A row of greystones in Chicago. | Carmen Troesser
Keep up up with these folks for home tips on design, finances, and trends
Curious about homebuying in Chicago? A great place to get familiar with what to expect in the city is to follow the experts on social media. While there are lots of brokers on Instagram and Twitter, we’ve hand picked a few who offer more than just feed of their recent listings.
Interested in learning how to budget for your first home? What about finding out more about how a new construction works from start to finish? Want to get insight from an agent who loves the city’s historic homes as much as you do? This is where you’ll be able to find brokers who have specialities in areas like financial planning, new builds, and historic rehabs.
Here at Curbed Chicago, we’ve rounded up 10 real estate brokers and organizations who are broadcasting their tips and advice online.
Part of Compass, the team at Studio Realty focuses on sharing interior design tips, how to save money while furnishing a new home, and the latest design trends in Chicago. Throughout their Instagram, you’ll find endless design inspiration—hexagon tiles, green kitchen cabinets, and dramatic powder room mirrors. A recent post gives followers a behind the scenes look at how renderings measure up to the real thing.
Vikas Wadhwa is an investment banker turned real estate agent. His obsession with architecture and design led him to start Modern Homes Chicago. On the company’s Instagram, you’ll get a good idea of what modern and contemporary style homes are on the market in Chicago. So, how did Wadhwa fall in love with modernism? No doubt it was a former residence of his designed by Mies van der Rohe that led him to appreciate the style through a meticulous rehab.
The Chicago Bungalow Association is a great resource for homebuyers looking for a DIY project. Many of the classic Chicago home types—bungalows, greystones, brick two-flats—are older. That likely means thoughtful rehabs are in order and, if so, CBA has a host of seminars, talks, and events to guide you through projects. On their Instagram, the organization will share bungalow-homeowner projects like freshly landscaped front yards, renovated entryways, and bathroom tile restorations.
The ubiquitous Chicago two-flat. If you aren’t familiar, folks in this region refer to small apartment buildings, ranging from two units to six units, as the common two-, three-, six-flat buildings. Usually made of brick or limestone, they’re part of our city’s vernacular architecture, just like courtyard apartments and workers cottages. If you’re looking for some curbside inspiration or want to ogle at these adorable homes—this is the Instagram to follow.
Not only is the #ChicagoHistoricResourceSurvey now primarily serving a purpose that the surveyors never intended (demolition delay), but it is also apparently no longer any help with the exact use for which it *was* intended (identifying City landmarks). Ouch. https://t.co/wkmLOc8xvC
— Susannah Ribstein (@susannahribs) January 31, 2020
Susannah Ribbs is a broker with Living Room Realty, a local firm that focuses on both residential and commercial real estate. On Twitter, you’ll find her sharing thoughts on Chicago’s latest historic preservation issue and helping new residents research the buying process. Before she got into real estate, Ribs was studied architectural history and was an art gallery manager so she’s the perfect person to answer all your historic home questions.
Do you fall in love with a highly curated, designer interiors? Well then, you’ll want to follow Emily Sachs Wong. As one of the top @properties brokers, her high-end listings are all over a million. But we can dream, right? On Instagram, Wong will feature a home of the week that you’ll be able to grab some design inspiration from. One tip that’s clear from her Instagram is that wallpaper is a quick way to transform any room. Recently she shared this Missoni-esque zig zag pattern from one of her pocket listings and there plenty more to scroll through!
For something more personalized, Compass real estate agent Ben Lalez takes his clients most common questions and answers them alongside experts on his Instagram. He talks through leveraging a 401K for a down payment, mortgage basics, and open house 101. Lalez also shares his own experience with purchasing his latest home and what he learned through the process (yes, even as a broker).
If you live in Chicago, then you know that the North Shore area is a popular suburb for folks wanting to move out of the city. The houses here run the gamut from McMansions to Tudor-style homes and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired designs. If your curious about that suburb life and what that entails—follow @properties Wexler Gault Group. They’re one of the top teams in the area and consistently feature open houses and listings in suburbs like Highland Park, Deerfield, and Northbrook.
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Did you know that, as a homeowner, you could be entitled to a discount on your taxes? When you buy property in Cook County, you may take advantage of several valuable property-tax-saving exemptions. Check the Cook County Assessor’s website for applications and more information, or shoot me a DM and I will send you the link!
Need to figure out your budget? Not sure how much you can afford? Jodi Slutzky is both a certified financial planner and an @properties broker. It’s the best of both worlds for people who are focused on making sure their finances are good shape—or for those who need help navigating Cook County’s overwhelming property taxes. In addition to sharing listings on her Instagram, Slutzky also gives advice about costly home inspections (are they worth it?) and how to stage your home (plants help!).
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A quick drive in Bronzeville brings you by (in order of pictures) the homes of Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, and Nat King Cole. Muddy Waters’ home is in desperate condition. Working to find a preservation solution. #musiclegends #muddywaters #natkingcole #louisarmstrong #chicagoblues #historic
This is for all the Chicago history lovers and preservation nerds. While this organization does a lot of work to preserve historic buildings and prevent thoughtless demolitions, it’s a good follow on Instagram or Twitter if you want to learn more about your neighborhood, too. See how some of the city’s oldest buildings are reused and what a landmark district protects.
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