In Our LivingRoom: Meet Christen Carter of Busy Beaver Buttons

Meet Christen Carter of Busy Beaver Button Company

Busy Beaver Button Company, a thriving small business, was looking to grow their space, open a museum, and stay close to their original location on Armitage in Logan Square. With the help of Annie Coleman, Managing Broker of LivingRoom Realty, they purchased the perfect empty building sitting on a double wide lot a few blocks west of their original location on Armitage.

We asked them a few questions about their journey to expanding their headquarters.

LivingRoom Realty (LRR): Tell us about yourself?

Christen Carter (CC): I am a small business owner - Busy Beaver Button Co., and co-curator of the Button Museum. Right now, my life is mostly around buttons since I’m also working on a book about cultural history told through buttons.

I do love fixing up old buildings that need love and kinda like having property - it’s part of my retirement plan. I also like decorating and nesting into places, this has become a hobby of mine.

LRR: Tell us about your property?

CC: It’s a double-wide storefront with two apartments above. When I bought the building, it was just a blighted shell that suffered a couple of fires. But the beautiful yellow brick and personality were there! Plus, it has “good bones” as they say. The location is 3407 W Armitage, just west of Kimball. There’s also a big backyard and 3 car garage.

LRR: What were the deciding factors when choosing your area and property?

CC: We knew that we needed a place to expand, since I’m hoping this will be a 10+ year place for my company, Busy Beaver Button Co. And the big back yard will let us build out when we need to.It’s also walking distance from my house and close to the homes of many people who work here. And only a block away from our old location, so we wouldn’t lose any employees because of the distance. Being only a block away was very handy during construction - we could meet a tradesperson on a dime, since it took 2 minutes to walk from our previous location. 

The two apartments above help pay the mortgage and give us a cheaper property tax rate, those two things really help! Plus, for security sake, it’s nice that people are here during the day and at night, too.

I feel connected to Logan Square having lived and worked here since 2004, so I wanted to stay nearby. Plus, I remember when this building had two separate fires, the building was empty for years and it needed some serious love.

LRR: What’s your favorite thing about your property?

CC: The feel is just so nice. It’s pretty spacious and can display the Button Museum and accommodate the visitors. My brother, Joel found all this beautiful salvaged doors and interior windows, people can hardly believe that this place was a burned shell before we got it. You can really tell in all the details that a lot of love and consideration was put into it - this is mostly because of my brother!

LRR: What would you tell someone who is embarking on the buying process for your type of building?

CC:I always tell people to expect the project to cost at least 50% more than quoted by a GC and also about twice as long. The city can take awhile and things always come up.

We had to re-zone but that was the easiest thing - we had a good lawyer. That’s the other big thing - the professionals that you work with must honestly respect you and what you’re doing - trust is key. Some of the people we worked with were great, but some really made our lives more difficult than it needed to be. I learned a lot and now have developed what a “trusted partner” is, this helps us recognize red flags to change course. Have a good idea of what's important to you in terms of property characteristics, but also keep an open mind about what's going to work realistically, and be honest about your lifestyle needs. Obviously, finding the right agent is also crucial!

LRR: Tell us about any improvements you made or plan to make and why?

CC: I’d love to expand out the back to make more space for the button production. I also want to fix up the garage, not exciting, but we ran out of money with everything being over budget. Hopefully all of this within the next 3 years!

Thanks to Christen and Busy Beaver Button Co.  for letting LRR into their living room! Visit Busy Beaver Button Co. where you can order custom button, magnets and more. Do you have a button fan on your gift list? Consider picking up the Button Box  which contains one hundred colorful postcards featuring over three hundred buttons from the collection of the Busy Beaver Button Museum.

Landscape of the Market for Buyers Class is Back! Wednesday Sept 5th!

 

 

Join us Wednesday, September 5th from 6:30-8:30pm at LivingRoom Realty as Real Estate Broker Susannah Ribstein, Mortgage Broker Ben DeBoer, and Home Inspector Mike Lamb help guide you through the landscape of home purchasing.  Whether you are planning to buy a home this fall or in 2 years this class will help you get prepared.  Topics to be discussed are:

– The pre-approval process and preparing your finances – Step by step overview of home buying process – Loan products available in today’s market – What are closing costs incl. a detailed breakdown – How to decide on what type of property to buy – What to expect from a home inspection – What to look for in a building – Tips for saving for home improvements

Food and drinks will be provided. Please RSVP at contact@livingroomrealty.com, so we can plan appropriately. We look forward to seeing you!

New Listing & Open House This Weekend! 1754 W. Ohio

Rarely available spacious and sunny 4 bedroom/2.1 bath home in Ukrainian Village. Main level features an open floor plan living room and dining room with wood burning fireplace and newly refinished maple floors.

Eat in kitchen with island, hardwood cabinets, and stainless appliances flows to a large back deck perfect for entertaining.

Second floor features three bedrooms and a luxurious bathroom with glass surround shower, deep soaking tub, and double basin infinity sink. Listen to music from built in speakers in bathroom and/or in the large master bedroom.

The lower level has a family room, fourth bedroom, full bath and extra kitchen. The lower level can be closed off easily with side entrance for a private in-law quarters. Yard and 2 car garage round out this beautiful home. Awesome location 1/2 block to Talcott School, Easy walk to shopping and restaurants on Chicago Avenue and everything that West Town has to offer.

Offered at $740,000. For questions or more information, contact Sarah Frier at 773-860-3452 or sarah@livingroomrealty.com.

Open House this Weekend Saturday (3/17) from 12pm - 2pm Please RSVP to sarah@livingroomrealty.com

Listing #09882093

Conventional Loan Limits Have Increased for 2018

On November 29, 2017, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac officially announced they would be increasing the conventional loan limits for 2018. We turned to mortgage broker Ben Deboer from Molitor Financial Group to find out a little more: LRR: Can you tell us a little more about the specifics of this change?

Ben: The loan limit for conventional loans has been increased from $424,100 to $453,100 for single family home and condo purchases. This means that if you were on the cusp of needing a JUMBO loan that required a higher down payment, you now may be able to use a regular conventional loan allowing for a smaller down payment. Also, if you are thinking about purchasing a multi-unit building, the loan limits on those have also increased. The loan limit for two unit buildings are now $580,150, three unit buildings are $701,250, and four unit buildings are $871,450.

LRR: How does this benefit buyers?

Ben: Before this change, if you needed to take a home loan out that was above $424,100, you would be forced to do so with a JUMBO loan. JUMBO loans characteristically have higher interest rates, higher down payment requirements, and more stringent underwriting guidelines. The minimum down payment for most JUMBO loans is 10%. With this increase in the conventional loan limit to $453,100, buyers will now have more flexibility to take advantage of the benefits of a conventional loan. With a conventional loan, buyers can put down as little as 3% and take advantage of conventional loans lower interest rates.

If you have further questions you can contact Ben at bend@molitorfinancial.com or (219) 308-5687.

Landscape of the Market for Buyers • Wednesday April 10th 6:30pm

Join us at LivingRoom Realty on Wednesday April 10th 6:30-8:00 pm as Mortgage Broker Emma Butler, Real Estate Brokers Sarah Frier & Annie Coleman and Home Inspector Jeffrey Wadsworth guide you through the current landscape of home purchasing. greenconstruction3-large

Whether you are a first time buyer, thinking about buying in a year from now, or a seasoned home owner, this will be an informative talk on the unique dynamics of the current real estate market. You will leave the seminar fully informed on how you will need to prepare for your home search.

Topics to be covered will be: - The pre-approval process and preparing your finances - Loan products available in today’s market - What are closing costs and detailed breakdown - Benefits of home ownership and review of TaxSmart incentive program - How to decide on what type of property to buy - Overview of buying a foreclosure or short sale - What to expect from a home inspection - What to look for in a building when looking at properties - Tips for saving for home improvements

Food and Drinks will be Provided. Please RSVP at contact@livingroomrealty.com so we can plan appropriately. We look forward to seeing you! Sarah Frier, LivingRoom Realty Annie Coleman, LivingRoom Realty Emma Butler, Guaranteed Rate Jeffrey Wadsworth, RCIS LLC

TimeOut Chicago asks Realtors to weigh in on Chicago's next hip neighborhoods

LivingRoom was recently asked, along with other Realtors, by Lauren Viera at TimeOut to discuss what we thought will be "The New Logan Square" in a decade or so. 420.ac.ft.frontiers.Bridgeport.parkxSS

Our very own Liz Dudek weighs in on our pick... Bridgeport!

Check out the article and what we and some other realtors around town have to say.

(photo credit : McGuane Park : Braden Nisen)

Reminder! A week from today! Landscape of the Market for Buyers at LivingRoom.

Join us at LivingRoom Realty on Wednesday January 9th 6:30-8:00 pm as Mortgage Broker Emma Butler, Real Estate Broker Annie Coleman, and Home Inspector Jeffrey Wadsworth guide you through the current landscape of home purchasing.

Whether you are a first time buyer, thinking about buying in a year from now, or a seasoned home owner, this will be an informative talk on the unique dynamics of the current real estate market. You will leave the seminar fully informed on how you will need to prepare for your home search.

Topics to be covered will be: - The pre-approval process and preparing your finances - Loan products available in today’s market - What are closing costs and detailed breakdown - Benefits of home ownership and review of TaxSmart incentive program - How to decide on what type of property to buy - Overview of buying a foreclosure or short sale - What to expect from a home inspection - What to look for in a building when looking at properties - Tips for saving for home improvements

Food and Drinks will be Provided. Please RSVP at contact@livingroomrealty.com, so we can plan appropriately. We look forward to seeing you!

Emma Butler, Guaranteed Rate Annie Coleman, LivingRoom Realty Jeffrey Wadsworth, RCIS LLC