Last year, builders sold more than 1.2 million new homes, thanks in part to some of the lowest mortgage interest rates in 40 years. Chicago remains one of the hottest new construction markets.

The median price of homes in Chicago rose to just over $230,000 last year. Recently, the National Association of Home Builders held it’s annual show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Some 1,300 suppliers showcased the latest in products and technology to more than 70,000 construction companies.

One trend that came through loud and clear is that new home buyers aren’t interested in cookie cutter construction. They’re interested in features that give them the feeling they’ve stepped up from their last home. So new quiet doors that shut out the sound of your teenager’s music habit, to more custom cabinetry, copper accents on windows and waterfalls that hang on the wall. The buzzword for this year’s show: unique.

For more information check out the website for the National Association of Home Builders.

To help you find someone to install all those unique details in your new home, or to find a better cell phone deal, pick up a copy of Chicago’s newest magazine, The Chicago Consumer’s Checkbook. For more information go to or you can pick it up on your newsstand for $10.

With the stock market in the doledrums, it’s tempting to say yes to something that sounds like a sure winner. Although I never say yes to anyone who calls me on the phone to pitch a product, sometimes I listen and I’m amazed at what I’m hearing. Hot tips for stocks and all sorts of investment advice, free days of newspaper delivery, solicitations for contributions to the local police and firefighter’s funds and of course, life insurance offers that can’t be beat.

What you have to remember is this: Don’t take hot tips from a cold call. You should never say yes to anyone who calls and pitches something to you over the phone or web.

It sounds exciting and you want more information, ask them to send you something in writing where, in the quiet privacy of your own home, you can decide what to do. But what I think you should do, every time is say no thanks, take me off your list. Your wallet will thank you.

Published: Feb 4, 2003