September 26, 2023

How to buy a first home that's also an investment property

Many aspiring homeowners want to buy a home primarily to have a place to live, with long-term financial security a secondary benefit. But what if a first-time homebuyer is more interested in the investment aspect?

First-time homebuyers looking for an investment property can purchase a home to live in for a year and then rent it out, buy and live in one unit in a multifamily home, or buy a home to flip for a profit. By owning and investing in real estate, there’s potential for you to grow long-term wealth, and benefit from increased home equity and tax breaks. But an investment also may lose value — and you could forfeit your property if you can’t pay your mortgage.

Learn more by reading my first article for new client, available here.

September 18, 2023

A surefire sign Halloween season is upon us

How does a commercial haunted attraction stand out among the creepy crowd of other paid Halloween events? By focusing on the human elements that make its inhuman presentation so shockingly effective, that's how.

At a time when competitors are cutting jobs and turning to mass-produced props to save money, Midnight Terror Haunted House in Oak Lawn is relying on a tried-and-true approach to satisfying its customers: Hiring more staff and putting greater personalization into its scare tactics.

In fact, Chicagoland’s favorite Halloween destination will feature over 100 costumed actors in 2023, breaking last year’s record. Plus, there will be plenty more new custom animatronics, props, masks, and costumes—all unique and created on-site by a talented squad of artists whose sole task year-round is to invent and perfect the numerous creatures and characters that populate Midnight Terror.

Learn more about how this fright favorite in Chicagoland's south suburbs continues to conjure up big crowds by reading my latest article on the haunt, available here.

September 14, 2023

Cineversary podcast throws golden birthday party for American Graffiti

In Cineversary podcast episode #62, host Erik Martin sends golden birthday wishes to American Graffiti, directed by George Lucas. Riding shotgun with him for this 50th birthday party is Barna Donovan, film professor at Saint Peter’s University and author of several books on the cinema, including Conspiracy Films: A Tour of Dark Places in the American Conscious. Erik and Barna go cruising back to the early rock and roll era to explore the moviemaking, music, and messages behind American Graffiti, why this film is deserving of our attention five decades later, and what we can learn from the picture today.
Barna Donovan

To listen to this episode, click here or click the "play" button on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download, or subscribe to Cineversary wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, AudibleCastboxGoogle Podcasts, Pocket Casts, PodBean, RadioPublic, and Overcast.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at and email show comments or suggestions to

September 5, 2023

What rights does a loan co-signer have on your home or car?

Lack sufficient credit to qualify for a home loan, car loan, or another type of loan? You may be able to get that financing after all if you convince a co-signer to back the loan with you. But that conjures an important question: What rights does a co-signer have on a house? For that matter, what rights does a co-signer have on a car? And what co-signer rights apply to other property acquired via a loan?

Explore what it means to get and be a co-signer on a loan, the advantages and disadvantages of having a cosigned loan, co-signer rights to the property being financed, and what happens when a conflict involving the signer or co-signer emerges by reading my latest story for, available here.