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May 2008 - Posts

CHICAGO SPORTS BLOG - HERE COMES JUNE AND OUR CHICAGO BASEBALL TEAMS ARE ON TOP
It's been a pervading theme for my blog and much of the talk around the town that both our Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox are in first place. Seemingly, for both teams a very possible 1 st place finish come season's end since both teams have Read More...
THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - PRE-SUMMER FESTIVALS A MUST!
Even though the weekend weather might not cooperate fully with tons of sunshine and warmth, after this week's 40 degree drop in temperature from Monday's 80's, anything above 50 is going to be a pleasure. So, I suggest you take it outdoors Read More...
GO TO A BALLGAME - A HOCKEY GAME MAY BREAK OUT!
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS NHL HOCKEY MAY PLAY - OUTDOORS - AT WRIGLEY FIELD THIS JANUARY! Across North America and in Europe, most professional hockey is played in an indoor ice arena, of course. Only true fans know, however, that most pro hockey players got Read More...
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - LAKEVIEW, LOOP, LINCOLN PARK, ALBANY PARK
LAKEVIEW For about five years now, our fine city has not had a frozen custard stand, which other cities such as Milwaukee, St. Louis and Champaign-Urbana have enjoyed. Then Scooter's Custard was introduced into Lakeview. Scooter's is Chicago's Read More...
LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG: Human or Dog, Losing Your Wheels - Even if Only TWO Wheels - Can Be Heartwrenching!
THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG! Have you ever had your bicycle stolen? Heartbreaking, isn't it? My Human Dad lost his Stingray Handlebar Model, with a Banana Style Seat , many Read More...
AVERAGE CHICAGO METRO HOME PRICE UP 16.4% IN FIRST QUARTER, 2008
TWO-THIRDS OF U.S. METRO MARKETS SHOW PRICE GAINS IN FIRST QUARTER! The Chicago Metro Real Estate Market is big and diverse. Taken as a whole, however, the average home price here increased over 16%, year to year, between the First Quarter, 2007, and Read More...
OUR FAVORITE RECIPES - ROMAINE SALAD WITH PITA CRISPS AND SESAME
The diminutive pine nut is a strong ally in the weight-loss battle. These ivory-colored gems contain the monounsaturated fats and the fiber you need to resist a snack attack. Removing the stubborn nuts from the inside of a pinecone is difficult work, Read More...
FANNIE MAE, FREDDIE MAC POLICY REVERSAL ON "DECLINING MARKETS" - Tempered by Mortgage Insurers' Inflexibility!
PMI ISSUERS - NO CHANGE ON THEIR "DECLINING MARKET" POLICY! When I was a kid, I remember my father telling me, time and time again, "If it sounds like too good a deal, it probably ISN'T!" What is happening in today's mortgage Read More...
NEW PRICE - ONLY $149,400! Incredible 2BR Condo Value, Rogers Park Vintage Courtyard Building - 2 Blocks to The Lake!
Rogers Park, Chicago - Classic Courtyard Building, Restored to Perfection in 2004, offers 2 Large, Sunny Bedrooms – one with Bay Window! Open Floor Plan – Gourmet Kitchen with 1 ¼” Granite Countertops, Maple Cabinets, and Premium Read More...
KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - THOUGHTS AND OTHER MUSINGS ON THE SPRING SEASON
As we know from living in the Chicagoland area, spring can be an elusive thing. Either we jump from winter directly into summer or warmer temps never seem to come. Last year it went right into summer with temps exceeding 70 most days. This year is a different Read More...
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - GET ADDICTED
There is a new way to get all the news you want from all the different popular sources - on ONE web page. It's called Addictomatic and is truly addicting. Let's say you want to see what is going during the current presidential election. You go Read More...
CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE STATS PACK - May 26, 2008
Good Morning! Hope you're enjoying your Memorial Day Holiday, everyone! While enjoying the time off today with your family and friends, we ask that you take a few minutes to reflect on those in our Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice Read More...
In Many Major U.S. Cities - Downtown Home Prices Stable, While Suburbs Prices Fall!
PATTERN OF CHICAGO DOWNTOWN PRICE STABILITY REPEATED ACROSS THE COUNTRY! The Chicago Real Estate Market , circa 2008, has shown some pockets of hope, amid much gloom. Typically, homes and condos Dean's Team market, and those listed by other Downtown Read More...
CHICAGO SPORTS BLOG - DID THE RECENT NBA LOTTERY SAVE JOHN PAXSON’S JOB?
You have to wonder if winning the NBA's draft lottery will do more than just bring a great player to the Chicago Bulls in next month's NBA draft . With just a 1.7 percent chance of winning the first pick, the Chicago Bulls were able to secure Read More...
THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - MEMORIAL DAY FUN
To commemorate Memorial Day this wonderful weekend in Chicago; why not come out and enjoy, a parade and some fireworks. The Chicago Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony along with the Parade is scheduled for this Saturday. The morning starts with Wreath Read More...
LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG - CHICAGO BEACHES ON LAKE MICHIGAN OPEN FRIDAY, MAY 23rd! Hey, You Dogs - Go Jump in The Lake!
THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG! Got my new Speedo's (But My Real Name is Mr. Earl)! Found a Waterproof Cub Hat! Bought me a new tube of Sunblock, DPF (Dog Protection Factor) Read More...
PRICING RIGHT IS THE KEY - Especially In This Market!
TOO-HIGH ASKING PRICE USUALLY REDUCES EVENTUAL SALES PRICE! Here in Chicago , if we run into this once, we've run into it one thousand times from home sellers - "Let's try a higher price to start with when we sell. We can always come down Read More...
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - LOGAN SQUARE, WEST LOOP, LINCOLN PARK, OAK PARK
LOGAN SQUARE Chicago's cycling community will gather for a memorial ride Wednesday night past intersections where fatal car-bike accidents happened. Cyclists will gather at 6:45 p.m. in Daley Plaza. From there they will proceed on a 12-mile route Read More...
RIVER NORTH, CHICAGO! Incredible Views in this True 1BR River Plaza Condo - on the Chicago River, Steps from Michigan Avenue!
NEW ON THE MARKET! 820 sq. ft., 1 bath, 1 bdrm single story - MLS® 06901595 Only $267,500! River North, Chicago - On The River! Incredible South-Exposure True One Bedroom in River Plaza – High Floor! Look out your 45th Floor Window – see Read More...
OUR FAVORITE RECIPES - NOT YOUR MOM'S DEVILED EGGS
BACON CHEDDAR DEVILED EGGS Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 24 eggs INGREDIENTS 12 eggs 1/2 cup mayonnaise 4 slices bacon 2 tablespoons finely shredded Cheddar cheese 1 tablespoon mustard DIRECTIONS Place eggs in Read More...
GUEST BLOGGER - RICH BIRA, FIRST CAPITAL MORTGAGE, CHICAGO IL - May 20, 2008
YOUR HOME EQUITY LINE OF CREDIT – IT MIGHT BE IN TROUBLE! (Rich Bira , our Preferred Lending Partner at First Capital Mortgage, Chicago IL, serving all Chicago Neighborhoods and suburbs, has been handing financing for many of our clients for over Read More...
OPEN HOUSES FOR SELLING HOMES? They're Losing Steam Fast!
PUBLIC OPENS GENERATE SALES LEADS FOR REALTORS, BUT RARELY SELL THE HOME! Early in my real estate career - some twelve years or more ago - each and every Sunday afternoon was personally booked for an Open House on one or more of my residential listings. Read More...
KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TOPS - INSTANT LAWN!!
HAVING SUCCESS WITH SOD Whether you're doing the entire lawn or a small patch, installation is pretty simple. Make sure you have a good base, which includes tilled soil augmented with a mixture of 2 parts top soil to one part each sand and compost. Read More...
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - SAVING ON PHONE COSTS
So in this current economic climate, there is always a desire to save money or at least get creative with current finances. I found this new USB device that will help you save on phone bills. You simply plug in the USB and then attach your phone to the Read More...
CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE STATS PACK - May 19, 2008
Good Morning, Everyone! FHA-Underwritten Mortgage Loans, which had fallen from favor during the recent housing boom, are becoming popular again for those with very little down payment funds, and somewhat blemished credit. FHA loans allow for lower personal Read More...
FHA MORTGAGE LOANS - New System Would Boost Mortgage Insurance Premiums for Those With Lower FICO Credit Scores!
STARTLING STATISTIC FINDS LOWER-INCOME BUYERS TYPICALLY HAVE HIGHER FICO CREDIT SCORES! Over the years, loans underwritten by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), have typically been more forgiving of those with blemished credit. Lending rules for FHA Read More...
SMOKE FREE ILLINOIS - For Some Smokers, Golf Courses Provide the Last Refuge!
CHICAGO AND MANY SUBURBS HAVE BANNED OUTDOOR SMOKING IN MANY PLACES - BUT IT'S STILL LEGAL ON THE LINKS! Illinois "Smoke Free" Law went into effect the first of this year, banning smoking in virtually all indoor public places and all restaurants, Read More...
HIGH GAS PRICES - DO THEY AFFECT HOME PRICES?
WITH AVERAGE PRICES FOR REGULAR GASOLINE EXCEEDING $4.00/GALLON IN MANY METRO AREAS, ARE HOMEBUYERS FAVORING CLOSER-IN CITY LOCATIONS OVER FARTHER-OUT SUBURBS? I was nearly floored when I saw the price sign at a Shell Station yesterday afternoon - $4.35/gallon Read More...
CHICAGO SPORTS BLOG - EX-CARDINAL, JIM EDMONDS, JOINS THE CHICAGO CUBS
I never thought I'd see the day when Jim Edmonds would be wearing Cubbie Blue. It's hard to be levelheaded about him since he may have been the most hated Cardinal whenever the Cardinals would face the Cubs . From a business perspective, it's Read More...
THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - HAVE FUN ... FOR NOT A LOT OF CASH!
Everything seems to be going up in price these days except our take home pay! What's wrong with this picture? Well, I thought for this weekend, especially with gas prices reaching $4.00 a gallon, I would choose a handful of activities that wouldn't Read More...
LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG: More and More Humans Ditch Land Lines - in Favor of Cell Phones!
THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG! Sorry - you caught me counting out my Life Savings. My tank is low, and I have to head out to buy some gas! In the car. At the park. While walking Read More...
CHICAGO LOOP CONDO MARKET Faces A Historic Glut of Inventory in 2008!
AN ESTIMATED 6,000 NEW CONDOS TO HIT THE MARKET IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO IN 2008 - ONLY 201 UNITS SOLD 1ST QUARTER THIS YEAR! It's getting tougher to finance a new condo these days! Here in Chicago, and in most other parts of the U.S., lenders are tightening Read More...
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - LOGAN SQUARE, WEST LOOP, LOOP, NORWOOD PARK, EVANSTON
LOGAN SQUARE Second City e.t.c. always faces a tough challenge. It has to be both edgy and experimental, keep up its image and outwit its competition. With weekends bringing on sold out shows consistently, the general audience is looking to laugh hard Read More...
OUR FAVORITE RECIPES - SANGRIA
Being a wine geek of sorts, I wanted to try something a little different so I went on the search for a great sangria recipe. I have to admit that there are literally thousands of ways to make a good sangria. Essentially it's all in the way you spice Read More...
CHICAGO AREA MEDIAN HOME PRICES DOWN 6.6% - 1ST Quarter, 2008 vs. 2007!
CHICAGO METRO AREA FARES BETTER THAN MANY - MEDIAN SINGLE-FAMILY HOME PRICE $249,600! First Quarter, 2008 data released yesterday by the National Association of Realtors indicate the median single-family home price dropped in 100 out of 149 Metro Markets Read More...
KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS YOU CAN USE!!!
SOME EXEMPTIONS YOU MAY BE MISSING! Today I wanted to take a small departure from the usual home and garden issues. I've been running across some listings in the MLS lately where the owners have not taken advantage of their homeowners exemption on Read More...
FAIRER, MORE IMPARTIAL APPRAISALS? Many Contend Plan by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac is Off The Mark!
NEW CODE, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2009, WOULD PROHIBIT LOAN ORIGINATORS FROM HAVING CONTACT WITH APPRAISERS! Inflated appraisals! Here in Chicago , and elsewhere across the country, many think home appraisal reports, made by professional appraisers, were Read More...
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - NEW WiiWARE RELEASED TODAY
Okay gamers, get your game face on. And those of you who are working and reading this, c'mon get the work done first and then play around, will ya? Nintendo just released its new WiiWare today. Because of the new release there will be no new Virtual Read More...
CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE STATS PACK - May 12, 2008
Good Morning, Everyone! U.S. Home Loan Guarantor and Investor, Fannie Mae, is putting the touches on a new program geared to help those who appear underwater on their home loans - they owe more on their mortgage than the estimated market value of their Read More...
OWE MORE THAN YOUR HOME IS NOW WORTH? Fannie May May Soon Offer Help!
PLAN WOULD ALLOW "UNDERWATER" MORTGAGE BORROWERS TO RE-FINANCE INTO MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSE PAYMENTS! It's a big problem in many housing markets across the country, where price speculation was rampant a couple of years ago - Arizona, Florida, Read More...
CHICAGO SPORTS BLOG - CUBS AND SOX JUST ONE GAME OUT
The beat goes on as both sides of town find themselves in the hunt for their division. Chicago baseball fans couldn't ask for a better start with what is shaping up to be an exciting summer of baseball. The Cubs have had to tinker with their lineup Read More...
CHICAGO MAIL DELIVERY SPEED IMPROVES!
OFTEN CRITICIZED FOR SLOW DELIVERY TIMES, MAIL MISHANDLING - 95% OF 1ST CLASS MAIL NOW DELIVERED NEXT DAY IN CITY, SELECT ADJOINING SUBURBS! You sometimes here war stories on slow mail delivery. They range from the rent check that arrives a week late Read More...
THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - MOTHER'S DAY CELEBRATIONS
We all have someone in our lives whom we know, love and call "Mom" or "Mother." Let's celebrate this Mother's Day in Chicago with a little tradition and a lot of laughter and love. If you want to make this day special, why Read More...
LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG: What's a Mom Worth? Latest Estimate - About $117,000!
THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG! Good Morning, You Dogs! Here I am last summer with Grandma Felice , Team Leader Dean's Real Mom, and one of my Human Grandmas. You know, I get Read More...
WI-MAX TECHNOLOGY COMING TO CHICAGO - "Internet EVERYWHERE?"
NEW TECHNOLOGY WOULD BLANKET CHICAGO METRO AREA WITH WIRELESS COVERAGE AT DSL SPEEDS! If you want to surf the web today, outside your home or office hard-wired LAN connection, or, for an increasingly few of you, your dial-up modem connection, you generally Read More...
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - EDGEWATER, WEST LOOP, LAKEVIEW, NORWOOD PARK, EVANSTON
EDGEWATER When Andrew Billups struggles to muster the energy to go to school, all the 8th grader at Peirce School of International Studies simply has to do is picture music teacher Brooke Tippett Thompson. He is fond of the times she has broken out into Read More...
OUR FAVORITE RECIPES - TIME FOR SUMMER COOKOUTS
PERFECT FOR COOKOUTS! Here is a great salad for summer cookouts, family picnics or neighborhood events. Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 12 hours Cook Time: 30 minutes Ingredients 1 (16 ounce) package angel hair pasta --> --> (break in half) or 1 (12-16 ounce) Read More...
GUEST BLOGGER - RICH BIRA, FIRST CAPITAL MORTGAGE, CHICAGO IL
FED RATE CUTS DO NOT ALWAYS EQUAL LOWER MORTGAGE RATES! (Rich Bira , our Preferred Lending Partner at First Capital Mortgage, Chicago IL , serving all Chicago Neighborhoods and suburbs, has been handing financing for many of our clients for over eight Read More...
REDUCED! Albany Park 2BR - Top Floor, Balcony, Whirlpool Tub, In-Unit Washer/Dryer - 1 Block to Brown Line L!
Albany Park, Chicago - Announcing a price reduction on 4716 N. Bernard Street, Unit 3W - 2BR - One Block to Brown Line L! If you're looking for convenience, location, and top appointments - look no further! Compact-yet-stunning top floor unit - renovated Read More...
REDUCED TO SELL! Rogers Park 2BR Condo in Classic Courtyard Building - 2 Blocks to Lake, Loyola, Red Line L, Sheridan Road Shops!
Rogers Park, Chicago - Announcing a price reduction on 6813 N Lakewood Avenue . Open Floor Plan - 2 Large Bedrooms, Hardwood Floors, Whirlpool, In-Unit Laundry. Top, Stainless Appliances, Granite Counters, Maple Cabinets! Renovated to perfection in 2004 Read More...
KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - SOME THINGS TO DO ON THESE FEW WARM DAYS (WHEN IT’S NOT RAINING)
LET'S TALK PLANTING AND FLOWERS! Now is the best time for a great selection at garden centers. You have your pick of colors and varieties. Be sure to plan your pots before shopping, while considering light and height requirements. When hanging long Read More...
BUYING OR REFINANCING? You Need A Higher Credit Score than you Used To!
MINIMUM 680 FICO CREDIT SCORE NOW NEEDED TO GET THE BEST LOAN TERMS! Just like some say, "Age 50 is the new 40, 40 the new 30," and so on, 680, not 620, is the new FICO Score threshold lenders consider for the best mortgage interest rates. Many Read More...
TECHNOLOGY NEWS - XBOX 360 KIOSKS GO TO CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS
KIOSKS HEADED TO CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS ACROSS THE US Today I thought I'd share one of the more positive things going on with Xbox. Companions in Courage and Microsoft have partnered to bring "hundreds" of Xbox 360 kiosks to children's Read More...
CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE STATS PACK - May 5, 2008
Good Morning, Everyone! Rules for mortgage loans continue to be tightened! This is especially true for certain low-down payment borrowers looking to cash-out re-finance, those purchasing investment properties, and borrowers with limited documentation Read More...
LENDERS TO TIGHTEN SCREWS EVEN FURTHER for Many Home Buyers!
CASH-OUT REFINANCES, STATED INCOME LOANS LIKELY CASUALTIES FOR MANY! In response to the high level of mortgage delinquencies occurring within the last year, with more predicted to come throughout 2008, lenders are likely to tighten lending rules even Read More...
CHICAGO SPORTS BLOG - CAN THE CUBS OVERCOME OBVIOUS DEFICIENCIES
How things change in one week. I guess that's baseball. One week ago, the Cubs were flying high beating up on mediocre teams en route to a first place lead that grew to as much as 2.5 games. Now, they find themselves chasing the St. Louis Cardinals Read More...
"THE SPINDLE," Berwyn IL's Quirky Stacked-Car Art, Stands No More!
NO BIDS ON EBAY - SO 1989 DUSTIN SHULER SCULPTURE DISMANTLED, IN TWO HOURS, LAST NIGHT! To local residents, a memorable icon tying their city of Berwyn to quirky history. To others, a local eyesore - a nesting place for pigeons, and a magnet for bird Read More...
BLUE-BAG CHICAGO RECYCLING PROGRAM TO BE CHUCKED!
13-YEAR OLD CITY OF CHICAGO RECYCLING PROGRAM CONTROVERSIAL, LARGELY INEFFECTIVE! Back in 1995, many larger cities and suburbs throughout North America had recycling programs well underway. Chicago was behind at that time - so they introduced their own Read More...
THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - FORGET THE FOOD, "MAY" I . . . .
Well, I hope you all enjoyed your Chicago Hot Dog. I sure enjoyed every one I had! I think I'll take a break from writing about food this weekend since I do have a bathing suit to fit into and definitely don't want to be confused with a "beached Read More...
LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG: Chicago Real Estate Market Sluggishness Leaves Many Humans in a BAD MOOD!
THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG! Did you see the Chicago Cubs Game today? I was there, sitting quietly in the Left Field Bleachers, when a Cub meltdown happened again - against Read More...
LOAN WORKOUT AGREEMENTS SLOW TO COME FOR MANY DELINQUENT BORROWERS!
HOWEVER, SOME LENDERS ARE REVISING LOAN TERMS TO CREATE MORE AFFORDABLE MONTHLY PAYMENTS! Last Fall, The Bush Administration created the " Hope Now Alliance," a coalition of larger lenders who developed a plan to help delinquent homeowners avoid Read More...
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - EDGEWATER, GOLD COAST, LOGAN SQUARE, JEFFERSON PARK, NAPERVILLE
EDGEWATER It's springtime and time to think green. A horticultural Uptown resident, Casey, maintains small gardens outside her condo building in the neighborhood. She was invited to join in a browsing expedition of the Andersonville/Edgewater gardens Read More...