Chicago's North Shore - North and Northwest Suburbs Real Estate

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Allyson Hoffman

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Make Your New Community Feel Like Home

by Allyson Hoffman

Starting over in a new community can be stressful.  It requires effort to make new friends, find the best places to eat, and to learn your way around. But, if you are willing venture out and explore, integrating into your new city doesn’t have to be daunting.  Here are a few tips to help you with the process:

  • The Essentials

Depending on your age and interests, what you consider essential will vary, but virtually everyone should know where to shop for groceries, pick up a prescription or get a good meal.  Beyond the essentials, what is important will certainly differ and finding these places is not really all that challenging.  We live in the internet age where a wealth of information on just about everything, including your new city, should be right at your fingertips.  So, initially, let your fingers do the walking.

  • Using the Internet

Start by checking out Google Maps. If you enter your address, a map of your area will pop up.  Type an asterisk (*) into the search field to find everything of interest in the area. For a more specific search, enter the information you are seeking, such as “Thai Restaurant”, “Pharmacy” or “Furniture Store”.  Matching results will display on the map and sidebar. The side bar will also show a star rating and contain a link to written reviews and the business’s website.  In addition, you can easily map a route from your home to any of these locations and to your place of business.

  • Ask for Advice

While the internet is great, it cannot replace the actual recommendations of people you trust. So if you know anyone in your new town or city, consider checking with those folks for information that the Internet cannot provide.  Also consider a social media shout out for local input on Facebook and/or Twitter asking for recommendations and advice about your new city. This will combine the power of the Internet with important native insights from those in the community.

  • Meet New People

While you can certainly discover great restaurants, entertainment venues, local parks and night spots in the city, nothing can replace having friends to share good times, increase your fun, and help to ease your adjustment to a new home and location.  So, make that concerted effort to personally connect with locals in your new city or town. 

  • Use Your Hobbies

Many friendships are rooted in shared interests. So, if you have a hobby, sports you enjoy, or other activity that drives your pleasure and time, use it to meet new friends. Whether it’s your golf game, children’s activities, or your love of music or painting, undoubtedly there are others in your new city with similar tastes and affections.  An easy way to connect with people in your area whose interests mirror your own is through local Facebook groups and the site Meetup.com. So try to find a group of people who share your interests and consider trying a meet up.

  • Help Out in the Community

Community service is an excellent way to meet some great, civic-minded people. When you take initiative and do some good within your community, it becomes more than just the place you live and work. So consider volunteering time to municipal activities for another path to a quickly acclimate.

If you try these ideas, you’ll inevitably meet new people with common interests, learn about your new town and neighborhood, find things to do with people you enjoy, and feel a sense of real comfort in your new surroundings. 

When you are ready to make that move, feel free to contact me today for a consultation.  I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about Chicago’s North Shore, North or Northwest Suburbs real estate.

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 LancerE/Flickr.com

Locally Brewed

by Allyson Hoffman

January 24, 2015

Sunset Foods, Long Grove, Illinois

Acquaint yourself this weekend with the wildly-popular craft beers being brewed right here -- in your own backyards.  Just in time for the Super Bowl, the Locally Brewed happening will offer beverages that can be served at your party and a variety of savory dishes known to be well-paired with handcrafted ales.

Thyme in the Kitchen is honored to be sponsoring this one-of-a-kind event featuring homemade-infused drinks coupled with a rare culinary show – all provided courtesy of Sunset Food’s Chef, Chuck Gullo.  Inspired by the book Locally Brewed, authored by Anna Blessing who featured craft breweries from around the country, the event includes widely-diverse, award-winning brews created by regional ale artisans.  Their draughts impart a distinct taste and robust flavoring.  In addition to learning the extraordinary details behind the making of craft beers, a special food show will accompany with Chef Gullo creating culinary works of art including Flatbread Pizza, IPA Caramelized Onion Dip, Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout Chili, and Mango Sticky Rice.  All are easy fixes, known to be perfectly teamed with craft ales.

Admission to the Locally Brewed event is $40.00 per person.  To purchase your ticket online, please click here.

So, this weekend visit Sunset Foods in Long Grove to be introduced to a wide array of locally-brewed, trendy craft beers.  A fascinating overview of locally-made craft beers, united with an enticing cooking demonstration, renders this a truly unique culinary experience!

Where: Sunset Foods, Long Grove, Illinois

When: Saturday January 24th from 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

For more information regarding the Locally Brewed 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 Chris Lexow/flickr.com.

December 2014 Midwest Real Estate Market Reports

by Allyson Hoffman

The December 2014 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

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.

Do Remodeling Projects Add Value?

by Allyson Hoffman

Will remodeling add value to your home at sale? While there may have been a time when the costs of a remodeling project could be recaptured upon sale, that may no longer be the case. So before you embark on a remodel project, solely for sale, consider the difference between the cost of remodeling and the value it adds to your home.  If you plan to stay for a while before selling and the remodel improves quality of life, many people will then proceed with the plan.

Whether you need more storage space or would love new kitchen cabinets, a quick assessment of your home will confirm what renovations would be best for you and your family. The folks at TLC Home put together a list of the top ten ideas for renovations to consider:

  • Kitchen
  • Bathrooms
  • Home Office
  • Basement
  • Paint
  • Landscaping
  • Curb Appeal
  • Add a Deck
  • Add a Sunroom
  • Adding Space and More Light

Forbes.com offers their take on the best and the worst remodeling projects in this article. They suggest focusing on improvements to your home's exterior, or simple and potentially inexpensive fixes like a fresh coat of paint. They point out that the only thing likely to recoup your complete investment would be steel entry doors.

Here are more resources for ideas about remodeling.

Of course, when you are ready to sellplease contact me 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

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 cilesfineline/Flickr.com

Winter Fest

by Allyson Hoffman

January 17, 2015

Century Park North, Vernon Hills, Illinois

This weekend bring your family to Century Park North to indulge in winter activities and demonstrations at this year’s Winter Fest event.  Dress in layers and prepare for an unforgettable outing -- an all-out celebration of the season.

Begin the day by watching a live ice sculpting presentation where artisans at work will sculpt masterpieces out of blocks of ice. Then, head to the sled dog demonstrations. Teams of dogs will make their way around the grounds with their owners’ sled in tow.  There will even be a meet and greet with these phenomenal huskies.  Warm up at the campfire before heading out for ice skating or family sledding fun at the Pavilion.

Admission to Winter Fest is free.  So this weekend, don’t miss this special opportunity. Coupled with free ice skating and down-hill sledding, Winter Fest will provide fun for the whole family!

Where: Century Park North, Vernon Hills, Illinois

When: Saturday January 17th from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM

For more information regarding the Winter 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 Wolfgang Hagele/en.wikipedia.org.

Carpet Inspection

by Allyson Hoffman

One of the many things buyers consider when inspecting a possible new home is the condition of the carpets, especially when replacement could cost thousands of dollars. While a home inspector checks for structural, mechanical, construction, and system defects, carpets are generally not included in these reviews. So keep your eyes open in the search to find your dream home to ensure that it is in the best condition possible. Here are some tips to consider when inspecting carpets:

  • Repairing damaged floors can be costly, so be cautious of underlying damage if carpet-covered floors sag or are noisy when walked upon.
  • Musty smells or damp carpet, especially in basements, can signal concern for potential mold in the carpet and/or sub-flooring below.  This can result from water leaks such as foundation cracks, defective pipes, water heaters and even excess humidity.
  • Check the areas located under furniture and around the perimeter of rooms for potential problems or for wear and tear.
  • Pet odors can be especially problematic when accidents have caused seepage into the flooring below the carpet. Carpets can be cleaned, but the flooring might require an expensive repair. Even animal dander that has accumulated in carpets can cause annoying odors and trigger allergic reactions.
  • If carpets are stained, worn or damaged, repairs may be difficult and cost more than it pays to invest, so replacement may be the best option for truly troubled rooms.
  • If you're going to want the carpet replaced, this is generally not something negotiated with the owner.  So factor this expense into your offer and planning instead. 

If you're selling a home, inspect your carpet using the suggestions above and address any potential issues.  New carpets are ideal, but even a clean carpet will add great appeal for potential buyers, so it is important to have carpets cleaned by the best professional service available.  Keep in mind that worn out, dirty and dated carpets will likely cost you more than the cost to clean them and possibly more than the cost of replacement. Buyers will factor their condition into what they will pay and often deduct as much as 2-3 times your actual cost.

Whether you are buying or selling a home in Chicago’s North Shore, North or Northwest suburbs, feel free to contact me for a consultation or for a recommendation to professionals who service and clean carpets as well as vendors who can provide estimates for cost-effective carpet replacement. 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!

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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 Laura D'Alessandro/Flickr.com

Polarpalooza

by Allyson Hoffman

January 10, 2015

Prairie View Community Center, Morton Grove, Illinois

This weekend bundle up the family and ready yourselves for an unforgettable day of fun at the Polarpalooza event.  The happening will be take place at Morton Grove’s Prairie Village Community Center this Saturday and promises to be full of outdoor winter entertainment. Prepare to indulge in a variety of memory-making, cold-weather activities!

Committed to offering families year-round recreational fun, the Morton Grove Park District is pleased to host the wildly-popular Polarpalooza extravaganza with an ice sculpture demonstration, a diverse assortment of winter-related games, a snowman building contest, and much more.  Also consider lacing up your skates and taking to the ice at Gunzo’s outdoor ice rink.  All of the Saturday’s activities will be held outdoors at Prairie View Park.

Admission to the Polarpalooza event is absolutely FREE. The Park District is honored to give back to the community of Morton Grove and its surrounding areas.

So this Saturday, wear plenty of warm clothing, and join the masses at Polarpalooza.  Morton Grove’s winter spectacular is sure to offer something for adults and children alike!

Where: Prairie View Community Center, Morton Grove, Illinois

When: Saturday January 10th 12:00 PM

For more information regarding the Polarpalooza 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 Javier Morales/Flickr.com

Get Organized for Moving in Winter

by Allyson Hoffman

Moving can be a stressful event, even on the most gorgeous of days.  But doing so in the dead of winter has a tendency to increase anxiety levels even more.  However, with the assistance of your real estate agent, and by following a few simple winter moving tips, the show will go on without a hitch.   

  • Re-convene with your agent

After assisting in the selling, buying, and closing of your real estate transactions, your agent can also aid in the actual move.  Call for advice on moving company recommendations, and acquiring moving insurance.  You may even get special discounting.

  • Plan ahead

Even though moving companies slowdown in the winter months, they are not void of business.  Make your reservation for their services early.  And, be sure to walk-through your new home in advance of furniture delivery to envision where furniture and boxes should be located.

  • Organize

When packing, organize your boxes by room.  Using color-coded tags can simplify the move on both ends.  This is especially important in the winter when some of your items may need to be moved in, and out of the elements, more quickly than others.

  • Line boxes with plastic

To assure that your belongings remain dry should your move take place on a snowy or wet winter day, consider lining the interior of your boxes with plastic, or garbage bags to allow them to sit on the ground, without the worry of water damage.

  • De-clutter

Moving presents the ideal opportunity to eliminate all unnecessary items that were uncovered during the boxing-up process.  The less you have to pack, the less you have to move.

  • Clear a path

For a wintertime move it’s imperative to have a safe and unobstructed walkway.  Evaluate the path from the point of exit to the moving truck.  Having a snow, ice, and clutter-free pathway will not only expedite the moving process, but will also ensure the safety of the movers.

  • Have plenty of towels on hand

Upon arrival at your new home, you may want or need to wipe off any furniture or boxes that have become wet, or dirty in the move.  Additionally, towels can be thrown at the door for feet to be wiped clean.

For a successful winter move, you’ll want to cross all your t’s’ and dot all your ‘i’s.  Preparing for winter hazards beforehand and anticipating potential issues will make the difference between an easy and an unbearable move.  Moving does not need to be a taxing endeavor even with snow, sleet or rain in the equation.  So feel free to contact me for advice and consultation to make your winter move a smooth 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!

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 Jason VantuylFlickr.com

Winter Pickleball Sunday Mornings

by Allyson Hoffman

January 4, 2015

Prairie View Community Center, Morton Grove, Illinois

The newest sport taking the country by storm will be arriving this weekend at the Prairie View Community Center in Morton Grove.  The Winter Pickleball Sunday Mornings event invites your family to participate in this exhilarating game for all ages and athletic abilities. Pickleball has been spreading across the nation like wildfire.

Pickleball was created in 1965 with one thing in mind:  FUN!  Designed for those between 5 and 85, the game is easy to play, safe, and requires no special skills. It is played on a badminton-sized court with Pickleball paddles and a ball resembling a whiffle ball.  A low net provides easy competitive play for both adults and children.

Drop in and join the fun for only $5.00 per person.  Paddles will be provided for first-timers.  Or, alternately, you can elect to join the winter league, which runs from January 4th to April 26th.  The cost to join for the entire session is $45.00 per person.  To register for the winter league, please click here to create an account.  Otherwise, you can pay a $5.00 drop-in charge at the door on the day of the event.

So this Sunday treat your family to this fun activity!  Pickleball leagues, facilities, competitions, and more are popping up everywhere.  Try spending your Sunday mornings getting your heart pumping  and your adrenaline flowing!

Where: Prairie View Community Center, Morton Grove, Illinois

When: January 4th from 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM

For more information regarding the Winter Pickleball Sunday Mornings 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 John Beagle/Flickr.com

6 Easy Home Maintenance Chores for the New Year

by Allyson Hoffman

Maintaining your home is essential to protect your biggest investment, and it is especially important if you plan to sell your home. By keeping a regular schedule for home maintenance, you’ll limit the time required.

So, here are six easy home maintenance tasks to review on a regular basis.

Check the Seal on Your Oven Door

Run your fingers over the gasket that seals your oven door. Check for any rough spots or broken places. If you need to replace it, this should only take a few minutes of your day.  This ensures you consistent cooking temperatures when you are baking. In addition, a faulty gasket can allow up to 20 percent of the heat to escape the oven. This means longer and unreliable cooking times that use more energy and increases the potential for ruined meals.

Replace Dirty Furnace Vent Filters

Filters inevitably get clogged – normally after a few months of use. So make an effort this year to replace or clean your filters on a regular basis.  You might consider setting a reminder on your smartphone. This simple regular task will improve your interior air quality and benefit you or anyone in your family with allergies.  Changing vent filters is a simple solution to minimize the effects of excess dust and dander.

Clean Drip Pans on the Stove

Drip pans under the stove do their job well by catching all those spills. But, unfortunately, they can’t clean themselves. So whenever you notice a spill in the drip pan, don’t wait for a buildup of gunk – clean it as it accumulates.  Not only will your stove and kitchen look better aesthetically, but cleaning out dirty drip plans also removes a source of unsanitary, bacteria-breeding debris.

Clean Refrigerator Coils

Dust tends to collect around the refrigerator coils and should be vacuumed out about once every six months. So, periodically pull out the refrigerator, remove the bottom plate and suction out all those dust balls.  Excess dust can present a fire hazard but eliminating it cures the problem while also benefiting your refrigerator which will run better and use less energy.

Clean the Dryer Exhaust

With a few basic tools, this shouldn’t take too long. First pull the dryer out from the wall and loosen the clamp that connects the exhaust hose to your dryer.  Next pull the exhaust tube from the dryer. Inspect it for a buildup of lint. First try to remove the clumps with your hands. Then use a shop vac or strong vacuum cleaner to access what you can’t manually remove. Dryer lint is also a huge fire hazard, so keeping your vent pipe clean means keeping both your home and family safer!

Inspect the Hoses behind Your Washing Machine

Biannually pull out your washing machine and examine the hoses for loose clamps, cracks or leaks. They should be easy to spot – especially after a wash. Just look for wet spots. If you see any problem areas, replace the hose.  Many home inspectors recommend changing from rubber hoses which can get brittle with age to braided hoses that last longer with fewer problems.  Faulty washing machine hoses are one of the main causes of floods in the home. So, don’t take that chance. Check your hoses often.

While these are just a few tasks to keep your home in top shape this coming year, there are plenty more you can consider working into a monthly and quarterly schedule.

If you are thinking of making a move this year, 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

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.

Photo courtesy of PaulMB79UF/ 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