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


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The Questions You Must Ask

by Allyson Hoffman

Buying a home is such a significant decision, you need as much information as you can get while trying to make a smart choice. You're going to have lots of questions and lots of people with answers. But, when you talk to the owner, you're going to be able to get first-hand information. And here are some of the most important questions you should ask before making a decision to make an offer on a home.  

"Why are you selling?" It's an obvious question, but one that can provide you with valuable information. And it might be different from what the seller's agent might say.  

"How much did you pay?" Again, you might already have this information from a different source. But, asking the owner is always worth doing. You can learn a lot about your negotiating position by asking the question.  

"Are there any problems with the house?" You'll already have a lot of information related to this question from your own agent, but once again, asking cannot hurt. And don't just ask the owner or owner's agent. Ask a qualified inspector that question: Their answer is going to be vital to any decision you make on the house.  

"What can you tell me about the neighborhood?" If you're going to live there for any amount of time, you may want to know before you buy if there are annoying neighbors or other problems.  

"And what about the local schools?" If you have school age children, make sure to ask about local schools. Even if the owner doesn't have kids in the system, its worth adding to the impressions you've gotten from other sources.  

There are obviously other questions you might want to ask, and you should feel free to do so. Remember, it's your money. It should go without saying that when talking to an owner, you should go out of your way to be polite. If they're uncomfortable or unwilling to talk, you won't get better answers by pushing them. If the discussion raises concerns in your mind, talk with your own agent.  

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

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/

Displaying blog entries 1-2 of 2




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Photo of Allyson Hoffman Real Estate
Allyson Hoffman
RE/MAX Villager
1245 Waukegan Road
Glenview IL 60025
Fax: 847-400-0881

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Allyson Hoffman
RE/MAX Villager
1245 Waukegan Road
Glenview, IL, 60025

(847) 310-5300
[email protected]

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