Luis + Clarissa

Friday, August 26, 2016

I can't remember the exact day I met Luis and Clarissa, but it was sometime in the fall of 2013. Victoria, my roommate, and I had just moved into our apartment in Lakeview -- Luis and Clarissa lived below us. We knew them as our very cool, very hip, very artistic neighbors. They had a little pup named Sherman and grew the tastiest tomatoes in our shared backyard.

Two years later, Luis and Clarissa officially became my clients. They were in search of the perfect live/work space, a unique home that proved difficult to find. We looked for months, and there were plenty of ups and downs -- offers written, foreclosures found, properties that were not meant to be. The time allowed me to get to know Luis and Clarissa much better, and I learned so much, both about them and about real estate.

At Victoria's wedding in March, I sat with them during the ceremony, and Clarissa told me she was worried they'd never find the right place. Neither of us could've known that just a few months later, they'd close on the most special house I've seen in a long while: a converted single-family home, built in 1875. It was first a storefront, then a grocery shop, and then a bar. The space is over 1,700 square feet, offering three bedrooms, a huge kitchen, and a sunny and private patio. Unsurprisingly, the listing agent received ten offers -- ours was the winning bid.

(Speaking of the listing agent: John was the kindest realtor I've ever had the chance to work with. At the final walkthrough, he showed up with packages of kołaczki from his favorite Polish bakery -- one  for me, and one for Luis and Clarissa. That was so thoughtful and meant a lot to me, broker-to-broker.)

Congratulations, Luis and Clarissa. It was certainly an adventure to find and close on this McKinley Park vintage building. I already miss working with you guys. Celebrate with some Moscow Mules, will you?

Cousins in the City

Monday, August 22, 2016

Saturday was among my favorite days of summer, for no reason other than the people I spent it with. Sam (little brother one of two), Leah (cousin and friend) and Ben (long-lost cousin from Nevada) planned to meet at my place in the afternoon. We hadn't seen Ben in a few years, so it was a joyous reunion when he finally knocked on my unit door.

"Beeeeeen!" we chorused, taking turns hugging our cousin. He was the same, but different -- still a redhead and still tall. But he also looked so much more grown-up. His family moved to Las Vegas when we were quite young, so we've only seen them a handful of times. Ben calls me "Mels" and is one of the most easy-going and fun-loving guys I know.

After a round of burrito bowls at Chipotle, we walked back to my building and sprawled out by the pool for a few breezy, cloudy hours. We continued to catch up, talking about family and friends and everything in-between. Sam swam alone -- I took photos.

The sky grew darker, and we eventually headed inside. Ben picked us up out front in his car just as it began to downpour. It was raining sideways and the wind was howling, so we did the only thing there was to do: cruise down Michigan Avenue blasting Justin Bieber. The best of times.

When the weather cleared, we found ourselves at Montrose Point. My friend had taken me here once before. It offers a phenomenal skyline view from the north. Ben loved it, and moreover, he loved Chicago -- the vibe, the neighborhoods, the lifestyle. And he's right. This city is the most spectacular place, and I can hardly believe I get to live and work here.

The four of us ended the day at my condo with three boxes of Sprinkles Cupcakes -- my brother loves these treats. (He somehow wedged little pieces of chocolate into my kitchen floor. I'm trying to forgive him.) To make the evening even more special, we walked in during golden hour. I swooned.

My Saturday did not begin this way. I felt anxious about a few transactions, overly focused on myself and my issues. Put simply, I was in a bit of a funk. It seems that an afternoon with family was precisely what I needed. I love these three very much and am forever grateful to have them.

To Ben: You should probably move to Chicago ASAP.

MSC MAG | August/September 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

MSC MAG is my reminder of how quickly time passes. It feels like I just published the June/July issue, and all of the sudden, August/September is here. Whew. I began designing at the tail end of July, and by the first week of August, it was time to go into production -- with the help of two dear friends. The issue hit mailboxes (both literal and digital) last week.

I am especially pleased with how this one turned out. In it, you will find: a midyear sales report, a photo from my GrubHub seminar day, a review from Dave, the sweetest of bathrooms and a neighborhood market update. (The trellis on the front cover totally steals the show, though.)

To subscribe, send me your email or home address.

So You Want to Buy a Condo: GrubHub Edition

Monday, August 15, 2016

On a muggy day in July, I was invited to GrubHub's downtown headquarters to teach my first-time homebuyer seminar. I have admired this innovative company for years -- GrubHub delivers food to wherever you are. For a girl who cannot cook, this app is my saving grace. Without even getting up from my couch, I can order a casual Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich or lobster ravioli from RPM (if I'm feeling fancy).

The food delivery service is based here in Chicago, but has expanded to over 1,000 cities across the country. Everyone knows about GrubHub. Suffice to say, GrubHub's HQ was somewhere I really wanted to teach at.

The presentation took place in the office cafeteria during lunchtime, and the room was just about packed. (Bonus: The fridge is stocked with La Croix. Happiness.) As always, Chris and I spent the first half navigating through our slide deck, and afterwards, we took questions from the audience. It was a 10/10.

Thanks for having me, GrubHub!

Going Goethe: Part Three

Monday, August 8, 2016

A few months have passed since I moved into my home on Goethe Street. At the risk of sounding trite, I have fallen in love -- both with the neighborhood and my little fixer-upper. By now, I belong. I've got my routines, favorite spots and the familiarity that comes with time spent in a new place.

The small things are what get to me. In the mornings, I brew a pot of drip coffee and make toast with strawberry jelly. Depending on my schedule and how I feel, I will do one of three activities: (1) watch the Today Show, (2) do a bit of a Bible study, or (3) play bossa nova and write. Today is a (3) day.

Once dressed and ready, I'll head downstairs and out the door to a warm summer morning. Dearborn Street is quite lush, and it's especially peaceful before lunchtime. I am greeted by elegant row houses and lamp post flower baskets -- on my corner, they are pink. From where I live, I can walk to my office in less than fifteen minutes, passing boutiques and al fresco cafés. It is the loveliest commute.

My days are varied. Sometimes, I'll have paperwork and marketing to focus on, and other times, I am busy running from showings to meetings to events. No matter my agenda, there is nothing I love more than returning home at the end -- especially if I can time it right. Around 8 o'clock, the sun sets in the western sky, filling my living room with hues of rose and gold.

If I'm in on a weeknight, I'll cook dinner (translation: turn frozen food into hot food), light a candle and change into pajamas. After a long afternoon of go-go-go, there is nothing better than pure, easy rest. I am torn between mornings and evenings -- in this space, I cherish them both.

These are my "me" moments, but I'd be remiss if I did not mention how it feels to share my home with others. To sit by the window and sip tea with a new friend. To watch the cheesiest shows and drink cheap Chardonnay with an old one. To lay on the floor and talk about our biggest fears and worries with a dear sister-in-Christ.

Life on Goethe Street is not perfect. Yesterday, I had to pour half a container of a miscellaneous poison down my sink drain in hopes of unclogging it. Now and then, I feel lonely. As always, deals come together and fall apart. Life is never perfect.

But this chapter -- the Going Goethe chapter -- is still one of the best seasons, and I am thankful.

MSC in Chicago Agent Magazine

Friday, July 29, 2016

In June, Chicago Agent Magazine featured me in the Agent Snapshot series -- I couldn't have been more honored. I love this magazine and always aspire to be like the agents I read about, so it was a thrill to see my own words in there. The piece was a Q&A about my experiences in real estate. Here's the link to the full interview.

Thanks, Chicago Agent Magazine! 


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Most of my clients are thrilled about the prospect of homeownership. They'll text me listings constantly, ooh'ing and ahh'ing at the possibilities. Drew was not this way.

When I first met him after one of my seminars, he admitted he wasn't sold on buying. He didn't want me to waste my time. Nonsense, I said. Let's just see what's out there.

So, we did. For a little over a month, we shopped around, getting to know each other and narrowing down the list of properties. And all of the sudden, Drew went under contract -- a condo on the lake with oak floors (real hardwood!) and a Nate Berkus kitchen. Most importantly, the building has a rooftop overlooking the water. That outdoor space was #1 on Drew's list.

Congratulations, Drew. I'm so glad you changed your mind on homeownership.


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