Chicago Relocation

Joseph Ver on Storage Options

May 31, 2012

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Chicago Real Estate
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John D’Ambrogio

When planning on relocating, there are many factors that come into play when deciding on your
new home. The location, school district, shopping areas, and size will all be questions that are
brought up when finally settling on where you will live. Especially if you plan on renting, you
would probably want to keep costs at a minimum without sacrificing the quality of your future
home. Think about downsizing on the size of your home while using a storage unit especially for
temporary living conditions!

When would storage make sense when choosing a smaller home? Take two potential homes and
compare the monthly payments. Take into consideration estimated utilities as well. If Home A
costs 1,500 a month with utilities and Home B, a smaller living area, costs 1,200 a month with
utilities, your storage unit should be less than 300 dollars to save money by using a storage unit.
Here’s a quick little equation to help make your decision:

(Home A’s living expenses) – (Home B’s living expenses) – (monthly cost of storage) =
monthly savings/loss

Of course, this might not be the best decision for everyone. Instead of using storage, you can also
save money by getting rid of the things you would place in your unit. Also, don’t sacrifice a great
living space for something smaller just to save a couple of bucks. Using storage as an option
for downsizing is a case by case decision that you need to decide yourself. An average 10’x10’
storage unit in Chicago can run around 100-200 dollars, so keep that in mind when thinking
about the possibility of downsizing into your new place.

Joseph Ver is part of the SpareFoot marketing team. Search for storage near you with

(read on…)


Bob Portale – Introduction to the relocation industry

May 29, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

Hear John D’Ambrogio and Bob Portale, president of Relo Direct,  discuss this industry in this video – Get an overview of what a relocation firm is, and just “why” the industry exits.  Hear how and why they manage the relocation from point A to point B and everywhere in between.

Thanks for the interview, Bob!


Get to Trotter’s, if you can!

May 25, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

If you’re a Chicago transferee and in a C-Suite, chances are you were wooed, or did some wooing (wooing?) yourself at the world class, world famous Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago.  Well, Chicago native or not, check you bank account and make reservations (if there are any left), because Mr. Trottor is closing his eponymous restaurant after he celebrate’s its 25th year on….August 25th.

Located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, Trotter’s has been a pillar of fine dining, with its menu-a-day changes and award winning wine cellar.  I had the privilege of visiting that cellar a few years ago with colleague Jim Kinney as we were entertaining some friends from NAR.  I think the rule is if you spend more than a mortgage payment you get the tour.  We were probably good for two tours after that evening.  But well worth it!

Mr. Trotter plans to pursue a master’s degree and eventually return to the restaurant business.  His “Trotter’s To Go” restaurant will remain open.


What Do You Do With A Bunch of Old Pallets?

May 18, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

….you build a house!  Well, maybe it’s not the best transferee home, or very good for Chicago winters, but it’s a great concept that is gaining some traction as affordable emergency housing.

The idea – Take pallets – you know, those wooden things that hold “stuff” and are hoisted around by forklifts, and use them as a modular tinker toy set for building a home!  It’s really quite ingenious.  They’re made of wood, they are modular, you can use the space in between to blow in insulation, they are raised up from the ground, and there are MILLIONS of them around, many going into garbage bins and landfills.

A prototype build by I-Beam shows how practical it can be.  And artistic.  And architecturally compelling!  Quite cool actually.  Use it for the walls.  Use it for the ceiling.  The floor.  The bed.  These portable homes could be the answer to “tent housing” that usually accompanies disaster victims.  It’s a great idea!



How Does Your Home Loan Compare?

May 11, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

How much does the average Illinoisan owe?  How does that compare nationwide, or to other big cities like New York or LA?  A new report by Lending Tree sheds some light.

We’re not too bad, actually.  IL has the 18th highest average loan per homeowner in the US.  WHOOPS –  $211,900, that’s significantly more than the average home value in Chicago ($162,800, according to Zillow).  Illinois was one of 13 states with average home loans in the $200Ks.  There are seven states with averages in the $300Ks (including, of course, NY and CA), and the big kahuna (no pun intended) is Hawaii – With an average home loan of $667K!!!!  Sounds like a classic case of supply and demand…

Lending Tree notes:  ”The average buyer in Hawaii, based on the average loan of $677,299 and an APR of 4%, would have a monthly payment for a 30 year mortgage (1 point) of $3,234 before taxes and insurance. The average payment for Mississippi would be $655 based on the closed loan amount.” Mississippi and Nebraska bring of the rear with lowest average loans, each with average home loans of less than $138K.

Actually, we’re a bit below the national average of $222,261.  How do you compare?


20 Essentials For Moving

May 7, 2012

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John D’Ambrogio

A few tips from guest blogger Thomas Rudy…

Moving is something that should be an exciting transitional moment in our lives. We are leaving something behind, and hoping for something better in the future. Unfortunately moving isn’t always the most stress free activity. If finding the perfect location, with the perfect amenities isn’t stressful enough, now comes the hard part. You are going to have to, in some way or another, move all of your belongings, keepsakes, and of course yourself into a brand new environment. It doesn’t seem as though it would be that overwhelming, but all of the little things can certainly add up. The key to a successful, stress free move, is being prepared. There are a number of essential things that you need to be doing and here are twenty of them that you surely don’t want to miss out on.

Number 1 – Find a Great Realtor Not all realtors are created equal. Some might not have the best intentions either. While it is obvious that they must make a buck on setting you up in a proper location, that shouldn’t compromise their level of service. A great realtor can help you in more ways that you may think. At the end of the day they will be more knowledgable about your new area, and hopefully can find a spot that meets all of your needs.

Number 2 – Start Early Procrastination is one of the biggest downfalls for getting a job done, being on time, and performing at your best. Moving is no different than any other life situation. If you start the process sooner rather than later you will have much more success, and the stress will feel almost non-existent.

Number 3 – Ask For Help There is nothing wrong with asking for a little bit of help. Order a pizza, call some friends up, and see how handy they are with a cardboard box or packaging tape. Getting friends together can help out tremendously and it can also be fun if you do it right.

Number 4 – Stay Organized Staying organized may seem obvious, but even I have moved things without marking what was in each box. This can be confusing and eventually frustrating if you have to constantly look through boxes to make sure what is inside of them. It may take just a few extra minutes of work to stay organized, but it will definitely save you time down the road.

Number 5 – Donate While you are moving, it is the perfect time to assess what items you are hanging on to that serve you no purpose. The good news is that you can give these items away to others that might find great value in them. This is a good way to decrease your move load, and do a few good deeds in the process.

Number 6 – Garage Sale Some items that you might not want, or do not have room for, still can have some considerable value. This is where a garage or estate sale can be so valuable. Not only are you parting with some of the clutter that is holding you back, but you also have the opportunity to make some money in the process.

Number 7 – Be Resourceful Moving costs can add up. Boxes, tape, bags, and even extra hands can add up to a bundle of money. You should try to use low cost of free items as much as you possibly can. At the end of the day, most of the moving supplies you will use are most likely going to be thrown out or recycled. No need to splurge on simplistic items.

Number 8 – Make Sure Everyone is On Board When you are moving it is important that everyone is on the same page. If one or more of your family members isn’t doing their part, packing up belongings it can be very difficult come moving day. The more information you relay on to other family members the better results you will have when you make your new transition.

Number 9 – Have a Plan Have a plan on moving day. Depending where you are coming from it can be as simple as, “We will stop for lunch at 1pm and then continue.” If you have a plan with certain timeframes in mind it makes the process smoother and you won’t find yourself unpacking boxes weeks down the road.

Number 10 – Preview the Community A general preview of the neighborhood can really tell you a lot. Almost certainly you have viewed the property you will be living in, but unless you get a scan of the area you cannot be certain what you have gotten yourself into. This will give you ideas of what you might need, as well as what you might be able to leave behind.

Number 11 – Research Nowadays we have the wonderful tool of the internet and Google to find out almost anything that we want to know. Do a little bit or research about your new surroundings. This includes public transit, shopping, restaurants, and much more. Make a game out of it. Plan out the next few weeks with certain spots you would like to visit or find out more information about.

Number 12 – Prepare for Complications While we always hope that relocating  goes 100% smoothly, that isn’t always the case. You have to be prepared for anything that can go wrong. Maybe your car breaks down, maybe the moving company is late, or just maybe your new place isn’t as move in ready as you had thought. Whatever the case, make sure you set aside a couple hundred extra bucks to plan for mistakes. If all goes well, you can use that for a nice night out on the town!

Number 13 – Talk to Neighbors This doesn’t mean you have to be nosey, but talking to neighbors can be a great way to find out useful information, and even make some friends. After all, you don’t want to miss out on the first garbage day.

Number 14 – Plan for Visitors Upon moving into your new property, you will want to showcase the place to friends and family. If everything goes well, you will have your “stuff” set up, know a few spots in the area, and then it will be your turn to be giving the tours. Try not to be a hermit in your new environment. Getting acquainted to your new surroundings can be tough, but opportunity will not come knocking at your doorstep.

Number 15 – Get Estimates From Movers Odds are you do not have a gas guzzling truck that will carrying all of your belongings from point A to B. You might need to higher some movers to help out. This is a necessary expense, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. Get a few quotes from various companies and see which price is the best.

Number 16 – Let Everyone Know If you are relocating, then you should let people know who might want to contact you. This includes current neighbors, family, friends, and colleagues. This can be very helpful and important when you want to ensure that people will not lose touch with you.

Number 17 – Find Storage Assuming that every item you have is not going to fit perfectly into your new environment, you might need to find a place to put it. Chicago self storage can be risky business, if you don’t find the right place. You want to make sure you find storage in the right area, for the right price.

Number 18 – Finish the Food When you are moving to a new property, odds are you will not be moving your food. Try to finish off what you have in the pantry and in the fridge to make sure nothing goes to waste. If you have to, invite friends over for a going away dinner party, and kill two birds with one stone.

Number 19 – Documentation There are going to be a number of things that you will want to document. This can be miles traveled for taxes, or even how you hooked up your complicated internet router. Pictures and notes can go a long way since remembering things may be hard to keep track of. You don’t have to document everything, but the most important items should be documented so referencing them later will not be an issue.

Number 20 – Don’t Burn any Bridges The transition from one place to another can be challenging, and it is important to leave the past in tact. Clean your old apartment, fix something in the house you sold, say good bye to neighbors, or whatever it is you have to do; just make sure that you leave everything in good standing order.

BONUS TIP! Change your mailing address! Relocating to a new area is a lot of fun. Make sure to keep it that way by planning ahead. A big move can be a big stress if you fail to execute the basics. There isn’t an exact science to stress free moving, but if you manage everything in this list accordingly, moving can be fun for you.