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

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A Picture IS Worth 1,000 Words (and Then Some)

by Allyson Hoffman

Before any buyer sets foot in your home, over 90% of them will review the photos of your home online. In most cases, they don’t just view the photos, they look through them many times, analyze them and share them with family members or friends. In today’s market, the online photos are often the first showing of your property. Only once a buyer has looked at your home online will they take the time to view it in person.

Because the pictures are so important, it is essential that the photos of your home show everything in its best light. Some agents choose to take pictures with their smart phone or digital camera as opposed to hiring a professional photographer. We all have our specialties and for the vast majority of real estate agents that is not taking pictures. A trained and experienced photographer has the right equipment and skills to produce the best images of your home.  But it’s up to you to prepare your home both inside and out for your photo shoot so the photographer can do his part.

Here are some tips to help assure your home is photo ready.

Deep clean your home. Dust shows and so do clean, shiny floors.
- If you have excess furniture in your rooms, put it in storage. Overstuffed rooms appear smaller.
- Remove clutter from countertops, coffee/end tables, dressers, night stands, mantels, open shelving etc. This means almost everything including the TV remotes, toothbrush holders or even   the toaster which are all distractions. Clean, empty surfaces with a lovely accent piece photograph best.
- Check all light bulbs. If they aren’t working, replace them.
- Stash items that just don’t need to be photographed such as laundry baskets, trashcans, and/or small rugs that can become dangerous trip hazards.
- For “feature” closets, pantries and other storage spaces that will be photographed, keep in mind that messy, overflowing shelves or rods will not photograph well.
- Before photos, landscaping should be impeccably groomed given seasonal constraints. Trim the grass if needed and remove the clippings. Rake leaves, prune trees and bushes and add some colorful flowers if possible.  Replace mulch or pine needles if you have them in your yard. In winter, shovel walkways and driveways.
- Remove any signs from your yard including “For Sale” or home security notices.
- Declutter the yard or patio including toys, water hoses or trash and recycling cans. If you do not have a garage, then move cars to the street prior to a photo shoot.
- All beds should be made with fresh blankets folded and pillows arranged neatly.
- Close all toilet lids and put out fresh accent towels in the bathroom(s).
- Turn on all lights and open blinds and other window coverings to draw in natural light.
- Arrange for the pets to be gone or not underfoot and remove all evidence of pets such as beds, bowls, food and/or litterboxes.
- If you have children, it’s best for them to be unobtrusive or at a friend’s house to ensure the best results.

If you aren’t sure where to start, let’s walk through your home together and I will create a list of recommendations to consider tackling before your appointment with the photographer. Being prepared in advance of taking photos is critical because no one gets a second chance to make a great first impression. Getting it right at the outset will dramatically increase the likelihood of an online buyer scheduling an appointment to view your home. Don’t miss that opportunity!

For additional information on preparing to sell your home, please contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the home buying or selling process, help you to find a new home or determine the value of your existing property.

 

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.   

Image courtesy of jessebridgewater/pixabay.com

Celebrate Good Times

by Allyson Hoffman

If you enjoy delicious drinks and donating to a good cause, then be sure to check out Winnetka Community House’s Wine and Beer Tasting. The event will take place this Friday, February 23rd with proceeds benefiting the Winnetka Community House. The Winnetka Community House is a non-profit community center whose mission is to “enrich the lives of North Shore residents, their families, and friends by providing educational, cultural, social and recreational opportunities for people of all ages.” Taste over 25 premium wines or take part in this year’s blind wine tasting with prizes. Other activities include a champagne saber demonstration and a grab bag wine pull with a chance to win an expensive bottle for your cellar! Tickets are limited so visit the Winnetka Community House official website to purchase your tickets today.

Continue your weekend of festivities by joining the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year this Sunday, February 25th at Chicago’s Chinatown. The parade will kick off at 24th street and Wentworth Avenue at 1 PM. Enjoy this colorful display of floats, marching bands, traditional lion dances, and a special appearance by Ronald McDonald. It’s the year of the dog (4716) and dog lovers are encouraged to participate in the parade with their favorite furry friend. Visit the Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation’s official website to grab your 2018 Dog’s on Parade Entry Form or to get directions for the best spectating views.

It’s a new year and this weekend brings you a multitude of opportunities to celebrate in style.

 

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 by wiroj/Pixabay.com

601 E. Saddlebrook Lane, Vernon Hills, IL

by Allyson Hoffman

Open Concept Design!

Saddlebrook -- One-of-a-Kind Split Entry Penthouse Ranch with Stunning New Open Concept Kitchen!

One-Level Living Can be Yours in this Elegant Sprawling Upper-Level Ranch -- Combine Outstanding Updates, Volume Ceilings, Flowing Open Floor Plan & a Location of Supreme Convenience Here!


Saddlebrook at Gregg’s Landing -- one-of-a-kind split entry penthouse ranch with stunning new open-concept kitchen! This dramatic, sunny one-level-living Belmont model features a spectacular new high-end kitchen ... a complete redesign with open walls to the Great Room and Dining Room -- completely unique. 

The Great Room boasts cathedral ceilings and features a stunning, customized feature wall with built-ins, media center and fireplace overlooking the dining room and amazing new kitchen where you can step out through sliders to a large deck with sunny south exposure, circular stairs leading down to the yard area and the enjoyment the fresh air breezes. 

The immense master suite, also with high ceilings, has two large walk-in closets -- his/hers, and a large bath with twin sinks, separate shower, tub and enclosed commode. Add loads of recent updates, two more family bedrooms and a two-car attached garage with a full wall of large professional utility cabinets. 

Combine the benefits of carefree condo living with the ample space of a freestanding home here and add the supreme location conveniences of nearby shopping, theaters, schools, trains and highway access. If you are looking for something that is truly special ... this is your answer!

To view the full description and collection of photos for this home please visit www.601EastSaddlebrook.com!

Contact Allyson Hoffman for more information or to schedule a showing.  Visit www.RealEstateNorthernIllinois.com or email Allyson@Allyson.com!

House Viewings: Are We Alone?

by Allyson Hoffman

Most buyers shopping for a new home typically prefer the sellers of the home not be present when viewing the property. Looking at the property, sans sellers, allows buyers to feel more relaxed and not worried about their reactions and/or comments during their visit.

While sellers naturally understand that buyers prefer to visit homes without the seller present, some just aren’t completely comfortable having strangers in their home when they aren’t there. Agents will undoubtedly encourage sellers to not be home during showings or at a minimum, be truly unobtrusive.  Nonetheless, many sellers are reluctant to heed this request.

As a solution to this dilemma, some sellers have turned to security cameras to monitor the activity in their home when they aren’t present. Popularity has grown as video technology has become more user-friendly and less expensive. To provide some peace of mind and security when they aren’t there, an increasing number of sellers are utilizing systems to record everyone entering their home. Moreover, sellers can also review the footage to hear the conversations between buyers and agents.

What does this mean to buyers looking at homes? It’s best to presume that there is a recording device.  In fact, many Multiple Listing Services now include a disclaimer on every listing, such as:  “Many homes contain recording devices, and buyers should be aware that they may be recorded during a showing.” Because sellers may listen to your conversations and watch your reactions, whether security or unfiltered feedback is their primary concern, be aware of what you say and do. If you are interested in the home and present an offer, hearing your thoughts in advance could provide the seller an advantage during any negotiations.

Regardless of the reason that sellers might be watching and listening, don’t allow this possibility to put you at a disadvantage in a home that you like.  It’s always best to treat a home you tour the way you would want a buyer to treat yours and limit comments about the house to those that you would make if the seller was present.

For additional information regarding purchasing a home, please contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the home buying or selling process, help you to find a new home or determine the value of your existing property.

 

 

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.    

Image courtesy of watdaluck/pixabay.com

January 2018 Midwest Real Estate Market Reports

by Allyson Hoffman

The January 2018 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 ShoreNorth, 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
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.

Live Colorfully

by Allyson Hoffman

February 17th through April 15th Navy Pier, in partnership with Quartier des Spectacle and RAW, brings you a one-of-a-kind immersive art installation. Prismatica is an interactive light display comprised of 25 pivoting prisms that tower over six feet tall. As you wander through the installation, guests can manipulate the prisms and observe their colorful lights, reflections, and sounds as they are turned and positioned. Admission to this exhibit is free and open to the public. Visit Navy Pier’s official website for event information.

From colorful prisms to colorful Orchids, the Chicago Botanic Gardens presents Asia in Bloom: The Orchid Show. This event takes place February 10th through March 25th. Enjoy the beauty of the orchids in the daytime from 10 AM to 4 PM or under the moonlight for Orchids After Hours from 4 PM to 8 PM with Asian drinks and light fare available for purchase. You will have the opportunity to chat with the experts. The Illinois Orchid Society will be available to answer any of your orchid questions. Also, the society will hold their annual spring show of judged orchid displays in Nichols Hall on March 10th and 11th. So, if you’re ready to purchase an orchid of your very own or simply admire their beauty, then visit Chicago Botanical Gardens official website to buy your tickets today!

This weekend offers a ton of ways to take in colorful displays so attend one or both and enjoy a splash of color in your day.

 

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 by Harry Quan on Unsplash

The Art and Benefit of Correctly Pricing Your Home to Sell

by Allyson Hoffman

Once you’ve decided to sell your home, the most important decision you will make (other than selecting the right listing agent) is the correct listing price. Pricing homes appropriately requires research, time and market knowledge.

Home prices are market driven. To most accurately predict the price of your home, comparisons to similar recently-sold properties in the same area that allow for their differences will typically produce the most reliable assessment. Home pricing is not based upon how much you paid for it, how much you owe on it, the amount you have spent updating it and/or the amount you hope to get so you can buy a new house.

Thus, the selection of the best comparable sales is critical to the accuracy of a pricing analysis. Those who evaluate the pricing of homes, including REALTORS® and appraisers, will identify those homes most similar to your home in age, style, location and condition as well as those homes having the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and those homes having similar square footage and/or lot sizes.  Other selection criteria could include the amount of updating and the availability of municipal services such as sewer and water or common amenities. Lastly, recent sales are generally chosen over older sales with additional consideration given to the market history of similar currently-listed properties and those properties that are under contract.

As you prepare your home for the market, some items to be fixed or updated can appear. It is always the seller’s choice whether to or not to do any work.  Regardless of that decision, it is important to understand that buyers will likely perceive the value of your home based on items they want to change or that need to be fixed. Because perceived value is frequently different than replacement cost, keep in mind that you could ultimately sell your home for less net profit than if potential fixes and/or updates had been completed. This occurs when buyers assume the cost of an update or repair to be much higher than the actual cost and offer less for the home to allow for the work to be done. Generally, fresh painting and flooring, such as new carpeting for example, will return both the cost of the work and a profit to the sellers.

Lastly, price positioning can impact market response and sellers’ results.  Select an asking price that is both reflective of the market value and in a price range that provides you maximum exposure. The 90+% of buyers who begin their home search online will typically be forced to choose from a list of pre-formatted price ranges. If you price slightly above a pre-formatted price point, those buyers who used that as their “cut off” point will simply never find you. If, for example, you ask $203,000 for your home just to give you a little room for negotiation, you likely eliminated every single buyer whose selected price range ended at $200,000. Moreover, that asking price would now also place you in competition with homes priced up to as much as $225,000 or $250,000, potentially making your home seem less appealing as compared to the others in that price range. So be sure that your price makes sense and won’t cost you any exposure. Lack of exposure coupled with the wrong price simply prolongs market time.  Longer market times statistically correlate to greater spreads between listing and selling prices due to lower offers from buyers who will clearly feel more comfortable making and justifying those prices when a home has been on the market for some time.

Appropriately pricing your home can be challenging. An in-depth market analysis for your property that considers its closest competition should simplify the task when you are ready to list. Moreover, obtaining reasonable home preparation suggestions designed to enhance the condition and presentation of your home should shorten its market time, and create the opportunity to maximize its value and your profit upon sale. For any additional information regarding the sale of your home, please feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you to find a new home or determine the value of your existing property.

 

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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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 merio/pixabay.com

What’s Your Passion?

by Allyson Hoffman

It’s time again for the largest auto show in North America. Chicago Auto Show begins this Saturday, February 10th and runs through Monday, February 19th. The 2018 Chicago Auto Show is the best place to see all the latest designs and experience what the future holds for the auto industry. In addition to viewing these great designs, get a first-hand experience at one of the five indoor or four outdoor test tracks! Not only is it the largest show in North America but it has been held more times than any other auto exposition on the continent! So be a part of history and attend the 110th edition of the Chicago Auto Show. Visit Chicago Auto Show’s official website for additional event details and to purchase your tickets to the hottest ride in town.

Don’t forget this Wednesday is Valentine's Day! If you want to celebrate this weekend, be sure to check out Dance Chicago 2018 performance of DC Dances from the Heart. The performance takes place this Saturday, February 10th at the Athenaeum Theatre Chicago. No matter your preference, this production has it all from tap and ballet to urban fusion and jazz. It’s a perfect date night idea for you and that special someone. Visit Athenaeum Theatre’s official website to purchase your tickets today!

So, if you love cars or love dance, this Valentines weekend has plenty to go around.

 

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 by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Mastering the Bidding War Battle

by Allyson Hoffman

The current real estate market, different from recent years by limited inventory in almost all price ranges, has created increased demand for many homes. Homes with the greatest interest include those that are well priced, in good to excellent condition and staged to enhance photography that highlights the best features of the property.

Buyers currently in the market to purchase a home, depending upon their criteria, may likely select a home with other buyers also interested and find themselves bidding on a property with multiple offers existing. Should you face this scenario, here are some suggestions to enhance your offer to increase the likelihood that it will stand out from the others.

- Price is important, but don’t forget the other terms of your offer. Have flexibility where you can. If the seller wants to move quickly or stay longer, offer to adjust your closing time to accommodate their schedule.

A larger earnest money deposit is another term of the contract that can make a big impact.

- Consider including a letter to the seller with your offer. Home negotiating is relatively impersonal in today’s technology-filled world. Most offers are completed online, executed with digital signatures and submitted by email. A personal note from the buyer (even if the “letter” is emailed) can distinguish your offer from others. Share what you loved about their home and what you are looking forward to when living there. Appealing to the seller’s emotional side could be the difference in impact needed to land your offer on top of others.

Eliminate as many contingencies as you can from your offer. While most buyers require financing to complete a home purchase and cannot remove this condition, if you are comfortable purchasing the home “as is”, that scenario could be very appealing to the seller. This approach would typically still permit home inspections to ascertain the actual condition of the property before proceeding. Buying without asking the seller to make any repairs can be effective in a buyer becoming a multiple offer winner.

- Absolutely include documentation showing you are qualified to purchase the home. A preapproval letter for a mortgage or proof of funds if you are paying cash is critical for sellers to seriously consider your offer.

- Avoid requesting the seller to leave personal property not already included in the listing conveyances

Don’t ask the seller to pay your closing costs. In some price ranges, asking the seller to pay part of the closing costs for the buyer is very common, but paying your own provides one more reason your offer could look better than the next one.

- While price clearly isn’t the only factor important to the seller, it will often be a major determining criterion in choosing the successful bidder.  So if you really want the home and others do too, consider offering above the listing price. Keep in mind that if you think the home will only
appraise for the price it is listed at, and not for the amount you are offering to pay, you may need to make it clear that you are willing to pay more than the appraised value.

Because there are so many variables within an offer, it can be really hard to know what is best in any given situation.  So having a trusted real estate advisor to guide you through the home buying process is critical to determining the best terms needed to secure the property when competing with other interested parties.

For additional information on submitting an offer to purchase a home, please contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the home buying or selling process, help you to find a new home or determine the value of your existing property.

 

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.    

Image courtesy of rawpixel/pixabay.com

Lyrics and Literature

by Allyson Hoffman

You don’t have to travel Across the Universe to see America’s Premier Tribute to The Beatle. BritBeat is coming to the Center Theater Sunday, February 3rd.  Enjoy a musical progression through Beatles music history and rock out to your favorite hits! BritBeat is a multi-media concert recreation produced to feature an accurate live concert experience through each era of Beatles’ music. This year, the show celebrates George Harrison’s 75th birthday by featuring some of his hit songs throughout his Beatles career. So, Come Together and enjoy this one-of-a-kind tribute to one of America’s most influential bands. Visit North Shore Center’s official site for tickets and show times.

Alternatively, if Shakespearian theatre is more your taste, then Odd’s Bodkins presentation of The Winter’s Tale may be the show for you. Featuring period costumes, and live musical performances by the cast, Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale is brought to life by one of Chicago’s independent classical theater companies. The Winter’s Tale is a story of loss and redemption. In a fit of wild and unfounded jealousy, Leontes, the King of Sicily, convinces himself that his pregnant wife is carrying his best friend’s love child. Leontes’s jealousy turns to tyranny as the king proceeds to destroy his entire family and a lifelong friendship. Witness this dramatic tale live Saturdays and Sundays, February 3rd through 25th at 2 PM. Visit Cornservatory Chicago’s official website for additional information and to get your tickets today!

So, whether you enjoy great lyrics or classic literature, this weekend has an event for you!

 

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
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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 by Lyndsey Marie on Unsplash

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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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