Archive for December, 2010

Holiday Safety Tips For Your Chicago Real Estate

December 23, 2010

The scene we often envision at this time of year is one of family and friends sitting around a blazing fire with a brightly lighted tree, stockings hung from the mantel, and colorfully wrapped gifts adding to the cozy and festive atmosphere of your Chicago real estate. A setting lovely to imagine–and to experience–but also one which requires awareness and safety precautions. Fires occurring during the holidays claim the lives of more than 400 Americans each year, and approximately 2 to 3 people per hour are treated in an emergency room due to “decorating” falls and other seasonal injuries.

At the time of year when lists–gift lists, menu lists, activities lists, and to do lists, e.g..–play such a large role in our lives, it is also necessary to establish a safety checklist to ensure an accident-free holiday for your family, guests, and even your pets. Suggestions for taking precautions include the following:

DECORATIONS

  1. Inspect lights for damage and link no more than 3 strands together. Use only UL approved and only as directed–indoor lights should not be used outside. Beware of overloading outlets. Don’t leave on when you’re not home.
  2. If you prefer a live tree, make certain it is fresh when you buy it and water, water, water!
  3. Use non-flammable or flame retardant decorations.
  4. Never leave lighted candles unattended, near combustible materials, or within reach of children or pets. Make certain to extinguish them before retiring for the night.

FIREPLACES

  1. Place the tree in your Chicago real estate at least 3 feet away from the fireplace.
  2. Keep a screen in front of the fire to prevent flying sparks.
  3. If you hang stockings from the mantel, be sure to remove them when the fireplace is in use.
  4. Choose your decorating materials carefully, avoiding combustibles whenever possible. Make certain that ribbons and/or greenery are far from the flames.
  5. Never burn wrapping paper in your fireplace and risk a flash fire.
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Ideas For Celebrating a Chicago Christmas

December 17, 2010

Yes, it’s that delightful time of year again, the time of shopping, decorating, baking, counting down the days, carols, entertaining, and making merry with friends and family. It’s a time of hustle and bustle–with so much to do in so little time! And so…it must also be time for some Christmas tips and time-savers to help you enjoy the holiday just a bit more–and to give you an excuse to sit down for a minute or two while you read this message! In an attempt to make life a little easier, I’ve organized my hints and suggestions into general categories. Unfortunately, this is the only thing I seem to be able to organize, as my own house is strewn with unwrapped gifts, un-hung decorations, and recipes for unbaked goodies! Maybe tomorrow…

SHOPPING AND GIFTS:

santaLittle known trivia:  7/10 of all dogs in Britain receive gifts from their owners.

Who doesn’t like to save money? Sites for valuable coupons, codes, deals, and rebates for hundreds of stores.

Out of ideas? Need something unique like a ‘I Love You’ stones, a wine chiller, a deluxe valet or birthstone ornaments? RedEnvelope.com will surprise you with its offerings. Prefer something whimsical, geeky, or spiritual? Then go to Gifts.com.

There are ideas for those who are budget conscious and those with champagne taste. Many online shopping sites offer free shipping, and some will even gift-wrap for you!

Remember, you can rarely go wrong with a book and Amazon.com is a great source of seasonal favorites, new releases, or the perfect book for just about anyone, young or old.

Little known trivia: There are two Christmas Islands in the world–one in the Pacific and one in the Indian Ocean.

DECORATIONS:

Little known trivia: The first tree tinsel was real silver cut into thin strips.

Looking for new ideas to freshen up the holiday decorations in your Chicago home? Think about displaying seasonally dressed teddy bears, hanging small ornaments on house plants, using cookie cutter or foil-wrapped walnuts as tree ornaments, and tying ribbons and bows to the stems of wine glasses and around the handles of cutlery . These ideas and 95 more can be found at http://www.allthingschristmas.com.

Get suggestions for suggestions on both indoor and outdoor decorating, making wreaths, and creating themed trees. The site also includes some unusual centerpieces, such as a child’s pop-up book, an arrangement of green apples, cinnamon, and greenery, and colorful balls made from Christmas light bulbs. Ever thought about a sugar plum tree?

Little known trivia: 77 million Christmas trees are planted each year.

And speaking of trees, did you know that 5 miles of lights are used to light up Rockefeller Center?

You can also have a virtual visit to the White House tree in the Blue Room. And you just can’t miss the singing tree!

Singing! How could I omit the MUSIC category?

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Selling Your Chicago Home During the Holidays IS a Good Idea!

December 10, 2010

Many Chicago home owners don’t want to sell during the holidays. They just can’t deal with the hassle of cleaning up for a showing or open house at the same time they are trying to celebrate, entertain, shop, wrap, bake and decorate with family and friends.

If you are selling during this holiday season, keep in mind these tips provided in an article by Alex Boyle at Courant.com.

  • Keep your thermostat turned up, and light a fire in the fireplace or have your agent flip on the gas fireplace when showing the house. A lot of people turn the heat down while they’re at work. Keep the home warm and well lit at this time of year. There’s nothing worse than walking around a house when it is cold and dark.”
  • Replace your dim light bulbs with higher wattage bulbs to brighten the room; raise the shades to let the most light in; and consider having your windows professionally washed to create even more sparkle.
  • Yes, it’s a festive time of year, but you may want to leave the 10-foot inflatable snowman in his box while you are trying to sell your home. Too much stuff makes a house look smaller than it really is.
  • If you’re Christian, most homes never look better than when they’re decorated for the holidays with the Christmas tree, the wrapped gifts — it’s just beautiful Holiday decorations are a form of staging, so set the table with china and crystal and make it look warm and inviting so clients can envision themselves in this home for the holidays. It helps. People today don’t have a whole lot of imagination. You have to draw them a picture.
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Chicago Foreclosure Trends – October 2010

December 4, 2010

There were 37,549 Chicago foreclosure homes for sale with 4,395 new foreclosures in October 2010. The average selling price of a Chicago home was $262,164 and the average foreclosure selling price was $119,845, a savings of $142,319 according to RealtyTrac.com.

Chicago Foreclosure Geographical Comparison

Chicago foreclosure activity in October was lower 0.09% higher than national statistics, 0.05% higher than Illinois statistics, and 0.05% lower than Cook County numbers.

Chicago Foreclosure Activity by Month

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