Howard Van Doren ShawOne of Chicago’s many strengths is its amazing architecture. The style and craftsmanship found in this city is like no other. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, architects from all over the world came to Chicago to help rebuild, laying the foundation for the eclectic skyline that we enjoy today.

But not all of the city’s architects came from afar. Case in point: the celebrated architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. Born in Chicago on May 7, 1869 to prominent parents, Shaw grew up in the fashionable Prairie Avenue neighborhood, which was popular before the development of the Gold Coast in the 1890s. He went on to attend Yale University and then MIT.

After finishing school, Shaw went to work for William Le Baron Jenney at the Chicago firm of Jenney & Mundie. Known as the builder of the world’s first skyscraper, Jenney became Shaw’s mentor. Shaw worked with him for several years, eventually leaving the firm to establish his own. After designing the Lakeside Press Building, one of his more famous structures, Shaw found himself taking on more and more prominent clients.

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Salute! Farm and VineyardSoon, I’ll again be making my annual pilgrimage to the garden supply store. For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent Memorial Day, rain or shine, up to my elbows in dirt planting flowers and vegetables. As I’ve mentioned before, I spent my childhood summers on my father’s farm, and the tradition of growing our own produce is something I’ve made a point of continuing both for my sake and for that of my children.

While our city home has limited us largely to container gardening, for those who are more ambitious and want a true taste of what it’s like to work the land and turn a crop, hobby farms are one option.

As a residential agent specializing mostly in Chicago’s North Side, I never thought I would have a chance to list such a property. So, imagine my delight when I was approached to represent Salute! Farm and Vineyard in Woodstock, Illinois.

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Live & Play Chicago MagazineThe following article originally appeared in our Chicago real estate magazine, Live & Play Chicago.

We all know that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to selling your home, buyers will definitely be judging your property on its presentation.

With that in mind, taking some time to ensure that your home shows well before putting it on the market can really pay off – both in terms of a better price and a quicker sale. Best of all, you can see these benefits without the need to remodel bathrooms or pursue major renovations.

Here are a few of the simple, inexpensive tips our Team gives clients when preparing their homes for sale:

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Live & Play Chicago MagazineThe launch of our Live & Play Chicago magazine was a huge success. 10,000 copies were delivered to Chicago area homeowners as well as business and community leaders. In an effort to make the magazine more widely available, it is now available in an online digital format here.

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keeping home sale contracts togetherThere was a time when a home seller’s biggest challenge was getting a buyer to step up and make an offer with terms that the seller was willing to accept. In today’s market, however, getting an agreed upon purchase contract puts you only halfway toward your goal of selling your home. The process of getting from contract to closing is fraught with more challenges than ever, resulting in more sales falling apart long before the homeowner gets to the closing table. In Illinois, buyers can cancel their purchase contract during attorney and inspection review without providing a reason, meaning sellers sometimes never learn why their sale fell apart.

There are many factors that may cause a contract to unravel. Understanding what they are and how some can be avoided can help prevent disappointment down the road.

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upward trendThose of us with retirement accounts have probably noticed the upward trajectory of the stock market over the past several months, but it shouldn’t go unnoticed that some key numbers are up in the national and Chicago real estate markets as well.

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Restoration Hardware Pillar CandlesThere are pros and cons to having your home on the market over the holidays. Typically, there are far fewer buyers actively looking this time of year, but the good news is that those who are out tend to be serious about finding a home. This means that if you must interrupt your holiday to show your property, it will likely be worth your time.

However, showing your home during the holidays can pose new challenges. While a little holiday ambiance can enhance a home’s presentation, too many decorations will cause it to feel crowded and turn off buyers. Here are some points to consider if you are trying to sell over the holidays.

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Home BuyerAre you thinking about buying your first home, or perhaps upgrading, downsizing or buying an investment property? Or maybe you’re searching for a home to buy or thinking about starting? If either case describes you, we invite you to join us for our two upcoming seminars on how to buy and sell a home in today’s market.

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Live & Play Chicago magazine coverThe “Live and Play” brand is no longer just a blog. My Team and I will soon be releasing the very first edition of Live & Play Chicago, the magazine.

This 84-page full-color publication will include profiles of the homes we have listed for sale and rent, information about favorite neighborhood amenities, and articles on a variety of residential real estate topics including luxury home development, landscape architecture, staging, home security, the local and resort home markets, and Chicago’s Trump International Hotel and Tower.

We’ll release the magazine as a PDF document here when the time comes, but if you’d prefer to have a glossy copy of your own, contact us at (877) 440-3760 and we’ll send you one free of charge.

We hope you are as excited about the magazine as we are as we’ve put our heart and soul into its creation. Once you’ve had a peek, we would love to hear your feedback. You can comment here or send us an email at jenny@jenniferames.com. Enjoy!

I recently sat down at our Gold Coast office with the Joe Askins from YoChicago to talk on camera about developments in the residential market as well as my experience of starting and maintaining this blog. You can view our interviews below:

Five questions with Jennifer Ames

Creating and managing Live and Play in Chicago

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