Archive for the 'Real Estate' Category

20 Apr
Conversations with Alice: The Real Estate Life
Posted On : 04 20th, 2017   By : Alice  |  Real Estate, Real Estate Careers

In the coming weeks, principal agent and team founder Alice Chin will be answering all your real estate questions — she truly is a font of wisdom! To start our conversations, we recently sat down with with Alice to talk about what drew her to real estate and what keeps her going.

What most attracted you to this field? Being able to combine my passion for numbers (my background is in finance) with the opportunity to interact with people on a daily basis.

Is there a typical work week? There actually isn’t a typical work week! However, I would say that I typically work anywhere from sixty to seventy hours a week, depending on the season. One of the reasons I love my work is because every day is different, with new challenges.

What aspect of the work do you most enjoy: customers, relationship-building, the financial end? I most enjoy the relationships and the people I meet — that is really the most rewarding for me.

How do you maintain a good work/life balance? I time-block almost everything, because anything that isn’t in my calendar, I will probably forget. Once something is in my calendar, then I am committed to it, whether it is business or personal.

Is this a good job for those fresh out of college, or does it require more “seasoning”? I think that this career would be good for either, as long as the person entering this field is realistic about it and truly loves real estate. It is a job where you need to be flexible to the client’s schedules — not the other way around. There are some days and weeks where you will literally work until you drop, but if you have a passion for it, then it won’t seem like work.

Have a real estate question you’d like Alice to answer? Email our marketing manager, and she’ll talk to Alice!

Principal Agent Alice Chin has lived in Naperville since 1991. A graduate of Naperville North High School, she continued her education the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating with a degree in finance. Previous to her real estate career, she worked at J. P. Morgan Chase as an underwriter and commercial banking analyst. When she transitioned to real estate, she was Rookie of the Year her first year in business. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and lives in Naperville with her husband and daughter.

6 Apr
8 Reasons to Move . . . and a Plan for Each
Posted On : 04 6th, 2017   By : Alice  |  Home Sellers, Real Estate, Staging and Prepping
The house you live in is no longer the “right” house for you. You don’t necessarily have to move (after all, your company hasn’t transferred you out of state), but your reasons for putting your house on the market are more urgent than merely wanting to.
When you’ve made the decision to sell, take some time to think what the one main reason is. Why? Because once you’ve decided to move, you may hear an endless chant in your head: “I have to get out! I have to get out!” Not good. When emotions start to rule, you can make hurried, risky, and just plain bad decisions.
By being honest with yourself and determining the main reason you want to sell, you can work with your real estate agent to devise a solid sales plan. Together, you and your agent can consider whether you need to sell within a certain time frame, whether you need to make a particular minimal profit margin, and the amount of improvements you’re willing to make to your property before it’s put on the market. You may even decide that the old homestead looks pretty good . . for now.
My House No Longer Fits Me. Congratulations! Your last child just graduated from college and you’re finally empty nesters! Or maybe you just found out that you’re expecting twins . . . your second set of twins. Either way, your house is no longer the right size for your family. Outdoor issues might come into play, too. You thought you weren’t the “outdoorsy” type, but that tiny strip of lawn in the back makes you feel hemmed in.
The Plan: If you’re empty nesters, don’t downsize too much . . . you may need a little space from one another! Rather than pulling up stakes and moving to Arizona, consider being snowbirds, so you can still be close to friends, family, and favorite hangouts. Conversely, a growing family means more than just more space. Think school quality ( is a great source for neighborhood and school info), proximity to weekend fun, and a floor plan that’s truly family-friendly.a
My Relationship Changed. Maybe you got a divorce. Or you’re moving in with your longtime love. Perhaps it’s the second marriage for both of you, and you’re blending your families, Yours, Mine, and Ours-style. Whatever the specific reason, relationship changes are among the top reasons that people start thinking about selling their homes.
The Plan. If you’re on your own now, consider a townhouse, condo, or even living in the city — something you’ve never done before. If you’re blending families, don’t go too big. Ask yourself how long it will be before some of the kids go off to college . . . it happens quicker than you think.
I Make More Money . . . Or Less. If you can afford more than the darling little starter home you’re living in, you’re probably looking to upsize and glam up: a luxurious kitchen, a ritzy master suite. If, unfortunately, your income has been reduced, time may be of the essence for your financial solvency.
The Plan: For upsizing, peruse websites such as Houzz for inspiration on the latest home trends and features. For downsizing, invest some money in making your current home as clean and updated as you can afford (your agent can advise you). The better your current home looks, the closer you’ll get to your asking price.
This House Never Worked for Me. Be honest. Was it a mistake from the get-go? Did all those small, low-ceilinged rooms that once seemed so charming turn out to be dark and gloomy? Have you started to notice how little storage space you really have? Homeowners’ needs change over time, and as we mature, our need for a home that truly “works” — rather than one that just looks good — increases.
The Plan: Relax! Ask yourself whether a room addition or a major remodel will get the job done. If you know it won’t, visit builder’s models, peruse decorating magazines and websites, and have your agent take you to many, many houses. You don’t want to make the same mistake twice.thinkstockphotos-96326229
My Neighborhood Is No Longer Neighborly. If your kids are grown, maybe you no longer wish to be awakened by the roar of the school bus. Maybe the other families you were closest to moved away. Or maybe the city fathers are finally going to widen the road right behind your house, and you want to be gone long before the noise and traffic that the “improved” road will bring with it.
The Plan: Don’t venture too far. If you liked where you lived, you might be able to justify the hassle of a nearby move knowing that you’re eliminating the things that weren’t working for you.
I Retired. Enough said. Whether your reduced income means you can no longer afford your property taxes or whether you just want to move to a warmer climate, retirement is right up there with major life changes that bring a new lifestyle.
The Plan: Research and patience. Today’s mobile home purchase could be tomorrow’s regret. And as much as you might want to put down new roots in a sparkling new location, it might be best to see where the majority of your kids and grandkids settle.
I Want My Money. You just know your house has appreciated. A lot. All those teardowns on your street were replaced by more upscale homes, driving upthe value of your lot. Or you’ve made well-thought-out improvements to your home — from kitchen upgrades to room additions — that are exactly what home buyers are looking for. Why not sell, you think, rather than just sitting on my equity?
The Plan: Time is on your side, so there’s no need to rush. Do consult a financial adviser, though, on how to best invest the financial windfall you expect.
I Just Want to Move! Okay, let’s be honest. Sometimes you do just want to move. Some people like getting a house “just so” and then moving on to the next project . . . or, in this case, the next house. They don’t have to move . . . they just like to. If that’s the reason, you have all the time you need to prepare the house for a profitable sale. Chances are, it looks pretty good already!
The Plan: We want to meet you! But seriously, if you can afford to move and you actually like to do so, you’re a real estate agent’s dream. Enjoy finding your (new) dream home — you’ve clearly found your calling
4 Apr
Real Estate Buzzwords: Buying, Selling, Who’s Who
Posted On : 04 4th, 2017   By : Alice  |  Home Buyers, Home Sellers, Real Estate

This is the first in a series of blog posts in which we’ll demystify the buzzwords of real estate. These terms are familiar to those who work in real estate but may be confusing and contradictory to “civilians” who only buy and sell homes a few times in their lives. Think of this as our version of Real Estate 101. Below are buying phrases, selling phrases, and a brief “who’s who” of all those titles we like to throw around!real-estate-clip-art-cartoons-buy-or-rent-clipart-panda-free-ONrxyp-clipart


Multiple offers: More than one buyers broker present an offer on one property where the offers are negotiated at the same time.

Net sales price: Gross sales price, less concessions, to the buyers.

Offer to purchase: When a buyer proposes certain terms and presents these terms to the seller.

Preview appointment: When a buyer’s agent views a property alone to see if it meets his or her buyer’s needs.

Walk-through: A showing before closing or escrow that permits the buyers one final tour of the property they are purchasing.


Broker’s tour: A preset time and day when real estate sales agents can view listings by multiple brokerages in the market.

Disclosures: Federal, state, county, and local requirements of disclosure that the seller provides and the buyer acknowledges.

Exclusions: Fixtures or personal property that are excluded from the contract or offer to purchase.

Inclusions: Fixtures or personal property that are included in a contract or offer to purchase.

List price: The price of a property through a listing agreement.

Listing agreement: A document that establishes the real estate agent’s agreement with the sellers to represent their property in the market.

Listing exclusion: A clause included in the listing agreement when the seller (transferee) lists his or her property with a broker.

Open house (public): When a listing that is on market is available to the public for viewings and showings.

Relist: A property that was listed with another broker and is now relisted with a new broker.

Showing: When a listing is shown to prospective buyers or the buyer’s agent, in which case it’s called a preview.

Sign rider: An additional sign placed on a brokerage yard sign; it may include the agent’s name, “open Sunday,” “contract pending,” “sold,” the new price, and so on.


Back-up agent: A licensed agent who works with clients when their agent is unavailable.

Broker: A state licensed individual who acts as the agent for the seller or buyer.

Buyer agent: The agent who shows the buyer’s property, negotiates the contract or offer for the buyer, and works with the buyer to close the transaction.

Dual agent: A state-licensed individual who represents the seller and the buyer in a single transaction.

Inside sales agent: A real estate team member who services inbound leads generated from sign calls and other internet sources. Converts these leads to appointments for the team’s sales agents.

Listing agent: The real estate sales agent that is representing the sellers and their property, through a listing agreement.

Mortgage banker: One who lends the bank’s funds to borrowers and brings lenders and borrowers together

Showing assistant: Team member who schedules showings, shows homes to prospective buyers, follows up with buyers after showings, finds new properties to show, and keep tracks of where clients are in the buying process.

Transaction coordinator: Handles all the details of transactions from purchase agreement to ensure an on-time closing. Coordinates title/escrow, mortgage loan and appraisal processes as well as scheduling inspections and coordinating any possible repairs.

28 Mar
Location, Location, Location: It Always, Always, Always Matters!
Posted On : 03 28th, 2017   By : Alice  |  Real Estate
Your dream house. You can picture the cozy window seat, the gourmet kitchen with integrated refrigerator, the outdoor entertaining area with the built-in brick grill. But when it comes to resale value years down the road (or even your own happiness three weeks after you move in),
none of the bells and whistles matter unless your dream house is well located.
The old mantra “location, location, location” is as true today as it ever was, but what specifics are involved? Here are four key points to keep in mind when house hunting.
Blog Location
  • Look around. Are people spending money to improvetheir homes in the neighborhood? Are they adding sunrooms, replacing old siding, updating entire facades? Good chance they have faith in the neighborhood and plan to stay. Low turnover generally means property values will rise, in part because inventory will remain low.
  • What about the town itself? Are corporations moving there to set up headquarters or branch offices? Is the city council committed to community projects such as growing the downtown shopping district, prettying up neighborhood parks, or building a bandstand orother community facilities?
  • Some agents even tell their clients to consider the Starbucks Principle, which states that if you see a Starbucks being built (or more than one) in a town or neighborhood, the coffee giant — with its vast marketing research resources — has probably determined that the area is economically thriving and viable for the foreseeable future.
  • Obviously, if you have children, you want to be close toschools — exactly how close is up to you. What is the quality of the schools? Your agent should definitely be able to help you determine this, but you can also do your own research on sites such as
  • Convenient shopping, especially for groceries and other necessities, is also important. Are these key resources a short drive away?
  • Even better — according to some — can you walk toschools and stores? A neighborhood’s “walkability score” is getting to be more and more important, as many young couples who formerly lived in the city increasingly dislike having to drive everywhere in the suburbs, choosing a “greener” lifestyle instead.
  • Homes will generally appreciate more slowly and in incremental amounts the further you get from a major city. Of course, if you like the quiet life, this might not matter to you. Also, think about the personality of the town itself. Does it appeal to the aspiring country club set, while you couldn’t care less about keeping up with the Joneses? Or is the town well-known for political leanings opposite of yours? In that case, you might not find many people to hang with while watching your daughter’s Little League game.
  • When you think about buying a house, you’re no doubt picturing the house itself, but the lot is just as important, if not more so. After all, you can change the house that sits on a lot, while the reverse isn’t true. That being said, do you really want a huge lot? What you gain in privacy, you’ll lose in time spent in yard maintenance and grass mowing — not to mention the additional costs of watering, fertilizing, and landscaping.
  • On the other hand, a big suburban behemoth sitting on a small lot (probably the product of an infamous nineties “tear down”) may leave your kids with no place to play and you with no place to sit outside. Are you prepared to spend a lot of time just looking out the windows for your daily dose of nature?
  • In major cities, where space is at a premium, corner lots are generally desirable. In the suburbs, it could go either way. While some homeowners like having a showplace home on a visible lot (with the bonus of plenty of street parking), others shy away from the excess traffic noise they’ll encounter.
  • There are innumerable aspects of “micro location” to think about, too, which is why it makes sense to visit a property multiple times before making an offer. Does your potential neighbor have two or three barking dogs? Does that beautiful master bedroom overlook the parking lot of a convenience store? In both townhomes and condos, end units — generally larger in size and almost always quieter — not only cost more initially but also appreciate more over time.
  • You’ll see greater increases in property values when you buy a less expensive home in a so-called better neighborhood, rather than buying the biggest and best home in a less expensive neighborhood. If you’ve found a house that’s almost what you’re looking for, and you’re thinking of making improvements after you move in, think again. You don’t want to improve house “beyond the neighborhood.” Similarly, don’t make improvements that are only meaningful to you.
  • For example: a second story on a former ranch house that still only has a one-car garage, an in-ground pool that takes up most of the backyard on a home in the Midwest (where you can only use the pool a few months of the year anyway), elaborate home theaters in the basement: these are the types of upgrades that may be perfect for you but a nuisance to potential buyers 10 years down the road.
  • At the beginning of your house search, you set yourself a carefully considered price range, and you obviously expect your agent to negotiate on your behalf to get the best price possible. But don’t forget the innumerable closing costs: loan origination fees, home and pest inspection fees, appraisals, moving costs — it all adds up. Finally, that dream house in the ideal neighborhood also comes with corresponding property taxes and possible homeowner’s association dues. What can seem to be an affordable home at the beginning can wind up being a barely affordable financial albatross. You’re responsible for determining what you can afford — not your mortgage lender.
When all is said and done, no one rushes into a decision about a major purchase like a new home. But even if a house has dream features like a wine cooler in the kitchen or a sumptuous walk-in closet in the master bedroom, location-specific problems can make it a financial nightmare. Always be willing to walk away.
23 Mar
How to Create a Luxe Bathroom in 6 Easy Steps
Posted On : 03 23rd, 2017   By : Debra Anton  |  Real Estate
It’s the first place you see in the morning aaroma-therapynd the last place you visit at night. Plus, it’s a great place to read! So whether you live in a suburban McMansion or a just-out-of-college apartment, treat yourself to a bathroom that’s a secluded retreat — without calling in a remodeler!
Unless we’re movie stars, most of us don’t have bathrooms the size of our garages. But you can add space where there is none. Consider a curved shower curtain rod to give you extra elbow room while you’re showering. And a suspension rod inside the shower — along with some “S” hooks — is a great way to hang loofahs, brushes, and spray bottles.
The thickest, softest, largest bath towels you can afford? Money well spent! And don’t skimp on the hand towels, either — your guests will appreciate them. Nice thick rugs that you can really sink your toes into is a necessity by the tub and in front of the sink. Or forgo comfort for appearances and consider two differing but coordinating mini Oriental rugs.
Tired of folding towels “just so”? Consider ditching the towel rods and replacing them with large decorative hooks. Hooks free up wall space — plus, it’s a snap to just drape towels over them. Don’t forget a hook on the back of the bathroom door for your robe. And finally, consider adding a vintage coat rack to your bathroom. It will take up next to no floor space and is yet another option for hanging towels. The night before, you can even use it to hang the outfit you’re going to wear to work the next day.
Even the tiniest bathrooms will look for distinctive if you paint just one wall. Consider jewel tones, which are all the rage right now: ruby red, sapphire blue, emerald green. All will work their magic when you’re soaking in the bathtub with a good book. And forgo the usual artwork with cute little sayings. Instead, think vintage fashion prints, architectural renderings, or botanical prints to add a touch of class.
As long as you’re hanging botanical prints on the wall, why not add some actual plants? Small cut flowers, such as lily of the valley, can look pretty for a few days, but a potted plant will last much longer. Consider ferns, cacti, or succulent plants such as aloe vera. Its skin-softening properties alone make it a natural fit for the bathroom.
Pedestal sinks are pretty, but the knock against them is that, by ditching the vanity, you’re losing valuable storage space. Actually, if you’re think creatively, you’re gaining space. Tuck vintage crates or baskets under a pedestal sink — they make great storage for rolled up towels. Slim nightstands with multiple drawers can hide toiletries and medicines in half the space a vanity took up. And if you still want a traditional vanity, why not buy a vintage dresser and turn it into one? Here’s a quick how-to:
And finally, don’t forget to “add the pretty” by using unexpected elements and unusual storage pieces. Antique sugar bowls and teacups can make great storage pieces for cotton balls and cotton swabs. A small vase can hold makeup brushes. And with so many beautiful soaps and lotions on the market, why limit yourself to grocery store brands? Buy beautiful mini bar soaps and small tubes of lotion and place them on a clear glass dish. They’ll look beautiful against that jewel-toned wall!
29 Jul
Marketing your home
Posted On : 07 29th, 2016   By : Alice  |  Real Estate

Tons of people have misconceptions about what it means to market your home. A lot of people even think that all Realtors market homes the same way, this is simply not the truth. We put a lot of though into our marketing efforts, here are just a few things to keep in mind when you and your Realtor are discussing a marketing strategy.

*Open post to view pdf*


29 Jul
Five things you need to know before you sell your home
Posted On : 07 29th, 2016   By : Alice  |  Real Estate

Selling your home can seem daunting but it doesn’t have to. Equipped with these 5 pieces of foresight and the right team of Realtors, selling your home can be a breeze.

*Open post to view PDF*


29 Sep
How is the market?
Posted On : 09 29th, 2013   By : Alice  |  Real Estate

We are being told via numerous news outlets that the Real Estate Market is up this year throughout the United States. Are you wondering if DuPage and Will counties are improving as well? The answer is YES!

The data for Single Family homes through August of 2013 shows some of the strongest gains in the last 3 years!  Here are answers to some the most common questions:

  1. What is the average number of Days on the Market?
    • We had our lowest in August with an average of 54 days on the market.  A huge drop from 109 days from April 2011
  2. What is the average Sale Price?
    • This is tricky because neighborhoods very and differ so much. But in Will and DuPage counties the average sale price peaked in June of 2013 at $289,000 up from $214,000 in January 2012
  3. What is the inventory like in our area?
    • Like most of the United States we are at the lowest! August had an inventory of 5,249 homes and 1,604 homes sold.  In August of 2012, there was an inventory of 7,074 and 1,264 homes sold.  This shows there are more people buying however much less to chose from. (Hint, hint, great time to SELL!) September of 2010 there were 9,777 homes and only 726 homes sold (Buyers Market)

This is exciting news for the housing market!  We are happy to see it is coherent with the national average.  If you have any questions or are trying to decide if it is a good time to sell your home, give us a call.  We are happy to answer your questions.

**Based on information for Single Family Homes from Midwest Real Estate Data LLC for the period 8/31/2010 through 8/31/2013. Due to MLS reporting methods and allowable reporting policy, this data is only informational and may not be completely accurate. Therefore, The Alice Chin Team and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage does not guarantee the data accuracy. Data maintained by the MLS’s may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

6 May
Furnishing A New Home
Posted On : 05 6th, 2013   By : Alice  |  Real Estate

Furnishing A New HomeCongratulations!  You just purchased your new home! After putting money towards your down payment, taxes, appraisal, inspection and moving into your home your may find your wallet a little thinner for a few months. However, you may have been able to purchase a larger home than you expected due to competitive home prices and interest rates. Now, how do you plan to furnish your brand new home?  Many stores do offer some great incentives, including 12 months same as cash, or payment deferments. If you would like to stay away from this, but do not want unfurnished rooms, here are a few ideas!

  •  You can find some great pieces and complete sets for great prices. Typically you are dealing directly with the owner and are paying in cash.  Always use safety precautions. Try to avoid going into homes. Typically if an owner wants to sell something it should be in a garage.
  • Garage Sales.  Garage sale items are priced much lower than retail price. You are buying from the owner and negotiate directly with them. During the weekends on warmer months, you will find all sorts of garage sales and many homeowner associations host a giant neighborhood sale for the public to visit. These are particularly helpful because there are a lot of garage sales within one area. This can save a lot of time instead of driving all around town looking for individual garage sales.
  • Estate Sales.  Estate Sales are similar to garage sales and craigslist in regards of selling personal belongings and furniture, but it is on a much bigger scale. Typically a homeowner hires an estate company to come into their house and assist them in selling all of their belongings that need to go. People have estate sales for many reasons: foreclosure, divorce, downsizing, or selling of the estate (deceased family member). Regardless of the reason, you can find furniture, art, holiday decorations, antiques, etc., at a fraction of the price. Depending on when you are able to go to the sale, you can even negotiate with the company. Typically you are dealing with a reputable company that can accept payment via credit or debit cards.  If you have not been to an estate sale, it is worth a look to see how they operate. You walk through all the open rooms in the house and anything that is for sale will have a sticker or price tag on it.  There are usually associates who will be able to assist you if you have any questions on any item that may be for sale.  Estate Sale Etiquette is important to follow… there are lots of people that come through the home, so it is important to be respectful to the associates, other shoppers and of course, the owner’s home and all the belongings in the home.

Good luck with your home and have fun making it your own!

14 Dec
Hyperion Homes
Posted On : 12 14th, 2012   By : Alice  |  Real Estate

“I have recently sold my home as a Short Sale, but would like to get back on track and own a home within the next 3-5 years.”  Do you know of anyone in this situation?

It has been a rough few years.  Sadly, so many people have lost their jobs or have been relocated because of their job.  Additionally, with unemployment the way it is, it is difficult to find a job overall.  Things may have spiraled down, causing you to make the difficult decision and short sell your home.  It has now been a few months or longer, and you are starting to get back on track.  However, you cannot get a loan to purchase a new home due to your current credit score.  We may have a solution for you!

Hyperion Homes is working almost exclusively with Coldwell Banker, to help employed individuals (who had to short sell their previous home) purchase a new home.   They offer a program in which you find your home through your Realtor, for example a Broker from The Alice Chin Team.  Once you have found a house that meets the standards of Hyperion Homes, they submit an offer to the seller.  Then, Hyperion offers a Lease with Purchase Right between you, the future owner, and Hyperion. The rent will be determined by the purchase price, closing costs and any repairs that need to be made. There is an application, credit and background check that must be completed by all occupants 18 and older.

We feel like this is a unique and positive opportunity for so many people who have felt the pains of the economy over the last few years.  If you think you might be a great fit, or if you know of anyone who may benefit from this program, please give us a call. We would love the opportunity to sit down and discuss the details with you!