Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cyber-Security Expert Offers 10 Tips to Safeguard Your Information

Cyber-Security Expert Offers 10 Tips to Safeguard Your Information
By Gary S. Miliefsky

We’ve all lost our identity at least three times, with more than 930 million records breached, lost or stolen to hackers and cyber criminals, says consumer advocacy non-profit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

Why don’t we do all we can to stay safer online?

According to, more than a quarter of Americans say they lack the information necessary.

So, here it is – everything you need to know to enjoy the shopping experience without losing your privacy and identity or putting your children’s safety at risk:
  • Assume you’ve already been compromised. Whether it's your baby monitor, your SmartTV, the Webcam on your laptop or apps you installed on your smartphone or tablet, your antivirus is not enough protection. It's time to take those devices’ and apps’ privacy policies, and the permissions you grant them, much more seriously.
  • Change your passwords – all of them. Now. And do it as frequently as you can tolerate. Also, if you don't want to change it often, then use any unique characters you can think of, such as a dollar sign ($) or exclamation mark (!), or replace an "oh" with a "zero" (0). This goes a long way in preventing attacks against your password.
  • Turn off wireless and geolocation services. Protect your smartphones and tablets by turning off WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS, except when you need them. That way, if you are at a local coffee shop or in a shopping mall, no one can spy on you using nearby (proximity) hacking attacks and they can’t track where you were and where you are going on your GPS.
  • Assume most of your apps are creepware. Do you really need them? Delete all of the apps you aren't using too often. Replace apps that ask for too many permissions and take advantage of too many of your privacy settings -- like GPS, phone and sms logs, personal identity information – with similar apps that don't.
  • Opt out of sharing your information. Opt out of every advertising network that you can. Visit the National Do Not Call Registry and register your smartphone and home phone numbers at If you use a Google email account and have an Android phone, even with your GPS off, it's tracking your every move. (Log in to and see for yourself.) Go into your smartphone or tablet settings and turn this feature off. In your Android phone, go to Settings, then Location, select Google Location Reporting and set Location History to off. The same holds true for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iTunes. You need to find the location and privacy settings and turn off access under Settings, then Privacy then Location.
  • Your browser is a double agent – keep it clean. It is spying on you for advertisers unless you block and remove cookies and delete the cache frequently. In your web browser settings, delete your history, all cookies and passwords and the cache. You should do this frequently so you don't leave personal information sitting around on your computer, smartphone or tablet.
  • Remove third-party Facebook plugins. Third-party plugins are mini applications designed to eavesdrop on your behavior in Facebook and possibly grab information about your habits within that social network. Some websites you visit will require you to log in using Facebook, and then you have to trust them to connect to your Facebook account. This is very risky. Read their privacy policy and make sure they are a legitimate business before you risk doing this.
  • Only shop on the websites of companies you already trust. If you don't know where the merchant is located, don't shop online there. If they don't have a corporate address or are located in another country, it is risky for you and you may never see the goods you think you purchased. Also, if their shopping cart experience is not an HTTPS browser session, then everything you type in, your name, address and credit card information, is going over the internet unencrypted -- in plain view.
  • Turn off geotagging – your photos are full of information. Twitter and Instagram as well as your iPhone will give away your location. Most peopleĆ¢€¨don't realize Twitter and Instagram both use geotagging for everything you send out. Geotagging stores the latitude and longitude of your tweet or image. Pictures you take on an iPhone usually store geotagging information, as well. The less information you give out about where you are located, the safer you are.
  • Don’t use cash or debit cards – use credit cards, wisely. Credit cards allow you to travel with less cash, and if you’re purchasing online, it's safer to give your credit card than your debit card information. The same holds true when you visit your local retail outlet. The reason? If you experience identity theft, credit card laws allow you to keep all of your credit, with no responsibility during an investigation. With a debit card, your bank can tie up your money in the amount equivalent to the fraudulent transactions for up to 30 days.
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Home Values Compared to the Peak of 2006-2007

Home Values Compared to the Peak of 2006-2007 | Keeping Current Matters
There is no doubt that the housing market has recovered from the meltdown that occurred just a few short years ago. However, in some states home values still have not returned to the prices we saw in 2006 and 2007. Here is a breakdown showing where current prices are in each state as compared to peak prices.

 HPI Price Since Peak

Monday, December 1, 2014

Selling? 10 tips for decorating your porch for the holidays

Are you one of the thousands of sellers who has your home on the market this holiday season?  Are you torn between whether or not you should decorate at all?  Depending on which article you read, or who you speak with, will impact the advice and opinion you receive.  I am always pro-decorating for the holidays, with one simple caveat - it must be tasteful decor!  No big plastic Santa on the roof.  Or oversized inflatables on the front yard...

Plenty of people disagree with me and believe instead that holiday decorations increase the risk of offending someone.  In over 20 years of selling real estate, I have never had a buyer be offended by holiday decorations.  Instead, the decorated homes tend to appear a bit more welcoming, and warmer - which is an added bonus during a Chicago winter!

Just keep the decor tasteful.  Simple.  Soft.  Tone it down from your typical annual display.  Garlands on a staircase, garnished with twinkling lights.  A lightly staged mantled, dressed with stockings and candles.  The Christmas tree, tucked in the corner or filling the oft empty space of a bay window.

And do not forget the entry.  Especially if you are in a cold climate where a buyer will be standing, looking around, while the agent fidgets with opening the lockbox.  Again, keep it simple.  Want some ideas?  Click here to check out this post from tatertots & jello, offering 10 tips for a terrific porch display.  Happy Holidays!

 10 Tips for Creating a Beautiful Porch for the Holidays | eBay

260 East Cherry Cove Lane ROUND LAKE BEACH, IL 60073

Property Site:
Tucked in the heart of Country Walk, our home enjoys the added living space benefits of a hard-to-find walkout basement. Brand new vinyl siding enhances the brick accented elevation. The backyard enjoys a deluxe cedar deck, as well as a brick paver patio. Mature trees and professional landscaping garnish the property. Area amenities are nearby—shopping, restaurants, major roads, parks and schools. Country Walk students attend various schools, depending on a property's location. This home is located in the Lake Villa elementary school district 41, and Grayslake North high school district 127, boundaries.

Welcoming foyer greets guests. Soft tones enhance the formal living & dining rooms, designed for expandable entertaining. Decorator lighting brightens the dining area. First floor powder with rubbed oil bronze plumbing fixtures. Conveniently located first floor laundry area comes complete with washer & dryer.

Newer stainless steel appliances add to the appeal of this efficiently designed kitchen—gas range, dishwasher, built-in microwave & refrigerator all remain. Frosted cabinetry is accented by a tumbled marble counter & backsplash. New kitchen windows! The peninsula provides added counter workspace, and opens to the expanded bay window eating area, with slider access to the backyard deck. The adjacent family room features a vaulted ceiling complete with skylights & plant ledge. Gas logs add to the efficiency of the tile surround fireplace. Bamboo style Roman shades grace the windows. A space that is truly the heart of the home!

Double doors open to reveal a freshly painted and cozy, yet spacious, master bedroom complete with a large walk-in closet & ceiling fan. The private bath enjoys a low-maintenance new fiberglass shower.

Two additional generously sized secondary bedrooms share the second floor. Bedroom 2 has a double closet, bedroom 3 a single closet. Window treatments remain.

Conveniently located near both bedrooms, the hall bath features an easy care vinyl floor and a tub/shower combo.

Professionally finished—our walkout basement allows for an amazing expansion of the home’s living space. A large rec room allows for TV viewing, while the adjacent bar provides a comfortable spot for guest to gather. An intimate office nook provides a quiet space for work. Don’t miss the 4th bedroom with adjacent full bath. Ideal for guests, in-laws, teens or college students! All windows sport 2” wood blinds, and overlook the back yard. The slider leads to the paver patio.
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3.10
Square feet: 1,820
Price: $199,500

For more information about this property, please contact The Terri & Kieron Team at 847-557-8528 or You can also text 2406190 to 67299.

See more listings at:

MLS ID: 08770286

38740 North Shagbark Lane WADSWORTH, IL 60083

Property Site:
Defined roof lines and mellow tones of the Hardie board concrete lap siding set the tone for this custom home. This 3 bedroom California-themed multi-level residence combines streamlined design coupled with a comfortable living style. Nestled within the Wadsworth Oaks neighborhood, mature trees frame the picturesque property, while the spacious backyard is highlighted by the entertainment-sized deck.

A double door entry provides a warm welcome into the residence. The subdued tiled entry leads into the generously-sized living room on thru to the dining room & kitchen. Boasting a stunning river rock fireplace and a bank of sun-drenched windows, the living room is ideal for gathering whether just for family or entertaining. There are two motorized shades that provide sun and weather protection all year long. The adjacent dining area also enjoys a large sliding door to the wrap-around deck— a great spot to host summer barbeques.

Smartly designed and highlighted by a multitude of custom maple cabinetry the efficient planned kitchen blends with the design and flow of the home. Every inch of this room has a purpose! Nickel hardware, tile flooring, under cabinet lighting, pull-out shelves all add to the room’s appeal. All appliances remain, including Dacor cook-top, convection oven, microwave & warming drawer, Bosch dishwasher and of course, the Sub-Zero built-in refrigerator. The seller has opted to utilize the fully functional sauna as a walk-in pantry.

Vaulted ceilings, a marble surround gas fireplace, & custom built-ins turn this master suite into a tranquil retreat to relish at the end of your busy day! The private master bath offers a large L-shaped double basin vanity, ceramic tile flooring, whirlpool tub & solid surface walls in the separate shower. Don’t miss the the large walk-in closet—it’s big enough to meet all your wardrobe needs. The landing on the staircase provides access to the huge & expandable attic.

Two secondary bedrooms on the first floor enjoy plush carpeting, plantation shutters and Elfa closet storage systems as well. The back bedroom has private access to the hall bathroom with 12" designer floor tile.

An office nook/mud room buffers the space between the attached garage and kitchen.

Check out the fabulous finished areas of the full basement! The wood bar with sink and stools, complete with double tap, remain. There are fine built-ins for your game storage & TV in the family room. Additionally you’ll find a spacious half bath, large storage and laundry areas complete the space.
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.10
Square feet: 2,216
Price: $400,000

For more information about this property, please contact The Terri & Kieron Team at 847-557-8528 or You can also text 2285225 to 67299.

See more listings at:

MLS ID: 08723848

17686 West Winnebago Drive GRAYSLAKE, IL 60030

Property Site:
Porcelain tiled entry welcomes you into this well maintained Wildwood home.

What you don’t see is 6” thick exterior walls which provide excellent insulation for this 4 bedroom residence.

Dining area is open to both the kitchen & the spacious living room and includes a door leading to the rear deck.

The kitchen is equipped with dishwasher, stove, microwave and refrigerator.

The main floor provides the location for the master bedroom and two secondary bedrooms. Parquet flooring, double closets and ceiling fans are in all three.

Updated & rejuvenated bathrooms completed in 2013.

Main hall bathroom enjoys a custom limestone counter atop an oak vanity, 12” porcelain tile flooring & tub surround. Lovely!

Bedroom four is in the lower level with garden window & large closet.

The lower level bathroom is finished with a tiled corner shower which includes glass tile accents. Easy care solid surface sink sits atop an oak vanity. 12” porcelain tile flooring finishes this space.

Downstairs is the versatile laundry/craft area which the sellers also use as an office space.

A spacious carpeted family room provides ample relaxation and play areas. Tile flooring is positioned at the garage entrance into the home.

Anderson windows are utilized throughout.

The 2.5 car garage has insulated walls and lots of additional lighting.

Extra–wide, the driveway was re-done in 2007 and includes an additional parking pad.

Conveniently located to schools & major road ways, there are Metra stations located in the nearby Village of Grayslake. As a resident of Wildwood you’ll appreciate the seasonal enjoyment of lake access beach for the residents use.
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2.00
Square feet: 2,576
Price: $210,000

For more information about this property, please contact The Terri & Kieron Team at 847-557-8528 or You can also text 2168330 to 67299.

See more listings at:

MLS ID: 08679815

1131 Crestfield Avenue Libertyville, IL 60048

Property Site:
Libertyville home with 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths enjoys hardwood flooring in all bedrooms, living and dining room and kitchen. Master bedroom with private bathroom. Appliances remain. Eat-in kitchen has door to yard and huge deck. Brick with newer vinyl siding and newer vinyl windows too. Entire backyard fenced with 6' privacy, no maintenance fencing. Separate detached garage set up with insulation and electric -- great for workshop/storage.
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.10
Square feet: 1,721
Price: $317,900

For more information about this property, please contact The Terri & Kieron Team at 847-557-8528 or You can also text 2092481 to 67299.

See more listings at:

MLS ID: 08647834

658 Beth Court GURNEE, IL 60031

Property Site:
BUYER BONUS! Under contract by 12/15/14 and the buyer receives their choice of a $1500 giftcard from either Home Depot or Lowes, to use to update or remodel the home!

Cozy expanded Linden boasts floor to ceiling stone fireplace in vaulted living room. Kitchen features newer stove. Built-in microwave and dishwasher remain. Slider access to patio. 1st floor bedroom has been opened to living room, easy to convert back. Full bath on 1st floor. Master suite enjoys overlook to living room and private bath with newly remodeled shower area. Bonus tandem room. Cedar ceiling. Furnace replaced 2 years ago. 1 car garage.
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.00
Square feet: 1,162
Price: $104,500

For more information about this property, please contact The Terri & Kieron Team at 847-557-8528 or You can also text 2069384 to 67299.

See more listings at:

MLS ID: 08637857