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


Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Art Fair on the Square

by Allyson Hoffman

Fill your Labor Day weekend with art! The Deer Path Art League's annual Art Fair on the Square takes place Sunday and Monday. The event, in Lake Forest's downtown Market Square, runs from 10am to 5pm both days. Last year, nearly 500 artists were on hand from around the nation and world. Special attention is paid to young and emerging local artists. While walking through the historic downtown area, you'll be treated to exhibits of painting, photography, sculpture, wood working, ceramics, glass, graphics and drawing, as well as mixed media, digital art and jewelry. Organizers like to say the show is "not too big and not too small."

You can download the entire program for the Art Fair on the Square here.

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

Plant a New Investment

by Allyson Hoffman

Looking for a simple way to add beauty and value to your home? Plant a tree! There are a wide variety of trees native to Illinois, but making the best choice takes a little work. Adding a healthy, beautiful tree is an excellent investment in your home’s value.

First of all, you’ll want to have a good assessment of the quality of the soil where you want to plant the tree. The pH balance of your soil, for example, can make the difference between a beautiful tree and a dead eyesore. Soil testers can be purchased at most lawn and garden centers.

You’ll also need to know how well-drained the planting area is before you put the tree in the ground. Too much water in the soil can cause problems for the roots. Adding bark mulch around the base of the tree will help add nitrogen to the soil. And wrapping trees in the fall and winter will protect them against the cold and deer.

The University of Illinois Extension has a wonderful website filled with information about trees you might want to consider. You can use the site to filter trees by size, tolerance to different conditions, exposure and use. It also contains useful warnings about pests specific to Illinois.

Whatever your choice is, you’ll probably want to consult with a local garden center or tree farm to confirm you’re making a good decision. Do you have a favorite tree? Send me a picture! Plant a tree, invest in your home’s value, and make Illinois just a little more beautiful.

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

Fantastic Festival List

by Allyson Hoffman

With the last days of August come a wide variety of outdoor festivals and events. Picking just one to share with you would be a crime! So, here's the Big List for the weekend:

With that list, you could stay busy from every minute of the weekend!

And finally, just a look ahead to next weekend: The Chicago Jazz Festival at Millenial Park and Grant Park Thursday through Saturday. More on this fabulous event next week. For now, have a great weekend and remember, if you need any real estate assistance, I'm here for you.

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

Quick Tips for Bathroom Renovations

by Allyson Hoffman

Home owners considering putting their house on the market often know they have work to do to maximize the value of the property. Renovations that include new flooring and appliances can go a long way, but usually need to be done by professionals, are expensive and time consuming. But, there are things you can do yourself. Today, let’s talk about making the most of your bathrooms.

The first step is to do a maximum cleaning job on the bathroom. It’s going to be easier to identify the biggest problem if everything is a spotlessly clean as possible. I’m talking about the old-fashioned, Momma’s watching you type of clean. Wash the sides of the cabinets and make sure that the area behind the toilet shines!

With that out of the way, what you see is the best of what you’ve got. Now you can start to prioritize ways to give the space a quick renovation.

Some things are almost mandatory if you’re looking ahead toward selling. The walls, for example, should be spotless and a simple, neutral light color, preferably white.  Any other choice you make is a potential problem for possible buyers, who will be looking for things they’ll have to do after buying. Strip that wallpaper! Prime and paint. A fresh coat of paint is an amazing start on a great renovation. And it’s easy enough that just about anyone can do it themselves.

Got grout? You need to make sure it’s as white as possible. The Do-it-Yourself Life website has an excellent article on cleaning tile grout quickly and inexpensively.  And don’t overlook the shower or tub.

Make sure your light fixtures are clean and the lights bright. Fixtures are easy to overlook when cleaning, but clean fixtures keep the look bright. Make sure the bulbs are fresh and match, and don’t even try to hide imperfections with dim light.

Add decorative touches, but keep them simple. Again, a buyer is going to do their own thing in the room, and it’s hard to imagine that when your own stuff is cluttering up the space. Make sure you coordinate colors, and avoid garish artwork.

At this point, you may want to replace a fixture or alter the flooring. But, you’ve already got a good start on improving your home and making some potential buyer a little more interested in your home. For more ideas, check out this article on Stylist Home.

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

Celebrate the Korean Festival This Weekend

by Allyson Hoffman

The 17th annual Chicago Korean Festival is this weekend. The two day event honors Veterans of the Korean War. It takes place in the Albany Park neighborhood [map] Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 10:30pm. Among many other activities including music and crafts, you'll find traditional Korean food, demonstrations of Korean wrestling and singing. There's also a 5k run/walk at 8am on Saturday. Check the website for information on the race.

And, I can't resist reminding you of the Tony Bennett Concert on Saturday evening. Have a great weekend, and let me know if I can help you with any Real Estate needs. 

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

Five Steps to Outdoor Fun

by Allyson Hoffman

As we head into the end of summer, you may be planning one last outdoor party. Not every home has an ideal layout for such parties, and if you find yourself in that situation, here are a few relatively inexpensive ways to create an inviting area for entertaining, while investing in the value of your home.


Your first step is to set a budget.  You don't have to spend a lot of money to make a dramatic impact. The budget may change as you explore your options, but it's good to have a ballpark figure so you don't overdo it.


Next, make a detailed survey of what you have to work with around your home.  Do you already have a functional outdoor entertaining area that you can improve? Or a nicely shaded area where you can develop a feature?  Do you need shade? Chances are good you already have some ideas.


Now you'll want to explore your options in terms of designs and materials. You can draw on your friends and neighbors experiences and outdoor spaces. Turn on HGTV, or go to, which offers a variety of ideas that are definitely work checking out. Home Depot and Lowes both offer sections on their websites that can provide inspiration and ideas.


The hard part is narrowing your project down to its essentials!  Create a simple sketch or layout of what you have in mind. If you're accomplished at home-improvement, you'll be able to determine what your material needs will be and how best to proceed. If not, turn to some of the experts at your local home-improvement center for direction. You'll find a wide variety of books for sale or available at the library that can help. Also make sure your project won't violate any city or county ordinances: Better safe than sorry.


Doing the actual hard work might seem like a daunting task, but turn it into something fun! Invite your friends and family to help you create your outdoor living space in exchange for a great summer-time cookout.  That way you can have your party and your brand new outdoor entertaining space at the same time. And when it comes time to sell, you'll have added value to your investment!


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

Art for the Weekend

by Allyson Hoffman

There's no question that the right piece of art can be the perfect accent to a room design, and a subtle note to potential buyers. So, if you're looking for something special, here's a suggestion for this weekend.

Art at the Glen Town Center kicks off Saturday for it's ninth year. More than 175 juried artists are participating, showing and selling everything from photographs and paintings to jewelry and sculpture. Some of the artists will be doing live demos of their work. The festival takes place Saturday and Sunday from 11am until 6pm at the Glen Town Center in Glenview [map]. The site used to be Hanger One of the Glenview Naval Air Station. There will be live music and food available. The show is free and big crows are expected.

Let me know if you find anything interesting and have a great weekend, friends!

Now That You've Found the Home of Your Dreams, What's Next?

by Allyson Hoffman

You have found your dream house. So what happens now?  A worry free home shopping experience includes finding a terrific realtor that is established and trusted, securing pre-approval for financing, and making a must-have list so your realtor will know what features you cannot live without. With all that preparation completed in advance, the rest will be a breeze.

The All Important Home Inspection
We are almost there! Only a couple of steps remain before the house belongs to you. The home inspection is a crucial step that you will not want to skip. The inspector will go over the house from top to bottom looking for anything in disrepair. They will mainly be looking for the type of repairs that need prompt attention. After receiving the report, you will then be able to negotiate with the seller. In many cases, they will pay for all or most of the repairs.  

Finalizing the Loan, an Easy Step
This will be a quick and easy process because you have already been pre-qualified for financing. It is a matter of making sure the amount of the down payment, monthly payment, and interest rate are all agreeable. The lender will then complete the process. You will more than likely take care of this over the phone. We are almost finished. 

How Long Until Closing?
Your part is now over. The only matter left is to wait for closing. You probably want to know how long the wait will be. You will be delighted to hear that the waiting period can be remarkably quick. Typically, the lender determines the time and it generally depends on how quickly all aspects of the loan are concluded. All the preparations you made will in all probability speed it along considerably. It could even be as quick as a couple of weeks.

Closing Day Has Arrived!
The big day has arrived….closing day. There will be several documents to sign which is an exciting step toward home ownership. The person conducting the closing will answer any questions you might have. The most thrilling part of closing is when they hand you the keys to your home.

All it takes is a little planning and preparation to make home buying a memorable life experience. There is only one thing left to do. Moving day will be one of the best days of the whole experience. It is the last fun and exciting step toward buying a house and making it your home. 

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

Celebrate Summer at the Ravinia Festival

by Allyson Hoffman

Music lovers can always find something to enjoy at the Ravinia Festival.  And this weekend is no exception, with everything from classical to modern pop on show. Make sure to bring a picnic basket and blankets. Friday kicks off the weekend with the 70s-era supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash. Saturday, modern pop sensation Demi Lovato makes her Ravinia debut.  On Sunday evening, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs a tribute to songwriter Harold Arlen. Who's that, you ask? You've heard his work in songs like “Over the Rainbow,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “That Old Black Magic,” “Stormy Weather,” “One for My Baby (and One for the Road)”, “It’s Only a Paper Moon.”

Ravinia Festival Pavilion
200 Ravinia Park Rd
Highland Park, IL 60035

Crosby, Stills and Nash 
Friday 7:30pm

Demi Lovato
Saturday 7:00pm

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Sunday 5:00pm

Crosby, Stills and Nash in Australia in April. No question about it, they're still at the top of their game!

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Image courtesy Video courtesy colinhay66/

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9




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]