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

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Labor Day In The North Shore Area

by Allyson Hoffman

It is hard to believe that summer is almost over. School is starting and soon the leaves will be changing. But the fun of summer is not over yet as the Chicago area is host to many fun Labor Day events. Make your plans now!

32nd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival

Sep 2, 2010 - Sep 5, 2010

The longest running of the city's lakefront music festivals. For more than 30 years, the Chicago Jazz Festival has been a Labor Day weekend tradition. Know for its artistic creativity, the Chicago Jazz Festival promotes awareness and appreciation for all form of jazz through quality live musical performances. The festival’s mission is to showcase Chicago’s vast jazz talent alongside national and international artists to encourage and educated a jazz audience of all ages.

This year’s performers include: Artist-in-Residence: Nicole Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Brad Mehldau, Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, Rene Marie, The Either/Orchestra, Kurt Elling and more. Best of all this is a free event!

Buffalo Grove Days
Sep. 2, 2010 - Sep. 6, 2010

This annual festival has fun for everyone. There will be the Chamber Beer Garden, a Business and Craft Fair, Free Entertainment all day long, a Carnival, Games, Special Events, a Parade on Sunday and Fireworks. Visit their website for more information.

Oak Brook Half Marathon
Sep. 6, 2010 - Sep. 6, 2010

Make plans to be a part of the Third Annual Oak Brook Half-Marathon, a Labor Day tradition that distance runners of all types will enjoy. This challenging course is comprised of the streets, rolling bicycle paths and limestone forest preserve trails of the scenic Village of Oak Brook. This is an ideal lead-up event for anyone training for a fall marathon, or who simply enjoys the half-marathon distance. After the run, stay for great refreshments from our sponsors and enjoy the hospitality of this lovely Village. There will be activities for the whole family - including youth races  which will be presented by the Oak Brook Park District. Admission Charge. Visit their website for more information on this event.

62nd Annual Jubilee Days Festival
Sep. 4, 2010 - Sep. 6, 2010

This weekend long festival begins with a golf outing at the Shepherds Crook Golf Course on Friday. Saturday includes a 5K run, Miss Zion Pageants and an ice cream social. Sunday's entertainment includes the Arts and Crafts Festival, food, live music and fireworks. Monday will include the Mayors Breakfast, and Arts and Crafts Festival, food and the Jubilee Parade at 1pm.

 

 

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FHA Struggles with Record Loan Demand

by Allyson Hoffman

Record high new home loan requests to the FHA are causing strain due to the governemnt agencies lack of resouces. The FHA is short staffed and also contributing to the strain is a computing system that is two to three decades out of date.

The FHA is utilizing hardware and software that are from the 1980's and their workforce is minimal and at the workload is at capacity. Changes are not likely unless the agecy can fins a way to break away from HUD according to Brian Montgomery, who was once a commissioner for the FHA.

Mr. Montgomery states that the Management and Budget office barely gives them the amount needed to keep their computers running, but not an adequate amount to actually upgrade the old system they are forced to use.  There is not anything in the works to separate them from HUD, but if they were individualized, resources would likely be more readily available for them. The companies create 6.4 billion dollars yearly in revenue surplus.

The administration has not yet taken any action, and is delaying any such action while awaiting hearings. Elections are likely to cause even greater delays as decisions will be made depending on what happens at the November elections.

At yearly meeting of the NAREE in Austin,  TX, Mr. Montgomery indicated that he is doubtful that higher amount loan limits for the FHA will continue. He indicated that unless Congress does something, the loan limits are set to expire at the year’s end. 

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Homeowners Insurance Discounts

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 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 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.

 

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Top Trends That Homebuyers Want

by Allyson Hoffman

In today's tough competitive real estate market, potential homebuyers have increasingly made it clear that their‘must have’ list of amenities now includes efficient, sustainable materials and features that focus on making their home an affordable sanctuary to live and work. Gone are the extravagant, over the top, “McMansion” types of home and now the trend is for thoughtfully planned living areas that combine both indoor and outdoor lifestyles and make room for a home office. Below are some of the top trends that homebuyers are looking for:

  1. Green building and sustainability – from recycled materials to water wells and water collection systems, today’s home buyer is concerned with organic, sustainable features. While green building can sometimes be expensive up front, even the cost conscious know that the results may save money in the long run.
  2. Energy efficiency – those who go green are also concerned with sustainable, efficient resources. Buyers want energy efficient appliances and the latest in insulation techniques using spray foam and gels. Not only do they reduce current energy costs, but energy efficient homes help with resale.
  3. Outdoor living areas – more people are staying home these days, and one of the hottest trends is outdoor living areas that create a seamless indoor to outdoor space and include living room style features. From comfortable sofas to televisions and sound systems and creative outdoor cooking areas, the right outdoor space becomes a natural extension of the interior.
  4. Main floor master suites with luxurious baths – now more than ever, home is an oasis for hardworking homeowners, and large masters on the main floor (away from kids rooms or play areas) are key to a homeowner’s satisfaction. Along with the master, buyers are interested in soaker tubs, walk-in showers with seating and dual showerheads.
  5. Home offices – more and more people find themselves telecommuting or working from home in the evenings, and space for a home office has taken priority over traditional home features like formal dining and living and even media rooms. Home buyers seek that unique space that separates work from family living areas.

Home buyers priorities have shifted to reflect changing economic times. The top trends reflect a new desire for comfort and flexible lifestyles, along with an ever growing concern for sustainability and efficiency.

 

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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]