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


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How to Look for the Most Affordable Mortgage

by Allyson Hoffman


With lenders quoting a wide variety of interest rates and points, smart mortgage shoppers take a close look when comparing borrowing costs. Sometimes it turns out that the lowest interest rate isn’t necessarily the best buy. Here are some tips: 

  • Compare borrowing costs.
  • Count the points.
  •  The simplest way to compare borrowing costs is to ask the lender for the actual annual percentage rate (APR) – the true interest on the loan. The APR consists of the simple interest rate, plus all other charges imposed by the lender. It’s not at all unusual for the APR to be substantially higher than the rate quoted by the lender. What’s more, a simple rate quoted by one lender, although higher than another lender’s advertised simple interest rate, may turn out to have the lower APR.  For the shopper who wants to take into account the cost of points (each point is equal to 1% of the loan amount), an simplified rule of thumb comes in handy: Each point is roughly equal to an interest rate increase of 1/8th of 1% over a payback period of 30 years. Thus, a lender offering a 10% rate with no extra points is offering a better deal than the lender offering, say, a loan at 9 7/8% plus two points. Which is best for you depends on how long you plan to live in the house.

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Mortgage Workouts, Tax-Free for Many Homeowners

by Allyson Hoffman

There is now tax relief for struggling homeowners. If your mortgage debt is partly or entirely forgiven during 2007, 2008 or 2009 you may be able to claim special tax relief by filling out Form 982 and attaching it to your federal income tax return for that year.

Normally, debt forgiveness results in taxable income. But under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude from tax up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, may qualify for this relief. The debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and must have been secured by that residence. Debt used to refinance qualifying debt is also eligible for the exclusion, but only up to the amount of the old mortgage principal, just before the refinancing.

Debt forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans does not qualify for the new tax-relief provision. In some cases, however, other kinds of tax relief, based on insolvency, for example, may be available. See Form 982 for details.

If your debt is reduced or eliminated you will receive a year-end statement (Form 1099-C) from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property given up through foreclosure.

The IRS urges borrowers to check the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven (Box 2) and the value listed for your home (Box 7).

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, visit the IRS Web site at A good resource is IRS Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments. This publication and Form 982 can be downloaded from or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Remember that for the genuine IRS Web site be sure to use .gov. Don't be confused by internet sites that end in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. The address of the official IRS governmental Web site is

This article is courtesy of the  Visit their website for more information.

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Summer Tips for Your Home

by Allyson Hoffman


It's that time of year when we have our air conditioners running and windows open to help make our homes a little bit more bearable during these warm summer months. As a result of trying to battle the extreme heat we tend to forget what we have heard, and learned about being energy efficient.

Here are a few summer tips for your home that will help keep you on track with an energy efficient plan.

For Outside

  • Longer days mean we don't need out outdoor lighting as much. Adjust your outdoor lighting timers accordingly and you'll save money and extend bulb life.
  • Try solar-powered outdoor lighting or garden lighting as an alternative. They are energy-efficient, inexpensive, safe and very easy to install.
  • Electric mowers are a recommended alternative to gas mowers as the electric models tend to pollute less and are much quieter.
  • For the same reasons as above, electric grass and hedge trimmers are a great alternative to gas powered models, although manual trimmers are a more commonly recommended alternative, by professional gardeners.
  • Using a broom to clean your driveway and walkways is just as effective as a gas powered leaf blower and is not harmful to the environment.

For Inside

  • There is really no need to have your gas fireplace's pilot light during the summer. Save energy, and money, by turning out the fireplace's pilot light until the fall. It is always a good idea to refer to the operating manual for your furnace to learn how to do this properly or  consult a technician. 
  • During hot days, it helps if you keep the windows closed and then reopen them in the evening when it cools off.
  • Blinds and draperies should also be closed on hot days to keep the inside temperature cooler and comfortable. 
  • Everyone knows that hot air rises and that makes your attic at hot spot in the home.making sure your attic has the proper insulation will protect your home from excessive heat penetration in summer and cold penetration in winter.  making sure your attic has the proper insulation will protect your home from excessive heat penetration in summer and cold penetration in winter. 
  • Floor and ceiling fans are a fabulous way to create gentle breezes throughout your home to keep your family cool and comfortable.

These are a few summer tips to keep your family comfortable in your homes, during this hot summer as well as a few energy saving and environmental alternatives.

Have a fabulous summer.

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Wishing you and your families a Happy Fourth of July.

Everyone is gearing up to spend time with family and friends this holiday weekend so grab your flags and head to one of the many events being held this year in the North Shore Chicago Suburbs.

Below are events, activities and fireworks display times in Deerfield, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park,  Northbrook, Northfield, Winnetka, and Skokie.


 Deerfield Family Days
Date: Thursday, July 3 – Friday, July 4
Location: Thursday – Brickyards Park. Saturday – Jewett Park Community Center
Time: 5 p.m Thursday, 7:30 a.m. Friday

Friday – Pancake Breakfast, Parade, Arts and Crafts Show, Rides, Games, Dog Show, Petting Zoo and Ponies!


Fourth of July Parade & Fireworks
Date: Friday, July 4
Location: Central Street (Parade in Downtown Evanston), Clark Street Beach (Fireworks)
Time: Parade is at 2 p.m., Fireworks are at 9:15 p.m.


Date: Friday, July 4
Location: Glencoe Beach 
Time: Live music is at 7:15 p.m., Fireworks are at 9 p.m.
Cost: None (with admission to beach: Non-residents: $8/adult $6/kids, Residents: $6/adult $4/kids, Guests of residents: $4


Fourth of July Parade & Fireworks
Date: Friday, July 4
Location: Parade starts on Glenview Rd., Fireworks are at Glenview Park Golf Club
Time: Parade is at 11:30 a.m., Fireworks are at 9 p.m.

Highland Park

Highland Park Kids Bike and Pet Parade
Location: Central Ave
Time: 9 a.m. - Kids & Pet Parade, 10 a.m. - Main Parade starts at Central Ave

Highland Park Fourth Fest
Location: Sunset Woods Park
Time: 11a.m. - 2 p.m.

Activities: picnic, carnival rides, petting zoo, carnival games, live music, snacks

Highland Park Float and Fireworks
Location: Hidden Creek Aquapark 
Time: 8:15 -10:45 p.m.
Cost: $5/person or Summer membership

Fireworks and Battle of the Bands Finale
Location: Wolters Field 
Time: Battle of The Bands kicks off at 6:30 p.m., Fireworks are at 9:15 p.m. 


Fourth of July Festivities & Fireworks
Date: Friday, July 4
Time: Pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. on the Village Green, Parade is at 2:30 p.m., Fireworks are at dusk
Location: Pancakes and Parade starts at the Village Green, Fireworks are at Ed Rudolph Velodrome, Meadowhill Park, Waukegan Rd. west on Maple Ave.



Fourth of July Festival
Date: Friday, July 4
Location: Willow Park
Time: Bike Parade is at 10 a.m.

Sand art, face painting, Guitar Hero, climbing wall and inflatables open at 10:30 a.m.


Fourth of July Parade, Festival & Fireworks
Date: Friday, July 4
Location: Parade starts at Elm and Glendale Rds., Festival activities on the Village Green and Duke Child's Field, Fireworks are at Duke Child's Field
Time: Parade is at 10 a.m., Village Green activities at 11 a.m., Evening Festivities at 6:30 p.m. and Fireworks are at 9:15 p.m.



Skokie Parade and Fireworks
Date: Friday, July 4
Location: The Parade is on Oakton St (begins at Lincoln Ave.), Fireworks are at Niles West High School
Time: Parade is at 12 p.m., Fireworks are at dusk, with festivities beginning at 7 p.m.


Have a happy and safe holiday weekend.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4




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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]