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


Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Autumn Harvest in Arlington Heights

by Allyson Hoffman

Fall is offically here so make plans to celebrate the Autumn season this Saturday, October 1, 2011 in Arlington Heights! A fun Autumn Harvest festival for the entire family will be taking place from 11 am to 4 pm at North School Park.

Here you can enjoy hayrides, a scarecrow-building contest, a Pet Parade on Eastman Street, a petting zoo, food and entertainment! There’s no better way to kick off Autumn in northern Illinois, so make sure you make plans to bring the entire family!

Image courtesy of pepperminting/



Why You Need A Professional Real Estate Agent

by Allyson Hoffman

Many North Shore home sellers ask whether they need to hire an agent or if they should first try as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). In today’s market, this is an easy decision: you need an experienced professional!

You need an expert guide if you are traveling a dangerous path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a buyer willing to pay fair market value for your home at a time that there are mass inventories of foreclosures and short sales will take a true real estate professional. Finding reasonable financing can also be tricky in today’s lending environment.

You need a skilled negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible re-negotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family? If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal.

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

Image courtesy of ClkerFreeVectorImages/


Deerfield Historical Society's 36th Annual Fall Festival

by Allyson Hoffman

The Deerfield Historical Society is hosting its FREE 36th Annual Fall Festival this Sunday, September 25 from 12-4 pm in Deerfield, Illinois. This family-friendly event will feature an appearance by celebrity Chef Gale Gand, entertainment, food, a car show and fun for the entire family. Children can enjoy hands-on activities and visit a one-room schoolhouse. Visitors are invited to explore five buildings of historic interest including the Caspar Ott log house, built in 1837, which is Lake County’s oldest surviving building.

You can also enter your favorite cookie recipe to compete for prizes in the cookie contest. Bring 4 dozen cookies and a copy of your recipe by 1:15 p.m. Judging will take place at 1:30 with Chef Gale Gand, cookbook author and executive pastry chef of TRU and Elawa Farm. Cookies will go on sale to the public to help raise money for the Historic Village. At 2:15 p.m., Chef Gand will demonstrate one of her favorite recipes and hold a book-signing of her cookbooks from 3 to 4 p.m.

Admission is free. All profits from the Fall Festival will be used to help restore the buildings in the Historic Village in Deerfield, so make sure you come to this wonderful event on Sunday with your family!

Image courtesy of condesign/



Should You Refinance?

by Allyson Hoffman

Many homeowners are seriously considering refinancing because interest rates are at historic lows and now is the time to take advantage of this option. If you have been thinking about refinancing your mortgage there are some factors to take into consideration before making your decison. It is important to realize that although rates are low now, the current economic crisis has caused many lenders to reduce the amount of loans they provide. This is quite a change from the last few years when almost anybody was eligible for mortgage. If you are thinking on how to save on your mortgage refinance, you must be precise in getting your facts right.

You will first need to look at your loan-to-value ratio. In a no-cash-out refinancing (where the amount of your new loan doesn't exceed the balance of your existing loan, plus points and closing costs, if applicable), you may be able to borrow as much as 95% of your home's value. However, if the value of your home has fallen below the amount of your existing mortgage balance, you may be unable to refinance at all. This has unfortunately been the case for many homes but you may be able to proceed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009's Home Affordable Refinance program. 

The major advantage of refinancing to a new lower interest rate, you will save a substantial amount on your monthly mortgage payment. This is of course why most people choose to refinance their mortgage. Keep in mind however that there are going to be costs involved with refinancing such as closing costs, points, and possible appraisal  and attorney fees.

Do your research and shop around for the best refinancing interest rates. All banks are not created equal, some banks and financial institutions charge higher rates than others. Normally, the smaller Community Banks and Credit Unions are more consumers oriented and charge lower rates.

Also when shopping around look and compare interest rates and points vs. no points before you refinance. Watch out for embedded points included in the closing costs. Some lenders will include points in the closing costs without specifically quoting these costs as points.

Image courtesy of Images Money/


Lake County Home Improvement and Remodeling Expo Sept. 17 & 18

by Allyson Hoffman

Have some miscellaneous home remodeling projects that need to get done? You’re in luck! The Lake County Home Improvement & Remodeling Expo is returning to the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake, Illinois on September 17th and 18th! Attendees will find hundreds of local and national industry experts who can help get those unfinished projects and to do lists finished so northern Illinois dream homes can become realities.

This Expo will include hundreds of exhibits featuring kitchens, baths, flooring, roofing, windows, doors, heating & air, fireplaces, spas & leisure products, sunrooms, landscaping, energy efficient, green products and much more. Homeowners will have the opportunity to get ideas, inspiration, estimates and great deals. Exhibitors will have exclusive discounts and coupons while drawings, giveaways, deals, food, activities for the whole family and much more will happen throughout the duration of this 2-day event.

If you have specific projects in mind, make sure to bring floor plans, measurements and estimates to get those projects started right away! The companies at the Expo will have products and samples on hand, and specialists to answer any questions who will be ready to help with all home improvement projects.

Expo hours at the Lake County Fairgrounds are Saturday, September 17th from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 18th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission and parking are FREE, so this is an event that you can’t miss!

For more information, please visit or call (630) 468-2237.

Image courtesy of Nancy Hugo, CKD/



Do you have mold?

by Allyson Hoffman

Everyone knows what mold is but as a Northern Illinois homeowner, are you aware of the existence and dangers of mold in our homes and how to address the issue before it gets out of control?

Mold can grow in many places that are we might not even know about in our homes. It may be growing in the corners behind appliances after a water leak, or in the walls of a bathroom without proper ventilation which is definitely a concern if you are looking to sell your home.

Steve Rodriguez, Columnist for Realty Times has outlined 6 important things to know about mold. Additional information about mold can also be found on the EPA and CDC websites.

1. Molds are everywhere and have been around forever.

2. Use common sense in your approach to mold.

3. You cannot spot the feared "Toxic" or "Black" mold simply by looking at it.

4. Most of the media attention surrounding Stachybotrys is overblown.

5. Mold can be cleaned and corrected.

6. Always get the home professionally inspected.

For a full description of each of these important things to know about mold, read Steve Rodriguez's article Mold Must Go: 6 Things to Know.

Image courtesy Bart Everson/


9/11 "From Sea to Shining Sea" Concert

by Allyson Hoffman

This Sunday, September 11 will be the 10th anniversary of the tragedy that rocked but also strengthened our nation. On this 10th anniversary America will honor those who perished but also pay tribute to the heroes who risked their lives and most importantly, celebrate our enduring national spirit.

You can take part in our northern Illinois area by attending a remarkable concert on Sunday presented by The Northbrook Symphony Orchestra and The New Tradition Chorus. They will combine their musical talents on that day to present a unique concert called “From Sea to Shining Sea.” It will be an inspirational, uplifting, and unforgettable performance in Northbrook that you won’t want to miss!   

Cost:$35-$15  Address: The Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, 899 Skokie Boulevard. Suite LL12, Northbrook, IL 60062

Image courtesy of wintersixfour/



Common Costs Involved With Selling Your Home

by Allyson Hoffman

If you are planning to sell your northern Illinois home, it is important for you to know about the potential costs involved. Many sellers are unaware of the expenses involved simply because they are uninformed, but that doesn’t have to be you! It is always a good idea to consult with your agent as to what expenses you should budget for during the selling process, but listed below are some of the most common costs associated with selling your home.

Closing Costs: Although most of the closing costs are the responsibility of the buyer, the seller is expected to pay the property taxes and insurance up to the date of the closing, even if they're not due yet. In addition, some buyers will ask the seller for help with other closing costs as part of the negotiations.

Home Inspections: Although the buyer pays for the home and pest inspections, it's a good idea to get your own inspection before putting your house on the market. This way you're aware of any hidden problems before selling.

Home Repairs: If your inspector finds problems or if you know of problems that you have been wanting to correct, it is time to fix them. The less problems that the home has, the more attractive it is to buyers. Don't forget to budget for new paint, plants, hardware etc. that offers a fresh new look as well.

Legal expenses: Many sellers choose to work with a real estate attorney to examine the sales contract and assist with closing, which can be complicated.

Prepayment penalty: Many mortgages have prepayment penalties if you pay off the mortgage early. Be sure to examine your mortgage agreement and read the fine print.

Other Fees Negotiated by the Buyer: Buyer negotiated fees are becoming more common in the current real estate market. Some of the most commonly seen buyer negotiated fees might include a home warranty paid for by the seller, the cost of repairs needed to make the sale, and the cost for a home inspection. Keep in mind that most parts of the real estate contract are negotiable.

Many homeowners are not aware of the costs involved with selling a home but there are some perks as well. With any home sale you are eligible for a tax write off of up to $250,000 gained in the sale of your home for a single owner, and $500,000 for married couples. This applies for most state taxes as well; check with a tax professional to get all the details of any tax credit that may be available to you and your situation. 

Image courtesy of Rheog/




Art Fair on the Square

by Allyson Hoffman

Art Fair on the Square is taking place this Labor Day weekend, September 4th and 5th. Art Fair on the Square is the signature event of the Deer Path Art League and helps fulfill its mission to bring high-quality visual arts to the Lake Forest community. This event features 181 artists in a variety of mediums such as ceramics, digital art, drawing/pastels, fiber, glass, graphics/printmaking, jewelry, metal, mix media, painting, photography, sculpture & wood.

This fun event will take place at the Lake Forest Market Square from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday. This has been selected the Best Show in North Shore for 57 years in a row, so it is absolutely an event worth visiting!

Have a safe and fun Labor Day weekend!

Photo courtesy


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

Listing Alerts

Be the first to know what's coming up for sale in the Chicago Illinois real estate market with our New Property Listing Alerts!

Just tell us what you're looking for and we'll email a daily update of all homes listed for sale since your last update. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Get Notifications

Quick Search

Contact Us

There are several ways to reach me. Call me at the number below for the quickest response or click the Contact us Online button. Thank you.

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]