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

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Want to Become a House Flipper? Here’s the Must-Know Basics …

by Allyson Hoffman

Watch HGTV’s shows about flipping houses and you might think that this is the secret to getting rich. However, to ensure that the effort is profitable, a lot of work and research should precede buying and selling a house. So before starting your career as a house flipper, here are some important variables to consider.

Know the Value of Properties

First, you’ll need to be able to determine the current and potential future value of the properties you might want to flip. Working with real estate professionals and appraisers is certainly advisable, but having your own knowledge of the market in an area and the potential to make money remains vital. For this reason, many beginning house flippers start within their own neighborhood or one they know well.

Know the Cost of Repairs

How much profit results from flipping a home will be directly tied to the associated costs of the improvements, financing, how long it takes to complete the work and obtain a buyer, as well as the additional expenses necessary to resell it. To determine not only what needs repairs on a property but also how much those will cost, call in the experts to give you estimates. Additionally, having your own general familiarity with the pricing of common renovation, repair and/or updating projects will be beneficial when you initially tour a property.

Know How to Make Your Own Improvements

Being able to DIY some of the needed improvements is an important part of flipping a house. By saving labor costs, you’ll increase the overall profit at the end. Even if that simply means you do the demo work, every penny saved in labor increases the bottom line. Moreover, if you are able to install your own flooring, update lighting, or even hang new cabinets, your profits will be maximized when you eventually resell the home.

Know Current Trends

When fixing up a home to sell, it’s definitely not about what you like. Update using the latest trends preferred by today’s buyers and what is popular in the area. You’ll inevitably increase the number interested prospects if the completed renovation embraces fashionable styles when choosing finishes for your project.

Lastly, assemble a team of experts to have on hand when you begin buying homes to flip whose advice can be relied upon to help you make good decisions. Regardless, be knowledgeable regarding the basics of financing, value, and repairs or improvements so that you don’t get stuck with a losing property.

For additional information and advice regarding house flipping or to find a suitable property for your plans, please contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the home buying or selling process, help you to find a new home or determine the value of your existing property.

 

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX of Barrington 
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
[email protected]

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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.    

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Did Your Lender Sell Your Mortgage?

by Allyson Hoffman

While it's not uncommon for mortgages to be sold, many homeowners are surprised when this occurs.  Like other financial commodities, home loans are bought and sold on the free market like stocks and bonds. When a mortgage is sold to another financial institution, it generally triggers the servicing also transferring with payments ultimately being directed to a new vendor.  But what else, if anything, does this mean to you?

Here’s what you might expect when you get the news. These typically seamless transactions rarely cause problems but should you encounter any issues as a current homeowner, it’s important to understand of your rights and what has transpired.

It’s likely that you received a statement when you closed on your home (or refinanced) which noted the possibility for your loan to be sold during its term to another lender. Should that occur, then federal mandates require both the seller and the buyer of your mortgage note to notify you of the pending and closed sales.

With ample notice prior to your next payments due date, your current lender must alert you to the change in writing and provide you complete contact information including the company name, physical address, phone number and account manager of the new servicer.  Additionally, the servicer buying your loan is required to provide this information to you as well. Both should provide a direct link to a person you can contact with questions, not just an automated system.

By giving you the right to ask questions about the status of your loan and receive prompt answer, these requirements protect you from mortgage scams such as those directing you to send payments to an unknown entity.  In addition, you are typically protected from any delinquency status for 60 days during the transition.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about buying or selling a home and should you be interested in financing options, I will gladly direct you to trusted, experienced mortgage professionals who can provide additional information about what to expect if your mortgage is ultimately sold.

 

 

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

[email protected]

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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 by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Making Your Household Move Easier

by Allyson Hoffman

Buying a new house can be one of the most exciting times in your life. Moving your household possessions to that new home, however, can be one of the most stressful events you’ll experience. Given that moving is difficult, at best, there are some steps to consider that can make the process easier.

Start planning your move early. The earlier you plan your move, the more time you’ll have to attend to the details and unexpected last-minute surprises.

Get rid of clutter. This means you’ll need to sort through your belongings and discard, sell or donate everything you don’t need, don’t want or will no longer use. Once the clutter has disappeared, packing will be easier, and you’ll be more likely to sell your old home quickly.

Gather your supplies. Start collecting boxes, tape, packing paper and markers as soon as possible. Once packing gets rolling, you don’t want to run out of those materials.

Inventory your possessions, list serial numbers, and note the condition of each item. Make a video or take photos of your larger and valuable items. Tracking your belongings will make it easier at your destination and help if you need to file an insurance claim.

Log your boxes and their contents. A handy new spiral notebook can be used to record, page-by-numbered-page, the contents of each box you pack.  Number boxes as you pack them to correspond to the same numbered page in your notebook. That way when you get to your new location, finding what you need will be a much simpler task.

Start packing as soon as you can. Anything you won’t need before you move can get boxed up and be stored. This helps with de-cluttering, and also reduces what you’ll need to do as the moving date draws near..

Enlist help from your friends and family for moving day. The more helping hands you have, the faster the progress and the quicker it’s over.

Consider hiring professionals. Moving companies provide many different services, including supplying and packing boxes, moving items, unpacking boxes at your new home and carting away the debris. You can select the services you want based on your budget, your available time, and/or how much you can physically accomplish. It absolutely costs more to hire professionals than do it yourself, but your time is valuable and the added expense may be the most practical and sensible solution for you and your family.

Though moving is a lot of hard work, it doesn’t have to be an awful experience if you plan ahead, enlist help, and do as much as you can in advance before the big day arrives. This will minimize the stress of moving, and hopefully, make this your easiest move yet!

 

 

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
[email protected]

Get your latest Home Value
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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy Rachel Spaulding, Stock.XCHNG

Upsizing: The Pros and Cons

by Allyson Hoffman

Downsizing is a commonly-discussed topic for those whose children have left the nest or for families wanting less room to maintain. Upsizing, in contrast, is frequently associated with growing families.  However, the need or desire for more room includes many additional scenarios.

The Challenges of Upsizing

Those desiring a bigger home will undoubtedly need to be prepared to pay more or alternately, move to an area where bigger homes are more affordable. To upsize comfortably, make sure your budget can manage the extra costs associated with a larger home that typically includes a higher mortgage, tax and insurance payments, as well as larger utility and maintenance expenses.

Not only will expenses typically rise, but so will the additional work needed to care for a bigger home with more square footage to clean and more expansive grounds to maintain. 

The Benefits of Upsizing

The most obvious benefit of upsizing your home is additional space allowing more room for anything from hobbies to recreation to an in-home office. Additional space can also make entertaining and accommodating short or longer term visitors easier as well.

Because a larger home frequently has a higher value than a smaller home, an additional advantage can include increased wealth especially as equity builds and the mortgage balance is reduced over time.

Upon its sale, perhaps corresponding to retirement years in the future when downsizing may again look attractive, a bigger and higher-valued home can provide a greater net profit and more cash at settlement – money that could be used to fund both a smaller home and excess funds to use for travel or other desired activities and pleasures.

Upsizing is a decision for families who want to weigh the benefits of purchasing a larger property against the corresponding challenges related to that reality which likely means both higher payments and extra work. For additional information regarding upsizing your home, feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you to find your dream home or determine the value of your existing property.

 

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
[email protected]

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.    

Image courtesy GregoryButler/pixabay.com

Potential Closing Day Pitfalls

by Allyson Hoffman

Your offer to buy a house was accepted, your inspection was completed and other requirements have been met, so you might assume that your closing is just a formality.  Well, a few things could still go awry. Accordingly, it helps to be prepared by knowing about these potential snags ahead of time in anticipation of a seamless closing when all paperwork is signed and the keys to your new home are received.

Final Walk-through

Your final pre-closing walk-through typically occurs the day before or the day of your scheduled closing. Presumably, the seller has vacated and the house should be ready to go. However, you could find that everything is not exactly in order ... a storm could have caused damage, a new problem not previously noted might appear or possibly, items that you expected were included with the house are missing.

If issues surface, be prepared to resolve them at the closing with the seller who will likely pay the cost of repairs. Refer to your purchase contract which should itemize anything to be included in the sale so that errors can be corrected.  And as long as cool heads prevail, no deal breaker should result from these last minute concerns.

Credit Changes

Once you’ve been approved for financing, typically earlier on in the process, your credit would have been checked and reviewed.  Keep in mind that loan problems can surface if there are major changes in your credit history between the initial credit review and final quality-control analysis just prior to your closing. For instance, a new car loan, large charges on existing credit cards or new credit cards could cause concern for your lender. A new job loss or job change that alters your financial picture might likewise lead to problems. Thus, don’t make any substantive modifications of this type until after you successfully close.

Closing Funds

Be absolutely clear regarding what funds need to be brought to closing and in what form. You may need to bring a cashier’s check or the funds may need to be wire transferred electronically. Failure to adhere to required guidelines for closing funds could cause delays of at least a few hours or even to a different day until you can provide the correct funds.  Check with your real estate agent, attorney and/or Title Company for information regarding the amount and permitted practices allowed for payment.

Keep in mind that most issues on closing day are nothing more than little bumps on your path to home ownership. So, don’t panic.  Just be careful and attentive to details so that no major issues impact your plans. For additional information, reliable recommendations to trusted affiliates or to arrange a meeting to discuss your needs, please contact me today for a 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
[email protected]

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 tumisu/pixabay.com

It’s a Dog/Cat’s World in New Homes!

by Allyson Hoffman

Many builders are now considering pets when designing and building new homes. This perspective has resulted in many luxury townhomes and single-family residences offering upgrades to enhance the space to accommodate man’s best friends. These features can include dedicated washing areas in a laundry room just for the family dog or even a built-in sleeping area, perfectly-sized for pet comfort.

Home Buyers are Pet Owners

Over half of the households in the US have at least one pet of some kind, and many others plan to add a four-legged friend to their family once they buy a home. With that goal in mind, buyers tour homes imagining how their canine or feline pal will fit into their space.

Builders are catering to this need by including upgrades that focus solely on the family pet. In addition, you’ll find that more listings will showcase features or nearby conveniences intended for pet owners. Big back yards and dog parks are just two amenities that will often appeal to pet-friendly buyers.

One important note is the fact that many of these pets make their “home” inside the house rather than living in the back yard. Some homeowners will recapture unused space for their dogs and cats. For instance, space under the stairs can become a perfect setting for a dog house complete with bed and bowls. Cats might get their own shelf in the bathroom while a hidden area at the bottom of the closet is perfect for the litter box.

Fido Goes House-hunting

While the buyers may leave their pets at home when they visit open houses or tour homes for sale, they are frequently on their minds when selecting a property. A home near a busy intersection or highway may not be the ideal location for a family with a dog or cat. On the other hand, a townhouse with a small run or yard may be perfect for a time-constrained buyer who doesn’t want a lot of yard to maintain but needs space for their pet to run.

Many of today’s buyers aren’t just looking at homes for themselves and their kids or future family. Rather, they are considering the family pets as well in choosing their ideal new home. For additional information regarding the nuances of moving with pets, please contact me today for helpful ideas to streamline the process. 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
[email protected]

Get your latest Home Value
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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.    

Image courtesy Sina/pixabay

Choosing a Neighborhood for Your Next Home

by Allyson Hoffman

If you’re moving to a new location, one critical decision in finding a new home is choosing the right neighborhood. While you may prefer a short commute or require quality schools, you’ll also want to select a community that fits your personality and your family. Here are three considerations to help with your analysis.

Know What You Want

Start by identifying what location features are important to you.  Are you seeking a picture perfect suburbia setting with tree-lined streets and children playing in the yards?  Perhaps you’d prefer an action-filled downtown with all of the best places to eat and hang out within walking distance. Or would a sophisticated neighborhood filled with fun amenities and young professionals be optimal?

Consider the amenities you need near your chosen location. Perhaps public transportation is a priority or access to city parks. Some buyers like to be within walking distance of a library or grocery store, while others feel that multiple choices of restaurants are appealing. Decide what is important to you and your family in advance of your search.

Consider the Type of Housing

In most cases, the majority of suburban homes will be single-family detached residences with smaller numbers of townhomes and condominiums mixed in.  Conversely in the downtown urban areas, condos and apartments will prevail with lesser numbers of free-standing homes. Consider the upkeep you’ll be willing to undertake and how much space you’ll want.

If you are looking for neighborhood amenities, newer subdivisions may be designed in their planning and construction phase to provide and offer more than traditional older single-family home neighborhoods where proximity to a downtown center may offer some of what you’d like and need, but it may be further from your home. If freedom from home maintenance chores is attractive, you might consider seeking a property in an area that includes lawn care and/or common areas with a pool, fitness center or entertaining space.

Drive the Neighborhood

One sure way to become familiar with any neighborhood is to drive to/through the area, park your car and take a leisurely walk down the streets. This will often provide insights as to who lives there and the sounds you’ll hear such as children playing, trains rolling by, the hum of a nearby highway, planes flying overhead or the soft silence of trees fluttering in the wind.

Multiple visits at different times of the day will provide the best overview of life in the area. While it may be relatively quiet during the day when everyone is at work and children are in school, nighttime could be the total opposite with cars cruising down the street or partying neighbors.

Searching for a home to buy is also committing to a neighborhood. Make sure you like both before you make that final decision. For additional information regarding the purchase of a new home, 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

[email protected]

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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 Bill Benzon/Flickr.com

Surf Safely When Home Shopping Online & Elsewhere

by Allyson Hoffman

Estimates indicate that over 90 percent of today’s buyers first searched for their home online. In today's technologically savvy world, many people feel quite comfortable shopping online or even conducting their banking electronically. With so many people scouring the Internet to search homes for sale, homebuyers should avoid becoming a prime target for cybercriminals by conducting safe and secure online home searches.

Begin by only visiting legitimate websites. One of the most common tactics used by spammers includes establishing fake websites that capture personal information. These sites can easily appear convincing and present as a legitimate property listing site or lending site.

To maintain your privacy and to protect your sensitive information, look for sites using encrypted technology.  One way to also verify authenticity includes ensuring there is an actual address and telephone number listed. Bogus sites may be missing this crucial information. Should you preview a home for sale online listed with a real estate company or agent, consider asking your real estate agent to gather additional information for you.

In addition to exercising care while shopping online for lenders and homes for sale, it is also important to be cautious in the real world. While most advertisements are legitimate, to be safe it is always best to have your real estate agent accompany you to view a home.  Once you have secured a property and applied for a mortgage, be sure to transmit or deliver sensitive or confidential information to your lender in a secure setting, preferably not over the phone or in public.

Should you locate a property of interest online or through a print ad, don’t hesitate to contact me today for additional information about the property.  I can answer questions and be your first line of safety in the process of shopping for a 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
[email protected]

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 Unsplash.com

Buyer’s Market, Seller’s Market or Something in Between?

by Allyson Hoffman

The inevitable fluctuations in the supply of homes for sale and the demand for them make the real estate market much like your favorite childhood playground seesaw with rare moments of true balance.  To better understand how this analogy applies in the real estate world, here is a quick review of the varied types of real estate markets you can encounter and what they mean.

 - Buyer’s Market - A buyer’s market occurs when there are more homes for sale than there are buyers actively looking to purchase. This can be a time for buyers to potentially save some money by capitalizing on the abundance of motivated sellers who really need to move. In a buyer’s market it is not uncommon for sellers to reduce the price of their homes or offer other incentives to sell their property in an effort to secure a contract from a somewhat scarce buyer population.

- Seller’s Market - A seller’s market occurs when there are more buyers searching for homes than properties for sale. In this market, sellers are typically able to sell their homes for top dollar in very short periods of time, often receiving multiple offers that drive the purchase price higher than the list price of the home.  Moreover, buyers frequently will make concessions to sellers in an effort to present a more appealing proposal than any competing offer.

- Balanced Market – Balanced markets exist when current inventories are sufficient to satisfy roughly five to six months’ worth of buyer demand and homes sell reasonably close to their listing prices.

- Stratified Market – A stratified market occurs when segments of the same market area exhibit divergent levels of inventory relative to demand.

While these explanations are relatively straight forward, the real estate market often is not. This is because real estate markets can be applied to an entire city, a neighborhood, by price range or even different types of properties. Thus, it is not uncommon to see a seller’s market in lower, entry-level price ranges while a buyer’s market exists concurrently at a higher price point.

Some agents might advise to refrain from selling your home during a buyer’s market. But in many cases selling won’t have a negative impact on your portfolio if you plan to reinvest in a new home. What you may give up on the sale of your current home, could likely be recaptured on the purchase price of your next home.

Working with an experienced real estate agent should ensure that your real estate approach is appropriate for both the current market and your real estate goals. For additional information regarding the buying or selling process, feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you to find a new home or determine the value of your existing property.



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
[email protected]

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google +1
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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 mediamodifier/pixabay.com

Square Footage – What You Need to Know

by Allyson Hoffman

If you’ve started shopping for your next home and, like many buyers, initially use the Internet as your primary source of information regarding the homes of interest, it’s important to understand the truth about square footage and how that information is obtained and derived.  Direct searching by consumers on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is not possible. Thus, the scope of the information provided on the websites you may visit where the MLS listing details are syndicated for your home search convenience, can be misleading.

While most agents try to fairly represent a property’s square footage, it can be challenging to accomplish, primarily because there are so many different sources agents can use for that information. Moreover, differing sources can have differing measurements leading to differing estimates of square footage. One of the most valuable steps in deciphering the “reality” from the number is to know what is included or excluded in that particular representation as well as whose representation it actually is. It’s important to keep in mind that statements of square footage don’t always take into account spaces you might be thinking about or not considering in the size of the house such as garages, basements or even recent additions.

Square-foot estimates can come from the tax assessor, the builder, an appraiser, floor plans, the resident, blueprints, a plat of survey or even have been estimated by an agent or owner. With that many sources for the data, there is sure to be a difference of opinion about the number of square feet in any property.

But the wrong number doesn’t change the actual size of the house. Undoubtedly, this can surely be confusing.  The best and clearest idea for understanding the size of a home is to view it, personally.  Regardless of the square-foot estimate, the space needs to work for you and the space needs to be in the right places. So don’t completely rely upon an online square-foot estimate.  Moreover, if you’ve looked that property up in the tax assessor’s website where taxes are calculated, in part, by using estimates of square footage, understand that the home owner has a reason not to report an underestimate error if they are aware of one.

When searching for a home online, the best approach is to first make sure it has all of the criteria you need and then schedule an appointment with an experienced agent who understands your space expectations.  For additional information regarding the buying or selling process, feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you to find a new home or determine the value of your existing property.

 

 

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
[email protected]

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

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LinkedIn
Google +1
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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 Patricia Serna/Unsplash.com

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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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