Jessie Knadler



Hello, two! Saying goodbye to my only child

Hello, two! Saying goodbye to my only child

Before the birth of my second child in December, I was worried of the impact it would have on my firstborn, June, now 3. I was afraid she wouldn’t do well with a new baby in the house. Up until that point, June had been the center of everything—the object of all our love, devotion, […]

May ABODE: Get Real

The common stereotype of someone being evicted or foreclosed on is a deadbeat loser. And there are plenty of shady renters and homeowners out there. But if the housing bust taught us one thing, it’s that plenty of normal, non-deadbeat Americans found themselves facing eviction or foreclosure after they’d lost their jobs, seen the value […]

April ABODE: Get Real

The dream scenario for most buyers these days is finding a foreclosure or short sale property. The fantasy is this: The buyer makes a lowball offer on a house that’s upside down in value—that is, worth less than the value of the original loan—figuring the bank is eager to cut its losses and unload the […]

March ABODE: By owner, beware?

March ABODE: By owner, beware?

 In a rough housing economy in which homeowners have to routinely lower their asking prices to sell their homes, it’s logical for a seller to want to save money wherever possible, making the For Sale By Owner property seem like a good idea. A For Sale by Owner (FSBO) is exactly what it sounds like: […]

February ABODE: Making multigenerational housing work

Sky-high student loans, a sluggish job market, inflated health care costs, and diminished retirement savings —it’s no wonder multiple generations of families are deciding to cut costs by moving under one roof. More than 51.4 million Americans—roughly one in six—have moved in with family, representing a 10 percent increase in this type of living arrangement […]

December 2010: Real Estate

 It seems like only yesterday that losing your job and missing a bunch of mortgage payments meant you were one step closer to homelessness. Not anymore.   Likely beginning this month, homeowners who have experienced a substantial loss of income due to layoffs and cut-backs, as well as those who’ve suffered a medical condition, and […]

November 2010: Real Estate

November 2010: Real Estate

Wouldn’t it be great to use some of the cash tied up in your monthly mortgage payment for other purposes, such as investing in a child’s college fund, or saving for that long-awaited addition to your house?    There is a way to do this without having to go through the rigmarole of refinancing, which […]

October 2010: Real Estate

 During the housing boom, sellers spent big on luxe touches like granite countertops, spa bathrooms and walk-in closets—splurges meant to increase the value of a home.   These days, such luxuries are bringing lower returns than they once did. What’s to blame? A glut of new homes on the market, tighter lending and appraisal restrictions […]

September 2010: Real Estate

September 2010: Real Estate

 First the bad news: Whether a bankruptcy, foreclosure or a deed in lieu of foreclosure, there’s no easy fix for repairing major credit issues. “Often nothing more than time will heal the process,” says loan officer Matt Hodges, owner of Compass Home Loans. The length of time differs depending on how cataclysmic the credit nosedive […]

August 2010: Real Estate

August 2010: Real Estate

 If you’re like a lot of homeowners these days, you’d probably love to go green. Energy efficiency retrofits, high-efficiency furnaces and solar panels are home improvements that can save thousands and thousands of dollars in energy bills over the years. But high upfront costs have so far kept many folks from adopting practical energy saving […]

July 2010: Real Estate

 It’s been hammered into people’s heads for so long that home ownership is the way to go, that potential buyers forget that’s not always the case. Especially right now, when real estate markets remain shaky in many parts of the country, the home you buy today could fall in value tomorrow. Of course, the decision […]

June 2010: Real Estate

June 2010: Real Estate

 Even though the word “foreclosure” has lost much of its stigma in recent years, thanks to Wall Street recklessness and subsequent bailouts, it’s still a state most homeowners would prefer to avoid. Not only does foreclosure wreck a homeowner’s credit score for years to come, but the very word conjures up feelings of failure. (Banks’ […]

May 2010: Real Estate

May 2010: Real Estate

 With interest rates still at a historic low, some homeowners may consider refinancing from a standard 30-year fixed rate mortgage to a 15-year mortgage. Nationally, it seems a lot of folks are doing just that—the Mortgage Bankers Association says that one in four refinance applications in March was for a 15-year loan, up from 12.2 […]

April 2010: Real Estate

April 2010: Real Estate

 Buyers know they hold the cards in the current lackluster housing market, but there’s one obstacle they might be wary of: misrepresentations by home sellers.  Nationwide, there have been reports of eager sellers exaggerating square footage and acreage, minimizing property taxes or utility bills, conveniently forgetting about past problems with termites or insisting that charming […]

February 2010: Get Real

One of the most stressful aspects of buying a home? The closing —signing a bunch of documents you may or may not fully understand (are you buying a house or signing away a limb?), forking over a big check, and, perhaps worst of all, discovering your estimated closing costs far exceed what you were originally […]

January 2010: Real Estate

January 2010: Real Estate

In real estate, timing is everything. And no time is that more true than when gearing up for the spring selling season, traditionally the most brisk time for moving homes during the year.   But a big mistake a lot of buyers and sellers make is actually waiting until springtime to get serious about putting a […]

Crusing together

Crusing together

Jay Gwaldis and Louise Largiadèr are really into motorcycles. The two met in June 2007 on their way to a BMW motorcycle rally at the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina. Louise, 46, was on her very first solo ride, accompanied by her brother Anton, a BMW motorcycle technician, and his girlfriend. Jay Gwaldis and Louise […]

At cliff's edge

At cliff's edge

When Jay Moore decided to propose to his girlfriend of five years, Joanna Brockel, last winter, he knew he wanted to do something both special and physical since they’re both physical therapists. She does acute therapy. He does outpatient therapy. And they share a love of sports (they play on the same co-ed football league […]

December 2009: Get Real

December 2009: Get Real

If you missed out on the enticing $8,000 tax credit available to first time homebuyers because you already owned a home, fear not—you can still take advantage of government incentives to drive home sales.   In an effort to keep the housing market stable during the winter months, a traditionally slow time for real estate, […]

Patience and rewards

Patience and rewards

Dan and Molly Laufer dated for half a decade before getting married. Three of those years were spent in separate cities. Dan, 25, lived in Atlanta, where he worked at a business strategy-consulting firm; Molly, 24, lived in Jacksonville, Florida, where she was stationed with the Navy. (The first two years were spent together in […]

Progressive Valentines

Progressive Valentines

Catherine Irwin, a 27-year-old director of orthopedics at a Chicago hospital, could be described as the classic type-A overachiever. She would not marry her longtime boyfriend Matt Corbin, 29, until after she finished a two-year MBA program at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern in Chicago. “I just had this hang-up about being in school […]

November 2009: Get Real

November 2009: Get Real

As a potential homebuyer, it’s only natural to assume that the gorgeous four-board fence surrounding the property you want to buy is what demarcates it from the neighbor’s, right? Wrong. A fence—or any structure, really—can be way, way inside the official property line or encroach into the adjacent property. Not knowing a property’s true borders […]

October 2009: Get Real

October 2009: Get Real

Leafy hazards For the proud homeowner, there are few sights more appealing than a gorgeous old tree tinged with autumn colors in front of a carefully tended home. But just because a tree may look grand and sweeping doesn’t mean it’s necessarily an asset to the home. In fact, many homeowners don’t give enough consideration […]