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Cider Summit Chicago

by Allyson Hoffman

February 27, 2016

Navy Pier Grand Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois     

For aficionados of cider, the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom is the place to be this Saturday. Cider Summit Chicago will offer cider-tasting, and a chance to show off expertise or become a fan of a new artisan cider flavor. Whether a traditionalist or adventurer when it comes to ciders, this is an opportunity to taste what’s new in fruit ciders with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, blackberry, vanilla and many more cider brews. The event supports Heartland Alliance for ending poverty and Great Lakes Cider and Perry Association.

The event also provides an opportunity to learn about pairing ciders with complimentary foods. More than 140 national and international cider samples will be available for tasting from 11 AM - 3 PM and 4 PM - 8 PM in two sessions. Attendees can visit the Cider Cocktail Lounge and purchase a tee-shirt featuring their favorite cider at merchandise booths.

Brewers and guides will be on hand to assist visitors and provide information regarding specific cider brews and 4-ounce samples of each. A new event is the Fruit Cider Challenge where the public gets to vote for new brews by the brewers who produce pilot batches of new flavors.

Cider Summit Chicago is quickly becoming a favorite event at Navy Pier, and is the largest regional cider tasting in the country. This is the fourth annual Summit, and it already has a bus devoted to providing transportation for citizens, the Chicago Brew Bus.

Tickets are available on-line and prices range from $35 - $40 until sold out. Tickets include a tasting glass, 8 tasting tickets and a $1 donation to Heartland Alliance. This is a strictly 21 and over event and designated driver tickets are also available for $5.

Visit Navy Pier this Saturday for an enjoyable day of comparing old favorites with new brews of fruit cider at Cider Summit Chicago.

Where: Navy Pier Grand Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois     

When:  February 27, 2016, 11 AM – 3 PM and 4 PM – 8 PM

For more information regarding Cider Summit Chicago, 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
[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.

Image courtesy of Richard Heaven/Flickr.com

Contingency Clauses in Real Estate Contracts

by Allyson Hoffman

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it’s important to understand each contingency clause in the contract. Buying a home is a big commitment, and it is important that you do everything possible to protect yourself when making this investment.

Contingency clauses are one way that buyers can build additional protections into the sales contract. They allow a buyer to cancel a sales contract with no penalty or loss of earnest money if certain conditions are not met prior to closing.

Contingencies clauses can alter the terms of a contract significantly, so don’t forget to read each contingency carefully. Here are the five common contingency clauses you may find in a real estate sales contract.

Attorney View Contingency

In the Chicago metro area, contracts are typically subject to a five-day period where attorneys for both the buyer and the seller can review and suggest modifications to the legal aspects of the contract.  Modifications to critical components of the agreed terms, such as the price to be paid, are not included in the scope of the attorney view.

Appraisal Contingency

If a home does not appraise at or above the sale price, the prospective lender will generally not proceed with the loan unless the buyer raises their down payment to make the numbers comply with lender expectations. An appraisal contingency often permits the buyer to back out of the contract with no penalty if the house does not appraise at or above the sale price. Alternately, the appraisal contingency can state that if the appraisal is below the sale price, the seller has the option to lower the sale price of the home to the appraised price. Terms of the appraisal contingency and what is acceptable to the parties is typically negotiated to arrive at mutually acceptable result.

Mortgage Contingency

The mortgage or financing contingency specifies that the buyer has the right to back out of the contract with no penalty if he or she is unable to obtain financing as specified in the contract.  These terms often include the date the buyer must secure financing, the amount of the loan, and the type and the interest rate of the loan.

Home Sale or Home Close Contingency

This contingency allows a buyer to back out of a contract with no penalty if he or she cannot sell and/or close on their current home before a set date. This prevents buyers from potentially owning two homes at the same time with the obligation to pay two mortgages simultaneously.  Sellers are much less likely to accept these conditions unless there is an abundance of inventory with longer market times when this highly competitive environment is characterized as a buyers’ market rather than sellers’.

Inspection Contingency

The inspection contingency allows the buyer to perform many inspections as deemed necessary during a set period of time.  In the Chicago metro area, this is typically five business days. If the property does not pass inspection and major issues are revealed, the buyer has several options which include cancelling the contract without penalty.  More frequently, sellers and buyers resolve the concerns revealed in an inspection by sellers performing repairs or crediting buyers for the defects to allow them to address those post-closing.

Contingency clauses in a contract should not be glossed over amidst the legalese and boilerplate language. Doing so could be a costly mistake.  For additional information, please feel free to contact me today for a consultation.  I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about selling your home or finding your next 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
[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.   

Photo courtesy Flickr.com/mmoz

Polar Adventure Day at Northerly Island

by Allyson Hoffman

February 20, 2016

Northerly Island, Chicago, Illinois

The entire family can enjoy this celebration of natural habitat just off the Chicago shoreline on Northerly Island, and still be close enough to the city to have a beautiful view of the skyline. This will be the 11th year of Polar Adventure Day celebrations sponsored by Chicago Parks.

The 91-acre peninsula provides an opportunity to see native birds and animals and learn some science regarding the natural environment of Illinois. Adventures include snowshoeing, creating winter art, enjoying an up-close view of birds of prey from Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, and seeing Siberian huskies and wolves. Additionally, there are musical events, hot cocoa and snack trucks as well.

Created in 1920, Northerly Island was once the site of a fair which was a part of the Century of Progress Exposition in 1933-34, and was a part of the 1909 Plan of Chicago by Daniel Burnham. In 1947 it became Meigs Field airport, much loved by pilots and aeronautics enthusiasts. In 2003, it became a nature preserve and concert venue, renamed Northerly Island.

One end of the preserve is devoted to a concert venue and the opposite end is secluded and quiet in the developing nature area, with a bike and walking trail. Future plans include camping and fishing areas. Currently, family fly-fishing classes are held during the warmer weather of the year. For a map of the island, please click here.

This is one event for which the weather isn’t an issue; snow is appreciated and nature celebrated. Bring the family to the nature preserve Saturday and encourage an appreciation of natural habitats.

Where:  Northerly Island, Chicago, Illinois

When:  Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Admission:  Free; limited parking $3

For more information regarding Polar Adventure Day, 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
[email protected]

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

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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 JohnPickenPhoto/Flickr.com

Tax Tips for Homeowners

by Allyson Hoffman

Reducing your overall tax debt may be one of the benefits of owning a home. State and federal governments offer many tax incentives to homeowners, and your accountant will certainly be able to help you determine which ones you qualify for. Here are the most common home-ownership-related deductions that may be available to reduce your tax obligation:

If your total loan amount is under one million dollars and you itemize deductions, the interest payments on both your primary residence and secondary residence may be deductible. Deducting the interest you pay on home mortgages is one of the oldest and most-commonly used methods to save money on your taxes. This method is especially effective during the early loan repayment years when loan payment schedules required higher interest to principal ratios.

Homeowners who purchased homes in 2015 and paid points on their mortgages can deduct the entire amount on their 2015 tax return. For tax purposes, mortgage points are considered a form of prepaid interest, and as such, can be deducted in full during the same year in which they were paid. Points paid during a refinance work differently. Those points are deducted over the life of the loan.

Property taxes are also tax deductible. Because many people pay their property taxes directly out of an escrow account, this deduction is sometimes overlooked.  If your taxes are paid from an escrow account, review the annual statement sent by your lender each year to determine the amount of taxes paid.

If you have made capital improvements to your home such as adding a deck, installing a new roof or redoing the kitchen, make sure to save your receipts.  You may need them at tax time.  Home improvements that add value to your home (not routine maintenance expenses) may be tax deductible.

These incentives may clearly save you many dollars by reducing your tax obligation.  For information regarding more complex deductions and additional potential savings, be sure to check with a tax professional who will review your specific situation and provide valued advice regarding your additional options.

For information regarding the about buying or selling a home in Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburban communities, feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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.   

Photo courtesy Chris Potter/Flickr.com

January 2016 Midwest Real Estate Market Reports

by Allyson Hoffman

The January 2016 Midwest Real Estate Market Reports are now ready for your review. These market reports provide an insight on the real estate market statistics for Cook County and Lake County. These statistics are helpful when you are considering buying or selling in today’s real estate market.  And, remember should you need tailored reports on a subdivision or neighborhood in the North Shore, North, and Northwest Suburban Chicago, Illinois area, please let me know.

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
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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.

The Orchid Show at Chicago Botanic Garden

by Allyson Hoffman

February 13, 2016

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

Chicago Botanic Garden sets a romantic tropical atmosphere at The Orchid Show this Saturday. Leave the cold behind and wander through the greenhouses and galleries in Regenstein Center where 10,000 orchids will be on display. These orchids are famous for their elegance and beauty the world over and feature an unbelievable variety of colors and delicate forms.

The Orchid Show is the only one of its kind in the Chicago area, and is artfully planned to provide a respite from the harsh winter with 10,000 lovely orchids blooming at once. By their nature, orchids sometimes display an alien and other-worldly ethereal form. And as usual, the Botanic Garden affords guests an educational experience as well. Regardless of orchid growing expertise, from beginner to seasoned veteran, the Botanic Garden offers instruction, advice, and orchids themselves in the Garden Shop and from vendors at the Orchid Marketplace. Their post-Orchid Show official sale begins in March. For registration and information about the orchid classes, please click here. For information regarding the orchid sale, please click here. In addition, members of the Illinois Orchid Society will be present to offer advice and repotting services for the orchids you bring from home.

The Orchid Show will afford guests an oasis in the winter season, and may be a great opportunity to gift that special Valentine with an orchid for the occasion. The Garden Shop has other orchid-inspired gifts as well, including orchid pots, books, jewelry and orchid-illustrated home accessories and kitchenware.

Don’t miss the opportunity to treat your Valentine to a special day at the beautiful Orchid Show this weekend.

Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

When: February 13, 2016 from 8 AM to 5 PM

For more information regarding The Orchid Show, 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
[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.

Photo courtesy Flickr.com/tsmith

Should You Consider Downsizing Your Home?

by Allyson Hoffman

Have you considered downsizing from a larger home to something a bit smaller and cozier?  People often talk about trading up rather than trading down, but it can be an attractive option. Downsizing is now becoming an increasingly popular choice among a wide range of people, and not just retirees.

Because downsizing your home and your life is a big change, here are a few things to consider …

Financial situations change over time. Whether your income has recently reduced, your expenses have increased or you’re just tired of paying the costs of maintaining a large home in favor of having the monetary liquidity for other interests and endeavors, downsizing will certainly reduce the fiscal burden. 

If you have owned your home for 15 years or more, buying that home may now be the “safe investment” which could profitably sell today for substantially more than when it was purchased making it the right time to cash in.  

If proximity to children and grandchildren who are located in a different part of the country is a strong desire, downsizing to a smaller home or condo can make moving to that new area of the country easier.  Smaller homes are generally abundant in most American towns and cities.  

When you have you reached the point where much of your current four-bedroom, four-bath home sits empty and idle and there are rooms in your home you have not visited in months, it might truly be time to scale back to a smaller home with space that you will actually use -- bigger may not always be better.

Is home maintenance draining your valuable time, money and energy? If so, it might be time to simplify your life and gain time and money to use for things you enjoy.  Condos with HOA fees can be a great option where outside landscape maintenance is covered and amenities you might like, such as a swimming pool, are included.

Downsizing from a larger home to a smaller home or condo can be a remarkably freeing experience. So if any of these situations apply to you, it may be the time to seriously reflect on the idea of simplifying your life, taking the plunge and moving to smaller quarters.

For assistance and information about a home purchase, sale or the moving process, feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you to sell your current home or find your next new 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
[email protected]

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

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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 bsouthj/Flickr.com

Chicago Philharmonic’s Eight Seasons: Vivaldi, Piazzolla, Golijov

by Allyson Hoffman

February 7, 2016  

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Evanston, Illinois

Since 1723, the world has appreciated Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, one of the most famous of all classical compositions of the Baroque period. In this concert by the Chicago Philharmonic, the tango forms of Brazilian composer Piazzolla and the art of Visceral Dance Chicago are offered in addition.

For those who enjoy classical music, the beauty of tango, and stunning contemporary dance, this concert provides rich musical and visual entertainment. The Chicago Philharmonic has evolved into a world-class orchestra over the twenty-five years since its beginnings as the Lyric Opera Orchestra, and today it is the official orchestra of the Joffrey Ballet. Acclaimed guest violinist Chee-Yun performs violin solos throughout both segments of the concert in her debut with the Chicago Philharmonic.

For a rare opportunity to experience the best of classical music with the added bonus of Brazilian tango and contemporary dance, don’t miss Chicago Philharmonic’s Eight Seasons: Vivaldi, Piazzolla, Golijov at Northwestern’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall -- a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Evanston.

Where: Pick-Staiger Hall, Evanston, Illinois

When: February 7, 2016 at 2 PM

Admission: Prices range from $10 to $75

For more information about Chicago Philharmonic’s Eight Seasons: Vivaldi, Piazzolla, Golijov, 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
[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.

Image courtesy of rhussung/Pixabay.com

Decorating Your New Home

by Allyson Hoffman

When you buy a new or larger home, you may find that you don’t have the right furnishings or enough furniture to fill the space. Despite that reality, it may not be the best idea to go on a shopping spree to decorate your new home immediately after you move in. Here are a few things to consider before you shop.

Your Budget

Adding debt or maxing out credit cards to decorate your new house could potentially jeopardize your budget and/or your mortgage payments. So be sure to adhere to any preset financial plan you’ve established. If that means buying only a few pieces at a time or saving up for something special, you’ll enjoy your new furniture more without the added stress of overspending all at once.

Acclimate to Your New Home before Buying Anything

Take the time to “live in” your new home and then plan how to decorate it. Decide what furniture will work best and where. This strategy will help you to avoid splurging on something that you doesn’t really fit or that you don’t really need.

Concentrate on High Traffic Areas First

Approach furnishing your home as an on-going process by initially focusing on the rooms that get the most use. Typically, this would include the family room or living room, kitchen and/or bedrooms.  By tackling those rooms first, the results are likely to be the most gratifying.

Don’t Overdo It

Because purchasing new furniture for your home is exciting, it’s easy to get carried away. Make sure to select pieces that truly fit and enhance your new home.  If you have purchased a new larger residence, be careful to not add so much new furniture that it begins to feel crowded or if you have downsized, be sure to select pieces that you not only like, but also those that suit the available space.

Take Your Time

A dedicated decorating account for those little pieces that you may stumble upon one day when you’re out shopping and catch your eye will allow you to buy guilt-free. Don’t hesitate to work at a relaxed pace when furnishing  your new home to ensure that decorating will be a process to enjoy to the fullest.   

By having a good plan and adhering to it, setting a budget, and tackling your house a room at a time,  your odds of having an enjoyable, low-stress decorating experience are greatly increased.

For additional information on purchasing a new home or selling your North Shore, North or Northwest suburban Chicago home contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the home sale or 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
[email protected]

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 Emily May/Flickr.com

December 2015 Midwest Real Estate Market Reports

by Allyson Hoffman

The December 2015 Midwest Real Estate Market Reports are now ready for your review. These market reports provide an insight on the real estate market statistics for Cook County and Lake County. These statistics are helpful when you are considering buying or selling in today’s real estate market.  And, remember should you need tailored reports on a subdivision or neighborhood in the North Shore, North, and Northwest Suburban Chicago, Illinois area, please let me know.

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!

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google +1 
YouTube


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.

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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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