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


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11

Splash at Northwestern University

by Allyson Hoffman

Saturday, April 2nd from 9am to 5pm high school students from all over the Chicago area and beyond are welcomed to the Northwestern University campus to take classes from NU students and community members about anything! You read it right….anything!

This is an unconventional educational experience at the Evanston campus of Northwestern University. This event offers high school students from all over Chicagoland the opportunity to take short courses in fascinating subjects that wouldn’t be covered in their regular school curriculum. Northwestern students design their own courses on whatever subject they choose, from nanomaterials to origami to sign language. High school students will then choose their classes for the day, learning from Northwestern’s brightest and most creative undergraduates and grad students (maybe even a post-doc or two).

If you are interested in certain classes such as science or the humanities, or just random things that you have never heard about, there’s a class for you!

Sign up here and you can also contact Liza Plotnikov at [email protected] Northwestern University campus is located at 2145 Sheridan Road in Evanston.



Staging Can Make for a Quicker Sale

by Allyson Hoffman

If you want to sell your Northern Illinois home quicker and for more of a profit, you need to learn about a successful tool: staging.  Staging will help you to make your home look bigger, brighter and give it a welcoming appearance. The best thing staging does is make the home buyers want it! As challenging as today’s market is, you need every tool you can find to help you to sell your home for top dollar, and fast!

Now you ask what staging actually is. Staging is showcasing your home in the best light possible. You  are showing the buyers your home’s best attributes.  And skillfully diverting their attention from the less than perfect parts.

In essence, staging is creating visual “eye candy” to bring out your homes positive parts. It takes science as well as art, and a lot of marketing.  You can do this by painting, re-carpeting, new lighting and/or new window treatments.  You could even borrow or rent furniture to give each room a new and improved look.

Watching shows like HGTV’s Designed To Sell or The Stagers will give you an idea of where to start.  Also check out Top 10 Home-Staging Dos and Top 10 Home-Staging Don’ts by Designed to Sell’s Donna and Shannon Freeman.

Another good question: Should you stage your own house, or hire someone to do it professionally?   There are two staging tricks that every home seller can use:

* Clear it out. You have stuff--lots of stuff. And your house is overloaded with all that stuff. Go through each room and get rid of the clutter everywhere you see it. Your rooms will look bigger, more restful, and more inviting. And all you did was pick up!

* Clean it up. Make sure everything shines inside and out, from windows, floors and countertops inside to the deck, garage and yard outside. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bath. A little well-applied elbow grease will go a long way in selling your home. And it’s free!

Do these two simple things, and you’re already ahead in the staging game.

But should you keep going and stage other aspects of your own home? That depends on whether you have the eye, the skill--and the objectivity. Can you put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and see your home as the buyer will see it--positive points and negative points? Are you prepared to tackle those negatives? Do you have the “designer’s eye” for color and other design elements? Do you have the technical skills to complete improvements?

Whether you hire a professional or choose to do it on your own, staging can definitely give you the upper hand in selling your home. Feel free to contact me and we can go through a few more staging ideas and recommend a professional if needed.


Image courtesy of Avia Venefica/

Try Something New-Curling!

by Allyson Hoffman

It is always fun to try something new. How about Curling in North Shore? This unique sport is a growing favorite and is an Olympic event.

The North Shore Curling Club is located on the grounds of the North Shore Country Club (NSCC) at : 1340 Glenview Road, Glenview, Illinois 60025. Enter the NSCC grounds, head towards the main club, and the curling lodge will be off to your left.

The phone number for the curling lodge is (847)724-9762. The phone number for the Country club is (847)729-1200.

Image courtesy of Shabbytochicnz/ 


Your Chicago Illinois Area Moving Guide

by Allyson Hoffman

Spring is among us and it is the time of year when people decide to list their houses and move on to their next place to call home. It is the time in between the listing, and the final sale, to the time when you are settling into your new house that can be overwhelming and stressful if not planned right.

In the coming weeks I will provide you with the information, tools and resources that will assist you with your move to help you and your family with this transition.

Part 1 of this moving guide will outline the three "types" of moves and which method will be best for you and your family.

Full-service Movers
This type of move is an all-inclusive type package. Full-service movers are professional and licensed and handle all aspects of your move from packing and loading to unloading. Full-service movers may cost more than the other options listed below, but keep in mind it may be well worth the investment to free up your own time and lessen the stress on you and your family.

Self Service Movers
If you want a little more control over the move, the Self Service move may be the way to go. Here you will be responsible for packing, loading and unloading of the moving vehicle provided by a professional and licensed mover while they take care of the actual driving. This is a popular option for small to medium interstate moves.

Do It Yourself Move
If working with a professional mover doesn't fit into you moving plan you can always "Do It Yourself". Consider the number of items you need to pack and move as well as the distance you need to go; it might be quit manageable on your ow using a rented truck. When renting a truck to drive yourself, you want to make sure it is large enough to accommodate all your boxes and furniture and whether or not the truck requires a special license to drive it.

Which ever method you decide to go with, try not to let it overwhelm you. There are a number of moving tips that we are going to share with you to make this transition as stress-free as possible.

Don't forget to check back for Part 2 of our Chicago Illinois Moving Guide.

What Do Mortgage Points Mean To Me?

by Allyson Hoffman

When Northern Illinois homebuyers request a quote from a lender for a home loan, they will find that the quotes frequently include both loan rates and points. Most people are confused by what exactly a point is.

Mortgage points describe certain charges to be paid in order to obtain a mortgage on a home. Each mortgage point is a fee based on one percent of the total amount of the loan

A point is a fee equal to 1 percent of the loan amount. For example, A 30-year, $200,000 mortgage might have a rate of 6 percent, but come with a charge of 1 point, or $2,000. A lender can charge 1, 2 or more points. There are two kinds of points: discount points and origination points.

 •Discount points: These types of points are really prepaid interest on the mortgage loan. Because, the more points you pay, the lower the interest rate on the loan and vice versa. Borrowers typically can pay anywhere from zero to 3 or 4 points, depending on how much they want to lower their rates. The advantage to this type of point is that it is tax-deductible.
 •Origination fee: This is charged by the lender to cover the costs of making the loan. The origination fee is deductible if it was used to obtain the mortgage and not to pay other closing costs. The
IRS specifically states that if the fee is for items that would normally be itemized on a settlement statement, such as notary fees, preparation costs, and inspection fees, it is not deductible.

The longer you keep the property financed under the loan that has the purchased points, the more money spent on the points will pay off.  And if the homebuyer has the intention to buy and sell the property or refinance in a big hurry, the buying points will actually end up costing more than just paying the loan at the higher interest rate.

Whether or not you pay points, or how many points can be effected by a variety of factors.  The amount of money you can put down at closing and also how long you plan on staying in your home can be a factor. If you are planning to stay in your home for a long time, you may find it worth it pay points so that it reduces your interest rate. Make sure to have your mortgage lender explain these fees with you at length if you have any questions.

 Image courtesy of



The Jungle Book

by Allyson Hoffman

Enjoy thrilling adventures and favorite Disney tunes from the award-winning Northbrook Theatre Children’s Company. “The Jungle Book” is adapted from the popular movie about a boy who is lost in the jungle, saved from a ferocious tiger and raised by wolves. Characters include a bear, black panther, crazy monkey and Mowgli, the man-cub. Reserved seats are $8 in advance and $10 online or at the door.

The Northbrook Theatre Children’s Company is presenting The Jungle Book.  Enjoy the fun adventures and favorite Disney tunes Saturday, March 19th at 4:00pm.   The Jungle Book is adapted from the popular movie about a boy who is lost in the jungle, saved from a ferocious tiger and raised by wolves. 

In this thrilling adventure, at your local theatre,  you will see characters including a bear, a black panther, a crazy monkey and Mowgli, the man-cub.  Reserved seats are $8 in advance and $10 online or at the door. You can see this exciting adventure at 3323 Walters Avenue in Northbrook.

Image courtesy of Jeff Vier/


Home Inspections

by Allyson Hoffman

Whether you are buying or selling a Northern Illinois property, home inspections are a vital part of the process.  When you are hiring a home inspector, do your research and make sure they are a qualified individual or company.

Here are some things to keep in mind and ask your potential inspector:

  • What are your qualifications?
  • How many home inspections do you perform in a year that is similar to my home?
  • Can you provide a list of references that we can contact?
  • What is your turnaround time to receive the report?
  • What will be included in the report?
  • How much will the report cost? 

Your Home Inspector will perform a “visual” inspection to determine the condition of your home:

  • Foundation and Framing
  • Roofing and Flashing
  • Gutters and Drainage
  • Siding
  • Decks and/or Porches
  • Driveways and Sidewalks
  • Doors and Windows
  • Stairs and Railings
  • Ceilings and Walls
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Heating and A/C
  • Ventilation
  • Attics
  • Basement
  • Garage


For an easy, quick search of certified Home Inspectors in your area you can visit The American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

Image courtesy of Mark Moz/



Spend St. Patrick's Day at the Celtic Knot Public House

by Allyson Hoffman

The Celtic Knot Public House, located at 626 Church Street in Evanston is your traditional Irish pub with a bit of sophistication of a modern European restaurant.  The Celtic Knot is a fun and inviting place to gather for friends of all nature.

Here you can enjoy the Pub Grub, which is a fish and chips, Shepherd’s Pie or a Guinness Pasty. Or you can choose to sample the dinner specials! Here you might get to try Lemon Infused Sole, Pecan crusted Salmon or an amazing steak served with Black Peppercorn sauce.

Try a new wine or fine beer at their full bar that will compliment any meal or you can just enjoy it alone!  And of course a proper pint of Guinness is always ready for you.

The relaxing atmosphere is the perfect place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Evanston.

Image courtesy of JD Hancock/



First Impressions That Make Them Go "Wow!"

by Allyson Hoffman

The saying “You only have one chance to make a first impression” rings true especially with potential buyers. You must make sure your Chicago North Shore home is in the best shape it can be in for showing. Your agent will let you know any major things, if any, you need to do, however prior to your showing here are a few things you can do to be assured you are ready to show:

1.       Tidy Your Home

2.       Unclutter cupboards and closets

3.       Make any minor repairs

4.       Cut lawn in the summer and shovel walks in the winter

5.       Put away all valuables

6.       Lock up pets or take them with you

7.       Open all drapes and blinds

8.       Make beds

9.       Turn on all the lights

10.      Leave the house

The competition is tough but the little things do make a difference. Doing these few things will help create a lasting great impression for each potential buyer that comes through your door!

Image courtesy of Wicker Paradise/


Marriott Theatre: How Can You Run With A Shell On Your Back?

by Allyson Hoffman

Bring the family on Saturday, March 5th at the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences, where the hit musical How Can You Run With A Shell on Your Back is playing.  This production shows how creativity and an open mind can unlock the magic in any situation.  Here, six wildly different students ranging from the jock to the nerd not only learn valuable lessons but also how important individuality and friendship are.

Head over to 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire and enjoy this event with your family.  It all begins at 10:00 AM. Ticket prices are $15 per person plus tax and handling fee and can be purchased at the Marriott Theatre Box Office or online at Groups of 20 or more receive a discount: Call the group sales department for pricing at 847-634-5909 or visit




Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11




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]