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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Play it Safe at Navy PierI have blogged twice before about fire safety, first after I witnessed a friend’s home sustain significant damage after an electrical appliance caught fire and again after I took my children to a fire station for a tour and safety lesson. Now, I want to follow up to let you know about an important new exhibit about fire safety at the Chicago Children’s Museum on Navy Pier.

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Realtors Conference & ExpoI’ll be teaching a seminar in San Diego this weekend at the National Association of Realtors Conference & Expo, a gathering of approximately 20,000 agents and brokers from around the United States. The topic is how agents and brokers can hire new talent to leverage their time, grow their businesses, and offer their clients better service and results.

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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!

Halloween is almost here again, and as I wrote last year, the holiday’s parades, haunted houses, pumpkin carvings, fun runs, spooky mazes, and other events span more than a single day. Many of these events are cheap (or free), are geared towards children, and don’t involve the ingestion of mass amounts of candy. In others words, they make for good, wholesome family outings.

The Chicago Parks District has a list of all their Halloween offerings, and About.com has a good general summary of city-wide events (though many of the dates still read “TBD”).

For simplicity’s sake, I’ve once again created a Google map made up of all the North Side Halloween events. Use it to find the upcoming events near where you live. Blue markers are Parks District events, red markers are parades, and yellow markers are all other events.

Please click through to the website for each marker to get the most up-to-date information for each event.


View 2009 Chicago North Side Halloween Events in a larger map

If you know of any North Side events I missed, let me know with a comment or email and I’ll add them.

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

Chicago MarathonThis Sunday, approximately 45,000 runners will fill the streets of our city for the 32nd Chicago Marathon. The runners will travel as far north as Addison Street in Lakeview on a course that will take them through much of the city.

If you’re hoping to watch the race in person, the marathon website has a downloadable Spectator’s Guide (6.84 MB) with detailed information on the course and race.

If you plan on parking overnight near the race’s route, check for signs indicating the no parking zones for the race which will be enforced beginning at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday. Streets along the route will also be closed from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the day of the race. More detailed street closure information can be found here.

Lastly, I’d like to wish the best of luck to my residential real estate sale team’s very own Client Care manager, Eleanor Olson, who will be competing in the race after a rigorous summer training schedule. In light of the relief work she has done in Zambia, Eleanor is also collecting pledges for the World Vision organization. Go Eleanor!

Photo by rbackowski


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