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Reappraising the appraisal process

So you’re placing your home on the market. This can be an emotional time because your home is where your family memories were made. In your eyes, your home may be worth one number, but in the eyes of an appraiser, that number often differs. And that second number can have a powerful impact on the price your home actually sells for. One of the biggest misconceptions is that the appraiser works for the buyer. The truth of the matter is the appraiser is hired by and works for the mortgage company. They are sent out as an independent third ...

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The upside to chaos

Chaos in Washington is keeping a lid on mortgage rates, which contributes to affordability. The firing of FBI director Comey and the ongoing Russia probes have put pressure on the Trump administration, which in turn has added a touch of volatility to the market. Stocks suffered their worse one-day decline in May, dropping more than 300 points. The drop in equities has helped mortgage bonds/rates, which have ticked down to some of the best levels of 2017. Shortly after the election, the 30-year fixed rate moved up to approximately 4.5 percent, but now has moved down into the low 4s. ...

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A genealogist is always prepared

When I’m not writing columns, I have a 9-5 job. Well, an 8-6 job. Some days it’s a 6-8 job! We’ve been through a lot of change in the past 18 months. Our parent company bought another company, and I worked 37 weekends to help get it up and running, only to have it sold in January. My role in the company has changed twice during this period, which means that after almost 24 years here, I’m still learning my new responsibilities. What does all this have to do with genealogy? Well, it means that despite earning four weeks paid ...

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Ready. Set. Reunion!

Once again, it’s time to get your nostalgia on! The Annual Pullman Family Reunion Picnic is scheduled for Aug. 5. It’s time to come together to reminisce about Roseland’s good times. It’s another opportunity to visit with old friends that you haven’t seen since our beloved neighborhood went through major changes in the 1960s and 1970s. Throughout this past year I’ve attended six different events and each time I’ve met someone who knew of this column and appreciated the memories they brought forth. I’ve told every single person that they can continue that feeling and catch up with old friends ...

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Re-inventing our organizations

Organizational growth, whether it be in a corporate setting or a volunteer, ethnically based one such as the JCCIA, can be challenging as we face competing interests, time constraints and the need to balance our work and family responsibilities. Somewhere in there, we want to stay in touch with our roots, but often cannot find the niche in which to do so. As the JCCIA has grown since its inception, it has seen the world change through the lens of new generations of Italian Americans who have taken the success they have found in this country and parlayed them into ...

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Inspect before you list

  The sale of your home is one of the biggest transactions most of you will make and the outcome can have a huge impact on your financial wellbeing. Problems with your home can significantly drive down the price, so wouldn’t it be better to find and fix the problem BEFORE you list your house? A presale inspection can save you thousands of dollars in lost asking price while only costing a few hundred dollars to conduct. A home inspector will help you unearth pre-existing conditions, allowing you to resolve them before buyers set foot in the door. A presale ...

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Hold your horses!

  Just when we think that higher mortgage rates are in the bag, we receive some game-changing news. Lackluster economic data, geopolitical disruptions and comments from President Trump regarding the Fed have us wondering what will come next. On the first Friday in April, the jobs report showed a disappointing 98,000 jobs created, far less than the 180,000 that were expected. Adding to that, the February and January jobs numbers were also revised down. The actual unemployment number came down from 4.7 to 4.5 percent, but those figures are the result of a household survey. I find the jobs-creation number ...

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Choosing a family tree chart

The simplest questions sometimes have the most complicated answers. “Dan, can you print a family tree chart?” Fra Noi editor Paul Basile recently asked me. “Sure, what kind of chart would you like?” “Um, what kind do you have?” After looking at the software I use to keep my family tree (which is Family Tree Maker) I found out just how many different kinds of charts there are. Each of them has a purpose and conveys the information in a different way. I can’t speak for the other software programs, but all of them print family tree charts. Fortunately for ...

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Summer seasonings

Once again, we’ve survived another winter. I was going to say “Chicago Winter” but we are all aware that this past winter was hardly representative of a true Chicago winter. This leads us to wonder if this summer will just be a summer or will it be a “Chicago Summer”? You know, summer days where the temperature ascends into the 90s. Or where the gods in charge of climate control keep things dry for swimming and athletics. The summers of our youth always began with the Little League Parade down Michigan Avenue (“The Ave”) heading south all the way to ...

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A new beginning at the JCCIA

As I sat to write this article about being elected president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, I was struck by how life has come full circle. As a child of immigrants from Sicily, I have marveled at how far our family has come since arriving in the United States in the mid-1950s. Like others before them, they were seeking good jobs so they can take care of their families. Not much has changed as immigrants still seek out America as the beacon of hope as a free society allowing for free speech, religious freedom and ability to ...

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