Southport Corridor | Where to eat, drink, & play | KelseyShawChicago

Southport Corridor is easily one of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago. It is a little pocket of Lake View & offers tons of shopping, restaurants, bars, & activities. I have lived & do most of my business in Southport Corridor, so I consider myself a neighborhood expert. Check out some of my favorite spots below.

Must Visit:

  • Coda di Volpe – Southern Italian fare from the family behind The Gage. Lovely interiors with a wonderful, impressive menu, & attentive staff – Reservations accepted & encouraged.
  • Tuco & Blondie – Come for the instagram wall, stay for the margarita’s & amazing patio (dog friendly). Reservations accepted & encouraged.
  • Southport Grocer – Modern, simple, & fun menu. Kitchen set amongst an upscale grocer – but come in early as they close at 3pm. First come, first serve.
  • Real Good Juice – Because sometimes you need to be healthy; Real Good Juice offers locally-sourced, organic juices & smoothies. Not only a juice bar, Real Good Juice also offers delicious food & my favorite – No-yo Fro-yo: almond milk based soft-serve. Favorite Flavor? Bluice Wayne
  • The Butcher’s Tap – Looking to escape the Wrigley crowds? The Butcher’s Tap won’t disappoint. HUGE beverage menu & locally sourced food items. Plus it’s two levels & has the cutest patio. First come, first serve.
  • Lange’s Lounge – Because I love a good dive bar & you should too! If you want to catch a game but don’t want to wait endlessly for a libation in Wrigleyville, come to Lange’s for some reasonably priced beer & great company. No food here, but they welcome you to bring some pizza from D’Agostino’s as long as you give them a slice. First come, first serve.
  • Ella Elli – For a more discerning evening, stop at Ella Elli for a lovely dinner & intricate cocktails. With an outdoor patio, this is definitely the perfect girls night out or date night spot. Reservations accepted & encouraged.

If you’ve been to Southport Corridor, tell me your favorite spots!

What is PMI?

As the first post in the First Time Home Buyer Series, I want to address the initial question clients always have when looking to get a mortgage: What is private mortgage insurance?

Private mortgage insurance, PMI, is a type of mortgage insurance from private insurance companies used with conventional loans. Similar to other kinds of mortgage insurance policies, PMI protects the lender if you stop making payments on your home loan. PMI can be arranged by the lender and provided by private insurance companies.

So, what is PMI? The ultimate catch 22**

Most lenders require PMI when a homebuyer makes a down payment of less than 20% of the home’s purchase price – or, in mortgage-speak, the mortgage’s loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is in excess of 80% (the higher the LTV ratio, the higher the risk profile of the mortgage) – https://www.investopedia.com/mortgage/insurance/

While it helps borrowers attain a loan with a lesser down payment & potentially become a home owner sooner, its purpose is to protect the lender. Important to note: Similar to interest, property tax, and homeowners insurance, payment of your PMI does not build equity in your home.

You may be thinking that buying insurance on your mortgage may sound a little strange, but it protects the lender’s investment in the home. While yes… it’s another fee you need to pay, it’s advantageous to homeowners as it makes home affordability a reality sooner.

PMI MISCONCEPTIONS

  • PMI isn’t just for people who can’t afford a 20% down payment. It’s also for people who don’t want to put down 20%, so they have more cash on hand for repairs, remodeling, furnishings, emergencies, etc.
  • PMI isn’t forever. Borrowers pay their PMI until they have accumulated enough equity in the home that the lender no longer considers them high-risk.
  • The rate of your PMI depends on the size of the down payment and mortgage, the loan term and your credit score. The greater your risk factors, the higher the rate you pay.

 

**Disclaimer: I am not a mortgage professional, always consult with your lender regarding mortgage decisions. If you are wanting to get connected with some of my highly suggested lenders in Chicago (& elsewhere) contact me.

As a segment of the First Time Home Buyer Series, I will be discussing the 5 common mistakes first time home buyers make & how you can avoid them.

5 common mistakes first time home buyers make

1. Not getting your financing in line prior to start your home search

I love HGTV, but they have done home buyers a disservice with their unrealistic portrayal of the American couple. The idea that you can be a button collector & a dog walker yet have a budget up to $1,000,000 is obviously unrealistic.

While there is an exception to every rule, not everyone is as blessed with their budgets & making sure you are aware of yours is a very important factor. While many home buyers run their numbers & are financially literate – having your pre-approval will not only be able to set expectation for what you can reasonably afford it will be necessary when submitting offers. More to come on mortgage specifics..

2. Not hiring a REALTOR, or using an agent who isn’t knowledgeable in the market you are interested in

There is no bigger disservice a home buyer can do to themselves like hiring an inexperienced broker. Education, neighborhood knowledge, pricing guidance, & market expertise are a few things that a REALTOR brings to the table & necessary for a seamless transaction. Also, did you know that hiring a Realtor in Illinois is FREE? The listing brokerage pays the buyers agent their commission.

3. Being unprepared for the hidden costs of purchasing property

I have found a common theme with first time home buyers – they are generally aware of their budgets, but always unaware of all of the costs that are included in purchasing their properties & what funds they need to bring to the closing table (in addition to your down payment). These costs can include: property taxes, homeowners insurance, title insurance, origination fee, doc prep fee, etc. Long story short – be knowledgeable of all costs involved.

4. Holding out for a better deal

The condition of the market is something that can be sometimes volatile & will dictate the speed of search. I always recommend to reach out to a broker 9 months prior to a move, not because it should take that much time, but just so you have get all of your ducks in a row.

From contract to closing, Chicago lenders can close anywhere from 30-45 days, so it can be a fairly speedy process. Many buyers won’t offer on the first house they see as they feel something better is out there. The beauty of being prepared & be knowledgeable is that even if its the first house you physically see, sometimes it really is the best. The grass isn’t always greener.

5. Not being prepared and/or being impulsive

The hardest part of home shopping for buyers can be the struggle to remain unattached & unemotional. Purchasing a home is likely one of your biggest commitments you can make & obviously you will become immersed in the deal. Don’t let your heart overtake your head. Be ready with all of your financials in line & look at it as an investment, because at the end of the day – It’s likely the biggest investment you will be making.

 

While home ownership can be a scary thing, it doesn’t have to be. If you can avoid these 5 common mistakes first time home buyers make, then you are already setting yourself up for success.

What to do in Wrigleyville, Chicago | Kelseyshawchicago

As a previous Wrigleyville resident, take it from me: this is one of the most fun neighborhoods in Chicago. Steps from the Friendly Confines, you can’t beat this little pocket of Lake View. Wrigleyville is home to the second oldest stadium in baseball and beloved 2016 World Series championship team, The Chicago Cubs. A magnet for sports fans, young professionals, & families alike; this neighborhood is exceptionally attractive to those seeking vibrant nightlife with numerous bars along Clark, Addison, and Sheffield Avenues.

Must Visit:

  • Wrigley Field – GO CUBS GO! Of course, you can’t come to Wrigleyville without catching a Cubs game!! If you come on an off day, take a tour of field & get the insider experience. If you are lucky enough to get to a game, you obviously need to get a Chicago Dog – but BEWARE: you must not order from the counter, you need to go to a stand & ideally you want to go to the penthouse deck facing Hotel Zachary/Clark for the best dog, city views, & a little known spot within the stadium. Be sure to take a quick walk in the new Gallagher Way before, after, or during the game for a break from the crowds. Lastly, if you are in the bleachers (which is a guaranteed great time) don’t forget sunscreen & be ready to get on TV!
  • Dutch & Doc’s –  American fare & classic cocktails, this new restaurant definitely filled a void in the neighborhood. A two-story dining room provides the coolest experience at the corners of Addison & Clark, just across from the world famous Cubs Marquee. Be sure to get the Mac & Cheese & Mudslide cocktail, because who doesn’t love cheese & a boozy milkshake. Reservations accepted & encouraged.
  • Hotel Zachary – Inspired by the designs of world-renowned Wrigley Field architect and Chicagoan Zachary Taylor Davis, Hotel Zachary is where history and style come together. The bar is so beautifully designed, grabbing a cocktail here transports you back in time. If weather permits, do your best to grab a seat on the terrace & take in the views of the ballpark.
  • Big Star – A new addition to the neighborhood, this has easily become one of my favorite spots. Amazing margarita’s, tons of great menu items, & a two-story open air restaurant this is a great pre-game, post-game, or non-game day spot. Get a pitcher & the Big Star Hot Chips.
  • Al’s Beef – Famous for their Italian Beef’s, this is one of my favorite late night/post game spots. Grabbing a quick & guaranteed delicious italian beef always makes me a happy girl. Ask for the Gypsy Fries, you won’t regret it.
  • Sluggers – It’s an experience we all need to have. Unreasonably expensive beers, fun music & a rowdy dance floor, batting cages, & carnival games – what more do you need!
  • Old Crow – If you love country music, cold beer, BBQ, & fresh air; Old Crow is a must visit. Great bands, live karaoke, & pretty solid deals make this a neighborhood favorite.

If you’ve been to Wrigleyville, tell me your favorite spots! Or interested in living in the area, contact me to get started.

KelseyShawChicago - HAPPY PLACE

 

Real Estate is essentially 24/7/365 & sometimes a gal just needs a break. Sometimes you need to just take a moment & do what makes you HAPPY. So when I saw a giant smiley face being installed on the side of a vacant warehouse while driving to an appointment.. I had to investigate. 

To my surprise, a multi-sensory, interactive pop-up experience was coming to town & I knew it was going to be something I had to do to – & I was right, it was amazing. 

“HAPPY PLACE was created because we BELIEVE that our world today can use a lot more happiness. To make this DREAM come true, we set out on a journey to create a special place where anyone who walks in is surrounded by all things HAPPY. The first HAPPY PLACE in Los Angeles has been nothing short of a DREAM for us and now we are excited to take the Happiness on Tour and visit cities all around the world. Watching so many visitors of all ages from all around the world come through our doors and leave with a smile, made us WONDER, why not spread the HAPPY? So decision was MADE to take HAPPY PLACE on a worldwide tour with our second stop, the great city of CHICAGO!!!

Founded by Jared Paul and opened originally on November 20, 2017, this massive pop-up experience is filled with larger than life size installations, multi-sensory immersive rooms, and dozens of moments curated to Capture Your Happy. Visited by more than 100,000 guests during our SOLD-OUT run in Los Angeles, the highly anticipated HAPPY PLACE Chicago launch will bring smiles to thousands more. Highlights include: dancing in the middle of world’s largest indoor Confetti Dome,  jumping off of a larger than life double rainbow into a pot of happiness, and posing inside HAPPY PLACE‘s signature rubber ducky bathtub of fun! and let’s not forget 7-foot stilettos made of a million candies and 6-foot-tall X and O letters made out of thousands of tiny mirrors, surrounded by a wall of one thousand red lips!!!” – Happy Place

 

HAPPY PLACE | KelseyShawChicago

 

Unexpectedly located along Elston Ave. in Noble Square, it’s impossible to not be HAPPY when visiting this exhibit & it’s 13 brightly-colored, highly interactive rooms.

Originally only here for a short time, HAPPY PLACE announced that they are extending their stay until September 3, 2018 – So grab some friends, charge your phone, & come “capture your happy” or at least some quality content for instagram.

 

 

Have you had a chance to visit HAPPY PLACE?