Fire safetyI wrote about home fire safety in a post back in September, but a family trip to a neighborhood fire station reminded me of a specific safety topic that needs emphasis – children.

This weekend, the firefighters of Chicago Fire Department Engine 55 welcomed my family and another (including six children aged two to eleven) into their station house for a guided tour. You can imagine the thrill the kids shared as they tried on real firefighter helmets and coats, sat behind the wheel of a massive fire truck, and slid down the bottom section of a life-sized fireman’s pole. For my son Max, who dressed up as a firefighter at age two for Halloween, it was a highlight of his summer!

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Chicago Air and Water ShowDon’t plan on any peaceful afternoon naps this weekend if you live anywhere near Chicago’s lakefront! High performance civilian and military aircraft will once again fill the skies over Lake Michigan for the nation’s biggest free air show, the 51st annual Chicago Air and Water Show.

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This is the first in a three-part series about cooperative apartments.

In searching for an apartment, you might find some described as “condos” or “condominiums” and others as “coops” or “cooperatives.”  While it is true that many (but not all) coop apartments are located in classically designed pre-War buildings, the term “coop” does not describe the style of the building but rather the ownership terms of the apartments.

With a condominium (or condo), you are buying a physical apartment (as defined by a legal description) as well as a share in the common elements of the building. A condo association, led by a board of directors, manages the building’s exterior and common elements, including landscaping, while the unit owners maintain the interiors of their individual apartments.

When you purchase in a cooperative (or coop), you are technically not buying real estate. Instead, you are purchasing shares of stock in a legal entity (usually a corporation) that owns real estate. Your shares of stock entitle you to occupy a specific apartment, as defined in the Proprietary Lease you receive with your stock certificate. So in the end, you have the same thing (a place to live), but how you achieve this is a bit different.

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why-sell-in-this-marketOn the surface, it’s a very logical question: “Why would anyone willingly sell a home in a down market?” If the typical news story is any indication, it seems that the only reason to sell these days is out of financial desperation – selling at a potential loss in order to hastily make ends meet. For the large majority of the sellers I’ve met these days, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

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ask-jennifer-amesIf you’ve got a question about the North Side residential market, be it regarding luxury townhomes, bargain foreclosures, home financing, or any other relevant topic – now is the time to ask.

I’ve always had my contact info up on this blog for those who want to reach me, but there’s no longer any excuse for the inquisitive to be shy. I’ve added an “Ask” page to the menu above, with a handy form for submitting real estate questions to me. Use it, and your question, along with my answer, could appear as a future “Ask Jenny” post on this blog.

With fifteen years experience in the Chicago residential market, a six member team of professionals, and a vast network of colleagues in a variety of disciplines, I’m a great alternative to sifting through Google results in hope of answers. So, ask away!