Dylan’s Candy Bar on Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL

Chicagoo is always full of things to explore and you can be rewarded with sweet treats and lots of fun things to expxlore and look at at Dylan’s Candy Bar along Chicago’s Mag Mile (Michigan Avenue). With over 7,000 confecctions available it’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and the kid in you.

I found some really fun things to look at and some unique candy offerings in this video.

West Loop / West Town Market Status Update

As many people are already aware, the West Loop/ West Town markets have been in high demand with both new construction and resales. New condos, townhouses, and loft properties are under construction even today and the construction is expected to continue over the next few years.

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Several well named businesses and tech companies like Google have made West Loop their new Chicago headquarters. Infrastructure improvements continue in the area with easy access to downtown via the Green and Pink EL Lines and several bus routes, along with it’s proximity to commuter rail lines centralized via Union Station and Ogiville Station. Several freeway systems intersect nearby. It’s also a very good area for those who want to walk or bike to work.

In addition, restaurant and entertainment options are plenty in these areas and it’s a growing area for young chefs and entrepreneurs in this area with a wide variety of tasty

food options and pubs. All this results in high desirability for home buyers and renters alike.

Newly Opened Nando's Peri-Peri

Newly Opened Nando’s Peri-Peri

Homeowners who wish to sale their property in the area at this time should see a decent amount of interest and traffic should they list at the correct prices. A professional real estate broker with years of experience in the market will be able to best help you determine that right price range to list your property. Currently, there is a smaller inventory available on the market than demand.

Would you like to know about about what your property is worth or how to best search for a property that will meet your needs? Contact Me

Explore Chicago Museum Week – October 1-7, 2015

As the weather starts cooling off and transition from Summer to Fall, there is no shortage of things to do in Chicago. 12 Museums across the city and Lincoln Park Zoo have pulled their resources together to host the 1st Museum Week across the city October 1-7 with different activities, discounts and special programs throughout the week. Click the link below to see some of the fun things in store.

Museum Week Activities
Adler Planetarium – Free admission for Illinois residents Oct. 5-7, as well as $10 off new memberships. Go to the “Space Oddities” discussion or catch “The Pluto Encounter” sky show.

Art Institute of Chicago – Free entry for Illinois residents Oct. 1 after 5 p.m. and $10 off new memberships. Take advantage of daily tours and art-making events for families.

Chicago History Museum – $4 off admission, 20% off purchases at the museum store and cafe, and 20% off memberships. Also check out their after-hours event on Oct. 6.

DuSable Museum of African American History – 2-for-1 admission, 10% off store, and half off memberships. There will be special guided tours and gift basket giveaways.

Field Museum – Free admission for Illinois residents Oct. 4. Also offering daily highlight tours and SUE talks. Or go behind the scenes and meet the museum’s Discovery Squad on Oct. 2.

Lincoln Park Zoo – The zoo’s Fall Fest will feature a corn maze, pumpkin patch, 60-foot slide and live entertainment. Admission is free but rides and activities cost ($3 for 1, $27 for 10, $51 for 20). Pumpkins are on sale throughout October. 10% off memberships during Museum Week.

Museum of Contemporary Art – Free admission for Illinois residents Oct. 6. MCA is also hosting two evening events and a special pop-up store.

Museum of Science & Industry – Free entry for Illinois residents Oct. 5-6, plus $20 off memberships. Check out the new robot exhibit or learn about the science behind nature’s most powerful storms.

National Museum of Mexican Art – 15% discount at museum shop and enter raffle to win a family membership. See the largest Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibit in the country. Guided tours in Spanish and English.

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture – Offering free admission all week. Check out the exhibit featuring paintings by Puerto Rican Chicago-based artist Oscar Luis Martinez.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum – Free admission for Illinois residents Oct. 1, 10% off gift shop, and membership discounts (plus a chance to win a lifetime membership). There are two new exhibits opening during Museum Week – “City Creatures” and “Peanuts…Naturally.” For families, the Harvest Festival and Harvest Hop 5K on Oct. 4 makes for a great fall outing. Adults should try the after-hours event Oct. 6.

Shedd Aquarium – Discounts for Illinois residents Oct. 5-6, plus deals and programming for those who become a member. Check out the “Amphibians” special exhibit or attend an Animal Chat.

CTA Transit Information – Find information about how t get to the various museums around the City via the CTA Systems.

Metra Rail Information – Find information about commuting to the downtown area via Metra

Nando’s Peri- Peri Now Open in West Loop, Chicago

US-Nandos logo

With much anticipation, the first Nando’s Peri-Peri in Chicago area is officially open yesterday in the West Loop at 954 W. Randolph Street, along what is affectionately known in the West Loop as “Restaurant Row”

Their world famous Portuguese, Juicy, flamed-grilled, chicken that has been marinated for 24 hours is their specialty with some special selection of sauces full of flavors and spices at varying heat levels for your choosing. The quick service menu offers a wide selection from on-the bone chicken breast and leg/thigh meat to boneless chicken breasts each with your choosing of equally tasting side dishes to accompany the main. There is also a wide selection of salads, wraps and sandwiches based on their famous juicy, flamed-grilled, marinated chicken. If you are not in the mood for chicken or don’t eat meat, there are other options like the Rib Eye Steak Sandwich, Portobello Mushroom with Halloumi Wrap, Veggie Burger or the Roasted Veggie Wrap and salads without protein.

Some of the side dishes include: Flamed Grilled Corn on the Cob (available seasonally), Peri-Peri Chips (fries), Macho Peas, Portugese Rice, side cesar salad, side garden salad to name a few.

Dessert offering include: Cupcakes, Dulce de Leche Cheesecake, Rasberry Brulee Cheesecake, Chocolate Spoon Cake and Bottomless self-serve frozen yogurt. Which I will have to try on future visits. One can only eat so much in one sitting.

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On the visit yesterday, I sampled the 1/4 Leg/Thigh Chicken with sides of their famous Peri-Peri fries and Corn on the Cob. An extra side of garden salad was also ordered with the mean. The chicken could have a bit more marinate and flavor for me as it was brushed with a light coat of the medium heat level sauce. One of the nice things about Nando’s Peri-Peri is that all their sauces are conveniently available at the drink/station condiment counter to bring to your table so that you can try the various sauces and put as much of it on your food as you like or mix and match. I enjoyed using the sauces instead of ketchup or mayo with my peri-peri chips (fries) which also had good flavor on it’s own. The flamed grilled corn on the cob is available seasonally and was fresh and sweet with just enough char and flavoring and it was a full ear of corn — delish!

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How it works: You enter this upscale quick food service restaurant and get a number on a chicken stick (or was it a rooster?) for the table number you will be sitting at, then you go to the counter to place your order. Once your food is prepared in the open kitchen, a friendly staff member will bring it out to your table for you. If you’re order is take out, just go to the counter to place your order. Warning: There maybe a line for the order taking counter.

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The atmosphere: The restaurant is modernly decorated with bright floor to ceiling windows that would have a good view of Randolph Street. Tables are made of nice looking woods with modern styled seating. They play upbeat Portuguese music at a comfortable level. There is a cool self-serve new age Freestyle Coca-Cola Fountain Machine for your to have over 100+ drinks and flavoring combinations. The back wall of this drink/condiment station features a wall of sauces while the counter holds bottles of their various famous sauces and salad dressing choices. There is also a self-serve yogurt machine if you ordered that as part of your meal. Silverware, napkins are also available here. Whenever the weather actually warms up here in Chicago (feels like it might not this year Ugh…), they have a nice outdoor patio seating area as well to enjoy your meal.

Nando_patio

There might be a wait since they are they brand spanking new to Chicago and have done a great job announcing their opening, but it’s definitely worth a try, especially if you work or live in the area. It’s also easily accessible with public transit via the #8 Halsted Bus and then a short walk from Halsted and Randolph stop or via the Green Line EL Morgan Station which is only one block North of it’s location. If there is a long wait, Grab a cup of coffee or cappuccino from Le Colmbe just next door or do it after your meal if you still have room from the good eats.

I can’t wait for their other Chicago area locations to open soon in Lakeview and Lincoln Park later this summer. I plan to visit often as it’s an easy walk from our West Loop office and a nice healthy lunch option in the area with an upbeat atmosphere.

Address: 953 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607
Website/Menu: Website

Zoning Use Certification for Un-Incorporated Cook County

Attention home sellers and buyers in Unincorporated Cook country regarding a new country ordinance (law) that was passed. The following was published by the Chicago Association of Realtors on Mar 23

“Unincorporated Cook County Zoning Use Certification Effective March 21
Please be reminded, as we’ve previously published, effective on March 21, 2015, prior to the sale of any property in unincorporated Cook County (except condominium or coop units), the Seller must apply to the Cook County Building Commissioner for a Zoning Use Certificate. The stated purpose of this new requirement is to help ensure that the parties in a real estate transaction have knowledge of the zoning and permitted use of the parcel in the transaction.
The Illinois Association of REALTORS® played a role in providing input to the building commissioner’s office on the form.
Pursuant to the new Ordinance: “The owner or owner’s agent or attorney shall make application using a form from the Office of the Building Commissioner.”
The following information items will be on the form:

Name, Address of the owner(s); if the owner is a corporate body, name of responsible officer;
Complete legal description of the property;
A current plat of survey of the property (if available);
Description of present use(s);
A certification that no construction has occurred on the property for which a permit is required without the issuance of such permit;
Proof of compliance with applicable Cook County ordinances pertaining to child support.
A fee of $100 must accompany the Application form.

Within 10 business days after the receipt of the Application, the Zoning Administrator of the County shall either issue the Zoning Use Certificate or deny the Application. Written reasons for denial will be stated. The Certificate will state that the property is being used consistent with applicable Zoning ordinances of the County.
A Certificate of Zoning Use is valid for a period not to exceed six months from issuance. As more information on the application process comes from the County, we will make that available through your local Association.

NOTE: Some municipalities in northern Illinois (including Chicago) have a zoning “check” or certification, like this, to make sure that all parties in a property transfer are aware of the zoning on the property. Some municipalities issue a letter to the prospective buyer to inform of the zoning.”

For regular updates on this and other issues relating to real estate in the Chicago area and Chicagoland, follow us on your favorite Social Media.

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Chicago Downtown Aerial Views Via Drone

There is certainly no shortage of great sights around downtown Chicago. Some of the best pictures can be taken during the Winter months where the air is often clear offering crisp visibility. Check out this video posted by Scott Rodgers of some of the most iconic views around downtown Chicago.

Chicago Aerials shot with DJI S1000 and Panasonic LUMIX GH4 (4k) from Scott Rodgers on Vimeo.

Mobile Application For Buyer Home Search

Buyers for real estate are increasing demanding the ability to better access available listing inventory from their smartphone and other mobile devices such as an IPad. I am happy to make this mobile application available to our clients to use while on the go throughout Chicagoland that will help them have a better experience in searching for their next LoftNHome.

Find out how to get and use this application in this short video.

Housing Trends Newsletter – January, 2015

January 2015 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter


Welcome to the most current Housing Trends eNewsletter. This eNewsletter is specially designed for you, with national and local housing information that you may find useful whether you’re in the market for a home, thinking about selling your home, or just interested in homeowner issues in general.

http://ChicagoLoftsNHomes.housingtrendsenewsletter.com?Newsletter_ID=321

Cook County Property Taxes 2014

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By this time of the year, folks are usually starting to receive tax related statements from their place of employment or companies where they have investments. One of the key benefits of owning your own home or having a real estate rental or investment property is the ability to deduct the property taxes you pay against the income you’ve earned on the property or to reduce your personal income tax liability.

I’ve created a short video below to help you understand some of the basics around property taxes in Cook County, Illinois.