Has COVID19 helped the real estate industry or is it just me? 

I will never do business the same way again.

I haven’t felt creative for a long time. I used to thrive off coming up with the ultimate tag line, eloquent description of a home, or picture-perfect e-blast. However, the last few years have been exhausting. I have been working extraordinarily hard doing a ton of transactions but at what innovative cost? Business is good but when you aren’t inspired you are slowly fading.

COVID has brought something back into my life I lost a while ago, time. I’ve had time to think, time to cry, and time to feel. All things necessary in order to create. This has helped tremendously with how I interact, react, and approach clients and tasks. It has allowed me to go from checking the boxes to analyzing, understanding and appreciating again. It has shown me the light at the end of the microbe tunnel.

COVID has also brought time back to the real estate industry. Time to sell more homes in a way more efficient manner. We have always had Matterport and virtual tours but nobody looked at them, why? We thought it was a waste of time to view a 3D tour when you could jump in a car and see it in person. Was that the best use of our time? A few months ago the answer would have been, yes. But now we have discovered efficiency in the virtual world of touring homes. If a buyer can tour 10 homes in the safety of their living room and rule out 7 of them, why wouldn’t they? Scheduling, touring, and discussing those 7 homes takes a massive amount of time. Not just for agents, but for the sellers who need to get the home ready, the coop agents who schedule and show, and the buyer who carves out half of their day to see these homes. Why did it take a pandemic for us as an industry to realize this? We are dealing with the health issues of the virus but not the mental health of all involved that could have been enhanced by having all this time back. I for one, do not plan on going back in time to the prehistoric era of not looking at videos before previewing a home. I want all the time I can get, and you should too, for your health, family and friends.

We have a new way for selling homes, and I for one hope it sticks.

Berkshire Hathaway Takes It Virtual

Watch Video: BHHS Chicago: Innovation, Ideas and Determination

Berkshire Hathaway and the Dowell Group are adapting with the times, with video calls, virtual walkthroughs, and much more. Technology in today’s world is keeping business moving forward, allowing access to homes without leaving your front door, and keeping everyone’s safety a top priority. While we are forever grateful to have access to devices that allow us to stay connected, from Zoom to Facebook, Instagram, and practicing our moves on Tik Tok, we are finding the best way to stay really connected is with a simple phone call. Take the time to reach out to a loved one, friends and family, or a long lost acquaintance who has been in the back of your mind. You will be surprised what a simple phone call can do to brighten someone’s day.

Dowell Group #3 in Sales!

The Dowell Group is #3 in sales for our Chicago Berkshire Hathaway office…which is number #1 in the Midwest and #3 in the Nation!

Thank you to all our clients who trust us to negotiate & facilitate the best deals for them. If you are looking to buy, sell, rent or invest contact us today. We are here for you 24/7.

 

Relocating to the Big City

Moving from a small town or suburb to a large city can be an intimidating proposition. Here are a few tips to help make your move as painless as possible.
Research before you move. It’s important to understand the culture you’re joining. Do research online and find out about school systems, neighborhoods, parking, weather, public transportation, and laws that are native to that area. If you can, visit a city before moving and connect with someone who’s lived there before.
Have a plan. There are a lot of steps to go through before you start packing the moving truck. Find housing before you leave, or at least know where you’ll stay while you look for a home. Never sign a lease on an apartment that you haven’t seen. If you can’t get there, find a friend or an employer to check for you. Have a job waiting for you, or if that’s not possible, know what you’ll do for money in the first few weeks of living there. Try to line up things like driver’s licenses, car insurance, renter’s insurance, and parking passes ahead of time as well.
Get involved. Meeting people in a big city can be daunting. Don’t expect the neighbors to knock your door down with a casserole when you arrive: city life is often too noisy and hectic. Take the initiative. If there are things you liked to do in your town, find ways to do those things in the city. Try new things. Volunteer. Big cities offer so many opportunities to engage other people, so find what you like.
Mind your wallet. City life is expensive. Everything costs more: food, insurance, clothes, rent. There are also a lot more ways to get ripped off, whether legally or criminally. Be careful how you spend, and know where your money is going.

Innovative Flexhouse of Logan Square Announces Phase 3!

If you have spent any amount of time in Logan Square this summer, chances are you have noticed and admired the new rowhouses taking shape on Ridgeway Avenue. Known as Flexhouse2, this modern, urban concept is the creation of Chicago-based Ranquist Development Group.

Best known for their high quality, modern homes in Chicago’s finest neighborhoods, the professionals at Ranquist were quick to recognize an emerging trend in the Chicago housing market. Homebuyers were increasingly interested in finding modern, efficient and modest housing in vibrant, transitional neighborhoods.

Innovative concept in mind, Ranquist worked with Interface Studio Architects (ISA), a Philadelphia-based architecture practice renowned for their unique approach to sustainable and affordable urban housing design. Through the collective expertise of these two respected firms, and a partnership with Sedgwick Investments, the Flexhouse development was born.

The interior of these designs are open concept, with a natural flow that allows each home to easily adapt to a variety of uses and lifestyles. The main levels are modern with an industrial edge, augmented by ten foot ceilings, radiant-heat concrete floors, custom cabinetry and sleek Quartz countertops.

Incredible, extra-deep backyards are the highlight of the exterior. The outdoor space is highlighted by a private deck area, and gives access to the two-car garage, with a storage loft.

Special care was taken when considering the sustainability of each home. Green features include high-efficiency heating and cooling units, programmable digital thermostats, Energy Star appliances, dual-flush toilets, high-efficiency Andersen windows, low VOC paint and a combination of open and closed cell foam insulation.

But the true beauty of Flexhouse is in the customization. Homebuyers have the ability to choose from different floor plans, as well as the ability to customize many interior finishes to make the space their own. While semi-custom design isn’t a unique concept, it was certainly a luxury that used to only be afforded to homebuyers at particular price points. Flexhouse is changing the landscape of modern, affordable urban housing.

Following the smashing success of The Flexhouse and Flexhouse2, Ranquist is getting ready to break ground on the next phase of development. With only one unit left in Phase 2, Phase 3 includes plans for sixteen new rowhomes along Hamlin and will be delivered starting in the spring of 2015.
Flexhouse truly embodies today’s new generation of homebuyers, with simplistic, modern architecture, a focus on sustainable, design-driven solutions, and affordability that makes their homes attainable for a broad range of homeowners and neighborhoods.

For more information on the Flexhouse development, contact Danielle Dowell at 312.391.5655 or ddowell@koenigrubloff.com

modern kitchen

Flexhouse master bath

Hot New Listing in West Town! | 511 N. Oakley Blvd.

511 N. Oakley Blvd. | $859,000

The Property
Located in the hot West Town neighborhood, this new construction home was built with indoor and outdoor entertaining in mind. You will marvel at the soaring, loft-like 13’ ceilings and an abundance of oversized windows that flood the entire space with natural light. Modern kitchen cabinets, floating vanities, designer lighting and custom tempered glass railings reinforce the clean, contemporary feel found throughout the home.

The 3,200+ square feet of living space was well conceived, allowing flexibility with the indoor layout, while maintaining a smooth transition to the outdoor areas, which include a fantastic composite Trex deck over the garage, as well as 3rd floor roof access with great views of the skyline.
Indoors, espresso hardwood floors span the first, second and third levels, adding warmth and richness to the space. The kitchen’s modern lines are complemented by custom cabinetry, sleek Quartz countertops, over-sized island, stainless steel Bosch appliances, wine fridge and a contrasting glass tile backsplash.

Each of the four bedrooms offers ample storage space, including the master bedroom, which features a walk-in closet. The three full and one half baths all feature beautiful European porcelain tiles, custom vanities and custom lighting.

Other features include a bright, spacious lower level with a wet bar and beverage center, dual-zone HVAC with Nest learning thermostats, wiring for cable and audio, Pella windows, extra tall 8’ doors and an attached 2.5 car garage with extra storage space. There is a Metra stop only 1 ½ blocks away, making it a breeze to access downtown, as well as the suburbs.

Close to all that West Town has to offer, this brand new, chic home has it all!

For more information on this listing, or for any real estate needs, please feel free to contact me at 312.391.5655, or ddowell@koenigrubloff.com

The Community
West Town is a vibrant, diverse community that encompasses the neighborhoods of East Village, Humboldt Park, Noble Square, Smith Park, Ukrainian Village, River West, Division Street, Grand Avenue Design District and Wicker Park.

There is no shortage of things to do in this sprawling mosaic of distinct neighborhoods. There is an energetic buzz to this community, which is chock full of eclectic shops, fantastic restaurants, casual coffee shops and a hopping bar scene throughout the neighborhoods, as well as the unique boutiques, antique shops and furniture stores of the Grand Avenue design corridor.

West Town is also home to numerous community service groups, as well as incredible cultural elements and offerings, including the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral and the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral.

Residents of the community love the treasure trove of green space, which includes eight major parks. One of the resident favorites is Smith Park, a fantastic outdoor area surrounded by beautiful homes, complete with a running track and a public pool – a rarity in the city limits!

Families love the incredible variety of schools, and are pleased to find a mix of many great public, parochial, private and magnet, and music and fine arts schools in the area.

Public transportation is abundant, making it easy to crisscross the area to discover all West Town has to offer!