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


Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8

Shop the Delights of the Winter Market

by Allyson Hoffman

Savor the scent of fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly baked bread, and other delights this Saturday at the Morton Grove Farmers' Market's Winter Market. In addition to stocking your pantry and kitchen with delectable food, you can get a hot meal with live music and entertainment for the kids. It all takes place February 2nd from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the American Legion Civic Center, 6140 Dempster Street in Morton Grove [map]. The Morton Grove Farmers' Market doesn't open again until May, so now's the time to grab something yummy for the whole family. Or just for yourself! Have a great weekend.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy mgfarmersmarket/

Start Planning for a Spring Garden Now!

by Allyson Hoffman

If you're already tired of winter and it's drab appearance, you might be able to cheer yourself up by planning ahead for spring landscaping and gardening. Getting a head start on these springtime projects can save you time and money, and of course, your property will enjoy a boost in its beautification. So, let's take a look at some things you can begin considering today.

First, if you're planning to have a garden this spring, you may want to go ahead and list what you intend to grow, and then check to see when it is best to start planting those items. For example, tomatoes grown from seed need to be started in Mid-to-Late March in order to be ready to plant in the ground in Mid-May. And here's where the savings comes in: A typical packet of tomato seeds costs between $2.00 and $2.75, and could yield fifty plants. Individual plants ready to plant can each cost that much!

Your list of the contents of your planned garden can be broken down into individual planting projects based on the best time to plant. You can also make sure the soil where you're planting is right for the plant itself. Tomatoes, for example, like a pH of 6 to 6.8, just a bit acidic. Testing the soil is easy to do, and you can balance it with lime or sulfur to get the right pH. In addition, for tomatoes, you'll want to work mulch and other organic material into the tomato area.

You can also begin to buy and stockpile other gardening necessities, like fertilizers, ties, tomato cages, and nets to keep the birds out. By doing it now, you may be able to find some discounts. And garden centers are very likely to be less crowded than they will be in March!

The same planning can be very valuable if you're considering adding trees, bushes and other non-garden plants to your landscape. These are generally more expensive investments, and making sure you have the right tools and the best timing for planting can prevent unsightly disasters or less-than-beautiful results.

For more information or guidance, the University of Illinois Extension has a fantastic website for you, the Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide. Check it out and start dreaming of fresh tomatoes! A tidy, thriving garden can be very attractive to buyers, so if you're looking to sell your home, let's talk.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy ndrwfgg/

On the Cutting Edge of Theater

by Allyson Hoffman

The New Play Festival at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heights [map] is a staged reading of five new plays. Three are by adults, two by teenager playwrights.  Sunday night at 7pm, actors will read the second prize winner, Shakespeare Restored, by Scott Glander of Glenview. It's the story of two 18th century editors struggle over how best to save Shakespeare's scripts for future generations. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

Check the Security of Your Windows

by Allyson Hoffman

When you want the piece of mind of knowing your home is protected against burglars and intruders, you will most likely want to have a security company install alarms and monitoring devices. But, there are some things you can do that don't require a security company. Earlier we talked about securing doors. Today, let's take a look at window security.

Potential intruders are going to look for the easiest way to get inside your home. Open or unlocked windows, hidden from observers, on the ground floor, are always their best bet. Beyond that, windows that are easy to break or force open will be a target. It's a great idea to take a security survey of your home to determine what can be done to improve security.

Take a walk around your house and make a list of all windows and glass doors. Do they have locks? Are they secure in their frames? Are their frames secure? Are the windows hidden from neighbors or the street? Can you see expensive items through the windows? Wherever you see a yes to one of those questions, that's an opportunity for you to make improvements.

Perhaps the most sure fire way to secure a window is to install a metal window guard. Unfortunately, there are drawbacks, not the least of which is the unappealing look. And of course, you won't be able to get out of a barred window in an emergency situation.

In addition to standard locks, interior pin locks or key bolts are an excellent way to keep windows from moving in their frames. Wooden dowels or PVC pipe can keep sliding doors or windows from being opened. Make sure the frames themselves are not rotten or corroded. Replace any that are with the best quality material you can afford. Tempered Glass and Plexiglas are stronger than regular glass, and should be a serious consideration for your most vulnerable windows.

Here's some more ideas to consider:

  • Install Motion-sensitive floodlights.
  • Trim greenery to keep windows visible from the street.
  • Plant roses or thorny bushes under windows.
  • Keep expensive, valuable items out of sight through the windows.
  • Or Use curtains or translucent security film to block the view inside.
  • A dog that barks might keep you up at night, but might also scare burglars away.
  • Add inexpensive Window break alarms.
  • Remember to lock your windows.
  • Don't forget basement and garage windows!

For more information, State Farm offers this overview.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy Joe Shlabotnik/

Meet the Lincolns Sunday

by Allyson Hoffman

The Presidential Inaugural is Monday, but you'll have a chance to meet the President and his wife on Sunday. President Lincoln, that is. Meeting the Lincolns is a special program of the Glenview Public Library. Michael Krebs and Debra Ann Miller deftly portray the first couple as they share stories about struggles of the Civil War and their personal lives in Springfield and Washington. Registration for the show Sunday at 2pm is required. Families are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Bring your camera!

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

Laugh at The Stupid Economy

by Allyson Hoffman

It's hard to argue with the title, if not the premise of the amazing one-woman show The Stupid Economy. The show is Friday night at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heights [map]. Star Chrissy Hogue plays seven different roles during the show, from a mom working a series of odd jobs, to a wealthy woman oblivious to the changes taking place around her, and a corporate insider who knows the real scope. It's a show we can all relate to and laugh about. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

Housing Tax Deductions in 2013

by Allyson Hoffman

With political drama over the "Fiscal Cliff" over for now, home owners should know that several key tax provisions have been left in place. Mortgage interest deductions and mortgage debt forgiveness provisions remain in effect. In addition, you can continue to deduct the amount you pay for private mortgage insurance and take the energy efficiency tax deduction. These could have a big impact on any decision you make to buy or sell this year. Let's take a look at some specifics.


  • The mortgage interest tax deduction has long been a signficant reason for people to buy instead of rent. Although there had been some talk about the mortgage interest tax deduction, it was never seriously in trouble.
  • Homeowners in trouble and considering a short-sale will still be able to tax advantage of the won't have to pay taxes on the difference between the principal they owe and the amount the lender accepts. That makes short-sales much more attractive to owners.
  • The Washington deal also reinstated a deduction that lapsed a year ago for people who pay for personal mortgage insurance, which is often required for borrowers who make less than a 20% down payment. The result of the tax credit will save some borrowers hundreds of dollars.
  • The non-business energy property tax credit offers up to $500 off your taxes if you make energy-efficient improvements. Retroactive to January 1st, 2012, it means you can use it on projects you do this year or did last year. There are a variety of restrictions and caveats, which you can read about in this article.


Taken all together, Real Estate experts expect the provisions will help the growing housing market continue to improve in 2013. That's good news if you're in the market. Call me at 847-310-5300 and we can work together to get you the best deal possible in the coming year.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

Travel the Wonderland Express

by Allyson Hoffman

It's the last weekend for the fantastic Wonderland Express at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe [map]. This winter fantasy includes ten garden-scaled trains chugging past waterfalls, twinkling lights, poinsettias, wreaths and indoor snow. The show is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm. Tickets for non-member adults are $12, and there are discounts for seniors and kids. Here's a preview of what you'll see!


This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8




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]