CategoriesBuyers Chicago First Time Home Buyer Investors Real Estate Sellers

Outperforming the Market

One of the biggest trends to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic is the focus on housing & what people need from their home. Gone are the days where home was just a place you laid your head, now it is your workplace, your school, your gym, & more. As people seek more space and look to take advantage of low interest rates, the local real estate market has seen a strong recovery.

In fact, the number of homes that have gone under contract in the Chicagoland area since COVID-19 hit in the middle of March is up 8.6% compared to the mid-March through mid-September period last year. Meanwhile, @properties is outperforming the market, with new contracts up 20.3% during this timeframe.

New listings are another important performance metric. And while they are down market-wide since the start of the pandemic, @properties’ new listings are up over 5% year over year which is showing strong recovery.

As the region’s largest and most dynamic marketplace for homebuyers and sellers, @properties puts you in the best position to achieve your real estate goals. With our best-in-class marketing, leader status, & fully integrated programs; @properties is an industry leader year after year & the best brokerage to work with whether selling or purchasing your home.

If you are thinking of making a move in 2021 – Let me partner with you & guide you home.

Let’s connect on social!

A portion of this post originally appeared on @home, an @properties blog.

Moving Day MUST HAVES!
CategoriesBuyers First Time Home Buyer Renters Sellers Uncategorized

Moving Day MUST HAVES!

Now that you know my top 14 tips to make moving day a breeze.. you are ready to go shopping & prepare for the big move! If you are like me.. you have mixed emotions about moving day. I will say I do always love getting the chance to audit my stuff, organize it all, & get creative in styling my new home. However the stress of the move, the physical labor of it all, & the looming hours of unpacking ahead can be daunting… but it doesn’t need to be.

Moving Day MUST HAVES!

As a REALTOR who has helped 100’s of clients move & as someone who has moved 4 times in the last 6 years (the curse of being a real estate broker & finding the coolest homes is you want to move into them all..) I consider myself a moving expert. Whether it’s a rental, you’ve purchased your first home, or your 10th home; you will absolutely need everything below & will thank yourself later for having it organized & ready to go! As we know, I prioritize convenience so below are directs links to amazon for all of my moving day must haves – ‘add to cart’ & get it delivered right to your doorstep, couldn’t be easier!

Cleaning Supplies: I cannot stress this enough, clean your house from top to bottom BEFORE moving in. While we hope the previous owners or landlords would have the courtesy to leave the home clean, that isn’t always the case. Be prepared to make your new space sparkle & start out this next chapter on the right page. The below products are absolutely necessary with the most important products first. Do not move into your new home without these!!

  • Multi-purpose cleaning spray and bleach wipes to sanitize & disinfect all surfaces. Tip: First thing to do when you arrive is clean the inside of the fridge/freezer with bleach but be sure to unplug the refrigerator & freezer prior to cleaning, prop the doors open to air out
  • Handheld vacuum for baseboards, vents, cupboards, etc. Tip: Clean literally from Top to Bottom in every room to catch all of the dust, dirt, etc. Finish with the floors once you are all moved in!
  • Washing Machine cleanerTIP: ALWAYS clean your washing machine before doing your first load of laundry
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Dishwasher cleaner
  • Toilet brush & cleaner
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
  • Bi-Fold Paper towels
  • Washable dust cloths – Wipe it allll down
  • 60 gallon trash bags for each room to help keep it tidy when unpacking
  • Bar Keepers Friend – If you don’t already have this, you need it. Not moving specific, but it’s truly amazing. Check out this article in Taste of Home to see all of the ways to use it.

Moving Supplies: Most of these items you will want before you move! I would suggest getting boxes from home depot but definitely place an order for the below items about 2 weeks before moving day!

  • Dolly/hand truck to move boxes from one room to the other
  • Mattress Bags
  • Wardrobe boxes – Uhaul has the best ones
  • Boxes of all sizes. Tip: Specifically Banker’s Boxes for small/fragile items, office files, books, etc. because they are so easy to carry, easy to break down, but great for long term storage as well
  • More packing tape than you’ll think you’ll ever need
  • Color coded labels
  • Heavy duty storage bags
  • Foam sheets/pouches + packing paper
  • Utility knife
  • Stretch Wrap for furniture
  • Tool set for taking apart & reassembling

First Day & Night Bag: YOU DID IT, YOU ARE READY FOR MOVING DAY!! or are you.. The last thing you want to do now is search for your pillow case, tooth brush, & pajamas. Make sure you pack an ‘overnight’ or weekend bag with all of your necessities so you aren’t scrambling to find what you need.

  • Anything you’d take for a weekend getaway including pajamas + additional clothes, toiletries, etc.
  • Snacks
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Phone chargers
  • First aid kit + prescriptions
  • Paper plates, cups, flatware for easy dining & clean up
  • Bath towels + shower curtain if applicable
  • Diffuser & essential oils because some aromatherapy is needed after this stressful day #calm #chill #restore

There ya have it! You are ready to rock this move. If you haven’t already, check out my post on my top 14 tips for moving day.


14 Easy Tips to Make Moving Day a Breeze!

Moving day can be a stressful, emotional, and an overwhelming experience; but it doesn’t have to be! As a REALTOR who has helped 100’s of clients move & as someone who has moved 4 times in the last 6 years (the curse of being a real estate broker & finding the coolest homes is you want to move into them all..) I consider myself a moving expert. Below are my 14 Easy Tips to Make Moving Day a Breeze.

1. Schedule Movers & Packers

One of my biggest tips to is hire packers, lifters, & movers. Many companies are a one stop shop, but if you aren’t interested in all of it you can always just pick one of these services to make your life easier! If you are planning to hire movers I recommend booking them about 6 weeks in advance. Not everyone has the financial freedom to hire full service help, but I will say hiring packers is a game changer if you are short on time, not only for productivity but also organization. Whether you hire help or just recruit friends & family, my tips below will surely help you stay organized & efficient. If you do have helpful friends & fam… make sure to order pizza & buy some beverages – then you can technically call it a party!

2. Create a Timeline + Game Plan

1 month before the big move you want to start preparing by creating a game plan & timeline. Create a check-list & mount it on the fridge so it stays top of mind & you can remind yourself of important dates. Plan to start packing about 10 days before the move, stop buying groceries a week before, defrost the freezer 48 hours before moving, & prep coolers for food storage in the interim.

3. Get Moving Supplies

I always recommend starting to pack 10 days in advance. You still want to enjoy your home while you have it, but that 10 day window provides enough time to get everything done. Uhaul has the best wardrobe boxes & home depot has the best priced various size boxes. Heavy items in small boxes, light items in large boxes. Utilize luggage for books, shoes, & heavy non-fragile items. My post on Moving Day MUST HAVEs gives an all encompassing shopping list of suggested moving items.

4. Plan Out your New Space

If you read nothing else, please be sure to read these next 2 tips as they are my best tips of ALL – Create a floor plan of your new home & print a copy for every room, emailing a copy to yourself just in case (this is a good website to create one if you’re a perfectionist like me). Designate a color for each room on the floor plan creating a master guide for all of the boxes & items you are about to pack. This will help before the move as you can organize your space thoroughly and completely when packing, in turn making unpacking a breeze! If there are miscellaneous items that don’t technically have a room, designate an area on the floor plan to put those items so you know exactly where they are.

5. Color Coordinate (DO NOT SKIP THIS!) seriously, these are a game changer..

In conjunction with the floor plan, color coordinate the boxes with their respective rooms so movers, helpers, & you know exactly where to put boxes amidst the moving chaos. If you want to get real granular (I know I do!!) number each box & notate items inside on a spreadsheet; especially great when doing a cross country move as you’ll know exactly how many boxes you should have & you can look directly for kitchen box #17 when searching for your wine glasses instead of opening everyyyy box.

6. Donate

The beauty of moving is getting reacquainted with all of your belongings as you lovingly pack them up. Did you know you had this much stuff?? Do you still need that T-Shirt from high school.. Take this time to audit your items, declutter, & whatever you haven’t used in years or don’t bring you JOY.. donate! Put a donate box & bag in every room to easily organize.

7. Pick the Day

I always suggest my clients try to avoid moving in as soon as you get keys. Sometimes there is no other option, but it you can build in a day between key pick up & move in.. I would highly suggest it! Why? Because not everyone has the same version of clean so you will want to schedule in some time to clean or even better hire cleaners! New home cleaning services can be fairly reasonable & will save you the stress. If you do have to move in as you get keys, clean room by room & move in accordingly.

8. Put Together a Cleaning Kit

As mentioned above, always schedule some time before the big move to clean your new space! Get a cleaning supply kit ready to go to bring with you & get cleaning! My post on Moving Day MUST HAVE’s highlights my favorite cleaning supplies & tips – Protip: get it all delivered to your new home or get it delivered to your current home a few days before the move, keep it all in the box, & bring with on move in day!

9. Pack Weekend Bag/Important Things Box

YOU DID IT! But the last thing you want to do now is search for your pillow case, tooth brush, & pajamas. Make sure you pack an ‘overnight’ or weekend bag with all of your necessities so you aren’t scrambling to find what you need. Additionally, pack important documents, birth certificates, ID’s, jewelry, etc. in a box for you to move yourself. More tips here.

10. Map it Out

Print out your preferred route for the moving team so there is no confusion on routes. Movers are notorious for going rouge on their routes as they get paid by the hour, but helpers & friends can sometimes get lost too. Make it easy for everyone by giving them a map.

11. Disconnect & Set up New Utility Services

I recommend scheduling new utility service 2 weeks before & setting up for the day before move in or the morning of at the latest. Disconnect your existing services at the same time for the evening of moving day.

12. Change address

One week before your move change your address with USPS, insurance providers, cell/internet provider, health care services, employers, school, etc.

13. Confirm move in details

Confirm with movers, helpers, packers, & building (if applicable) all of your moving day details to avoid any hiccups!

14. Celebrate

Make sure to take some photos in front of your old home for the memory box & snap some shots in front of you new one!

That’s it – You are ready for the move! That was pretty easy, wasn’t it? Now just be sure to remind yourself to relax as much as possible & it will all be over soon 🙂 If you have any other amazing tips be sure to share & I will add to the list!

**2020 COVID BONUS TIP: Since sanitization is at the top of our minds, it’s smart to confine items to the garage or one room of your home and then be sure to disinfect and wipe everything down. If you used a moving company or had helpers, be safe & wait at least 24 hours to open your boxes!

COVID19 emergency rental assistance
CategoriesInvestors Real Estate Renters Uncategorized

COVID Rental Assistance

Throughout the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic I have had dozens of renters & a few landlords reach out to me for my advice on how to handle COVID rental assistance due to job loss & back rent. Below is some helpful information & how to handle this tough situation as both as a renter & a landlord.

IMPORTANT: Applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance grant will be open until Friday, August 28

IHDA developed the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) to support Illinois tenants unable to pay their rent due to a COVID-19-related loss of income. Loss of income can be job loss, furlough, loss of hours, decreased wages, etc. Tenants whose application is approved will receive a one-time grant of $5,000 paid directly to their landlord to cover missed rent payments beginning March 2020 and prepay payments through December 2020, or until the $5,000 is exhausted, whichever comes first.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Your household income before March 1, 2020 was less than the maximum allowed for your area – Check you eligibility here
  • You or an adult member of your household has had a loss of income due to COVID-19. Loss of income can be job loss, furlough, loss of hours, decreased wages, etc.
  • You have an unpaid rent balance that began sometime after March 1, 2020

Make sure to verify that you have the following information prior to beginning your application for COVID Rental Assistance:

  • Landlord’s full name
  • Landlord’s accurate email address
  • Government issued ID that matches your address
    • If your ID does not match the address on your application, you will need to upload proof of your current address
Frequently Asked Questions
  • How will my landlord know I applied for COVID Rental Assistance? Notify your landlord that you applied for assistance under ERA. Let your landlord know that they will receive an email from the IHDA ERA program inviting them to submit required documents
  • What if the address on my lease does not match the address on my driver’s license or ID? In order to have a completed application for rental assistance, you must provide a legal document with your current address.
  • I have a verbal lease with my landlord, am I still eligible to apply? Unfortunately, you’re ineligible for ERA assistance if you do not have a written lease or contract.
  • I have an eviction pending, can this program assist me? Yes, you may still apply so long as you have not been evicted. Please inform your landlord, legal representation and county judge (if applicable) that you have applied for the program
  • My lease has expired, am I still eligible to apply for COVID Rental Assistance? Unfortunately, you’re ineligible for this assistance if you do not have a current lease.
  • When will I know if my application has been approved? You will receive an email within 2-3 weeks of your application alerting you if you have been approved for the grant. Your landlord will receive the funds as soon as 10 business days after approval.
  • Do I have to pay the $5,000 back to IHDA? No, you will not have to pay this assistance back is a grant and repayment is not required.
  • Will I be taxed on the $5,000 COVID Rental Assistance grant? No. The assistance is due to an emergency and is structured as a one-time grant payment; neither the tenant nor the landlord will be taxed
If you need assistance applying..

IHDA has partnered with 62 Community and Outreach Assistance organizations standing by to help you at no cost. You can find a list of these organizations via the Resource button on For additional assistance you may also call IHDA’s call center at (312) 883-2720, or toll-free at (888) 252-1119.

For more information visit IHDA’s website.

I’m here if you have any questions – Reach out to me here or send email to!

Regret proof your home purchase
CategoriesBuyers First Time Home Buyer Uncategorized

How to ‘Regret-Proof’ Your Home Purchase

I’ve found that one of the biggest hurdles first time buyers or purchasers in general face is the idea of *regret* or having cold feet. Are you making the right decision? Is this the property for you? Are you sure you are ready for this commitment? Will something better come on the market? What if you need to move next year? So many questions. While I don’t have the exact answer to these questions, I have complied a list of ‘regret-proof’ steps to help you be confident in the purchase of your first or next home.

Step 1: Talk to your Lender

If you’re getting a loan, this is a very crucial first step. While I know everyone loves a little online house shopping, if you are planning to purchase you need to get serious about your budget & understand your limits. Your lender will work with you on a pre-approval, discuss loan options & programs, & establish an ideal monthly payment that makes sense for you, your lifestyle, & your comfort level.

Step 2: Understand Unexpected Costs

The biggest regret I see buyers have is not understanding the unexpected costs & general costs of home ownership. While it’s easy to say owning > renting because your $2000/mo can go towards your mortgage & equity!! BUT, trading your monthly rent towards your mortgage doesn’t always translate that cleanly. You need to take into account HOA fees, taxes, PMI, etc. While your Realtor & lender will calculate & work within those limits, don’t forget about the cost of homeownership. I usually tell my clients to budget 1-3% of their home purchase on yearly maintenance. That may be a conservative number, but you need to be prepared to make necessary repairs when/if they are needed.

Step 3: Don’t Max Out your Pre-approved Limit

You are pre-approved up to $750,000 – Congratulations!! People can often ‘afford’ much more house than they should comfortably be spending. A common theme I see with first time buyers is maxing out their limits & becoming house poor. Meaning they save & save for the down payment to afford the dream condo or single family home, but upon closing can’t afford to furnish it, sacrifice their gym membership, or give up the next few family vacations. While the pride of homeownership is an amazing feeling, don’t over extend you or your budget beyond your comfortability.

Step 4: Work Backwards Towards your Home Budget

Home buying can get emotional quickly, but don’t let it. Be dedicated to your budget by understanding your limits, your income, your current obligations, & honor whatever current/upcoming debt you may have. While your pre-approval is great, I always recommend my client be painstakingly pragmatic when home shopping. Don’t get me wrong, if you are looking for a dream house with no budget, I am more than happy to assist 😉

Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it. – George Halas

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