Author - Tom Brown

Small sparrow realty

My name is Tom Brown and I have been a real estate professional in Chicago since 2003. Originally I was on the commercial side doing large scale industrial developments, then moved to condos in 2007 and in the aftermath of the financial crisis, I started a residential real estate development/brokerage business called New Urban. I had an idea to build a better way to search for properties by school boundary, and I bid out my idea priced to several professional website developers; the price tag inspired me to learn how to code myself. So now I am a residential real estate professional and a coder, and I wrote every line of code that makes up SchoolSparrow.com. I originally built SchoolSparrow.com to help parents find the top 30 CPS neighborhood schools that have homes for sale (or rent) right now within their specified budget, and with their specified minimum number of bedrooms. Since then I have questioned what is the definition of a "top school", and does a test score really define the quality of the school? Test scores seem to be correlated with the incomes of the parents at the school, so a high test score at a school can certainly tell us the incomes of the parents are likely high as well, but does it tell us the teaching at the school is even above average? I don't know. This is why we recently layered in an ECD ranking system. If you want to see how CPS schools rank on the ECD score, simply conduct a Top 30 Search and click the ECD? checkbox. I guarantee you will see schools that you have never heard of....and personally I would like to hear more about why these particular schools are seeing high test scores from students who are economically challenged.

To Sell or Not To Sell? Here Are Questions to Help!

Many people in Chicago are ready to sell their current homes and move on, but a home sale in this current real estate climate is, shall we say, not ideal.  If you are struggling with what to do with your current Chicago home, then the answers to these questions might help you navigate your situation:

1.  On paper, how much of a mortgage can you afford for a new home if you do NOT sell your current home?  


On paper, the bank is not going to count rental income on your current ho...

Posted on September 28, 2012 at 8:00 AM by Tom Brown