Northern Illinois Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Dec. 2, 2022

Six (6) documents you will need to complete your mortgage application like a pro!

Almost all mortgage applications are electronic, so most of you will be completing your mortgage application online. This will typically happen on your lender of choice secure website.

Pro Tip number one, is that you create a folder on your computer so you can begin putting all of the documents in one central location so you can access them very easily and find them as you need it.

It’s not odd for the lender to sometimes ask for the same document twice so it will be helpful to have them all in this one location. Don’t question it, just get it to them 😊

Ok Let's get into the six documents that you're likely to need.


Number one are your pay stubs. Lenders need to know your actual income, and one of the best ways to verify your income is through your check stubs, but I know what you're thinking. I get direct deposits. I haven't even seen my check stubs in years. Do I even get check stubs? Well, you do, if you don't know where your check stubs are or how to access them, please ask your employer, I guarantee that you still do have one. We just went through this with one of my daughters whose name will remain anonymous for fear of retribution 😊 

You have to contact your human resources department to find out how can you access a copy of your pay stubs, and they'll probably want at least 30 days of pay stubs. And then later in your mortgage transaction, they'll probably ask you for updated pay stubs. If you have more than one job, you need the pay stubs from each and every employer. I think you get the picture, it's very important that you know how to access them.

Now here's a pro tip. I had seen a lot of clients try to give screenshots from their cell phone of the pay stubs or those mortgage documents or even just showing like their check stub what their direct deposit is. Those will not be accepted.

They typically want a PDF of your check stub, so make sure you know how to access those because those screenshots will not work and you’re going to want to do this a lot earlier than you're going to begin your application because if there's a little time delay in getting that information, you won't be delayed in applying for your mortgage. 

So definitely find out how to access them and then go ahead and start sliding those pay stubs into your folder. If you get any additional income, such as child support, alimony, a pension, retirement accounts, or social security, you want to make sure that you document that income as well. You’ll want to go to whatever the income source is to find the official paperwork for that income. So, it could be a divorce decree, it could be your retirement statement, your social security statement. You'll want to get those documents and either download them as a PDF or scan them into PDF document format and add them to your folder that you created so then you can upload them as part of your application.

And another pro tip, have your real estate Broker (me) help you if you do not have a scanner or access to those types of things, most real estate offices have those items and can surely help you. 

One more pro tip is that if you have an iPhone, you can go into the Apple Notes app. Once in the app at the bottom on the screen you should see what looks like a piece of paper with a pencil over it.  Click on that and then at the bottom click on the camera and choose scan documents. Ill send you my invoice for that one 😊 

Number two, in your application, they're going to require your W2 for the last two years. This is how the lender will verify how much income you receive year to year. Has your income increased? Has it decreased? They're going to require your W2 forms. And right now, you may be saying, I don't know where my W2 is, I haven't filed my taxes in a long time, typically the w2 is going to be stapled to the tax return you filed last year and the previous year. Also, you probably gave your tax accountant a w2, unless you filed them yourself, yikes 😊

So now you have to go back, not one year, but two years and access those W2 forms. If you cannot access them easily on your own, you can contact your tax accountant to try to get a copy from them because they likely have it on file. You also can go back to your employer for a duplicate copy.

Number three

You will need to provide the previous two years tax returns. Please don’t tell me you haven’t filled in the last three years 😊 If you can’t find your tax returns, the IRS has an option on their website for you to get a copy or transcript of your returns.  I have clients in the past that had some success with the IRS transcript option but it just took them a little bit longer to receive the need items. 

That's why you shouldn't wait. You should organize yourself first before you just go ahead and apply for your mortgage. This is all also known as the 2-2-2 rule, Last two pay stubs, last two years w-2’s and last two years of income tax returns. Boom! 

Number four,

they're going to ask for access to your credit report from all three credit bureaus. Now, this is not a document that you give them, but on the application, they will ask for your social security number, and this will be for all applicants. So, every applicant that's applying for this mortgage, will be required to provide this information. You will supply your social security number and you will give them permission to check your credit. Most lenders will use the middle score. So, you have three credit scores. You have one with Equifax, one with Experian, and the other one is with TransUnion.

So, let's do an example. If your Equifax is 675, your Experian is 700 and your TransUnion is 730, they will eliminate the lowest, which is the Equifax, they will eliminate the highest, which is the TransUnion and they will use the 700 from Experian. Experian is your middle score for qualification in this example.

Be mindful of that. They will pull all three, but likely, well just about 100% chance that the lender is only going to use the middle one for qualification purposes. You will also need bank statements. Typically, at least two months’ worth of bank statements. You will be able to get your bank statements from your bank's consumer website. They'll have an option for you to download your current months bank statement and all your previous months statements. It will typically download into a pdf file format and you will want to download your last two months of bank statements or the current month and the two previous months.

My clients often ask me, well, I have a several accounts, at different banks or I have a savings account, a checking account an emergency account, which or what should I provide. My answer is to give them as much as you need to qualify. More is always better when seeking a new residential mortgage.

So, if you know that you're using your money from your checking account and your savings account in order to qualify for this mortgage, or that's where your income goes, your direct deposit, or that's where you're saving your down payment and money for your closing costs, then you need to supply those accounts.

But if you have some other accounts that you may also be accessing money from, then you need to supply those bank accounts as well. And again, if you're, if you have retirement accounts or that sort of thing, you want to be able to supply those as needed.

Number five is rental history.

These are typically just questions like, where do you live and how long have you lived there and how much rent do you pay? And those are pretty easy to answer. They will, at some point before you close on your home actually call and verify or ask for more documentation from your landlord or from your leasing office about your rental history. But as far as the application is concerned, they'll ask you some questions about your rental history. But don't worry if you still live with family or live at home with your parents and you've never rented before, you can still get a mortgage. So just ask the answer them truthfully, if you live at home, put that address and say you live at home, you pay rent, or you don't pay rent.

Number six,

They're going to ask for a photo id. Now this is just to verify that the person applying is the person that is on the application, and they could verify that with a copy of your photo id. Go ahead and scan your license into the folder so it’s ready for the lender. This is all very simple and not complicated as some people may think.

My last piece of pro advice is to be truthful on your application. I say that because a lot of people don't realize that everything you put on your application is verified during the underwriting process.  Sometimes that's not done until you’re a further in the loan approval process, typically when you're actually under contract on your new home.

It’s important to make sure you update your application, if your income changes, if your job changes, if anything changes, or if you are, scared, afraid or just don’t know if you should put certain things on the application, talk to your lender and just get some solid advice ahead of time. They really do want to make the loan work for you.

I had a client who has been looking for a home to purchase over the last 18 months and due to the crazy market we were experiencing, they were unsuccessful securing a property until recently. So now we went back to our lender to pick up the loan process and guess what was uncovered?  The buyer client switched careers and was not making the same money as they were when we first applied for the loan.  Now we have a new problem! 

So, it’s very important to keep your lender updated and be truthful every step of the way. Just make sure you're truthful on the application because that's what they use to qualify you. And if anything changes, you may not qualify when it's time for your final underwriting approval

I hope this was helpful. Please put any questions or comments in this video about your mortgage application because I want to make sure that you're doing your application like a pro.

Sept. 18, 2021

Purchasing a home in Northern Illinois

Are you thinking about purchasing a home in Northern Illinois but wonder if it’s possible in today’s competitive market? In this video, I’m going to show you how you can still find a house for an affordable price. We’ll look at actual properties in some of Northern Illinois’ highly desirable suburbs to give you an idea of what you can find.


Huntley is a city with great options and a variety of two- to four-bedroom homes. For our MLS search, we took out the two-bedroom options because most are located in the Del Webb retirement community. When searching for three-bedroom properties and up, our search gave us 28 available properties in different price ranges.

While this is a low inventory, there are still options available. For example, a home on Lori Lane with three beds and one bath is listed at $225,000. Over on Rushmore Lane in the Wing Pointe subdivision, you can find a 1,900 square foot home with three bedrooms and two and a half baths. It also includes a loft that can be made into a fourth bedroom. This nice-sized home is currently listed at $307,000.

Another option is on Bethel Avenue, currently listed for $323,000. It has four bedrooms, two and a half baths, and 2,400 square feet. Other price points include a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath for $349,000, and a four-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath house on Sawgrass Lane with a three-car garage for $398,000. At 10 days on the market, this property may be getting ready to do a price drop—so make sure you keep an eye on it.

Additionally, Huntley is home to School District 158. We’ve put four kids through this school district, and we couldn’t be happier. It’s a great option if you have kids and want to ensure they get a great education.


Our next stop to look at home inventory is in Algonquin, Illinois. One home that’s a little bit older but has four bedrooms is priced at just $165,000. Another option, located at 1410 Parkview Terrace, is a ranch style with a two-car garage for $244,000. Over on Bayberry, $259,000 will get you 1,300 square feet on the east side of the city. Going up in price a little bit, a 1,700 house with a two-car garage is currently on the market for $299,000.

If you want to get into Algonquin Lake, you can find some great homes within the school district of District 300. In Cardiff, a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath house with a three-car garage is listed at $369,000. On Peach Tree, another $369,000 property boasts three bedrooms, two and a half baths, and 1,900 square feet. And if any of these houses don’t grab your interest, there are a total of 24 properties currently for sale in Algonquin.

Lake In The Hills And Hampshire

Lake In The Hills has 26 properties for sale, ranging between $215,000 and $849,000. One great example features 1300 square feet for $270,000. At 2,700 square feet, another home costs just $335,000. While this might be expensive for some, this is very affordable in today's market. Additionally, low-interest rates increase your purchasing power tenfold.

Over in Hampshire, a 2,500 square foot home is listed at just $314,000—which includes a finished basement. On Ridgecrest, $350,000 will get you 2,500 square feet, four bedrooms, and three and a half baths.

Crystal Lake And Woodstock

Crystal Lake is another great Northern Illinois area with tons of possibilities. A three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath single-family ranch home is currently on the market for $204,000. While it’s a little older and

only has a one-car garage, where else can you get a single-family home for this price? Heading over to Northampton Drive, a 1,700 square foot home with great updates is listed at $245,000.

Moving into Woodstock, Illinois, you’ll be able to find similar deals. Over on Redtail, you can find a three-bedroom home priced at $266,000. At 250 Kildeer, a 2,000 square foot home is listed at $239,000. A semi-custom cedar home at 1,800 square feet is $320,000.


Barrington historically has three to four years of inventory on the market at any given time. Over the last 10 years, there's been an increase in inventory and the price point is typically very high. However, you can still find some deals here.

A four-bedroom, one-bath 2,000 square foot home on Main Street is priced at $299,000. On Farnsworth, $315,000 will get you a 1,700 square foot property. On Camden, a home with a three-car garage and 2,500 square feet is priced at $319,000. Over in unincorporated Barrington hills, a ranch home on three wooded acres will cost you under $400,000.

Heading over to Walton, a smaller home that includes a basement will cost you $389,000. This house went from $499,000 to $389,000, indicating that the market is getting softer. We’re seeing a lot of price drops lately, and usually, a home will sell soon after. So if you see a house outside of your price range, you might want to make an offer because they could be getting ready to drop the price.

Another property in the area started at $415,000, and the price dropped to $395,000. It may even drop again—and that’s when you’d want to try to snag it.

Get A Deal On The Market Today

Many other homes in Northern Illinois listed for sale are likely to have price drops soon. One property in Manchester Lakes, for example, has been on the market for 11 days at $369,000 with no offers. This tells you, again, that the market has softened.

I hope this gave you some insight into the available residential properties currently for sale in Northern Illinois. As you can see, it's not as bad as people make it out to be. While it is a tight, competitive market, it’s getting better each and every day. So if you're in the market, I'd love to help you find the property that’s right for you. Make sure to reach out and I’ll be happy to connect with you!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel for more information on Chicago's best suburban communities. Stay tuned to see what other great real estate deals I feature on future videos!

Sept. 18, 2021

10 Things To Do In Schaumburg Illinois

Are you thinking about living in Schaumburg, Illinois, and wonder what there is to do for fun? In this video, I'm going to share my top 10 things to do for fun in Schaumburg, Illinois. We’ll look at everything from shopping to an aviation-themed restaurant so you have a good idea of all this village has to offer.

Schaumburg is a northwestern suburb of Chicago, Illinois, located approximately 30 miles outside the city. This village has so many cool and exciting places to offer without that long, congested drive to downtown Chicago. Fun fact: Schaumburg is actually located in two counties, Cook County and DuPage County. While the public population numbers do get mixed up sometimes because there are two counties, the current population is floating somewhere around 80,000 people.

According to, Schaumburg ranks #46 in best places to live in Illinois out of 450 communities. And it also ranks 413 in the best suburbs to live in America—which is pretty high ranking. The median house value or home value is floating right around $251,000. After the crazy start to the 2021 real estate market, however, that's going to go higher for sure.

36% of the population rents in Schaumburg, while another 46% own. Again, this number could be challenged because of the two different counties that are pulling the data into one. These numbers, however, give you a good idea of the area. So if you decide to make Schaumburg, Illinois your home, let’s look at the top 10 things to do for fun.

Woodfield Mall

The first thing to do for fun—and what puts Schaumburg on the map—is Woodfield Mall, the largest shopping mall in the state of Illinois. It’s located at the intersection of Golf Road and Interstate 290, also known as Illinois Route 53. Here you'll be surrounded by nearly 300 stores and restaurants like the brand new, extra-large Apple retail store that you still wait half a day to get into.

There’s also a brand new food court, the Improv Comedy Club, and Texas de Brazil—where the smell from the parking lot will surely draw you in. Don’t forget to also try Maggiano’s Italian restaurant, which is located right outside Woodfield Mall. This is one of our favorite places to go eat.

I remember when the mall had its very own ice skating rink, an indoor slide for the kids, and an aquarium that you could walk under to look at all the different fish. Those were some damn good times.

Boomers Baseball

The next fun activity you can do is Boomers Baseball at Wintrust Field. Wintrust Field is a stadium in Schaumburg, Illinois, formerly known as Boomes Stadium and Alexian Field. They've had several names in the past, and it’s now home to the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier Baseball League. They began to play in May 2012 and captured the first-ever professional baseball championship for Schaumburg in 2013.

This ballpark offers great baseball at a very affordable price. There is a capacity of 7,300 seats, but 900 out of those are considered lawn seats. This is a great place to let the kids burn off energy. Besides the actual baseball game, there are things to do for the entire family. Make sure that after the game you stick around for postgame fun, including Run the Bases and fireworks every Friday and Saturday.

Legoland Discovery Center

Another great option for fun is Legoland Discovery Center, located at Woodfield right across from Woodfield Mall at the intersection of Higgins Road and Martingale Road. Here you can enjoy the ultimate two-story indoor Lego playground and build the best day ever as you surround yourself with millions of Lego bricks.

Take the flight on Merlin's Apprentice, blast skeletons on the Kingdom Quest ride adventure, and see your favorite characters on Lego 4D Theater. You can even build epic Lego creations alongside Master Builders. We took the kids here several times as they grew up and had a blast each time.

The Sculpture Park

Another great Schaumburg attraction is the Sculpture Park. The Sculpture Park is tucked away on Plum Grove road, mostly behind the Village Hall off of Schaumburg Road. It is situated on approximately 20 acres of meadow forest with a gazebo, streams, and benches. It was founded in 1988 as the nation's only independent museum of architecture and design with approximately 16 pieces of art.

Here, you have a chance to stretch your legs, have a picnic, or if you're not familiar with the Schaumburg area, enjoy the many bike paths that weave throughout the Sculpture Park. It’s also not far from the Heritage Farm, the Prairie Center, or Boomers Stadium. If you have a bit of time on your hands in Schaumburg, be sure to check this place out.

The Woodfield Trolley

Woodfield has a trolley, which returned in 2021 for weekend service. Service operates every 30 minutes on Fridays from 12:00 pm to 9 pm, Saturdays from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, and Sundays from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.

The Woodfield Trolley goes to a variety of locations. The first stop is the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center, located on the west side in front of Sam and Harry Steakhouse. The second stop is Roosevelt University Schaumburg Campus along MacArthur Parkway. The third is IKEA Schaumburg, located right on the south side of the building.

The fourth stop is Hyatt Regency Schaumburg, located along Walter Payton drive. Number five is Woodfield Green, right in front of Marshalls retail store. The sixth is Woodfield Mall, which is a must-see as we mentioned. It's located on the lower level by JC Penney's. The seventh stop is on the north side of Dick's Sporting Goods at The Streets of Woodfield. The eighth stop is also at The Streets of Woodfield and is located on Center Drive.

The trolley’s ninth stop is at the AMC Lowe’s Theater, also at the Streets of Woodfield. Lastly, the number 10 is at the Northwest Transportation Center. This connects all the bus routes all over the Northwest suburbs.

Vulcan Heritage Farm

The next place you have to check out is Vulcan Heritage Farm. Here you can see what farm life looked like with a glimpse of the village in the 1880s, back when this was a German farming community. You can make your way around the farm on a walking trail and see pigs, cows, horses, and have a great walk in the natural environment.

Depending on the season, you can help with seasonal farm chores, participate in family activities and games, or simply visit the livestock and enjoy this pristine environment. They also have authentically dressed interpreters—AKA ‘actors’—that will greet you and your family when you come for a visit. This beautiful property full of historic detail is a great place to come with kids or as a whole family.

Medieval Times

If you want to keep going back in time, head to Medieval Times. This castle-shaped building off of I-90 Tollway is difficult to miss. Enjoy a fully immersive experience that takes you into an 11th century-style castle of medieval Spain.

When visitors go in, they receive a paper crown with the colors of the knight they should cheer for. This stage storyline with medieval-style games, horsemanship, sword fighting, and jousting is enjoyed all while you eat utensil-free. It’s a show you should experience at least once in your lifetime.

Pilot Pete’s

Our next stop is Pilot Pete's, Chicagoland’s aviation-themed eatery located on Irving Park Road. This place holds a special memory to me, as we had my now 22-year-old son’s first birthday party here. If you or any of your children are aviation enthusiasts, this is the place to see.

This family-friendly restaurant and bar is located in the Schaumburg Regional Airport. You get to enjoy up-close views of the runway through the panoramic window while being served made-to-order meals with an aviation theme. Anyone who loves planes will love catching glimpses of private aircraft, corporate planes, and even helicopters during their meal

Top Golf

A newer addition to Schaumburg’s attractions is Top Golf, one of the newest entertainment activities that have opened in the area. This entertainment venue has a high-tech driving range, a lounge for drinks, and games. Guests can enjoy fun and competitive golf games with climate-controlled hitting bays for year-round fun.

Top Golf has food and drink menus available for you to enjoy in your base, or you can order at their restaurant or rooftop bar. While it can get a bit pricey, watch for specials like half-price Tuesdays. You’ll also want to plan ahead because there seems to be a long wait for the base, as this is a new feature to the area that many are taking advantage of.

Crumbl Cookies

The biggest attraction to come to Schaumburg in a long time is Crumbl Cookies. Many claim that these are some of the best cookies in the world. Located on Golf Road, these fresh and gourmet desserts are available for takeout, delivery, and pickup.

Pick-up slots fill quickly, so be prepared that you may have to just take the drive and wait in line like the rest of us. These made fresh daily cookies are unique, good-sized, and the menu rotates weekly to give you four different specialty flavors to taste and enjoy. They always have their famous milk chocolate and chilled sugar cookies available.

One thing to note is that you can find yourself waiting in line for up to an hour or more—maybe even up to three hours. You may even enjoy your wait. But if you walk up and hear that the specialty cookie you want is out of stock and they're not making any more, you’ll probably be very disappointed, to say the least. Still, this hasn't stopped my girls from going back time after time to taste all the new flavors.

My girls have tried morning, afternoon, and took the late night drive in the hopes of possibly getting in quickly before closing. This may come as a surprise to some of you, but they are open late Friday and Saturday evening until midnight—perfect for that midnight snack.

Exploring Schaumburg, Illinois

I hope this gave you some insight into living in one of Chicago’s suburban communities. As you can see, there are plenty of fun things to do here in Schaumburg. If you have any additional questions about any of the suburban communities we feature on this channel, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask.

Don’t forget to also subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of my show, all about Chicago's best suburban communities. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 8, 2021

Top 10 McHenry County Pizza Places

Do you live in McHenry County and are looking for the best pizza places around? In this video, we're going to look at the top 10 pizza places around McHenry County. We’ll look at the Google ratings of each location to see how their slices stack up against the competition.

#1: Buddyz Pizzeria

The first pizza place on our list is Buddyz Pizzeria in McHenry. With a Google rating of 4.4 stars, this location features an open floor plan, outdoor seating, and sits on the McHenry Riverwalk. That makes this place a perfect environment for spring and summer nights.

#2: Nick’s Pizza And Pub

Next up is Nick’s Pizza and Pub in Crystal Lake with a Google rating of 4.5 stars. So stop by the big barn right off Pyott to enjoy a piece of delicious pizza. Don't forget Tuesday nights, as they offer a two-for-one deal that you can’t beat.

#3: Street Slice Pizza

The new kid on the block in McHenry County is Street Slice Pizza. Located in the suburban village of Huntley, this place already has 4.7 stars on Google. It was born with an idea that will change the pizza scene in the suburbs forever. They're off to a great start, so make sure to give them a try as they have really good pizza.

#4: Sal’s Pizza

Another place you’ve got to try is Sal’s Pizza. They have two locations—one in Huntley and one on the east side of Algonquin—both with a 4.5 Google star rating. While Sal’s is delicious, they do come with a hefty price tag, so be sure to keep it in mind.

#5: Nancy’s Pizza

Are you looking for an old-school place for a pie? Try Nancy’s Pizza in Crystal Lake, Illinois. With a Google rating of 4.5 stars, this staple has been around since I grew up in Chicago. I remember having Nancy's pizza for dinner many times as a kid. Nancy's is named after its original owner's wife and they're located in mostly the Midwest, with franchises in Arizona and Georgia

Fun fact: I almost bought into the Nancy's pizza franchise twice, once when I was 20 and once about five years ago. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the numbers to work for me financially, and I had to back out. But if you are in the area, give Nancy's in Crystal Lake a call. They’re locally owned by good people and make delicious pizza that you don’t want to miss.

#6: That’s Amore Pizza

Another delicious option in Crystal Lake is That’s Amore Pizza. Rated on Google at a 4.5, they have excellent food and warm customer service.

#7: Dino’s Pizza And Pasta

Next up is Dino's Pizza and Pasta in Lake in the Hills, Illinois, with a Google rating of 4.6 stars. Dino's Pizza and Pasta is a small, family-owned and operated restaurant in the heart of Old Town Lake in the Hills. It’s located off the main roads and not where you would expect to find it, but it really does come recommended and offers delicious pizza.

#8: Antioch Pizza Shop

Another delicious pizza place is Antioch Pizza Shop with a Google rating of 4.4 stars. They come highly recommended and are famous for their double-decker pizza that’s loaded with melted mozzarella cheese and fresh toppings. I haven't tried this one yet, but it's definitely on my list to try.

#9: Fox Hole Tap And Pizzeria

Up next is Fox Hole Tap And Pizzeria. Its Google rating is 4.3 stars, and the reviews all rave about the unique experience, wonderful staff, and amazing pizza. Full disclosure, I haven't tried this place yet, but it also comes highly recommended.

#10: Napoli Pizza

Lastly, we have Napoli Pizza in Woodstock with a Google rating of 4.4 stars. This family-owned pizzeria has been around since 1980. Most of the people we polled led us right to this excellent option for pizza in McHenry County.

BONUS: Tufano’s Pizzeria

Finally, my favorite pizza place is Tufano’s Pizza in Huntley, Illinois. Its Google rating is 4.2 stars, though they really should be a 4.6 or 4.7. Tufano’s has one of the best tastes and values in the area. And if you're not a fan of extra sauce, make sure you request easy sauce because otherwise, they will load up your pizza with sauce. My family is split right down the middle. A few of us love extra sauce, and a few of us find ourselves scraping off the sauce. But you know how the saying goes: happy wife, happy life.

Grabbing Pizza In McHenry County

I hope this gave you some insight into the best pizza places in McHenry County. So get out there and explore some of these excellent pizza places. When you're out there exploring, if you find any others, I'd love to hear from you. So make sure to comment below with what you find out there on your daily search!

And if you're even thinking about moving or relocating to any Chicago suburban communities, make sure you reach out to us. We've got your back when moving to or out of Chicago’s suburban communities. Don’t forget to also subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of my show, all about Chicago’s suburban communities.

And remember, I’m a licensed real estate broker in the state of Illinois and the wonderful state of Florida. So if you're thinking about making a move from Illinois to Florida or Florida to Illinois, I want to be your go-to real estate broker. I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Market Updates
July 14, 2021

7 Things to do in Lake in the Hills Illinois

Are you thinking about living in Lake in the Hills, Illinois, and wonder what there is to do for fun? In this video, I'm going to tell you about the top seven things that we like to do for fun in Lake in the Hills. We’ll look at everything from movie theaters to outdoor fun so you get a good idea of what to expect when you move here.

#1: A Night At The Movies

While your top seven might be different from my top seven, we’re going to talk about all the fun things there are to do in Lake in the Hills. The first one on my list is the AMC movie theater. I know you might be thinking that everybody's got a movie theater, this one is a high-end theater with comfortable reclining seats. Who doesn't love those seats that recline?

While you get comfy, you’ll also have your choice of all the popcorn, candy, and drinks you desire—though it does come with a hefty price tag. They even have a full-service bar in the lobby. How cool is that? 

#2: Pond Hockey Tournament

The next fun thing to do in Lake in the Hills is the annual Pond Hockey Tournament. There is also an annual ice fishing tournament and summer fishing tournament that you can compete in. The Pond Hockey Tournament is held every year—weather permitting—at Indian Trail Beach on Woodscreek Lake.

The 4 On 4 Competition takes place to determine who will be the King of the Lake. this past January was a blast as my son and his team participated in the event. They ended up losing to a team that was—in my opinion—stacked with pros. But it was fun.

#3: White Castle

Next up is White Castle. All you 50-somethings know what I'm talking about. Right? Raise your hand. Come on, get it up. Let's go get it up in the air. I grew up on the northwest side of Chicago near Belmont in Harlem, and there was a 24-hour White Castle. 

Just about every weekend consisted of cruising on Harlem Avenue from Diversity Avenue, which is about 2800 North right on the Elmwood Park border to Lawrence Avenue 4800 North. We would go back and forth all night long until we ended up in the White Castle parking lot for some sliders. We’d also go across the street to Wag’s. Who remembers Wag’s? This place was like a Denny's and it was open 24 hours. You could get some of the best food and breakfast that you could want.  

#4: Sunset Park

Another fun thing to do in Lake in the Hills is Sunset Park. Sunset Park is home to many walking trails and a splash pad in the summertime. You can also find a skate park, football field, and a huge dog park. 

There is truly something for everyone there. In the summer, you'll also find a few festivals going on like Sunset fest and Rib Fest (pre-COVID, of course). 

#5: Disc Golf Course

We can't forget about the disc golf course that opened in the summer of 2012. The Lake in the Hills disc golf course provides nine challenging holes of disc golf that bring guaranteed fun for all ages. The course is located by Linda K. Fisher Park. 

#6: The Airport

The next awesome thing to do in Lake in the Hills is the Lake in the Hills Airport. This is a public airport located at 407 Pilot Road in Lake in the Hills, Illinois. I tell you this because Lake in the Hills and Crystal Lake fought for this airport sometime back.

The airport is owned by the Village of Lake in the Hills has sponsored free rides for kids on the weekends. They also host an annual open house event that showcases the facility. Again pre COVID 

#7: Costco

Lastly, we have Costco. Who doesn't love Costco? I’m there maybe three or four times a week—but definitely avoid it on the weekends. It's absolutely crazy. And I think you know this, but it's one of the best things to do in Lake in the Hills. 

Bonus Lake In The Hills Activities

If these seven fun things to do aren’t enough, we have a few bonus activities. Our first bonus is Indian Trail Beach. You can enjoy a relaxing day at Indian Trail Beach, and it’s also the perfect place for summer barbecues. It also has a shelter pavilion and picnic areas as well as accessible parking to the beach. 

The last bonus I have for you is Butcher on the Block, a gourmet meat and deli market. They opened in 2000, right around the time that we moved to the area from the Norwood Park neighborhood in the city of Chicago. They’ve now expanded several times over the years with a larger selection of meats and deli items, along with an expanded grocery area and a sit-down dining area. You definitely have to check this place out.

Enjoy Lake In The Hills Living

I hope this gave you some insight into living in Chicago's suburban communities. If you have any additional questions about any of the suburban communities we feature on this channel, please do not hesitate to reach out and ask


Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of my show, all about Chicago's best suburban communities. And if you are thinking about making a move from Illinois to Florida or Florida to Illinois, I want to be your go-to real estate broker. Make sure to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to connect!

Posted in Market Updates
June 27, 2021

Sellers Closing Costs Explained

Are you thinking about selling your home in today's market and wonder what the bottom-line check will be at the closing table? In this video, I'm going to show you the true cost of selling your home in today's market. I’ll explain some common seller expenses and give you an idea of what you can expect to pay in total closing costs.

Figuring out what it cost to sell your home in today's market isn’t a mystery. This is something that we do for every client. It’s also something that every real estate broker should be doing for their client when they meet with them for the first time and any time a new offer comes in.

Transfer Tax

To understand how much you can expect to pay as a seller, I use our Seller’s Net Proceeds Calculator. We first enter the property address, owner’s name, and the county that the property is located in. When we choose the county, the multiplier is automatically calculated on what the county transfer taxes are. Every county in the state of Illinois has a combined transfer tax, typically $1.50 per $1,000. This is your exit fee to leave the county.

We’re also going to choose the municipality, which is your village, city, or town. Wherever you're living, if your municipality shows up, that means that town does have a transfer tax. The city of Chicago has a large transfer tax along with Harwood Heights and Northridge. Their rate is about $10, so it can get a little crazy out there.

Property Taxes

In our Seller’s Net Proceeds Calculator, we’re also going to enter in your sales price. For example, let’s say we sold for $300,000. We’ll enter your first mortgage balance—or your payoff—and a second mortgage if you have one.  Next, we’ll enter last year's ascertainable tax bill.

Because taxes are a year behind, we're going to grab the last actual real estate bill that we have and enter in that dollar amount. If you’re closing on your property today, the taxes for 2020 are not yet due or the first installment is just about due. You’ll give the buyer a negotiated percentage increase over the last year's tax bill which, in most cases, is 105%.

This is negotiated during your offer, though you’ll usually end up giving the buyer 5% more based on the last tax bill. The reason for this is that since you're behind, there's a gamble in the buyer taking possession of your property. They don't really know what this year's tax bill is, so it's a common courtesy to end up with that 105%.

If the taxes go up more, you made out as a seller. If the taxes only go up 1-2%, the buyer did make a couple of extra percents. However, this give and take is just a norm in the marketplace. Remember, too, that everything is negotiable. For example, if you're buying a bank-owned foreclosed home, the bank does not negotiate on that. The bank says the taxes are prorated at 100%. There's no negotiating. So if you buy a foreclosure, know that you are leaving a few dollars on the table, because the buyer and seller typically agree to this number.

Keep in mind that real estate taxes are a necessary evil. They're required. It keeps the villages, towns, and townships going. Also, these taxes are not really a closing cost, but they do come out of your gross proceeds to get you to that net proceeds. Hopefully, that tax money is in your bank account or escrow account. And if your mortgage is not paid off, your lender should be taking real estate taxes every month and putting them in an account for you. The lender then has to refund you or reimburse you within 30 days after closing so that money gets added back into your net proceeds.

Title Insurance And Recording Fee

The next fee is your title insurance, which you need to purchase for the buyer. Like everything else, this fee goes up in price. From the time you bought your insurance, fast forward 30 years later and it will obviously cost more. As the buyer, you’re required to buy title insurance.

Based on a sales price of $300,000, title insurance will cost about $1,930 if we use Starck Title. This is typically about $200 to $300 in savings compared to Chicago Title and some of the other big players out there. Using Starck Title will save you some money, but you won’t know exactly how much until we put all the numbers in. Title insurance is your proof and guarantee to the buyer that no one else can come out of the woodwork and claim ownership of the property. It covers you and protects the buyer in the transaction.

Next up is the recording fee. This cost is used to record a mortgage or a deed. It's $55 for you to record, and then we have a wire fee. This is because nobody wants to touch money nowadays, and we're becoming a cashless society. Anything typically over $50,000 will not be in check form. Instead, they're going to charge you $45 to wire the proceeds to your bank account.

We then have some additional gap coverage closing cost protection for $50. Remember, when you go to sell your home or buy a home, you might be sticker shocked with the title charges. They're probably at least three times higher than if you were to sell a home in Wisconsin or other states

Inspections, Permits, And Zoning

Some villages require an inspection when you sell. For example, in Elmwood Park, you cannot even put a sign out in front of the property for sale sign until you have the city or village come in and do a pre-occupancy or pre-sale inspection. They're going to come through and make sure you don't have an illegal apartment, make sure all permits were billed, and ensure that you didn't do any work.

They check everything and if they find anything, you're going to have to fix it. Some of the repairs you can put off to the buyer, but they will not let you put your home up for sale until you have that. There are also zoning certificates required in the city of Chicago. However, I haven't heard of any other suburban community that has a zoning certificate requirement.

Attorney Fees

Attorney fees vary and are negotiable to some degree. A rough estimate is $450, as our attorney or a couple of the attorneys that we use with Starck Title charge. This fee is discounted a bit, with typical attorney fees ranging between $450 and $600.

On the seller’s side, you will get some discount attorneys as in any industry. When you go to list your home, a week later you're going to get some letters in the mail. Remember those ambulance chaser attorneys? Well, we like to call that the real estate chasing attorney. When a property goes active, they see that in the database. They have a service that's going to mail you out their marketing letter that says they're going to offer you $99 special or $200 special for attorney services.

What they're not telling you is that you're required to use their title company or one that they're affiliated with. With that, they're typically making a few $1,000 on that title company referral. Sometimes they will disclose that to you right away like they're supposed to when you sign the engagement letter. Sometimes, though, those numbers are not disclosed until the closing table when they slide a piece of paper in front of you. So be very careful. Again, you get what you pay for there.

Our title company saves you about $300 to $400 on average. On a $300,000 property, it’s probably about a $250 to $300 savings.

Home Warranty, HOA, And Survey

The next fee you’ll have is the home warranty. When a buyer's agent submits an offer, they might ask at that time for you to purchase a home warranty for them. Or we may have accepted an offer from them, and they did a home inspection that revealed the mechanics of the house are in good condition, but they're older. Older mechanics are excluded from a home inspection, so they typically can't ask for that.

If the buyers are nervous that they might break, they may ask you to provide a home warranty form to give them a year of coverage. You could say yes or no. If the home is in great condition, you probably won’t have to pay for a home warranty.

Next up, we have the condo, HOA, and association fees. These can get costly. If you live in a condo, townhome, or subdivision that has an HOA, you could see $200 to $600 in fees that the condo management company will put on you when selling a property.

Another fee is the purchase of a survey for the buyer. The buyer’s mortgage company says that we must give them a survey that's six months or newer. However, it doesn't say who's going to pay for it. The contract says the seller is going to pay for it, which is the common contract that we use in Northern Illinois. However, that's negotiable. As we're negotiating the contract, we always can say to the other side that we're not willing to pay the survey for your mortgage company. Typically, it's not done, but you could do it if you're trying to save a few dollars. The buyer may say yes or no, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

The average survey can range anywhere from $350 to $700, depending on the lot size and where it's located. On average, it’s about $500.

The Commission

Another cost you’ll have as the seller is the marketing fee and the brokerage fee, also known as the commission. In the state of Illinois, the commission is negotiable. It's not fixed, and you as the homeowner can seek out the lowest brokerage fee possible out there. Some people may do it for 4%, while I may do it for 5%. Some real estate companies may have an office policy that says they can't go any lower than 5% to 7%. I've seen commission as high as 8% to 10%, depending on where you're at.

I’ve been in business for 30 years, so I've seen everything. More realistically, you're probably going to end up paying between 5% and 6%. For example, the listing fee and buyer fee can be split up. If it’s 5%, we can decide what we're going to pay the co-op agent. This is somebody that brings in the purchaser, and we want as many co-op agents and buyers to come through your home as possible. This is going to maximize the dollar and offer possibility, so it’s important, we keep that number exciting for the buyer's agent.

Let’s say we pick 2.5% for the listing side brokerage fee and 2.5% for the buyer’s side. You're paying the whole 5%.

Administrative Fees

Another thing you’ll need to account for is administrative fees. A rough estimate is $395, which is the administrative processing fee that our company has. While there are a few mom-and-pop offices or fly-by-night companies that don't really have this, most do. The cost of doing business nowadays is so tight in the real estate industry that a lot of companies looked at ways—just like airlines and everybody else—to help cushion that discrepancy in the bottom line.

The state of Illinois required that all documents be held for a certain period in paper. Now they need to be kept electronically. Administrative fees go towards the state of Illinois document holding fee that they do require. A lot of other states have that as well. This document prep fee or admin fee is negotiable, just like the commission.

Total Closing Costs

To give you a ballpark on what you can expect when you sell your home, we add up our net sheet. To sell your home of $300,000, you're going to have about $21,000 in closing costs. You then get the resulting estimated net proceeds, which is the amount of money that will be wired into your bank account. For our example, this is about $278,000. Of course, remember that this number can be plus or minus. A few things can vary, and there's always room for error.

I hope this gave you some insight into selling your home in today's market and what the true cost is. This gives you a good idea of the bottom line net figure you can expect to walk away with at the closing table. And if you’d like to download my 225 steps to selling your home, make sure to click the link. If you have any additional questions, make sure to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to help you with the process.

For more information on Chicago's best suburban communities, make sure to subscribe to my channel. And if you're thinking about making a move from Illinois to Florida, or Florida to Illinois, I would love to be your go-to real estate broker. I hope to hear from you soon!

May 30, 2021

Top Five Chicago Suburban Downtowns

Are you thinking about living in Chicago’s suburban communities and wonder what some of the suburban downtown areas look and feel like? In this video, I’m going to share my top 5 downtowns in McHenry and Kane Counties that are located right on the Fox River. We’ll explore everything from food and drink to seasonal events so you can get an idea of what there is to do in each area.

Our first must-see downtown area is West Dundee, nestled on the Fox River Valley in Northern Illinois. It makes for a perfect quick trip any time of the week and any time in the day. Downtown West Dundee has many unique dining options, plenty of entertainment, and a thriving nightlife.

Grab a seat on the patio at Bleuroot where you can enjoy a view of the Fox River and settle in for a local farm-to-table experience. Bring the whole family out for dinner at The Village Squire, an English-style pub with a variety of great food. Be prepared to yell “Opa!” with the crowd as the Saganaki comes out.

On Main Street in West Dundee, Illinois sits the Hunt’s Block Building, a fixture in the National Register of Historic Places and home to the original and first Emmett’s Brewing Company. In 1998, Andy, his family, and a group of investors bought the building, renovated it, and set up shop. They serve handcrafted food and award-winning beer.

West Dundee’s downtown is also home to RocHaus Music Venue. The name says it all and features live music, including an October 1st night of all your Kiss favorites with one of the hottest bands in the country, Mr. speed. You don't want to miss this one! I already bought my tickets and will be there. So if you want to join me, we could grab a drink together at Bamboozels right across the street. They have seriously good food, a great interior vibe, and it’s a really fun place to be. Visit on Wednesday evenings at 8 pm for karaoke and drinks—you won’t regret it.

East Dundee

Another great downtown area is East Dundee. If you haven't seen my other videos, specifically on East Dundee’s downtown, restaurant, and entertainment area, make sure you check it out. East Dundee is filled with unique shops and restaurants. The village and residents of East Dundee take great pride in community events hosted on the east side of the river.

East Dundee community events include the annual Oktoberfest, Dickens In Dundee, Thirsty Thursdays, Wine Down Wednesdays, Motor Monday, St. Patrick's Day, the shredding event, and community garage sale. Their downtown is also absolutely amazing. There are a variety of great restaurants to choose from, including Nonno’s Italian Kitchen, Aliano’s Ristorante, Bandito Barney’s, River Street Tavern, Duke’s Blues N BBQ, Black & Gray Brewing, D.C. Cobb’s, and so much more.


Up the river is McHenry, Illinois, situated along the Fox River and 10 miles from the Wisconsin border. It’s a vibrant community of just under 28,000 people and has three distinct downtown areas rich in history: Main Street, Green Street, and Riverside Drive. All three areas consist of quaint specialty retail shops as well as service-oriented businesses.

McHenry Riverwalk has sparked a renaissance in this historic river town, connecting shopping, dining, recreation, and entertainment to the Fox River. Visitors can enjoy fine dining, a waterfront stroll, and catch a movie at the indoor theater—all within the Riverwalk district. I think the Riverwalk was the best investment McHenry ever made. It truly is a great feature to have. I’ve always said if you want a thriving downtown area to work, you need a Riverwalk.


Take a stroll in downtown Geneva and explore historical elements, unique stores, specialty food shops, and restaurants. This area is a shopper's paradise. The downtown boasts over 100 specialty shops, many

historic storefronts, and charming Victorian-style homes. With each new season, Geneva merchants fill their shops with exclusive treasures from all over the world.

The French Market brings farm-fresh produce, fresh flowers, baked goods, jewelry, handbags, and more to the downtown Geneva area. It’s open on Sundays from late April to mid-November from 9 am to 2 pm and is held n the parking lot of the Metro Train Station at 4th and South. There’s also no shortage of food there, making it a great way to spend the weekend.

St. Charles

St Charles has a vibrant downtown filled with shopping and dining. It has something for everyone, including a vintage Riverfront hotel called the Hotel Baker. It sits right on the Fox River on Route 64. Another St. Charles establishment that needs a shout-out is the Filling Station Pub + Grill. This is a family-friendly, antique-adorned pub with a diverse American menu, patio seats, and sports on the TV.

Don’t forget to try McNally's Pub, a traditional Irish pub offering a classic menu, awesome beer on tap, and a great vibe. St. Charles also has Riverside Pizza & Pub, a festive bi-level parlor for creative pies, draft brews, and cocktails.

You can also visit one of the best venues in the area for live music: the Arcada. It’s the best place to be, and I've seen so many great bands there—including one of the best bands to come out in the 1980s, Tesla. That's right Tesla. I haven't missed a show. And lastly, this is another town where you can make a weekend out of enjoying the outdoors.

Exploring Chicago’s Suburban Downtowns

I hope this gave you some insight into living in Chicago’s suburban communities. Whether you want to hit the club or simply relax outdoors, each of these downtown areas offers something for everyone. I recommend exploring these cities to see which one best suits your vibe.

If you have any additional questions about any of these suburban communities, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask. You can also subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode!

Posted in Market Updates
May 8, 2021

Buying New Construction?

Are you thinking about buying new construction in the Midwest, specifically Northern Illinois? In this video, we’re are going to talk about the top 10 things that you need to know when buying new construction. I’ll share all the things you’ll want to consider when building your dream home from the ground up.

So let’s get started with the countdown. work our way up to the #1 thing you’ll want to be aware of when buying new construction.

#10: Lot Location

Make sure to pay attention to what direction your house is going to be facing. Lot location is something you can never change, so you want to ensure that it's absolutely perfect. Think about where the sun rises and where the sun sets. You don't want your house facing southwest or west, because in the late afternoon that sun is going to be baking your home right around dinnertime.

#9: Outlet Placements

Coming in at number nine, make sure to pay attention to where the outlets are placed. You’ll also want to think about any extra outlets you may need to add. The builder is only going to include the number of outlets that are required by code. So look at where you're going to place your furniture and look at where the outlets are. If you need to, now's the time to add a couple of them.

However, keep in mind that this will be an upgrade and the builder will charge you for it. You might be able to hire an electrician and do it for half the cost once you move in.

#8: Exterior Walls

Are your exterior walls 2x4s or 2x6s? Make sure you check how big your exterior walls are, and trust me—you want to make sure they are 2x6 so you have that nice wide window ledge.

#7: Upgrade Your Lot

Don't settle for a standard lot. Pick the lot that truly fits your needs. Most if not all builders have an upcharge for premium costs for these special lots; you’ll see upcharges of $5,000  to $20,000 and higher.

For example, Pulte Home is building a new subdivision in Algonquin, Illinois right now. The subdivision is located in the Huntley School District 158. I heard the builder had an auction type of event for the first few phases of the vacant lots. These were offered in an auction environment. Now keep in mind, this doesn't include the house that you select either. Can you imagine bidding against others just to get a lot in a production home community with no custom or semi-custom homes

#6: Upgrade Later

Don't buy your upgrades through the builder, as upgrades are marked up considerably. Do the changes or upgrades that you want to do after you move in and do the things now that you can't physically change down the road. For example, get the builder-grade carpet and add the hardwood floors after you move in.

#5: HOAs

This is very important: review the covenants and restrictions in the community, understand them, and make sure you’re aware of what you can and can't do. This piece of advice will come in handy if you have a work vehicle or a boat that you think you can park in the driveway. Or how about the pool, the shed, or the fence that you're hoping to add or build later? You might not be able to. So be sure to read those HOA rules and understand them before you buy.

#4: Plan For Storage

A basement is a great option for partial. Trust me, you're going to want to storage. Make sure you look above the garage. See if there's some attic space there. Look in the house. You're going to need it down the road. As a matter of fact, we've got a crib that all four of our children used. I had no place to put it, but we didn't want to get rid of it. It's up in the attic. So make sure you've got one; trust me.

#3: Get A Basement

If you have the option, get a basement. Basements are typically 8 feet high and, if you could add another foot to it, that's called a deep pour basement. You’re going to want that and will end up finishing your basement some time or another. When you do, you're going to appreciate that extra height in headroom.

Also, how about an English basement versus a walkout basement? Again, there's going to be an upcharge for that specific lot. But if you can get a walkout basement or an English basement, you might want to consider that.

#2: Light Fixtures

Most builders will only include what is required by code, which means you might not get an electrical connection in each bedroom ceiling. What happens if you want to put a ceiling fan? You might want to consider upgrading now to get electricity in the ceiling in each bedroom.

#1: The Garage

The number one thing you should consider in your new construction build is the garage. Should you get a two-car garage or a three-car? I have to tell you, I have four kids. Let's fast forward to when they're all driving and there’s no room in the driveway. We've got a two-car garage and we only can park one car in it. If we have four or five cars in the driveway, can you imagine mornings trying to move them around? What happens when the boyfriend or girlfriends come over?

I’m telling you: get a three-car garage if you can. You might want to also opt for a wider drive. You're going to need it, and you're going to appreciate that tip.

Document With Pictures And Video

Now that you know my 10 tips for new construction, here’s some bonus advice: take pictures and videos of the progress of your home. Make sure you visit the home site daily or every couple of days. Bring your video camera and your regular DSLR camera—or whatever you’ve got—and make sure you take plenty of pictures and video. This is going to come in handy down the road.

We took a ride almost every day to see the progress of the subdivision and the interior mechanicals. We looked at where the ductwork was and where the electrical ran. Let's say you move in and you decide you want to hang a shelf in the pantry. You start screwing it in and all of a sudden, you hear that screw going into the ductwork. Trust me, you want to review that video before you do any work yourself.

Building Your New Construction Home

I hope this gave you some insight into building a home and some of the items to consider when purchasing new construction. If you should have any additional questions about any of the suburban communities we feature on this channel, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask. And if you're thinking of selling, buying, or relocating to any Chicago suburban community, make sure you give us a call. We've got your back when moving to or out of Chicago’s suburban communities.

Don't forget to also subscribe to our channel for more information on Chicago's best suburban communities. And if you're thinking about making a move from Illinois to Florida or Florida, Illinois, I want to be your go-to real estate broker as I’m licensed in both states. I look forward to hearing from you!

April 19, 2021

East Dundee Illinois Downtown Restaurants and Bars

Are you thinking of living in Chicago's greater suburban areas and you're wondering what it’s really like? In this video, I’m going to take you on a tour of East Dundee, one of Chicago’s best suburbs. We’ll look at everything from local breweries to delicious restaurants to give you an idea of all this area has to offer.

Exploring East Dundee

Before we dive into the great food and drink you can find here, let’s get some data out of the way so you understand the size and population of East Dundee. While many people don’t know about this suburb, its downtown has become a great hotspot for nightlife or just an afternoon stroll.

East Dundee is about 40 miles northwest of downtown Chicago and is home to about 3,181 residents—making it small and quiet. This village is located in Kane County, with a small section in Cook County. It’s also adjacent to the Fox River, giving residents an excellent view of the water.

According to, East Dundee is ranked 6 out of 20 for the best places for young professionals in Kane County. It also ranked number 65 out of 543 for the best places to retire in Illinois.

North River Street Eateries

East Dundee has a fabulous row of restaurants and drinking establishments on North River Street. Eateries range from delightful Italian restaurants to sports bars, taverns, and microbreweries.

One of the most sought after restaurants in East Dundee is Aliano’s Ristorante. If you're looking for that perfect Instagram picture, look know further. Their pristine patio make for a picture-perfect setting to enjoy fantastic Italian cuisine in a classic atmosphere. This fine dining experience will not disappoint.

East Dundee is also home to Bandito Barney's Beach Club, northern Illinois’ premier beer garden and sports bar. They’re known for their signature drinks served in turquoise cups along with live music on Thursday through Sunday nights during the summer. There’s a great vibe and a fun atmosphere that you’ve got to experience for yourself.

Another great East Dundee eaterie on North River Street is Black And Gray Brewing. This family owned brewery will always have an American lager or ale on tap. It’s a great place to throw back a few. You can also dine with a great view of the Fox River at Rosie’s Public House, where you’ll always be treated like family.

More Food And Drink

Another beautiful dining choice is Duke’s Blues And Barbeque. This place is Southern barbecue at its finest. Another option is Mockingbird Bar + Garden, a lively and stylish gathering place with plenty to eat and drink. Of course, I have to mention one of my favorites: Diamond Jim’s Tavern And Gas Grill. Inspired by the early 19th century downtown pubs, Diamond Jim’s has an inviting atmosphere. It's a great place to relax with family and friends.

Remember those taverns in the city of Chicago? The ones in the middle of the block or on the corner in a residential street? You can capture that feeling with River Street Tavern, East Dundee’s first high-end pub. Here you can take advantage of excellent food and great drinks in a comfortable atmosphere.

The newest gem in East Dundee is an amazing place that reminds me of some of the best neighborhood Italian delis in the city of Chicago. They have a 36-inch sub for only $35 that can feed the entire office or neighborhood.

Making Your Move

I hope this gave you some insight into all the great options you have for enjoy life in East Dundee. If you have any additional questions about this or other suburban communities in the Chicago Land area, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask. And if you're thinking of moving or relocating to any of Chicago's suburban communities, remember that we've got your back and we’d be happy to help.

As a licensed real estate broker in Illinois and Florida, I’d be happy to assist you if you’re thinking about making a move from Illinois to Florida or Florida to Illinois. Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to our channel so you never miss an episode all about Chicago living!

Posted in Market Updates
March 30, 2021

2021 Spring Cleaning hacks

Are you thinking about selling your home this spring or summer and you're wondering how to prepare it for today's market? In this video, my colleague Karen Czarny and I are going to give you the best ways to clean and sanitize your home to get it ready to be sold. We’ll also share the top things that turn buyers away when they see your house so you know exactly what to avoid.


The Top Buyer Turn-Offs

It’s important to understand some of the top things that turn buyers away when they come to see your home. Obviously, one of the major turn-offs is a dirty home. Nobody wants to see any dirt, pet hair, stains, or grime just laying around your house.

Next is stinky odors.  This is a big one that includes anything from pet odors to what you made for dinner last night. It could be a deal-breaker. And lastly, no one wants to see personal items left out and around the house. A buyer’s going to see that as clutter. So just put it all away, pack it up, and get rid of it.

10 Spring Cleaning Hacks

The good news is that a seller can fix these problems and make their home more appealing to buyers in today's market. To do so, we’ll go through Karen’s top 10 hacks to get your house sparkling clean. These all include 100% therapeutic-grade essential oils.

These essential oils are the lifeblood of the plant, protecting it from harm and holding all its nutrients. The oils Karen uses are anti-microbial, antifungal, and antibacterial—all without the harmful chemicals and fumes of traditional cleaning products. You can mix them together and use them with vinegar water and baking soda for the perfect green clean that kills germs and leaves your house smelling great.

#10: Peppermint Oil. Peppermint oil is excellent for keeping insects and critters away. And don't worry, it is safe for your pets. However, not all essential oils are, so make sure you check each one before using it around your animals. It’s a great ant deterrent as well, perfect for keeping pesky pests away.

#9: Lemon Oil. Lemon oil is perfect to remove coffee stains and any odors or stains you have on your carpeting.

#8: Lemon Oil, Baking Soda, And Vinegar. If you mix lemon oil with some baking soda and vinegar, it will unclog any clog in your sink. I dare you to try it!

#7: Lemon Oil, Vinegar, And Water. This combination is perfect for washing grime from cabinets, baseboards, and floors. It leaves them gleaming and fresh and kills germs.

#6: Lemon Oil And Peppermint Oil. Adding these two oils into a duster before sweeping cobwebs is a great idea. Not only will it make getting old cobwebs off easier, but it also helps prevent new ones from forming.

#5: Lemon Oil And Water. Spraying lemon oil and water is a great way to disinfect your counters, sinks, tables, and appliances. It's a great way to kill germs and keep everybody safe with their food.

#4: Lavender Oil. For this hack, add three drops of lavender oil to a cotton ball, throw it on the ground, and vacuum it up. Your whole house will smell amazing, and it creates such a calm and beautiful sensation throughout your home. It also inhibits any bad vacuum smell.

#3: Lavender Oil, Peppermint Oil, And Water. Combine these two oils with water and spray it on your bed, your pillows, and your pillowcases. It kills dust mites and it makes getting into bed feel like heaven.

#2: Lemon Oil In The Garage. When we go to showings, the men gravitate towards the garage—and we want to make sure that your garage is smelling good and clean. So mix some lemon oil with hot water and clean those floors and walls to get them shiny and dirt-free.

#1: Lavender Oil, Peppermint Oil, And Lemon Oil. Diffusing lavender, peppermint, and lemon oil kill the germs in the air. It also helps with allergies and smells wonderful for showings.

A Fresh, Clean Home

Remember, no one wants to smell fish when viewing a home, so don’t fry any up the night before. Rather, use these 10 tips to make your home smell fresh, clean, and inviting. And if you know of any cleaning hacks that we might have missed, we'd love to hear from you.

So remember, Karen’s top five products to clean your home are simple: baking soda, vinegar, lemon oil, lavender oil, and peppermint oil. It’s really all you need! As a bonus, the first five to comment on our video with some positive vibes and who promise to share it will receive a free lemon essential oil of their very own

If you have any additional questions about cleaning hacks or any of the suburban communities we feature on this channel, please do not hesitate to reach out and ask. If you're thinking of moving or relocating to any of Chicago’s suburban communities, make sure to reach out. We've got your back when moving to Chicago, and we’d be happy to help you!

Posted in Market Updates