Thursday, September 28, 2006

St Joseph to the rescue?

I'm sure most people are familiar with the tradition of burying a statue of St. Joseph, the patron saint of home and family, in the front yard to help speed up the sale of their home. I remember when I was very little hearing my very Italian, and very Catholic grandmother telling friends and family to bury a statue St. Joseph. So I laughed to myself when I heard the big news that St. Joseph has suddenly been making a comeback. It appears that in the new age of longer market times and markets downturns in certain parts of the country, devote or not, sellers nationwide are buying statues of St. Joseph. Even some realtors have jumped on the bandwagon. A little faith certainly never hurt anyone, but online and local retailers can't get over how well the statues are selling. Online sites are selling thousands and even wholesale distributors are having trouble keeping up with the demand. The practice is dates back to the Medieval Times when an order of European nuns were looking for land on which to build a new convent. They buried St. Joseph medals and asked for his blessing. Others say the practice was started by German carpenters buried the statues in the foundation of the homes they built. Regardless of who started the tradition, it is obviously still out there being passed down in it's varied forms. I've heard everything from burying St. Joseph upside down in the front yard facing the street to lying the statue on its back pointing at the house like an arrow. The one thing they all seem to have in common is that after the home sells, the now previous owner is supposed to retrieve the statue and place it on a mantle or other prominent location in their new home. In need of a St. Joseph statue? Stop by your local religious goods store or check online. And for you high-rise sellers out there...may I suggest try burying St. Joseph in the middle of the night when no one's looking?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Another satisfied client....

I always love feedback from former clients, good and bad. It's one of those things that really helps me improve the services I am able to provide to my future clients and let's me know what I'm doing right. One of the things that I learned early on in this business is that no two clients are alike and you need to be flexible and adjust to the client. Some need lots of guidance and time, others simply know what they want and when they see the right home they jump. Some get up close and personal, while others keep their personal life, well, personal. I think it's very important to respect their needs, wishes and their boundaries.

Here's some feedback I received from two recent and very different clients.

"We came from the suburbs looking for a second home in the city and we had no idea where to start. We met Rebecca at an Open House and were instantly impressed with her professional demeanor and her sincere interest in our needs. She took charge of our home search and a couple of weeks later, we found the type of condo we were looking for, all due to her hard work and research. She continued her top-notch service throughout the escrow process, attended our closing, and really took the time to get to know us. Thank you, Rebecca for helping us find a fantastic condo in the city!"
- Michelle and Pete

"It was a pleasure working with Rebecca on finding and buying my new condo. Rebecca is very responsive, straightforward and upfront. She followed through promptly on all the commitments she made. Most important, Rebecca displayed great energy, but without being "pushy" in any way. Although my experience with her is on the buy side, I certainly
recommend her to anyone interested in either buying or selling property in Chicago."
- Michael

And speaking of feedback...let me know what you think of the information on my blog. Let me know what you'd like to see more of, less of, whatever it is I'd love to hear it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

New concepts in "mobile homes"

I just saw this interesting new concept in "mobile homes," though I don't think you'll be taking this new home to the local trailer park. This new home is called Loftcube, and based on the picture on the left, the name seems to be appropriate. Yes, while this abode is mostly glass, and a cozy 420 square feet, it can also be tailored to the buyer's desires. Pick your colors, materials, blinds (thank god they're included), glass translucence and even customize your layout. And yes, there is a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and you can see the living room. And all this can be yours for the mere base price of $110,000. While, you can't exactly hook a Loftcube to the back of your SUV, all you need is either a freight helicopter or construction crane. No, this is no joke. The Loftcube is the brainchild of Werner Aisslinger, which I believe is a German company. It's certainly one of the most interesting ideas I've seen in housing in recent years and it will be interesting to see where this goes. Maybe it will be the new beach house.

The CTA's Proposed Circle Line

You may or may not have heard about the proposed CTA Circle line. For those of you who aren't familiar with the project, it's objective is to link all of the CTA's and Metra's lines, from 39th to Fullerton and Lake Michigan to Western. The routes still under consideration include an Ashland corridor and an Ashland/Ogden Corridor, so if you live on Ashland this would be of particular interest to you. The CTA is going to be presenting their Screen 2 Alternative Analysis study at three different venues this week. The study examines all possible transit options and ultimately determine a locally preferred alternative.

Tuesday, Sept. 26th - Bucktown/Wicker Park Library 6-8pm
1701 N Milwaukee, 2nd Flr Community Room
Weds, Sept. 27th - National Teachers Academy 6-8pm
55 W Cermak - Lunch Room/Auditorium
Thursday, Sept 28th - First Baptist Church 6-8pm
1613 W Washington - Community Room

It seems like it could potentially be a great new alternative for the CTA and opens up some areas that have little to no el access. For more detailed information on the project check out the CTA's website.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Time for some grub

Don't you love it when you rediscover some long forgotten anything, a picture, a note from your sweetheart, whatever, and you're as excited about it as the first time you saw it? I just had one of those moments. I know you're going to laugh when I tell you what it is, so don't laugh. I rediscovered The website has listings of Chicago restaurants that deliver, including menus. Now I understand this might not sound like anything to get too excited about, but I live a half block west of Damen and none of the major delivery services, CEO Deliveries or Dining In, etc will deliver to me. They only deliver west to Damen and not an inch further. So in those moments when my refrigerator is empty I rely on the few menus that I've collected. Boring! Check out the website, it's got tons of great features, and if you're like me your refrigerator spends more time empty than full!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mortgage rates going DOWN

For the seventh time in the past eight weeks, mortgage rates have been on the decline. Rates are once again under 6.5% for a 30 year fixed and 6.1% for a 5 year adjustable, respectively. I actually just had a client who just closed who locked in his rate because he didn't want to risk an increase on his rate, especially with a close date 90 days out. Who could blame him? At the time the Fed was increasing rates and it just wasn't worth the risk. Well, won't you know it, rates started to decline a week before he had to close, and yes, they were below his lock. While my client wasn't able to change his rate, he still had a great rate and an amazing new home. The moral of this story in not to not lock in a rate, but that mortgage rates are not going to run straight through the roof, like so many people feared. According to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac VP and Chief Economist, "with short term interest rates increasingly seemingly on hold, for a while at least, interest rates overall should not experience any big shifts in either direction." Not only is this good news for buyers, but for sellers as well. With rates stabilizing at such low rates, that should keep more buyers out there and sellers who are ultimately ready to make that next move, will be able to sell and then buy their new home. And there you have the circle of real estate life.

Monday, September 11, 2006


So where you when the planes hit the World Trade Center? I don't think I'll ever forget. I was at home getting ready for another day, watching Good Morning America. They broke away because a plane had hit one of the towers and everyone was speculating about what conditions could have caused a plane to fly into one of the tallest buildings in New York, malfunction of plane controls, etc....all the "typical" things. When the second plane came into view there was silence followed by a collective gasp of disbelief when it to flew into the other tower. It was immediately apparent that this was no accident. Do we live in a different world today then we did 5 years ago? I think most people would say yes, but I think it has more to do with perspective then the world actively changing. For me, it has given me a new appreciation of life and a new patriotism that I personally had never felt. Not to sound cliche, but I firmly live by the principal that everything happens for a reason and 9/11 was no exception. There is a lesson to be learned for all of us as individuals and as a country, let's hope we have taken and continue to take full advantage of this opportunity.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Last Hoorah for summer

If you don't have any big plans for the weekend and you don't mind crowds (my husband has a major aversion to them, how he ever came to love the city is beyond me), the 2nd Annual Lakeview East Fine Arts Festival is going on this weekend on Broadway between Belmont and Roscoe. I myself has never been, but with Chicago's long history of art festivals, I'm sure its bound to be good. While it might be smaller then some of the long-running festivals like the Gold Coast and Old Town/Wells Street festivals, they seem to have made some additions to the typical art festival agenda. They will be having an arts and craft tent for kids and yes, its hands on or in, depending on the child. My personal favorite is the fashion show that will be taking place on Sunday. I unfortunately won't be able to attend, but let me know how it was!