As you search for homes around Chicagoland, you’re bound to find some layouts that excite and inspire - and some that leave you scratching your head.

Our city is full of all kinds of structures, some with more space than you may actually need, and some that are cozier than you might think possible. In other cases, a space could come with an architectural flourish that adds extra dimensions or square footage to the home. In other cases, spare space could come in the form of a basement, an attic, a loft space, or even a bedroom you don’t actually need.

If you’re in the market for a home, or you’re a current homeowner getting ready to stage and sell, you may have some of these extra spaces and bonus rooms on your mind.

As a seller getting your home ready to go to market, you may find yourself wanting to talk with your broker or a design professional about how to stage or highlight a bonus room or flexible space. For buyers, even if you’ve combed through design and decor blogs for room ideas, the idea of a bonus area or flex space may leave you feeling a bit flustered.

It’s awesome you have the extra space, after all, but now comes the question: What to do with it?

If you've ever read or seen Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, then you know that this play makes fun of its title and doesn't take earnestness, or acting with sincerity, very seriously at all.

Your earnest money, however, is something to be taken very seriously, especially since it's discussed towards the end of the homebuying contract process. The issue of earnest money comes up once a seller accepts your offer and you both sign the purchase agreement. One handy way to think of it? Look at the earnest money as the buyer's "skin in the game." 

Earnest Money In a Nutshell

Like a deposit on a rental, earnest money is a sign of good faith, which shows that you're committed to seeing the home purchase through to its conclusion. It's a reassurance to the seller that you'll be there at the closing table. In Chicago, and Illinois at large, there is not an average amount of earnest money, per se, nor is there a single date when the money is due. Instead, to show that you're committed to buying a particular home and to put some money towards the down payment, you'll typically tender the earnest money in two separate installments.

What Are the Current Real Estate Conditions in Logan Square?

Looking for a neighborhood with a vibrant creative scene, complete with an iconic old school movie theatre? Check out Logan Square!

Located northwest of West Town, "Logan," as it's commonly called, is jammed full of coffee shops, deliciously dive-y bars, and Longman & Eagle's legendary chicken and waffles. Noted for its high level of energy and grassroots activism, Logan Square also boasts a robust arts community, thriving nightlife options, and an easygoing sensibility that makes it an excellent neighborhood for just about anyone.

Here are a few resources worth checking out if you're interested in this red hot part of Chicago: 

Interested in this welcoming hub of art and food? Let's check out Logan Square's current real estate market:

Avondale Park ImagePhoto credit: MtHunder58 via Wikimedia Commons

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 has been 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:

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