Blog

  • Higher Real Estate Cost

    01/24/2017



    It has been a well-documented trend, that rants have increased annually for many consecutive years.  For many years, this increase in rent was a result of demand and not enough supply.  This has created an expansion in the renter pool, seeking homes in areas that have lower rent.   The areas that the lower rent are being found were not as popular several years ago.   This has created new neighborhoods that are very desirable to the renter’s base.    Ten years ago, Humboldt Park, South Loop and Login Square were not areas on the top of people’s apartment rental search.  Today, these areas are heavily sought after, even by passing historically demanded areas.  

                    Unfortunately, it appears the increase rental trend will continue in 2017.   However, this year the increase is not due as much to demand.  Instead it is due to the high increase in cost associated with owning property.

                    In 2016, it was well covered that Property Taxes in Chicago were increasing significantly.   Depending on the property, the tax burden increased anywhere from 15% -30%.    Other cost that were not as widely covered by the media were increase in Insurance, trash, material/labor and utilities. 

                    All properties need to be covered by insurance.  These cost have increased over the past several years.  With growing values and increasing risks perceived by the insurance companies the cost for coverage has increased.   Additionally, it is very common for insurance companies to inspect the properties they insure.  They can demand changes and modifications that they want completed to continue being covered.  This changes cost money to perform.

                    Last year, 2016, the City of Chicago, decided to charge all building for trash service.   This was an excellent idea to increase revenue for a service used by everyone.   The city did state that all trash and recycling service will only be provided for properties of 4 or less units.  All buildings that fit that criteria would be charged per unit, per month for trash and recycling.    Properties larger than four units, were required to higher private trash and recycling companies, as a higher cost. 

                    Any work down on a property requires material and labor.   The cost of labor is increasing quickly and the cost of material is also on the rise.   The cost for wood and screws keeps going up, requirement the cost of building work to increase.  This has always been the case, but the increasing cost trend is growing at a rapid rate.
                    In addition, properties have had an increase in expenses due to the increase in water/sewer expense and the ever increasing gas and electric rates.   

                    All of these increases in cost have to be passed to the residents to some degree.   Unfortunately, that means property owners who do not increase rents in 2017 will need to increase them at some point.   The more these cost rise, the harder it is for landlords to keep rental increase minimal.    The cost of living is increases and this time it is not only due to low supply of rental units.  

  • A NEW WAY TO ADD DENSITY TO AREAS HURT BY DE-CONVERSION

    01/17/2017


    One of the many thing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has done, is to create a building development opportunity called Transit Oriented Development (TOD).  This development opportunity allows building development within a specific distance of a train station to build a higher density building, other than what is traditionally allowed. 

    These developments can be seen throughout Chicago.   The reason the Mayor created this program is to combat the decreasing population that many Chicago neighborhoods are experiencing over the past decade.   Since the beginning of 2000, and even earlier, it has been a growing trend to take 2 and 3 flat building and de-convert them to single family homes.  This is frequently, but not limited, to side streets in Chicago.  The loss of 1 to 2 dwelling units per property, per single family, has taken its toll on neighborhoods after 100’s of single family homes has been created.   This has resulted in the decrease of 100’ of dwelling units in neighborhoods.

    The affects can be seen in the reduction of local school populations, less consumers to support local business, more turnover of business, retails space available to rent and lower turnout for community event.   These are all problems that arise due to loss of population. 

    The TOD is designed to combat this trend, by increasing density near train stations.  The requirement for proximity to train station, is to allow residents who rely on public transportation and not person automobiles the ability to live in a denser area.   With each development, this will increase the consumer base to support local business, schools and the neighborhood.  It can allow neighborhoods to attract a resident pool across the entire age spectrum.  

    These developments have received significant push back from neighborhood groups who are afraid of the denser properties.  The neighborhood groups are concerned of height, number of unit and increased demand for parking.  These groups may not see the true damage the loss of population is creating to their area.

    The concern of parking is the most common complaint of the TOD.   One of the details of the TOD, is that is requires less parking to be created on the property.   The TOD development is aimed at targeting the growing population that does not have personal cars.   This population uses car share and bike programs.  They choose to shop locally and support the neighborhood. 

    Seminary Properties and Management, LTD.  is working to build a TOD building at 3647-49 N. Southport.  The proposed building is five stories and 21-units.  It would replace two properties that have a total of two residential units.    This particular project has agreed to make all 21 units in the property ineligible for the City of Chicago Residential Parking Sticker.  

    If you support this or other TOD project, please voice your support to your local alderman.     The Alderman for the 3647-49 N. Southport development is the 44th ward Alderman, Tom Tunney.   All comments to the alderman can be sent to, ward44@cityofchicago.org.   

    Thank you.

  • The Rental Season of 2015 has begun

    04/17/2015




    If you are looking for a new apartment this rental season, but wait.  At this point in time the April and May 1stapartments are long gone, the June 1st apartment are more than half gone and the July 1st apartments are getting ready to come out.  The rental market is similar to that of the past two years.  There is a lot of demand and not enough supply.  Here are a few tips to help make the apartment search process easier:

    1.       Choose where you want to live.               
    The process of finding a new home is laborious and frustrating.  You can view an apartment one day and find it was taken an hour later.  Entertaining areas that you are not sure you want to live in will be a waste of time.  The current rental market is a race, you need to focus.  Know where you want to live and what you need in an apartment.  The more specific you are the easier you will find what you want. 

    2.       Start looking early.
    Most property management companies release their available apartments sixty or more days prior to the move-in date.  If you are not looking for a new home sixty days prior or more you are missing out on some of the best apartments available.  Many people are told by rental agencies that they are looking too early.  Rental agencies are still focused on the available apartments that have leases starting thirty days or less and have not shifted their focus to the apartments for move-in sixty days from now.  If you are looking sixty days ahead use websites like hotpads, trulia, livelovely, padlister, radpads, craigslist, and many more.  You can also contact property management companies directly and see what they have available.  This will give you an advantage over a lot of the competition.

    3.       Reserve two to three days for looking.
    Free up two or three days of your schedule to just look at apartments.  Try to cram as many apartments into each day.  I tell people that if you see more than ten apartments and have not found the right one for you, it is time to reevaluate what you want and what you can afford. The reason to see as many apartments as you can in a short period of time is to try to reduce the risk of having the unit you want taken before you can apply.  If you are only viewing one or two apartments a day over a week, the units you saw at the beginning of the week are not likely to be available at the end of the week.

    4.       When you see it, take it.
    When you see an apartment that is where you want to be and has what you want take it.  If the apartment has everything you are looking for why keep try to find something better than what you want.  You will lose unit to another group that sees it later.  This is a competitive rental market right now, waiting will only hurt you.

    These four helpful tips will not make the apartment search any less irritating, but I it may speed up your search.  Unfortunately, the apartment rental season overlaps with Chicago’s spring and summer.  Do you want to use that time of year spending a large amount of time searching for a new apartment?  Would you rather use the enjoyable Chicago months on the beach, enjoying the outside or spending time with friends?

  • The Cubs get off to a rocky start

    04/09/2015




                    Spring is upon us and the Baseball season is here.  Both of Chicago’s beloved teams are hoping to make an impact this year.  As a lifelong Chicago resident, I treat the city’s enthusiasm with controlled emotions.  However, one team really came out smelling like a toilet.  The Chicago Cubs may have mismanaged their new park construction and when certain amenities can be used.  For all those who paid attention to the news, Twitter, Facebook or walked down the street may have heard of the lack of restrooms available to patrons.  What made this worse is that patrons could not leave the stadium to use a restroom and come back.  If a patron wanted to have a cigarette they could leave and come back. 

                    This is another blunder in the history of the lovable Cubbies.  Just because the first game of the year was not successful on or off the field, don’t lose hope.  During this season the bleachers will be completed, the rooftop drama will be over and the Cubs minor league prospects will join the team.  Hopefully by season’s end there will be progress with the projects taking place outside the stadium.  When the project is over in five years, Wrigleyville will continue to be one of the greatest neighborhoods of Chicago.

                    All of this will make Wrigleyville what it is known for; a great place to eat, have some drinks, enjoy and maybe see a baseball game.  The Cubs are one of the factors that make the Wrigleyville area of Lakeview so wonderful to call home.  There is always something to do and see.  If you are coming to Chicago to live in Chicago or just visit; come and see the one of a kind Wrigleyville.  

  • The quite time for crime!

    04/09/2015





                    With the cold winter weather holding a firm grip on Chicago, you may have noticed lower numbers of burglaries being reported throughout Chicago.   This is not likely to be a growing trend that can be relied upon as the weather gets warmer.  This is Chicago, a city of nearly three million people.  As the weather gets warmer and residents take advantage of green grass, blue skies, sun and the numerous outdoor activities the bloom during Chicago’s nicer weather; crime will also increase.  Let take a minute and refresh ourselves on precautions that should be taken                                                                                  

                    The vast majority of break-in is made via a door or a window.  If a window is open when a person leaves their home or goes to sleep, it is an invitation for a sinister individual to enter.  Be smart and lock our windows.  Do not just shut the window the flip the latch.  Make sure the latch and clasp line up together.  Also, check your window frame for tabs that pop out and limit how open a window can be.  In most models of windows, they tabs are located on the upper window frame and limit the space a window can open to 2”-3”.  If these tabs are used, a person can go to sleep confident a burglar will not fit into the opening.

                    The other frequently used point of access for a burglar is a door.  All exterior apartment/home doors must have a lock on them.  There are many types of locks on doors these days, but none are more secure than a deadbolt.  A lot of the apartments managed by Seminary Properties have two locks on all apartment exterior doors.  Normally this is a door knob, that locks and a dead bolt.  A lot of our residents do not use their dead bolt.  This behavior doesn’t make any sense, but that is what we discover many times a day.  The door knob lock on a front or back door is not going to keep the home safe from intruders.  A dead bolt is the stronger and better lock to withstand attempts to kick or pry open a door. 

                    Living in a big city is incredible.  Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad.  The bad singled out in this blog is break-in.  Crime will happen in Chicago.  If a criminal wants to gain access to your home it nearly impossible to stop them.  Taking the precaution of closing and locking windows, using all door locks available and having renters insurance will help make your home less inviting and provide you coverage if you do become a victim.



  • Don’t be a fool, insure your apartment

    06/09/2014



    Chicago is a safe city, but it is still a city.  Crime happens in every neighborhood every day.  It doesn’t matter if you live on a top floor of a building or a garden apartment, you live in a city and break-ins can happen.  Since living in Chicago is a choice all Chicagoan's have made, it is astounding how few people get renters insurance for their home and possessions. 

    It is a common falsehood that property managers encounter, that when a resident’s home is broken into that the buildings insurance will cover the resident’s personal items.  This is not true, building insurance only covers the structure of the building and not the items in the building.  If a renter is robbed the building insurance will do nothing to help replace stolen or damaged items.  More and more people learn this fact every day, but so few people acquire renters insurance to protect their possessions. 

    Renters insurance is insurance to protect a renters personal possession in case of fire, theft, flood or other situations where personal property is damaged.  All insurances offer different coverage options, but any situation can be covered by some form of renters insurance.  Renters insurance is available through most insurance providers (Gieco, Amica, State Farm, Etc.) and the cost is relatively low.  Depending on the deductible, quantity of items, value and option a person selects to have insured the price can be as low as a hundred dollars or more.  Having this coverage means peace of mind while traveling or at work.  All the time and money spent acquiring loved possessions is not lost and wasted if a person is burglarized.  This is Chicago and there is always a chance of being robbed. 

    Chicago is a great city.  Unfortunately, it also attracts negative aspects to it.  There is a risk living in a city, or most anywhere.  It is worth the time and extra money to get renters insurance to make sure you are less of a victim if you do get robbed.

    Be smart and get insured! 

  • The Days of Summer: the greatest days

    05/20/2014



    Summers in Chicago are what make Chicago the greatest city.  It is not only the warm weather, the beaches and long days that make the city great.  One of the most important reasons Chicago brings in tourist from around the world and residents get into a tizzy of excitement is the street festivals. 

    Here is the full schedule of street festival, summer days are here again:
    • Cinco de Mayo Festival, May 2-4, 26th Street & Kostner (Little Village)
    • Chicago Kids and Kites Festival, May 3, Montrose Harbor in Lincoln Park
    • Mayfest and Polish Fest, May 3-4, Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave
    • American Beer Classic, May 10, Soldier Field.
    • Beer Under Glass, May 15, Garfield Park Conservatory
    • Chicago Craft Beer Week for May 15 - 25, various locations
    • Manifest Urban Arts Festival, May 16, South Loop, Columbia College
    • Mayfest, May 16-18, Lakeview, Ashland and Barry
    • Riverfront Mayfest, (NEW) May 16-18, banks of the Chicago River at Grand
    • Chicago Memorial Day Parade. May 24, noon, State Street from Lake to Van Buren
    • Randolph Street Market Festival, May 24, 25, 1350 block W. Randolph and 1340 W. Washington Street between Ada and Ogden
    • Bike the Drive, May 25, Lake Shore Drive
    • Festival del Taco, (NEW), May 30 - June 1, Little Village, 2600 S. Kostner (at 26th St.)
    • Maifest Chicago, May 29-June 1, Lincoln Square at Lincoln Ave. and Leland Ave.
    • Do Division, Division Street festival, May 30 - June 1, 2014
    • Chicago Veggie Pride Parade, May 31, noon, Grant Park
    • New Orleans festival, (NEW) May 31-June 1, West Lakeview at Lincoln Ave. and Addison
    June 2014
    • Maifest, May 29-June 1, Lincoln Square at Lincoln Ave. and Leland Ave.
    • Festival del Taco, (NEW), May 30 - June 1, Little Village, 2600 S. Kostner (at 26th St.)
    • Do Division Street festival, May 30 - June 1, West Town
    • New Orleans festival, (NEW) May 31-June 1, West Lakeview at Lincoln Ave. and Addison
    • Chicago Food Truck Fest, June 7, outside U.S. Cellular Field
    • Bacon Chase (NEW) June 7, Montrose Beach
    • Ravinia Festival, June 5 through September 14, Highland Park
    • Ribfest Chicago, June 6-8, Lincoln/Irving Park/Damen
    • Andersonville Midsommarfest, June 6-8, Andersonville
    • Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival, June 7-8, Lakeview, Sheffield/Belmont
    • 57th Street Art Fair: June 7-8, Hyde Park
    • Printers Row Lit Fest, June 7, 8, Printers Row neighborhood, Dearborn and Polk Streets
    • Grant Park Music Festival, June 11 – August 16
    • Spring Awakening, June 13-15, Soldier Field
    • Old Town Art Fair, June 14, 15, Old Town
    • Wells Street Art Festival, June 14, 15, Wells Street, between North Avenue and Division Street
    • Fiestas Puertorriqueñas and Puerto Rican Parade, June 12-15, Humboldt Park, Division Street
    • Taste of Randolph Street, June 13-15
    • Chicago Blues Fest, June 13-15, Grant Park, Millennium Park
    • 6 Corners BBQ Fest, June 14-15, 4000 N. Milwaukee Ave. (at Irving Park Rd./Cicero Ave. to Belle Plaine)
    • Long Grove Strawberry Festival, June 20-22, downtown Long Grove
    • L.A.T.E. Ride, June 21, overnight ride starts at Buckingham Fountain (500 S Columbus Dr)
    • Gold Coast Art Festival, June 21, 22, Grant Park’s Butler Field at the corner of Monroe and Lake Shore Drive
    • Pride Fest, June 21, 22, Halsted and Waveland
    • Wicker Park’s Green Music Fest, June 21, 22, Damen between North and Schiller
    • Milwaukee Summerfest, June 25-29 and July 1-6, Summerfest Grounds along Lake Michigan, Milwaukee, WI.
    • World’s Largest Block Party, June 27, 28, Old St. Patrick’s Church, 700 W. Adams
    • Gospel Music Festival, June 27-29,  Ellis Park in Bronzeville
    • Chive Fest (NEW) June 28, Soldier Field, Stadium Green South
    • 2014 Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy, June 28, Ping Tom Memorial Park,  300 W. 19th Street
    • Chicago Summerfest (formerly Chicago Country Fest), June 28, 29, Clark Street and Armitage
    • Randolph Street Market Festival, June 28, 29, 1350 block W. Randolph and 1340 W. Washington Street between Ada and Ogden
    • Pride Parade, June 29, North Broadway, Boystown
    July 2014
    • International Festival of Life: July 3-6, Union Park
    • Chosen Few Picnic, July 3-6,  in Jackson Park, 63rd and Hayes Drive
    • Fourth of July Fireworks, July 4, Navy Pier, 9:30 p.m.
    • Wavefront Music Festival, July 4-6, Montrose Beach
    • Summer on Southport, July 12, 13, Southport and Waveland
    • Windy City RibFest: July 4-6, Uptown, Lawrence and Broadway
    • Taste of Lakeview, July 5, 6, Lincoln at Belmont
    • Rock Around the Block, July 5, 6, Belmont and Lincoln Avenue
    • Taste of Chicago, July 9-13, Grant Park
    • Windy City Smokeout, July 11-13, River North, Hubbard and Rush Streets
    • Michigan Avenue Art Festival, July 11-13, Pioneer Court
    • Square Roots Music Festival, July 11-13, Lincoln Square
    • Irish American Heritage Festival: July 11-13, Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox
    • West Fest: July 12,13, West Town, Chicago Ave. from Damen to Wood
    • Roscoe Village Burger Fest, July 12,13, Belmont and Damen
    • Pitchfork Music Festival: July 18-20, Union Park
    • BenFest 2014, (St. Benedict’s ) July 18-20
    • Chinatown Summer Fair, July 20, Wentworth Ave from Cermak Road to 24th Place
    • Taste of River North: July 18-20, River North, Kingsbury and Erie Street
    • Celebrate Clark Street Festival, Saturday, July 19, 20, between Morse and Estes Avenue
    • Sheffield Garden Walk & Festival: July 19,-20, Lincoln Park, Sheffield and Webster
    • North Dearborn Street Garden Walk, July 20, starts Latin School, 45 W. North
    • Jeff Fest Arts and Music Festival, July 25-27, Jefferson Park, Lawrence and Long Avenues
    • Wicker Park Fest, July 26 – 27, Milwaukee and North
    • Taste of Lincoln Avenue, July 26 – 27, N. Lincoln Avenue between Fullerton & Wrightwood
    • Randolph Street Market Festival, July 26, 27, 1350 block W. Randolph and 1340 W. Washington Street between Ada and Ogden
    • Wicker Park Fest, July 26-27, Milwaukee Avenue Between North Avenue and Paulina Street
    • Taste of Lincoln Avenue: July 26, 27, Lincoln Park, Fullerton and Wrightwood
    • Fiesta del Sol: July 31-August 3, Pilsen on Cermak between Morgan and Ashland
    August 2014
    • Fiesta del Sol: July 31-August 3, Pilsen on Cermak between Morgan and Ashland
    • Lollapalooza, August 1-3, Grant Park
    • Edge Fest: August 2, 3, Edgewater, 5900 N. Broadway at Thorndale Ave.
    • Wrigleyville Summerfest, August 2, 3, School Street and Seminary Avenue
    • Taste of Latin America, August 2 – 3, 3600 to 3828 W Armitage
    • Ginza Holiday, August 8-10, Midwest Buddhist Temple, Old Town
    • Northalsted Market Days, August 9, 10, Halsted Street and Belmont Avenue
    • Retro on Roscoe, August 9, 10, Damen Avenue and Roscoe Street
    • Festa Italiana, August 14-August 17, Little Italy, Taylor St.
    • Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest: August 15-17, Rogers Park
    • Edison Park Fest, August 15-17, Chicago’s northwest side, Oshkosh and Olmsted
    • Chicago Westside Music Festival - August 16,  Garfield Park
    • Chicago Air & Water Show, August 16, 17 (rehearsal August 15) North Avenue Beach
    • Albany Park World Fest (New) August 16 – 17, Lawrence & Kimball
    • Chicago Dancing Festival, August 20 – 23, various locations
    • Clark After Dark, August 21, Clark and Hubbard Streets
    • The Boulevard, August 22-24, Logan Boulevard and Milwaukee Avenue
    • The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival, August 21-September 1, North Michigan Avenue
    • Chicago Fashion Fest, Saturday, August 23-24, Division St. from Wolcott to Paulina
    • Taste of Greektown, August 23 – 24, 400 S. Halsted St. at Van Buren
    • Chicago New Orleans Fest (NEW) August 23 – 24, Sheffield and Wellington
    • Bucktown Arts Festival, August 23 – 24, Bucktown
    • Chicago Fringe Festival, August 28 – September 7, Jefferson Park
    • Chicago Jazz Festival, August 28 – 31, Grant Park
    • African Festival of the Arts, August 29 – September 1
    • North Coast Music Festival, August 29 – 31, Union Park
    • Taste of Polonia, August 29 to September 1, Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave.
    • Remix Chicago: Chicago’s Recycled Art Fair, August 30 – 31,  Milwaukee Avenue between Fullerton and California Avenues
    • Randolph Street Market Festival, August 30 – 31, 1350 block W. Randolph and 1340 W. Washington Street between Ada and Ogden
    September 2014
    • Taste of Polonia, August 29 to September 1, Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave.
    • German American Fest, September 5-7, Lincoln and Leland Avenues
    • Roscoe Village Oyster Fest, September 6, Damen Avenue & Roscoe St.
    • Fulton Fest, September 12,13, Fulton Avenue between Damen and Hoyne
    • Festival de la Villita, September 12-14, 26th Street and Kostner Avenue
    • Riot Fest, September 12-14, Humboldt Park, 1440 N. Sacramento Avenue
    • Crush in Old Town (previously Wells Street Fall Festival), September 13 - 14, Wells and North
    • Andersonville City Made Fest, September 20, 21, Clark and Argyle
    • Oktoberfest Chicago, September 26-28, Southport and Lincoln Avenue (a complete list  of Oktoberfest happenings will appear in a separate post in early September).
    • Chicago Gourmet, September 26 - 28, Harris Theatre and Millennium Park
    • Hyde Park Jazz Festival, September 27 - 28, Hyde Park, various locations
    • Randolph Street Market Festival, September 27, 28, 1350 block W. Randolph and 1340 W. Washington Street between Ada and Ogden

  • Moving out and into a new apartment

    05/05/2014




    The biggest shock to a first time renter in Chicago is not the cost of utilities, the challenge to keep their home clean or the responsibilities of changing bulbs/batteries/furnace filters.  The biggest shock occurs when a person has to move-out of their home.  It is very common in Chicago for a lease to end on the last day of the last month of their lease and the residents must move out at some point on that day or night.  Their new lease does not begin until the next day.  This creates the homeless night.   

    The homeless night, occurs when a person moves-out of their home and has no where to put their items or themselves until the next day.  This is very common and no matter how many times a person goes through the homeless night it does not get any easier or less horrible of an experience.  No, there is not great solution to this problem.  There are many ways that people tolerate this problem, but each solution has more expenses or more frustration. 

    The reason people have to be out of their current apartment the day before their next lease starts is because their lease contract has expired.  Violating the lease and staying in the unit after the lease expires can have hefty penalties.  These penalties can consist of charges of up to three times a month’s rent, renewing a lease at a significantly higher rent, damage to a credit report or being evicted.  The penalties vary depending on each person lease.  Every lease has a penalty, and almost all of them have a different penalty of a holdover tenant.

    People have many options to be out of their apartment on time.  Here are several options people have chosen to be out of their lease on time.

    1.       Rent a storage unit and fill it with their items for one night.
    2.       Higher a moving company and have them store their items over night.
    3.       Rent a pod, moving box, smart box, Etc and have that relocated to a new address to be unloaded the next day.
    4.       Use a friend’s home or apartment to fill it with ones possession until they can be moved into their new home the next day.
    5.       Rent a moving truck over night, fill the truck and park it over night until it can be unloaded into their new home.
    6.       Pay rent at two apartments at one time, overlapping months/leases, to be able to move-out and in and ones leisure. 

    This list does not have a cheap or easy option.  Most of the options are much more complicated then they sound.  For example, companies like Uhaul, Budget and Penske truck rentals are notorious for make many more reservations for truck then they actually have trucks.  When a person arrives at the location they are told the truck is not there or not ready and to please wait.  This wait can be hours and hours beyond their reservation time.

    Movers tend to run late and also over book themselves or underestimate the amount of time a previous job will take.  They can run 1-7 hours later than the reserved time slot. 

    The storage pods require a parking space to be delivered and picked up.  They also require permits to be placed on certain streets.  In many cases this option does not work out because they pod cannot be delivered. 

    Suffice it to say that moving is not easy or fun.  The best advice anyone can give is to plan early, make reservations early and start packing early.  Don’t procrastinate or the move-out will be a stressful and horrible process.

  • CHICAGO: A SAFE CITY, BUT STILL A CITY

    04/23/2014


    The question of, “is this area of Chicago safe?” is asked daily.  That is one of the hardest questions a licensed real estate broker working in Chicago has to answer.  For residents of Chicago, they understand that the crime rate can vary greatly by neighborhood, and even by a specific block.  Residents know to be on-guard day and night and to travel in pairs late at night no matter what the neighborhood.  People moving to Chicago from other cities only know what they hear about on the news.  Unfortunately, that is a daily report of shootings, deaths, fires and assaults.  People relocating to Chicago need to keep in mind that this is the 3rd largest city in America, which covers over 228 square miles.  These crimes are very dense in certain geographical locations and very infrequent in others.  This doesn’t mean crimes will never happen in any area of Chicago.

    The densest concentration of violent crimes in Chicago occurs on the south and far west sides.  Most people who relocate to Chicago try to move downtown and/or north side of Chicago.   Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd. works predominantly on the north side of Chicago.  In areas, like Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, Andersonville, Bucktown/Wicker Park, Roscoe Village, West Town and Uptown, crimes will occur, but they are very infrequent compared to the crime rates in the city as a whole. 

    The most common crime in the areas Seminary Properties serves is burglary.  Burglaries can happen during the day or at night, and residents who do not utilize all security features of their home increase the chance of being victimized.  It is important to shut and lock all windows in a home, lock each door’s knob lock and deadbolts, and if a home has extra security, like an alarm or locking screen door, to use them.  One of the best tools given to a burglar is passivity of a home’s neighbors.  It is not uncommon, after a home is robbed, that a neighbor says, “I heard noises and just thought they were moving furniture,” or “I thought they were moving and those were the movers”.  If something doesn’t seem, right it is best to act than to allow someone to become a victim.

    Another target of a burglar is to focus on building with larger quantity of units.  It is easy to press every buzzer on an intercom system and wait for a resident to press the button to allow access into the building without verifying the person belongs in the building.    This action jeopardizes everyone’s safety and security in the building, and can cause neighbors to be robbed, or worse, assaulted.  Seminary Properties has sent letters and posted signs discouraging this behavior and finds that residents still risk the safety of themselves and their neighbors by letting unverified strangers into the buildings.

    Even though burglary is the most common crime in the neighborhoods served by Seminary Properties, the frequency is still greatly lower than it is in other parts of the city.  Seminary Properties provides apartments with numerous safety measures to use.  Seminary Properties also regularly reminds residents of their security features and to be alert.  Every unit we manage is equipped with minimum security features, including peep holes, window locks, window jams, deadbolts and building door locks.  Some apartments also have doorknob locks, intercoms, window bars, locking screen doors, locking metal gates, perimeter gates, local security alarms and security cameras.  All the measures we put in place do nothing if they are not used properly and constantly.

    The other crime that can occur in the areas Seminary Properties serves in assault.  Seminary Properties has never had an assault take place inside a building we manage, but this crime can happen in any neighborhood.  This crime normally occurs when someone is walking to or from the train or walking home after a night out.  The residents of the north side of Chicago regularly feel so comfortable in their area that they do not take the basic precautions of staying on a busy street, constantly checking their surroundings and traveling in pairs or groups late at night. 

    The north side of Chicago is not a dangerous place.  It is far safer than other areas of Chicago.  Even so, it is still part of Chicago.  Bad things can happen anywhere at any time.  Be smart and take precautions; it is easier to take steps to avoid being a victim than to recover from being a victim. 

    For more information on Chicago Crime rates and neighborhoods please use these research sites:



  • The cost of renting in Chicago; it is on the rise again.

    04/14/2014



    Chicago has exploded out of the recession with increase job opportunities, higher property values and higher rents.  The experts from the Chicago Tribute, Chicago Red Eye and Crain’s Business have each released articles saying that rents are going up.  Several years ago, it was not hard to find a one bedroom apartment for under $1,000.00 with all the bells and whistles.   Currently finding a vintage one bedroom apartment for under $1,000.00 is rare.  This is the case throughout Chicago, but even more true on the North Side and Northwest Sides.    Areas in high demand like, Lakeview, Wicker Park/Bucktown, Andersonville, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood and Roscoe Village have seen a sharp increase in rent. 

    This does not mean that good opportunities are not available.  It only means that apartment seekers need to get out early to find a home and make a quick decision when they see something they like.  The unit that one party likes, will probably not going to be available 24 hours later. 


    [Red eye article 4/14/14]

    [Crain’s Business 4/14/14]

  • Chicago is cold, but it is still GREAT!

    03/03/2014




    Okay, this winter is one of the top 5 worst Chicago winters since records of such things have been kept.  Chicagoans have endured more below-freezing winter days than any winter in recent memory and the six feet-plus of snow has made all charm of a white winter anything but.  Even with the extreme winter, Chicago is still an amazing town. 

    For those proud and true Chicagoans who refused to allow this winter to fully break them, amazing events have taken place to distract from the weather.  This past weekend alone hosted the Polar Plunge, the Blackhawks playing at Soldier Field as part of the Stadium Series, plays, Chiditarod and the Chicago Bulls.  These were only a few of the events this past week. 

    The Chicago residents that haven’t allowed Jack Frost to keep them home all winter have had the opportunity to attend all sorts of things, including:

    Auto Show
    Zoo Lights
    Winter Wonder Fest at Navy Pier
    Chicago Boat Show
    Chicago Motorcycle Show
    The Dog Show
    Concerts
    Plays
    Christkindlmarket
    Other games by the World Champion Chicago Blackhawks
    Other games by the surprising Chicago Bulls
    World renown Museums
    Amazing Restaurants

    Unfortunately, there are too many events, happenings and places to name them all.  Chicago is an amazing and mesmerizing city; don’t let some very cold days be a reason to not take part of it.   Chicago only has so many months of great weather, but a full calendar of things to do. 
     

  • The Chicago Apartment Rental Season

    02/11/2014



    In many cities around the United States, apartment hunting is a year-round option.  The city of Chicago is not one of those cities.  The Chicago apartment rental season begins with Leases starting May 1st and ends with Leases staring September 1st.  Knowing how and when to begin a search, and find apartments, is learned by taking part in this stressful process several times.  This is a crash course on the process and some tips on getting ahead of the population.

    Chicago is one of the best summer cities anywhere.  Unfortunately, it also can be one of the most challenging winter cities a person can experience.  Residents endure the cold and snow for 3-4 months of the year, just to enjoy another spring, summer and fall.  Don’t be fooled: summer is the big reward.  Spring and fall are just an added benefit.  Because of our seasons, people don’t want to search for an apartment or have to move during the cold winter months.  People prefer to find an apartment when it is enjoyable to be outside and moving into a new home will not track in snow.  Over time, this has collapsed the majority of the apartment rental season from May 1st– September 1st.  The biggest move-in dates are June 1st, July 1st and August 1st.

    Landlords and property managers prepare far in advance to list the apartments that will go on the market.  Per the City of Chicago Landlord-Tenant Ordinance, no resident can refuse a showing within the last 60 days of their lease when proper notice is given.  This is the reason that most landlords and property managers will release their listing 60 days prior to a lease start date.  For example if you are looking for a June 1st lease start date, the vast majority of available apartments will come on the market April 2nd.  Some landlords and property managers will make apartments available earlier and some will hold theirs for release a little later.  For parties that are eager to take advantage of the largest quantity of units available to them for a particular lease start date, they should begin their search at least 60 days prior to their desired lease start date.

    If a person contacts a leasing agency, they may be told they are looking too early.  Keep in mind that these companies are focusing on the nearest lease start dates to finish off that inventory.   They do not want to worry about their June 1stlistings while they still have April 1st and May 1st apartments to rent.   Waiting for leasing agencies to be ready to show units 60 days prior to the lease start date may result in missing out on a lot of the best units available.  Luckily, leasing agencies are not the only option.

    Apartment hunting can begin on the web, contacting individual property management companies or looking through a desired area for “For Rent” signs.  Landlords and property management companies will use web sites like Trulia, HotPads and Criagslist to post their apartments.   Many have their own websites that will also show what units they have available.  Regardless of how a search begins, it is best to narrow down the areas that are most desirable to a party then search those areas using a rental listing site (Trulia, HotPads, Craiglist, etc.).  Some of these sites will have interactive maps making it easier to look in a desired area.  If an attractive property is found, don’t hesitate to contact the party that posted the listing.  This may be the electronic age, but the quickest way to reach the listing party is by phone.

    When apartment hunters ask me how I suggest finding an apartment this is what I tell them: find an area or two that is most desirable to you to live in.  Stroll up and down the streets for a day and find “For Rent” signs or management company signs.  Then respond to the “For Rent” sign or look up the property management company’s website and see what they have available.  An ever better suggestion is to call the number on the sign and ask what they have or may have available.  Even if the apartment that was represented on the “For Rent” sign is no longer available, or the property management company has nothing available, they may have another apartment or several ready to go on the market any day.  At Seminary Properties and Management Ltd., we respond to emails and phone calls; if we have nothing available, we ask what the party is looking for and as soon as we have something we contact the interested party.  Taking this extra effort can make an apartment hunter the first to see an available apartment, sometimes even before it goes on the market.   I advise searchers that when looking for an apartment, if they have to view ten or more units they should adjust their search parameters.

    Chicago is a great city for the long-term resident and welcomes new inhabitants.  When it is time to find a new apartment, get out and start a search around 60 days before a desired move-in date.  Walking around an area that is on the top of a searcher’s desirability list is a great way to see “For Rent” signs and property management companies of that area.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to the contacts on these signs.  Websites are also a great tool to see what is available.  Get out and look at the units; waiting a few days could result in missing out on a dream home.



     


  • More non-smoking buildings to come

    01/29/2014




    Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd. intends to make many of their properties non-smoking in 2014.  For the past several decades Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd. has practiced that each resident has the right to smoke or not to smoke inside their individual dwelling units.  However, increased knowledge of the affects of smoking, and the increase cost of having a smoking resident, has resulted in the change to make more buildings 100% smoke free.  


    This decision is based on the well-being of our residents and their freedom to live without secondhand smoke that penetrates through walls and floors.  It is also due to the increased cost that a smoking resident creates for tenant turnover: odor and staining resulting from their habit.  

    Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd. will still have a few properties that allow smoking.  


  • Keeping your home warm and safe during Chicago’s cold winters

    01/07/2014



    Living in Chicago is a wonderful and adventurous experience.  From summer beach days and festivals to snowman building and winter wonderland, Chicago provides an adventure for all seasons.  Currently, Chicago is experience a record-breaking winter season.  It is important to take precautions for your homes during these frigid months.   If you follow these steps, you will lower your risk of having an uncomfortable experience during winter.

    Heat – Heat is a great feature to have and enjoy in the winter months.  Unfortunately, not having heat can be unbearable.  It is important that people take precautions to lower the risk of their furnace breaking during peak demand.  First, make sure that furnace filters are changed often.  It is advisable that you change your furnace filter monthly.  The result will be lower gas and electric bills and a clean furnace with less chance of a breakdown.  Second, check to ensure the batteries in your thermostat are new and working.  If the batteries start running out of power, the furnace will not receive signals to produce heat or shut off.  Third, never shut off your furnace.  If you are leaving your home, it is okay to lower the temperature.  If you turn of the heat completely, it will cost a lot to reach the desired temperature once turned back on, you risk freezing water pipes and parts in your furnace might freeze and break
    .
    Water – It is great to wake up to both hot and cold water, even in winter, but water pipes can freeze and break if they get cold enough.  To prevent this, always make sure your furnace is running.  This will fight the external temperatures that may find access through your exterior walls to reach your pipes.  If the weather reaches extreme cold, anything from 20 degrees below, run your water from every faucet.  The water does not need to be full-force.  Run your faucets with a slight, but steady stream of both hot and cold water.  Keeping water moving inside the pipes will make it far less likely for the water inside pipes to freeze.

    Windows - All homes have windows that allow in light and fresh air.  Unfortunately, they are also the thinnest barrier to external winter weather in your home.  It is extremely important to make sure all windows are closed and locked.  Just because a window looks shut does not mean it is fully closed and locked.  Most windows are double hung windows, which means both the upper and lower window can move up and down (or side to side).  During the warmer months using windows can result in the upper window dropping down slightly.  This drop can be ¼ of an inch to several inches.  Most people, when closing their windows, do not check to make sure both windows are fully closed and the locking mechanism from each window pane line up.  If the locking mechanisms do not line up, it is likely your windows are not fully closed and external air is coming into your home, lowering your home’s temperature and raising your utility bills.  It is worth the time to check every window in your home to ensure that the windows are fully shut, both upper and lower panes, and the locking mechanisms line up and are interlocked.

    These simple steps will save you a lot of grief due to disruptions in your heat, water and comfort in the winter months.  If you can be comfortable inside your home, you can enjoy the great experience Chicago can be during the winter.

  • An upgrade in technology, aimed at easing the life of our residents

    12/20/2013



    Most companies and people do not think of the burdens and responsibilities of being an apartment renter.  People have busy everyday lives and it is hard to find the time to pay rent on-time and report problems in an apartment to a management company.  In the past two decades, some of these responsibilities have become easier with the use of credit cards and email.  However, every month, Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd. hears that tasks have escaped our residents’ minds or that they have been meaning to discuss something with us.  We have striven to make our tenants’ lives easier.

    As of today, Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd. is rolling out a new website with the ability for tenant interaction.  Our residents are now able to create a Tenant Portal which will allow them to view their account online, submit maintenance requests online and pay rent online.  This last benefit can be done using a credit card or ACH transfer.  Residents will be able to view the progress of a maintenance request as it moves through various statuses on its path to completion. 

    Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd. feels it is our obligation to continue to find ways to make the responsibilities of our residents easier and, by doing so, allow us to become better property managers.

  • Welcome to our Blog!

    12/10/2013

    With properties in some of Chicago's most desirable neighborhoods, Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd, continues to focus on providing hands-on property management with the same care and compassion as when we were founded in the 1970's. We specialize in properties on the North side of Chicago. We try to treat each residence as if it were our own home using technology and customer service as well as old fashioned hard-work.