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The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival

by Allyson Hoffman

October 17-19, 2014

17 Highwood Avenue, Highwood, Illinois

This weekend, don’t miss downtown Highwood’s spectacular … The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival, benefitting Illinois individuals impacted by autism.  Join the masses and partake in celebrating the arrival of the fall season, Highwood Festival-style!

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival offers non-stop entertainment featuring hay rides, pumpkin bowling, a petting zoo, pony rides, carnival rides, trick or treating, a pumpkin maze, a “Light up the Night” New Orleans-inspired parade, and much more.  Children’s activities will complement adults’ shopping opportunities at the gourmet market which showcases seasonal food and drinks.  To view the full schedule of events by day, please click here.

Admission to The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival is $2.00 per person.  Wristbands for unlimited children’s activities can be purchased for $10.00 per child.  Tickets can be purchased at the door on the day or days of the event.

Returning for its fifth consecutive year, The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival promises to be even bigger and better than in any of past years.  So this weekend, treat your family to one of the area’s most highly-attended fall events that additionally benefits a great cause!

Where: 17 Highwood Avenue, Highwood, Illinois

When:

  • Friday October 17th from 4:00 PM-9:00 PM
  • Saturday October 18th from 11:00 AM-9:00 PM
  • Sunday October 19th from 11:00 AM-8:00 PM

For more information regarding The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival 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 Todd Heft/flickr.com.

5 Amazing Gadgets for Your Home

by Allyson Hoffman

Many of us know about the Roomba, the automated vacuum that cleans your floors for you, but what about using your smartphone to monitor your heat and air, or shut off any running water? Technology has a lot of applications, but making life easier should be one of the biggest reasons to implement these tools around your home.

You might start by considering these five amazing gadgets designed to make home life easier, and hopefully more productive.  And should you plan to sell your home in the future, these might be unique and sensible additions to give you a marketing edge against your competition.

Smart Washer

Leave it to LG, (Life's Good), to create something to make cleaning clothes easier. With their new Smart Washer, you can monitor loads and give your machine voice commands, all from your smartphone. Amazing, but that’s not all -- you can also remotely connect to an LG Smart TV which provides pop-up messages on your screen to signal when cycles finish.

Nest Thermostat

Heating and cooling typically have a huge impact on electric and gas bills. The Nest uses a Wi-Fi connection to permit remote temperature control via an iOS or Android device, such as a phone or tablet.   So, if you are looking for ways to save money, consider this investment.

New Technology Power2U AC/USB

This super plug combines the traditional electrical socket with four, high-powered USB 3.0/2.0 ports. For homeowners and families with tablets, smartphones, and all kinds of other gadgets, this eliminates clutter by offering the ability to eliminate many of those bulky power adapters or unsightly extension cords. Moreover, it's energy efficient!

1limit Faucet

Cost efficiency and water conservation combine in the 1limit Faucet. It fills up the clear, tubular top with exactly 1 liter of water and shows exactly how much water is consumed every time you use your faucet!

Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt

No more worries about lost or missing keys with the Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt.  It features Z-Wave wireless protocol to unlock your deadbolt from a touchpad or a smartphone. It also provides a built-in alarm system with varying volume levels. A monthly subscription fee of $8.99, however, is required.

Energy efficiency and money saving features, popular with today’s buyers, will likely make these devices appeal to potential buyers.  So if you are thinking of buying or selling a North Shore, North or Northwest suburban Chicago home, please feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to discuss 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 Nest / Flickr

Fall Bulb Festival

by Allyson Hoffman

October 11-12, 2014

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

The Chicago Botanic Garden celebrates the arrival of fall at the Fall Bulb Festival.  The theme, “Think Spring,” will guide you while shopping for the bulbs that flower in springtime. 

On-going entertainment will accompany this unique fall bulb shopping experience. Cider, wine, and beer will be available while listening to live music on the Esplanade.  Local vendors will sell gourmet foods, pottery, soaps, pumpkins, and more.  A straw bale maze, leaf hunting, and many more activities will be available for children. 

The event’s main attraction, the annual bulb sale, will offer more than 200 varieties of daffodil, tulip, allium and specialty bulbs.  Additionally, there will be a variety of mums, asters, peonies, and potted amaryllis.

Hailed as one of the most popular, family-friendly days at the Garden, the Fall Bulb Festival has become an annual tradition for many gardeners.  Admission to this fantastically-fun happening is free.  So don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate this weekend at the Fall Bulb Festival extravaganza!

Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

When:

  • Saturday October 11th from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM
  • Sunday October 12th from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM

For more information regarding the Fall Bulb Festival 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 Pank Seelen/flickr.com.

Fall Home Maintenance

by Allyson Hoffman

As homeowners, we depend on the proper functioning of various systems within our homes, especially our heating system in the winter and air conditioner during those warm summer months, amongst others. The last thing needed is for one of these systems to fail during crucial times and to prevent this from happening, regular maintenance is essential.  This approach, in the long run, often saves money by avoiding otherwise costly repairs.

If you plan to sell your home taking care of these items is especially important.  So consider this list of maintenance tasks which can improve the efficiency and safety of your home, eliminate issues when the home is inspected by the buyers and protect your home’s value:

  • Make sure carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are operational
  • Schedule annual appointments for heating and air conditioning service and change HVAC filters regularly
  • Have your chimney cleaned prior to use at beginning of heating season
  • Check fire extinguisher expiration dates and replace or recharge as necessary
  • Inspect your home for potential fire hazards, such as defective electrical outlets and lint build up in your dryer exhaust vent
  • Test and reset GFI breakers
  • Look for gaps or inadequate insulation
  • Clean light fixtures, replace dim bulbs and/or switch to energy saving LED bulbs
  • Watch for worn components or leaks in the dishwasher, washing machine, ice maker or any other appliance using a water line
  • Replace or install weather stripping around doors and windows if needed, check for damage and repair caulk as needed
  • Schedule a pest control inspection – as the weather cools, critters look for warm places to shelter
  • Perform exterior maintenance including trimming shrubs and tree branches near the home and clean/repair gutters
  • Check and repair decks or any exterior steps for loose boards or nails

So be sure to set aside some time for annual fall maintenance tasks before cold weather arrives.  For additional tips on selling or buying in the fall or winter, 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 your home’s value.

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 Mark Hunter/Flickr.com

The Grove Folk Fest

by Allyson Hoffman

October 5, 2014

The Grove, Glenview, Illinois

Take a step back in time this weekend at The Grove Folk Fest event hosted by the area’s most unique outdoor history and nature museum, The Grove. This happening will offer an old-fashioned community get-together full of entertainment and reminiscent of the past.

The Grove Folk Fest event will feature live folk music, square dancing, and a hearty outdoor dining experience.  Be sure to partake in the nature walk, storytelling, brought to you courtesy of The Windy City Storytelling Guild, a hay-ride through the mature oak forests and past wetland pools, and a live performance by Native American flutists.  A vendor area will also include an array of merchants selling hand-made, one-of-a-kind gift items.

Admission to The Grove Folk Fest is $4.00 for adults and $1.00 for children ages 12 and under.  Tickets can be purchased at the door on the day of the event.

So visit The Grove this Sunday for an interactive opportunity to learn firsthand about times past at The Grove Folk Fest event!

Where: The Grove, Glenview, Illinois

When: Sunday October 5th from 11:00 AM-5:00 PM

For more information regarding The Grove Folk Fest 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 F Delventhal/Flickr.com

Refinancing with Bad Credit

by Allyson Hoffman

It's a fact of life … credit, bad or good, often controls one’s financial destiny.  So successfully mortgaging or refinancing with bad credit can be a tall order to fill.

When it comes to risk tolerance, mortgage lenders have strict guidelines.  Consequently, they’ll review your credit, your home equity and your debt-to-income ratio when assessing your ability to finance or refinance. While some lenders may extend more lenient funding, generally there are few options for borrowers with questionable credit.

A good first step to improve your potential for loan approval might include a credit review to address adverse or inaccurate entries – not the most novel idea, but a basic good practice.

If your credit shows late payments, the easy and obvious fix is to religiously pay bills on time.  Late bills or collections are devastating to your credit score.  So strive to amass some excess money each month that allows consistent on-time payments and faster reduction of principal on higher-interest rate loans.  This will reduce your debt-to-income ratio more quickly, keep credit cards controlled, potentially lower your mortgage balance while increasing home equity, and simultaneously improve your credit score which makes you more appealing to a lender.

Lastly, for those with credit scores between 620 and 640, consider discussing FHA financing with your lender. These government-insured loans are designed to help borrowers with lower income or credit scores.

While there’s no magic overnight fix to get your credit right, making a few small changes and sticking to a plan, increases the likelihood you’ll get the financing or refinancing you need. Feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I’ll be happy to discuss 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

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 Simon Cunningham/Flickr.com

Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival

by Allyson Hoffman

September 27 - 28, 2014

800 Church Street, Downtown Evanston, Evanston, Illinois

This weekend Amdur Productions will be, hosting a nationally-acclaimed arts festival extravaganza in downtown Evanston. The inaugural Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival event will feature juried art exhibits and provide unique gift items at a varied price points.

Amdur-hosted festivals, hailed as prestigious art events, showcase the works of only jury-selected exhibitors.  This weekend’s event in downtown Evanston will include some of the nation’s most highly-revered painters, sculptors, photographers, furniture-makers and many more.  Expect to find mixed media items, glass, handmade jewelry, wood, wearables, recycled art pieces, one-of-a-kind furniture and home accessories – amongst other displays.  Live music will add another dimension to the event, as will great food from Evanston’s many fantastic restaurants.

Attendance is free.  This Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival event is another example over 30 years of Amdur Productions’ top-rated and most highly-ranked art festivals in the county.  So this weekend, stop in and enjoy this art fair spectacular!

Where: 800 Church Street, Downtown Evanston, Evanston, Illinois

When:

  • Saturday September 27th from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • Sunday September 28th from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

For more information regarding the Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival 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!

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 Tim Hamilton/flickr.com.

You Sold Your House … What Happens Next?

by Allyson Hoffman

The papers have all been signed, the keys turned over to the new owner and your proceeds are available – the closing is over! Here are a few reminders for you after you sell your home.

  • Keep Your Paperwork!

As with any business transaction, and especially so in the case of a home, it's important to keep all the paperwork.  It may be needed for tax purposes or should any questions arise after the closing.

  • Speaking of Taxes

April 15 inevitably arrives much sooner than most taxpayers like.  So remember that documentation will simplify your accounting of expenses and the proceeds of sale. Also, keep in mind that you may be able to add the cost of improvements to your home completed during your ownership to the benefit of your tax position when you sell.  So retain documents, paperwork and receipts for that purpose or in the event that you're audited.

  • Change of Address

Did you know it's actually recommended that you complete a change of address form at least 30 days before you move? It's not always feasible, but it's something to think about when the time comes. Visit your local U.S. Postal Service location for free forms – and don’t forget to notify all your creditors, banks, etc.

  • Enjoy

Now that you’ve finally sold your home, regardless of the reason, move on with whatever adventures you have on the horizon -- whether that is a new location, new home, new job or new phase or life!

If you are thinking of selling your North Shore, North or Northwest Chicago Suburban home or buying a new one, don’t hesitate to contact me today for a free consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the buying or selling process.

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 seniwati/Flickr

Shermerfest

by Allyson Hoffman

Vintage Cars at Shermfest

Village Green Park -- Northbrook, Illinois

This weekend visit Northbrook’s Village Green Park and take a step back in time.  Shermerfest, a fun-filled community fall festival, will feature old-fashioned entertainment for all ages -- children, teens and adults.

Returning for its 36th consecutive year, the wildly-popular Shermerfest event is hosted by the Northbrook Historical Society.  It’s a classic, collectible, and antique car and truck show, Classic Northbrook, where visitors can browse a spectacular assemblage of rare and vintage vehicles. This genuine community event also includes a variety/magic show and games of yesteryear such as Pumpin Baggo or Bocce Ball for children to test their skills.  From the silent auction tables filled with items to bid on, donated by local merchants, to the live music, courtesy of The Legacy Girls, and edibles from hot dogs, to chips, soups and homemade sweets, Shermerfest is a FREE event designed for the entire family.  So this Sunday, be sure to check out Village Green Park and treat your family to an old-fashioned festival extravaganza.

Where: Village Green Park, Northbrook, Illinois

When: Sunday September 21st from 12:00 PM-4:00 PM

For more information regarding the Shermerfest 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 Oast House Archive/geograph.org.

Home Buying Myths

by Allyson Hoffman

Though there are no Bigfoot or Loch Ness monster stories to go along with home buying, there are still quite a few commonly believed myths out there that keep people confused about purchasing real estate.

So, let's dispel some of those tales.

Renting is Always Worse than Buying

Though rates are at their lowest point in 2014, it's a common myth that buying is always better than renting because you're investing in a personal property instead of investing in someone else's property. But that's not always the case. Depending on your location, renting can actually be a better choice. Why? In some expensive locations, Los Angeles or New York for example, it could cost you 24 times more to buy a home in the city than rent one. Or your personal situation might make flexibility more desirable.

Buying Bad Homes in Great Neighborhoods

You might think buying even the worst house in a great neighborhood is a good idea.  It’s true that you can fix a house, but you can't fix the company that surrounds it or fully-anticipate the expense and time required for the project. So, that's not always the best plan. While the do-it-yourself channel may show you how to make repairs, unless you are fully capable of doing them, you may end up paying more to fix the home than you initially expected.

Consequently, make sure you're ready for a fixer-upper if this is your chosen route to homeownership.

Proven Locations Only

Many folks seek a home in a well-established community known for its low crime rates, highly-rated schools and/or a convenient location.  But be sure to check out up-and-coming areas where hidden neighborhood gems can be acquired at more attractive prices.  

Contact me today for a consultation. I will be 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!

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google +1

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 Steven Martin / 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