What is ‘better living’?

Chicago Apartment Finders.

We believe there’s a better way. It’s better living. This encompasses more than just a re-done kitchen or new windows. That’s not what we mean. Better living extends beyond the walls of your apartment. It’s about finding the right neighborhood for you, finding amenities that make sense for you, and picking a logical location for work or school’s sake. No longer should ignorance, apathy, and unhappiness be obstacles among the almost 1.5 million Chicago renters…We know the market, we’ll care, and we’ll take an inconvenient, uncomfortable process and make it tolerable or even…fun. I mean, have you ever ridden in a Mini Cooper? You will be guided through this process by an agent who knows better- someone who can speak from experience. A person who loves and lives the Chicago Apartment Finders brand. Renter or not, join this cause. Be a part of this movement. Salute this better way that I can’t stop talking about.

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Don’t laugh

While the image of this so-called chimney balloon might conjure a chuckly, saving up to 30 percent on winter heating bills is nothing to laugh at! Not surprisingly, one of the biggest complaints we hear this time of year is cold apartments. Read how this innovative inflatable can not only keep you warmer in your apartment, but save you big on energy bills: http://www.luxuryhousingtrends.com/archive/2009/11/lower-your-electric-bill-with-a-chimney-balloon/.

Latest innovation in saving on home energy bills.

Slushy shoes, the bane of my existence

Keep this out of your apartment.

Thank you Apartment Therapy Chicago for the great post on dealing with slushy shoes available here. I bet the pebble-filled boot tray is best. Nice thinking Martha Stewart.

Opening Day

No, I’m not talking baseball. Mayor Daley’s people have been hard at work all week bringing forth this frosty playground from the ground of Grant Park. After some sleuthing with people nearby I was informed this rink will be open for skaters this Friday. Anyone planning on rinking in the winter this Friday?

Schedule your trip to the ice rink with additional info here: http://www.millenniumpark.org/parkevents/event.aspx?id=961.

NY apartments so fresh and so clean

New York has been buzzing with news that a group of landlords is moving to ban smoking in apartment buildings. See story here: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/landlords-move-to-ban-smoking-in-apartment-buildings/. The given reason is health concerns from secondhand smoke but I’ve got to assume it wouldn’t hurt keep apartment smelling and looking fresher.

Can’t say I’ve heard renters here complain much about second hand smoke from neighborhing apartments. Any one out there think this is a problem?

One lucky man enjoys fresh-smelling apartment carpet. Or he's an actor in a Febreze commercial.

Forecast on Craig’s List

I have been hearing a lot of rumbling from our agents about the state of Craigslist in Chicago. One agent said the URL might as well be http://www.spamvirusbottcatchall.com.

Apparently, due to the advance of software technology and growth of upstart apartment listing services – Craigs List has literally become FLOODED with automated postings that repeat the same listings and make it near impossible for average people to have their listings found. Companies are basically using bots to continually repost the same listings. A landlord may submit his/her apartment on Craigs Llist and find it buried 3 pages deep within minutes.The recent flood of posts has some speculating that Craigs List may soon implement a pay-per-post model as is already the case in New York.

The state of Craig's List

To be fair, Chicago Apartment Finders agents use Craig’s List as a tool but it is against our policy to use any kind of auto-posting software.

 

Keep your apartment safe this holiday

 

The holidays are all about good cheer, tradition, family, time off and- for many- travel. According to AAA, last year about 41 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles for Thanksgiving and more than 60 million traveled at least that far during the Christmas holiday.

No matter how happy and care-free the occasion, people are always a bit leery about leaving their homes unoccupied and unattended during the holidays. Most do not have the Home Alone-esque luxuries of scalding hot doorknobs and swinging metal pipes to deter home invaders. While home invasions do not necessarily increase over the holiday, city officials still advises people to take precautions.

Leaving your house unattended at such a distance for even a few days presents a prime opportunity for prowlers. And during a time when most burglars know that there will be fewer residents occupying their homes and keeping an eye on the neighborhood in general increases the vulnerability of your home.

There are few things more important than your home- so why risk compromising its security. With the help of experts, Chicago Apartment Finders put together five simple, but effective tips that will keep your mind at ease when away for the holidays:

1) “Yes, We’re Open” – The last thing you want to do when you are away for the holidays is close shop. One of the most common missteps of those that fall victim to holiday burglary is leaving their homes with the “shut-down” look. If you choose to do this, you might as well hang a “Sorry, We’re Closed” sign in your front window. To give your home a “lived in” look, one step would be purchasing a timer for indoor and outdoor lights, television, and radio and set it to turn on/off at random times. This will give the illusion that someone is indeed inside. Also, when you are away, leave blinds and curtains in their normal positions and make sure to shovel and clean off walkways and sidewalks. Perhaps even entertain the idea of purchasing an outdoor motion detector from your local hardware store.

2) “Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends” – Finding a reliable neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your home while you’re away is one step that will alleviate the majority of your anxiety when skipping town. Have someone you trust collect your mail, take out your garbage, draw curtains, feed your pet, and help with other general upkeep tasks. And, depending on how flexible your friend’s schedule is, ask him/her to alternate the times he/she comes over. Make sure to provide this person a list of emergency contact information in addition to your own and alert him/her of any visitors that could be dropping by. Another important tip would be to provide car keys in case any vehicles left behind need to be moved in the event of an emergency. Under no circumstance should you leave keys outside your home when you’re out of town. Spare keys hidden in the typical spots, under doormats and in flowerpots, only increase the chances of a possible home invasion.

3) Smoke and fire – Although this seems like a no-brainer, you would be surprised how often the following tip is over-looked: Make sure to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and pop in some new batteries. Also, do not overload electrical outlets- a good “rule of thumb,” away from home or not. Maybe even go so far as to simply unplug appliances and other electronics while you’re out of town to put your mind even more at ease.

4) Do Your Homework – Inspect and review your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Make certain your insurance is current and know that which it covers.

5) Out of sight, out of mind – Move expensive equipment and other valuable belongings in your home and vehicles out of sight while you’re away. This goes for holiday gifts; items like stereos, televisions, computers, iPods, and GPS units; family keepsakes; and irreplaceable collectibles.

When you know you’ve taken logical, thoughtful steps to secure the safety of your home while you’re away, you will enjoy your vacation that much more. Go ahead and have another glass of eggnog and enjoy time with family. You’ll have less to worry about.