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15 Budget-Friendly Ways to Make Any Home Feel More Luxurious

15 Budget-Friendly Ways to Make Any Home Feel More Luxurious

Interior design is an art and a science — and a practice that can quickly start to become expensive. Fortunately, whether you’re just moving into your new home or looking to refresh the space you’ve lived in for years, there are all sorts of ways to add luxurious finishes and an upscale feel — without having to break the bank. 

Looking for luxury on a budget? Here are 15 tried-and-true techniques that can instantly make any home look and feel more expensive and custom in no time, without stretching your pocketbook:  (more…)

How to Find the Right Plants for Your Home

How to Find the Right Plants for Your Home

If you’re looking to fill your space with vibrant, green plants, you’re not alone! Online searches for terms like “indoor plants,” “plant delivery,” “how to grow plants,” and “DIY terrarium” surged in 2020, as people settled in at home to do their part and flatten the curve on COVID-19. 

With that being said, indoor plants have been gaining in popularity for some time now, and this is one blooming trend that’s poised to stay. In part, this is because growing and sustaining plants around your home comes with all sorts of real benefits — including improving concentration and productivity, giving your mood a boost, and reducing stress levels, to name just a few. Plants are also a striking, earthy, and on-trend decor choice, and a fun and fulfilling project if you’re looking to foster a green thumb. 

Of course, there are also hurdles to stocking your space with plants — like finding the greenery that’s right for your home.  (more…)

How to Become a Competitive Buyer in the Chicagoland Market

How to Become a Competitive Buyer in the Chicagoland Market

Here in Chicagoland and around the country, real estate is more competitive than ever. For instance, the National Association of REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey February 2021 found that agents reported receiving an average of 4.1 offers on recent closed sales — up from 2.6 offers a year ago. Similarly, homes nationwide spent a median of 20 days on the market in early 2021, down from 36 days at the same point a year earlier. 

For buyers, these trends highlight the importance of knowing what to expect in our ever-changing market; taking time to get prepared; and working with local real estate experts who can set you up for success and help you navigate the entire homebuying journey with confidence from beginning to end. 

Interested in making your buying journey smarter, smoother, and more seamless? Here are a few key steps that can help position you as a competitive buyer in the Chicagoland real estate market: (more…)

The Vault: Advocating for the Industry: Baird & Warner Early Supporter of Real Estate Board

The Vault: Advocating for the Industry: Baird & Warner Early Supporter of Real Estate Board

In 1883, a new code of professionalism in the real estate industry emerged from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire.

As Chicago successfully rebuilt from the Great Chicago Fire, real estate leaders formed the Chicago Real Estate Board (known today as the Chicago Association of Realtors). The Chicago Real Estate Board was formed to encourage professionalism and ethics to support the city’s burgeoning real estate industry.

And Baird & Warner was right there on the front lines. Since the group’s founding, four officers of Baird & Warner have served as president: Lyman Baird; George L. Warner; Wyllys Baird; and Warner G. Baird.

“To secure more system and uniformity in the renting, care, and management of real estate in the city of Chicago; to better protect and promote the interests of those entrusting property to their care; to protect themselves and their clients against dishonest and immoral tenants; and to generally correct existing abuses and to prevent their future occurrence,” the group said at its founding.

In 1885, Lyman Baird was the second president of the board and received a clock as a gift. Today, the clock is featured in Baird & Warner’s Family Room at its Loop office.

The group took up a number of historic policy issues — some of which Baird & Warner leadership supported and some of which they opposed. In 1886, the board claimed opposition to the increase of assessments in Cook County. In 1965, past Baird & Warner President John Baird resigned his post on the board in opposition to the group’s stance against fair housing, and became an outspoken supporter of making sure housing was open to all.

Baird & Warner celebrated its 166th birthday this year, and doing things the right way continues to be its mantra.

5 Fun and Inviting Summer Staging Ideas for 2021

5 Fun and Inviting Summer Staging Ideas for 2021

There’s nothing quite like summer in Chicagoland — when the sun is beaming, Lake Michigan is at its bluest, and buyers get busy exploring our local real estate market. 

For anyone hoping to sell their home in the summer, it’s important to do some research and connect with a local real estate expert — one who can help you understand the market, reach your ideal buyers, and get your home ready for summer showings and open houses. 

In a bustling real estate market, it’s important to use proven strategies that can help buyers see your home as their dream home, while making sure your listing stands out above any homes you’re competing with on the market. One of the most effective ways to get your home ready to sell is by staging it; this means details as small as how your furniture is positioned, for example, can make a difference.

How much of a difference? According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2021 Profile of Home Staging:

  • 82 percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home “made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home”
  • 23 percent of sellers’ agents “reported an increase of one to five percent of the dollar value offered by buyers” when stage, in comparison to similar homes
  • 22 percent of sellers’ agents stated that there were “slight decreases in the time on the market” when a home is staged

Fortunately, the summer season is a wonderful opportunity to get creative, embrace the weather, and help your home shine with prospective buyers. Here are five fun and inviting summer staging ideas to discuss with your real estate professional:  (more…)

We’re Doubling Down on Fair Housing.

We’re Doubling Down on Fair Housing.

Giving back has always been part of our DNA and we’re dedicated to finding new ways to continue investing in our communities — and one way we do that is through our commitment to the future of Fair Housing. That’s why we’ve committed $215,000 to establish the new John Baird Scholarship Fund, which goes to UIC Law students dedicated to making housing fair and equitable for all. 

Named for our late president John Baird, a fierce advocate for fair housing, this scholarship goes to supporting law students working at the UIC Law Fair Housing Legal Center & Clinic, one of our Good Will Works grantees. The scholarship is funded through our Good will Works partnership, as well as a substantial contribution from the Stephen W. and Susan M. Baird Foundation.

As our CEO Steve said, “This is an investment in our collective future as it empowers motivated law students to pursue a career in making housing more equitable, and to ensure everyone has the same access and opportunity to live in the neighborhood they choose to without any barriers.”

When looking for partners that aligned with our Good Will Works mission, The UIC Law Fair Housing Legal Support Center & Clinic was a natural choice. Since 1993 they’ve been dedicated to eliminating discriminatory housing practices across the Chicago area. It’s one of the few law school clinics in the U.S. devoted exclusively to fair housing training and enforcement, and students who work with the clinic gain valuable experience in providing legal counsel to clients and many choose to work in the public sector. 

What makes this scholarship unique is that it covers the full cost of the one-semester course and clinic, regardless of whether the student pays in-state or out-of-state tuition. That means any student passionate about fair housing has the financial support necessary to pursue valuable clinic experience and a career in fair housing advocacy.

Lucy Baird, our company historian and director of community impact, notes that “It’s important to use our seat at the table to create change, just as my grandfather John Baird did in the 1960s, and what we hope this scholarship will do. By supporting a local institution with strong Chicago ties, we’re able to encourage future leaders in fair housing for decades to come.” 

As an organization steeped in the Chicago communities we serve, we’ve always sought to be part of the solution and stand on the right side of history in fighting housing discrimination. We’re proud to carry on that legacy today — and for generations to come — with the John Baird Scholarship.

10 Home Improvement Ideas for a Cooler Summer

10 Home Improvement Ideas for a Cooler Summer

The summer months are rapidly approaching. And while that means lots of sunshine and days spent outside, summer in Chicagoland also brings sweltering temperatures and plenty of sticky humidity.

Rather than dreading the summer heat this year, what if you looked at it as an opportunity to think creatively, get active, and take on a few simple yet impactful projects around the house? Here are a few home projects that you can take on in the spring for a cooler and more relaxing summer:  (more…)

7 Chicagoland Neighborhoods for Architecture Lovers

7 Chicagoland Neighborhoods for Architecture Lovers

The legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright once said: “The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own, we have no soul of our own civilization.” 

Like so many notable architects, Wright famously called Chicagoland home for much of his career. Chicago and the surrounding suburbs are sometimes called the architecture capital of America, both for the number of legendary designers who have passed through, and the remarkable and historic structures that still proudly stand today — from the gleaming skyscrapers downtown, to the historical hidden gems tucked into neighborhoods all over Illinois.

Every year, tourists from around the globe trek to our area to go on architecture tours, while locals eagerly await annual events like Open House Chicago. 

So, what neighborhoods should passionate architecture lovers set out to explore in the year ahead? From the city to the suburbs, here are seven Chicagoland neighborhoods known for amazing and historic architecture:  (more…)

The Vault: The Story of the Baird & Warner REIT – and its Hostile Takeover

The Vault: The Story of the Baird & Warner REIT – and its Hostile Takeover

To help meet the growing need for capital, Baird & Warner formed a real estate investment trust nearly 50 years ago. The Baird & Warner Mortgage and Realty Investors trust was organized in 1971, offering buyable shares of the trust.

In its first fiscal year, the trust’s regular payout totaled $1.46 per share. The trust even paid dividends during the 1973 recession at the same time other real estate and investment trusts absorbed decreases.

Most of the loans were offered to Chicagoans and were up to 4% above what commercial banks charged at the time. Annually, the trust returned at least 90% of its profits to the investors.

Baird & Warner’s REIT holds a historical footnote due to its hostile takeover in 1979. As the REIT industry began to falter in the late 1970s, a New York stockbroker, Carl Icahn, looked for opportunities to capitalize on investments. In 1979, he purchased Baird & Warner’s REIT, which was bucking the trend and outperforming other REITs. Icahn had held more than a 25% interest before the hostile takeover.

He changed the name to Bayswater Realty & Investment Trust and eventually liquidated most of the trust’s holdings.

5 Important Considerations for Second Home Buyers

5 Important Considerations for Second Home Buyers

Vacation town markets here in the Midwest and around the country were red hot in 2020, with a surge of interest from second home buyers. And as more people head for retirement, adjust to full-time remote work, and rethink what they want out of their homes in a post-pandemic environment, the popularity of second homes seems poised to be a lasting factor influencing the market for years to come. 

So, what should you keep in mind if you’re weighing the possibility of investing in a second home? It’s all about considering your goals, knowing how to navigate the market, and surrounding yourself with a team that can make your real estate journey easier.  (more…)

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