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


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Celebrate 2011 in Northern Ilinois!

by Allyson Hoffman

2011 is just days away, do you have your plans yet? The New Year is time to reflect on the old and look forward to the new and also a time to have fun!  The North Shore area has many fun and festive events for all ages to enjoy and ring in the New Year.

Wishing everyone a wonderful and prosperous New Year!

Family New Year’s Eve Skate-Skate With Spongebob

December 31 from 6-9pm Glenview Ice Arena, 1851 Landwehr
Cost: $7 per person, ages 3 and under are free. ($3 skate rental)
Check out one of the North Shore’s newest luxury hotel destinations, the
Westin North Shore. It’s just south of Lake-Cook Rd. on Milwaukee Ave. in Wheeling, and features two HOT restaurants–Tramonto’s and Osteria di Tramonto. Your package includes dinner, overnight accommodations for two and a complimentary breakfast New Year’s morning.

Chicago Spirit New Year's Eve Dinner Cruise

Friday, Dec 31 9:30pm at Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
Boarding at 8:30pm. Sailing from 9:30pm-12:30am. Spirit of Chicago's New Year's Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise is the most festive and entertaining party in the entire city! Splash aboard for our Special New Year's Eve Dinner Buffet, Premium Bar, Champagne Toast at midnight, DJ entertainment and Midnight Fireworks (weather permitting) provided by the City of Chicago.

New Year's Eve Bash! Featuring Crash Kings

Friday, Dec 31 8:00pm at Cubby Bear North, Lincolnshire, IL
New Year's Eve Bash Featuring Crash Kings at
Cubby Bear North.

Enjoy a rockin' New Years at the famous Cubby Bear! Restaurant critics, neighborhood regulars, and first time visitors always agree about Cubby Bear North: the atmosphere is great, the food is superb,and the service is outstanding. The restaurant offers a casual atmosphere that is perfect for dining with friends, co-workers, and family members.

New Years Celebration At Chevy Chase Country Club

Celebrate in the historic Grand Ballroom at the Chevy Chase Country Club with dinner buffet, pastries and coffee station, champagne toast at midnight, music by the Dick Elliot Orchestra, and MC Bob Urbon of Ballroom Chicago. Cash bar available. $75/person (tax and gratuity included.) Call 847/465-2311.



Home for the Holidays – Best Days to Buy a New Home

by Allyson Hoffman

It’s that time of year for shopping, cooking, traveling and enjoying some time off with friends and family. Have you considered adding a new home to your letter to Santa? It may seem odd, even unlikely, but buying a home on Christmas Day can be a great move. Really?

Here’s why:

  • Typically,iIf a home is listed in December, especially around Christmas Day, the seller is serious.
  • Sellers are usually more open to accepting lower offers on Christmas Day
  • Home prices are usually at their lowest in December
  • The week before Christmas is a very slow time for home showings, and you won’t be competing against a lot offers
  • The holiday spirit is infectious and crosses over into negotiations (it's true!)

Most sellers probably have not considered it but you may find that Christmas Day is one of the best days of the year to buy a new home. If you just can’t get it together to add that to your list of holiday ‘to do’s’, then a little patience and the spring thaw brings the second best day of the year to buy a home – Easter Sunday.

Unlike the Christmas holiday, the market is at its peak in the spring, so you will be wheeling and dealing in the midst of a lot of competition. There are typically more homes for sale in the spring than any other season.

However, the action grinds to a halt on the first real holiday since New Year’s Day, and the savvy buyer who gets an offer in before things pick up on the Monday following Easter may find themselves the deal they have been waiting for. 

It may seem a little odd, but these two holidays can present the perfect opportunity for a serious home seller, an aggressive agent and a lucky buyer.  Happy Holidays!



Residental Snow Removal Tips

by Allyson Hoffman

Winter is just getting started in Northern Illinois and residents all over the area know that part of living here is dealing with the weather and snow removal is a necessity. Waking up to a driveway buried in snow is not always a welcome sight, especially when you are running late. Whether you prefer to remove the snow yourself or you would rather pay someone else to do it, you have some different options to clear the snow from around your home and get on your way.

 Snow Blowers

Also called snow throwers, these come in both gas and electric. If you don't have too long a driveway, electric snow blowers provide an alternative to heavy, high-maintenance gas snow blowers. While they are sometimes less powerful, they typically require less maintenance. Gas snowblowers will have a wider clearing width and you don't have to worry about the cord but they are more expensive and require more maintenance such as tuning and yearly checkups.

Professional Snow Removal Services

If you prefer to just hire a professional to clear the snow for you, commercial snow removal companies are the way to go. Snow removal cost can vary greatly, some companies will offer a lump sum seasonal rate for businesses or residential. Others will charge on a each time basis which can range from $35 to $100. The downside can be a long wait if you are not a regular customer and a big storm hits. It is important to make sure the person you hire is experienced and insured. Visit the Snow and Ice management association's website to find a qualified company near you.

Lawnmower/Tractor Attachments

If you have a long driveway and have a riding lawn mower or lawn tractor, you may want to invest in a blade attachment or snow blower attachment for snow removal.  These attachments fastens to the front of the mower and throws snow or plows to the front or side. For longer and wider driveways, a snow plow attached to the front of the mower can quickly remove large amounts of snow. You can also purchase tire chains to help prevent the mower's wheels from spinning in their tracks.


Some homeowners prefer to use the tried and true traditional snow shovels and moves the snow themselves. It is important however to consider your physical condition. If you have a heart condition or other health issues, you should proceed with caution. Snow is heavy and shoveling is hard work - you don't want to risk a serious injury or jeopardize your health. On the positive side, it is a great way to burn calories and it doesn't cost you a thing! 

Have experience in this area? We would love to know your tips for clearing the snow!



Northern Illinois Holiday Events

by Allyson Hoffman

The holidays are here and what better place to celebrate than the North Shore area! Below are some fun events that are happening this holiday season you won't to miss. Happy Holidays!

Highwood for the Holidays
Saturday December 04, 2010  12pm-7pm

This annual event brings local businesses, restaurants and residents together to provide a special day for the local servicemen and women stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base and Fort Sheridan Army Reserve. This year's event will embrace some 500 military men and women providing them with a full day of activities. Highwood will magically transform into a winter wonderland complete with an ice rink, Christmas trees for sale, sleigh rides, photos with Santa, Kris Kringle Market, holiday music, movies, food and fun. The Alley, 210 Green Bay Road, Highwood, IL 60040
For more information, visit:

Dickens of a Holiday
Saturday December 04, 2010  Saturday 11 am - 4 pm

Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in picture perfect Cook Park. Take the children to do their shopping at the Children's Holiday Shoppe in the Civic Center where "elves" help them select and wrap their gifts. Cook Park and Civic Center, downtown Libertyville, Libertyville, IL 60048
For more information, visit:

A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration
November 11 - December 26
Set on a snowy Christmas Eve in Washington DC, 1864, this heartwarming new holiday offering from Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel weaves a glorious tapestry of fact and fiction, old-time carols and traditional tunes. As Mrs. Lincoln searches the city for the perfect Christmas tree for the White House, a desperate mother searches the snowy streets for her missing daughter. Familiar faces from our nation's past cross paths and storylines in this uplifting American epic.
"A Civil War Christmas" at Northlight Theatre
Now - December 19, 2010

Meet the women of Gee's Bend, who sing hauntingly beautiful gospel melodies as they create magnificent (and now, world-famous) hand-made quilts. This epic yet intimate play spans fifty years, following Sadie Pettway through the trials of an abusive marriage, racial indignities and the hardships of the working poor. Inspired by a true story, Gee's Bend has already touched millions who witnessed the stunning quilt work through a national exhibition tour, on PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and in Newsweek, House and Garden, and Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine. $40-45.  Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL  (847) 673-6300




Your Credit Score-More Important Than Ever

by Allyson Hoffman

Lenders are telling us that they want to make loans, but in this difficult economy, those with the best credit will be approved. While many Americans are struggling to make payments and hang on to their good credit scores, mortgage companies and other institutions are tightening their standards and credit qualifications more than ever before.

Those rock bottom interest rates? They are reserved for top tier credit risks – borrowers who have scores of 720 and above. Your banker is also looking for thorough documentation of your income and assets. Keep in mind that from mortgages to car loans, your credit history and score matter more than they did

If you're buying a new home or refinancing the mortgage on your primary home, you'll need a minimum down payment of 5% to 10% for a conforming loan or 10% to 15% for a conforming jumbo loan (125% of a metro area's median home price, up to $729,750).

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will take a credit score of 620 if you have at least 25% equity in the property or a score of 660 with equity of less than 25%. Oh and that debt to income? Make sure it’s at 36% or less.

In addition to stellar credit history lenders look for:

  • Proof of income – You’ll need to show pay stubs for the past 30 days and W-2 forms for the past two years, along with retirement-account and investment statements.
  • Self-employment – Be prepared to give up  two years of tax returns and keep your fingers crossed. It’s become harder than ever for declared income borrowers to get mortgages and other lines of credit.
  • Rental income - You can use only 75% of rental income to qualify for a mortgage, along with 30% equity in your former home.

Even if you are preapproved, you will be subject to a second or final approval – lenders will pull a second credit report before closing. If you have taken on any new debt, your deal may go right out the window. Home equity loans are tougher to get now as well. In most areas you'll be able to borrow no more than 80% of the appraised value – and that’s with your perfect credit score.

The bottom line – take good care of your credit. It can be very challenging in this recession but your credit history and credit score are more important than ever. Bad lending practices have resulted in tight standards that will give credit only to the top tier borrowers who have enough cash and income that they may not even need to borrow money in the first place.



Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5




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Photo of Allyson Hoffman Real Estate
Allyson Hoffman
RE/MAX Villager
1245 Waukegan Road
Glenview IL 60025
Fax: 847-400-0881

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Allyson Hoffman
RE/MAX Villager
1245 Waukegan Road
Glenview, IL, 60025

(847) 310-5300
[email protected]

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