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Fairy/Miniature Gardening Seminar and Workshop

by Allyson Hoffman

April 19, 2014

Hawthorn Gardens, Hawthorn Woods, Illinois

Hawthorn Gardens invites you and your family this Saturday to participate in a seminar and workshop, learning how to create a miniature garden that invites fairy visitors.  An up and coming, super-trendy gardening technique, fairy gardening is not only easy, but fun for the whole family.

With just a little heartfelt faith, your family can create a one-of-a-kind miniature garden, summoning the fairies to come.  A fairy garden can be of any size or shape, ranging from a sprawling landscape, to a large planter.  The main ingredients in constructing your garden are imagination, creativity, and uniqueness.  Your garden can incorporate items such as flowers, feeders, statues, fountains, stones, and more.  Set your imagination free. 

The Fairy/Miniature Gardening Seminar is free for your entire family to attend.  If you choose to participate in the Workshop, you will purchase only the items that you want to incorporate into your garden. To attend this event, please click here to register your family.

Regardless of whether you anticipate attending the seminar, workshop, or both, bring the entire family to Hawthorn Gardens this Saturday to learn about the newest trend in gardening.  The creation of a miniature fairy garden promises to provide a magical experience, in your own backyard.

Where: Hawthorn Gardens, Hawthorn Woods, Illinois

When: Saturday April 19, 10:00 AM-1:00 PM 

For more information regarding the Fairy/Miniature Gardening Seminar and Workshop event, please click here.

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy of CaliforniaClipper/deviantart.com.

Spring is in the air. After a long winter, warmer weather signals the time spruce up the yard and your home’s exterior. Whether you do this yourself or hire a professional landscaper or contractor, it is especially important for anyone planning to put a home on the market in the next few months.

Any investment in exterior improvements should be considered as a part of your marketing expenses.  Because your home’s exterior and landscape are first things a buyer notes, looking good from the street is critical to making that one-time first impression a good one.  While landscaping may not add a ton of value, it will help to attract more potential buyers creating a faster sale that’s closer to asking price.

Here are three things you can do to enhance your home’s curb appeal.

Make Your Grass Truly Green

Do your best to avoid an unkempt yard full of bare patches and brown spots. Transform your lawn with added seed, aerating, and nutrients.  If weeds are a problem, spray to eliminate them and be sure to provide enough water to promote growth of a lush healthy lawn.  Most of what is needed can easily be found at the local Home and Garden store.  So if you do this yourself, check with the professional sales staff for recommendations regarding a watering and fertilization schedule that suits your type of grass.  Follow through should produce quick changes in appearance, so be diligent for the best results.

Add New Flowerbeds or Refresh Existing Ones

Well-kept flowerbeds provide remarkable accents to even the drabbest of homes.  So a relatively modest investment of time and money can turn the exterior of your home into a colorful, attractive showplace. If your budget is limited, select the annual varieties of flowers. They are usually inexpensive and easy to grow.  While they only last a season, they are, nonetheless, lovely.  For those homeowners with an especially long driveway or an expansive yard, consider adding new flowerbeds to define the large space making it clearly more attractive to passersby and prospective buyers.

Utilize Exterior Lighting to Attract Nighttime Traffic

Not every potential buyer drives by during the day. Adding exterior lighting to your home can highlight its best features even after the sun goes down.  If you choose to install the lighting system yourself using standalone floods, the cost will be minimal. Professional installation that involves wiring can cost thousands. Regardless of which method you choose, make sure you highlight attractive features like old-growth trees, flowering shrubs, your newly painted shutters, etc. Don’t just aim them at random.

Doing these three simple things should clearly enhance the overall curb appeal of your home … and if you choose to do more, all the better! It’s all up to you and your budget.  For input on ideas, feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have and/or help you determine the value of your home.

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy of Photo Dean at Flickr.com.

Schoolhouse Rock Live

by Allyson Hoffman

April 12 & 13, 2014

Marriott Lincolnshire Resort Theatre, Lincolnshire, Illinois

Many of us remember the 1970’s morning cartoon series that introduced history, grammar, math, science and more. The Emmy Award-winning Schoolhouse Rock pop culture phenomenon is taking its show to the stage. The Schoolhouse Rock Live event is coming to the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort Theatre this weekend.

Schoolhouse Rock was the brainchild of a father who realized his son could very easily memorize the tunes being played on the radio, but struggled to memorize anything school-related.  He was inspired to develop a teaching method and television series around the concept of educating children through music.

Well, the hit series is making an enormous comeback, instructing a whole new generation to “Unpack Their Adjectives” and “Do the Circulations”. The event is taking the country by storm, lighting up stages, educating children and bringing nostalgia to “Generation X-er’s”.

Admission price for this must-attend event is $87.50.  The event is being held on both Saturday, and Sunday morning.  To view a seating chart and purchase your tickets online for Saturday’s showing, please click here.  For Sunday’s event, please click here.

This weekend the Schoolhouse Rock Live event will be lighting up faces of both young and old. Schoolhouse Rock prides itself on providing a delightful experience for the entire family with good, clean, educational fun. So, this weekend you can indulge in the past, while children prepare for their future!

Where: Marriott Lincolnshire Resort Theatre, Lincolnshire, Illinois

When: Saturday April 12, 10:00 AM and Sunday April 13, 10:00 AM

For more information regarding the Schoolhouse Rock Live event, please click here.

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy of pixabay/pixabay.com.

How Clean is Clean Enough When You Move Out of Your Home?

by Allyson Hoffman

Once you have sold your home and loaded all your belongings onto the moving truck, you might feel that you are done with your old home, but common courtesy and local real estate contracts typically dictate that you leave your old home “broom” or “vacuum” clean for the new owners.

Many homeowners choose to hire a professional cleaning service to take care of the post-move cleaning due to the fact that they already have enough on their proverbial plate, but if you choose to take on the task of preparing your home for its new owners, here’s an easy checklist to follow before locking the doors for the last time.

Clean Any Appliances That Will Remain with the Home

If the stove, refrigerator and any other appliances will stay with the home, they must be emptied and should be cleaned. Make sure to remove all items from the refrigerator, defrost the freezer and wipe down all the shelving. As for the stove, remove the heating elements along the range and clean the drip pans thoroughly as well as the interior of the oven.

Scrub and Wipe Down All Surfaces in the Kitchen

Break out the cleaning supplies and go to work on the countertops, sinks and cabinets. This might seem arduous, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to clean a kitchen when there are no utensils, pots and pans or cutting boards in the way.

Clean the Bathrooms Thoroughly

Once you have removed everything from your bathrooms, clean them thoroughly. Like the kitchen, this is remarkably easy once bathrooms are empty.

Dust Everything

Dust any fixtures and blinds that will remain with the home. Don’t forget to run a cloth along the wainscot and baseboards.

Wash the Walls

If you notice any stains along the walls – some that may have been hiding behind furniture – clean them to the best of your ability.  A Magic Eraser that can be purchased at the grocery store does absolute wonders.  Also a multi-surface cleaner and a few paper towels should satisfy the requirements of this common courtesy.

Clean the Floors

Here’s where the terms “broom” and “vacuum” clean originates. The last thing you do before walking out of your old home is to clean the floors. Sweep and mop any hard surfaces and vacuum any carpets.

There’s no law or rule regarding how clean you should leave your home for its new owners and it is more than understandable if you do not want to spend too much time cleaning something that is no longer yours, but if you expect your new home to be clean when you begin the move-in process, you should extend the same courtesy to the new owners of your home. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to help you begin the process of selling your home and/or finding a new one.

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Picture courtesy of YuYuYu8 at Flickr.com.

Eggs to Chicks

by Allyson Hoffman

April 5, 2014

Kohls Children’s Museum, Glenview, Illinois

The Kohls Children’s Museum invites your entire family to their 13th consecutive year of hosting the very popular Eggs to Chicks event.  Eggs to Chicks offers a delightful “eggs-hibit” for “peep-le” of all ages. 

The event features an egg incubator, hatching unit, and a newborn chick pen, all at a child’s height. Your entire family will be astounded as the ever-so-fragile eggs begin to crack, under the light of the incubator. Upon arrival, the chicks are moved to a pen, joining their other newly-born friends.  As the chicks grow, they are delivered to various farms for future egg production, and species repopulation.

This very special event will highlight 2 different species of chicken eggs, allowing your family to observe and note the differences in color, and behaviors of the breeds.  This year, the Black Java and the White Java chicken strains will be featured.  Both breeds were on the endangered species list less than a decade ago.  But in thanks to the repopulation movement, they are now flourishing, and have been removed from the list. 

The Eggs to Chicks event costs only $11.00 for both adults and children, $10.00 for seniors, and is free of charge for children 12 months of age, or younger. To purchase your tickets online, please click here.

This Saturday visit Kohls Children’s Museum to witness the amazing feat of a baby chick fighting its way through a fragile eggshell, in search of his or her new beginning. 

Where:  Kohls Children’s Museum, Glenview, Illinois

When: Saturday April 5th from 9:30 AM-5:00 PM

For more information regarding the Eggs to Chicks event, please click here.

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy of ruben alexander/flickr.com.

Five Ways to Boost Your Credit Score before Applying for Home Loan

by Allyson Hoffman

In today’s market, your credit score is more important than ever. A difference of just a few points can mean a lower interest rate saving you thousands of dollars over the life of a loan or the difference between an approval and denial of your loan application.

That is why doing everything possible to maintain a good credit score or boost it in the months leading up to applying for a home loan is so important.

Here are five things to consider that could potentially boost your credit score:

Check the Accuracy of Your Credit Reports

By law you are allowed to request one free credit report each year. So request your credit report several months before you intend to apply for a loan. According to an eight-year study released by the FTC, 25% of consumers identified errors when they reviewed their credit reports. That’s a staggering number when you consider that even a small error can have a significant impact on your credit score.  So dispute inaccuracies in your report and keep in mind that credit monitoring agencies are required to address any disputes in a timely manner.  Make sure to review your report from all three credit agencies for accuracy.

Reduce Your Credit Card Balances

Lenders typically consider large credit card balances as red flags. If you use credit cards regularly and don’t pay off the bills each month, try to reduce your outstanding balances to no more than 30% your borrowing limit.  Ideally, this should be done at least a few months prior to applying for a loan.

Ask for Late Payment Forgiveness

At one time or another, most of us have been late paying a bill.  Most people are unaware that they can request a “goodwill deletion” from a company and remove the black mark from their credit report entirely. Many companies are willing to do this for customers, especially if the late payment was a one-time occurrence.

Keep Your Accounts Open

Reducing credit card debt is good; but closing credit card accounts can be bad. Length of credit history factors into your overall credit score and can account for as much as 15 percent of the total number. So if you close old, established credit accounts, your credit score could suffer even though you have less debt.

Pay All Bills on Time

Recent activity is weighted more heavily in credit scoring than things in the past.  So even if you had previous dings your credit history, by paying your bills on time and in full now, hopefully for several months before applying for a loan, your credit profile may improve.  This will demonstrate to lenders that you a responsible credit risk and may also slightly boost your credit score.

Because repairing damaged credit takes time, it is wise to get started early – at least three to six months before you plan to buy a home.  That will give your efforts time to bear fruit. If you are ready to act soon, contact me today for a consultation. I will happy to answer any questions you may have and/or help you find your dream home.

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy of Simon Cunningham at Flickr.com.

 

Gumballs and Superballs

by Allyson Hoffman

March 29, 2014

Weekend Family Class

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

This weekend’s family class offers your family hands-on activities and interactive participation unravelling the origin of gumballs and superballs. You’ll study the rainforest to find your answers since the primary ingredient in both the gumballs and superballs comes from certain trees, only to be found in the rainforest.  A milky fluid, the consistency of honey is needed and harvested by tapping the trees. You’ll discover the various trees that are tapped, and the process used to make chewing gum and rubber from the collected fluids.

In addition to learning the history behind gumballs and superballs, your family will have the opportunity to create both and take home your creations to chew or bounce -- at your leisure. 

Registration to attend the Weekend Family Class: Gumballs and Superballs costs $22.00 for non-member children.  Garden plus members receive a 20% discount.  To register your family online, please click here.

When: Saturday March 29th, 9:30AM

Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

For more information on the Weekend Family Class:  Gumballs and Superballs, please click here.

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy of Mykl Roventine/flickr.com.

5 Signs it Might Be Time to Downsize

by Allyson Hoffman

Downsizing is becoming an increasingly popular option among a wide range of people – not just retirees. Perhaps enduring and surviving the recent recession has proven that less can sometimes be more.

Downsizing your home and your life is a big step.

Here are five signs that might indicate downsizing might be right for you.

Your Home is Too Big

Bigger is not always better. At some point, more rooms just become more empty rooms. Have you passed the point where you need a four-bedroom, four-bath home? Have all your children moved away? Are there rooms in your home you have not visited in months? If your home is simply too big, it might be time to consider a smaller, more manageable home.

Maintaining Your Home has become a Chore

If you find yourself spending way too much time cleaning, doing yard work or skimming the pool no one swims in, it might be time to downsize. Why spend valuable time, money and energy maintaining your home when maintenance-free options can eliminate most external maintenance through a homeowner or condo association.

The Financial Burden is Too Great

If you have you recently retired, had a reduction in income or unanticipated new expenses such as medical bills that are putting a strain on your finances, downsizing may relieve some of the drain.  Perhaps you’re just tired of mortgage payments and monthly utility bills.  Either way, scaling back on square footage is likely to reduce your costs.

You Want to Move Closer to Family

Family is important.  One’s desire to be close, especially to children and grandchildren who may live in other parts of the country, provides a great opportunity to explore new areas. Since there is an abundance of small homes in nearly every city in America, this may be the perfect time to reduce your overhead space and gain back some family time.

You Can Realize a Large Profit from the Sale of Your Home

Now might be the time to cash in. If you’ve owned your home for 15 or more year, your original investment may now yield a tidy profit.  So contact your local Realtor for a market study that lets you know your home’s value.

Downsizing from a larger home to a smaller home or condo can be a remarkably freeing experience. If you are ready to try a smaller, more manageable home, you may be surprised how much easier life is. Contact me today if you are ready to downsize. I will be happy to get the process started and/or help you find your next dream home.

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy of jborger at Flickr.com.

Wilmette Illinois Family History Fair

by Allyson Hoffman

March 22, 2014

Wilmette Illinois Family History Center, Wilmette, Illinois

Are you and your family prepared to embark on a fascinating journey through your genealogy?  Come out this Saturday to participate in the Wilmette Illinois Family History Fair.  The theme for this year’s event is “Stories that Bring Us Together”, and promises to unravel your past, right before your eyes. Learn about where you have come from, where your ancestors originated, and who your relatives are.

This free, all-day event features local genealogy expert speakers, video workshops, and intriguing content from RootsTech 2014.  RootsTech is a global family history company offering people of all ages the ability to discover and share family stories and connections, through technology.  Hands-on activities will be available for while adults can view the numerous exhibit booths.

The Family History Fair event will focus on the power of storytelling as a means to strengthening and unifying families.  Storytelling relays valuable and intimate information from one generation to the next.  While documentation is absolutely a valuable resource in recording your life history, there is nothing more powerful than spoken words between family members who relay this exclusive information.

The Family History Center will be open all day for families to browse and conduct research.  Lunch will also be offered so families can discuss what they have learned. So bring the entire family to the History Fair for what is sure to be an eye-opening experience and reveal the mystifications of your past!

When: Saturday March 22, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM 

Where: Wilmette Illinois Family History Center, 2727 Lake Avenue, Wilmette, Illinois

For more information regarding the Wilmette Illinois Family History Center Family History Fair, please click here

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

Facebook
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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy of Family Art Studio/flickr.com.

Preparing for a Home Inspection

by Allyson Hoffman

One part of the customary process in selling a home includes the home inspection. It is an opportunity for the buyer to verify the overall condition of home – from its structure and systems to its appliances and more.  Buyers want no unwelcome surprises.

For good reason, home inspections create some anxiety for many sellers. What if they find something wrong? What if the buyers back out?

Some anxiety is completely normal. After all, no matter how well you understand your home, no home is perfect, (not even brand new homes), so there’s always the chance of an unknown flaw or something you have overlooked or missed.

The possibility of surprises is actually quite common, so here are some suggestions to minimize issues and make the home inspector’s job of assessing your home easier.

Declutter Your Home

Inspectors don’t like to move or climb over things. Make sure that your attic, garage, mechanical systems and basement are accessible without effort.  For example, clean out under the sinks so that the inspector can easily view the pipes.  The inspection will take less time and the inspector will be in a more favorable mindset as a result of your cooperation.

Gather Any Necessary Paperwork

Home inspectors are less likely to raise red flags in a home that has regularly performed maintenance. So, if possible, gather all documents related to the maintenance of your home and place them in a binder. You can leave this binder on the table for the home inspector and buyer to review.

Unlock Doors and Gates

Make sure to unlock all doors and gates – including those to out buildings such as sheds and pool houses.  Locked doors and inaccessible areas add to concerns regarding hidden defects.

Clean Your Home

A dirty home does not imply structural or mechanical problems, but a clean home suggests that the owner takes pride in ownership and performs regular maintenance on the home. So, give your home the benefit of a thorough cleaning before the home inspector is scheduled to arrive.

Go Out to Lunch

Home inspectors prefer unrestricted freedom to do their jobs.  So don’t hover.  Give your buyer and their home inspector the space and ability to independently review and discuss the findings – keep in mind that home inspections are an educating as well as investigative tool for your buyer. 

Remember, making the inspection process easier and quick can work in your favor.  So do what you can to simplify the analysis of your home and enhance the likelihood of a favorable report.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I am happy to go over this information with you and help you start the process of selling your home.

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy of Chris Hemingway at Flickr.com.

 

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Licensed in the State of Illinois

Allyson Hoffman of RE/MAX Villager provides real estate services in 
Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs providing information on real estate and homes for sale in this Northern Illinois area.
 I list and sell residential real estate including freestanding homes, condominiums and townhomes as well as investment properties, vacant land and lots for sale in the
North Shore, North and Northwest Suburban Chicago, Illinois area in the northern Illinois.

 

This website is maintaned by Kim Hughes - Real Estate Virtual Assistant