All eyes are on the American economy. As it goes, so does the world economy. With states beginning to reopen, the question becomes: which sectors of the economy will drive its recovery? There seems to be a growing consensus that the housing market is positioned to be that driving force, the tailwind that is necessary. [Read more…]
Home has taken on a whole new meaning as of late. It has transformed into a haven, a classroom, a workout studio, an office, and everything in between. As we spend more time at home than ever, we’ve learned a thing or two about the four walls around us.
For some of us, the pandemic has reminded us of all the reasons we fell in love with our homes. And for others, it has revealed all the reasons why it may be time to move on. Here’s how COVID-19 has impacted what we want from our homes.
Home Offices Have Become a Necessity
As telecommuting becomes more commonplace, so is the need for quiet, distraction-free spaces. These rooms or areas have become essential during the pandemic, helping with productivity and providing a more distinct separation between work and home life. So, for those lacking a designated work space, home offices have shot their way to the top of the checklist.
Outdoor Space Is a Plus
Social distancing has made it more difficult to experience the outdoors like we normally would, which is why the desire for private outdoor space has become so prevalent. Whether it comes in the form of a yard, balcony, or terrace, outdoor space is a major draw for homebuyers. And for those with a little more space, front porches have the added benefit of increasing social interactions between neighbors during warmer months.
Healthy Materials Are Desirable
While there was demand for new construction before the pandemic, more homebuyers may start looking to new construction – as well as renovation projects – for features that promote healthy and sustainable living. These include high quality filtration systems for air and water; indoor air quality monitoring; germ-resistant, anti-microbial countertops and flooring; smart toilets; self-sanitizing door handles; and health monitoring systems for homeowners.
Flex Space Sounds Nice
With fitness routines impacted by gym closures and class cancellations, people have switched to at-home workout regimens. As buyers embark on their search, they’re most likely going to look for homes that will help them maintain their current lifestyle. For some, that means space for a home gym that can also be converted for other uses is an extremely attractive feature.
If you’re ready to take the next step on your home buying journey, contact Maureen who can help you check off all your boxes.
With businesses starting to slowly open back up again in some parts of the country, it’s important to understand how housing can have a major impact on the recovery of the U.S. economy. [Read more…]
Coronavirus has undoubtedly had a significant impact on our day-to-day lives. It has affected everything from how kids are learning to how we do our jobs and complete once-basic tasks like grocery shopping. We’ve put a lot on hold, but there are some things that absolutely cannot wait. So, what do you do if you have to move during the pandemic?
We’ve outlined all of the steps you need to take to make your move as safe as possible.
Purchase New Packing Supplies
According to USA Today, coronavirus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard, so play it safe by ordering new boxes and supplies from Home Depot or U-Haul. UBoxes.com even helps you build your own moving kit, which comes with various box sizes, heavy duty tape, bubble wrap, and textile blankets, among other necessary supplies. You can also rely on suitcases, laundry baskets, and reusable grocery bags to transport your belongings.
When it came to moving before the pandemic, you could easily tempt friends to help you pack and schlep boxes with the promise of pizza and drinks. Nowadays, it’s important that you tackle your move with as few people possible to avoid unnecessary contact with each other and your belongings. Try to pack and move as much of your stuff on your own, saving the largest and heaviest items for movers. And if you are moving to or from a multi-unit residential building, ask building management about their policy on reserving elevators so that you can limit contact with neighbors.
Check In With Movers
Movers are considered essential, so should you need them, check on your chosen business’ current operating procedures. Ask them if they are sanitizing their truck(s) before and after moves and inquire about any additional safety precautions employees are taking, such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) to slow the spread of the virus.
If you have to be physically present for the move and are not able to supervise via video chat, make sure you maintain six feet between each other. You can also minimize contact by turning on lights and opening all doors, cabinets, and gates ahead of time.
Put Boxes and Packed Belongings In One Area
Limit the contact movers have with your home by placing all of your packed items and smaller furniture in a low traffic room or garage. This will keep any potential germs confined to one area of the home, making it safer and easier to clean and disinfect. If your movers must go into other rooms to pick up larger objects, be sure to clean those areas before and after they enter.
Get Your Sanitizing Materials Ready
When move-in day has arrived, you should be armed with sanitizing materials and enough personal protective equipment for everyone involved. Have hand soap stocked at both locations and hand sanitizer for any contact that’s made along the way. Disinfectant should be used to lightly spray boxes before and after the move as well as any objects (car doors, doorknobs, elevator buttons, and light switches) or surfaces (counter tops, toilets, faucets, and sinks) that are touched.
Deep Clean Your New Digs
Before you move your belongings into your new home, be sure to deep clean every room. The CDC recommends wearing disposable gloves while you clean, throwing them out after each use and washing your hands immediately after the gloves are removed. If you are not able to find or purchase household disinfecting sprays and wipes at the store, you can make your own using bleach and water.
Wait To Unpack
Just as you put your items in one low traffic area when you moved out, you’ll want your movers to take a similar approach when you move in. Confine items to the garage or one room of your home and then be sure to disinfect and wipe everything down. You are advised to wait at least 24 hours to open the boxes, so pack an overnight bag with your essentials separately!
We’re in a changing real estate market, and life, in general, is changing too – from how we grocery shop and meal prep to the ways we can interact with our friends and neighbors. Even practices for engaging with agents, lenders, and all of the players involved in a real estate transaction are changing to a virtual format. What isn’t changing, however, is one key thing that can drive the local economy: buying a home. [Read more…]
It goes without saying but is definitely worth repeating: We are so grateful for all the healthcare workers who are saving lives and fighting this pandemic around the clock to keep us safe.
While you are hunkered down at home, there are still ways you can help those supporting patient care on every level, from doctors and nurses to technicians and pharmacists to EMTs and transporters.
Aside from social distancing, here’s what you can do:
With blood drives cancelled, the need for a stable supply of blood, platelets, and AB Elite plasma is still a reality for hospitals and blood banks around the country. Volunteer donors are the only source for those in need.
Healthy individuals can donate in areas that have issued Shelter in Place declarations by scheduling appointments with The Red Cross, which is following strict protocol for safety and infection control. Schedule an appointment with your local donation center here.
Help with Childcare
Many health workers are struggling to find care for their young children as schools and childcare programs remain closed. If you know someone in this situation, offer to watch their child while they are at work. You can also volunteer as a sitter with Sittercity, which is connecting first responders with free sitters in partnership with the city of Chicago.
Order Takeout or Delivery
If you know someone working on the frontlines, consider buying them delivery or takeout from a local restaurant that could also use your support. If you don’t know anyone but would still like to help, several restaurants in Chicago will send meals directly to healthcare workers. Happy Camper and Homeslice have an $11 “Buy a Meal for a Healthcare Worker/Volunteer” option on their menu, and sister restaurants Mott St. and Mini Mott are offering to deliver meals to medical professionals for $15 with a note of appreciation.
Shop for Their Groceries
Healthcare workers who are pulling extra hours may need help running essential errands. Offer to head to the store and check items off their list. Drop off groceries, essentials, and supplies at their home, and be sure to practice safe social distancing guidelines.
Healthcare workers across Chicagoland are in need of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, and gowns.
The following area hospitals are taking donations:
- Advocate Health Care is accepting a variety of PPE donations. Email email@example.com to see if your supply qualifies.
- Edward-Elmhurst Heath is in need of N95 masks, surgical masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, nitrile gloves, isolation gowns, goggles, and thermometers. Donations can be made at the loading docks of Edward Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital.
- Northwestern Memorial Hospital is calling for factory-made, hospital-quality supplies such as N95 masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, and hand sanitizer. You must fill out this form first in order to donate.
- Rush University Medical Center is accepting various PPE contributions. Email their Associate Vice President for Supply Chain Operations, Quincy Stanley, for more information on how to coordinate your donation.
- University of Chicago Medical Center is looking for disinfectant wipes, surgical masks, N95 masks, and sterile cotton-tipped swabs. Please submit an intake form prior to donation.
The state of Illinois also needs N95, earloop and surgical masks, gowns, gloves, face shields, goggles, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes in original, unopened packaging. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to donate any of these items, and they will determine the best drop-off spot based on your address.
Tap into your creative side and help out the medical community by sewing masks. Although not all hospitals can accept fabric masks, several home care and retirement communities can use your help. Initiated by the Sewing & Craft Alliance, WeNeedMasks.org offers simple instructions on how to properly sew both surgical-style and Olson masks, and provides a list of facilities that are in need by state.
Messages of support or appreciation can make the most trying days a little bit better, and can come in the form of a social media shoutout, text, or handwritten note. If you have children, recruit their help creating hand-drawn cards and expressing their own words of gratitude for those serving our most vulnerable. Many facilities cannot accept mail because of immunocompromised patients, so be sure to call ahead before you send anything. You can also take a picture of your card or note and send via email for the facility to print.
Thank you again to all of those who are fighting the spread of COVID-19.