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


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Being Prepared for Disaster

by Allyson Hoffman

It is not something anyone wants to ponder, but the only thing worse than a natural disaster is not being prepared for it.  Not having proper insurance coverage can make a bad situation far worse. Here are some disasters that may require insurance special coverage.

Flood Insurance.  If your house is in a flood-prone area, you may already have flood coverage in your basic homeowners policy. Don’t wait to find out:  Call your agent and make sure. Flood insurance policies are usually inexpensive, unless you are in a flood-prone region.  But even a few inches of standing water in your home can cause enormous damage.

Mine SubsidenceSinkholes are rare, and so are the homeowners policies that cover this type of disaster.  More common is minor ground shifting that can damage your foundation and structure. Coverage for this type of damage isn’t expensive at all. You can get coverage for about a hundred dollars a year for a $250,000 home.

Earthquake. Another rarity, but they do happen. You might remember the little quake that shook northern Illinois a couple of years ago.  Typical homeowner policies don’t cover earthquake damage, and it can be expensive.

Tornadoes. Usually a standard part of a homeowners policy, but worth double checking.  Even if we don’t get a lot of tornadoes in the northern part of the state, it only takes one to ruin your home. 

Insurance is vital for preserving the investment you’ve made in your house, furnishing and personal property. If you have questions, talk to your agent, or check out the insurance information website the state of Illinois provides.


This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy HeatherBradleyPhotography/

Make it a Theatre Weekend

by Allyson Hoffman

If you're looking for something uniquely fun this weekend, Gorilla Tango Theatre in Skokie has a couple of shows on offer that might just fit the bill.

Little Houses by the Shores of Silver Lake

Saturday is closing night for this adaptation of the novel by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and is sponsored by the Little House Heritage Trust.  The novel was the fifth of the Little House series and was first published in 1939. Tickets are $11.00.


This sketch comedy show is written and performed by kids for kids, focusing on bits from pop culture to school life.  The show begins at 2pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

The Gorilla Tango Theatre Skokie is located at 7924 Lincoln Ave.  For more information, give them a call at 773-598-4549.  

Have a fabulous weekend!

Image courtesy of swooshed/

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

Moving? Make Your Social Network Work for You

by Allyson Hoffman

In this tight economy, many people are having to look far and wide for the right job opportunities.  Which can mean moving to unfamiliar places, a daunting prospect, especially if you have school-age children.  Finding the right neighborhoods and school districts is a vital part of making the experience a good one in the long run.

To get the information you need to make a good decision, I provide a complimentary relocation assistance program.  But, you may have a fantastic social network, and it’s a perfect time to put it to use.

I’m talking about Facebook and other social media sites.  If you’re a regular online, let your friends and contacts know where you’re planning to move and ask them for information about the area.  Ask about neighborhoods, schools, local parks and attractions, favorite restaurants and other places that may soon be a big part of your new life.  If your Facebook friends don’t know themselves, maybe they have other friends that do.

You can do the same thing with other services like Twitter or LinkedIn.  Tweeting something like: “Planning to move to Glenview. What are the best schools in town? #Glenview” is a simple way to solicit information from a variety of people. 

If you already have a job in the new location, make sure to ask your new company’s human resources department for any assistance they can offer you.  Find out specifics like where you’ll need to go to get your car registered and a new driver’s license.  Churches can be an excellent resource as well.

Of course, you’re going to want to see your options personally before you make any decision. And you can plan ahead for your scouting trip by using services like Yelp to pinpoint specific shops, services and restaurants that will be important to you. 

And having prepared before you tour the area with a Real Estate Professional, you’ll be in a much better position to ask specific questions and provide information that will make your search for a new home a much easier and enjoyable experience.

Image courtesy of Hitcom/

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company

For Sale By Owner: Staying Safe

by Allyson Hoffman

For Sale By Owner: Staying Safe

When selling by owner, you tend to focus on one thing: getting ready and willing buyers in the door and highlighting the best features of your house. However, in the excitement of giving your first tours, you may overlook something very important.

Complete strangers are coming into your house.

Most visitors really want to see your house. Some will be nibby neighbors, others will be buyers exploring their possibilities. Even still, it doesn’t hurt to exercise some caution to discourage the (very rare) tourer with not-so-good intentions. Here are some steps you can take to stay safe while showing your home.

Let a neighbor know when you’re giving tours. 

Safety in numbers - it’s always best to let someone close by know what’s going on so that you can enlist help if you need it. A neighbor can keep an eye out for suspicious activity, or respond to a call from you.

Don’t get blocked in.

Keep your car where you can easily get out if you need to. Make sure the visitor cannot block you into your driveway or obstruct a narrow road.

Stay behind the potential buyer, and close to the exit.

Make sure you can see the visitor at all times, and make sure you have a bit of a lead to get out of the room and and house if you need to. As a bonus, the “after you” gesture will be perceived as politeness.

Have someone hang around the house for the tour.

Invite a friend to come just hang around and observe while you’re giving the house tour. Not only does it discourage the buyer from aggressive action, but it also makes someone available to react if you start noticing shady activity.

Carry your phone.

Always be able to call for help. These days, a cell phone in the hand is extremely common, so a real prospect will not even recognize this as a defensive precaution.

Discourage photos.

Give the buyer a sheet of photos that you’ve taken. Don’t let the visitor take photos that he or she can look through to locate your valuables later.

What do you do to stay safe during a house tour? Do you have any unique circumstances that may put you at risk? Email me with safety questions. We are trained to stay safe during tours, and I would love to give you extra pointers.


What Life Stage Is Your House?

by Allyson Hoffman

I’m not asking how old your house is or what era of construction it is. Instead, I want to know, who is the ideal family to live in your house?

Think about the family structure you can picture making a life in your home.

First-time home buyers

First-timers want lower maintenance to ease into homeowner responsibilities. So, a newer home that doesn’t require much work, or a townhouse with some of the exterior maintenance included would be perfect. First-timers often don’t need much space, and a quick-turnover neighborhood works well as the family starts to grow out of the starter house.

Young family

Let’s face it. Small children take over every square inch that isn’t dedicated space for something else. That’s why playroom space is nice to have to contain toys and games.Young families like yard space for kids to run, lots of storage space, and easy childproofing ability.

Mature family

Families with older children gravitate toward homes with plenty of room for teens to have their own space. Many families need garage space for multiple drivers, and a place for teens to have friends over that won’t disturb Mom and Dad.

Empty nester

Functionality is key for the retiring family.Empty nesters like a single floor, main-floor laundry, a low-maintenance yard, a quiet neighborhood, minimal upkeep and an atmosphere of relaxation.


A real estate investor, or “flipper,” buys up houses in good markets that are priced low and need some simple upgrades. As we would expect, they want to turn a profit.

If you’re not sure what life stage your house is, I can help you figure that out. I’ve heard lots of feedback from lots of buyers and I know what people are looking for. We should talk about why you bought the house in the first place. What was your family situation? What features really worked for you? Just email me some of the key features of your house, and I can let you know who to target!

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5




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]