Category Archives: Luxury real estate in Chicago

Best Urban Curb Appeal Tips for Summer2019: Chicago Real Estate Experts

With the Chicago temperatures climbing, people are out and about, including 2019 buyers. Make your home the object of attraction using city curb appeal techniques. Are you Jonesing for a green retreat in a space that’s unique? Turn square footage into foliage with these top 4 urban gardening ideas:

1. Review your challenges

Chicago rooftops and balconies in high-rise buildings are basically microclimates, buffeted by wind, the radiant heat of concrete, and the shade from neighboring buildings.

Opt for plants known for their hardiness, slow growth, and ability to withstand gusts. The higher the floor, the more wind comes into play in plant selection. Nasturtium and daylilies have flexible stems that sway without breaking. A lattice windbreak adds a stylish protection element

Pollution is another issue for urban gardeners. Choose plants with shiny leaves that won’t trap dust:

  • Morning glory vines
  • Coleus
  • Zinnias
  • Marigolds

Your Chicago balcony, terrace, porch, railing (think climbing vines), or curbside patch of dirt is room enough for urban gardening, and a neat way to add some Zen to any potential concrete and steel surroundings.

2. Think long and lean

Select plants with:

  • Small footprints — plants tagged with the labels “dwarf” or “miniature.”
  • Tall silhouettes. Up is the way to go when plotting in feet and not acres. Good choices are container-friendly columnar apple trees or Baptisia australis with spires of violet-blue flowers.  Another way to get height: a green wall, sometimes known as a vertical of living wall. It’s not only practical, it can be stunningly sculptural.

Before you do anything, check your building’s management or homeowners association rules on where or what you can plant.

3. Plan for your conditions

Identify your plant hardiness zone, then look for plants that can thrive in your local conditions.

Sun blocked by tall buildings? Shade-tolerant varieties include:

  • Fuchsia
  • Impatiens
  • Hosta

If your space has a clear sight line to the sun, choose plants like:

  • Petunias
  • Salvia
  • Geraniums

And don’t discount vegetables in a small-space garden. They grow handily in containers, and are a great way to add color and save money on produce.

4. Save on supplies

Need to keep the word budget in mind? No problem. No more than $250 is an absolutely doable figure, and should cover enough plants for a modest space; containers, soil, and basic tools like a hand trowel, pruners, and hose.

Don’t be surprised if you need to set aside part of your budget to replace the occasional plant in street-level plots throughout the season. They may feel some wear and tear from cars, dogs, and people.

To get the most out of your budget, keep an eye out for no- or low-cost offers and a way to reconnect with your community. Often, neighborhood groups encourage homeowners to garden, often with money-saving programs. Here are four ways to save:

A. Organize a seed swap with friends and neighbors, root stem cuttings, and divide up perennials to keep costs down

B. Contact your local cooperative extension office for free supplies like mulch. These organizations also offer soil-testing services, for a small fee, which help maintain healthy plants or diagnose problems.

C. Check your local municipality for freebies. Chicago, for instance, runs a sustainable backyard program with workshops and rebates for trees, rain barrels, compost bins, and native plants.

D. Visit your local botanical garden or conservancy for free expert advice and gardening workshops.

More Info HERE

Look to The Ian Schwartz Group for all things real estate this summer 2019 and remembr…everything we touch turns to SOLD!

 

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Spring 2019…Off to a Running Start-Chicago Real Estate

Despite the mild wind and cold weather experienced earlier this season, the Chicago real estate market continues on a warm spring 2019 driven path. The median Chicago home price surged with an annual increase of 12.1%. Interest rates remain attractive as the monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central- Chicago region was 3.32 percent in April 2019, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Buyers are already expelling pent-up action and are out in force. Sellers are seeing the benefits of listing NOW, as demand/ideal Chicago market conditions continue to benefit all parties involved. Don’t get left behind…Jump in now!

 

Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group, reports that “everything we touch turns to SOLD”. So far this year, Ian and his team have sold over $50 million dollars in real estate units in the city of Chicago. As a recipient of Coldwell Banker’s International President’s Premier award, Ian and his team remain client centered, attentive, sincere, tenacious, and knowledgeable; with an end result of top producing, top performing, high-ranking Chicago residential real estate results. For more information on The Ian Schwartz Group visit HERE and HERE.

 

 

 

4 Reasons Why 2019 IS The Year to Make a Move – Chicago Real Estate Experts

Chicago….If you’ve been on the fence about buying a home, 2019 will be the year to take the plunge! See below on why:

1. Rents will still hurt

Celebrate 2019 with The Ian Schwartz Group – Coldwell Banker 

Rent prices are expected to continue to climb in the new year, which means in most cities like Chicago, buying will be cheaper than renting. Even though mortgages could get more expensive, buying might still be the better deal. Interest rates would need to rise to around 6.5% for the cost of buying to equal that of renting on a national level, according to housing economists at Trulia.

2. Home prices will finally calm down

Real estate values have been on the rise for a while, but are likely to slow their pace next year. Prices are expected to rise 3.5%, according to Zillow’s Chief Economist.

Buyers who’ve been stuck behind the wave of rising prices may finally get the chance to jump in. And that could lead to a flood of buyers, said chief economist at Realtor.com.

“We have the potential for about six million home sales just through the months of April through September; that is basically impossible to do,” he said. But not everyone will be in a position to take advantage. Despite the slowdown, Zillow still expects home values to outpace wage growth, which can make it tough to afford a home, especially for lower-income buyers. Plus, prices in the country’s hottest markets — like San Francisco, Boston and New York City — aren’t expected to pull back as much next year.

3. More homes will hit the market

The slowdown in home prices will prompt more owners to list their homes, Smoke said, giving buyers more choice. “Because of the price appreciation they have experienced, you will have more sellers put homes on the market next year,” he said.

Related: How to buy a home without a 20% down payment

The new home market is also expected to grow in the coming year with builders focusing more on the starter and middle-range homes, which will also boost inventory and make it easier for buyers.

With more homes on the market, bidding wars will become less common and prices could ease even more.

4. Dirt cheap mortgages could disappear

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to begin increasing interest rates soon, which means the window for record low mortgage rates is closing. While rates are expected to go up gradually, higher rates push up borrowing costs and monthly mortgage payments. More details can be found HERE.

With over $50,000,000 sold in 2018, Ian Schwartz with the Ian Schwartz Group is determined to once again surpass expectations in 2019! By providing outstanding, client-driven service, Ian and his team pride themselves on leaving no stone upturned until each and every real estate transaction are done earning trust, loyalty, and friendship of those they assist. See why in 2019…everything we touch turns to SOLD!

 

 

4 Advantages to 2018 Autumn Home Buying-Chicago Real Estate

Do you know that the Chicago real estate market and 2018 conditions are also influenced by the seasons?

Right next to spring, fall is one of the busiest Chicago real estate time-frames of the year. Although you can buy and sell houses at any time, the 2018 fall Chicago real estate market offers certain benefits to home buyers and sellers, including year-end tax breaks, pleasant weatherFallRealEstate conditions for moving, and often a wider selection of houses. If you are shopping for a home during the fall and don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity, it’s a good idea to explore the possibility of pre-qualifying for a loan and to know what type of Chicago home you’re looking for and what you can realistically afford to buy.

Down below are the basic 4 benefits you can expect to enjoy during the autumn months:

 Getting Ahead of Mother Nature

Buying a house before the deep freeze of winter sets in is very appealing to most home buyers. Low temperatures and poor weather conditions make moving more difficult. No one wants to worry about icy roads, snowstorm warnings or blackout conditions on moving day. Furthermore, by wintertime, most kids have settled into school, established friendships, and become involved in extra-curricular activities. By moving in early autumn, not only do you avoid interrupting your children’s schooling (or higher educational pursuits in the case of teen and adult family members), but you gain the added benefit of eluding the sweltering summer heat.

 Historically more home-buying choices

Given that home buying and selling is at a peak during the fall season, the real estate world often becomes a highly competitive arena. While there may be added pressure to buy due to the quicker turnaround of houses on the market, at the same time you also benefit from the wider selection of homes available during this period. In fact, between the months of September and December, you may be fortunate enough to visit several open houses in a single day. Therefore, to make sure you don’t miss out on finding your dream house, it’s a good idea to examine the classified ads more often since the listings are updated more frequently.

 End-of-year tax breaks when closing

Come September and October, people are already starting to think about what year-end tax breaks they may be eligible for. Fortunately for homebuyers, owning a home can yield great dividends in tax returns. For example, both mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible from gross income. Furthermore, if you have prepaid some interest before the due date of your first payment and you close your loan before the year’s end, that amount will also be deducted.

 **An autumn tip to note

Given that fall is the second busiest season of the year for buying and selling houses, you may be tempted to put a bid on a home that is out of your price range for fear that another buyer will better your offer or snatch it before you. Carefully assess your financial situation ahead of time and before your feet hit the pavement.

Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group, a top-selling Chicago real estate agent, one of the highest producing Realtors in the nation, consistently the #1 agent in Resale Sales Volume averaging more than 50+ million dollars in sales per year, knows Chicago real estate. He and his team are committed to listening and analyzing the needs of both buyers and sellers. They enjoy giving conscientious service and earning trust, loyalty, and friendship, all while providing concrete real estate results. They are located in one of the United State’s top ranking Coldwell Banker residential real estate offices-Lincoln Park Plaza – Clybourn Office, Illinois 60614-5881. More information HERE and HERE

 

Love of Open Floor Plans for Summer 2018-Chicago Real Estate Trends

The open room concept is simply how we live. Open living, that one room for all reasons, is the National and Chicago real estate OpenFloorPlantrend that keeps on trending.

Open living does the following things:

  • Adds space without changing your home’s footprint (a good thing because it saves money)
  • Increases natural light
  • Improves traffic patterns
  • Lets you enjoy more of your home more of the time

Here are some ways to achieve open living:

 Bringing in More Light

Adding daylight will make your rooms appear bigger and brighter. Here are some ways to bring in more light:

  • Widen windows. Bust through your Chicago home’s exterior and add bigger, more energy-efficient windows. If you change a 3×5 double hung window to a 5×5 picture window, it’ll cost you $450 to $1,000 for the window and $350 to $473 for labor. Add another 50% to 100% in installation costs if you have to remove siding and reframe the new window.
  • Add French doors or sliding patio doors. Put them where windows used to be ($1,200-$3,000 installed for 6-foot-8 by 5-foot wood door). To make the most of these doors, let them open up to a patio or deck—finished outdoor space that feels like you’re extending indoor living.
  • Install skylights. Adding skylights brings in lots of daylight—about 30% more than a similar-size window. Install skylights ($650 to $3,500 for a 2×4 model) with build-in light fixtures that you can turn on when the sun doesn’t shine.
  • Lighten the drapes. A low-cost way to bring in more light is to exchange heavy curtains for sheer drapes or fabric blinds.

Removing Walls

It’s a simple concept: Take down a wall to combine spaces ($500 to $4,000, professionally done). If the wall in question is not load-bearing and doesn’t hide plumbing pipes, it’s a relatively simple task for a contractor to do the following jobs:

  • Demolish drywall and studs
  • Reroute electric lines
  • Build a chase for an HVAC duct hidden in a wall
  • Patch flooring
  • Patch and paint the ceiling where the wall was attached

Taking down a load-bearing wall is not as simple, but definitely doable by a professional (not a DIY project). You’ll need an architect or structural engineer. Half walls also can pull double duty as breakfast bars, bookcases, and extra storage.

More information can be found HERE

 

With summer 2018 top producing, top-selling, high-ranking Chicago real estate results already existing, Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group leaves no stone unturned. He and his team (Jenna Plakas, Victor Elting, Michael Shin and Alexander Pappas combine forces to offer a client-centric, results-driven approach to buying and selling real estate in the Chicagoland area.   Ian’s legal, marketing, and consulting background, combined with his outgoing personality, his good sense of humor, and his integrity, professionalism, and dedication, have led to his ongoing success as a Licensed Broker Associate in the Chicago Lincoln Park-Coldwell Banker residential real estate office. He and his team pride themselves on the ability to listen and analyze the needs of both buyers and sellers;  giving them conscientious service all while winning their trust, loyalty, and friendship.

 

Are you Ready to Sell?….See the 2018 Spring into Summer Plan – Chicago Real Estate Experts

Even the most luxurious, well-maintained homes need an efficient 2018 sales strategy for a smooth transaction. The house won’t sell itself!dealseal

Real estate experts like The Ian Schwartz Group are trained to list and sell your beloved Chicago home for sale, but it doesn’t hurt to study up on some real estate basics. Consider the following real estate sales strategy. Take note of these 3 steps, and you’ll be well on your way to jump-starting your home sale:

Find a real estate agent. As you’re getting your house in order, start the hunt for a real estate agent. You’re not looking for just any agent; you need a real star to get you to the finish line. Put the word out to your network and don’t feel like you have to work with someone because they are family. Once you have some referrals, take the time for an interview and get to know their selling style. If said agent declines the interview request, they’re probably not for you — proceed to the next one on your list. If they seem almost right, keep looking until you find a great match. It’s worth the time investment to find the right agent.

Schedule a strategy session with your real estate agent. Purging and cleaning were the warm-up act. Now you’re ready for the main event. After you’ve signed on the dotted line with your real estate professional, schedule a walk-through before listing and take your agent’s feedback seriously. They know what color to paint that old maroon accent wall, how to stage the living room so it looks 20% bigger, and how to deal with outdated kitchen cabinets. They also know how to allocate your dollars to impress potential buyers.

Be vigilant with your belongings. Now is the time to tackle those organization and cleaning projects. The detritus of life tend to stack up in our living spaces, which may be fine for every day but isn’t great for selling. Make the adage “less is more” your mantra and divide your belongings into two piles: one to take to the new place, one to toss or give away. (Or try following a flow chat for decluttering tips.) And remember, packing items away doesn’t mean shoving them in the hallway closet. Buyers will very likely open every cabinet and drawer, so those spaces should be tidy too. For more advanced tips see info HERE

Ian with The Ian Schwartz Group has sold over 500 million dollars of real estate, including sales in excess of 55 million dollars in 2015 and sales in excess of 50 million dollars in 2017. He and his team are consistently in the top 1% of agents in the Chicago Association of Realtors and in the top 1% of Coldwell Banker agents nationally. Find out why this spring and summer 2018…everything we touch turns to Sold!

 

 

5 Myths About Home Selling Exposed – Chicago Real Estate

Misinformation can waste your time and cost you money. When it comes time to list your Chicago home, you may need to do your research so you can separate fact from fiction, or enlist a trusted, experienced real estate expert toMyths assist and guide. Real estate agents from across the county participated in Zillow’s 2017 Home-Selling Season Survey identified five top real estate myths. The debunking of them should put in the frame of mind on the fast-track to selling your property:

Myth No. 1: The outside of my home isn’t as important as the inside.

Truth: Home buyers often make snap judgments, often based simply on a home’s exterior. Therefore, curb appeal is very important.

“A lot of buyers I work with have done some preliminary online searches or they’ve driven by properties before they even enlist my services,” says Bic DeCaro, a real estate agent Westgate Realty Group in Falls Church, VA. “If a property looks bad, if the yard is cluttered or the driveway is all broken up, there’s a chance they won’t ever enter the house – they’ll just keep driving.”

The great news is that it doesn’t cost a bundle to make some big changes to your home’s exterior appearance. Start by cutting the grass, trimming the hedges and clearing away any clutter. Then, for less than $50, you could put up new house numbers, paint the front door, plant some flowers or install a new, more stylish porch light.

Myth No. 2: I need to redo my kitchen and bathroom before selling.

Truth: While kitchens and bathrooms can increase the value of a home, you may not get a large return on investment if you do a major renovation just before selling.

Minor renovations, on the other hand, may help you sell your home for a higher price. New countertops or new appliances may be just the kind of bait you need to reel in a buyer. Check out comparable listings in your neighborhood and see what work you need to do to compete in the market.

Myth No. 3: If my house is clean, I don’t need to stage my home.

Truth: Clean and tidy is a good first step, but as more and more home sellers across the country have enlisted the services of professional home stagers, the bar has risen. It’s not enough anymore to toss dirty laundry in the closet and sweep the front steps.

Stagers strive to make homes appeal to a broad range of tastes. They can skillfully identify ways to highlight your home’s best features and compensate for its shortcomings. A stager might, for example, recommend removing blinds from a window that has a great view or replacing a double bed with a twin to make a bedroom look bigger. It’s common for stagers to de-clutter and depersonalize homes by putting furniture and family photos into storage. Or, if you’ve already moved out, a stager can move in furniture to give potential buyers a sense of how rooms might be used.

Myth No. 4: Granite and stainless steel appliances are no longer “in.”

Truth: The majority of home shoppers still want granite counters and stainless steel appliances. Quartz, marble and concrete counters also have wide appeal.

Myth No. 5: Home shoppers can look past paint colors they don’t like.

Truth: Moving is a lot of work and, while many home buyers realize they could take on the task of painting walls, they simply don’t want to.

That’s why one of the most important things you can do to update your home is to apply a fresh coat of neutral paint. Neutral colors also help a property standout in online photographs – which is where most potential buyers will get their first impression of your property.

Hiring a professional to paint the interior of a 2,000 square-foot house likely will cost $3,000 to $6,000, depending upon labor costs in your region. You could buy the paint and do the job yourself for $300 to $500. Either way, if a fresh coat of paint helps your home stand out in a crowded market, it’s probably a worthwhile investment. More tips HERE

October 2017-Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group enjoys representing sellers and buyers this spring, with a client focused, top ranking profile of success. Ian and his team leave no stone un-turned, priding themselves on pouring their hearts and souls into effectively marketing Chicago real estate online and in print to have it seen by the largest possible audiences. Look to this dynamic and experienced group to confirm their mission….everything we touch turns to SOLD! 

2017 First Time Home Buyers: Top 9 Ways to Prepare-Chicago Real Estate

No time like the present when Chicago real estate is buzzing through the spring 2017 season. Interest rates are still fairly low, prices are attractive, and first time buyers are out and ready to buy. Use the tips below to determine if you are truly ready:

1. Know your credit landscape. Get a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.

2. Do some saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.

3. Figure in the costs of homeownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.

4. Determine what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a Chicago home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.

5. Explore your mortgage qualifications. How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, investigate different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.

6. Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.

7. Make your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four Chicago neighborhoods you’d like to live in- Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lakeview, Roscoe Village, Bucktown, Wicker Park, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, Andersonville, River North, River East, Streeterville, North Center, Logan Square, West Loop, South Loop, Loop, Lakewood Balmoral, Edgewater, Old Irving Park, River West, Uptown, West Ridge? Take into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.

8. Consider other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.

9. Contact a Top Producing, Top Ranking Chicago REALTOR®. Find an experienced REALTOR® who can help guide you through the Chicago real estate process with ease.

More info HERE

The Ian Schwartz Group is a trusted resource for first time home buyers.  With more than 15 years of solid experience and results, this real estate group is ready to provide conscientious service; winning trust, loyalty and friendship all along the way!

Top Tip for Sellers in Today’s Market…Honesty Rules

It’s as true in real estate as it is in politics: There are no secrets anymore. Buyers have access to an enormous amount of information. On the Internet, details about what a Chicago home last sold for and how much it now might be worth are usually only a series of clicks away. Where sellers might once have coyly declined to say what they paid for a house, sellers and buyers can now assume that each has most or all of the information the other has. “I tell my sellers that the buyers are going to look at all the same facts I’ve [given] them in the listing presentation,” Owen says. “There’s no way to hide it.”

Some sharp real-estate agents have been capitalizing on the newfound transparency, playing to buyers’ understanding of the market. They may trumpet the size of the bargain, such as the listing for a St. Charles home sold in June that announced the asking price of $1.249 million was “$1 million less than seller paid in ’06!” A Chicago-Lincoln Park propertie’s listing sheet blared that the $1.75 million asking price was well below both the original asking price of $3.65 million and the appraised value of $2.5 million. For another residence—this one in Lake View—the agent confessed that the home “was overpriced for much too long.” Those revelations might spark pangs of humiliation in the sellers, but at the same time, they send a clear signal to buyers: Game on.

Honesty is essential in another aspect of the home-selling process. When first meeting with a real-estate agent, sellers should be up-front about their financial status. As Parent explains, there are markedly different routes for selling a home that is…CONTINUED

 

 

5 Reasons the Market Will Rock in 2015-Chicago Real Estate Trends

PredictionsThe Chicago real estate market is expected to build momentum across the board in 2015, mostly because of a forecasted strengthening economy.

Nationally, after a slight slowdown in the market in 2014, housing analysts and economists have high hopes for this new year. Here’s a recap of some of the real estate predictions for 2015:

Rent rises to outpace home-value growth: Rents likely will continue to rise in the new year, and an increase in rental costs in 2015 could outpace annual home-price gains. Expect the rental market to remain a “landlord’s market” in 2015, with vacancy rates expected to stay below 5 percent in the new year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. That should lead to demand pushing rents up even higher and keeping them above inflation, notes NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Apartment rents are projected to increase 4 percent in 2014 and 4.1 percent in 2015.

Stronger economy leads to greater confidence: A stronger economy will likely lead to more demand for housing in 2015. “Overall, the economy finally appears to be gaining enough momentum to help provide the support that the housing market has needed for stronger recovery,” Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, notes in the company’s 2015 Housing Outlook. “The combination of stronger employment growth and especially Millennial job growth makes for solid footing for the real estate market.

Millennial force: Younger professionals are having more luck in the job market, which is expected to help more of them jump into home ownership in the new year. Overall, employment is on the rise, but jobs for Millennials — particularly those aged 25 to 29 — has risen by 3 percent. That’s one percentage point above the nationwide rate. According to some forecasts, Millennials are expected to drive two-thirds of household formations over the next five years.

New-home sales rebound: Single-family new-home starts barely budged in 2014 compared to 2013, and new-home sales remain far from normal levels. But that could finally turn around in 2015. Sales of new homes are expected to rise 25 percent as single-family construction picks up traction in 2015. The National Association of REALTORS® projects single-family housing starts to rise to 820,000 in 2015.

Drop in oil prices will boost housing: Oil prices have plunged 45 percent since June, which could inadvertently provide a lift to the housing market. “Households in the U.S. spend more than $1,800 on energy-related costs annually, and 22 percent of that energy consumption is due to residential real estate,” according to CoreLogic’s 2015 Housing Outlook. “So while the drop in oil prices typically has been linked to a reduction in driving-related expenses, it clearly also reduced energy-related expenses for residential real estate.” More insight seen HERE

January 2015- A new year creates a greater motivation for Ian Schwartz with The Ian Schwartz Group to exceed top producing, high ranking results seen in 2014 with even better real estate performance this year. With a client centered approach, Ian and his team members Jenna Plakas, Victor Elting, Wendi Gordon Shelist, and Michael Shin combine talented forces to ensure that your overall Chicago real estate experience is outstanding.  If you are a buyer, no stone will be left unturned to find you the perfect home. If you are a seller, Ian and his team will pour their hearts and souls into effectively marketing your home internationally online and in print to have it seen by the largest audience possible. Happy New Year Chicago! #CBRocks!