Looking to live in one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city of Chicago - and maybe in the entire country? Then Avondale is the spot for you.

Avondale was recently named one of the nation's hottest "up-and-coming" neighborhoods by travel media company Lonely Planet, whose writers vibed with the area's "scruffy, artsy, lived-in magic."

Those are their words, but we think they ring true. Avondale has long been a spot that's welcomed artists, families, and foodies of all stripes. Though the neighborhood has changed from the days when it was the center of Polish life for the city, Avondale has always been, and always will be, unique, unpretentious, and totally Chicago.

Boasting a unique combination of industrial architecture, classical cathedrals, and generously-sized homes, Avondale is home to some of Chicago's coolest haunts, including Honey Butter Fried Chicken, the pierogi-dispensing Red Apple, and, of course, Kuma's Corner, a world famous spot for burgers, beer, and heavy metal (yep, you read that right).

Officially, Avondale is bounded by Addison Street to the north and Diversey Avenue to the south, with the Chicago River on the east and Pulaski Road to the west. It is one of 77 officially-designated community areas in Chicago.

For more information on this eclectic, welcoming - and quickly growing - spot, we encourage you to check out some of these handy resources:

Ready to buy a house or condo in this charming neighborhood? Here are the current market statistics for Avondale:

Lake Michigan may be covered in ice. Blustery winds may be howling down your street. You may be able to see your breathe every time you step outside.

But make no mistake… In Chicago, the spring market is already heating up.

If you want to get your home ready for the market’s springtime peak, the time to prepare is now. Here are a few things to keep in mind…

The Key Spring Benchmark? The Super Bowl

There’s a reason why our own Jason Finn says that you should list your home the day after the Super Bowl. As we’ve noted before, the big game may just be the single most important milestone of the real estate year.

Why? Well, its position on the calendar – smack-dab in early February – perfectly coincides with the start of the spring season for real estate. For buyers and sellers alike, one of the most fallow periods of the year is the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. People are busy, weather conditions are bad, and general interest in diving into a major transaction tends to dwindle.

Once we make it through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and the grim days of January, however, the market begins to regain its energy – right around the time when those championship rings are passed out.

Even better? By preparing now, you’ll get a jump on other families planning to list their homes in the near future, many of whom won’t get started until spring hits in earnest. That’s what we call playing defense.

What Are the Current Real Estate Market Conditions in Portage Park? (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Looking for a home with easy access to parks, a quick commute to plenty of local businesses, and winning views of some iconic Chicago sites? Then it's time to start looking at Portage Park, which boasts all of these features and more. 

Located on the northwest side of the city, Portage Park is bounded by Jefferson Park and Forest Glen to the north, Irving Park to the east, and Belmont-Cragin to the South. In addition to its beautiful homes, Portage Park also offers a ton to see and do, including its namesake park, a 36-acre area that once played host to the Pan-American Games, as well as Chopin Park, named for the famous Polish pianist

If shopping is more your style, the area also contains the iconic Six Corners shopping district, located at the intersection of Irving Park Road, Cicero Avenue, and Milwaukee Avenue. Portage Park also plays home to some amazing glimpses into the past and future of Chicago, including two iconic old movie palaces in the Portage Theater and The Patio. 

For more neighborhood information, we'll leave that to the neighborhood association and local guides:

Ready to give this charming and historic slice of Chicagoland a look for yourself? Here are the current market statistics for Portage Park:

Whether it’s your first time getting ready to file your taxes or your fiftieth, it never seems to get any easier, does it?

After all, your life can drastically change over the course of the year (to say nothing of just how much state and federal tax codes can change over time)! Come filing time, with deadlines looming and pressures mounting, it can be daunting to take the full scope of your finances into account – particularly when you’re a homeowner.

For many people, preparing to file their taxes means asking one big, pressing question: “What home and mortgage documents do I need in order to do my tax return?”

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