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Redecorate, Renovate, or Remodel?

by Thomas Makinney


Fireplace remodel before and after. $600 project.

For many people, spring cleaning means taking a fresh look at our houses and living spaces. As we wipe down the remnants of winter, sometimes our homes flaws become painfully obvious: no place for hats and boots, a dark and dated kitchen, a bathroom that grows smaller every day.

These realizations bring you to three options: You can choose to redecorate, renovate, or remodel. Before you decide, you’ll want to determine your overall budget as well as the potential investment, that is, the amount you will get back from a project when you go to sell the house.

Redecorate:

Sometimes, the easiest and most effective solution to a home’s problem is simply redecorating. A fresh coat of paint, new window treatments, and/or a new area rug can do wonders as can adding shelving or storage solutions. And don’t underestimate the power of decluttering or at least rearranging home décor. Simply moving furniture and adding new lights can make a huge difference.

Renovate:

Then there are situations where fresh paint and new throw pillows aren’t going to change anything, and you might need to consider making a larger change. You may need to knock down a wall to give the house better flow, install new flooring and baseboards, update doors and hardware, or build a bigger closet in a bedroom. These projects require a bigger budget and time commitment but can really change the functionality, not to mention personality, of a room.

Remodel:

Alas, new countertops in your kitchen won’t change the size of the kitchen and new shelving in the bathroom won’t ease the morning rush. For some problems, the only real solution is a remodel. Kitchens, bathrooms, and master bedrooms tend to give you the most return on your investments. But, keep in mind not only your budget, but also the value of neighboring homes when deciding what to do. You don’t want to be the priciest house on the block, but you don’t want to be the lowest either.

Read this to find out what home improvements offer the most value.

If you have questions about a project or want to know what you need to do to get your house ready to list, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit our website, www.gmregroup.com.

Elmhurst Open House List for March 25-26

by Thomas Makinney

We'll be hosting two open houses this week! Be sure to stop by!

165 S Sunnyside Ave

Sunday, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.


143 N Walnut St

Sunday, 2:00 - 4:00

619 N Willow Rd

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$235,000

619 N Willow Rd

Elmhurst

03/25/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$235,000

385 N Oak

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$289,900

166 E Lake St

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

12:00 - 3:00 PM

$394,900

848 S Linden Ave

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$409,900

420 S Hawthorne Ave

Elmhurst

03/25/2017

12:00 - 3:00 PM

$489,500

420 S Hawthorne Ave

Elmhurst

03/25/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$489,500

560 S Kearsage Ave

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$499,000

407 S Holly Ave

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$549,900

475 W Dorchester Ave

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

12:00 - 2:00 PM

$565,000

475 W Dorchester Ave

Elmhurst

03/25/2017

12:00 - 2:00 PM

$565,000

818 S York St

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$609,900

644 N Michigan St

Elmhurst

03/25/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$650,000

959 S Swain Ave

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$699,900

157 N Highland Ave

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$715,000

556 S Sunnyside Ave

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$725,000

320 E Church St

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$849,900

320 E Church St

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$849,900

444 N Walnut St

Elmhurst

03/25/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$939,000

444 N Walnut St

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

12:00 - 2:00 PM

$939,000

576 S Saylor Ave

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

12:00 - 2:00 PM

$939,900

143 N Walnut St

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

2:00 – 4:00

$974,000

169 S Grace Ave

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 4:00 PM

$975,500

169 S Grace Ave

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 4:00 PM

$975,500

165 S Sunnyside Ave

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$979,000

104 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/25/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,039,000

104 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,039,000

221 E Madison St

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$1,099,000

105 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,169,000

105 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/25/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,169,000

101 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/25/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,189,000

101 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,189,000

125 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/25/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,289,000

125 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/26/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,289,000

Flipping houses back on the fast track

by Thomas Makinney


Anyone who watches HGTV knows that flipping houses is once again a lucrative way to make extra money. The concept of buying an outdated home, renovating it, and then selling it for profit caught on big about 15 years ago but came to an abrupt halt when the market crashed in 2008.

Now the market is rebounding, and Chicago is a good place to be.

The Chicago area ranks as the 20th-most profitable market in the country right now. The gross profit for homes flipped is $81,162—not too shabby.

Wilmette and Avondale top the list of the most lucrative places in our area for home flippers. In both towns, flippers grossed profits of more than $200,000.

The gross profit figure is the difference between the purchase price of a home and the sales price of the home post-flip. It doesn’t account for all the costs spent on the rehab.

According to Crain’s Business Report, flippers' gross profits nationwide were $62,624, which is the highest going back to 2000, the earliest year for which it has data.

Elmhurst is definitely seeing an uptick in the once-popular flipping area. If this is something you’d like to try, contact us to find a condo, townhouse, or house to flip! Reach us anytime at (630) 441-5570 or via our website, www.gmregroup.com.

Welcome Jill Giorno to Gracik-Makinney

by Thomas Makinney


As an Elmhurst resident for 18 years, Jill Giorno brings a unique core of qualities and values to the Gracik Makinney Team. She has lived in the western suburbs since 1997, residing in Naperville and Oak Park before finally settling in Elmhurst. Prior to practicing real estate, Jill was a small business owner in Elmhurst for eight years, and before that, she was a school social worker in Oak Park for seven years.

She has a proven track record of integrity, reliability, and communication skills, and she truly understands the importance of positive client relationships. Her ability to earn and maintain trust, coupled with a knack to connect people when they are new to the community, are two qualities she is extremely proud of.

Jill is thrilled to be mentored by some of the best in the business and was extremely impressed by the extensive training @properties gives their agents.

Jill and her husband, Wade, are proud to raise their family in Elmhurst and enjoy watching their children participate in many extracurricular activities. Oftentimes, you’ll see her walking her rescue dog, Sonny, around town with her family. Her favorite pastimes include playing hockey and golf, anything involving fitness, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

We’re thrilled to have her as part of our team, and we’re sure you will enjoy working with her as well.

If you'd like to reach out to Jill or any of us, call (630) 441-5570 or visit our website, www.gmregroup.com. 

 

Elmhurst Open House List for March 18-19

by Thomas Makinney

We'll be hosting three Open Houses this weekend. Stop by and say hello!


746 S Saylor Ave

Sunday, 1:00-3:00

 

150 E Adams St

Sunday, 2:00-4:00


165 S Sunnyside Ave

Sunday, 1:00-3:00

 

 

 

617

E Babcock Ave

 

Elmhurst

 

 

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$290,000

 

 

439

 E Park Ave

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$355,000

 

 

746

 S Saylor Ave

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$375,000

 

 

848

 S Linden Ave

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$419,900

 

 

415

 N Larch Ave

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$443,900

 

 

150

 E Adams St

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

2:00-4:00

$459,000

 

 

591

 S Poplar Ave

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$485,000

 

 

411

 E Park Ave

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$499,500

 

 

110

 E St Charles Rd

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$499,900

 

 

540

 N Howard Ave

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$550,000

 

 

454

 S Sunnyside Ave

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$590,000

 

 

441

 S Arlington Ave

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$644,000

 

 

180

 N Bonnie Brae Ave

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$669,900

 

 

175

 N Haven Rd

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

12:00-2:00

$695,000

 

 

175

 N Haven Rd

 

Elmhurst

   

03/18/2017

12:00-2:00

$695,000

 

 

561

 W Third St

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$711,000

 

 

320

 E Church St

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$849,900

 

 

115

 N Highland Ave

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$850,000

 

 

788

 S Mitchell Ave

 

Elmhurst

   

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

 

 

 

183

 S Lawndale Ave

   

Elmhurst

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$889,000

 

 

125

 Melrose Ave

   

Elmhurst

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$929,000

 

 

444

 N Walnut St

   

Elmhurst

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$939,000

 

 

444

 N Walnut St

   

Elmhurst

03/18/2017

12:00-2:00

$939,000

 

 

165

 S Sunnyside Ave

   

Elmhurst

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$979,000

 

 

221

 E Madison St

   

Elmhurst

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$1,099,000

 

 

126

 N Caroline Ave

   

Elmhurst

03/19/2017

12:00-2:00

$1,099,000

 

 

237

 N Geneva Ave

   

Elmhurst

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$1,099,900

 

 

101

 Joanne Way

   

Elmhurst

03/18/2017

11:00-1:00

$1,189,000

 

 

101

 Joanne Way

   

Elmhurst

03/19/2017

11:00-1:00

$1,189,000

 

 

610

 S Chatham Ave

   

Elmhurst

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$1,199,900

 

 

236

 E South St

   

Elmhurst

03/19/2017

1:00-3:00

$1,449,000

 

 

 

               

 

                   

Elmhurst-based Hops for Humanity taps We Grow Dreams

by Thomas Makinney

Sometimes a good drink brings out the best in people.

Hops for Humanity, a local philanthropy group, recently donated $10,600 to We Grow Dreams, a West Chicago-based organization that provides job training and employment opportunities in the greenhouse industry for people with disabilities.

Hops for Humanity is an Elmhurst-based nonprofit that combines the spirit of giving with the love of craft beer. Members meet four times a year at a local restaurant or brewery and donate $100 each to a charity voted on by the membership. The combined amount of the donations goes directly to the local charity.

We Grow Dreams is the tenth charity to be awarded a donation since the group’s inaugural award in January 2015. Don Haraf awarded the prize to We Grow Dreams at the Red Arrow Tap Room in downtown Elmhurst, the recently opened craft beer pour-your-own establishment.

Any member of Hops for Humanities can present and nominate a charity. Only charities in Elmhurst or ones that benefit the great Chicago area are considered.

Previous charities recognized include Family Shelter Service, Marklund Children’s Home, Let It Be Us, One Step Cancer Camp, SurvivorVision, Elmhurst Lions Club, Alyssa Alvin Foundation, and the DuPage Senior Citizens Council.

We Grow Dreams has identified more than 45 specific jobs for the job-training program, including ones in gardening, greenhouse work, and craft programs.

Groups like Hops for Humanity are what make Elmhurst a strong and vibrant community. To find out more about the group, visit hopsforhumanity.com.

To learn more about living in Elmhurst and what makes our city so special, contact us at (630) 441-5570 or visit www.gmregroup.com

Elmhurst Open House List for March 11-12

by Thomas Makinney

Come visit us on Sunday at 

396 S. Berkley Ave., Elmhurst from 1:00-3:00

235 S Pick Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$219,900

123 S Pick Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$265,000

714 S Berkley Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$329,000

750 S Bryan St

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$349,500

331 W Hillside Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$399,000

886 S Bryan St

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$439,900

901 S Fairfield Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$439,900

415 N Larch Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$449,000

396 S Berkley Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$500,000

156 N Clinton Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$519,000

835 S Poplar Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-4:00 PM

$539,900

397 S Holly Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$540,000

474 W Third St

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$559,900

454 S Sunnyside Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$590,000

240 N Michigan Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$599,900

293 W Winthrop Ave

Elmhurst

03/11/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$650,000

293 W Winthrop Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$650,000

262 N Bonnie Brae

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$669,000

460 W Third St

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$724,900

551 W Third St

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

12:00-4:00 PM

$729,000

115 N Highland Ave

Elmhurst

03/11/2017

11:00AM-1:00 PM

$850,000

183 S Lawndale Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$889,000

444 N Walnut St

Elmhurst

03/11/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$939,000

444 N Walnut St

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

12:00-2:00 PM

$939,000

576 S Saylor Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$939,900

299 W Claremont St

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$999,000

104 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,039,000

104 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/11/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,039,000

116 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,049,000

116 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/11/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,049,000

105 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/11/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,169,000

105 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,169,000

101 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/11/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,189,000

101 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,189,000

260 E Elmhurst Ave

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$1,199,000

125 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/11/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,289,000

125 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/12/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,289,000


Despite the influx of internet articles and do-it-yourself books on selling a home, the real estate industry is not only thriving but booming. And with good reason: A real estate agent is still one of the best investments you can make when you choose to buy or sell a home. 

If you’re wondering how a good agent adds value to your process, read on:

Experience – Not only are realtors educated on the many complicated aspects of real estate transactions, but chances are they’ve experienced some of the unusual scenarios even the most seemingly simple transaction. Buying and selling property can involve bullying tactics, bidding wars, counteroffers, all-cash offers, and tight competition. Realtors know how to handle these situations without losing their cool.

Neutrality – Sometimes a buyer falls in love with a house that is overpriced or needs more work than they realize, or they fail to explore possibilities outside of their comfort zone. Similarly, some sellers hold out too long for a higher offer or are afraid to disclose something about the house. A realtor is a neutral party who can help clients navigate the often tricky line between expectations and reality.

Neighborhood Knowledge – One of the biggest mistakes that Sell-By-Owners make is to overvalue the worth of their home, leading to extra days on the market and more money spent. A good realtor will be able to recommend a listing price for your home competitively so that you get the most money and sell quickly. Similarly they’ll be able to tell you if a home you’re interested in purchasing is priced competitively for the neighborhood. And they usually know about homes not yet on the market or ones that aren’t being actively marketed, very helpful if you’ve honed in on a specific neighborhood.

Selling tips – Buyers often make their decisions within minutes of first seeing a home. For sellers, this means they need to do everything they can to make a good impression. Real estate agents can help sellers determine what work should (or shouldn’t) be done to their house before putting it on the market. Not sure if granite counters or real hardwood floors are worth it? Want to keep photos of kids and grandparents on the wall? A realtor can give suggestions, offer resources, and hire a professional photographer so that your home looks bright and inviting when buyers view it on the web.

Buying tips – A real estate agent can walk buyers through costs and issues to turn a home into a dream home. They’ll be able to estimate the cost involved with a new roof or knocking down a wall or re-doing a kitchen. They can also tell you local variances that would affect putting up a fence or raising chickens in your backyard.

Vendor recommendations – Most realtors have a handy list of service providers they have experience with and recommend. They can’t tell you whom to choose, but if you need a home inspector, general contractor, electrician, etc, chances are they have a list of names and companies along with some background to help you choose.

Legal paperwork – Real estate transactions today typically run ten-plus pages, and that’s not including the federal- and state-mandated disclosures. Someone with experience in the industry can make sure that the contract works in your best interest and that you are fully aware of everything you are signing.

And remember, realtors are dependent on referrals in order to make a living. It’s in their best interest to have a good relationship with their buyer or seller in order to get glowing recommendations for the next transaction that comes their way.

At Gracik-Makinney, we have a combined 40-plus years of experience helping buyers find their dream home, and sellers receive top dollar on theirs. Reach out to us for a free consultation or for more information, (630) 441-5570 or www.gmregroup.com

Elmhurst Open House List for March 3-4

by Thomas Makinney

We'll be hosting an open house at 3648 Duchess Court in Downers Grove

Sunday, 2:00-4:00 

Come visit!

439 E Park Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$299,900

197 W Butterfield Rd

Elmhurst

03/04/2017

12:00 - 3:00 PM

$340,000

750 S Bryan St

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$349,500

992 S Prospect Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

12:00 - 2:00 PM

$355,000

344 W Winthrop Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$359,900

419 S Hawthorne Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$399,900

307 E Butterfield Rd

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

12:00 - 2:00 PM

$410,000

703 S Swain Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$450,000

415 N Larch Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 4:00 PM

$455,000

3648 Duchess Ct

Downers Grove

03/05/2017

2:00 - 4:00 PM

$469,900

420 S Hawthorne Ave

Elmhurst

03/04/2017

1:00 - 4:00 PM

$494,900

411 E Park Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

10:00AM-12:00 PM

$499,500

155 S Fairlane Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$575,000

580 W Crockett Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 4:00 PM

$699,900

180 N Bonnie Brae Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$699,900

556 S Sunnyside Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$725,000

416 N Maple Ave

Elmhurst

03/04/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$829,900

444 N Walnut St

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$939,000

444 N Walnut St

Elmhurst

03/04/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$939,000

576 S Saylor Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$939,900

169 S Grace Ave

Elmhurst

03/04/2017

1:00 - 4:00 PM

$975,500

340 W Winthrop Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$998,000

104 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/04/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,039,000

104 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,039,000

226 N Elm Ave

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$1,039,000

116 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:30 - 4:00 PM

$1,049,000

116 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/04/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,049,000

221 E Madison St

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

1:00 - 3:00 PM

$1,099,000

105 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/04/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,169,000

105 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,169,000

125 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,289,000

125 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

03/04/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,289,000

236 E South St

Elmhurst

03/05/2017

12:00 - 4:00 PM

$1,449,000

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