Date Archives: March 2021

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March
22

To make a great day that much sweeter, visit these South Bend bakeries for a decadent dessert.

One of the best parts of moving into a new neighborhood is exploring all the community has to offer. Whether you're house hunting with one of our real estate agents or checking out your new digs, take the time to visit all the unique local eateries and shops. South Bend and Mishawaka offer several delicious bakeries, so stop into the nearest one and sample the sweetest treats this community can't live without.

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March
15

Don't let your home get cluttered with rarely used items. Here's how you can make your attic an optimal storage space.

Looking for more storage space in your home? You may have overlooked a surprising amount of storage, right over your head! Your attic can be an excellent place for long-term storage if you set it up correctly. If you're not sure how to go about doing that, our real estate agents recommend talking with a contractor to get you started. In addition, here are a few tips to give you a general idea of how to turn your attic into a usable storage space.

  1. Check for leaks. First and foremost, make sure there aren't any leaks in the roof that could potentially damage the things you store in the attic. Check the underside of the roof for stains or signs of rot, especially around things that go through to the outside, such as chimneys and vent pipes. And speaking of vent pipes, make sure your bathroom vents go all the way through to the outside, rather than ending in the attic. You don't want your storage space to be filled up with warm, moist air.

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March
8

Don't start your morning on the wrong foot. Check out these Michiana breakfast spots to start your day right.

Looking for a bite to eat around Michiana? Our real estate agents have a few ideas for you! They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When you're looking at South Bend homes for sale, it's vital to keep your energy up. Luckily, there are plenty of places for a breakfast with all the fixings: from eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast to granola, bagels, and pastries — and don't forget the coffee!

In a landscape dotted with small local diners and cafes, you can even find many where breakfast is served all day long. When you move to the Michiana area, you'll never be too far from hearty, satisfying food in a comfortable setting where everyone is happy to see you.

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March
4

When Chicagoans look outside the area for a home, this is the top spot

The town known for Pete Buttigieg, Amy Coney Barrett and Notre Dame football is house hunters' most-searched location outside the metro area.

Michael and Stephanie Starks recently sold their home in Galewood in Chicago (top) and bought one twice its size in Granger, a suburb of South Bend, Indiana. 

When Chicagoans look for homes outside the metro area, the place they look most is South Bend, the Indiana town known for Pete Buttigieg, Amy Coney Barrett and Notre Dame football.

In October and November, some 12 percent of Chicagoans using Redfin to house hunt looked outside the region, and the most common place they searched was South Bend, 95 miles east, according to a report released Dec. 21 by Redfin, the online real estate marketplace.

Redfin users in New York searched for homes in Boston most, and in San Francisco they shopped for a new address in Sacramento, Redfin reported. 

Milwaukeeans? They shopped in Chicago. 

Michael and Stephanie Stark are in the midst of their move from Chicago's Galewood neighborhood to Granger, a suburb of South Bend. In November the couple, who have one child and another due in early 2021, traded a 2,700-square-foot bungalow on a standard 25-by-125-foot Chicago lot for a 5,500-square-foot house on three-quarters of an acre. 

"Right now I'm looking out at ducks on a pond," Michael Stark, an executive in a Chicago-based restaurant data firm called Emerging, said in a phone interview today. His job can be done from anywhere, and her work as a designer is mostly on hold with young children taking her time, so when the pandemic hit, Michael Stark said, "it nudged us to do something we might have done a few years from now." 

Searching for homes in a big crescent around the southeast corner of Lake Michigan, the Starks settled on the South Bend area, which he knew from his undergrad days at Notre Dame. When life returns to normal after the pandemic, Michael Stark figures he'll drive over to Chicago once or twice a week. "My work was already remote before this started," he said. 

The couple asked that their former and current homes' prices not be published, but Michael Stark said that they paid more for the new place than they got for the old one. "We got a lot more house with much better taxes," Michael Stark said. They're paying 18 percent more in property taxes for a little over 100 percent more house. 

"When people come here, they're amazed at how much they can purchase," said Stephanie Weldy, president of the South Bend Area Realtors Association and a Berkshire Hathaway and a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices agent. When they come from Chicago, she said, "they're surprised you can find all this so close to Chicago."

'All this,' in Weldy's description, is good schools, big yards, arts, restaurants, and sports, both associated with the university and independent of it. 

In South Bend, for about Chicago's median home sale price, $269,900, a buyer could pick up this three-bedroom Tudor several blocks' walk from the downtown core or this five-bedroom house near the northwest city limits.

Redfin's data gathering attempted to weed out the daydreamers and focus on people seriously considering moving. The report includes only people who have viewed at least 10 houses in the out-of-town location, and for whom at least 80 percent of their views are in that same area. Data from Redfin competitors Zillow shows a similar level of Chicagoans looking at South Bend, Matt Kreamer in Zillow's data public relations office confirmed. 

John De Souza, president of Cressy & Everett Real Estate, one of the biggest residential firms in the region, said page views on his firm's website by Chicagoans are up 42 percent in the second half of the year, compared to the same time in 2019. They're getting higher levels of search from people around Detroit and Indianapolis as well, De Souza said, but "Chicago is the biggest." 

De Souza said his office has handled at least four buyers who've moved from the Chicago area in the past few months, although all of them declined his request to talk to Crain's for this article. 

Not only is South Bend a genuine city, as opposed to a small town, it's been undergoing an urban renaissance, according to De Souza, Weldy and Faith Fleming, a Cressy & Everett agent. "There's a new, interesting life in downtown," Fleming said. As Wired, the New York Times and other publications detailed during Buttigieg's presidential run, during his tenure as mayor there was a dedicated effort to remake the old industrial sections, home to a Studebaker plant among other things. 

Now there are new apartment buildings and, at least before the pandemic, "some very nice restaurants," Fleming said. 

South Bend is about a two-hour drive from Chicago. A project to upgrade the South Shore rail line with double tracks, which will reduce the need for trains to stop as others pass, is expected to cut the train ride to 90 minutes. 

March
1

Don't neglect your bedroom's layout and design the cold shoulder. Use these easy tips to instantly upgrade your bedroom.

Is your decor ready for a new look? You may not spend the most time in your bedroom, but it's some of the most important time since it's where you go to wind down and rest up for the following day. The most popular South Bend homes for sale stage their bedrooms to look and feel like the relaxation center of the home. Here are a few tips for turning your bedroom into a haven.

  1. Rearrange your furniture. If your bedroom's look seems tired and uninspired, a fresh new layout could make all the difference. Better yet, it won't cost you a thing! Move your furniture around and see if you like it better in a different way. Remember that your bed is the focus of the room, and find the best place for it first.

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