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


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Ten Reasons Why You Need an Agent

by Allyson Hoffman

A lot of people think that they can use the internet and advice from friends to successfully navigate the home shopping/selling experience, but here are ten reasons why it is a good idea to hire an experienced, knowledgeable real estate agent when you are looking to buy a Northern Illinois home.

1 -- Experience 

Purchasing a new home may well be the largest expenditure that you ever make. So it simply makes good business sense to enlist all the help you can get.

A seasoned real estate agent has completed more real estate transactions already this year than you'll likely make in your lifetime. That adds up to a whole lot of knowledge and experience. Experience that can help navigate you safely and securely through every aspect of the buying process.

2 -- Knows the Market  

A real estate agent will know what's happening in a particular area, or neighborhood, and help you decide if a home you find is a good value. Once you find a property that interests you, your agent will show you "comps" (comparable properties) of similar homes that have sold recently, as well as those that are currently on the market.

And if your real estate agent works with an established firm, he or she will have instant access to a host of proprietary tools -- and property information -- that may be difficult, or even impossible, to find on your own. All this information will help you make a well-informed decision.

3 -- Saves Time 

A good real estate agent is an organizational genius. He or she will manage to get you in to see new properties as soon as they become available -- and arrange the most appointments possible within your available time slots, no matter how limited.

But remember, accessibility is a two-way street! Be sure to support your agent by being as flexible as possible -- especially when your time is very limited.

4 -- Good Listener 

If you decide to use a real estate agent, look for someone who asks as many questions as you do. When you mention a price range, does the agent give you a 'standard' list of available properties, or is he or she able to make -- or adjust -- his or her recommendations based on what comes up in your conversations?

How interested is the agent in listening to your point of view? How many questions does he or she ask? After all, your real estate agent's recommendations should vary substantially based on your personal needs and goals (for example, you may be starting a family, need to configure your new home to accommodate an office, need space for your son's new car, or be downsizing).

5 -- Tells the Truth (even when you don't want to hear it!)  

Expect that a good real estate agent will challenge you once in a while, ask the tough questions, and yes, even disagree with you occasionally. When he or she makes a recommendation that seems off-base, give your agent the opportunity to give you the facts -- and share his or her knowledge and experience -- before making a decision. Learn to trust your agent's intuition, insights, and perspectives; they'll often lead you in the right direction.

6 -- Respects Your Budget 

One of the most important things that your real estate agent will do is help you determine how much you can afford to spend. He or she may well ask you to consult with your accountant, financial planner, and/or mortgage broker before you make this important decision.

In some markets, there's a lot more to purchasing an apartment than having cash for the down payment, and securing financing. For example, most Manhattan cooperative buildings ('co-ops'), which account for about 75 percent of the properties in the city, will also look at your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and your post-closing liquidity (yes, it can be a bit complicated!).

A good real estate broker will understand the particulars of your market, and help you find a terrific housing solution that you'll be able to qualify for financially -- and that will be possible within your budget.

7 -- Team Player

Your real estate agent should be able to recommend a great team of professionals to support your purchase -- from mortgage brokers and appraisers, to contractors and designers and real estate attorneys.

8 -- Getting to Closing  

Remember that finding the right property is only the beginning. Be sure your real estate agent is well prepared to negotiate aggressively on your behalf, and assist you in finding financing, if necessary. Your agent should be ready to follow through with your bank or mortgage broker, any other agents involved in the deal, and with your real estate attorney, until the purchase is complete.

And if you're purchasing a home in Manhattan, be sure you have a real estate agent who is adept at helping you put together the materials necessary for the board application package, following through with the management company, and if it's a co-op purchase, preparing you for the board interview.

9 -- Gives Timely Updates  

Throughout the buying process, stay in touch with your real estate agent regularly. He or she should give you regular updates on new properties, any changes in the local real estate market, mortgage rate changes, and so on. And you should update your real estate agent right away should any of your priorities change, or if your research turns up a property you may be interested in seeing. The result of working together closely? Finding just the home you're looking for, more quickly.

10 -- The Relationship  

Many Northern Illinois home buyers try to find the perfect property on their own. No surprise, actually. With internet access to more real estate information than ever before, it's fairly easy for anyone who's computer literate to access a list of available properties in every part of the country.

However, you can't underestimate the importance of personality when you choose your real estate agent! You'll be spending a lot of time with them -- and entrusting them with one of the most important transactions of your life. So be sure to find someone you not only trust and respect, but also look forward to working with.


Kosher Chicago

by Allyson Hoffman

The Westin Chicago North Shore, located in the prestigious North Shore district of Chicago, is the perfect location for your next Kosher event.  Whatever the scale, our team of culinary professionals takes great care in making the necessary arrangements to make each event a success. Only the highest quality and freshest products are used in preparing our outstanding cuisine.

The culinary team at The Westin Chicago North Shore works directly under the supervision of The Chicago Rabbinical Council to create an experience that will surpass your expectations.  Feel confident that our complete attention will be focused on assuring each detail of your event is handled in a respectful and traditional manner.  We also accept outside Kosher caterers certified by The Chicago Rabbinical Council.  Danziger Kosher Catering, our preferred outside caterer located in Skokie, Illinois, works closely with our staff to deliver a memorable experience. 

In addition, Westin offers:

  • CRC® supervised Meat and Dairy Kosher Kitchens
  • Customized Menu Design to reflect your personal tastes
  • 411 finely appointed Guest Rooms including 35 Suites
  • 35,000 square feet of flexible meeting space
  • 14,825 square feet Grand Ballroom - the largest on the North Shore
  • Indoor heated pool and whirlpool
  • Complimentary Overnight Parking

Book and host your next kosher event before December 31, 2012 and receive:

  • 5,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • complimentary continental breakfast when a Kosher-catered luncheon is booked
  • 45 minutes of complimentary hors d'oeuvres for reception when a Kosher-catered dinner is booked
  • For complete details or to start planning today, contact Karyn Becker at 847-777-6555 to request more information.

We also offer an elegant restaurant venue that's available for various private events both during the day and evening.  Located on the lobby level of our hotel it's easy to enter whether you're staying at the hotel or just stopping by.  Providing the perfect size, ambiance and service levels needed for any occasion, savor your memories for everything including from bah mitzvahs to wedding receptions and everything in between with the Westin Chicago North Shore.

For more information or to check availability, reach out to Ethan Hughes.

Thank you Westin for the info on this great location North Shore,Chicago to host great Kosher events!




Finding a Contractor

by Allyson Hoffman

Are planning to do some some remodeling projects to help your home sell or if you are doing some updates or expanding your home chances are you are looking for a contractor. Locating the right contractor for your project entails much more than just finding the lowest price. Below are some of the things you should look for when researching a contractor for your project. 

Make sure your contractor is properly licensed. Keep in mind that even though a contractor has a license it doesn't automatically mean they will do a great job. It does however provide some financial protection for you.the customer. 

Make sure your contractor is properly insured. In addition to being licenced it is vital that your contractor have proper insurance. Always ask your contractor for a copy of their proof of liability insurance and bonding or the name and number of his/her insurance agent to call and verify proof of coverage.

Ask for references and check them! Talk to other clients that this contractor has done work for in the past. Ask them if they were happy with the quality of work, was the work completed on time? Also be sure to inquire as to if the work was completed by the agreed-upon schedule? 

Get two or three different written bids. As with any large project or purchase it is a good idea to do your research and shop around. Different contractors can vary widely on pricing and level of detail even when bidding for the same job. 

When shopping around for a contractor try to resist the urge to automatically accept the lowest bid. Take into consideration that a higher bid may be worth the price in better materials, workmanship and reliability. Most importantly ask yourself the question, do you trust this person to work on your home? Do you feel comfortable with them around your children and your  valuables?  Create a checklist of all these above items when interviewing your choices to help you make a decision.  

Contact me today for more information on ways to improve your home before selling!




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Photo of Allyson Hoffman Real Estate
Allyson Hoffman
RE/MAX Villager
1245 Waukegan Road
Glenview IL 60025
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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