, or simply for an amazing hotel stay.
Just don’t book room number 441; it receives more security calls than any other room!


520 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago, Illinois

(312) 427-3800

Photo Credit: PBS.com

d’aprile Locales – Pier 290

Welcome to ‘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: Pier 290
THEIR STORY: No one knows the history of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin quite like Gage Marine, who can trace their roots back to 1873 and the launching of the original Lady of the Lake. President Bill Gage realized quickly after taking over the family business that, in order to please both the lake locals and visitors alike, you need to provide them all with the perfect spot to gather for good food, good spirits, and spectacular sunset views. Mission accomplished: with the opening of Pier 290 in 2012, he quickly accomplished this tasteful trifecta of lake living.
Just stepped off your boat and looking for a craft cocktail to quench your thirst after a long day on the lake? You’ve come to the right place.
Looking to grab a quick bite while watching all the boat and jet ski action on a summer afternoon? Pull up a chair, they’ve got you covered.
Maybe you’re in search of the right place to simply sit back, exhale, and watch the sun trail off below the horizon?  A candle-lit table awaits.
The point is – no matter what your reason is for stopping by – no one offers a better view of lake life than Pier 290.
WHAT’S HOT:  Checking out the menu, it’s hard not to gravitate toward the Chilean Sea Bass, served on a sauté of tomato succotash and veggies, glazed with sweet Thai chili sauce. Wash that down with Pier 290’s house cocktail, the Happy Ending – vodka, fresh lemon, lime and orange, a dash of bitters, and topped with Squirt over ice.

PIER 290

1 Liechty Dr

Williams Bay, Wisconsin 53191


A New Place to Call Home – Crystal Lake, IL!

At d’aprile properties, we know that our clients appreciate the value of local market expertise, and every d’aprile properties agent combines empathy and experience in order to exceed the expectations of our customers. We’ve established lasting relationships with a wide variety of clients, with every manner of home want and need.

Which means we’ve seen a little bit of everything. So when we began scouting sites for our newest office location, it only made sense to establish our roots in a place that offers a little something for everyone.

That’s why we chose Crystal Lake, Illinois; a spirited community of color, character, and culture. Because home isn’t always where you came from. Sometimes, you can find it in a place where you simply feel like you belong.

The longstanding motto of Crystal Lake is “A Good Place to Live,” and it’s no secret where that moniker comes from!  Over 40,000 residents enjoy a wealth of amenities, from a wide variety of dining and shopping options, to a Park District that boasts more than 1,600 acres of parks and open space – all surrounding the 230–acre lake that provides the city its name.  The area retains its small-town charm and hospitality, despite being only a short 50 miles northwest of Chicago.

The sparkling gem of Crystal Lake remains the Three Oaks Recreational Area.  Feed your thirst for adventure by taking advantage of its pristine beaches, hiking trails, boating options, and scuba diving adventures.  

Photo Credit: www.crystallake.org

But if you’re craving a more intimate night out, our bustling and historic downtown area is thriving with an array of independent shops and restaurants. 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, it is easy to see why so many Chicagoland residents have decided to make Crystal Lake their home!

d’aprile properties is committed to providing an inventive and action-oriented environment for our team of agents, one that allows individuals with true focus and ambition to thrive and succeed from their very first day. Our agents routinely rank among the top producers in each of our individual markets, and consistently outpace industry income. We’re looking to bring this same culture of success to Crystal Lake. If you’re interested in joining our team, visit our website, and come discover what makes d’aprile different!


Top Tips for Cleaning Your New Home Before Moving In


Let’s say hello again to guest-blogger Jim Vogel, co-founder of ElderAction, who focuses on helping ensure seniors thrive throughout their golden years by sharing pertinent resources and information. He also knows a thing or two about keeping a happy home!

Purchasing a new property is exciting, and chances are you’re anxious to move in as soon as possible. However, your new place can harbor hidden dirt and debris that you would be better off without. Here are the best ways to create a clean, move-in ready environment so you can breathe easier in your new home.
Take It From the Top:  Cleaning is probably going to be more of a chore than you envisioned. No matter how spotless the house looked when you visited, when items are moved out dust and debris can be stirred up. On top of that, cardboard boxes seem to always leave some residue of their own. Bed, Bath and Beyond suggests you begin cleaning by looking at what’s overhead.  Light fixtures, crown molding and corners likely harbor dust and cobwebs.
What’s Underfoot?:  Carpet fibers can hold a wide variety of allergens and pollutants, so even if carpet appears clean give it thorough cleansing. If there are stains, start by trying to identify them. Popular Mechanics offers several handy tips for treating stains with common household materials. Once you address those spots and marks, steam clean the carpet. The detergent and steam will help penetrate the fibers, loosening and lifting dirt.


Dusty Drapes and Blinds:  Did your new home come with the window coverings from the previous owner? Even if you don’t intend to exchange them later with your own, some experts note they can hold allergens and dust in the fibers, folds and crevices. Remove them for washing or vacuum them thoroughly.
Scrub Those Appliances:  When you’re moving into a new home, some professionals note an often overlooked area of concern is the kitchen appliances. Give the refrigerator, oven and microwave a thorough cleansing before you use them.
Sleep Tight:  Especially after all your hard work, you don’t want to bring dirt and allergens into your new home. If your mattress is five years old or older, it’s likely home to bacteria, dust mites and other yucky microorganisms. Instead of trying to catch some shut-eye with all those freeloaders, research some mattress reviews to find one that fits your sleeping style and body type so you’ll rest easy in every way.


Deep Breathing:  Ensuring you and your family members are breathing clean air will help you rest easier in your new abode. As Sears explains, the air inside your home can be worse than you might think, laden with pollutants such as household cleansers, fumes from paint and other toxins. Be sure to change the filter in your home’s HVAC system for starters. It’ll not only help keep the air clean, it will also help the system run efficiently. If in doubt, one idea is to have your home’s air quality tested. And before your family spends a night in the new house, another recommendation is to properly install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Move-in Ready!:  Before moving into your new home, clean thoroughly. Make sure all the ugly little particles from its previous life are removed, and don’t bring in any new ones. Your new home will be a breath of fresh air, thanks to your wise choices!


Moving Forward With You

The minute you’re satisfied with where you are, you aren’t there anymore.
— Tony Gwynn, Hall of Fame Baseball player
Time flies when you’re having fun.
This company began with a shared purpose, and a hopeful outlook toward the future. Today, having exceeded the expectations of thousands of clients across the Midwest, and cultivating some of the area’s finest top-producing agents, we are excited to announce that we have made the Inc. 5000 list of the Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America for the fourth consecutive year.
The organizations included on this list are noted for their dedication to service and innovation, and are championed for their ability to create value and job growth. d’aprile properties is proud to once again be included on this prestigious list.
Our firm dedication to the quality of service we provide has fueled our success – but we won’t stop Moving Forward. We’re committed to providing a unique and wholly satisfying real estate experience to our current and future clients, as well as our amazing team of dedicated agents. We dedicate ourselves to providing our agents the opportunity to take their individual business to new heights.
d’aprile’s foundation was built on a culture of collaboration. While it would be impossible to name each, we’d like to take this moment to thank each and every one of our valued clients, agents, and support team members, whose trust and acceptance of our vision are the exact reason that we do what we do.
We’re honored to have shared this experience with you, and look forward to working with you again in the future!





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

GET OFF MY LAWN!! How Millennials are Modernizing Real Estate

Millennial Homebuyers

In the world of real estate, we belong to an industry that is constantly evolving.  What was important to an average buyer or seller just a few years ago may not apply today, as society finds itself riding an ever-changing tide of style and opinion.  Young professionals, some right out of college, are transitioning into first-time homebuyers faster than ever, and bring with them a new perspective on how to research, interact, and review the real estate professionals they choose to do business with.

Largely referred to as ‘Millennials’ (or Generation Y), this group is considered to be made up of individuals born anywhere from the 1980s to the early 2000s.  Most have spent almost their entire lives with a computer in the palm of their hand, and studies show that more than 50 percent search for homes on their phones, through the use of apps such as Zillow or Dwellr. 

Conversely, according to a recent NAR study, the average age of a real estate agent in the United States is 57 years old.  This would suggest that there is a fairly significant age difference between client and broker across the country – one which could potentially cause parties standing on different sides of a generational gap to lose sight of one another. 

At d’aprile properties, we know that the constant modernization of our own business is essential to success.  Whether that is as simple as ditching a phone conversation in lieu of an update via text, integrating social media into our communication and marketing plans, or by leveraging real estate apps and embracing online technology to deliver a seamless and paperless service delivery – our agents can meet the needs and desires of every generation.