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

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Brighten Your Home and Landscape

by Allyson Hoffman

One night, when the weather is cooperating, take a walk around your home.  What do you see? If the answer is nothing, then turn the lights on! Adequate outdoor lighting is sometimes overlooked by home builders. Even a small investment in lights can provide safety, security and beauty. And if you are considering selling, you'll want to show off your home in the best possible light. 

Safe from Accidents

Patches of ice, a tree root or child's toy … those three things are among the reasons you need to have some degree of lighting on the outside of your home.  Inevitably, it seems that when you need something the most, you don't have it.  Lighting walkways with path lights or post lights can ensure the safety of your family and guests at all times.

Securing the Perimeter

Being able to see the outside at night from the safe interior of your home can bring you some peace of mind. Using strategically placed floodlights can light up large areas and the addition of motion sensors or timers to automate when the lights come on and go off can increase your comfort and security.

Take Pride

If you're proud of your home and want to show it off, light it up.  The goal isn't to provide widespread illumination, but rather to put the best features of the property in the spotlight.  One common design idea is to decoratively light living areas like patios or pools.  Backyard play areas can also be illuminated so the fun can continue for the kids even after sundown or strategically positioned lights secured near the base of trees can provide an enchanting view at night.

Powerful Options

As you survey your outdoor lighting needs, keep in mind that you have a variety of options for powering the lights. Solar energy lets the Sun do the work to provide power during the evening.  Alternately, line voltage power at 120 volts can be used, just as it is for your appliances.  It will, however, require more extensive knowledge, so you may want the help of a professional electrician.  You can also consider low-voltage lighting which uses only 12 volts, is more energy efficient and easier to install. 

Resources

The internet provides some great resources for people interested in outdoor lighting projects. Here are several to get you started. 

 Outdoor lighting is like any other investment in your home. It will improve your quality of life, as well as create added value when the time comes to sell.

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
[email protected]


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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.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

Making the Impossible Possible

by Allyson Hoffman

Enjoy the thrill of magic and illusion this weekend with your whole family at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights [map]. It's Spencers Theatre of Illusion that has been recently named International Magicians of the Year. You won’t believe your eyes! They've been described as modern day Houdinis, with a terrific blend of humor, mystery and magic to make the impossible possible. The show is Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $35, $25 for children under 12 and you can buy them online at this link.

And if you are buying or selling a home, let me show you some Real Estate magic. Have a great weekend! 

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
[email protected]

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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.

Be Wary of Winter's Toll

by Allyson Hoffman

Winter is not a great time for roofs. Freezing temperatures, strong winds, and rain, snow and ice combine to make winter the worse time of the year for extensive water damage. The cycle of water freezing and melting causes roofing to expand and contract, creating gaps that can leak. Older homes or those with poorly designed or constructed roofs are the most vulnerable, but it doesn't take a large mistake on an otherwise perfect roof to put the value of your home in jeopardy.

A buildup of snow and ice on the roof is never a good thing, and you want to prevent that as much as possible. Adding insulation to your attic is another way to prevent roof problems. In addition to keeping the cold out, the insulation keeps the heat inside from melting ice, which can run down from the peak and freeze again, causing ice dams. One telltale sign of ice dams are icicles, as seen in the image to the right.

You don't have to go outside to check for leaks in the roof. The first sign is often water spots on the ceilings of upper floors or wet spots in attics. Look for damaged shingles from the ground using a pair of binoculars. If a closer look is required, “walking” the roof is generally something best left to an experienced inspector or roofer.

If you suspect you may have a problem, don't hesitate to get your roof inspected by a professional. A minor problem now can quickly become a major repair. The good news is that winter is not a roofer's busiest season, and you may find some steep discounts on repair costs. When looking for a roofer, make sure they have experience doing winter repairs.

Knowing the condition of your roof is especially important if you're planning on selling your home in the future. Problems and damage will have to be accounted for before most buyers will even consider making an offer on your home. The longer you wait, the more repairs will cost. So take a little time out of your weekend to check for roof problems. When it is time to sell, you'll be glad you did!

 

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
[email protected]


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.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

An Evening of Beethoven and Smetana

by Allyson Hoffman

Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston [map] will proudly host the Pacifica Quartet Saturday night. Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often-daring repertory choices, over the past two decades the Pacifica Quartet has gained international stature as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today. The Pacifica tours extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia, performing regularly in the world’s major concert halls. Tickets for Saturday's 7:30 p.m. performance are $30, $21 for seniors and $10 for students, and can be purchased online at the Music Institute of Chicago's website.

 

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
[email protected]


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

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

Should You Consider Renting Your Home?

by Allyson Hoffman

As the housing market makes a slow recovery, some families have opted to rent homes instead of buying.  Likewise, some homeowners have discovered that renting a home, as opposed to selling, is a smart financial move.  If that's something you've considered, let's talk about your options.  We’ll need to review a number of things including how much you'll rent your house for, how long a lease term you desire, will pets be accepted and whether or not to consider professional property manager.

To determine how much you can charge for rent, you’ll need to consider how much homes similar to yours in nearby neighborhoods are rented for now.  Asking more than the average rental rate may discourage potential renters.  Factor in your monthly carrying costs and needed contingency funds to assess the lowest possible rental rate that works for you .  Typically, those costs include:

  • Mortgage Payments
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Major Repairs
  • Association Fees
  • Vacancy Losses

Depending on your individual situation, you might additionally be paying for utilities, yard work, minor maintenance, professional property management team and/or a legal consultant.   It’s important to factor in all potential costs and arrive at a ballpark number that includes all the expenses associated with owning the home.  The objective is to not lose money by renting your home.  So, ideally your rental price would be higher than your projected expenses.  By working together, we can evaluate all these important variables and set a rental price that will make your house both a reliable investment and an attractive option to potential tenants. 

 Before any tenants see the house and to maximize the likelihood of success, you’ll want the house to be:

  • Clean
  • Empty (unless you want to rent it furnished)
  • In good working order (no repairs or maintenance needed)
  • Up to code

One final important consideration is who will handle direct dealings with the tenant.  Will you as the landlord do that yourself or do you prefer using a property management team?

There's a lot to consider when screening tenants, preparing/signing rental agreements and fielding the calls for maintenance requests and other issues.  If you've been a landlord before, you’ll already understand the challenge of handling these responsibilities yourself.  If the extra work and potential stress don’t suit you, then a property manager may be the way to go.  Most charge fees based upon the services they’ll provide for you, so you may want to make a list of what you need most and then explore that with the possible manager or firm.

To make this a less confusing process, I can discuss these issues with you in depth and provide you with the information you’ll need to decide what’s the best approach for you in the long run.  So, if renting your home is something you're considering, feel free to contact me and we'll arrange a time to sit down and discuss your situation and the possibilities!

 

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
[email protected]


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

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

Powerful Drama on Stage in Skokie

by Allyson Hoffman

The Northlight Theatre in Skokie [map] is currently staging the powerful and thought-provoking play, The Whipping Man. It's set in the aftermath of the Civil War, and tells the story of a Jewish Confederate soldier and two former slaves who were raised in his household. As the men struggle to rebuild their lives, they uncover a tangle of secrets that threatens their family and their shared faith. The show is on stage from Wednesday through Sunday through February 24th. You can see the entire schedule here and buy your tickets here. An excerpt of the show, taped last month, can be seen below.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

How to Inspect the Carpet

by Allyson Hoffman

When you're buying a new home, you can be overwhelmed by the process. I'll work with you to make sure we find the best home possible for you. And a part of that is being proactive about making sure your new home is in the best possible condition when you move in to it. A good home inspection will catch many problems, but let's not assume that even a professional inspector will find every problem. When you're paying for a house, you can wind up also paying for undetected problems. Better to be safe than need thousands of dollars of unanticipated repairs. So keep an eagle eye on even basic things when you are inspecting a possible new home. While carpets are generally easy to replace, the carpets and its condition can provide clues that might disclose bigger problems:

  • Look for obvious signs of wear and tear, including around the edges of the room. Don't forget to look under any furniture present: . A big dresser or a small chair may be strategically placed over a problem area.
  • Stains are inevitable on a carpet, but some are worse than others. If the seller has spare remnants of a stained carpet, in some cases it can be possible to patch a bad area.
  • On ground floors and in basements, check to see if the carpet is damp or smells musty. Water from cracks in the foundation or walls, or as well as leaks from furnaces, hot water heaters, or even pipes, can be trapped under a carpet. That could mean mold in both the carpet and the flooring underneath.
  • Be wary of pet odors in the carpeting, especially the scent of cat urine. While you can have the carpets cleaned, if the urine has seeped into the floor below, you've got a major problem that will be expensive to repair.
  • If the floor under your feet sags, feels bouncy, or makes a lot of noise, you're going to want to see what's going on under the carpet. A Home Inspector isn't going to pull up to the carpet, but you may want to investigate further. Repairing damaged floors is expensive.

Now, if you're selling a home you may want to consider doing a couple of things before you show it to prospective buyers. One of the first things you should do is inspect your carpet, in the same way I outlined above. The truth is that if there are problems, you're likely to have to deal with them at some point before or after a formal inspection. Disclosing problems to a buyer can mean you'll may have to pay for the repairs, but it also means you can't be held responsible for those problems after the closing. Replacing wore and dated carpets before marketing may be a great option since generally on a dollar-for-dollar basis, you will recoup a dollar for each dollar spent.  If that is not an option for you, the second best plan is to get your carpets cleaned by the best service you can afford.  Fresh, clean carpets go a long way towards selling your home.

Savor the Winter Market

by Allyson Hoffman

Savor the scent of fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly baked bread, and other delights this Saturday at the [Morton Grove Farmers' Market's Winter Market]. In addition to stocking your pantry and kitchen with delectable food, you can get a hot meal with live music and entertainment for the kids. It all takes place February 2nd from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the American Legion Civic Center, 6140 Dempster Street in Morton Grove [map].

The Morton Grove Farmers' Market doesn't open again until May, so now is the time to grab something yummy for the whole family   … or just for yourself! Have a great weekend.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8

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

(847) 310-5300
[email protected]

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