What is the Difference Between Interest Rate and APR?

Laptop screen in browser on interest rates

Buyers are often confused about the difference between the Interest Rate and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR).  

The interest rate is a percentage of the principal loan amount, and reflects the base cost of borrowing the money.

The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) takes the base interest rate and adds to it the additional costs to get the loan.

What are these additional costs?

And, why is it important and useful for the buyer to know and understand the APR?

Open Your Home Up To The World???

open door with key in lock

Ever thought about renting your house out for a few nights, or for a week?  How about renting out a bedroom in your home?

There are now easy and reliable ways to do this that are becoming very popular.  You can make extra money, especially during big events where hotels are booked or are charging exorbitant fees.  Depending on your location and what's going on nearby, especially if you are near a big special event, you could earn a couple of  months of mortgage payments by just renting your house out for a week! 

Smart Home Technologies Changing The Way We Live

man checking smart home features on apple watch

With the Internet being ubiquitous and the fact that everyone now carries a smart phone around makes some amazing, even “Star Trek” type of things possible. 

Imagine being on vacation and turning on your lights in the kitchen to make it seem you’re still at home?  How about turning up the temperature on your thermostat on your way home so it’s at the temperature you want by the time you arrive?  Forget to lock the front door before you left?  Lock it from your vacation resort! 

All of these things are now possible with a few simple, affordable devices and the Internet.

Heard of Vampire Energy? It May Be Sucking Up To 10% of Your Electric Bill

unplugging computer component

Did you know that according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, 'vampire energy' wasters account for 10% or more of your household electric bill?

Even when you turn off your electronics, like televisions, DVRs, and satellite boxes, they may still be using electricity.  This is because they are not completely 'off'.  They are in stand-by mode and can still be using electricity. This is called stand-by power or phantom load and the lost energy is called vampire energy or leaking energy.

Chicago Housing Market Update April 2016

city of Chicago housing market update chart illustration

Let's take a look at the City of Chicago residential real estate market as of the end of April 2016.  The statistics are provided by the Chicago Association of REALTORS®f and are for the Entire City of Chicago for January through April 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.  

The City of Chicago had increases in the number of single family homes, condos and townhomes sold.  Median sales prices increased and available homes for sale decreased in both residential categories.   

Portage Park Fourth-Grader Wins National Championship For Her Invention

flower and butterfly with the text 'well done'

A big CONGRATULATIONS to Natalie Correa, a fourth-grader from Portage Park Elementary School!  She just won a national championship for her invention of a hands-free umbrella.

Her first place prize was presented to her at the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Exposition held this past weekend in Washington, D.C.

Several of her teammates, also from Portage Park Elementary, also came home winners for their inventions, including Victoria Quiroga, Charlotte Hastings, Emily Curiel and Anahi Mendoza.

Jefferson Park, Portage Park & Norwood Park Voters Chose Trees & Sidewalks!

construction vehicles on road

This is the 4th year in a row that Alderman John Arena allowed voters in the 45th district to choose how to spend his $1 million discretionary budget.  Voting took place for a week, and ended this past Saturday.  

So what improvements were most important to the voters who participated . . . what projects will get the funding?