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Build It!

by Allyson Hoffman

December 20, 2014

Kohl Children’s Museum, Glenview, Illinois

Get your creative juices flowing!  The Kohl Children’s Museum invites your family to partake in the Build It! event.  With a colossal diversity of building blocks in a single space, the opportunities to create unique structures are simply endless.

Build It! challenges your family to put their innovative and imaginative nature to work.  Explore and interact with dozens of assorted building blocks, including oversized, oddly-shaped, magnet, and more.  Activities include “Build It!, Test It!, Shake It!, “Sweet Home Chicago”, “Vertical Spinner”, “Shadow Play”, and “Light Table”. Incorporating valuable learning lessons, the building block free-play teaches mathematical concepts, including measuring, numerical awareness, and the overall premise of geometry.  With seven stages of block play, there is certain to be an activity for children of almost any age.

Admission costs to Build It! event is $11.00 per person, $10.00 for seniors, and free for infants under the age of 1.  To purchase your tickets online, please click here.

So this weekend, let your family’s ingenuity blossom at the extraordinary Build It! event.  The occasion provides an ideal opportunity for your family to interact together, in a playful building block environment.  This happening will provide fun for the entire family!

Where: Kohl Children’s Museum, Glenview, Illinois

When: Saturday December 20th from 9:30 AM-5:00 PM

For more information regarding the Build It! 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 Counselling/pixabay.com.

Organize … Before You Shop for a Home

by Allyson Hoffman

Buying a home can be complicated, so to ensure that the process goes smoothly, it’s best to get organized before you begin the search for the home of your dreams. Whether you are seasoned purchaser, who has bought and sold homes over the years, or a first time buyer, preparing ahead of acting is a prudent approach to a successful buy. So, consider these steps to optimize your experience and results.

Review Your Finances. Will you pay cash or require a mortgage?  Before you apply for a loan, be sure to check your credit, and examine or repair blemishes to maximize your credit score.  It’s also best to avoid acquiring any new debt at this time, including auto purchases or other large items on credit.

Define Your Budget. Determine how much home you can afford. Many online resources and calculators can help you prepare. Keep in mind that most loan programs require your mortgage payment be no more than 28% to 31% of your gross monthly income, (though there are loan programs that stretch those numbers). Also consider your cash on hand to cover a down payment and closing costs.  Depending on the mortgage, at a minimum you’ll need anywhere from 3.5% to 20% down, plus additional funds for other closing expenses.  To reduce their risk, lenders generally prefer borrowers with healthy savings.  So to increase the likelihood of an unconditional mortgage approval, muster as much financial backbone as you are able.

Apply for Your Mortgage. Get pre-approved for a loan before you start your search.  A pre-approved buyer is expected by today’s sellers. So, applying for a loan first and having a definitive answer on how much you can borrow ensures that you have financing ready when you find your dream home.

Refine Your Shopping List. Once your finances are in order, you’ll want to decide which home features you really need, which features you prefer and what price range is comfortable for you.  For easy reference, put this list on paper.

Select a Realtor. With a strong buyer’s agent, your reference list of features and a determined price range, you should be able to efficiently locate properties that match your needs and find suitable communities or neighborhoods that provide affordable homes of the type you’d like.  An agent’s guidance can be an invaluable resource, especially if you are new to the area.

Shopping for a home can be exciting, particularly if the venture is efficiently planned and well organized.  The time it takes to prepare before you look at properties will almost certainly be well spent, save you headaches later on, and put you comfortably in the driver’s seat when you find the home you love.

So if you are considering a home purchase in Chicago’s North Shore, North or Northwest suburbs this coming year, feel free to contact me today for a no-obligation consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the home buying 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

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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 Alan Cleaver/Flickr.com

Scout Seasonal Workshop: Winter Wonders

by Allyson Hoffman

December 13, 2014

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

The magical wonders of winter are awaiting you at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  This weekend your family is invited to immerse themselves in all of its glory, at the Scout Seasonal Workshop: Winter Wonders event.

So grab your hats, scarves, coats, and boots and join fellow scouts in discovering the beauty that winter brings to the Garden.  The happening will feature a fantastic wildlife hike around the picturesque grounds with glorious panoramic views.  Various wildlife and vegetation, both blooming and dormant, will be ‘round every turn. Following the brisk, yet tranquil hike, your family can participate in hands-on activities.  The projects combine art with science.  Take-home creations will include fragrant evergreen swags, a snowflake catcher, and a beeswax candle.

Cost to participate in this weekend’s Scout Seasonal Workshop:  Winter Wonders event is $14.00 per child.  To register your family and to purchase your tickets online, please click here. The occasion will be fun for all age scouts and adults!

Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

When: Saturday December 13th from 12:45 PM-3:00 PM

For more information regarding the Scout Seasonal Workshop:  Winter Wonders 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 Johan1127/pixabay.com.

Community is Important

by Allyson Hoffman

Let me let you in on a secret -- there's more to choosing a home to buy than simply loving the home itself. You've likely heard the importance of "location, location, location," so keep in mind that the surrounding community is equally as important as where you sleep at night.

You may be wondering what to consider, so here is a short list to think over before submitting an offer on that dream home.

Think of the Children or Not

If you have children or don’t, the community you select may have attributes that appeal to one lifestyle or another. Should children be in the picture, now or in the future, you may want to consider the traffic level in your future neighborhood. Safety of children is important, whether playing or walking near your home. So explore the area at different hours of the day to observe street and foot activity. Neighbors can be a wealth of honest information, so also consider asking those who already live there for an assessment.  Are there sidewalks, speed bumps, street lights, or other area features and driver alerts that assist in evaluating the area for your family?

Close In or Far Out?

Some folks revel in the solitude of the wilderness, but for others, proximity to stores, schools, parks, services and other amenities is critical. Consider your preferences, needs and priorities when deciding which lifestyle is best suited to you. To decide what areas work best, survey the landscape; check the distances you’ll need to travel from home to those places you’ll want to frequent; and calculate how long those outings take. Armed with this information, you'll be better able to decide whether a particular home is too close, too far away, or just right when it comes to family convenience.

Depending upon the type of work you do or interests you have, access to highways, trains and planes may be relevant.  Those conveniences, when nearby, typically have the drawback of a “hum factor” that simply cannot be avoided.  Whether its birds and crickets chirping or the hum and hustle bustle outside your door that makes you tick, these factors can help guide you to the right place to call home

Safety First

Safety conscious home buyers should review the community support that is offered in areas under consideration. From crime statistics to efforts on recycling, distance to hospitals, availability of public transportation and local ordinances, most answers today can be found in an abundance of online resources. For a wealth of information, also stop in at local community offices to talk with officials or even consider attending a council meeting, if time permits.  If there is a neighborhood watch group, you may even be able to talk to them directly.

Where’s the Entertainment?

If your family loves activity and fun, then be sure to check out the parks, sports teams, or other activities of choice in the area. What you find and what you don’t, as well as how convenient or far away it is, can help your family to choose the right home to suit their requirements.

If you are looking for help in choosing the right community for your family, 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, 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 Bernt Rostad/Flickr.com

Monthly Photo Walk

by Allyson Hoffman

December 6, 2014

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

Whether you are a photography fanatic or a novice, all are welcome to partake in the Monthly Photo Walk.  This Saturday, the Chicago Botanic Garden will once again host their wildly-popular tour of the Garden, allowing photographers of all skill levels to capture the beauty that winter brings to the grounds.

You may wonder what could possibly be in bloom this first weekend of December.  Surprisingly, there are multiple flowering winter plants blooming alongside dormant varieties.  Both are equally worthy of being captured by your camera’s lens.  And if you classify yourself as a novice, the Garden staff photographers are ready to provide expert tips on how to take the perfect photo.

The FREE Monthly Photo Walk event runs in conjunction with the Garden’s Digital Photo Contest.  So after having developed your pictures, be sure to click here to submit any that you may deem to be contending winners.

Prior to heading out in search of that picture-perfect moment, meet at the Alsdorf Auditorium at 9:00 AM for a brief discussion.  The Monthly Photo Walk event provides an ideal opportunity to enjoy nature, while capturing snapshots to last a lifetime!

Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

When: Saturday December 6th from 9:00 AM-10:00 AM

For more information regarding the Monthly Photo Walk 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 LalouBlue/pixabay.com.

End of the Year Closing

by Allyson Hoffman

Closing on the purchase of a new home, prior to the end of the year, offers a buyer a multitude of incentives.  These incentives, or inducements, range from tax saving opportunities, to the indulgence of celebrating the upcoming holidays in a new home.  When buying, your real estate agent can give you an estimated timeline for completing the purchase, from contract signing to sitting down at the closing table. 

Most importantly, if you close on or before December 31st, mortgage interest, property taxes, and points paid (if any) on loans acquired, can all be homebuyer tax deductions for that year.  Additionally, mortgage interest costs can also be deducted.  These tax deductions add up, and will ultimately lower your owed income tax for the upcoming year.

Closing costs can accumulate quickly, so anywhere expenditures are shaved can lead to money potentially saved.  The seller, lender, and other involved parties will likely prefer to close by year end where those profits from an end-of-the-year sale can be beneficial for everyone involved.  So, scheduling a closing near the end of the year could potentially expedite your transaction.

Moreover, many sellers and new home builders are more motivated late in the year and therefore, offer added incentives of their own.  This motivation frequently offers buyers added leverage in negotiating a better deal, more perks and even bonuses. A seller could feel the need to sell quickly in order to purchase their own new home prior to the year’s end while builders typically need to sell as much of their inventory as possible for a range of valid financial benefits.

Celebrating the holidays with friends and family in a new home can be incredibly rewarding. So consider an end of the year closing for welcomed incentives, both financial and personal. If you are considering the sale or purchase of a home in Chicago’s North Shore, North or Northwest suburbs, 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!

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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 provided courtesy of Dave Dugdale.

How to Keep Your Home Free of Pet Odors

by Allyson Hoffman

One of the first things a prospective buyer will notice about a home is the smell. Because we can become accustomed to odors in our home, those odors may not stand out to us as they would to potential buyers.  Even if they love animals, pet odors can discourage a buyer before they even see the rest of the house. So it may be wise to remove pets while you have your home on the market or, at a minimum, keep them out of sight and out of mind when showings occur.

Here are some suggestions to address telltale pet scents before a potential buyer views your home.

Make your home fresh by thoroughly cleaning. Carpet, window treatments, fabrics, and upholstery can trap odors, so pay special attention to these areas. Consider professional ozone-based carpet cleaning. If you choose to use air fresheners, scented candles and cleaning products, keep in mind that even some of these can be bothersome to certain visitors and could cause an allergic reaction.

If you have a cat, be sure to keep the litter box clean at all times and placed in an inconspicuous location. Pet bedding should be cleaned thoroughly and grooming the dog, if you have one, might be also be a good idea.

Weather permitting, open windows to let cool, fresh air circulate through your home.  This is an easy way to minimize distracting odors and to naturally achieve an inviting clean atmosphere.

Lastly, ask a friend to walk through and do a sniff test. Because owners are desensitized to the odors within their own homes, an objective opinion from a trusted friend may be the best way to be your home is ready for visitors.

Your Realtor can also provide that independent nose you may need, so feel free to contact me today.  I will be happy to offer suggestions to prepare your home for potential buyers, 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 cx_ed/stockxchng.com

4th Annual Inside Art & Wine Show

by Allyson Hoffman

November 21-23, 2014

Highland Park Country Club, Highland Park, Illinois

Amdur Productions believes that the art festival season should never have to end, so this weekend, they will be hosting their 4th annual Inside Art & Wine Show at The Highland Park Country Club. This two for one event, couples an art show extravaganza with a fine wine tasting opportunity -- the perfect pairing for a must-attend experience!

Returning for its 4th consecutive year, the Inside Art & Wine Show features a jury-selected group of 40 acclaimed artisans, showcasing their original artwork.  Attendees can expect to find a variety of art mediums, including ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, paintings, drawings, photography, wood, sculpture, furniture, and more.  The artists will interact with the public through art demonstrations and booth chats.  In addition, and complements of the Vinic Wine Company, extraordinary art shopping will be accompanied by red or white wine samples. The delicious selection of beverages for tasting includes wines from the United States, Italy, and France.

Admission to the 4th annual Inside Art & Wine Show is free, with a $10.00 charge to partake in the wine tastings. So this weekend, plan on attending this unique juried art festival and wine tasting event where there is sure to be something for everyone!

Where: Highland Park Country Club, Highland Park, Illinois

When:

  • Friday November 21st from 4:00 PM-8:00 PM
  • Saturday November 22nd from 10:00 AM-6:00 PM
  • Sunday November 23rd from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

For more information regarding the 4th annual Inside Art & Wine Show 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 Daniel Proulx/flickr.com.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

by Allyson Hoffman

With winter upon us, there will be an inevitable increase in the number of fuel-burning appliances used in homes. Carbon monoxide detectors should be a must in all homes with water heaters, furnaces, grills, ranges, cooktops, gas-started fireplaces or homes utilizing a generator during power outages.  Homes solely running on electricity are the exception. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America and so it’s important to install carbon monoxide detectors to safeguard your family. 

Carbon monoxide, an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas, results from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, such as wood, kerosene, gasoline, charcoal, propane, natural gas, and oil. It can form in any home with a flame-fueled system.

If you are considering the purchase of a carbon monoxide detector, it is good to know that these devices trigger an alarm based on an accumulation of carbon monoxide over time. Carbon monoxide can be dangerous whether you are exposed to high levels in a short period of time, or to lower levels of carbon monoxide over a longer period of time. They range in price from $30 to $150 with most effective models providing back-up battery power.

To avoid potential problems with carbon monoxide, consider the following tips:

  • Have fuel-burning appliances inspected by a technician every year to ensure safe operation and proper ventilation.
  • Do not warm or run your car’s engine in the garage -- this can cause CO to leak into the home.
  • Install CO detectors at least 15 feet from every fuel-burning appliance, on every level of your home, and outside every sleeping area.
  • Check the batteries on your CO alarms at the same time you do your fire detectors and replace the batteries twice a year.
  • Professionally inspect and clean your furnace before each heating season to prevent any problems.

To ensure your family’s safety this winter, review and complete these important tasks.  For additional tips, feel free to 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 Suburban communities.

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 US CPSC/Flickr.com

Vintage and Design Weekend Market in Highland Park

by Allyson Hoffman

November 15, 2014

The old Restoration Hardware building, Highland Park, Illinois

Vintage Promotions L.L.C. will feature their wildly-popular Vintage and Design Weekend Market in Highland Park this Saturday and Sunday. Exciting offers include a unique collaboration of design and vintage wears providing visitors an opportunity to gather home décor inspiration, vintage-style.

Roughly 20 merchants of vintage goods including Gillian Bryce Fine Art of Atlanta, D. Brett Benson Inc. of Chicago, Acorn Antiques, and 214 Modern Vintage will show and sell a unique blend of home décor items and wearables. Selections of estate jewelry, decorative objects, fine art, modern furniture, chic lighting, and gift items will be available. Design, art, and antique experts will also be present to answer questions and aid in the quest to design with vintage flair. A cash and carry, relaxed atmosphere will be one that your entire family can enjoy.

Admission to the Vintage and Design Weekend Market in Highland Park event is $8.00 per person.  To purchase your tickets online, please click here.

The North Shore is in for a very exciting ride this weekend as the Vintage and Design Weekend Market rolls into town.  So indulge in this rare shopping opportunity that promised to provide a whole new respect for all things vintage, coupled with an inspiration to design outside of the traditional box!

Where: The old Restoration Hardware building, Highland Park, Illinois

When:

  • Saturday November 15th from 11:00 AM-6:00 PM
  • Sunday November 16th from 11:00 AM-5:00 PM

For more information regarding the Vintage and Design Weekend Market in Highland Park 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
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 Butterphil/deviantart.com.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 522

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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