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


Displaying blog entries 1061-1070 of 1116

Happy Mother's Day

by Allyson Hoffman

Growing up we have all had our mother's scold us or give us advice, that at the time may have not meant too much to us. Whether we like to admit it or not, those little pieces of advice and information have stuck with us and without a doubt had an impact on us as we grew up.

Below are a few phrases I am sure you heard as a kid, and may even have used them on your own children. It isn't until we are grown adults, that we realize that Mom was only saying these things out of love and concern for us.

  • Money does not grow on trees.
  • Always change your underwear; you never know when you'll have an accident.
  • What if everyone jumped off a bridge? Would you do it, too?
  • Don't make that face or it'll freeze in that position.
  • If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
  • Don't put that in your mouth; you don't know where it's been!
  • Be careful what you wish for, it might come true.
  • Close that door! Were you born in a barn?
  • Because I'm your mother that's why.
  • If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times.
  • Because I said so.


Wishing all you mother's a Happy Mother's Day.


Happy Mother's Day!
Image courtesy of MZPlus/  

Spring and Summer Cleaning Your Garage

by Allyson Hoffman



It is the time of year when we all like to do a little Spring cleaning to ready ourselves for a beautiful summer. Most of us spend our time cleaning and organizing the inside of our homes, but does that extend to our garages?

Garages are a great place to store all those products, or household hazardous waste, we don't want inside our house. These products may include (and are not limited to) automotive fluids, paint and lawn care products.

Now is the time to spring clean and rid your garage of these household hazardous waste (HHW) products and, where available, replace them with more environmentally friendly products.

Motor Oil can be disposed of at dealerships or vehicle repair shops.

Fertilizer for lawn care can be replace with certified organic products. Ask your local garden center for any certified organic products they may carry.

Pesticides can be disposed of by contacting your local sanitation department. An alternative to this HHW would be a less toxic product that can also be found at your local garden/yard center.

Paints should not be kept for long periods of time and can be disposed of at designated areas of your local sanitation department. New paints can be purchase with a low VOC (volatile organic compound) content.

If you're unsure of how to properly dispose of the Household Hazard Waste found in your garage, contact your local sanitation or fire department.

Image courtesy of DiamondBack Truck Covers/

Improving Air Quality in Your Home

by Allyson Hoffman

In our original post, Air Quality in Your Home. we pointed out that it had been suggested that the air we breathe in our homes is often more polluted than the air breather outside. this was an alarming realization and now we would like to offer a few tips to reverse this.

According to National Geographics Green Guide there are a number of things we can do to improve air quality in our homes.

  • Ventilate your home regularly
  • Vacuum weekly
  • Use a good quality air filter on your furnace and replace it regularly
  • Maintain ventilation systems (If your home has one) and dehumidifiers
  • Run exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens
  • If you're considering an air purifier, avoid devices that generate ozone, as these can make lung problems and asthma worse.

In addition to these few necessary steps, you should also pay close to attention to the indoor chemicals that may be linked to allergies, asthma and learning disabilities in children, according to some studies.

The two more commonly identified chemicals in our homes include formaldehyde which is present in home renovation products and solvents from fresh paint and phthalates which are used in soft plastics and synthetic fragrances such as air fresheners and dryer sheets.

There are an number of alternatives to these damaging products as described below.

There are products on the market that offer a great alternative to the products that contain formaldehyde such as formaldehyde-free-products made of solid wood and natural products. There are also a number of low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints available to consumers these days.

The best way to eliminate phthalates from your home is to get rid of any air fresheners completely. Alternatively, baking soda in your trash cans can also leave your home smelling fresh. Baking soda can also replace your dryer sheets, used in the rinse cycle to soften fabrics and tackle static cling.

These are a few of the basic steps we can take to improve air quality in our homes for our families.

Image courtesy of Ivy Dawned/

Chicago Celebrates Earth Day April 22nd, 2008

by Allyson Hoffman


I think we are all aware that the environment is becoming increasingly more fragile and we need to take the time to educate ourselves and our families about environmental issues and how we can do our part.

April 22nd is Earth Day and Chicago will be celebrating the environment with numerous events and activities. We encourage you take part in this celebration, with your families,  in an effort to recognize the importance of nature around us and preserving this wonderful planet for generations to come.

A few of the Chicago Earth Day celebrations include:

  • Tuesday, April 22 - Mayor's Office of Special Events - Earth Day Celebration
    Daley Plaza from 10am to 3pm.
  • Tuesday, April 22 - 2008 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Exposition
  • Tuesday, April 22 - Chicago History Museum - The Local Eating Option
  • Saturday, April 26 - Earth Fest - IL Tour of Earth-Sheltered Homes

  • Saturday, April 26 - Chicago Botanic Gardens - Earth Day Walk

I hope you and your families have a fabulous Earth Day. For more information regarding these events and other Earth Day information please visit the following links.

Image courtesy of Kate Ter Haar/




In Part 1 of the Moving Guide series we discussed the types of moves that are available. Now we would like to continue with Part 2. You have everything packed and loaded in the movers van or vehicle that you will be driving yourself. Once you arrive at your new home, you may or may not set out to unload and pack as soon as you arrive so you want to be prepared.

Below is a list of some of the essential items that you should pack separately and have with you during the move, for your first night in your new home. These few things will help to ensure that everyone in your family, including pets, is taken care of for the first night in the event that you don't get around to unpacking or if the moving truck hasn't arrived the same time as you.

Food & Kitchen Supplies
It's a good idea to pack a few snacks, sandwiches and bottled water as cooking may not be a top priority when you arrive at your new home. A few additional items you will want to have on hand include paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins and garbage bags.

With everything packed and in boxes or possibly still in the moving van you will need necessities such as toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and a few towels. Also you will want to keep with you any contact lens solutions and hygiene products that may be required.

Always pack prescription medication and keep it with you. A first-aid kit and extra band-aids are also a good idea to have on hand during the move and on the first night...just in case.

Try to have a few emergency tools on hand for unforeseen circumstances. Tools such as flashlights, candles, matches, screwdrivers, pliers and scissors.

Clothing for a couple of days should be sufficient to see you through the first night (or two) and maybe a couple of extra blankets or sleeping bags.

Children's Items
For your children you will want to have baby food, diapers and their favorite toys and blankets for their first night in the new home.

Pet Items
Your pets are affected just as much by a move as you and the rest of the family are so be sure to have food, treat, water and any medication that they may require.

These are the necessities that will help you get through the first night in your new home. Keep this list handy well in advance to your move date and add or delete items that you feel will help you best in achieving a stress free first night in your new home.

Image courtesy of Mr.TinDC/


New Chicago Illinois Real Estate Transfer Tax

by Allyson Hoffman


In an effort to solve the funding issues plaguing the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Chicago City Council has approved the Real Estate Transfer Tax increase, and in another twist, how the transfer tax is to be paid.

Effective April 1, 2008 sellers in the Chicago area will now be responsible for sharing the cost of the real estate transfer tax with the buyer.

Previously, the Real Estate Transfer Tax was $7.50 per $1,000 of the price of the home and it was paid by the buyer. Now, as of April 1/08, the transfer tax has increased to $10.50 per $1,000 of the price of the home where by the buyer will continue to pay $7.50 per $1,000 and the balance will be paid by the seller.

For more information regarding the Chicago Real Estate Transfer Tax increase please do not hesitate to comment or contact me. You can also read more about the changes here.

Image courtesy of

Should We Renovate Before We Sell? Renovations That Sell.

by Allyson Hoffman

It is no secret that the current buyers market that we are in has left home sellers wondering what it will take to get the best possible price for their home and as quickly as possible.

Many homeowners are turning to renovating their homes in an attempt to set themselves apart from other homes for sale in the community, but what renovations can be done to get the largest rate of return?

First and foremost it is important to keep in mind, whether you are selling now or in the future, general maintenance and upkeep of your home is a logical investment. Homebuyers are drawn to “move-in-ready” homes so they are not burdened with having to tend to basic repairs after moving in.

With that said, there has been a lot of discussion, articles written and blog posts made that outline the types of renovations, beyond general maintenance, that are commonly taken on, resulting in a reasonable return on your investment when selling your home. These renovations include:

•    The Kitchen
•    Bathrooms
•    Floors and Wall Finishes
•    New Siding
•    Extra Living Space
•    Windows
•    Decks
•    Energy Efficient Improvements

Before you decide to jump into any major renovations before selling, it is always a good idea to consult with your Realtor® to evaluate the market values in your community.  Ideally you want the renovations you decide to spend your time, effort and money on, to get you the best possible price for your home (within a reasonable neighborhood price point) and the largest return on your investment.

Major renovations before selling can be pricey, time consuming and a great investment, but shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Depending on your time frame and when you need/want to be out of your home, all renovations should be carefully planned and reviewed with your agent.

Image courtesy of cilesfineline/


Some things you can do to spruce up your yard could be:

  • A thorough wash of the siding or fresh stain
  • Lawns, shrubs and tress should be trimmed
  • Flower beds and pots should be weed free

Once you have created an inviting and clean front yard, potential buyers will want to enter the home for a closer look. There are a few basic home staging techniques that you can follow for the interior of your home that may help seal the deal.

  • All rooms and hallways should be clutter free
  • Try to rid your home of any strong odors that may turn off potential buyers (i.e. pet odors, cigarette smells, or strong candle scents)
  • Keep you "personal" knick knacks, collections and family photos to a bare minimum
  • You may have some smaller rooms in your home. To have these rooms appear bigger, try removing some of the unnecessary or extra furniture

First impressions can make or break the sale of your home, so don't miss out. A little clean up can go a long way.

Spring is sneaking up on us and for those of you that are planning to sell your home, below are a few tips to help you get your home "sale" ready.

When preparing to "stage" your home it is a good idea to start with your front yard. This is where first impressions are formed. Ideally you want your yard to be tidy and well groomed.

Image courtesy of Wicker Paradise/

Home Energy Saving Tips

by Allyson Hoffman


According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical U.S. family will spend in excess of $1,600 a year on energy costs. This amount could be lessened as a large portion of the energy used is wasted. There are a number of simple steps we can take to save energy, and money, in our homes.


The following energy saving tips by the U.S. Department of Energy are easy, and cost little or no money at all to implement into a new energy efficient home for you and your family.


  • Set your thermostat comfortably low in the winter and comfortably high in the summer. Install a programmable thermostat that is compatible with your heating and cooling system.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's drying cycle.
  • Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.
  • Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use (TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power).
  • Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120° F.
  • Take short showers instead of baths.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR® label on home appliances and products. ENERGY STAR® products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

This is the first step in making your home “energy efficient” and will also save you money. For more information on any of the tips listed here, or to learn how you can cut your energy use up to 25%, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website for consumer tips.


Image courtesy of Joanna Bourne/


Chicago Illinois Home Insurance

by Allyson Hoffman

When purchasing a home, you will need to acquire homeowners insurance. In fact, all lenders will require a policy be in force prior to funding the loan. Make sure you have enough coverage, should anything happen. Policies refer to "replacement costs" that may not cover everything.

You should ask your insurance agent a lot of "what if" questions. The deductible amount also plays a big part in setting your premium. Higher deductibles lower the number of claims, and reduce your insurance costs.

Check with your insurance agent for more information on these issues, and any others. If you don't have an insurance agent, we have access to several top-notch agents we can refer you to with confidence. A great online resource can be found right here.

For more information on how you can save money on your next transaction, download our free report called "Eight Insider Tips That Save Buyers Thousands!" This report is offered to all guests.

Image courtesy of f2n_downtown/ 

Displaying blog entries 1061-1070 of 1116




Contact Information

Photo of Allyson Hoffman & Paul Wells Real Estate
Allyson Hoffman & Paul Wells
RE/MAX of Barrington
306 W. Northwest Highway
Barrington IL 60010
Allyson: 847-310-5300
Paul: 847-913-6100

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RE/MAX of Barrington
306 W. Northwest Hwy.
Barrington, IL 60010

Allyson Hoffman
(847) 310-5300
[email protected]

Paul Wells
(847) 913-6100
[email protected]