5 Reasons Aurora, IL is a Great Place to Move

By Haley Kieser

 

Whatever your reason for moving–a growing family, a need for a change in scenery–Aurora, Illinois has something everyone will love. As the second the largest city in Illinois and a stone throw away from Chicago, here lives a rich history, beautiful architecture, and a thriving job market.

Fun fact: this city is also known as the “City of Lights” because it was the first place to illuminate its streets with electric lights in the U.S.

 

You’ll find this, plus many more charming reasons are what makes this city the perfect place to call home. Here are just five to note.

1. Exploding with culture

Located just 40 miles west of the greater Chicago metropolitan area, Aurora is overflowing with cultural significance and fun things to do. The city is known for notable architectural landmarks and historical sites, such as The Keystone Building, Healy Chapel, and the Old Second National Bank, all designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The Paramount Theater, located in downtown Aurora, was even recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to great architecture and history, there are plenty of family-friendly places to enjoy like the Phillips Park and Zoo and the Aurora Regional Fire Museum. Downtown Aurora is bustling with delicious restaurants and bars, as well as an annual festival called Downtown Alive, which features live music and food booths. Blues on the Fox and the AuroraArtWalk are other festivals that happen throughout the year, providing a place for local musicians and artists alike to showcase their work, and for the residents to enjoy.

2. Above average household income

The cost of living in Aurora is considered on par with the rest of Illinois and the rest of the country’s average. Housing is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference, as the median income for a household is $63,967, according to Data USA, which is more than the median annual income in the U.S. This being said, majority of Aurora’s residents are considered middle class with only 14% falling below the poverty line.

3. Great neighborhoods

The city of Aurora is divided into three main sections–the West Side, the East Side, and Fox Valley, also known as the Far East Side. The Fox River naturally divides these areas, and despite its name, Fox Valley is actually located the farthest from the river. The West Side is considered more upper-class, while the East Side is more blue-collar. Fox Valley is considered more undeveloped compared to the other two areas, so you’ll want to keep this in mind when picking out a new home.

4. Plenty of employment opportunities

Aurora has a long manufacturing history, home to companies such as the Aurora Brewing Company, Caterpillar Inc., National Metalwares, the Chicago Corset Company, plus many more. The Hollywood Casino also drives much of the job market, providing tourism for the city and features memorabilia from several famous movies. The most common employment sectors include administration, support, and waste management services, manufacturing, and wholesale trade. Over the last year, the job market has increased by 1.5% and is expected to grow to be 37.4% over the next ten years. Meaning, there are jobs to be taken by newcomers moving in!

5. Residents are highly educated

Aurora is home to great schools at all levels. And even better, the education level of the city’s residents are substantially higher than a typical U.S. community–over 30% of adults in Aurora have at least a bachelor’s degree. At the highest level of education, there is the Aurora University, and the Regency Beauty Institute-Aurora. The DuPage County and Kane County school systems serve as the school district and contain a total of 46 public schools. These counties are split by the Fox River, so your child’s education depends on if you live in the East or West. Both sides are solid options, however, the city also has 22 private schools. For students wishing to specialize in math and science, there is the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy for students in grades 10 through 12.

Before you move, know the rules

It’s important to note that Aurora is very strict about enforcing various rules and regulations in regard to all moving services. It’s required that all moving companies present a certificate of liability insurance to the building management before they start unloading. This is to ensure that if any property damage occurs, the building manager can be sure the moving company will cover it. This certificate is free and easy to obtain from the moving company you use. Also, if you plan to move into an apartment, be sure to book the elevator well in advance. Moving into the downtown area will also involve parking permits so your truck won’t get a ticket.

Still looking for a house?

If you haven’t found a place to call home just yet and need some guidance, we’d love to partake in your home search. Relocating from out of state? Let us work together to identify where you best fit in Aurora – we can’t wait to welcome you!

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4 Ways to Transform Your Kitchen Without Remodeling

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By Haley Kieser

The kitchen is one of the most used spaces in your home. It’s where you cook, eat, and hang out with your friends and family. Because of all the time that’s spent in this room, it’s only natural that one would want to make sure that it looks amazing and well-put together. This means having the right colors, the best kind of design elements from the type of counters you have to the type of curtains you use for the windows and having the right kind of layout that’s most beneficial for your home. Many homeowners who go looking for a brand-new kitchen typically turn to remodeling to get their dream kitchen, and it’s understandable why they would go to remodel first: you get exactly what you want and your kitchen comes out looking brand spanking new.
However, remodeling is an option that can turn out to be incredibly expensive and time consuming and, if you live a very busy life and you’re on a budget, that option might not be possible. Or perhaps you love your kitchen’s foundation and you just need some final touches in order to find your dream kitchen. Either way, there are quite a few ways to transform your kitchen without having to dump thousands of dollars into a massive kitchen remodeling project.

1.  Painting your cabinets

A fresh coat of paint never hurt anybody. Rather than go through the trouble of completely replacing your kitchen cabinets and cupboards, why not paint them? If your cabinets are still in good condition, why not try revitalizing it with some paint? The process to painting the cabinets is fairly straightforward: select your paint system (primers, colors, topcoats, etc.), prep your surface by thoroughly cleaning it and even sanding it down so that you can have a smooth application, and come in with your coating system. If you don’t have time for a do-it-yourself job, no worries! There are plenty of professional services that are available if you have room in your budget. If you’re planning on selling your home, go for gray, white, or another neutral color: neutrals typically have the best resale value.

2.  Switch up your color palette

 

Never underestimate the power of a color palette. It’s widely known that color can affect a person’s psychological state, and this can be used to your advantage when remodeling your kitchen. The best way to go about this is by keeping your kitchen primarily neutral and adding pops of color, whether the color shows up in our dishes, curtains, or your tea towels. You can also use fruit bowls or even a stack of colorful cookbooks to help add color to your kitchen. It helps to make sure these accent pieces are small because that makes replacing them when they get stagnant a little more manageable.

3. Update your lighting system

Often times, having older lighting in your kitchen contributes to making it look old and dated. Simply changing your lighting will have it looking brand new. It’s also worth noting that lighting possibilities don’t stop at switching out the one single large fixture in your kitchen. Try adding more light sources; if you have a bar/island area, try installing hanging light fixtures. Adding working lights in your cabinets also add a more modern vibe to your kitchen. If you want to explore your options furthermore, try looking at lights that change colors. That way, you’ll be able to create any kind of environment simply by changing the color of your lights. With excellent lighting, anything is possible.

4. Try adding stick-on tiles

Just because you aren’t committing to a full remodeling job doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have a gorgeous backsplash. These types of additions are small and are easy to apply. Stick-on tiles for your backsplash are great alternatives because you’re given the freedom to remove them and switch it up if you want something new. Furthermore, they’re a great way to help you visualize a certain look in the event that you save up money and decide to actually get a more permanent installation done. One of the biggest benefits from this is that the value if your house increases because of these small, but effective, additions.

A Guide to Getting Rid of Pet Odors in the Home

By Haley Kieser

Getting rid of pet odors is more than an arduous task – it flat out stinks. Bad pet smells can linger for months, embed themselves into the walls and carpets of the home, and can severely affect the value of the property to potential buyers.

Preventing pet smells is of course the optional course of action, but if you are looking to sell or buy a home that has lingering odors from furry friends, here are 5 best ways to get rid of the bad smells in your home, and what to do with items that are too odorous to stay in the home.

Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum

It might seem obvious, but vacuuming the home is the first thing you should do when tackling pet odors. Pet hair, mud from outside, traces of feces and urine, and other things pets leave behind naturally cause the majority of pet smells in the home and are mostly picked up by a vacuum cleaner.

Vacuuming should be a regular part of your cleaning routine when you own pets. Hair and dander can build up over time if not properly dealt with every day.

Use a Blacklight to Find the Sources

After vacuuming, use a blacklight on the carpet, walls, corners, furniture, and everywhere your pet regularly spends their time. Urine, feces, saliva, and other body fluids show up extremely obviously when this is shined on them, showing you the exact areas in the home that you need to focus on when continuing with cleaning.

Be sure to shine it in areas you wouldn’t normally look, like in corners, behind furniture, and other hidden areas.

Deep Clean Carpets

After finding the sources of pet odors, you can begin to tackle them one by one. For carpets, you have a few options, some natural and some chemical.

The easiest route is to rent or buy a specialty carpet washer and, as you would with a vacuum, use it over all the carpeted floors of your home. This can be a long process of washing and drying and so on, but it is a nearly guaranteed way to clean your carpets.

If you would prefer not to rent a deep cleaner and use solution and use a natural method instead, mix vinegar and water in equal portions in a spray bottle, and soak the areas you located with the blacklight in this solution. After scrubbing the area, pour baking soda onto the wet spot and leave it until it dries completely; you can then vacuum it up.

Wipe Walls and Floors With Solution

Similarly to washing your carpets, you can use store-bought products or natural home solutions to clean your walls and floors. There are plenty of products to choose from in stores and online, and pretty much all of them will get the job done.

If you want to try to make a solution at home to use instead, use a similar method to cleaning carpets naturally and make a mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Wipe surfaces down with a sponge and dry. Use a higher vinegar concentration for particularly stubborn smells and stains.

Wash Pillows, Pet Beds, and Furniture

If your pets are allowed on furniture, on your bed and couch for example, you will want to wash them thoroughly. If your pet has its own bed, pillows it lays on, or other soft items such as toys that they use constantly, you will need to wash these as well. Washing pillows, pet beds, and toys is no hassle, as you can simply throw these into your washer and dryer.

Large furniture, like sofas, should be vacuumed first, then have baking soda sprinkled over it. Let it sit for a few minutes, or longer for strong odors, then vacuum again. For leather sofas, use a damp rag and soap to wash the surface. This generally gets rid of odors, but use a specialty cleaner if smells linger.

What to Do With Waste

If after going through this list you still have some items that cannot be cleaned to a satisfactory level, make sure you dispose of them in the correct ways. In many states, leaving large items of trash by the dump or on the sidewalk with no scheduled pick-up is illegal and classifies as illegal dumping.

Sort through your waste, figure out what can be recycled, and bring that to your nearest recycling center. Large furniture should always be picked up by either the city garbage service or a local junk removal company. You don’t want to get fined for something as simple as an old couch.

Good luck!

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