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Nature Nights at the Chicago Botanic Garden

by Allyson Hoffman

August 1, 2015

Chicago Botanic Gardens, Glencoe, Illinois

For an ideal summertime family outing, consider a Nature Nights adventure at the beautiful Chicago Botanic Garden. Activities, both educational and entertaining, aimed specifically for children 4 years and up, can be found at the Botanic Garden.

The Nature Nights programs have just the right mix of physical activity and participation events to engage even younger children. They can enjoy a tram ride, planting project, campfire fellowship, and making s’mores!  Programs include intriguing titles such as “Harnessing the Fire”, which teaches the history of the use of fire by Native Americans, and “Seed Scatter”, which teaches interesting and unique methods of plant propagation by seed dispersal and even includes seeds for participants to scatter at home.

Many people like to experience the Gardens not only during different seasons but different times of day and evening. The Nature Nights after-hours program is one of the few times one may visit at night with its unique appeal for both adults and children. Be prepared to roam the grounds and enjoy the calm beauty of the Garden at night.

A maximum of three children aged 4 through 10 may register per adult supervisor, and they must be accompanied by that adult at all times. The non-member admission fee per child is $26.  Children attending with Garden Plus members receive a 20% discount. Since attendance is limited, all children must be registered to attend. For more information, and to download registration forms, please click here.

Families are encouraged to bring a picnic basket.  Desserts will be provided. Participants are asked to dress appropriately for the weather and comfort during the outdoor activities. So gather the whole family, and spend a fun and educational evening at Nature Nights this Saturday.

Where:  Chicago Botanic Gardens, Glencoe, Illinois

When:   August 1, 2015 from 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM

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.

Image courtesy of Matthew Hoelscher/Flickr.com

Lollapalooza

by Allyson Hoffman

July 31 - August 2, 2015

Historic Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois

People from near and far are gearing up for this year’s Lollapalooza event.  The wildly-popular happening is far from just a music festival, but offers an all-out experience, on so many levels.  You are invited to come out to historic Grant Park to indulge in this spectacular 3-day cultural event.

Lollapalooza will feature Chow Town, a Farmers Market, Green Street, Lolla Cares, Kidzapalooza, and an entire weekend of headliner musical acts.  For starters, Chow Town offers a wide variety of the “best food in the world”.  From turkey legs to funnel cakes, there is certain to be a food to suit the fancy of all.  For

the more health-conscious festival goers, the Farmers Market will be selling the best locally-sourced festival fare. Be sure to fill up ... you will need plenty of energy to shop the local, regional, and national artisans of Green Street, prior to visiting Lolla Cares for an educational lesson on how to become more environmentally-aware.  Children can partake in the Kidzapalooza event within the festival.  As a family, you can partake in various activities, including hands-on arts and crafts and much more. Headlining this year’s event will be Sir Paul McCartney.  He will be joined by the likes of Metallica, Of Monsters and Men, Florence + the Machine, and Sam Smith, just to mention a few. 

Admission to Lollapalooza ranges in price, dependent on the desired package chosen. To view your ticket purchasing options and to buy them online, please click here.

The annual Lollapalooza spectacular will be here before you know it.  So, be sure to purchase your tickets today in order to join friends, neighbors, and people from around the country, looking to indulge in one of the most famous music festivals in the entire world!

Where: Historic Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois

When:

-Friday July 31st from 11:30 AM-10:00 PM
-Saturday August 1st from 11:30 AM-10:00 PM
-Sunday August 2nd from 11:30 AM-10:00 PM

For more information regarding the Lollapalooza 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 Pablo2662x11/commons.wikimedia.org.

Determining How Long It Will Take To Sell Your Home

by Allyson Hoffman

Many markets have witnessed a glut of homes with reduced numbers of willing and able buyers. If you are considering selling your home, you may reasonably wonder how long it will take. This can depend on a variety of factors. Among those factors is the status of the current market and the number of available homes versus the number of active, qualified buyers.

The buying market today differs from past years. In most cases, once buyers decide to buy a home, they begin a research process before actually starting to look at properties. To understand how long it may take for your home to sell, it is also important to understand the buyers approach in searching for the right house. Most buyers today first begin their search online with over 90% initially using those resources. For this reason, the significance of curb appeal, how your home looks from the street and the first impression it creates, is critical to marketing and selling a home. But before a prospective buyer even sees the exterior of your home in person, they will almost inevitably have already viewed it online. Thus, the importance of online marketing is crucial.

Homes lacking a positive online appearance are likely to be disregarded by prospective buyers. Therefore, if your home is not marketed to its fullest potential online, this could significantly increase your market time. Fortunately, there are options to assist in maximizing your online appeal.

The importance of your home's photographic appeal cannot be stressed strongly enough. Make certain that the interior and exterior of your home are neat and tidy in all photographs. Consider the position of the sun, glare, shadowing, etc. to ensure that only quality photographs of your home are posted online. Using a professional photographer and possibly also a professional stager, if your budget permits, can dramatically improve your online odds of capturing buyer interest and make the difference between a short market time or languishing on the market.

By working together, we can come up with a customized marketing plan that will maximize your home’s appeal to potential buyers and increase your chances of a quick sale. For an example of how online marketing can maximize your home’s appeal, feel free to visit this custom property website at www.743Endicott.com and then feel free to contact me today to discuss how a similar approach may benefit you in the sale of your North Shore, North or Northwest Suburban Chicago home. 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.

Photography courtesy of Palo Dobrik Photography, www.PaloDobrik.com

26th Annual North Shore Festival of Art

by Allyson Hoffman

July 25-26, 2015

Westfield Old Orchard Mall, Skokie, Illinois

Those who appreciate fine art will want to take a trip to Skokie, Illinois this weekend. The 26th Annual North Shore Art Festival will take place at Skokie’s Westfield Old Orchard Mall this Saturday and Sunday. The Mall, situated in a pleasant park-like setting, is a favorite of the citizens of Chicago for year-round shopping and special events. The 150 artists selected through the rigorous jury process ensure many fine art selections in various mediums – paint, photography, ceramics, glass, jewelry, sculpture and furniture. In addition to the juried artists’ selections, there are many premier stores to provide an excellent weekend family shopping experience.

The outdoor setting of the exhibit lends a special ambience to the festival, which is located at the north end parking lot and throughout the court of the Mall. Live music will be provided, and additional festival activities include children’s art events, such as Art Bingo and the creative color station where they may create their own artwork. Adults may participate in a still-life photography contest and enter a drawing for Art Bucks, which may be used to purchase art at the Amdur Production festivals.

Dining is also available in the plaza-like atmosphere of the Mall, where various options include seafood, Japanese, Italian, and Mexican cuisine, as well as selections from tea rooms, sandwich shops, and cafes.

The North shore Festival of Art has become an iconic event in Chicago. Don’t miss an opportunity for a family-oriented weekend of art, shopping and fun at Westfield Old Orchard Mall!

Where:  Westfield Old Orchard Mall, Skokie, Illinois

When:  July 25-26, 2015 from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

For more information regarding the 26th Annual North Shore Festival of Art, 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.

Image courtesy of Ben Rossell/Flickr.com

Grilling Safety Reminders

by Allyson Hoffman

Warm weather brings many pleasant outdoor activities, and one of the most popular is outdoor cooking. Enthusiasts would likely agree that almost nothing beats the taste of foods cooked on the grill while also providing the opportunity to enjoy relaxing family time. But before firing up the grill, consider these basic safety concerns:

Gas grills

With any gas appliance, some components deteriorate over time, even when infrequently used. Even a stored grill that is not exposed to the elements may be suspect due to erosion of critical parts. Whether your gas grill is brand new or used, simple checks can reassure you of safety. For gas grills, periodically check hoses for leaks to avoid potential catastrophic accidents. Hoses checks are typically easy using a soap and water method.  Next, be sure to check the connectors and tighten if loose. Should a gas leak be detected, do not use the appliance until it has been serviced by a professional. For any lingering odor of gas, immediately notify the fire department and avoid close proximity to the grill.

Charcoal grills

Many times the entire family is nearby when cooking on the grill.  So care should be taken with lighter fluid, matches or igniters, especially if there are small children present. Definitely make a point of placing potentially hazardous items well out of the children’s reach and never add lighter fluid to an existing flame.  Many accidents have resulted from this common practice.  Be sure to only use only charcoal lighter fluid or alternately, try newer and safer methods such as newspaper chimney starters and electric igniters, for example. Be certain any extension cords are rated for outdoor use and position your grill away from structures or low-hanging tree branches.

Most importantly, be cautious and attentive at all times when using grills of any type to assure that your summer get-togethers safe!

For additional information, please contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home in Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs.

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 Pixabay.com/dotlizard

June 2015 Midwest Real Estate Market Reports

by Allyson Hoffman

The June 2015 Midwest Real Estate Market Reports are now ready for your review. These market reports provide an insight on the real estate market statistics for Cook County and Lake County. These statistics are helpful when you are considering buying or selling in today’s real estate market.  And, remember should you need tailored reports on a subdivision or neighborhood in the North Shore, North and Northwest Suburban Chicago, Illinois area, please let me know.

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.

Into the Woods

by Allyson Hoffman

July 18, 2015

Ethel M. Barber Theatre, Evanston, Illinois

Definitely a not-for-children fairytale, “Into the Woods” employs fairytale characters in an often dark study of human behavior. Originally performed on Broadway, this Stephen Sondheim musical is a humorously realistic morality play with well-loved children’s fairytale characters in a fantasy setting. During the second act the play takes a dark turn, when some less than desirable human traits begin to emerge.

The premise is a conglomeration of Grimm’s stories with familiar names: Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, the Wolf, Rapunzel, Prince Charming, and of course, the Witch. The plot consists of the baker and his wife’s desire to have children, which has been prevented by the Witch’s curse. Their negotiations with the Witch require that they fulfill her commands and reverse the curse by procuring items from the fairytale characters in the magical woods.

During their endeavor they discover that all is not as suggested by the original stories. The reality of the modern world intrudes into their fairytale and it develops into complex and many layered interactions. A happy-ever-after ending cannot be assumed – in fact, the lesson becomes “be careful what you wish for”.

Meant for sophisticated audiences, “Into the Woods” may not be appropriate for children younger than teens. Many feel that Sondheim’s work is an acquired taste, however, the story’s humorous treatment of character relationships and fairytale subjects has been viewed as highly entertaining. 

The Ethel M. Barber Theatre is located at Northwestern University and this play is a production of the School of Communication Department’s performing arts. Admission to “Into the Woods” ranges from $5.00 to $30.00 per person. For ticket information, please click here.

Where:   Ethel M. Barber Theatre, Evanston, Illinois

When:    July 18, 2015 at 7:30 PM

For more information regarding “Into the Woods”, 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.

Image courtesy of Steve Czajka/Flickr.com

Kitchen Renovations on a Budget

by Allyson Hoffman

If you’ve ever considered sprucing up a tired kitchen, or have found a house you love, but the kitchen needs some improvement, you may consider remodeling. The kitchen, often known as the heart of the home, can truly make a difference in how you feel about a house.

With a little time, creativity, and elbow grease, fixing up your kitchen on a small budget is possible. While full kitchen renovations can be expensive and often cost upwards from $15,000-$20,000, there are many ways to get a new look in your kitchen for a lot less money.

Start by taking a good look at your current kitchen or the one you want to change. Identify what needs to be modified.  If you’ll want to open up a galley kitchen by removing walls or relocate fixtures, these types of renovations will certainly cost more than smaller jobs.  For ideas on a range of kitchen projects, you may find watching home improvement videos a great help.

One of the easiest and least costly projects includes a good cleaning and new paint job. Fresh paint in an attractive color can do wonders for making a kitchen look new again. Even dated cabinets that are in otherwise in good shape can be painted instead of replacing them. Small touches, like new cabinet hardware, are generally quite affordable and can have a big impact. New appliances, which can often be purchased at discounted package pricing, and new fixtures or window treatments can also add a modern look and brighten your space.

Another possible inexpensive modification includes expanding storage space. If you have wasted space, shelves or cabinets may be added to free up countertops and help control clutter.

A large part of a kitchen remodel budget is the labor cost. So if you are handy, whenever possible, do the smaller jobs yourself and save remodeling dollars for the harder, major renovation work. You can find helpful instructions online on how to do many of the easier tasks.

Remember that even small, inexpensive renovations can turn a tired kitchen into your home’s showplace and help you get top dollar when you are ready to sell. For additional pointers about preparing your home for sale or the selling process, 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.   

Image courtesy of Nancy Hugo, CKD/Flickr.com

Taste of Chicago

by Allyson Hoffman

July 8-12, 2015

Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois

Summertime is here, and that means it’s time for Taste of Chicago! Imagine if you can, almost three million people making plans to attend the world’s largest food festival. There will be something for everyone – from classic Chicago pizza, hot dogs, ribs, and cheesecake --to gourmet, international, ethnic and exotic cuisine. In fact you can celebrate 35 years of both Taste of Chicago and Eli’s Cheesecake at this year’s festival – they’ve come a long way from the casual one-day event on North Michigan in 1980.   

This year Grant Park will be filled to capacity over the five days of the festival, with attendees enjoying over 70 restaurants, including eight new ones and five new food trucks. Whether you choose gourmet meals prepared by celebrity chefs, or desire vegetarian or gluten-free, it’s all available. If you prefer a seated, air-conditioned dining experience, the Gourmet Dining Pavilion offers just that, via Pure Leaf Celebrity Chef du Jour. This event offers a 3-course meal in the beautifully decorated Pavilion. When the celebrity chefs are not cooking specifically for you, they will be conducting demonstrations to the public.

Taste of Chicago offers even more than its fabulous food. There will be musical entertainment at the Perillo Music Shell and the Bud Light Stage with different musicians performing each of the festival’s five days. For information about performers and schedules, please click here. Tickets for concerts at the Perillo Music Shell are $50.00 per person, while seating on the lawn is free with a seating capacity of 30,000.

One additional attraction includes Fashion Focus Chicago Makers Market offering designer art, apparel and accessories for all family members. For children, the Kids Zone sponsors the Disney Radio Tryathalon, which promotes good nutrition and encourages physical activity through challenges children will enjoy.  Starting on Sunday at 10:00 AM children can also participate in the Fleet Feet Sport Kids Dash.

Admission to Taste of Chicago is free, although "Taste Tickets" must be bought to purchase food and drinks during the 5-day event (cash is not accepted.) Concert tickets and some events require purchase in advance. For ticket information, please click here.

Bring the whole family to experience one of Chicago’s hottest summer attractions! Taste of Chicago is one event you won’t soon forget.

Where: Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois

When:  July 8-10, 2015 from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM

            July 11-12, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM

For more information regarding Taste of Chicago, 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
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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. 

Image courtesy of Angel Ganev/Flickr.com

Have You Considered Downsizing Your Home?

by Allyson Hoffman

Average home sizes have risen over 1000 square feet in the last 30 years. In 2013, the average size of new houses reached an all-time high of 2,679 square feet. While larger homes can be great for families, they are not necessarily ideal for those whose kids have grown and moved out. So if you now have that excess space to clean and maintain, it may be a good time to consider downsizing your home

To determine if you are ready to move to a smaller space, you may want to consider a few of the following possible reasons for downsizing.

Convenience and accessibility may become issues at some future point. As many homeowners age, getting around easily is not always as simple as when they were younger. So a second floor master suite may not really be suitable anymore. A smaller, one story home designed for easy access could provide the conveniences for remaining independent as you age.

Consider whether your home still suits your lifestyle. If you find yourself wondering why you even have a formal dining room, or if you’ll ever use that fourth bedroom again, it might be time for a change that downsizing can overcome.

Larger homes certainly require more work to maintain than their smaller counterparts. Consider whether extra rooms or a large yard that take a lot of time to clean and keep in good shape is worth the time, energy and effort to retain. In addition, consider the costs of hiring help for maintenance, yard work and/or repairs.

Your family and friends may have already moved from your neighborhood into smaller homes. When the people you care about and socialize with have moved on with their lives, it may be time for you to move on too.

If you conclude that downsizing is right for you, now may be great time to start the process. For additional information about the steps or for help in laying out a plan designed for your needs, feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, 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.   

Image courtesy of Don Graham/Flickr.com

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 594

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Glenview IL 60025
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