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


Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8

Budgeting After Divorce

by Allyson Hoffman

In Chicago, the divorce rate has increased by 40% in the last two years. Divorce is very difficult both emotionally and financially. How can you prepare for budget adjustments in the North Shore during this transition? Take a look at this insightful blog by Becky Sarwate:

Anyone who has been through a divorce will tell you that it’s a complicated and difficult process on so many levels. In addition to the emotional toll of separating from a spouse, the transition to life as a newly-single person and the impact of divorce on children and extended family members, there are real, long-term financial considerations. There is a reason that divorce ranks number two on the famed Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale.
Budget adjustment after divorce can be one of the most grueling tasks of all, whether the divorcing spouses have children to provide for or not. Budget adjustment can be especially challenging for partners who may have taken a backseat when it came to managing the finances during the marriage. The now single person will have to quickly acquire new financial skills to gain control of assets and monthly expenses, make investments and plan for retirement.

Fortunately, there are some basic strategies that can put even the most overwhelmed on the path toward financial health. Budget adjustment after divorce is painful but not impossible.

The first, and perhaps most critical step is to establish a monthly budget that allows for the payment of bills as well as a little future planning. It can be a huge shift to learn to live on only one income and it’s essential for you to understand where your money is going as soon as possible. Once done, you will have a clearer picture of where changes could and should be made – whether paying down debt or channeling more resources into savings.

How does your retirement future look? If you can’t answer that question, now is the time to act. Budget adjustment after divorce should always include the evaluation of IRAs, 401ks and investment funds. If you don’t have any of these, it’s time to get serious. A financial planner can help.

Divorce filings involve many small, often arduous details, but some of the tiniest particulars are the most important of all. Stressed spouses often neglect to check their  life insurance and retirement accounts and change listed beneficiaries after divorce. For the protection of children and your individual estate, these modifications should not be overlooked.

While taking ownership of your financial prospects may not dull the pain of ending your marriage, it can create a tremendous sense of empowerment. Budget adjustment after divorce is a challenge you will thank yourself for facing. After a painful event, you can still enjoy a healthy, thriving future.


Lily Tomlin at The North Shore Center

by Allyson Hoffman

Looking for some laughs this weekend? Make plans to see legendary Lily Tomlin who is a versatile performer, comedian, writer and producer who has touched some of the most beloved American comedy institutions. Don't miss seeing one of the great legends of American comedy right here in Chicago's North Shore!

Tomlin has been a major force in American comedy since the late 1960's when she began a career as a stand up comedian and became a featured performer on television's Laugh-in. Her career has spanned television, comedy recordings, Broadway, and motion pictures, enjoying acclaimed success in each medium. She has won many awards including Tony Awards, Emmy Awards, and a Grammy Award and has also been nominated for an Academy Award. Tomlin's humor is often sharp and insightful in the traditions of standup comedians, but also frequently endearing, slightly wacky, and generally quite "family friendly" in the tradition of television comediennes.

Performances are at the North Shore Center  in Skokie at 5pm and 8pm. $70-$76.

Image courtesy of geralt/


Four Short Sale Myths

by Allyson Hoffman

The economy is still in recovery here in the Chicago North Shore and across the nation. This has unfortunately has made foreclosures and short sales common place in today's real estate market. Eventhough it's very common to see short sales and foreclosures on the market, much of the information regarding these types of homes is outdated or simply untrue!

Here are some of the top misconceptions of short sales:

Short sales can take up to a year to close. This is simply not true. It can take 7-10 days for the lender to acknowledge receipt of the complete short sale package, which consists of personal seller documents and related real estate items, including the buyer's short sale offer. Once a negotiator is assigned it can take an additional 30 to 45 days for a BPO or appraisal. After this has been completed usually another 2 to 3 weeks for management / investor review and short sale approval.

If you purchase a short sale, you will end up paying too much.  Some listing agents may set a short sale below market value, this is a tactic used to attract multiple offers. Remember that a listed price on a short sale is fabricated, because you won't know how much a bank will accept until the offer is submitted. However, most banks will consider a price at a minimum of 90% of market value.

Lenders of a short sale won’t accept a discounted payoff. Many sellers are often surprised to learn that in markets where prices have fallen over a 5-year-period, a home might be worth 50% or less of its original value when the seller bought it. Lenders know about these declining markets and will do their own research about value and typically come to the same conclusion. The value of the home is not based on the amount of the mortgage; it's based on recent comparable sales.

Short Sale Sellers Must Be in Default Before the Bank Will Approve a Short Sale. The lender will approve a short sale based on the seller's hardship and the value of the home. Many sellers may struggle to make the monthly mortgage payment, but have not fallen behind in their payments. It is true that sellers in default receive immediate attention, but a seller can also pay a mortgage payment on time each and every month and still qualify for a short sale.

Do you have questions about a short sale? Contact me today to see if this type of purchase is a good fit for you and your family!

Image courtesy of Rheog/




High Tea Party at Sweety Pies

by Allyson Hoffman

Valentine's Day is over but love is still in the air in Chicago's North Shore!  If you tried to get a reservation for Valentines but missed out here is your chance to make it up to your special someone!

Join Sweety Pies Bakery in a New Tradition, serving their famous tea sandwiches, pastries and delicious coffee and teas at their casually sophisticated bakery. Enjoy mini scones with fresh whipped cream, Cucumber sandwiches, date nut bread with Brie & Pear, Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with almonds, cake truffles, butter cookies, and more.

Call for reservations. $28 per person/$50 per couple.

Grab your special someone and head on out this weekend to enjoy this local event this Sunday, February 19th.

Image courtesy of labenord/


How to Prepare for the Loan Process

by Allyson Hoffman

 Are you ready to buy your dream house in Chicago's North Shore? Are you familiar with all of the information you will need to provide? The lender will ask you to complete a loan application, which will require a great deal of personal and financial information. First time buyers will definitely need to brush up on everything that is expected of them, and even seasoned buyers could use a refresher so that there are no surprises.

1) Your residence history
• Your previous addresses for the past two years
• The length of time you’ve lived at each address
• If you currently rent, your landlord’s name and addresses (for past 12 months)

2) Your employment history
• The names and addresses of all your employers for the past two years
• The dates you worked at each place of employment
• If there have been any gaps in your employment, explain why

3) All outstanding loans and credit cards
• The creditor’s name(s) and address(es)
• Your account number(s)
• The current total balance you owe and the months left to pay
• The amount of the monthly payment

4) Savings, checking or investment accounts
• The names and addresses for each financial institution
• Your account numbers • The current balance or value

5) Real estate you currently own
• The property address(es)
• The estimated market value
• The outstanding loan balance
• The amount of your monthly payment (including taxes, insurance, homeowner’s association dues)
• The amount of your rental income (if applicable)

6) Personal property you own                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The net cash value of your life insurance
 • The make, year and value of your automobile(s)
 • The value of your furniture, jewelry and other personal property

Without the right help from an experienced real estate agent, you can become overwhelmed quickly. Contact me today to see how I can help you prepare to buy your new home!

Image courtesy of



Thodos Dance Chicago!

by Allyson Hoffman

Looking for an exciting pre-Valentines day event this weekend? Back at the North Shore Center after an incredible World Premiere performance last February of "The White City", the Thodos Dance Chicago will be perfoming. They are a critically acclaimed contemporary dance company with an American choreographic voice and vibrant, award-winning style. The company performs on the national and international dance circuits, as well as in Chicago's most prominent dance events. Luna Negra Dance Theater has established itself as a vital component in Chicago's arts and cultural community. Luna Negra celebrates the richness and diversity of Latino culture through the creation of works by contemporary Latino choreographers while steering away from stereotypes and folkloric representations.

Do not miss this Chicago dance company as they perform this Saturday, February 11th. Get your tickets here!

Image courtesy of geralt/



Kids Can Benefit from Heart Healthy Month!

by Allyson Hoffman

February is Heart Health Month. According to American Heart Association,  about one of three American kids and teens are overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. Among children today, obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren't seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. There are also psychological effects. Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression. 

However, there’s good news: Obesity can be stopped! The best part is that it doesn’t take high-tech treatments or cutting-edge medications. The solution begins and ends with the daily decisions we make. The American Heart Association is working to help kids and families live heart-healthy lives.

Be a good example for your community,  children, nieces, nephews, etc and make a pledge to yourself to actively pursue a healthy lifestyle. B

Heart disease is the number one killer of women - more than all cancers combined. Fight back and live healthy.

Do you have a heart health success story you would like to share? Share them with us!  Staying healthy is something that we all want and learn how to keep yourself and your family in good heart health! 

Image courtesy of OpenClipartVectors/



Daddy-Daughter Dance at Oakton Community Center

by Allyson Hoffman

Calling all dads! This Saturday, February 4nd from 5pm-7pm take your favorite girl, your daughter, to the Daddy-Daughter Dance at the Oakton Community Center.

There will be a guest DJ, pizza, door prizes, and games and you get a special evening with your daughter in beautiful Skokie.

It's not often that you get to set aside special father/daughter time, take advanatage of this Chicago North Shore event and make memories now that will let her know how much she means to you! Listen to this to help put you in the senitmental mood!

Before you know it you'll be walking her down the aisle, let her stand on your feet and dance the night away!

Image courtesy of Derek Mindler/





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]