Chicago Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

July 28, 2020

Things to Check Before Buying a Condo

In looking to buy a condo, you’ll reap the benefits of shared amenities as well as professional maintenance that’ll decrease the hassle of upkeep. When looking to buy a condo, there can be hidden strings attached, so it’s important to understand the condo association, potential fees, and the characteristics of the specific condo. Below, we’ll cover the top things to look for in purchasing your new condo!


Understand the Association

The condo association can come with hidden fees as well as tenant politics that could influence your decision. You’ll want to learn about any and every fee that could come up over the course of the year, as well as how the communal spaces are managed. Sharing exterior spaces isn’t for everyone, so you’ll want to make sure you understand how the garages, mailboxes, hallways, and exercise areas are handled. It’s also a good idea to talk with the neighbors to get their take on how the association is run and ask about issues they’ve encountered in the past. 

Ask about upcoming projects 

Whereas if you own a home you can begin renovations whenever you’d like, a condo is at the mercy of the association for renovations and upgrades. Make sure to ask about what renovations are in the near future, as well as how those renovations could potentially disrupt your living. 


Carefully inspect the common areas 

The interior of your particular condo is, of course, very important, but paying attention to how the common areas are managed and cleaned is a great indicator as to how the association is managed. Outdated, dirty, or unsightly common spaces are likely a sign of trouble in paradise. 


Look into the Foundation

If the foundation has any cracks, gaps, or other damages, costly repairs could be in the near future. In many cases, the condo association will ask the condo owner to front the bill for that repair. So, in addition to asking about the condition of the foundation and when it was last repaired, asking who bears the cost of repair is necessary. You’ll also want to ask about what the actual structure is made from; insulated structural panels versus ICF systems come with their own hosts of pros and cons.  


Appliances & Countertops

Whether a condo comes with appliances or not can depend upon whether you’re renting or buying. This is an important question to ask, particularly for amenities such as a washer and dryer that you may be used to having in your current home. If there are appliances already in the home, ask about their energy efficiency and when they were last installed. When it comes to countertops, laminate white countertops can be less favorable than other options such as marble or granite, so it’s a good idea to ask how recently these have been updated as well. 

Handicap Accessibility

Is it handicap accessible? This could look like everything from a first-floor suite to a  lowes stair handrail to a bench in the shower. Ensuring that the unit has these amenities as well as elevator access can be an important consideration, even if you yourself don’t have mobility concerns. 


Buying a condo is an exciting step that’ll give you tons of benefits without the costly burden of homeownership. By asking the proper questions, you’ll ensure that you land the perfect unit!

Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.

June 19, 2020

5 Ways To Add More Value To Your Home Before Listing It

So, you’ve decided to put your house on the market. Before you do, you probably want to do a few things to boost that property value. If you’re like most homeowners, your goal is to sell your house for the highest possible price. 

However, it can be challenging trying to determine the best ways to add value. If you’ve already painted your home in neutrals, de-cluttered, and done all the small fixes, you’re likely wondering what other renovations are worth your time and energy. 


Let’s talk about five projects that can boost your home’s value without breaking the bank.



#1. Upgrade the Roof and Siding

If your home’s siding or roof is in poor shape, you might want to redo them. A worn-down roof or shabby siding tells home buyers that your home isn’t in the greatest shape. A new roof alone can increase your house’s value by up to $12,000!

It’s all about curb appeal. The reality is that curb appeal matters a great deal, and if your home doesn’t look inviting from the outside, you’ll have a much harder time getting people through the door or paying top price. 

Thankfully, you can upgrade both for relatively cheap. If you need to redo your roof, go with asphalt shingles. They’re incredibly cost-effective. However, if that’s not within your budget, simply consider repairing any missing or faded shingles instead. 

With your home’s siding, a new coat of paint can work wonders. If you can’t afford to redo it completely, throw a new layer of neutral paint on top of it to make it pop. 

#2. Renovate the Kitchen

If you spend any time watching HGTV or perusing Pinterest, you probably already know that it’s the kitchen that sells the home. If you have a dated kitchen, then consider doing a light renovation. Swap out the paint, redo the cabinets and upgrade the counter. 

You don’t have to spend tons here, either. While natural stone counters are all the rage, concrete countertops are a much cheaper alternative. With a little paint and polish, concrete counters can mimic the look of natural stone. 

#3. Add Hardwood Floors 

Are you tired of hearing about hardwood? There’s a good reason that every realtor and interior designer recommend hardwood floors. People love them. In fact, in a realtor survey, 90% of realtors agree that houses with hardwood floors sell much quicker than homes without them! 

If you already have hardwood flooring, be sure to give it a deep clean and polish. If you don’t, consider installing it in as many rooms as possible. If hardwood floors are outside of your budget, consider synthetic wood tiles instead. They have the same appearance, without the upfront cost. 

#4. Make the Backyard Matter

Backyards are in right now. They’re a space to relax and an area to entertain. Backyards are often difference-makers in closing the deal and getting the price you want. 

If you have a backyard, consider adding a deck, because research indicates that wooden decks are the most cost-effective renovation project in mid-range houses. Consider adding some potted plants and setting up some outdoor seating as well. Help potential buyers see themselves in your backyard. 

If you don’t have a backyard, or it’s small, do what you can with your existing outdoor space to show that there’s still a way to appreciate the outdoors in your home.   

#5. Add Aging in Place Modifications

If you want to stand out on the market, consider adding aging in place modifications. Essentially, more older adults are looking to age in their own homes. They no longer want to have to move when they get older, so they’re seeking houses that have “aging in place” accommodations. 

What are these modifications? They can include everything from home handrails to easier to open doors to wider walkways and non-slip flooring. If you’re interested in this route, do a little research on simple aging in place modifications for your house. 

Add Value to Your Home Before You List It 

These five projects are just a few ideas to increase your property value before you list your home. Ultimately, your goal is to invest in renovations that will help the home sell faster while providing a meaningful ROI (return on investment). 

As long as you put yourself in the home buyer’s shoes and get with a realtor you trust, you’ll be able to boost your property value and sell your house for a fair price. 

Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.

Posted in Listing your home
June 16, 2020

Downtown Chicago Condos For Sale

Downtown Chicago Condos for sale. Downtown Chicago condos rank among some of the most beautiful real estate in the country. With the backdrop of beautiful Lake Michigan, most downtown residents are within walking distance of this great lake. If you work downtown and live in any of the downtown Chicago neighborhoods (West Loop, South Loop, Streeterville, Gold Coast, River North, Lincoln Park, Old Town, and the New East Side) you are a 5-minute walk to most public transportation. Famous Architecture and charm abound in all the nearby neighborhoods.

If you lean towards new construction, there is plenty under construction right now. My personal favorites are any Chicago condo building that provides a view of the Lake or Grant Park. 1000M is a new downtown Chicago condo project on Michigan Ave. This building promises incredible Lake Michigan and Grant Park views. Another building that is close to completion is Vista. Incredible views of the Lake and the Park, along with hotel-style amenities. If you love new construction but also enjoy old-world character, you have to check out The Tribune Tower. They are keeping the original character and incorporating it into the new condos. 

There is no question. Downtown Chicago Real Estate has something to offer for everyone's taste and budget.

Call today and let's get started finding your next home in downtown Chicago! 312-296-9300

Below is a picture I snapped just yesterday of Vista. This is a view across the park.


April 22, 2020

Real Estate is selling!

We made a seamless transition into Virtual Showings as we have always done 360 walk-thru videos on all our listings.

Ready to sell? What are you waiting for? We offer the Virtual Open House and when buyers are ready to see the home in person we supply masks, gloves, and shoe covers.

Call today for a consultation and see our 3D Virtual package below to get your home sold.

Christine Hancock

312-296-9300 (Text-Friendly)



Posted in Moving
March 5, 2020

What $300,000 gets you in the West Loop

The West Loop has become one of the most popular Downtown Chicago neighborhoods. As prices rise can you still find an entry-level condo? We have found 2. The neighborhood is popular because of the proximity of shops, the most trendy restaurants in the city, nightlife, and a number of new corporations such as Google and McDonalds. Save the commute,  Live where you work. 


125 S. Jefferson St. #1901. Chicago 1 bed/bath $287,500 incl. parking

Park Alexandria

More Info


130 S. Canal St. #9J Chicago 1 bed/1 bath $260,000 incl. parking

Metropolitan Place

More Info

130 S. Canal #9J


Aug. 13, 2019

5 Things to Lookout for The First Time You View a Home

Chicago has always been a popular city. Glamorized in popular films and visited by millions each year, trying to find the best slice of that famous Deep Dish Pizza and sample everything else Chicago has to offer. People are moving to Chicago from all over the world and Chicago Real Estate is booming as a result.


But searching for the ideal home can be a complicated process. Not only do you need to make sure that you choose the best neighborhood with easy access to all your must-have amenities, but you also need to ensure that you have a plan in place to protect yourself from an investment you're going to regret.


Trustworthy home advisory teams can help you find a property that's more likely to suit your needs, but it's still worth taking advantage of your viewings to ensure you haven't overlooked any critical issues. Here are just 5 of the things you'll need to watch for the first time that you view a home in Chicago.

1.     Your Personal Dealbreakers


Before you even start browsing through potential homes for you and your family, it's worth creating a list of items that you absolutely can't afford to compromise on. For instance, property crime can be higher in the south side, so you might decide that you can't afford to live in a space that doesn't have a good neighborhood watch system in place, or in a house without a strong security system.


Choosing your deal breakers early on will keep you focused when you're viewing new homes, and it will also give your real-estate advisors something to go off when they're picking the properties to show you.

2.     A Roof in Repair


Before you walk inside of a house, take a few minutes to check out what's going on overhead. Does the roof look new? Are there are any missing tiles or shingles that you need to be aware of? A reputable real estate agent should make sure that you know about any serious problems that need fixing, but they may not be aware of minor issues with things like guttering or a broken tile.


If you're willing to fix a small problem yourself, simply noticing an issue with the roof could mean that you get away with offering a lower price on your dream home.

3.     Plenty of Insulation


The weather in Chicago can be quite good, (in the summer) however the winters can get pretty hairy. In the early months of the year like January, the temperatures can drop and often times stay well below zero, so it's important your home is ready to protect you against any change in the seasons.


Check the water pipes, heating ducts, and the attic to make sure that they're properly insulated. Even if you don't face many cold months, a well-insulated home can save you money by reducing your heating and cooling costs throughout the year.

4.     Sturdy Flooring


You may not think that it's important to check the floors in your potential home before you move in, but your floorboards can tell you a lot more than you'd think. One of the best ways to tell that there may be an issue with the plumbing is to look for floors in your property that have sagging or dipping around the bathroom or kitchen.


If the biggest problem that you have with the flooring is that you don't like the laminate, then you'll be fine - just avoid any other major issues.

5.     Parking Spaces


If you're new to Chicago, then it's worth noting that the public transport system isn't as reliable as it should be. Unless you're within walking distance of your workplace, the kids' school and anywhere else you need to go, then you might need a car.


Look for a home that has either a garage space or driveway that you can use to keep your vehicle safe when you're not using it.. After all, you're not going to spend all of your time at home - no matter how great your new property is.

Nov. 17, 2018

The 5 Most Popular Amenities to Look for In Your New Condo Building


When it comes to purchasing the ideal home, houses may have their appeal, but there's one thing that they lack that a truly incredible apartment building can offer: great amenities. According to research from Apartment Guide, most people searching for apartments today will place more focus on finding the individual amenities that are most likely to deliver the greatest convenience and joy in their day-to-day lives.


What's more, recent studies have shown that the demand for fitness and wellness related amenities are on the rise as people begin to place more importance on their health. Here are some of the top facilities you should consider when you're looking for your new home.

1.     Fitness Center


Why bother wasting time and money on driving to the gym every night when you can have a fitness center right on your doorstep? A fitness centre is one of the most popular amenities for apartment owners today for numerous reasons. Not only do these solutions make it easier to stay fit, but the remove some of the excuses that might prevent you from hitting the gym. There's no reason not to take to the treadmill for half an hour when it's just two minutes away.

2.     Pet-Friendly Homes


Everyone wants a home where they can enjoy moments with their favorite four-legged friends. Countless people searching for an apartment will avoid making an offer if the location they love doesn't allow for pets. While a pet-friendly building is excellent, just make sure that you get the help of a professional cleaning service to remove any lingering smells, stains, or fur before you move into your new space.

3.     Spaces for Socialization


Whether it's a swimming pool or a lobby area where you can unwind after a tough day at work, your apartment building can also be a fantastic social spot. In modern apartments, socialization areas are becoming increasingly popular - and why not? Imagine how fun life would be if you were always just a few short steps away from some of your best friends?

4.     Business Centre


As the lines between work and home life become increasingly blurred, it pays to have a place where you can focus and hold crucial meetings without always having to go into the office. Some of the more sophisticated apartment buildings today are beginning to offer business centers and conference rooms perfect for ambitious individuals who want to make it in the professional world.

5.     Secure Parking


Finally, a safe and convenient off-street parking location is a must-have for apartments today. Some buildings even have gated areas to keep your vehicles protected overnight. Just make sure that if your chosen property has a secured parking area, you let the building know in advance when your moving van is coming. It may also help to reserve an elevator so that your professional moving team can transport your belongings into your property faster. This post was kindly written for us by Micheal Brennan over at Bellhops Movers






Feb. 26, 2018

Aspiring Scientists Living in Chicago Love the Museum of Science and Industry

Enjoy living in Chicago and go to the Museum of Science and Industry.The many amazing museums are one of the best things about living in Chicago. The Museum of Science and Industry is one of the most famous in the city. There’s so much to see, you should really consider getting a membership so you can come back for several different visits. One of the current exhibits is Brick by Brick, which features amazing structures built entirely from LEGO bricks. Native son Adam Reed Tucker, who is also a LEGO Certified Professional. The exhibit will inspire kids and adults alike with the power of play and imagination. It will be on display through April 1st.

The permanent exhibits are also well worth checking out. Go to Extreme Ice to see the photographic documentation of rapidly melting polar ice, and make a hands-on connection at the 7-foot ice wall. Science Storms is a fascinating exploration of storm phenomena, including lightning, tornadoes, tsunamis and more. The exhibit allows visitors to experience the science behind these events.

Younger visitors from your Chicago house will have a grand time at the Idea Factory. The exhibit is specially built for kids 10 and younger to enjoy. The Water Spectacle is one of the favorite spots, where kids can use the hydrodynamic playset to float, spray, and splash objects. Raincoats are available to borrow.

Get the Kids in Your Chicago House to the Spring Make Festival

MSI also hosts many science-based events. From March 9th to April 8th, everyone is invited to the Spring Make Festival. Visitors will engage their creativity and critical thinking in events that teach engineering, robotics, and more through projects.

Regular museum hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day of the week. Sometimes these hours change to accommodate events, so be sure to check before visiting. Visit the Museum of Science and Industry to learn more about exhibits, see the schedule of events, and purchase tickets.


Feb. 26, 2018

Explore the Ocean on South Loop Real Estate at Shedd Aquarium

Go to Shedd Aquarium on South Loop real estate.For a day out on South Loop real estate, head to Shedd Aquarium. This popular destination houses sea creatures from all over the world, from the Amazon to the Caribbean to the Great Lakes to the Polar seas. If you’ve ever wanted to see a piranha, go to the Amazon rising exhibit. You’ll learn about how to the yearly floods affect both the people and animals that live there. Time a visit to the Caribbean Reef exhibit to coincide with feeding time. A diver will give the animals their meal and be available to answer questions. Kids from residential South Loop properties love the Polar Play Zone. They can dress up as penguins and slide around, then hop in the submarine and go on a deep water exploration. After playtime, check out the polar creatures, like whales and sea otters in the exhibits close by. These are just a few of the exhibits you can explore at Shedd Aquarium.

South Loop Properties are Convenient to the Underwater Experiences

Get more details about the life and habits of some of your favorite creatures at Animal Chats. Held throughout the day, these free events feature a keeper giving a talk on a specific animal. Questions are encouraged. Get a full sensory experience at the 4-D theater. The schedule of films changes regularly. Right now, the theater is screening a film on sharks, coastal predators, and Jim Henson’s fun cartoon Splash and Bubbles. Go to the animal encounters to have a hands-on experience with the sea animals there. Stingray Touch is open mid-May to October, and offers visitors the opportunity to find out how a stingray feels. Several species of starfish make their homes in the touch pool at the Polar Play Zone. Visitors can also learn about a local species of fish, the sturgeon, at the At Home in the Great Lakes exhibit.

Visit Shedd Aquarium to learn more about the exhibits, special events, and ticket options.


Feb. 26, 2018

Go Shopping and Eat Near West Loop Homes at Chicago French Market

Go shopping near West Loop homes at Chicago French Market.People living in West Loop homes can shop local in the European-style Chicago French Market. It’s the ideal spot to find fresh produce, as well as antibiotic-free meats and wild-caught fish. City Market has you covered for all of your grocery needs. If you come to the market hungry, there are tons of options for delicious meals. If you come for breakfast, head to Flip Crepes. Choose from savory and sweet fillings, and enjoy the distinctive burrito-wrapped goodness. Try Firenze Italian Street Food to get the taste of Florence. The sandwiches are made with homemade bread and authentic Italian cured meat. If you have a craving for seafood, go to Da Lobsta. Here you’ll find lobster rolls and sandwiches. You can also find a wonderful meal at Polpette: the Original Meatball Place & More. Of course, there are meatballs, as well as sandwiches and pasta dishes. Or just go in for dessert to try the ricotta cookies, homemade Italian ice cream, or tiramisu.

LIVE in West Loop: Blues, Storytelling, and Classical Guitar

Chicago French Market is also a great place to find entertainment. The Rush Hour Concert Series is held on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. There are blues bands, storytellers, classical guitarists, and many more. Each month has a different set of Happy Hour specials, so foodies who live in West Loop can try out different delicious offerings. Vendors also offer their own specials and discounts that change from month to month.

Open year-round, Chicago French Market is indoors, so you can get the best food and produce no matter the weather. It’s located at 131 North Clinton, between Washington and Randolph. The market is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It’s closed on Sundays.