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6 Easy Home Maintenance Chores for the New Year

by Allyson Hoffman

Maintaining your home is essential to protect your biggest investment, and it is especially important if you plan to sell your home. By keeping a regular schedule for home maintenance, you’ll limit the time required.

So, here are six easy home maintenance tasks to review on a regular basis.

Check the Seal on Your Oven Door

Run your fingers over the gasket that seals your oven door. Check for any rough spots or broken places. If you need to replace it, this should only take a few minutes of your day.  This ensures you consistent cooking temperatures when you are baking. In addition, a faulty gasket can allow up to 20 percent of the heat to escape the oven. This means longer and unreliable cooking times that use more energy and increases the potential for ruined meals.

Replace Dirty Furnace Vent Filters

Filters inevitably get clogged – normally after a few months of use. So make an effort this year to replace or clean your filters on a regular basis.  You might consider setting a reminder on your smartphone. This simple regular task will improve your interior air quality and benefit you or anyone in your family with allergies.  Changing vent filters is a simple solution to minimize the effects of excess dust and dander.

Clean Drip Pans on the Stove

Drip pans under the stove do their job well by catching all those spills. But, unfortunately, they can’t clean themselves. So whenever you notice a spill in the drip pan, don’t wait for a buildup of gunk – clean it as it accumulates.  Not only will your stove and kitchen look better aesthetically, but cleaning out dirty drip plans also removes a source of unsanitary, bacteria-breeding debris.

Clean Refrigerator Coils

Dust tends to collect around the refrigerator coils and should be vacuumed out about once every six months. So, periodically pull out the refrigerator, remove the bottom plate and suction out all those dust balls.  Excess dust can present a fire hazard but eliminating it cures the problem while also benefiting your refrigerator which will run better and use less energy.

Clean the Dryer Exhaust

With a few basic tools, this shouldn’t take too long. First pull the dryer out from the wall and loosen the clamp that connects the exhaust hose to your dryer.  Next pull the exhaust tube from the dryer. Inspect it for a buildup of lint. First try to remove the clumps with your hands. Then use a shop vac or strong vacuum cleaner to access what you can’t manually remove. Dryer lint is also a huge fire hazard, so keeping your vent pipe clean means keeping both your home and family safer!

Inspect the Hoses behind Your Washing Machine

Biannually pull out your washing machine and examine the hoses for loose clamps, cracks or leaks. They should be easy to spot – especially after a wash. Just look for wet spots. If you see any problem areas, replace the hose.  Many home inspectors recommend changing from rubber hoses which can get brittle with age to braided hoses that last longer with fewer problems.  Faulty washing machine hoses are one of the main causes of floods in the home. So, don’t take that chance. Check your hoses often.

While these are just a few tasks to keep your home in top shape this coming year, there are plenty more you can consider working into a monthly and quarterly schedule.

If you are thinking of making a move this year, feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine the value of your 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
allyson@allyson.com

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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 of  Mark Florence/Flickr.com

Build It!

by Allyson Hoffman

December 20, 2014

Kohl Children’s Museum, Glenview, Illinois

Get your creative juices flowing!  The Kohl Children’s Museum invites your family to partake in the Build It! event.  With a colossal diversity of building blocks in a single space, the opportunities to create unique structures are simply endless.

Build It! challenges your family to put their innovative and imaginative nature to work.  Explore and interact with dozens of assorted building blocks, including oversized, oddly-shaped, magnet, and more.  Activities include “Build It!, Test It!, Shake It!, “Sweet Home Chicago”, “Vertical Spinner”, “Shadow Play”, and “Light Table”. Incorporating valuable learning lessons, the building block free-play teaches mathematical concepts, including measuring, numerical awareness, and the overall premise of geometry.  With seven stages of block play, there is certain to be an activity for children of almost any age.

Admission costs to Build It! event is $11.00 per person, $10.00 for seniors, and free for infants under the age of 1.  To purchase your tickets online, please click here.

So this weekend, let your family’s ingenuity blossom at the extraordinary Build It! event.  The occasion provides an ideal opportunity for your family to interact together, in a playful building block environment.  This happening will provide fun for the entire family!

Where: Kohl Children’s Museum, Glenview, Illinois

When: Saturday December 20th from 9:30 AM-5:00 PM

For more information regarding the Build It! event, please click here.

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

allyson@allyson.com

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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 of Counselling/pixabay.com.

Organize … Before You Shop for a Home

by Allyson Hoffman

Buying a home can be complicated, so to ensure that the process goes smoothly, it’s best to get organized before you begin the search for the home of your dreams. Whether you are seasoned purchaser, who has bought and sold homes over the years, or a first time buyer, preparing ahead of acting is a prudent approach to a successful buy. So, consider these steps to optimize your experience and results.

Review Your Finances. Will you pay cash or require a mortgage?  Before you apply for a loan, be sure to check your credit, and examine or repair blemishes to maximize your credit score.  It’s also best to avoid acquiring any new debt at this time, including auto purchases or other large items on credit.

Define Your Budget. Determine how much home you can afford. Many online resources and calculators can help you prepare. Keep in mind that most loan programs require your mortgage payment be no more than 28% to 31% of your gross monthly income, (though there are loan programs that stretch those numbers). Also consider your cash on hand to cover a down payment and closing costs.  Depending on the mortgage, at a minimum you’ll need anywhere from 3.5% to 20% down, plus additional funds for other closing expenses.  To reduce their risk, lenders generally prefer borrowers with healthy savings.  So to increase the likelihood of an unconditional mortgage approval, muster as much financial backbone as you are able.

Apply for Your Mortgage. Get pre-approved for a loan before you start your search.  A pre-approved buyer is expected by today’s sellers. So, applying for a loan first and having a definitive answer on how much you can borrow ensures that you have financing ready when you find your dream home.

Refine Your Shopping List. Once your finances are in order, you’ll want to decide which home features you really need, which features you prefer and what price range is comfortable for you.  For easy reference, put this list on paper.

Select a Realtor. With a strong buyer’s agent, your reference list of features and a determined price range, you should be able to efficiently locate properties that match your needs and find suitable communities or neighborhoods that provide affordable homes of the type you’d like.  An agent’s guidance can be an invaluable resource, especially if you are new to the area.

Shopping for a home can be exciting, particularly if the venture is efficiently planned and well organized.  The time it takes to prepare before you look at properties will almost certainly be well spent, save you headaches later on, and put you comfortably in the driver’s seat when you find the home you love.

So if you are considering a home purchase in Chicago’s North Shore, North or Northwest suburbs this coming year, feel free to contact me today for a no-obligation 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
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
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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 Alan Cleaver/Flickr.com

Scout Seasonal Workshop: Winter Wonders

by Allyson Hoffman

December 13, 2014

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

The magical wonders of winter are awaiting you at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  This weekend your family is invited to immerse themselves in all of its glory, at the Scout Seasonal Workshop: Winter Wonders event.

So grab your hats, scarves, coats, and boots and join fellow scouts in discovering the beauty that winter brings to the Garden.  The happening will feature a fantastic wildlife hike around the picturesque grounds with glorious panoramic views.  Various wildlife and vegetation, both blooming and dormant, will be ‘round every turn. Following the brisk, yet tranquil hike, your family can participate in hands-on activities.  The projects combine art with science.  Take-home creations will include fragrant evergreen swags, a snowflake catcher, and a beeswax candle.

Cost to participate in this weekend’s Scout Seasonal Workshop:  Winter Wonders event is $14.00 per child.  To register your family and to purchase your tickets online, please click here. The occasion will be fun for all age scouts and adults!

Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

When: Saturday December 13th from 12:45 PM-3:00 PM

For more information regarding the Scout Seasonal Workshop:  Winter Wonders event, please click here.

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

allyson@allyson.com

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 of Johan1127/pixabay.com.

Community is Important

by Allyson Hoffman

Let me let you in on a secret -- there's more to choosing a home to buy than simply loving the home itself. You've likely heard the importance of "location, location, location," so keep in mind that the surrounding community is equally as important as where you sleep at night.

You may be wondering what to consider, so here is a short list to think over before submitting an offer on that dream home.

Think of the Children or Not

If you have children or don’t, the community you select may have attributes that appeal to one lifestyle or another. Should children be in the picture, now or in the future, you may want to consider the traffic level in your future neighborhood. Safety of children is important, whether playing or walking near your home. So explore the area at different hours of the day to observe street and foot activity. Neighbors can be a wealth of honest information, so also consider asking those who already live there for an assessment.  Are there sidewalks, speed bumps, street lights, or other area features and driver alerts that assist in evaluating the area for your family?

Close In or Far Out?

Some folks revel in the solitude of the wilderness, but for others, proximity to stores, schools, parks, services and other amenities is critical. Consider your preferences, needs and priorities when deciding which lifestyle is best suited to you. To decide what areas work best, survey the landscape; check the distances you’ll need to travel from home to those places you’ll want to frequent; and calculate how long those outings take. Armed with this information, you'll be better able to decide whether a particular home is too close, too far away, or just right when it comes to family convenience.

Depending upon the type of work you do or interests you have, access to highways, trains and planes may be relevant.  Those conveniences, when nearby, typically have the drawback of a “hum factor” that simply cannot be avoided.  Whether its birds and crickets chirping or the hum and hustle bustle outside your door that makes you tick, these factors can help guide you to the right place to call home

Safety First

Safety conscious home buyers should review the community support that is offered in areas under consideration. From crime statistics to efforts on recycling, distance to hospitals, availability of public transportation and local ordinances, most answers today can be found in an abundance of online resources. For a wealth of information, also stop in at local community offices to talk with officials or even consider attending a council meeting, if time permits.  If there is a neighborhood watch group, you may even be able to talk to them directly.

Where’s the Entertainment?

If your family loves activity and fun, then be sure to check out the parks, sports teams, or other activities of choice in the area. What you find and what you don’t, as well as how convenient or far away it is, can help your family to choose the right home to suit their requirements.

If you are looking for help in choosing the right community for your family, feel free to 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
allyson@allyson.com

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 of Bernt Rostad/Flickr.com

Monthly Photo Walk

by Allyson Hoffman

December 6, 2014

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

Whether you are a photography fanatic or a novice, all are welcome to partake in the Monthly Photo Walk.  This Saturday, the Chicago Botanic Garden will once again host their wildly-popular tour of the Garden, allowing photographers of all skill levels to capture the beauty that winter brings to the grounds.

You may wonder what could possibly be in bloom this first weekend of December.  Surprisingly, there are multiple flowering winter plants blooming alongside dormant varieties.  Both are equally worthy of being captured by your camera’s lens.  And if you classify yourself as a novice, the Garden staff photographers are ready to provide expert tips on how to take the perfect photo.

The FREE Monthly Photo Walk event runs in conjunction with the Garden’s Digital Photo Contest.  So after having developed your pictures, be sure to click here to submit any that you may deem to be contending winners.

Prior to heading out in search of that picture-perfect moment, meet at the Alsdorf Auditorium at 9:00 AM for a brief discussion.  The Monthly Photo Walk event provides an ideal opportunity to enjoy nature, while capturing snapshots to last a lifetime!

Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

When: Saturday December 6th from 9:00 AM-10:00 AM

For more information regarding the Monthly Photo Walk event, please click here.

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

allyson@allyson.com

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.

Photo courtesy of LalouBlue/pixabay.com.

End of the Year Closing

by Allyson Hoffman

Closing on the purchase of a new home, prior to the end of the year, offers a buyer a multitude of incentives.  These incentives, or inducements, range from tax saving opportunities, to the indulgence of celebrating the upcoming holidays in a new home.  When buying, your real estate agent can give you an estimated timeline for completing the purchase, from contract signing to sitting down at the closing table. 

Most importantly, if you close on or before December 31st, mortgage interest, property taxes, and points paid (if any) on loans acquired, can all be homebuyer tax deductions for that year.  Additionally, mortgage interest costs can also be deducted.  These tax deductions add up, and will ultimately lower your owed income tax for the upcoming year.

Closing costs can accumulate quickly, so anywhere expenditures are shaved can lead to money potentially saved.  The seller, lender, and other involved parties will likely prefer to close by year end where those profits from an end-of-the-year sale can be beneficial for everyone involved.  So, scheduling a closing near the end of the year could potentially expedite your transaction.

Moreover, many sellers and new home builders are more motivated late in the year and therefore, offer added incentives of their own.  This motivation frequently offers buyers added leverage in negotiating a better deal, more perks and even bonuses. A seller could feel the need to sell quickly in order to purchase their own new home prior to the year’s end while builders typically need to sell as much of their inventory as possible for a range of valid financial benefits.

Celebrating the holidays with friends and family in a new home can be incredibly rewarding. So consider an end of the year closing for welcomed incentives, both financial and personal. If you are considering the sale or purchase of a home in Chicago’s North Shore, North or Northwest suburbs, contact me today for a consultation. 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
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google +1

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 provided courtesy of Dave Dugdale.

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

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Allyson Hoffman
RE/MAX Villager
1245 Waukegan Road
Glenview IL 60025
847-310-5300
Fax: 847-400-0881

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