Chicago Relocation

July 2014 Chicago Real Estate Market Update

July 30, 2014

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John D’Ambrogio

Home sales are up, average sales price is up, see what else is happening in the Chicago Real Estate Market. John D’Ambrogio shares Chicago’s state of the market for July 2014.



Moving With Pets

July 28, 2014

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John D’Ambrogio

Here are some comments from Carlee Quintas

Moving is stressful regardless of how many times you’ve done it in the past. Two things that add to moving stress are kids and pets. You have to make sure they stay out of the way, while still making sure they’re comfortable and taken care of.

Pets tend to become extremely stressed out during a move because of the changing surroundings, and the buzz of energy. There are also many theories that pets can sense when change is coming, and change makes both humans and animals alike anxious.

Plan ahead

Most pets have a pretty limited area that is familiar to them, and they are comfortable with that. If possible, take pets to your new abode a few times. Allow them to walk around and let dogs mark a few places. This will make the place more familiar, and ease the transition.

Acquire veterinary records

If you’re moving far enough away that you are going to need a new veterinarian, you’ll want to look ahead to find the veterinarians with the best reviews. You’ll rest easier having an idea of your options in the area should an emergency occur.

Depending on where you’re moving to, your new residency may require that you show proof that your pet is up to date on their vaccinations. This is a great opportunity for you to make sure your pet is caught up on vaccinations and in overall good health. Make sure to get multiple copies of the records so that they’re less likely to get lost in the move. Obtain digital copies if possible, and ask about your current vets policies with sending over medical transcripts.

Proper city license

If you have an uncommon pet or an “untraditional” pet like a chicken or goat, you’ll want to check out your new town’s policies. You may have to obtain a special license or permit in order to make sure your animal friends are able to live with you in your new area. If your pets are loud or could otherwise disturb your new neighbors, you’ll be glad you checked out the local regulations, so that you are prepared to deal with any legal confrontations that arise.


If you don’t already have a microchip in your pet, now is the time to do it just in case they get lost in the move. If your pet already has a microchip make sure you have the contact info changed to reflect your new address so that you can be contacted if your pet goes missing.

Sedatives if necessary

Depending on your pet and their stress tolerance, it might be wise talk to your veterinarian about using sedatives while you are on the move.  This could make the trip a lot calmer for everyone. Just make sure to use the exact dosage your doctor recommends, and be aware of any possible side effects.

Seclude your pet from the moving chaos

On moving day your pet will likely be wound up. Packing has made the home a different place, and people running around back and forth can cause confusion and anxiety for animals. Consider keeping them in a closed room with some toys (and little boxes for cats). This is an especially good idea in the case of indoor pets, because insures that they won’t slip out through an open door while massive amounts of possessions are being moved.

Don’t give your pet a bunch of treats to keep them happy

Giving your pet more treats than they’re used to can lead to an upset stomach. The last thing you want as your traveling to your new abode is to find out that Fido has the runs. It’s better to treat things as normal as possible, so no extra treats!

After taking care of these issues and following these tips, you should be on your way to a less stressful move! Remember, your pet has anxieties as much as you do, so minimize those for them, and you’ll both be a lot happier!

Carlee Quintas is a writer with a passion for everything green! When she’s not writing she enjoys gardening, hiking, camping and cooking.


Random super cool historic places to see on the South Side of Chi-Town

July 21, 2014

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John D’Ambrogio

A few Sundays ago, as spring was finally breaking and it was warm enough to venture outside, my lovely daughter and I decided (OK, dad decided), to soak up some history and culture in a few of the better (but mostly lesser known) treasures of the south side.  Some were empty lots , non-descript buildings or little commemorative signs on a busy street.  But hey we’re all very very cool.  So, this is what we saw, in a general northerly to southerly route, in about three hours.

While by no means exhaustive, it is a great pot-pourri of gems that many Chicagoans do not know exist.

Chess records.  One of the, if not the coolest, places in the south loop is the former Chess records at 2120 S. Michigan.  Muddy, Buddy, Willie, Etta James, even The Stones all recorded there.  For a ten dollar bill you can get a tour of the place.  And then wander around the actual studio and mixing room where the magic all happened.  Right here in our fair city.

Site of the Fort Dearborn Massacre.  Back in 1812, during the 2nd American War of Independence (so-called by some back in the day), the American Garrison at Fort Dearborn (modern day Wacker and Michigan) packed up their troops and civilians and headed for the safety of Ft. Wayne, in the Indiana territory.  Alas, they only got to about 18th and near lake Shore Drive (or Maybe Roosevelt Rd., depending on who you ask)  before being surprised and slaughtered by Native American Forces loyal to the British.  Most were killed, a few were taken into bondage, but no one escaped.  Common lore puts the site somewhere near the small commemorative park at the corner of 28th and Calumet, just southwest of Soldier Field.  I wonder how many people who don’t live just there actually realize it….

Site of Mrs. O’Leary’s Barn.  On the far south loop you will find the site of Mrs. O’Leary’s barn.  As any Chicagoan knows, this was the site where her cow allegedly kicked over a lantern on a hot steamy evening in 1871 and forever changed the course of Chicago history.  Some say burning it to the ground was a blessing that let us become a Phoenix, rebuilding ourselves as a truly modern city.  What is there today?  Would you believe it is the Chicago Fire Department training center?  And a very cool, and small, CFD museum.  Definitely worth a top.

Site of Camp Douglas.  Near 31st and Cottage Grove  -  All the is there now is a small commerative plaque, ironically located at a funeral home, noting the former presence of Camp Douglas.  During the Civil War, Chicago hosted one of the nation’s largest POW camps.  From 1862-1865 thousands of confederate soldiers lived and died as prisoners there, under often harsh conditions.  While there is not much to see, but some seriously important real estate to visit and contemplate. Curious sidenote – For a number of month it housed UNION prisoners.  During a rather large POW exchange, the paroled federal POWs had to stay at Camp Douglas while months passed during processing of paperwork.  Needless to say, riots and escape attempts ensued….

Two very cool homes.  Next we hit the homes of two of my favorite musicians.  Did you know that Satchmo used to live right here on the south side?  His tidy little grey stone is right on  at 421 E. 44th (look for the small commemorative placemark).  Pretty cool to think of the legends that came and went I to that home during the ‘20s and ‘30s.    Moving from Jazz to Blues, Muddy Water’s former home at 4339 S. Lake Park, in the North Kenwood community was sadly in foreclosure for years.  Various efforts the past few years have attempted to turn it into a museum – As recent as February 2014 it was under contract as a short sale.  Alas, that deal fell through and its future is still uncertain.  Read about it here.

So there are six things you can do this Sunday afternoon.  I don’t want to give you all the cool, semi-unknown spots – I’ll leave some digging up to you!


5 Common Moving Mistakes to Avoid

July 14, 2014

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John D’Ambrogio

Here are some comments from Carlee Quintas

With moving season quickly hurdling towards us it’s important to remember to pace yourself. If you are planning a big move it’s definitely easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of excitement and stress that goes along with it. This makes it easy to fall into some common pitfalls that occur with just about every move. Thankfully there are some things that you can do to prepare yourself for the big adventure. Here are five of the most common mistakes people will make when moving and how to avoid them.

Not Planning

This probably seems like a no-brainer, but it’s true. You need to have a solid plan for when you’re moving. Some people will try to simply “wing it” or just do everything themselves without any help or knowledge of how to move. If you have a house full of items that you plan on moving it can be a very wise investment to hire a reputable moving company.

Any easy way to get a quick overview of a company’s reputation is by going online to third party sites and reading some reviews. Of course, it is good to take these with a grain of salt and keep in mind that a person who has a bad experience with a company is much more likely to write a negative review than it is for someone who had a really good experience to write up a positive review.

Not Being Honest With the Movers

After you find a mover that is reputable and suited to your needs it’s very important that you be honest with them when describing the job that they will be performing. This means having an accurate idea of exactly how much stuff you’re going to be moving, knowing how far you’ll be moving it and knowing exactly how much you’ll pay them when the job is finished. Don’t just have a rough estimate. While solid numbers may take a little more effort to get, they will save many headaches down the line.

Not Letting Go

One of the benefits of moving is the extremely liberating act of going through everything in your house and throwing away or donating what you don’t need or want anymore. It’s one of the few times you actually have the ability to go through and touch every single thing in your house and decide if you want it or not. While this can be a very freeing experience for some people, others may not find it so easy. We attach sentimental value to all kinds of items that don’t really do much other than take up space.

An easy tip for getting rid of some clutter is to think about all the sentimental items that are the most important to you. Pack those things up in one box. These are clearly the items that mean the most to you. If you find any other sentimental items that you didn’t initially think had to be in that one box, you can simply toss them!

You Didn’t Clean

Besides letting go of some of those irrelevant items, this is also the perfect opportunity to deep clean your house. It’s the courteous thing to do for the people who are going to be buying your home and it will also help your house sell faster. You can either do the cleaning yourself, which will have minimal fees for the equipment that you will likely need to rent, or you could hire a third party cleaning company. Much like the movers it’s important to read a few reviews before deciding on which company you want to hire.

Wrapping Valuables Incorrectly

There are many informative posts online about what to do and what not to do when it comes to wrapping valuables. Some people use clothes in order to kill two birds with one stone, wrapping their valuables up in the safety of thick clothing. If you decide to use this route I would highly recommend that you only use older clothes to wrap up your valuables. That way on the off chance of something awful happening you will only lose less valuable clothes rather than brand new, or office clothing.

Carlee Quintas is a writer with a passion for everything green! When she’s not writing she enjoys gardening, hiking, camping and cooking.


Time for That Second Home?

July 7, 2014

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Chicago Real Estate
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John D’Ambrogio

The Tribune just ran an interesting article on the second home market, which you can access here.

2nd home sales accounted for 13% of home sales last year, which was the BEST showing since 2006 during the boom days, according to Mary Ellen Podmolik.

In addition, there were communities that saw only single digit sales last year finally go into double digits.

The 2nd home market, the article indicates, doesn’t exactly work in tandem with the residential sales market.  For one, it’s a luxury, of sorts, and buyers can wait until the timing (the market and their finances) is right.  They’re also often savvy about the market and know the community, maybe even the home, they want to buy.  Why?  As the article says, many of these buyers have vacationed in these markets for many many years, sometimes since childhood, and know the area well.

So, whether you have an eye on Galena, Lake Geneva, around our lovely lake in Indiana or Michigan’s Harbor Country, now may be the time to get into the game…