Chicago Relocation

Lakeview – Shop, walk, eat and watch the Cubs

July 29, 2013

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Chicago neighborhoods
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John D’Ambrogio

Lakeview, Wrigleyville, East Lakeview, West Lakeview, Boystown. New Town (OK, no one says that anymore) … it’s the neighborhood that’s just one community north of Lincoln Park. Lakeview is definitely cool and diverse looking at the patchwork of micro-neighborhoods that make up this community!

I love Lakeview. I lived there in my youth (that means my 20s). It has a lot of what’s good: Huge housing stock (affordable studios, lovely flats, gorgeous high rises, charming single family homes, modern, vintage… name it); bustling nightlife (gay bars, sports bars, karaoke bars, Irish bars, dive bars, upscale bars, bars with food, bars with just peanuts, bars that are open til 5AM and bars that open at 7 AM); and a diverse restaurant selection (pizza, Thai, Korean, Chinese, Greek, Italian, Irish, Mexican, American, Jewish deli, steak, fusion, confusion, sandwich shops, Mediterranean joints, eclectic, electric, breakfast only, lunch only, coffee joints… I’m really hungry).

A pretty big community Lakeview runs east from the lake (duh), west to Ashland, or further depending on who you ask, as south as Diversey all the way north to Irving.

I used to be the president of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce and then a commissioner for the neighborhood in the ‘90s. I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen it grow and prosper. One thing that always strikes me about the Lakeview community is their commitment to independent merchants. They aren’t entirely anti-chain stores, but it’s a really great environment for independents and entrepreneurs. Many of you are fans of that fantastic Intelligentsia Coffee – I remember when Doug Zell and Emily Mange opened it up (I was a Chamber of Commerce welcomer at the time, LOL). There’s also Deleece, Dinkel’s, The Bagel, The Alley, and The Lucky Horseshoe. Yeah, yeah, I know you’re going to say all the neighborhoods are full of independents. I guess I’m biased to the old hood. Forgive me.

Probably the best known sub neighborhood is the infamous area around the Friendly Confines at Clark and Addison -Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Most Chicagoans have some story or other that begins in the bleacher seats at Wrigley Field.

Going to a Cubs game is a wonderful way to kill an afternoon either a weekday or a weekend afternoon. You can be at Cubs game on a Tuesday pretending it’s the weekend or sit back and wonder “don’t any of these people work?” Actually I have had a lot of business meetings, successful ones at that, negotiating while waiting for the seventh inning stretch (I’ve never seen so many thousands of people impressed by their own ability to sing a little song).

When the Cubs are not playing at Wrigley Field it’s one of the most interesting and lively venues in Chicago. Just in the past two years it’s hosted the likes of Pearl Jam, McCartney, Springsteen, the Bears (before Solider Field this was their home field), and the 2013 Stanley Cup champions Blackhawks play outdoor hockey in the outfield (yup outdoor hockey like when you were young).

Wrigley Field is an awfully cool place – and it should be for $8 beers. Personally, I prefer the bleachers across the street – the rooftops. I still think it’s the best deal in town. No waiting for the restroom, no pressure to watch the game, you’re got space to move and usually a high fat/high oil cornucopia of delights. For a set price that’s not too outrageous when you think about those $8 beers again….

Yeah Lakeview is pretty cool.





Taste of Lincoln Ave. Coming Up!

July 25, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

From our own DJ intern SAGAR JHA:

This year is the 30th annual Taste of Lincoln Avenue Festival in Lincoln Park. This will be my second year DJing this festival. Last year was a blast. Taste of Lincoln Avenue features the biggest and best restaurants in Lincoln Park. It is a huge festival, and one of my personal favorites of the summer.

This year the festival kicks off this Saturday (July 27th) at 12PM, and ends 10PM on Sunday (July 28th) night. The festival runs from 12PM-10PM each day. It’s definitely a great time if you live nearby or in Chicago and want to head to a festival that will be a little different than what you’re used to. Cliche, but it has a very ‘Lincoln Park feel’ to the festival.

One of the coolest things about the festival this year is the fact that they have dedicated a stage to the electronic dance music movement. The stage this year is being hosted by Lincoln Park’s Capacity Bar Group. Also this year there will a craft beer section with free arcade games hosted by Headquarters Beercade.

I’m super excited for this year mostly because I’ll be DJing both days. This year I’ll be playing at the Capacity Bar Group/Promose7en Side Stage, and Bar Forza on Sunday. Last year, I was only booked to play an early set. This year I’ll be playing 4-5 on Saturday and 1-2 on Sunday.

If you have kids, Taste of Lincoln Avenue is also very child friendly. This have a childrens area with a petting zoo, and stage entertainment to keep them occupied. Usually all the bars on Lincoln have booths set up and offer beer and drinks at a fair price throughout the whole weekend. If you’ve never been to Taste of Lincoln Avenue, or otherwise known as ‘Lincoln Fest,’ it’s definitely something you should check out, regardless of your age.


2013 Q2 State of the Real Estate Market

July 22, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

Chicago’s limited inventory was the story for 2013′s second quarter.  John D’Ambrogio explains the factors that have led to this exciting housing market.




July State of the Market 2013

July 17, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

Things are looking good for Chicagoans this summer. Check out Baird & Warner’s July state of the market to delve into the details.


Chicago Discussions | “Museums”

July 10, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

Sick and tired of all the rain this summer? Go check out Chicago’s amazing museums!


Real Estate and IRA

July 9, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

By: Daniel Hanlon Real Estate Relationship Manager at Midland IRA

Since the creation of IRAs in 1974, account holders reserve freedom to invest their retirement accounts in practically anything, including real estate. While most have their IRAs invested into bank products and the public market, many are finding great returns in real estate.

There are some key points to note when buying real estate within an IRA account.

  • Title of the Real Estate – The IRA will be the rightful owner of the property, or portion of which it owns. The IRA Funds never leave the IRA, and the real estate purchase occurs within the IRA account. You are not borrowing money from the IRA, rather you are using the funds inside the account to purchase an asset, just as you would a stock.
  • Disqualified Persons – The main rule with IRAs is who they can transact with. In the case of real estate, these are the parties from which you cannot buy, sell, lease, or exchange with. As an IRA holder, these parties include you, your spouse, your lineal ascendants (parents), your lineal descendants (kids) as well as any entity these parties own 50% or more of. In other words, the property has to be purchased with the intent of investment.
  • Real Estate Income and Expenses – Since the IRA owns the real estate, it is due any proceeds and liable for any expenses related to the property. Typical costs may include: improvements or construction, assessments, property taxes, and legal fees. The income may include proceeds from the sale or a tenant paying rent. As with all IRAs, these gains are tax deferred to the account holder and may be tax free if the account is Roth.
  • 3 Ways to Purchase – There are 3 ways to purchase real estate in an IRA.
    1. The first is with cash from the IRA. This option is simple and requires the full amount be paid by the IRA.
    2. Second, the IRA can become a partner with other parties, including disqualified parties, on a transaction. This may happen as either an LLC or Tenants in Common. The income and expenses would then be split depending on the percentage of ownership.
    3. Third, the IRA accounts can obtain mortgages. The mortgage must be non-recourse, in which the IRA holder has not signed a personal guarantee. Banks that offer this product typically only do so on income producing properties and will require 40% down.

IRAs can be a great source of funds while you look for your next investment deal. These accounts require a third party administrator to report to the IRS as most brokerage houses will not allow their account holders to invest in real estate. Midland IRA, based in Chicago, charges an annual fee of around $400 for this required service. Not only can these companies hold real estate, but they can also hold common investments like promissory notes, tax liens, LLC interests, mortgages and precious metals in IRAs.


Dan Hanlon is the Real Estate Relationship Manager at Midland IRA. He handles all of Midland IRA’s new accounts which plan on investing into real estate. He can be reached at for any questions concerning real estate investing inside of your IRA.




Have You Tried an Upscale Driving Service?

July 3, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

By Mark Duda owner Cross Country Driver

Life can throw you curveballs sometimes. You might lose a job and have to move, get a promotion that forces a relocation, or you might have the unfortunate duty of moving to go take care of a sick loved one. Sometimes it’s not about moving yourself at all – sometimes we need to be able to move exclusive, one of a kind objects to new locations, like that brand new orange Lotus. When you’re using a traditional freight or shipping method to move your items, it can sometimes take up to 8 weeks to get your items moved from Point A to Point B. Not everyone can wait that long! Is there some way to be able to have a competitively priced service be able to move your items for you in a much quicker timeframe?

The Rise of the Niche Transportation Service

Moving large items across the country can be difficult. Even if you push yourself hard and do it yourself, you’re going to have to dedicate three or four days for travel time. When you finally get to where you need to be, you feel tired and lethargic for a day or two afterwards as well. We’re all looking to save a few bucks wherever we can because money is tight, right? So here’s a valid question we each should be asking when we’ve got to move or have something transported across the country: how much time and money can I really save?

I know a family that recently moved from Denver to Seattle. They had three young kids, so they were looking to be able to have someone help them with their move. To hire movers to do just the moving portion of the trip would have cost them $7,200. They would have had to drive both vehicles in addition to the movers, which would have equated to another $1,000 in just fuel charges. With three young kids, they’d have to stop every two or three hours, which meant a two day trip would become a four day trip, so there was another $500 in lodging expenses, another $500 in food costs, and finally another $1,000 budgeted for incidentals. That’s over $10,000!

Needless to say, they went to the self-moving option. They trailered their extra vehicle, loaded their rented truck, and then unloaded it themselves when they got to their new home. They saved $6,000 doing it themselves, but they also had to spend four days out on the road, separated from each other. With an upscale driving service, they could have hired a driver that would have driven their moving truck for them and still saved about half the cost of hiring professional movers.

What About Moving Elite Items?

Moving a luxury vehicle can turn out to be more difficult than you would ever imagine. Freight companies can take months to transport your item. Speciality moving services can trailer your vehicle for you so that it’s protected from roadside elements like debris or weather, but it can take two or three weeks for them to finish the transport. With an upscale driving service that specializes in the door-to-door delivery of your vehicle, you can it transported quickly and safely in a fraction of the time. Here’s are some examples from – a leader in the industry.

  •  From Los Angeles, CA to Northern NJ: a Lexus SUV was successfully delivered in 49 hours.
  • From West Palm Beach, FL, to Olympia, WA: a full-sized rented moving truck towing a Hummer was successfully delivered in 62 hours.
  • From New York City to Miami, FL: a BMW was successfully delivered in just 20 hours.

Why should you have to wait for up to two months for your luxury item to be successfully transported when it could be delivered in just two days instead? These are the benefits that you get with the hiring of an upscale driving service for your next transportation needs.

 A Niche, Upscale Driving Service Is More Reliable

Have you always wondered what happens to your things once you sign a contract with a transportation company? Did you know that once you sign a contract with an organization, they can then sub-contract your job to others that you’ve never met? There can be two, three, or even more organizations involved with the transport of your luxury vehicles or moving truck and you won’t ever know it because there is no requirement to have to communicate sub-contracting services to you.

When you use a driving service that specializes in the transportation of elite vehicles and self-rented moving trucks, you are hiring a service directly that works with you on a one-on-one basis. This means you can have confidence in the driver you are hiring because there are no sub-contracts involved with an upscale driving service. You simply get your vehicle delivered to your preferred location quickly, reliably, and affordably.

 What About Insurance Costs?

When you are freighting your items across the country, you often need to pay for an additional insurance premium in case damage happens during the freight process. This insurance upcharge can often be several hundred dollars… or more! Did you know that your vehicle’s insurance policy already has a stipulation in it that allows for a third-party driver to drive your vehicle with your permission? It is required by law to have this stipulation, which means your existing coverage will work with an upscale driving service. You simply must make sure the paperwork involved has the driving service paying for a reasonable deductible in the case of an accident, as well as any damages for which their driver may be responsible for.

It’s the Preferred Choice of Professionals Everywhere

From celebrities to professional athletes to Fortune 500 professionals that must travel extensively, one of the hardest things about a job that requires you to be out on the road a lot is the lack of a home environment. With an upscale driving service, these clients might not be able to be home every night, but they can have a taste of home by having their vehicle delivered to them in a rapid and safe manner for a very affordable price. It’s more than just having a taste of home, however. People are simply more comfortable in their own vehicle. They know where it’s been, who’s been in it, and how it drives. It’s a reflection of their personality and this gives people confidence. That’s right – just a small taste of home can re-energize someone to make the impact that they need to make in relation to their professional responsibilities!

 It’s Also the Preferred Choice of Those With Seasonal Homes

If you winter in the South and summer in the North, then you definitely know about the moving process. Though often you’re simply maintaining two homes, you’re not maintaining two luxury vehicles and can simply fly between your homes when it is time for your seasonal move. You could fly back, however, and have your vehicle waiting for you at the airport with the hire of an upscale driving service. With just a 72 hour head start, all the plans can be made to pick up your vehicle and have it parked and waiting for you when you arrive. You just have to take a driving service, such as a taxi, to the airport terminal with any luggage you might have. That means no driving, no wasted time, and no worries.

 Is an Upscale Driving Service the Right Choice For You?

An upscale driving service lets you remain in control of the entire transportation process, from beginning to end. It works on your schedule so that you never have to have a calendar or schedule that you’ve got to follow just to make sure your vehicle or furnishings get to where they need to be. With a driving service, you always know who is taking responsibility for safely and reliably moving your important assets from Point A to Point B. That’s why driving services are quickly becoming the choice for today’s professionals who are needing to be in different cities, but wanting a taste of home to be with them as well.

Why wait up to eight weeks to get your vehicle delivered to your location? Why spend $10,000 or more on professional movers to move your items to your new home? For just a fraction of the cost, you can have your vehicle delivered in just two or three days instead of two or three months. For just a small added cost, you can have a professional driver get behind the wheel of your rented moving truck and drive it for you so that you can spend your transition time with your loved ones. If you are needing to relocate to a new home or know that you’re going to be away on an extended business trip, then why not try an upscale driving service? You’ll find that they are fast, reliable, and extremely dependable.