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Baird & Warner North Center Invests In Its People

The offices of Baird & Warner North Center are nestled in a gorgeous brick building on North Lincoln Avenue, just a bit north of Irving Park Road.

When you pay a visit to the office, you can’t help but notice that this prime location puts the North Center office at the heart of many of the great things that Chicago has to offer.

The iconic vines and pillars of Wrigley Field are just a few minutes away by car or bus. Near the office, CTA trains rumble by on the brown line, offering a convenient way to get around town. The Metra station at Lawrence Ave. is approximately a mile away, offering convenient transportation to the north shore and the Loop. The retail community around the office is flourishing, and there are countless great restaurants just a quick hop away.

And for fans of Chicago real estate, the North Center office is an unbeatable place to be.

Serving the needs of the North Center, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, Lakeview, and Rogers Park neighborhoods, to name just a few, the agents of Baird & Warner North Center get to experience the past, present, and future of Chicagoland, every single day.

North Center Office

“There is great diversity not only in the population but also in our housing stock,” explains managing broker Rich Cebulak.

You can find rentals, single family homes, condos, and two- to four-flats,” he says, all at a variety of price points and in styles ranging “from vintage to rehab to new construction.”

And Rich should know. After all, this proven leader knows North Center and its surrounding communities better than just about anyone.

Rich has been in the real estate industry since 1975, and has been the managing broker for Baird & Warner’s North Center office for 25 years. Before that, he ran a local sole proprietorship in Lincoln Square, and grew up learning the business from his father, who ran a small real estate shop in the Portage Park area.

As managing broker, Rich takes a hands-on approach, focused on getting to know each and every one of his team members “as a whole being.”

“That may include knowing what’s going on with their family or extended family, for example,” Rich says. “What’s going on with their parents’ health, or with their children.”

The more Rich gets to know each of the team members at Baird & Warner North Center, the better equipped he is to fulfill his role as a coach, trainer, and mentor.

And for Rich, seeing agents grow and succeed is the high point of his job.

“We feel it’s important to recognize the potential each individual has within themselves and work to utilize strength-based coaching to bring that to the forefront,” Rich says. “Nothing brings me more joy than seeing our associates achieve their goals.”

Working with the team over the years, Rich has had the pleasure of seeing three associates achieve coveted “Rookie of the Year” status. He’s also seen experienced agents achieve goals beyond their own expectations, and hit a level of success that “transforms their lives.”

And one of the factors that brings North Center associates so much success? That would be the remarkable team that calls North Center its home base.

Team members of Baird & Warner North Center enjoy a softball game

“The camaraderie and collaboration between the associates is truly the glue that keeps us moving forward together,” Rich says. “No one forgets what it’s like to be that new associate in the office and what it takes to get that first transaction closed. They all get the support and wisdom of the team.”

The associates of Baird & Warner North Center come together in many different ways, bringing their passion for their community to life through charitable giving, social events, and much more.

During the summer, associates from North Center volunteer and staff booths at North Center Ribfest, raising money that helps go back into the community. The office also works closely with the North Center Chamber of Commerce to put on events throughout the year, including an “Urban Hayride” during Halloween.

“We go all out for this one, and get hundreds of children and parents to take an in-city hayride in the neighborhood, “ explains office administrator Andy Gonzalez. “And while they are waiting for that, we have crafts and refreshments indoors.”

The office also puts community service at center stage. Recently, the North Center office completed a successful coat drive. In January, team members spent a productive afternoon packing lunches and organizing donations for Sarah’s Circle, a local organization that serves vulnerable women in Chicago. Members of the North Center team also volunteer at Common Pantry in North Center, and, in 2018, the office made a large donation to this great program through Baird & Warner’s Good Will Network.

Baird & Warner North Center Gives Back

As a company, Baird & Warner believes in investing in people and investing in communities, and the North Center office lives these ideals every day. This office has deep ties to its local neighborhoods, and giving back brings everyone in the office closer together as teammates, mentors, colleagues, and friends.

And again, Rich should know. With decades of experience under his belt, he says, he’s “seen the good and the bad.” And at North Center?

“We definitely have the great!”

Want to learn more about Baird & Warner North Center? Ready to talk to your local Baird & Warner associate? The North Center office takes an active and progressive approach to social media, and you can connect on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  To discover more about the office, you can also visit its official page, available here.

The post Baird & Warner North Center Invests In Its People appeared first on Baird & Warner.

5 Easy, Green Home Upgrades You Can Make Right Now

Lower utility bills. The chance to add interesting new finishes to your home. Playing your part in helping protect the planet. Whatever your reasons for making them, green home updates can be a great way to make your home more sustainable and energy efficient. Even small upgrades can help your household to save money, while having an impact on the environment and your own overall health and wellbeing.

And for homeowners looking to the future, green updates can be an easy and effective way to make your home more appealing to buyers.

In fact, according to findings from the U.S. Green Building Council, more than half of consumers “rank green and energy efficiency as top requirements for their next homes.” Research also shows that greener properties may just sell at higher prices, and sell more quickly, than comparable homes without environmentally friendly touches, according to a 2016 study.

So, where should homeowners get started, as they consider how to best conserve water and electricity, and reduce household waste? With all of the information, statistics, and ever-changing options out there, it can be intimidating to move forward with green fixes, no matter how motivated you may be to make a change. Many homeowners also tend to believe that going green is going to mean taking on major construction or renovation projects.

In reality? There are plenty of little changes and updates you can make right now that can have a profound effect.

In many cases, focusing on the basics can allow you to not only benefit the environment, but also create a better living space for you and yours. Take some time to look around your home, and pay attention to those little details, thinking about what changes you could make that may have an impact.

As you explore, here five simple, effective green upgrades to consider for your Chicagoland home:

Switch to Eco-Friendly Lighting

It’s a small upgrade, but changing out your old bulbs to more sustainable options is an easy step toward a greener household. Energy efficient bulbs may use as little as 20 percent of the power of a typical incandescent, resulting in greater efficiency and a much longer shelf life. What’s more, you can save up to $75 on energy bills per year by switching out just your five most-used light sources around the house, helping create a healthier planet while putting more money in your wallet.

Make Changes to Keep the Heat In

One very simple upgrade you can focus on to reduce energy usage and keep the heat in without breaking the bank? Search for open cracks and sources of air leakage in the house and take steps to close them up. By simply sealing up the gaps in your foundation, attic, or walls where heat escapes, you can use less energy — and spend less money — to heat or cool your space. For simple fixes, a simple caulk gun that’s not too pricey can be a great tool for helping you to start saving on your gas or electric bills. There are also easy attachments you can add to your windows and doors to help cut down on drafts.

In other cases, replacing your outdated, leaky windows with more energy efficient models can help you keep in warmth in the winter, and cool air in the summer. Depending on the age of your home, it may also be time to reassess your insulation. Upgrading the insulation in your attic and basement can really help you control your home’s temperature, and save on your energy bills.

Reduce Your Water Usage

Taking a long, hot shower after a tough day’s work can be rejuvenating, even therapeutic. But when you allow gallons of water to escape down the drain? That’s not so green — and not so easy on your water bill.

Fortunately, changing federal standards are starting require common fixtures like toilets, showerheads, and sinks to use less water. So, if your fixtures are a few years out of date, doing some simple upgrades can help you dramatically cut down on wasted water.

At the same time, think about your water heater. There are extremely energy efficient models available now, including tankless water heaters. And for really quick fixes? In many cases, simply tightening your faucets and fixtures to reduce drips can help conserve plenty of water. Look for and repair any leaks in the plumbing lines around your home, and consider investing in pipe wrap. This affordable material fits snugly around your pipes, improving their insulation and allowing you to waste less time waiting for your shower or sink to heat up.

Control Your Cords

Without taking an actual, physical survey around the house, think about how many things are plugged in right now. Perhaps the TV, refrigerator, electric toothbrush, or printer? For most of us, it’s probably all the above and then some.

In many cases, the gadgets and appliances we leave plugged in use “phantom energy” while connected — even if not in use. It’s a small amount, sure, but with the amount of items in your home all plugged in at once? Together they can account for as much as 10 percent of household energy use.

Now, it can be tricky to unplug every source of energy in your home. But doing some simple unplugging — like the microwave, the coffeemaker, or your laptop — can help make a difference.

And there are plenty of other ways to make reducing “vampire” appliances second nature. For example, some smart power strips and outlets automatically reduce your energy consumption. Others allow you to program in timetables, so you can easily set certain appliances to go dark at different times throughout the day. In many cases, you can also sync up smart appliances and connected plugs to your smartphone or a smart hub, making it a breeze to monitor and limit your appliances’ energy use over time.

Save Water From a Rainy Day

In addition to reducing water waste from the inside, you can make green home upgrades from the outside, too. For instance, if you have any outdoor space you’d like to improve, you can install a rain garden. This is a feature that allows rainwater from your roof, driveway, or street to easily soak into the ground, helping prevent runoff, a major source of waterway pollution. This green upgrade also translates to less landscaping to tend to, which may just mean more free time, and money, for you to enjoy.

Similarly, installing a rain barrel can be a great way to harness natural water, so you don’t have to constantly go to your spigot every time you want to care for your lawn or plants. With this system, you can set up a tank to automatically collect rainwater from your gutters or another source. You can then store and reuse this water for outdoor chores and maintenance.  

Finding What Works for You

Your home is your own space. It is a place to reconnect and feel safe. A green home is a healthier home, and a healthier home, often enough, means a healthier you.

Want to talk about other ideas for updating your Chicagoland home? Curious what features buyers are most interested in today? Need help finding the home that’s going to be the right fit for you? Our agents are hyperlocal experts who know all of the trends and changes in Chicagoland real estate. To connect with a broker near you, use our tool to find your local agent today.

The post 5 Easy, Green Home Upgrades You Can Make Right Now appeared first on Baird & Warner.

Surprising Safe Families for Children With $24,000

In September, president of Baird & Warner Title Services Warren Habib had the opportunity to surprise one of our $24K of Solid Good winners, Safe Families for Children, with a $24,000 grant. Safe Families for Children hosts vulnerable children and creates extended family–like supports for desperate families.

Each year, Baird & Warner’s Good Will Network donates thousands of dollars to housing-related nonprofits throughout Chicagoland. One of these giving campaigns is our $24K of Solid Good, where agents and employees nominate dozens of nonprofits to $24,000 grants. After a round of public voting, we have five winners to each receive a grant.

Our team was so inspired by the people who work so hard to fight homelessness in our communities in all different kinds of ways. We are so grateful to work in a place where making a difference is an essential part of who we are as a company. For us, Chicagoland is home.

The post Surprising Safe Families for Children With $24,000 appeared first on Baird & Warner.

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