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


Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

The Chicago Experience

by Allyson Hoffman

Calling all Chicago Fans!! We are not talking about the town but the legendary band!

Take a drive to the Flatlander’s Restaurant and Brewery at 200 Village Green in Lincolnshire to check out 25 or 6 to 4-the Chicago Experience. They are the ultimate tribute to one of the greatest rock bands in history: Chicago!

The show starts at 10PM and ends at 12:30 AM on February 26th. 

What is your favorite Chicago hit?


Image courtesy of Kenneth Hagemeyer/

No Surprises on Closing Day

by Allyson Hoffman

The home buying process can be stressful and confusing if you are not familiar with the steps and costs involved in this life changing transaction. A common aspect sometimes overlooked by buyers and sellers is the specifics and the amounts involved with closing costs.

If you are aware of these specific costs and budget for them, they won’t surprise you on closing day and cause you financial stress.

Below is a guide to some of the more standard costs that you may be faced with on closing day.

  • Loan Origination Fee or Points: These are the fees charged by the lender for generating your loan.
  • Broker Fee: These fees are occasionally combined into the Loan Origination Fee.
  • Credit Report: Lenders may require this fee up front to obtain and review your credit history. (Approx. $21 - $60)
  • Appraisal Fee: This fee is normally non-refundable and will vary depending on the value of the home.
  • Inspection Fee: Fees paid to have a Certified Home Inspector evaluate the structural and mechanical condition of the home.
  • Title Search: This search will provide verification that the seller owns the house you are buying.
  • Title Insurance: This fee insures against losses as a result of any title defects.
  • Prepaid Interest : To pay up the mortgage interest to the first of the following month.
  • Mortgage Insurance: Insurance to protect the lender in the event that the borrower (mortgagor) is unable to repay the loan.

These are some of the most common costs involved with closing. Once you have applied for your loan, the lender will provide you with a Good Faith Estimate of what they anticipate the closing costs to be.

Be sure to do your homework and ask extensive questions about these items and your closing will go much smoother and uneventful on closing day.

For more Home Finance information, visit my Finance Information page or Contact Me should you require additional information.



Family Karaoke and Poetry Slam

by Allyson Hoffman

Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre Presents a Night of Poetry, Karaoke and Pizza for everyone to enjoy! 

Share your family’s poetry or karaoke talent from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, February 19 at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St. in Evanston.

Bring your best singing voice and most slammin’ poem because it’s gonna be a down-right-groovy thing!

The price of admission is $5 per family, and only $1.50 more per person for a slice of pizza and a soft drink. “Phat Katz Karaoke” will provide the music. For more information, please call 847-448-8254 and ask for the theatre.    

What is your best karaoke song? Have a great weekend!

Image courtesy of aaronHwarren/



Home Appraisers

by Allyson Hoffman

Home appraisers are a necessary part of your real estate transaction and it is important to know exactly what the appraiser's responsibilities are, and to whom.

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.  Click here for some good facts on appraisers and the process.

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


Image courtesy of David Wall/


A Night of Comedy

by Allyson Hoffman

Come out for A Night with Steve Rannazzisi at Zanies.  It all happens Saturday, February 12th at 7PM or 9PM.  He is a regular cast member on FX’s “The League” and MTV’s Punk’d! The future looks bright for this bright and talented young performer.

Check it out at Zanies, 230 Hawthorn Village Commons in Vernon Hills. Tickets are $25.00 + a two item food/beverage minimum.  For more information call 847-549-6030 or visit their website.

 Comedy clubs are a great way to relax and have some fun! Who is your favorite comedian? 

Image courtesy of ElizabethAOwens/



Should I Refinance My Mortgage?

by Allyson Hoffman

Interest rates are at a historic low, so now is definitely time to take advantage and look into refinancing!  If you have been thinking about refinancing your mortgage, there are some things you need to take into consideration before making your final decision. 

Although rates are low right now, the present economic crisis has caused a lot of lenders to reduce the amount of loans they give out.  This is a drastic change from the last few years when almost anyone and everyone was eligible for a mortgage. If you are figuring out how to save on your mortgage refinance, its vital to make sure you do your homework and get your facts right.

First, look at your loan-to-value ratio. In a no-cash-out refinancing (where the amount of your new loan doesn't exceed the balance of your existing loan, plus points and closing costs, if applicable), you may be able to borrow as much as 95% of your home's value. However, if the value of your home has fallen below the amount of your existing mortgage balance, you may not be able to refinance at all. This sadly, has been the case for many homes.  But you may be able to proceed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009's Home Affordable Refinance program.

The major advantage of refinancing to a new lower interest rate, you will save a substantial amount on your monthly mortgage payment. This is of course why most people choose to refinance their mortgage. Keep in mind however that there are going to be costs involved with refinancing such as closing costs, points, and possible appraisal  and attorney fees.

Do your research and shop around for the best refinancing interest rates. All banks are not created equal, some banks and financial institutions charge higher rates than others. Normally, the smaller Community Banks and Credit Unions are more consumers oriented and charge lower rates.

Last but not least, when shopping around, look and compare interest rates and points versus no points before you refinance. Look out for embedded points included in the closing costs. Some lenders will include points in the closing cost without necessarily actually quoting these costs as points.

Image courtesy of Images Money/


Out to the Theatre

by Allyson Hoffman

Out to dinner and off to an exciting show. And don't expect talking animals!!

February 5th at 4pm and 8pm Madagasgar is playing at the Next Theatre Company in the  Noyes Cultural Arts Center on 927 Noyes Street in Evanston, Illinois.

Director Kimberly Senior and internationally recognized playwright J.T. Rogers, the pair who brought you The Overwhelming, team up again to offer audiences another gripping thriller. In the same hotel room overlooking the Spanish steps in Rome, three Americans across three different moments in time find themselves alone. A sister, a mother and a family friend grapple with loss, regret, and the nature of truth. Using his trademark cunning insight and grippingly eloquent characters, J.T. Rogers weaves a haunting story about the mysterious disappearance of a loved one, and the unexpected consequences that bring a family closer together. 

Personally, I love the theatre, what is your favorite show?  Have a great weekend and enjoy! 


Image courtesy of William Murphy/

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7




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]