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


Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8

Try LuLu's in Evanston

by Allyson Hoffman

Have you checked out LuLu’s in Downtown Evanston?  Here they focus on sourcing high quality ingredients and utilize them to create dishes using lighter homemade sauces containing little to no oil. They always cook with your health in mind!

This amazing Evanston restaurant is offering amazing deals you should check out soon, as they are ending July 31st!  Enjoy this healthy home cooking this weekend!

Share with us your fave menu item!

Image courtesy of Pattie/


Are Home Inspections Necessary?

by Allyson Hoffman

When you are looking at your  Northern Illinois dream home, getting a home inspection is a very necessary step in the home selling and buying process.  It is important to be sure that when hiring a home inspector that you are sure to hire a qualified individual or company. Below is a list of things to keep in mind to ask your potential inspector.

1. What are your qualifications?  

2. How many home inspections do you perform in a year that is similar to my home?

3. Can you provide a list of references that we can contact? 

4. What is your turnaround time to receive the report? 

5. What will be included in the report? 

6. How much will the report cost?  

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.

Your Home Inspector will perform a “visual” inspection to determine the condition of your Northern Illinois home. To better understand what may be included in your report and what your Home Inspector will be looking for see the list below.

  • 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





Check out The Grille on Laurel This Weekend!

by Allyson Hoffman

When James “Dimitry” Govas, owner of The Grille on Laurel in Lake Forest, came to this country from Athens, Greece, as a strapping young lad in the late 1960s, he had every intention of going to college.

Having two uncles who were also executive chefs in successful restaurants at the time, however, altered that trajectory considerably.

Govas trained in kitchens alongside his uncles and learned on the job, slowly rising through the ranks in a trade that was as much a job as it was a comfort, for being surrounded by good, good friends and family was an integral part of Govas’ heritage.

Today, the Grille on Laurel is going into its seventh year in operation and is Govas’ third business, with two forerunners having also been situated on Chicago’s North Shore, in Evanston and Highland Park, respectively.

“He has succeeded in developing an upscale restaurant where people can feel comfortable on an everyday basis,” said general manager Greg Derman of the light and airy Grille which boasts a downtown-chic bar, a private banquet room, as well as a main room and outdoor patio. The latter is especially pleasant in warm weather when the honey locusts are in bloom and folks can dine al fresco surrounded by tulips, daffodils and jonquils while listening to live classical guitar.

The Grille’s continental cuisine includes appetizers such as baked Brie with Riesling Buerre Blanc. Topped with warm apricot preserves and served with toasted almonds and fresh fruit, it’s perfect as a starter or decadent finger food ($7.95). For a more substantial appetizer, the flatbread pizza is an all-in-one meal made with blackened shrimp, basil pesto and caramelized onions that will surely test your resolve to eat “just one slice” ($9.95).

The coconut shrimp spinach salad marries fresh spinach in raspberry vinaigrette with crunchy-soft, coconut-encrusted shrimp. The taste profiles deftly balance sweet and salty, insuring that the elements play well together and are heightened further by the varying textures of each ingredient ($9.95 appetizer/$13.95 dinner).

For dinner, try the succulent skirt steak, pounded flat, marinated, then grilled with garlic olive oil and served with red onions, avocado slices and oven-roasted red potatoes ($19.95).

And pescatarians can choose the salmon Greek style marinated and served with feta cheese, grilled tomatoes, red onions and black olives ($21.95).

The signature dessert, brought over from Govas’ two previous restaurants, is a bread pudding made from challah and dripping with a cinnamon, brown sugar and pecan sauce enriched with butter and spiked with Jack Daniels ($6.95).

“It’s good food at great prices, with a friendly atmosphere and nice ambiance,” said Grille co-owner Kathryne Govas.

Article from Evanston's Sun Times

Image courtesy of jencu/




Unemployment’s Impact on Housing

by Allyson Hoffman

What impact does rising unemployment have on the Northern Illinois real estate market?

Actually, it is quite simple:

Rising unemployment creates uncertainty.

Uncertainty creates fear.

Fear creates paralysis.

Paralysis prevents people from moving forward with their lives.

Don’t allow fear to stop you from getting on with your life. Realistically look at your personal situation and decide what is best for you and your family.

Article from KCM Blog

Image courtesy of Lendingmemo/



Winnetka-Northfield Sidewalk Sale

by Allyson Hoffman

This weekend, July 15 and 16th is the Winnetka-Northfield Days Sidewalk Sale from 9am to 5pm.  Featuring Northfield shops on Happ Road. Come enjoy outdor shopping, a display of Village trucks and great food. There will be bargains everywhere!

Featuring a Go Green Winnetka-Northfield Fair in Hubbard Woods Park on Saturday, July 16th from 10am to 2pm.

For more information call the Winnetka-Northfield Chamber of commerce 847-446-4451.

Image courtesy of Robert Bell/

Insurance Discounts for Homeowners

by Allyson Hoffman

Property and Casualty Insurance is a tight market – it’s getting harder to get comprehensive homeowner policies and it’s becoming increasingly expensive. However, there are some steps that you can take today that can help you not only get a better rate or a policy discount, but will actually serve to better protect your home and your belongings from loss.

Whether you are a first time Northern Illinois home buyer or you have owned your home for many years, you should definitely shop around and do your homework on the insurance companies who write homeowner’s policies in your area.

Discounts will vary by company and by the city, state or region you live in. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Home security system
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Sprinkler system
  • Dead-bolt locks
  • Handrails for both interior exterior steps and stairs

Additionally, your deductible plays a role in your premium rate – if you raise your deductible by $1000, you can save nearly 25% on your annual policy. Additionally, many companies offer discounts if you place both your Chicago North Shore home and auto coverage with them or if you own more than one property.

Additional ways to save:

  • Senior discounts
  • Association or employer discounts
  • Electronic payments
  • Non-smoker

Don’t forget to stay on top of your credit scores – it has an impact on all of your insurance rates. Also, be sure to evaluate your home’s value and the contents that are insured every year – if you make changes you may need to increase or decrease the replacement value, which will impact your premium. Above all, take an active role in your insurance protection. Make sure you keep up with safety features, shop rates and keep up with both your credit and your inventory – you’ll save year to year and in the long run.

Image courtesy of Monam/ 



Chicago Blues Festival

by Allyson Hoffman

The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago's Music Festivals. During three days on five stages, more than 500,000 blues fans prove that Chicago is the "Blues Capital of the World." Past performers include Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, B.B. King, the late Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and the late Koko Taylor.

Friday, June 10

Greats such as Nora Jean Bruso, Rocky Lawrence (pictured) and Eddie Cotton will perform at the Blues Festival on June 10th

Saturday, June 11

Saturday's lineup include performance by Duwayne Burnside Band, Jarekus Singleton, Dexter Allen and Billy Branch (pictured) and The Sons of Blues with special guest Magic Slim. 

Sunday, June 12

The last day of the Blues Festival concludes with performances at the Petrillo Music Shell by Shemekia Copeland (pictured), Lonnie Brooks with guest, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Michael “Iron Man” Burks and Rick Estrin: 40th Anniversary Celebration of Alligator Records.

It all happens with free admission in Grant Park.

Image courtesy of StockSnap/


Have We Forgotten Something?

by Allyson Hoffman

Over the past few weeks and months, the media and so-called experts and most of our friends and relatives seemed to have almost soured on buying a Northern Illinois home at this time. With fear of a fragile economy and high unemployment rates, who can argue with caution?

When the pervasive sentiment among even real estate and mortgage professionals is that home prices will continue to move downward and that mortgage interest rates don’t appear to be jumping significantly any time soon, the question remains… “Why would anyone that doesn’t have to buy now, buy now?”

One commenter to a previous blog post even went so far as to challenge the entire industry for promoting the “hurry up and buy” approach by asserting that buyers who listened to that advice six months ago are bemoaning taking that advice. That made me think: “Are people who bought six, eight, ten months ago kicking themselves because their Chicago North Shore home is worth less now than when they bought it?”

I had my team call some of our recent buyers and this is the feedback we received:


“Last year at this time, I was cooped up in a small apartment. Today, I am planning our Fourth of July celebration with 25 friends and family in our new home. Regrets? Are you kidding? We couldn’t be happier.”

“We are glad we now have a place of our own. We have a few friends looking to buy and we are helping to get them excited. Five years ago, we couldn’t afford it….now, we have our American Dream.”

“We were crammed into my in-laws’ home with no real privacy or room for the kids to just be kids. Now, they have a backyard to play in and they have settled in to their new school and made new friends. We couldn’t be happier.”

“Yeah, I realize, I might have been able to buy a home for $10,000 less if I waited, but there are two things to remember. One, what memories would we have missed if we weren’t here? And two, I am not selling my home now. Who cares what it is worth until we look to move again in 5-7 years? By then, we believe everything will be back to normal. Right now, we have a payment we can comfortable manage and we have a home to build roots and a foundation. I would urge everyone to do it, if they can.”

A home does remain a good long term investment. However, first and foremost, it really is a place for pride, peace, preference, and pleasure. We need to be reminded that the emotional component to buying a home may be worth more than simply the financial benefits. And from a financial perspective…who in your life is a better financial mentor? Donald Trump or Uncle Joe? Warren Buffet or your local newspaper writer who makes $30,000 a year? Remember, conventional wisdom breeds mediocre results (at best).

Article from KCM Blog

Image courtesy of Daniel Rothamel/


Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8




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]