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January 2009 - Posts

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - GREAT THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOUR SUPERBOWL PARTY
As we say goodbye to January why not celebrate by taking advantage of some great festivities this weekend that will warm you up and get and thinking about the lake, and the Spring baseball season. See the Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats at at Centre East Read More...
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - LAKEVIEW, UPTOWN, WEST LOOP, ALBANY PARK, OAK PARK
LAKEVIEW When the Tribune Co. bought the last-place Cubs and Wrigley Field for $21.1 million in 1981, the park was outdated and worn out. Fans were even allowed to enter the bleachers free in the late innings, at times. Times were simpler then. The Cubs Read More...
LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG - In an Odd Twist in Today's Battered Economy, Banks Now Losing Revenue from Service Charges!
THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG! Hey, baby . . . wanna take a ride in my car? You know, just in case you think I look cool! If you read the business papers every day as I do, you Read More...
HIGHER RATES OF LOAN DEFAULT Squeeze Borrowers, Lenders, and Investors with Jumbo Home Loans!
JUMBO HOME LOANS MORE THAN THREE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE AT LEAST 90 DAYS DELINQUENT THAN NON-JUMBO PRIME LOANS! It wasn't all that long ago when the biggest banks in the U.S. - J.P. Morgan Chase (and the since-Chase-acquired Washington Mutual ), Read More...
BIG STEP - FED To Modify Terms on Mortgages They Acquired!
WOULD IMPACT $84 BILLION OF MORTGAGE ASSETS CENTRAL BANK ACQUIRED IN CONNECTION WITH AIG, BEAR STEARNS BAILOUTS! In one attempt to help many borrowers stave off foreclosure, the Federal Reserve Board has created a program to modify mortgage loans tied Read More...
OUR FAVORITE RECIPES - BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
During these cold winter days, I like to go to soups to keep warm and get that full feeling as well. I hope you enjoy this yummy soup. Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Servings: 6 INGREDIENTS: 6 tablespoons chopped onion 4 tablespoons margarine Read More...
CHICAGO HOME SALES SHOW WELCOME INCREASE IN DECEMBER - But Still Down Year Over Year!
IN DECEMBER, 2008, HOME SALES UP 14.9% IN CITY OF CHICAGO, 8.2% IN CHICAGO METRO AREA! During a cold winter, good news is always welcome! For the Chicago Real Estate Market , December sales actually increased versus November - nearly 15% in the city, Read More...
KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - SAVE MONEY ON YOUR GROCERY BILL
Grocery prices all around the country and the world are up as much as 40% over last year. This figure is from the Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations . Around Chicago they have not increased quite as much, but they are definitely up Read More...
A MESSAGE TO BLAGO - What ARE You Thinking? REALLY?
CURRENT IL GOVERNOR MAKES OUR STATE, ALONG WITH THE CITY OF CHICAGO, A THREE-RING CIRCUS! TO BENEFIT THE PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS? I THINK NOT! As you know, it's not my practice to make sport of politics on our Team Real Estate Blog . But, in the case of Read More...
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - STAYING CONNECTED TO THE WORLD FOR UNDER $40
Yes, I'm a gadget girl. I like finding new and unique items out there and when I was reading the Trib recently, I found this great piece. It's a USB Internet Radio Jukebox and comes from Aluratek . The great thing about this USB is that you can Read More...
CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE STATS PACK - January 26, 2009
Good Morning! As mortgage distress and potential foreclosure draws near, many fearful homeowners have fallen prey to unscrupulous Foreclosure Rescue Companies promising easy relief. Most of the time, these promises are simply fraudulent! For more info, Read More...
WHEN DISTRESSED HOMEOWNERS ARE AT THEIR WORST, Scammers Still Manage to Find Them!
NOW, THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION IS CRACKING DOWN ON FRAUDULENT FORECLOSURE RELIEF COMPANIES! They are all over Cable and Broadcast TV , and the Internet . They send out ugly, yet compelling postcards in the U.S. Mail . Companies that promise to "Stop Read More...
Unemployment Rate in IL Surges - Despite Lower Interest Rates, Will People Buy a New House?
DESPITE CONTINUING DOWNWARD PRESSURE ON MORTGAGE RATES, PROSPECTIVE BUYERS STILL FEARFUL OF JOB LOSS, HESITANT TO BUY! Mortgage Interest Rates in IL are the lowest they have been in over 30 years - in some cases, for the most qualified borrowers, as low Read More...
LOGAN SQUARE - Unique 3BR Loft Condo For Sale!
1,375 Square Foot Loft with Garage Parking - Now Only $287,500! Logan Square, Chicago - True 3BR Top-Floor Loft on a quiet street in Logan Square – INCLUDES HEATED GARAGE PARKING - Two Blocks to Blue Line L! Roomy, bright layout features Open Floor Read More...
THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - IT’S THE YEAR OF THE OX!
Legend has it that a rat tricked the oxen into taking him to the other side across a very treacherous river. The rat jumped from the oxen's back, at the last possible moment, and landed at the Jade Emperor's feet, who thought this was such a bold Read More...
LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG - Parking Dibs in Chicago Over For Now, as Snow Begins To Melt!
THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG! Hey, hey you dogs! Hope you're keeping those four lil' paws warm tonight. Dibs? What is "dibs." Well, if you played Little League Read More...
NEWEST BUILDER PROMOTION - ULTRA-LOW RATE, 30-YEAR FIXED RATE LOANS!
3.99% FIXED RATE OFFERED BY TOLL BROTHERS, PA BUILDER WITH SEVERAL CHICAGO AREA DEVELOPMENTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION! Free Wide-Screen HDTV's! Paid College Tuition for the kids! Vacations to the Tropics! Top-Level Kitchen and Bath Upgrades! These have Read More...
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - LINCOLN PARK, UPTOWN, LOOP, NORWOOD PARK, NAPERVILLE
LINCOLN PARK Animal welfare activists and state Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) met Sunday at PAWS Chicago, a no-kill animal shelter in Lincoln Park. He announced a proposed legislation that would regulate large-scale dog breeders and pet stores with the Read More...
FACING RISING FORECLOSURE TIDE, J.P. Morgan Chase Eyes Expanding Loan Mod Efforts!
MODIFYING INTEREST RATES, REPAYMENT TERM COULD STAVE OFF FORECLOSURES FOR MANY! Now, in an even bigger way, one of the largest mortgage lenders in the U.S. has gotten even more aggressive on attempting to stay the rising tide of foreclosed homes on its Read More...
HEY, PRESIDENT OBAMA - Will "Change" Turnaraound The Housing Market?
HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED "CHANGE" BRINGS FAR DIFFERENT ATTITUDE - BUT WHAT OF RESULTS? Over the decades and the centuries, much has been said about the impact of effective leadership. One person, alone, cannot change the course of a weak economy. Read More...
LUXURY 4BR/3.5BA HOME NOW AVAILABLE - Prestigious North Barrington IL!
Incredible Exec-Styled Home - Huge Lot! North Barrington, Lake County IL - Incredible North Barrington Home on Very Quiet Cul-de-Sac – No Homeowner Assessments! Formal Living Room and Gracious Dining Room adjoin inviting entry foyer. Gourmet kitchen Read More...
OUR FAVORITE RECIPES - ROSEMARY CHICKEN
This is a recipe a friend and I tried over the weekend. It sure was yummy and easy too! Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes Cook Time: 55-65 minutes Servings: 6 INGREDIENTS: 1/4 cup of honey 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup minced fresh rosemary 2 tablespoons Read More...
KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - DON’T FORGET OUR FEATHERED FRIENDS THIS WINTER
Chicago has certainly had its share of snow fall this year. This presents a problem for our backyard birds. Much food that is available to them is covered in snow. With a few feeders and seed outside you'll have a wide variety of birds in your backyard Read More...
IN CHIC DOWNTOWN CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOODS, Competition for Luxury Condo Rentals Drives Down Prices!
WITH HUNDREDS OF LUXURY UNIT OWNERS NOT FINDING A BUYER, MANY RENTERS FIND COMPARATIVE BARGAINS, AND ROOM TO NEGOTIATE! Supply and demand! For the last two years or so, as much of the Chicago Real Estate Market has languished, experts point to too much Read More...
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - NEW VIRUS SPREADING THROUGH CORPORATE NETWORKS MICROSOFT VULNERABLE
There is a new variant on a computer virus that may leave Microsoft Windows users vulnerable to digital hijacking. It's currently spreading through companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia, already infecting close to 9 million machines, according to Read More...
CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE STATS PACK - January 19, 2009
Good Morning! Mortgage Interest Rates have tumbled in recent weeks - now they are below 5% for a Thirty-Year Fixed Rate Loan in many parts of the country. But new fees and surcharges, imposed on many potential home and condo buyers by U.S. Mortgage Investor Read More...
BEVY OF FEES FOR MANY HOME, CONDO BUYERS May Negate Recent Drops in Mortgage Rates!
ONE FEE, FROM FANNIE MAE WOULD ADD 0.75% CHARGE TO MANY CONDO BUYERS! Here in Chicago , the real estate market, and the condo market, continues to struggle. Rising unemployment, tight mortgage loan underwriting standards, and too-high inventory seem to Read More...
CHICAGO AREA FORECLOSURES UP MORE THAN 53% VERSUS 2007 - But National Figure Far Higher!
CHICAGO METRO AREA SHOWS 2.49% OF ALL PROPERTIES AT SOME STAGE OF FORECLOSURE - 77,226 FILINGS IN 2008! According to data summarized by The Associated Press in last Thursday's Wall Street Journal , over 2.3 Million homeowners across the U.S. struggled Read More...
THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS – MYTH OR WHAT?
Happy 2009! Let's get right down to business, shall we? How many of you still have your New Year's Resolution intact? To those of you who do, Congratulations! To those of us who don't, let's get our weekend started! If your resolution Read More...
LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG - The Dog Who Came in from the Cold!
THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG! Wasn't sure if you saw this Christmas Photo of me and my Human Mom, Sue Moss. I'm the one in the red hat! Woooof . . . it's COLD outside! Read More...
CHANGES TO APPRAISAL RULES, Designed to Promote Fairer Appraisals, Has Potential Downside!
NEW RULES, EFFECTIVE MAY 1ST, PROHIBIT LENDER, LOAN BROKER CONTACT WITH APPRAISERS . . . MORE! Today, when you buy a new home or condo and secure a mortgage for it, lenders or loan originating brokers chose a real estate appraiser from a list of local Read More...
CHICAGO COMMUNITY NEWS - GOLD COAST, LOOP, SOUTH LOOP, NORWOOD PARK, NAPERVILLE
GOLD COAST There has been much talk around town about Michelle Obama's inaugural gown, but what about her hairdo? To be sure that her hair is as meticulously styled as a first lady should expect, her longtime Chicago hairdresser, Rahni Flowers of Read More...
OUR FAVORITE RECIPES - MIDNIGHT SNACK
Ha! I bet you all thought we forgot. Today we wanted to try a midnight snack (unhealthy of course). With all this cold Chicago weather, it's time for us to think about staying indoors when snacking is going to occur more often. I hope you enjoy this Read More...
CHICAGO HOMES-FOR-SALE INVENTORY DECLINES Less Than Expected in December!
CHICAGO INVENTORY DOWN 7.3% FROM NOVEMBER! NATIONALLY, HOMES FOR SALE DOWN 6.4%, DECEMBER VS. NOVEMBER. Across the U.S., and in Chicago , the inventory of homes on the market for sale typically dip between the November Thanksgiving Holiday and the end Read More...
CHICAGO PARKING METERS 2.0 - Soon . . . No Quarters Needed, and Auto-Enforcement!
ELECTRONIC PAYMENT, PIGGYBACKING ON OTHER'S TIME, EVEN THE METERS THEMSELVES MAY SOON BE HISTORY! They're Urban Icons! Frustrating! And, they're about to become a memory - the old-fashioned Parking Meters on virtually every main street in Read More...
KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - SAFE SNOW AND ICE REMOVAL
Hey Chicagoans, more snow is coming and it's good to know a few tips on safe snow and ice removal , especially in this next week of predicted bitter cold. Chicago had more than 24 inches of snow this year before last weekends' 10+ inches. That's Read More...
IN CHICAGO, Foreclosed, Abandoned Homes Ripe for Catastrophic Damage In Winter!
FROZEN PLUMBING PIPES IN ABANDONED CHICAGO PROPERTIES CAN BRING DAMAGE INTO THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS! You don't have to be a homeowner for very long to learn of the possible damage frozen, burst pipes can do. Drywall damage, flooring, carpeting, Read More...
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - MANAGING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
For me social media continues to be a hot topic. Just this morning, a childhood friend "friended" me on Facebook after almost 15 years. It was great to hear from this person and still know that we could connect as if it had only been a few weeks. Read More...
CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE STATS PACK - January 12, 2009
Good Morning! Under a new proposal by IL Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, certain home borrowers receiving Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Protection could get the terms and interest rate of their mortgage loan modified more favorably by BK judges. This represents Read More...
MORTGAGE MODIFICATION PROPOSAL FOR SOME IN BANKRUPTCY GAINS STEAM - Citigroup Backs "Cram Down" Plan!
IL SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN'S PROPOSAL WOULD APPLY ONLY TO CERTAIN HOMEOWNERS SEEKING CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION! To this point, judges in cases involving personal bankruptcy had no power to modify the principal balance and mortgage rate of the Read More...
SNOWY CHICAGO WINTER CONTINUES - More Snow, Extreme Cold Coming This Week!
STORM DUMPS 10" OF SNOW ON CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT SATURDAY. ANOTHER 2-4 INCHES DUE BY TUESDAY! As Sue and I spent the weekend with a few hundred of our friends and colleagues this past weekend at the annual Floyd Wickman Master Sales Academy Read More...
THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - INDOOR EXCITEMENT!
Are you looking for something exciting to do this weekend? Why not try: World Kitchen Cooking Class Location: Chicago DCA Storefront Theater 66 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601 312-742-8497 This Saturday, January 10, attend a four hour cooking class Read More...
LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG - Obama's Blackberry - Why is it Causing So Much Trouble?
THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG! Hey, hey, you dogs! Buddy is out slumming tonight, so he asked me, Gracie Moss, to fill in. He seems a bit tired now that the holidays are over. Read More...
CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - LOOP, GOLD COAST, WEST LOOP, NORWOOD PARK, EVANSTON
LOOP Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique opened this week in the Loop. On their menu you can find cupcakes in more than 20 flavors. Delicious buttercream frosting and moist flavorful cake make these cupcakes a special treat. They come in regular and mini-sizes Read More...
SMOKE FREE ILLINOIS - Smoking Ban Across Illinois, Throughout Chicago - On Its One-Year Anniversary!
HEALTH ADVOCATES, ANTI-SMOKING PROPONENTS APPLAUD THE BAN. BAR, RESTAURANT OWNERS PROVIDE MIXED REVIEWS! Here in Chicago , and across Illinois , it has been just over one full year since a Statewide IL Smoking Ban - "Smoke Free Illinois" - took Read More...
AS UNEMPLOYMENT, FORECLOSURE, EVICTIONS SURGE, Homeless Shelters are Filling Up!
CHICAGO AREA SHELTERS SEE UP TO 39% INCREASE IN IMMEDIATE HOUSING DEMAND VERSUS ONE YEAR AGO! To me, it happened about 15 years ago . It was a hot summer day, and I had parked near the Wilson Avenue Station of the Chicago Red Line L , in the then-economically-depressed Read More...
OUR FAVORITE RECIPES - ZESTY TILAPIA WITH MUSHROOMS
So last night I was supposed to go out with a friend for dinner at Calo's Ristorante in Andersonville . Unfortunately, our plans got changed and we never made it. As I'm searching through the freezer, I find some tilapia and think, good call, Read More...
KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - CHICAGO CHRISTMAS TREE DISPOSAL LOCATIONS
This is the time of year when driving through the alleys of Chicago you will see many trees propped up against the garbage cans waiting for the garbage men to pick them up. This year, let's try to be green and recycle ! You not only prevent a tree Read More...
NEW YEAR/NEW HOME REMODELING PROJECTS? Thoroughly Check Out That Contractor!
TROUBLED U.S. ECONOMY MAY FORCE FINANCIALLY-STRAPPED SERVICE PROVIDERS TO SNUB THEIR SUB-CONTRACTORS, NOT COMPLETE WORK! Headaches with contractors hired to complete home repairs or improvement! Virtually every homeowner can share at least one story where Read More...
TECHNOLOGY TIPS - ONE SITE FOR ALL YOUR SEARCHES
So it's the new year and we're all working on those resolutions or "non-resolutions" because of the freshness of the season. Of course, I'm sitting at home over the long holiday weekend and started searching the web . If you're Read More...
CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE STATS PACK - January 5, 2009
Good Morning - Happy New Year! The continued sluggishness in the Housing Market in Chicago causes special challenges for Condominium Owners and their Governing Boards and Associations. Foreclosures and delinquencies in assessment payments from financially-strapped Read More...
WiMax HIGH SPEED WIRELESS INTERNET - STALLED IN CHICAGO - Likely Here by End of 2009!
NEW SERVICE WILL OFFER HIGHER-SPEED WIRELESS SERVICE THROUGHOUT THE CITY, WITHOUT NEED FOR LOCAL HOT SPOTS! The future is coming, but it has been delayed! WiMax, a wider-reaching, wireless Internet service that can deliver data over the entire Chicago Read More...
CONDO OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT POSES CHALLENGES IN NEW YEAR!
STRICTER LENDING STANDARDS PRECLUDE MORE BUYERS, ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT MAY DEFER SOME REPAIRS, IMPROVEMENTS! How will the downturn in the U.S. Economy , and the still-slow U.S. Housing Market , impact Condominium Owners and Management Associations , Read More...
JEFF'S CHICAGO SPORTS BLOG - Pro Hockey Comes to Wrigley Field, Chicago IL!
FIRST-TIME-EVER OUTDOOR NHL GAME IN CHICAGO GENERATES EXCITEMENT TO SPORT! Yes, I was there for the first hockey game ever played at Wrigley Field, the venerable home of the Chicago Cubs! It was a great experience and the atmosphere was really energetic. Read More...
THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - WRIGLEYVILLE, CHICAGO PARKS AND MORE
Happy New Year! This is going to be a quiet weekend after all of the mid-week parties and bashes. However, there are still some fun things to do that I would like to share. Want to keep the spirit of Christmas alive? The Christmas Gift Exchange At Cubby Read More...
LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG - WENT TO A BALLGAME AT WRIGLEY FIELD, AND A HOCKEY GAME BROKE OUT!
THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG! Happy New Year, you dogs! Woof - I don't know about you, but I'm glad to see 2008 come to an end here in Chicago . The sluggish market for Read More...
TOUGHER ILLINOIS DUI LAW TAKES EFFECT IN 2009!
BREATHALYZER IGNITION LOCKS FOR FIRST-TIME DUI OFFENDERS GEARED TO REDUCE DRUNK DRIVING INJURIES, FATALITIES! A new, tougher IL Drunk Driving Law will help keep those convicted of even one DUI Offense from starting and driving their vehicles. The new Read More...
NEW YEAR, NEW LAWS IN IL AND CHICAGO - HERE'S A SUMMARY!
THOSE IN CHICAGO FACE HIGHER PARKING FEES, TRANSIT FARES. ACROSS IL, TOUGHER RULES FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES, GUN LAWS - MORE! The New Year 2009 brings with it a bucketful of new fees and laws, in the City of Chicago and across Illinois. Here is a summary, Read More...
OUR FAVORITE RECIPES - A RECIPE FOR GOOD LUCK
On New Year's Day, many cultures around the world partake in a traditional meal to bring them good luck, good fortune and good health throughout the year . From the German's miniature marzipan pigs, to Japan's buckwheat Soba noodles, the Italian's Read More...