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


Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3

Neighborhood Watch

by Allyson Hoffman

Neighborhood Watch is one of the oldest and best-known crime prevention concepts in North America. The National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) created the National Neighborhood Watch Program in 1972 to assist citizens and law enforcement. In 2002, the NSA in partnership with USA Freedom Corps, Citizen Corps and the U.S. Department of Justice launched USAonWatch, the face of the revitalized Neighborhood Watch initiative, which represents the expanded role of watch programs throughout the United States.

This program empowers homeowners to become active in protecting their community through participation in Neighborhood Watch groups. Residents participate in Neighborhood Watch in their area by organizing residents to communicate any suspicious behavior to others by phone trees and reporting it to the authorities.

If you are interested in starting a neighborhoood watch in your community, below are some steps to help you get started!

  • Form a small planning committee of neighbors to discuss the needs of your community, gage the level of interest and potential problems, decide on a date and place for an initial Neighborhood Watch meeting
  • Contact Your Local Sherrif's Office or Police Department for more information or to arrange a speaker
  • Arrange a meeting location close to your neighborhood. It should have enough room to hold your invited neighbors and, if needed, for the use of audio visual aids such as an overhead projector.
  •  For more information and educational materials related to starting a Neighborhood Watch, visit the National program's website.
Image courtesy of Eva Luedin/

Information on Bridge Loans

by Allyson Hoffman

There are many different types of loans available but if you already are a homeowner and need to purchase a new home, a bridge loan might be for you. Also known as a swing loan, gap financing, or interim financing, this type of financing is a short term loan that a homeowner takes out against their current property to finance the purchase of a new home.  When a home buyer is buying another home before selling an existing home, two common ways to find the down payment for the move-up home is through financing either a bridge loan or a home equity loan (or home equity line of credit).

Generally, a home equity loan is less expensive, but bridge loans contain more benefits for some borrowers. In addition, many lenders will not lend on a home equity loan if the home is on the market. It is a good idea to compare the benefits between the two loans to determine which is a better fit for their particular situation and plan ahead before making an offer to purchase another home.

How Do Bridge Loans Work?

When applying for this type of a loan, you must be able to prove to the lender that you are you are financially able to pay both mortgage payments in case the primary property does not sell right away. To ease the transition, most bridge loans will allow you to have a few months before your actual first payment is due. However, interest will accrue during that time.

Bridge loans are meant to be short term loans, normally coming due in a year or upon the sale of the primary property. Because it is a short term loan, the interest rates are usually quite a bit higher than regular mortgages and there are fees associated with it.

Benefits of a Bridge Loan

  • A bridge loan is a great solution if you want to purchase another home without having to sell your current property.
  • The buyer can immediately put a home on the market without restrictions.
    Bridge loans may not require monthly payments for a few months.
  • If the buyer has made a contingent offer to buy and the seller issues a Notice to Perform, the buyer can remove the contingency to sell and still move forward with the purchase.

Cons of a Bridge Loans

  • Bridge loans cost more than home equity loans.
  • Strict lending requirements. Buyers must be qualified by the lender to own two homes and many will not meet this requirement.
  • If the buyer is unable to sell their primary property, they will have to pay 2 mortgages and risk foreclosure on the 1st.

As with any loan option it is a good idea to look at both the pros and cons and consider all your options. If you think a bridge loan might be the solution for you, check out this Bridge Loan Calculator to see an estimated idea of payments.

Bridge Loan Calculator

Image courtesy of 

Professional Carpet Cleaning Options

by Allyson Hoffman

Whether you are planning to sell your home or if you just want to freshen up your living area, he appearance of the carpet in a home are one of the first things noticed. Having your carpets professionally cleaned is an easy, cost effective way to give your house a face lift before showing it to prospective buyers.  Stains and worn traffic areas can cause potential buyers to rethink the home and the thought of having to replace the carpet can cause them to walk away. If it is not in your budget to replace your flooring, having your carpets cleaned by a professional can do wonders by removing stains as well as lifting the nap of the carpet to reduce the traffic wear and giving it a fresh look.

There are many different options you have when looking for a professional to clean your carpets, below are some of the methods available. Contact a professional in your area you are not certain which method is best for your style of carpet.

Hot Water Extraction or "Steam" Cleaning
This is the most common method where a cleaning solution is sprayed on the carpet and immediately extracted (along with the dissolved soil) by a wet vacuum. Extraction equipment can be portable or truck-mounted, the latter being more powerful in terms of spray pressure, heating capabilities and power of the vacuum pumps. Hot water extraction is often referred to as "steam" cleaning and is considered by many carpet manufacturers as the most thorough method. Drying time is generally between 4 to 6 hours.

Dry Cleaning 
dry cleaning method of cleaning carpets is when the cleaning agent, an absorbent dry compound (containing solvents and detergents) is sprinkled on the carpet and worked into the pile by a machine. It is vacuumed off after about half an hour, removing the soil suspended by the compound. Many companies offer organic, natural materials when cleaning. Drying time if any is usually less than 1 hour.

Foam Cleaning
This system uses detergent in the form of a foam.  A machine generates a foam, which is agitated on the carpet by brushes. The foam is then removed, with trapped soil, by an extraction-vacuum pickup.

Bonnet Cleaning
With this method of cleaning, a bonnet is placed at the base of a buffer. It is dipped into a shampoo solution first and then it will go over the carpet, just as if buffing a floor. The bonnet starts to get soiled. This means it is actually removing dirt from the carpet. It is usually rinsed out and this is continued until the dirt is removed. The carpets are vacuumed once the carpets are dry. Drying time is usually 30 minutes.

Image courtesy of Ali/

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3




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]