An inside look at Chicago real estate

Talk of The Town: January 2019

Mark.Miles By
Mark Miles
   | Uncategorized


Update Your Space

We’re ringing in the new year with a look into 2019’s hottest home trends, just in time to start sprucing up your home for spring. From the best paint colors to the latest design styles, you’ll have your space in vogue in no time.

Pro Tips For Hiring a Contractor | Financing Your Home Improvement | Try Something New | Color Yourself Inspired


Pro Tips For Hiring a Contractor

Finding the right home improvement professional can be a challenge, but with a few helpful tips you’ll be on your way to partnering with the right contractor for the job!

Do your research. You may encounter legitimate contractors doing grassroots advertising, but the Better Business Bureau cautions that many door-to-door contractors may be unqualified. Confirm that your potential contractor is licensed, insured, and bonded. The best place to start is to ask friends and family for a referral—a positive review from someone you know is ideal. I’m happy to make a recommendation as well!

Confirm references and insurance. It is critical that your contractor have the proper liability coverage as a precaution should an issue arise. Without this coverage, you could be left with a hefty bill or home insurance claim. You should also consider chatting with past customers or reviewing your contractor’s portfolio. It will help you decide if their style is right for your job.

Trust your gut. The decision to renovate your home is a big one, so it’s key to trust your contractor with the job. Make sure you meet eye to eye on your goals with any prospective contractor. Having good communication, rapport, and chemistry with your contractor goes a long way towards a successful project.


Financing Your Home Improvement

Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are two of the most popular ways to finance major home projects. Keep the following in mind when planning your upcoming work:

You’ll need enough equity in your home to qualify for a loan. Having enough equity in your home protects both you and your bank. Most banks won’t issue a home equity loan unless your combined loan-to-value ratio is around 80% or less, though this may vary depending on your credit and payment history. You can expect to pay more for a loan with a higher loan-to-value ratio.

Home equity loan versus a home equity line of credit. A home equity loan works much like a traditional mortgage. You’ll borrow a set amount and repay over a designated period of time. Another option is a HELOC, which allows you to borrow up to a certain amount of money at a variable rate over a designated time. The key difference is that you don’t have to borrow the full amount at once—think of a HELOC as a credit card, you borrow what you need as you need it and pay back what you borrowed as you go.

Keep the risks in mind. Borrowing against your home’s equity can make sense to finance larger improvements, but taking out too much equity could leave you in a tricky situation. If your project costs exceed the amount of your available equity, you might have to tap into other resources like savings or high interest credit cards. If you have a HELOC, keep in mind that your rate could increase, making your payments higher in the future.

If you’re considering home improvements and want to get an expert opinion on the potential return on investment, give me a call. I can help you make the best choices to make sure that your plan fits market demand both now and for the future. As always, when in doubt, reach out—I’m here to help!

Try Something New

Switch up your look in 2019 with a fresh new take on some of our favorite styles.


Ikat and trellis patterns have had their day—don’t risk a dated look with these geometric styles. From abstract prints to traditional chintz, florals are all the rage.


While the terrazzo trend is still huge, this bold look can be especially challenging to update if you tire of it. Bold patterns and graphic tiles are an easy way to add a pop of punch to a simple kitchen.


Looking for some kitchen inspiration? Warmer and/or darker tones are very on-trend for 2019. Marble is still a classic, but you’ll be seeing richer tones in the new year.

Color Yourself Inspired

One of the simplest ways to update your home is with a fresh coat of paint. Get inspired by these trendy hues.


Inviting neutrals in shades of hazelnut, lilac gray, or mushroom offer a more colorful take on the classic beige and stark white options.


Looking for a little more depth? Muted and moody tones like dark green and mustard add richness with a pop of color. These bold colors create a striking focal point for a dramatic space.


Design a soothing space with understated hues like soft terracotta or misty blue. These delicate shades offer an unexpected way to add color to a space without committing to something too bold.

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