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Earth Day 2014

by Allyson Hoffman

April 26, 2014

North Shore Beach House, Chicago, Illinois

Earth Day may have actually been recognized this past Tuesday, however the North Shore Beach House will be celebrating it this Saturday, at the Earth Day 2014 event. This will be a great opportunity to partake in a morning of family fun cleaning and enhancing the public areas along Edgewater and Rogers Park.  Earth Day is a friendly reminder to be more environmentally conscious and to preserve our wonderful surroundings for generations to come.  What better way to achieve this than to participate in fun activities, projects, and more -- as a family.

The entire family is invited to put their personal touches on beautifying the area. Lots of laughs and quality family time will be the end result, all while benefitting a great cause. 

Whether your specialty is painting, cleaning, weeding, planting, mulching, or building, (though no experience is necessary) there will be a wide assortment of undertakings to choose from. Garden beds will rise from the ground, and fences will get facelifts. Litter will be removed, and the land itself will receive an exceptional sprucing up.  Don’t worry if you become fatigued, as Whole Foods Market is generously providing healthy snacks for all. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to involve yourself in this gratifying Earth Day event. Judging by last year’s resounding success, your family will have an unforgettable morning of fun, while providing a positive environmental impact on the community!

Where: North Shore Beach House, Chicago, Illinois

When: Saturday April 26th, 8:30 AM-1:00 PM

For more information regarding Earth Day 2014, 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
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 courtesy of Spacedust Design/flickr.com.

Ten Ways Not To Sell Your Home Quickly - Part One

by Allyson Hoffman

I’ve reviewed the things you should do to sell your home quickly and for more money.  But sometimes what you do wrong has a greater impact than what you do right – especially when you are trying to sell something.

So, here are five mistakes to avoid when selling your home.

Overpricing Your Home

Depending upon market conditions when a buyer makes an offer, it will typically be lower than your list price.  However, that does not mean inflating your list price by ten or twenty percent above market value is recommended. In most cases, homes for sale see the greatest number of potential buyers within the first week of being on the market. Overpricing simply eliminates a large number of those potential buyers. So consult with your real estate agent when pricing your home to sell.

Not Showing Your Home

Showing your home means trying to keep it in pristine condition and preferably vacating for visitors – frequently at the drop of a hat. Sometimes your Realtor or their office will call you to arrange a showing just as you return from a hard day’s work. But selling your home means allowing prospects to see it on their schedule – not yours. The more showings you have, the greater the chance of selling it quickly at or above its listed price.

Not Willing To Let Go

Knick knacks on the mantle and that old portrait of your grandfather transformed your house into your home. But when trying to sell your home, it’s important to depersonalize and thereby, help buyers to see themselves living in your house. An abundance of personal elements prevent them from easily doing that. If you want to sell your home, depersonalize it for the best results.

Unwilling to Eliminate Unpleasant Smells

Humans depend on all of their senses when choosing a home, so keep in mind that certain odors can be a turn off, such as cigarette smoke or food and pet odors.  While these may be fine for you, buyers may react adversely.  So if you want to sell your home, it’s a good idea to clean your home thoroughly, potentially board pets and avoid smoking inside or cooking strong-smelling foods.

Not Fixing Minor Problems

Today’s buyers are incredibly discerning -- they notice everything, even minor problems such as broken tiles in the bathroom, holes in the sheetrock or stained carpet.  These “defects” could cause buyers to simply move on to the next, better-maintained home.   Little things that you have become used to may lead potential buyers to feel that you have not maintained your home. If you want to sell your home quickly, invest in fixing minor problems so your home shows well.

These all-too-common mistakes can easily be avoided and in my next post, I will discuss five more mistakes that can prevent you from selling your home. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you start the process of selling your 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
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 Scott Lewis/Flickr.com

 

Fairy/Miniature Gardening Seminar and Workshop

by Allyson Hoffman

April 19, 2014

Hawthorn Gardens, Hawthorn Woods, Illinois

Hawthorn Gardens invites you and your family this Saturday to participate in a seminar and workshop, learning how to create a miniature garden that invites fairy visitors.  An up and coming, super-trendy gardening technique, fairy gardening is not only easy, but fun for the whole family.

With just a little heartfelt faith, your family can create a one-of-a-kind miniature garden, summoning the fairies to come.  A fairy garden can be of any size or shape, ranging from a sprawling landscape, to a large planter.  The main ingredients in constructing your garden are imagination, creativity, and uniqueness.  Your garden can incorporate items such as flowers, feeders, statues, fountains, stones, and more.  Set your imagination free. 

The Fairy/Miniature Gardening Seminar is free for your entire family to attend.  If you choose to participate in the Workshop, you will purchase only the items that you want to incorporate into your garden. To attend this event, please click here to register your family.

Regardless of whether you anticipate attending the seminar, workshop, or both, bring the entire family to Hawthorn Gardens this Saturday to learn about the newest trend in gardening.  The creation of a miniature fairy garden promises to provide a magical experience, in your own backyard.

Where: Hawthorn Gardens, Hawthorn Woods, Illinois

When: Saturday April 19, 10:00 AM-1:00 PM 

For more information regarding the Fairy/Miniature Gardening Seminar and Workshop event, 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
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 courtesy of CaliforniaClipper/deviantart.com.

Spring is in the air. After a long winter, warmer weather signals the time spruce up the yard and your home’s exterior. Whether you do this yourself or hire a professional landscaper or contractor, it is especially important for anyone planning to put a home on the market in the next few months.

Any investment in exterior improvements should be considered as a part of your marketing expenses.  Because your home’s exterior and landscape are first things a buyer notes, looking good from the street is critical to making that one-time first impression a good one.  While landscaping may not add a ton of value, it will help to attract more potential buyers creating a faster sale that’s closer to asking price.

Here are three things you can do to enhance your home’s curb appeal.

Make Your Grass Truly Green

Do your best to avoid an unkempt yard full of bare patches and brown spots. Transform your lawn with added seed, aerating, and nutrients.  If weeds are a problem, spray to eliminate them and be sure to provide enough water to promote growth of a lush healthy lawn.  Most of what is needed can easily be found at the local Home and Garden store.  So if you do this yourself, check with the professional sales staff for recommendations regarding a watering and fertilization schedule that suits your type of grass.  Follow through should produce quick changes in appearance, so be diligent for the best results.

Add New Flowerbeds or Refresh Existing Ones

Well-kept flowerbeds provide remarkable accents to even the drabbest of homes.  So a relatively modest investment of time and money can turn the exterior of your home into a colorful, attractive showplace. If your budget is limited, select the annual varieties of flowers. They are usually inexpensive and easy to grow.  While they only last a season, they are, nonetheless, lovely.  For those homeowners with an especially long driveway or an expansive yard, consider adding new flowerbeds to define the large space making it clearly more attractive to passersby and prospective buyers.

Utilize Exterior Lighting to Attract Nighttime Traffic

Not every potential buyer drives by during the day. Adding exterior lighting to your home can highlight its best features even after the sun goes down.  If you choose to install the lighting system yourself using standalone floods, the cost will be minimal. Professional installation that involves wiring can cost thousands. Regardless of which method you choose, make sure you highlight attractive features like old-growth trees, flowering shrubs, your newly painted shutters, etc. Don’t just aim them at random.

Doing these three simple things should clearly enhance the overall curb appeal of your home … and if you choose to do more, all the better! It’s all up to you and your budget.  For input on ideas, feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have and/or help you determine the value of your 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
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 glynn424/Pixabay.com

Schoolhouse Rock Live

by Allyson Hoffman

April 12 & 13, 2014

Marriott Lincolnshire Resort Theatre, Lincolnshire, Illinois

Many of us remember the 1970’s morning cartoon series that introduced history, grammar, math, science and more. The Emmy Award-winning Schoolhouse Rock pop culture phenomenon is taking its show to the stage. The Schoolhouse Rock Live event is coming to the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort Theatre this weekend.

Schoolhouse Rock was the brainchild of a father who realized his son could very easily memorize the tunes being played on the radio, but struggled to memorize anything school-related.  He was inspired to develop a teaching method and television series around the concept of educating children through music.

Well, the hit series is making an enormous comeback, instructing a whole new generation to “Unpack Their Adjectives” and “Do the Circulations”. The event is taking the country by storm, lighting up stages, educating children and bringing nostalgia to “Generation X-er’s”.

Admission price for this must-attend event is $87.50.  The event is being held on both Saturday, and Sunday morning.  To view a seating chart and purchase your tickets online for Saturday’s showing, please click here.  For Sunday’s event, please click here.

This weekend the Schoolhouse Rock Live event will be lighting up faces of both young and old. Schoolhouse Rock prides itself on providing a delightful experience for the entire family with good, clean, educational fun. So, this weekend you can indulge in the past, while children prepare for their future!

Where: Marriott Lincolnshire Resort Theatre, Lincolnshire, Illinois

When: Saturday April 12, 10:00 AM and Sunday April 13, 10:00 AM

For more information regarding the Schoolhouse Rock Live event, 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
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 courtesy of pixabay/pixabay.com.

How Clean is Clean Enough When You Move Out of Your Home?

by Allyson Hoffman

Once you have sold your home and loaded all your belongings onto the moving truck, you might feel that you are done with your old home, but common courtesy and local real estate contracts typically dictate that you leave your old home “broom” or “vacuum” clean for the new owners.

Many homeowners choose to hire a professional cleaning service to take care of the post-move cleaning due to the fact that they already have enough on their proverbial plate, but if you choose to take on the task of preparing your home for its new owners, here’s an easy checklist to follow before locking the doors for the last time.

Clean Any Appliances That Will Remain with the Home

If the stove, refrigerator and any other appliances will stay with the home, they must be emptied and should be cleaned. Make sure to remove all items from the refrigerator, defrost the freezer and wipe down all the shelving. As for the stove, remove the heating elements along the range and clean the drip pans thoroughly as well as the interior of the oven.

Scrub and Wipe Down All Surfaces in the Kitchen

Break out the cleaning supplies and go to work on the countertops, sinks and cabinets. This might seem arduous, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to clean a kitchen when there are no utensils, pots and pans or cutting boards in the way.

Clean the Bathrooms Thoroughly

Once you have removed everything from your bathrooms, clean them thoroughly. Like the kitchen, this is remarkably easy once bathrooms are empty.

Dust Everything

Dust any fixtures and blinds that will remain with the home. Don’t forget to run a cloth along the wainscot and baseboards.

Wash the Walls

If you notice any stains along the walls – some that may have been hiding behind furniture – clean them to the best of your ability.  A Magic Eraser that can be purchased at the grocery store does absolute wonders.  Also a multi-surface cleaner and a few paper towels should satisfy the requirements of this common courtesy.

Clean the Floors

Here’s where the terms “broom” and “vacuum” clean originates. The last thing you do before walking out of your old home is to clean the floors. Sweep and mop any hard surfaces and vacuum any carpets.

There’s no law or rule regarding how clean you should leave your home for its new owners and it is more than understandable if you do not want to spend too much time cleaning something that is no longer yours, but if you expect your new home to be clean when you begin the move-in process, you should extend the same courtesy to the new owners of your home. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to help you begin the process of selling your home and/or finding a new one.

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 Lory Lindner/Flickr.com

 

Eggs to Chicks

by Allyson Hoffman

April 5, 2014

Kohls Children’s Museum, Glenview, Illinois

The Kohls Children’s Museum invites your entire family to their 13th consecutive year of hosting the very popular Eggs to Chicks event.  Eggs to Chicks offers a delightful “eggs-hibit” for “peep-le” of all ages. 

The event features an egg incubator, hatching unit, and a newborn chick pen, all at a child’s height. Your entire family will be astounded as the ever-so-fragile eggs begin to crack, under the light of the incubator. Upon arrival, the chicks are moved to a pen, joining their other newly-born friends.  As the chicks grow, they are delivered to various farms for future egg production, and species repopulation.

This very special event will highlight 2 different species of chicken eggs, allowing your family to observe and note the differences in color, and behaviors of the breeds.  This year, the Black Java and the White Java chicken strains will be featured.  Both breeds were on the endangered species list less than a decade ago.  But in thanks to the repopulation movement, they are now flourishing, and have been removed from the list. 

The Eggs to Chicks event costs only $11.00 for both adults and children, $10.00 for seniors, and is free of charge for children 12 months of age, or younger. To purchase your tickets online, please click here.

This Saturday visit Kohls Children’s Museum to witness the amazing feat of a baby chick fighting its way through a fragile eggshell, in search of his or her new beginning. 

Where:  Kohls Children’s Museum, Glenview, Illinois

When: Saturday April 5th from 9:30 AM-5:00 PM

For more information regarding the Eggs to Chicks event, 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
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
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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 of ruben alexander/flickr.com.

Five Ways to Boost Your Credit Score before Applying for Home Loan

by Allyson Hoffman

In today’s market, your credit score is more important than ever. A difference of just a few points can mean a lower interest rate saving you thousands of dollars over the life of a loan or the difference between an approval and denial of your loan application.

That is why doing everything possible to maintain a good credit score or boost it in the months leading up to applying for a home loan is so important.

Here are five things to consider that could potentially boost your credit score:

Check the Accuracy of Your Credit Reports

By law you are allowed to request one free credit report each year. So request your credit report several months before you intend to apply for a loan. According to an eight-year study released by the FTC, 25% of consumers identified errors when they reviewed their credit reports. That’s a staggering number when you consider that even a small error can have a significant impact on your credit score.  So dispute inaccuracies in your report and keep in mind that credit monitoring agencies are required to address any disputes in a timely manner.  Make sure to review your report from all three credit agencies for accuracy.

Reduce Your Credit Card Balances

Lenders typically consider large credit card balances as red flags. If you use credit cards regularly and don’t pay off the bills each month, try to reduce your outstanding balances to no more than 30% your borrowing limit.  Ideally, this should be done at least a few months prior to applying for a loan.

Ask for Late Payment Forgiveness

At one time or another, most of us have been late paying a bill.  Most people are unaware that they can request a “goodwill deletion” from a company and remove the black mark from their credit report entirely. Many companies are willing to do this for customers, especially if the late payment was a one-time occurrence.

Keep Your Accounts Open

Reducing credit card debt is good; but closing credit card accounts can be bad. Length of credit history factors into your overall credit score and can account for as much as 15 percent of the total number. So if you close old, established credit accounts, your credit score could suffer even though you have less debt.

Pay All Bills on Time

Recent activity is weighted more heavily in credit scoring than things in the past.  So even if you had previous dings your credit history, by paying your bills on time and in full now, hopefully for several months before applying for a loan, your credit profile may improve.  This will demonstrate to lenders that you a responsible credit risk and may also slightly boost your credit score.

Because repairing damaged credit takes time, it is wise to get started early – at least three to six months before you plan to buy a home.  That will give your efforts time to bear fruit. If you are ready to act soon, contact me today for a consultation. I will happy to answer any questions you may have and/or help you find your dream 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
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 courtesy of Simon Cunningham at Flickr.com.

 

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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