#daprilecares — Meet Kaylee, Our 2019 Bear Necessities Ambassador

Spend just five minutes with her, and try not to be impressed by 10-year-old Kaylee Marth. Despite her youth, Kaylee is whip-smart — as quick with a joke as she is with her genuine smile. She balances that precocious intelligence with a quiet innocence, and though she may speak softly, there is a sense of conviction behind her every word.

The daughter of Rose and Dan Marth, Kaylee is a kind and compassionate free spirit, who loves to be outdoors and experience the world around her. She is an avid cook, and devours new books and movies every chance she gets. She already serves as a reading tutor to children her own age, as part of a school program. And to top it all off, she is an accomplished jazz and lyrical dancer — her team recently finished first overall at a national competition in Las Vegas. Put it all together, and it is hard not to be in awe of all she has accomplished in just her first decade. 

And that is before you come to realize that she is also a cancer survivor.

Kaylee’s mother Rose is a cherished member of the d’aprile properties family, working as an agent in our Hinsdale office, serving the western suburbs of Chicago. But for three tense and trying years prior, all of her time and effort was put toward helping her little girl fight a disease that no child or parent should ever have to face. 

“It was a scary time — our whole world came crashing down. We had to face the idea that we could possibly lose our baby.”

On January 7, 2013, doctors informed Rose that Kaylee had Pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of cancer found in the blood and bone marrow. With less than 200,000 reported cases a year, it is a rare disease, but highly treatable. Those first few days were a whirlwind for the Marth family; within 48 hours of her diagnosis, Kaylee had begun chemotherapy treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

The goal is to ensure that each child is in remission within 28 days of initiating treatment. Once the cancer cells are eliminated, the next stage is to increase and maintain the body’s defenses, ensuring that no relapse occurs. On March 14, 2015, Kaylee successfully ended her treatment, and is now cancer-free.

Despite already being her biggest fan, Rose couldn’t help but admire the grace that Kaylee showed in the face of such terrible circumstances. “Her personality throughout the whole ordeal was awesome. The truth is, she is the one who helped Dan and I get through, by always remaining bubbly and positive.”

Against such odds, it can be easy to forget what it’s like to be a kid. That’s when the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation came into the picture. After meeting with a social worker, Rose and Kaylee learned of the organization’s Bear Hug program, creating customized experiences in order to brighten the life of a child battling cancer.

“At first I was hesitant,” Rose recalls. “We had always been fortunate to have an amazing support system of family and friends around us. I thought surely there was someone else more in need than us.” But after it was explained that the focus of the program was to help kids rediscover their childhood, Rose and Kaylee were on board. Soon, the entire family was off to Universal Studios on behalf of Bear Necessities — and Kaylee was realizing her dream of visiting Harry Potter World first hand.

“The great thing about it is that you are so wrapped up in fighting the illness, that you forget that your children still need to have fun, and enjoy life,” Rose recalls. “When she first got sick, it took us so long before we would even go out to dinner. There were so many experiences that we kind of held back on. That Orlando trip was really the first time we left the house to spend time as a family — it turned what was a really dark time in our lives into smiles and laughter.”

“It’s definitely made us appreciate day-to-day life, even more than we did before” Rose states. “For us, it’s about giving back, and being thankful for her continued health, as well as many of the other kids we met along the way. Because you know, there were good stories, and some stories that weren’t so good. And once you’ve been through something like this, you just want to do all that you can to help others who know this pain.”

Today, Kaylee and her family take every opportunity to give back to those in need. It was Kaylee’s idea to turn her “End of Treatment” party into a fundraiser for kids with cancer. And in 2019, she is excited to join hands with d’aprile properties, and serve as the Bear Necessities Ambassador for our annual #daprilecares campaign. Our goal is to help BN in their mission to eliminate all forms of pediatric cancer.

If you would like to join us in the fight, please visit our our page and donate.

In the end, what advice does Rose have for other families who go through what hers went through? “You have to know that you will get through it. It may not seem like it now, it may not seem like it in a month. But you have to remain positive, for yourself and your child. If you can do that, you will somehow manage to pull through, even when you think you can’t.”


Won’t You Be Our Neighbor?

Welcome to our Mortgage Minute series, where our partners over at Midwest Lending break down the particulars of home financing, and bring a personal touch to the lending industry, as only they can.

You’ve found the perfect home, and are looking to settle in what looks like the quaintest community this side of Mayberry. Your future neighbors wave as you pull in the driveway. The house is mere blocks from a great school that the kids can walk to. And the property taxes! So low you can afford to take an extra weekend vacation this year!

Thus represents the average amount of research that most new homeowners put into their potential new ‘hood. You think about the kids, you think about your wallet. But there is so much more to your community than good schools and friendly neighbors. The area you live in needs to be as perfect a fit for your family as the four walls that surround them while they sleep at night. After all, your home more than just the property you live in; it’s a collection of the people and the personalities that make up your entire neck of the woods.

So what else should you be looking at? How do you find the facts you need to settle on the right area for you and your family? Think of it like playing a game of Monopoly: you’ve chosen the Thimble piece, got your cash in order, and picked up the dice. It’s time to take a look at the rest of the board. And you can do it without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go: No matter how nice a given area looks, crime can be lurking just around the corner. A fairly quick search on sites like crimereports.com or spotcrime.com can give you all you need to know about violent crime statistics in the area, and offer access to police blotter aggregators. Heck, a “Google Street View” sneak peek can give you a quick glance at the feel of the block. But if you really want to feel safe about your future neighborhood, reach out to the local police department and ask them for a crime report — they’ll be happy to oblige.

Pennsylvania Railroad: The kids might have a short walk to school, but did you think about your work commute? What about your proximity to the freeway, or your nearest hospital? Quiet, peaceful neighborhoods tend to be located in slightly more isolated areas, which often reduces the amount of public transportation options. Make sure that you have ease of access to all of the activities that make up your life, from your office to Home Depot. A little time spent on sites like walkscore.com could go a long way towards making every day life accessible to you and your family.

Community Chest: Last but not least, what about the culture that makes up your new ‘burb? Does the neighborhood value diversity and take pride in its local businesses? Are you going to be overrun by baby strollers, or kept up at night by singles looking to party till dawn? Research income, racial diversity, age, and relationship status stats on sites like city-data.com. Your lifestyle is an important part of the place you call home; make sure that you and your family FEEL like a part of the community.

Of course, your d’aprile properties local area expert can help you find the perfect place to settle. But by taking the time to do a little homework upfront, you’ll know ahead of time exactly what you’re looking for in a community.  

It’ll be better than winning 2nd Prize in a Beauty Contest…



How to “Win” National Garage Sale Day

Celebrated across the U.S., National Garage Sale Day takes place each year on the second Saturday of August. Many households take advantage of the holiday to purge their homes of unwanted clutter, from furniture and antiques to old toys and clothes. Often, residents of certain neighborhoods — and even entire towns — will launch community-wide sales, in order to satisfy the hunger of casual shoppers and yard sale aficionados alike.

Anyone who has ever lived in the suburbs knows how hectic a neighborhood can suddenly become once people see a well-placed Garage Sale sign. So how do you beat the crowds and ensure that you get the best bang for your buck? Glad you asked!

  • Plan Ahead and Make a List: Forget driving around looking for signs — today’s savvy shopper knows that the best way to scope out the best sale spots are through apps like  YardSaleTreasureMap and Nextdoor. Also, remember that there is danger ahead: low garage sale prices cause impulse buys! Don’t buy things you don’t need, treat it like a trip to the grocery store. Know what you want to buy ahead of time and stick to your list!
  • Be Nice: Many people think that in order to be successful at a garage sale, you need to be a cutthroat negotiator or “haggler”. Remember, sellers are often nostalgic, so show genuine interest in important items, and be sure to voice your appreciation of their quality. You may end up with more negotiating room, or find yourself the victor in a bidding war by tapping into the seller’s sentimentality!
  • No Price Tag? Make an Offer: The most overused sentence at any garage sale? “How much do you want for the (insert item here)?” Don’t be aggressive, but do be assertive. Don’t give the seller the chance to pad the price, simply ask, “Would you take $5 for this?”
  • Know When to Walk Away: You show up on Saturday morning, and the seller refuses to budge on an overpriced item that you desire. Don’t cave — it’s better to walk away than overpay for someone else’s throwaway item. But if you just can’t let it go, come back late on Sunday and see if the item is still there. You may find that the seller is more motivated to negotiate before they close up shop.

Now you have all the tools you need to become a garage sale superstar! Happy Hunting!


Life is Better at the Lake

On Thursday, July 25, d’aprile properties once again held its Lake Geneva Boat Tour event! Because a majority of second home buyers in the Geneva Lake market reside in the Chicagoland communities we serve daily, this annual tour is a fantastic opportunity to better acquaint our Illinois-based agents with the area, and enjoy a fun day together in the sun.

Our day began at the Lake Geneva Yacht Club, who served as both our boarding location, and the event space for our after party! Our gracious hosts provided their pier, so that all in attendance could climb aboard The Walworth, also known also as the U.S. Mailboat. The ship is an extremely versatile setting, hosting a variety of special events such as weddings, anniversary parties, and business meetings. Tonight, it would play host to approximately 100 real estate professionals, all looking forward to seeing all the beauty and excitement that Geneva Lake has to offer.

Our agents were treated to an hour of refreshments, cocktails, and plenty of crisp and clean lake air, which was good for the senses and for the soul. The entire party then disembarked in order to take a private tour of Black Point Manor, a one-of-a-kind architectural masterpiece sitting on five acres, with a private lagoon, perennial gardens, and 464 feet of level lake frontage.

The listing is presented by our very own Wendy Murphy, and is currently offered at $8,495,000.

Back on the boat, our d’aprile properties team members enjoyed a beautiful sunset, before heading back to the yacht club for a private open-deck cocktail party, where they dined and danced the night away.

This amazing event is one of the highlights of the d’aprile properties calendar, and we want to thank all of our partners and attendees who combined to make this year’s tour a wild success. We’re already looking forward to next year!


Just Add Chlorine?

As the season for family trips and summer vacations nears its end, many homeowners ask themselves the same question — would it be easier to simply put in a pool? After all, there’s nothing like taking a dip in your very own crystal-clear swimming pool on a hot summer day. Many homeowners and home buyers see a pool as a high-end amenity that will enhance their family’s life and make their home more desirable on the resale market. But the idea of peacefully floating in the privacy of your own backyard may distract you from the reality that comes with pool ownership.

Before making a decision, you need to determine the total value that a swimming pool will bring to you and your family — not only as part of your biggest financial investment, but also to your quality of life. Let’s look at each.

Will an in-ground pool add market value to my home?

To answer that question, your best bet is to speak with your d’aprile properties real estate agent. They will look at comparable homes that have a swimming pool in your neighborhood, and provide you with a fair market estimate based on those findings. If you live in a higher-end neighborhood, and most of your neighbors have pools, it may make sense to add one. Let’s say that your home is currently valued at $250,000, but a similar home in your neighborhood with an in-ground pool is on the market for $285,000. A market value increase of $35,000 sure sounds like a smart investment, right?

But the number crunching doesn’t stop there. Remember that installing a pool comes with significant cost. According to HouseLogic, the average amount in the U.S. to install, equip, and fill a 600-sq.-ft. concrete pool starts at $30,000. That $285,000 estimated price tag for your home may no longer sound as exciting, seeing as how after you spend the money for installation, you are now left with a net increase in value of only $5,000. And let’s not forget, maintaining a pool also costs money — heating, filtration, and cleaning can easily run you thousands of dollars per year. In the end, HouseLogic states that by installing a pool, on average, owners might increase their home’s value 7% when it comes time to sell.

Will an in-ground pool add quality of life?

As with most decisions in life, money is not the only factor involved. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you live in a warm-weather climate, where you could maximize the use you get out of your very own pool?
  • Is your property large enough to accommodate a pool, and still leave room for gathering and entertaining? 
  • Do you have young children who will benefit from the added physical activity that comes from having a pool?
  • Will a pool simply make those hot summer months more bearable?

In the end, no one but you can truly determine the value that a swimming pool will bring to your home. It is best to add up the personal benefits that will come from spending summers in the sun, and then speak with your d’aprile properties agent to make sure that the financial value will benefit your family’s future.


Celebrate National Ice Cream Month at Julie Ann’s in Crystal Lake!

Summer’s heat can be brutal — thank goodness July is National Ice Cream Month! We have former president President Ronald Reagan to thank for it; in his 1984 proclamation, The Gipper called for all citizens of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” He also declared the third Sunday (Sundae?) of the month as National Ice Cream Day.

The world’s coolest and most consumed confectionery (your average American eats 23 lbs. of ice cream a year) can be traced back as far as 2nd century BC. It is said that Alexander the Great — King of Macedonia and one of history’s greatest military minds — was frequently known to scarf down a snack of snow and ice laced with honey and nectar. Can someone get this man some sprinkles?

No matter how you choose to celebrate this month-long dedication to dairy’s finest form — by cone, cookie, or cake — we at d’aprile properties know there’s only one place to go: Julie Ann’s in Crystal Lake! Located conveniently downtown, Julie Ann’s has been a staple in Crystal Lake since 1985. If you want to get technical about it, Julie Ann’s actually specializes in frozen custard. Owner Peter Wisniewski credits his particular recipe’s popularity to its slow production process, and a rich blend of 10 percent butterfat, egg yolks, cream, and sugar.

While the old staples such as vanilla, chocolate, and butter pecan are always on hand, the menu takes pride in offering new, creative combinations daily — a flavor calendar is available for each month’s concoctions! Treat your tastebuds to Dough Crazy Concrete, Dark Chocolate Avocado, or Oreo PB Blob Due Basi. Beyond the cone, Julie Ann’s also offers a custom cake and pie menu, as well as frozen custard cookie sandwiches.

Ice cream is the cure for what ails ya! So as your busy summer hits its peak, take a break and relax your spirits with a tasty treat from Julie Ann’s! After all, if you reverse the word ‘stressed’, you get ‘desserts’!

 

Julie Ann’s
Fresh From Cow to Cone
6500 NW HWY Crystal Lake, 60014
(815) 459-9117

 


What To Do In Wisconsin This Summer

Photo by Emre Kuzu from Pexels

While there’s fun to be had in Wisconsin year-round, spring and summer are particularly action-packed. Whether you’re in town for beautiful beaches, family fun in the Dells, or you’re a full-time resident looking for something new to try, check out our curated guide to summertime festivals and special events, all coming soon to Wisconsin.

June 22-23
Cedarburg Strawberry Festival
This 34th annual festival celebrates the strawberry, with live music, arts and crafts vendors, wine and beer tents, live music, and strawberry-centric food. The Cedar Quacker Race pits 500 rubber ducks against one another and is held at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. each day. Washington Avenue in Cedarburg, WI.

June 22
Midsummer Fest
A festival honoring the earliest immigrants to Southwestern Wisconsin, this event includes demonstrations of blacksmithing, rope making and others, plus traditional Norwegian food, horse and wagon rides, scavenger hunts, and hiking. Norskedalen Nature Heritage Center in Coon Valley, WI.

June 28
Comedian Jim Gaffigan
Jim Gaffigan is a three-time Grammy-nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer, two-time New York Times best-selling author, Emmy-winning top touring performer, and multi-platinum-selling father of five. He is known around the world for his unique brand of humor, which largely revolves around his observations on life. Crystal Grand Music Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, WI.

June 27-29
Wisconsin State Button Show
Whether you’re looking for arts and crafts ideas, costuming or sewing materials, or you’re a serious button collector, this three day event at the Sheraton Madison Hotel offers vendors, educational displays, and even a juried button competition. Madison, WI.

June 28-30
Wisconsin Comic Convention
Featured exhibitors will display collectibles, magazines, anime, cosplay, apparel, and of course comic books at the Wisconsin Center. Stars like Sean Astin (Sam) from The Lord of the Rings, Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) from Star Trek, and Ray Park (Darth Maul) from Star Wars are the featured guests. Milwaukee, WI.

July 4
Fontana Fireworks
The Village of Fontana ignites their annual fireworks display over Geneva Lake. Spread out a blanket and find a perfect spot to watch at The Abbey Harbor lawn. Fontana-on-Geneva Lake, WI.

July 11-14
Elkhorn Ribfest
This national rib competition includes four days of rib sampling, an artisan vendor area, carnival rides, live music, and an opportunity for you to weigh, too, via the People’s Choice Award ballots, available in the t-shirt booth. Elkhorn, WI.

July 18-21
Country Thunder
This year, Chris Stapleton headlines Wisconsin’s premier country music festival. Other big names include Jake Owen, Tim McGraw, and Lonestar. Twin Lakes, WI.

July 20
Jimmy Buffett
Are you a Parrothead? If not, here’s your chance to get a taste of “vitamin sea” when Jimmy Buffet sets sail at the Alpine Valley Music Theater. Lawn and VIP seating available. Elkhorn, WI.

July 20-21
Maxwell Street Days Flea Market
More than 650 vendors display their crafts, produce, plants, tools, and more. Mukwonago, WI.

July 26-28
Shake the Lake
This three day music festival at Lake Lawn Resort also features a bags competition, food trucks, activities for kids, and headlining bands Who’s Bad (a Michael Jackson tribute band) and Journey Recaptured, a Journey-inspired band. Delavan, WI.

August 1-4
U.S. Open Chainsaw Sculpture Competition
Top competitors from Tennessee, Minnesota, Alabama, Japan, and Germany will show off their chainsaw skills. Beyond the matches, there will be demonstrations, social hours, bounce castles, and family-friendly fun at the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum. Eau Claire, WI.


Grand Opening Alert — d’aprile properties Has Come to Lake County!

On Thursday, May 30, d’aprile properties proudly hosted a Grand Opening ceremony for our two newest office locations, at 5101 Washington St. in Gurnee, and at 1850 E. Grand Ave. in Lindenhurst.

The Grand Opening ceremony for both took place at the Lindenhurst location. Mayor Dominic Marturano was on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony, which was followed by a reception that included past clients, local agents, vendors, and community advocates.

 

Lindsay Miller (CEO), Ryan D’Aprile (Founder), Deb Attiah (Agent), Alex Attiah (Managing Broker)

d’aprile properties remains devoted to serving clients throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. We strive to provide exceptional service to our clients, and to advance the individual careers of their team members. Over 50 Gurnee and Lindenhurst local-area experts will immediately offer d’aprile properties’ unique blend of client service and community support to Lake County residents, current and future.

Lindsay Miller, CEO of d’aprile properties, summed it up best when asked why Gurnee and Lindenhurst were a natural fit for the unique culture of d’aprile properties: “Lake County has it all! More than 30,000 acres of beautiful, peaceful landscape. Idyllic residential communities. A thriving commercial center that draws in working professionals and tourists by the thousands. We knew right away that the excitement of Gurnee and the serenity of Lindenhurst provided us the perfect dual platform to deliver a wide variety of personalized real estate services to each and every one of our distinguished clients. It is a privilege to now call this area home.”

For four years running, INC.com has included d’aprile properties on their annual list of the Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. Our growth and impact on the industry have also been publicly recognized by Colorado-based Real Trends, who included d’aprile properties in its national ranking of the top 500 brokerages in America. We have been recognized by The Chicago Tribune as one of Chicago’s Top Workplaces, and were recently named one of the nation’s Top-Producing Brokerage Firms in RISMedia’s 2019 Power Broker Report.

 


New Home, Same Stuff

After months of negotiations led by your hard-working real estate agent, the jitters of closing day, moving company decisions, furniture shopping or removal, a revolving assortment of paint swatches, carpet samples, and kitchen tile selection, and the actual move itself, you have arrived at your exciting destination: living your dream life in your fantastic new home!

Or that’s how you felt when you first moved. Now that the newness has worn off, you’ve unpacked the necessities and realized that there’s more tedious work to be done. Where did you get all this stuff? And where shall it go? What seems like a herculean feat can actually be broken down into more manageable steps.

• So fresh and so clean, clean

No matter the state of your unpacking, truly getting moved in is a process that will be made easier by starting with a clean slate.

Do a deep clean (or if possible, hire a cleaning service) so that your new rooms are off to a fresh start. If you don’t have time for an extreme clean makeover, simply vacuuming or sweeping before moving in new furniture will mean less mess as you get settled.

If you aren’t able to do a deep clean, designating items to be moved into storage, or organizing your basic needs like kitchen and bathroom items, can set you up well for bigger projects later.

• Make a list of short and long-term action items and goals

Even if your move was executed flawlessly, there will still be a lot to do. Scientific studies have found that getting the plans out of your tired brain and onto the page can make your workload easier to manage.

Instead of spiraling about the monumental tasks ahead, sort your ideas into short-term action items and long-term goals.

Setting aside time to daydream (and budget) for your long-term goals will be satisfying once you’ve gotten the most pressing work out of the way.

• Choosing a particular area to revitalize may unlock other design ideas for the rest of the home

While the modern go-to for decor reinvention is the handy Ikea hack, you don’t have to go all out with a design project to feel like you have refreshed a particular area of your home.

Consider rearranging the layout of an area by re-orienting furniture. Relocating certain pieces such as end tables and smaller shelves can create a new vibe, especially in small spaces.

If you like the current layout, redecorating in small ways can freshen up a room. Spring for a new rug, a house plant, or try new arrangements for surfaces like mantels and bookshelves.

• Moving things around will get your creative juices flowing

Make note of project ideas, rooms in need of some attention at a later date, or minor home repairs so they will remain on your radar.

While the desire to make everything perfect will be strong, realize that taking the time to clean spaces and get organized will be the earliest steps in a long process. Spending time to dream and plan for the future will make your hard work feel worthwhile!


The Time to Buy is Now

 

Looks like it’s becoming harder and harder to be a renter in the US.

The latest rent report from RENTCafe is in, and while the news is not so good for those who currently rent their home, it is very positive for those looking to own in 2019. The national average rent in March was $1,430, which is up 3.2 percent over the same period last year. That is an increase of $44 dollars a month on average, all across the country!

Rents are also up in 92 percent of the nation’s biggest 253 cities. That includes Chicago, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee. Only 2 percent of these cities saw rents decrease over the year! In case you don’t like doing math (which we totally get, by the way), that comes out to…five cities. Yikes.

At d’aprile properties, we look to educate our clients, ensuring that they understand not only the home buying process, but all of the benefits of home ownership as well. Because the truth is, saving money is just the beginning.

 

PRIDE – A renter simply cannot experience the sense of pride and freedom that comes with home ownership. The homeowner has no landlord, no rent payments, and no one to answer to. A homeowner gets to decorate and maintain their home however they may choose, experience the joy of owning a pet, and relax in their own yard with a feeling of accomplishment.

PRIVACY – It’s hard to put a price on peace and quiet. As any renter will likely tell you, sharing walls with other tenants can be awkward at best, and downright annoying at worst. Plus, a landlord can at times have unfettered access to your living space. Owning a home provides safety and security, as well as peace of mind.

POTENTIAL – Perhaps the most significant benefit of homeownership is the opportunity to build equity. Keep this in mind: even if you’re currently renting, you’re still paying a mortgage. It simply belongs to someone else. Owning your home means that each month you’ll be putting money toward your own valuable investment, instead of in your landlord’s pocket.

We would love to be a part of your home ownership dream. Get started by clicking on our logo below. We’re here for you every step of the way.