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


Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

A Taste of New Year

by Allyson Hoffman

Whether you’re throwing an epic bash in Chicago's North Shore or staying in this New Year’s Eve, be sure to make the last hours of 2011 the tastiest!

Come to Whole Foods Market Sauganash to enjoy live music and sample some of our favorite sparkling wines, appetizers and treats, perfect for welcoming 2012 in delicious style!

Directions to the Whole Foods Market can be found here. Join your community to sample food and have a great time on Friday, December 30th from 5pm-8pm.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!






What is the Role of a Property Appraiser?

by Allyson Hoffman

If this is your first time buying a home you may wonder what a home appraiser does. Home appraisers are a necessary part of your real estate transaction and it is important to know exactly what the appraiser's responsibilities are.

One of the most common misconception about appraisers is that they work for the home seller. Actually, appraisers are hired to be impartial and provide an accurate "value" to your home in order for lenders to determine if the collateral supports the debt. These same lenders are also putting a lot of pressure on appraisers which result in higher than market value home appraisals.

If you are buying or selling a home it is a good idea to do some research on the role of appraisers and how they effect you. 

Below are some quick facts your should know about the appraiser and the process:

Appraisers are licensed by individual states after completing coursework and internship hours that familiarize them with their real estate markets.

•The lender might use an appraiser on its staff, or contract with an independent appraiser. If you are allowed to choose the appraiser, and it isn't someone the lender is familiar with, the results might be subject to review before they are accepted.

•The appraiser should be an objective third party, someone who has no financial or other connection to any person involved in the transaction.

•The property being appraised is called the subject property.

•You will probably pay for the appraisal when you apply for your loan.

What You'll See on a Residential Appraisal Report

Appraisals are very detailed reports, but here are a few things they include:

•Details about the subject property, along with side-by-side comparisons of three similar properties.

•An evaluation of the overall real estate market in the area.

•Statements about issues the appraiser feels are harmful to the property's value, such as poor access to the property.

•Notations about seriously flawed characteristics, such as a crumbling foundation.

•An estimate of the average sales time for the property.

•What type of area the home is in (a development, stand alone acreage, etc.).


Have you had any experience with home appraisers? Share your thoughts with us!




The Secret Garden at Light Opera Works

by Allyson Hoffman

In the story of The Secret Garden,ten-year-old orphan Mary Lennox is sent to live with her uncle Archibald Craven... a man who's given up on life after the death of his wife Lily. Mary uncovers the mystery of Lily's long-abandoned secret garden and unlocks the door to happiness for herself and her uncle. . Music by Lucy Simon. Book and lyrics by Marsh Norman. Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Directed and choreographed by Stacey Flaster.

Ticket prices range from $32-$92.

The performance will be at the Cahn Auditorium which is located at 600 Emerson Street (at Sheridan Rd.) Evanston, IL

This Northern IL event is intended for children ages 6 and older and runs from December 23rd to January 1st.



Moving with Children

by Allyson Hoffman

If you planning on buying a home in the Chicago North Shore, and if you have children, you may be concerned about the challenge of moving with children. Here are some tips to make for a more successful move:

1. It's a good idea to inform your children about moving as soon as possible and not delay the news. Children need time to let the big news sink in and you will need the time to help them prepare!

It can be natural to assume that the less time kids have to think about moving, the easier it will be for your children. However, experts say it is actually the opposite. Kids need time to get used to the idea of moving. Don't put off telling them about moving.

2. Welcome your children's questions about moving.

Open lines of communication will go a long way toward helping your children feel comfortable with moving. And it's okay even if you can't answer all their questions right now. Your kid's questions can give you an idea of how they're feeling about moving — whether they're excited or uneasy. Some questions may also offer an ideal way to get them involved in the moving process, such as suggesting they get online to locate nearby libraries or parks.

3. Be positive and upbeat about the move.

Your attitude about the move will influence your children's attitude as well. If you dread moving, then the move will seem dreadful to them too. Be enthusiastic, upbeat, and positive about the new experiences and opportunities in store, and your children will be more likely to feel the same way.

4. Let your children know they can help with the move.

This is a good time to emphasize that the move is a family event and that everyone will be part of the planning, packing, and perhaps even choosing the new home. Start your kids on thinking of things they can do and how to get ready for the move. Assure your kids that their contributions, however small, will be valued and greatly appreciated

Have you been through this before? We would love to hear your tips on making the move to a new home a smooth transition for kids!



Free Friday Wine Classes!

by Allyson Hoffman

Calling all wine connoisseurs in Chicago North Shore! Here is a fun and free event you will love! Wine and Spirit Warehouse in Libertyville offers a full schedule of wine classes to the public! Every Friday visit their Learning Center to test a variety of wines and get $5 off your purchase of any of their featured wines!

The next class is December 16th from  5-7:30pm

Too many people buy wine without ever tasting the product that they're buying. Their Learning Center has been set up to allow our customers to become acquainted with a wider variety of wines. To learn their "likes" and "dislikes." They bring in wine experts to
share their knowledge and help customers wade through the wonderful world of wine.

Register through the
Wine and Spirit Warehouse website to get your free spot in the class!

Book now and take a break from the holiday shopping for a relaxing and free wine tasting on Friday night in beautiful Chicago!



Preparing For Snow Removal

by Allyson Hoffman

Winter is in full swing 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. Nothing like running out the door in the morning to get to work to see that you have to work just to get to your car! 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, and 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 and up. 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!

A winter wonderland comes with a little work! Have experience in this area? Share your snow removal tips with us! 



Chris Isaak Live

by Allyson Hoffman

Is the Chicago cold getting to you? Warm up with the soulful and inspired music of Chris Isaak.

Chris Isaak has earned his success the hard way - by delivering excellent work, both onstage and in the studio on a series of albums.

His career is highlighted by Top-10 international hits and the infamous music video for the song, Wicked Game.

Don't miss his one day show in Skokie at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts on December 10th at 8pm.




Real Estate Scams to Avoid

by Allyson Hoffman

The difficult economy has turned many lives upside down and has created many desperate homeowners.  Unfortunately, scam artist have emerged with creative ways to benefit financially from your distress.

These scam artists are taking advantage of these homeowners and it has been reported that mortgage fraud scams are on the rise. According to FBI reports, an estimated $4 billion to $6 billion in annual losses result from mortgage fraud. An experienced realtor is well aware of these types of scams and will be a great line of defense in protecting yourself from scams.

These real estate scams not only affect the person scammed but can also result in a spike in foreclosures, which can cause home values to sink as well as contribute to lenders raising their rates and fees to recover losses.

So how can you identify these scams and protect yourself? The reality is that these scammers are always finding new ways to defraud, and these crimes are often complex, involving several parties and occurring over multiple transactions. Anyone can fall victim to a scam so pay attention to detail and stay vigilant. Educate yourself about mortgage fraud and be on guard for any warning signs in a transaction.

Below are some of the most common scams that are happening now. Be aware and stay on top to of anything that appears suspicious. Remember the saying "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!"

Be Aware of this Scam: This scam is where so called “rescuers” prey on homeowners on the edge of foreclosure by promising that they can save it. They persuade homeowners to pay for different fees and fill out fake forms and other tricks. In the end the homeowner still looses their home to foreclosure anyway. These scammers prey on desperate homeowners who will do anything to save their home.

Beware of foreclosure rescue programs where you are asked to sign over the title of your home to a third party, are asked to not contact their lender, or send mortgage payments to a third party. These are all big red flags to be aware of.

Be Aware of this Scam: This scam is when a borrower provides fraudulent financial information like income and assets so they can qualify for a loan with lower rates and more favorable terms. Lenders show suspicion when red flags such as PO boxes are listed as the employers address or if the applicant has no credit history. These type of scams eventually cost everyone as the costs and losses involved from the borrowers are passed to consumers.

Be Aware of this Scam: This particular scam is increasing and is called Appraisal Fraud. This happens when an appraisal is faulty, when it states that a property is worth more than what it really is. Typically when an appraisal is listed as higher than it actually is generates false equity because a fraudulent appraisal document has been obtained indicating the higher value. Beware of appraisals that are dated prior to the sales contract as well as other red flags such as if the owner is not listed on the contract or title.

Mortgage and real estate scams are unfortunately on the rise and new schemes are being exposed every day. it is important to stay vigilant and always ask questions. There are many excellent websites available that have alerts for consumers and useful information to help Chicago North Shore consumers stay aware.




Award Winning Symphony in Chicago's North Shore

by Allyson Hoffman

The premier performance venue on Chicago’s North Shore, the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts is the place to be to hear beautiful music this weekend!

This Sunday, December 4th at 3pm come listen to Beethoven: Consecration of the House Overture . Arrive early for pre-concert lectures which begin at 1:45pm.

This is the Winner of the 31st Young Artist Competition Mendelssohn: Symphony No.4 in A major.

The award winning theater and symphony are perfect for an afternoon outing in Chicago's North Shore.



Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9




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]