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


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 24

Mother’s Day Events – It’s all about Mom This Weekend

by Allyson Hoffman

Mother’s Day Events – It’s all about Mom This Weekend

Mother’s Day is a special day of the year and you will find many options to choose from to show your Mom, Grandmother or other special “Mom” how much she’s appreciated and loved.  Below are just a few of the events for the North Shore and Northwest Chicago suburban communities you can consider this year for Mom on her special day. 

Enjoy the weekend!


Davis Street Fishmarket

501 Davis St, Evanston, IL 60201

Enjoy seafood with a bit of Cajun flair.  Davis Street Fishmarket flies in fresh fish daily.  The restaurant ditched its former Key West theme for a classier vibe, with booth seating in the bar area and a more upscale dining room.  Portions are generous but save room for a slice from their dessert tray.

Mother's Day House Walk

Sunday, May 12th, 12:00 p.m.

225 Greenwood Street, Evanston IL 60201
Evanston History Center

The annual tour, now almost forty years old, takes guests on a showcase of Evanston's architecture, highlighting everything from an 1860’s Italianate building to a prairie school.  The tour also features six private homes in the area!


Mother's Day Brunch at Pete Miller's

Sunday, May 12th, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

412 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Wheeling, IL 60090
Pete Miller's Seafood & Prime Steak

$40; $13 for children ages 6-12; Free for children 4 and under



Mother's Day at Glenview House

Sunday, May 12th, 11:00 a.m.

1843 Glenview Rd., Glenview, IL 60025
Glenview House

Prices vary



Mother's Day Sunday Brunch at Glenview Park Golf Club

Sunday, May 12th, 9:30 a.m.

800 Shermer Rd., Glenview, IL 60025
Glenview Park Golf Club

$27.95 adults, $13.95 children ages 5-10, $6.95 children ages 2-4


Here’s to you, your mom, your grandmom and all mothers!

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
[email protected]

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Painting Walls and Ceilings

by Allyson Hoffman

Previously, we’ve talked about how a new coat of a paint is vital when you’re planning to sell your home. But, you may decide that the expense of hiring a professional painter is too much when you can do most, if not all, of the work  yourself.  In the first part of this series, we looked at the steps you need to take before you dip a brush into a can of paint. Today, we’re going to get to work painting.

The first stage of paint is treating the surface with a coat of primer. The primer protects the surface, gives the paint something to adhere to and helps prevent stains. The guidelines below work for both the primer and paint.

Wait! Put the brush down for a second. You’ve moved the furniture out of the room, or pulled it away from the walls. You need to use drop cloths or tarps to cover the flooring and any furniture still in the room. Murphy’s law says if you leave something unprotected, it will wind up with paint drops on it. Anywhere on the walls and along the edges of a ceiling where you don’t want paint splatters needs to be covered with strips of painters tape. Also, go ahead and make sure you have cleaning supplies on-hand just in case.

Okay, let’s get to work. If you’re going to paint the ceiling, and that’s usually a good idea, do that first.  Again, these guidelines work for both the ceilings and the walls. The first steps here is to use a trim brush to outline the edges of the ceiling. You’ll want a border about three inches wide. When that’s done, move on to the roller and the rest of the surface.

You’re going to pour the out the paint into a roller pan. Make sure you don’t overfill the pan: Fill it so they paint just touches the grated part of the pan.  Depending on where you’re painting, you may need to work on a ladder or with an extension pole. Dampen the roller with water for latex paint or paint thinner for oil paints. Coat the brush completely with paint, and then roll it against the grate to distribute it and squeeze out and excess.

Using a zig-zag motion, cover an area three to four feet square. Then roll over the same area in straight lines. Make sure to overlay the edges of previously painted areas to reduce visible lines when the paint is dry.  Once you’ve completely covered the surface you’re working on, move to another area and let the first dry.

You’ll want to let the painted surfaces dry before you apply a second coat, which will ensure the paint isn’t too thin or missing in places. Don’t remove your drop cloths or tape until you’re sure there aren’t any spots that need touch-ups.

The next part of your painting project is to tackle the door frames, window frames and molding. We’ll talk about that and cleaning up in an upcoming blog post. So for now, get to work on your walls. That way, when you call me to help you sell your home, we’ll already be ahead of the competition!

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

Give Your Garage the Makeover It Deserves!

by Allyson Hoffman

Somewhere, there's a book with a rule that says a garage must be white with bare walls and a dull grey concrete pad. No one is ever confused when they go through a door into the garage. But, is that always a good thing?  The answer to that question is no, of course. 

While keeping our cars safe from the environment is the stated purpose of the garage, that's very seldom all we do with the space. A peek inside a random, representative garage shows a variety of lawn and garden tools and supplies, a garbage can, household and car tools, shelves with sports equipment and an old tent, and the singing fish birthday gift from 1997. And, as you can guess, it's an amazing mess most of the time.

With a weekend of work and some creativity, you can give your garage a makeover and turn it into an extension of your living space instead of just an afterthought.

The first step is to take a hard look at what you store in your garage. Is there a better way to organize that stuff so it takes up less space? Shelves, either free-standing or on the wall, are an obvious way. Look to the walls! Where shelves aren't an option, hardware to hang yard tools, power cords and hoses can get things up off the ground and out of the way. While some of that will go with you if you move, the rest, if done well, can be a great selling point.

After you get things cleaned up and organized, why not start to look at ways to brighten and color the space? There's no reason you can't add a touch of decorative styling to the garage. Or to put the space you may have gained by organizing to use in other wise. You'll find some great tips on and (with before and after pictures!) And take a look at the fantastic ideas in the Lowe's Ultimate Garage Makeover video below.

Have you found unique ways to utilize your garage for something more than auto storage? What's hanging on your garage walls? Have you decorated the space to give it a little style? Hey, if you did, share some pictures and ideas in the comments below or email me. Meanwhile, I'm going to plan my own garage makeover!

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy Rubber Maid Products/

Add an Artistic Touch to Recycling

by Allyson Hoffman

Artists use a wide variety of materials in their work, but these days, re-using what would otherwise be trash is becoming an exercise in going green. That's why if you have an artistic bent, you might want to attend the workshop with Alfonso Nieves Ruiz, titled "Our Green Town Recycle Art," will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 15.  I's taking place at at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston [map]. And it's part of the Citizens’ Greener Evanston’s Fourth Annual Green Arts Show, which is on-going through September 23rd.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company. 
Photo courtesy Citizens' Greener Evanston

Five Ways to Improve Your Market Position

by Allyson Hoffman

If you're trying to sell your home in this economy, you need every advantage you can get.  That process begins by choosing a real estate professional with a track record of success and ends at closing. Along the way, there are some sure-fire ways to improve the appeal of your home when it goes on the market.

Make Sure It's Clean - It's such a simple idea that it seems hard to believe anyone would have potential buyers into a dirty home. But, it happens, and its a recipe for disaster. Clean, and clean like your mother was looking over your shoulder. No one wants to live in a dirty house, and certainly no one wants to start in a new house that needs to be cleaned.

Outside - Your landscaping needs to be trimmed and neat, and you need to make sure the exterior of your home is clean. Get those leaves off your roof and out of your gutters!

Lighting - Check to be sure all of the lights in your home have bulbs. And its a good idea to replace lower intensity lights with something brighter.  You don't want people believing you have something to hide!

Plants - If you have plants around the house, make sure they've been water and tended properly.  Add fresh flowers, and make sure to change them regularly.

Colors - Let's be honest: Those wacky colors and that tacky wallpaper have the potential to derail even the most interested buyer. A new coat of white paint, properly applied, over the entire interior will make the entire place look fresh and new.

Get it Checked Now - Don't wait until a buyer is interested to find out what a home inspector is going to tell you needs to be fixed. Get it fixed now and get it out of the way.

Are there other things you've seen as a potential buyer that have turned you off?  Be sure to leave a comment with things you think are important to consider.  And if you are looking for a new house or to sell your current home, please feel free to contact me!

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

Quickly Fill Those Unsightly Holes

by Allyson Hoffman

Before you put your house on the market, you have to address a variety of issues. Not the least of which is making the house look fantastic. So as you survey your home, you'll start to see little problems that have to be dealt with. For example, damage to drywall where you have hung artwork or secured tall furniture pieces. And that's what I want to talk about with you. If you've got something larger than small holes, you'll probably need some professional help. It's pretty remarkable what a contractor can do to make repairs. But, if you've just got some small holes, you can save yourself some money by doing it yourself.

It's not going to take long, but we need to get some tools. You’ll need to have spackle, a putty knife, a sanding block, primer, paint and a paint brush. I’ll wait while you go get them.

Fill – Okay, we’re going to use the spackling paste to fill the hole itself. Spackle is just a putty made of plaster and glue. Fill the hole and then use the putty knife to scrape off any spackle sticking up out of the hole.

Sand – A tiny hole won’t need much, if any, sanding. But, if you can You’re going to want to use a sanding block or even a dry wall sanding screen to make sure the result is perfectly flat. Just using sandpaper by hand won’t cut it.

Paint – Again, with a small enough hole, you don’t really need to prime, but it’s not a bad idea. Then you’re going to want to find the paint that was used to cover the wall you’re working on. Usually, when an interior is painted, the contractor will leave a can of the color they used in a storeroom or garage.

If you can’t find the right paint, you’re best bet is to repaint the entire wall: Any odd color patches are going to really stand out when the room is empty of furniture. And, if the hole is a bit bigger, you can find self-adhesive patching kits that include a metal mesh and come in a variety of sizes. You’ll still need to sand, prime and paint.

If your walls are bare, you can tackle this chore quickly. And a lot less expensively than a contractor will do it!

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

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.

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/

Springtime Shopping Soiree!

by Allyson Hoffman

The time has come for Yelp's unofficial spring shopping and chic style soirees at Bucktown's favorite boutiques for full-figured fashionistas, vive la femme and violette!  It's springtime in Chicago's North Shore -- and that means it's time to sparkle!

Vive la femme is thrilled to celebrate its 10th anniversary kickoff this March with the lovely ladies of Yelp, who will enjoy first dibs on the boutique's handpicked range of darling dresses, sweet separates, and spiffy shirts in flattering colors and shape-showcasing cuts for Spring 2012.  As Chicago's only independent shop exclusively for stylish women of size, vive la femme has been outfitting thousands of curvaceously confident women for a decade now, and we are just tickled to ignite our anniversary series of events with Yelp.  

The vive la femme family is also pleased to announce a Spring Shoe Soiree at violette, Bucktown's only shoe store and accessories oasis!  All women are welcome to shop for cheap-n-cheerful footwear in sizes 7 though 11.  Most shoes at violette run between $29 and $59, and all jewelry is $24.  violette specializes in super comfortable shoes, sandals, wedges, and boots, all chosen to encourage maximum spring swing and seasonal strut! Throw in some $16 scarves and life is good!

Need more springtime sparkle?  Well, have no fear -- the spring line from Stella and Dot will be on hand to ensure you glimmer and gleam from head to toe!  Necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings abound with seasonal sass -- and sparkle!

So, spruce up your spring wardrobe with fabulous frocks, spunky skirts, tasty tops, kicky kicks, and awesome accessories. All shoppers will enjoy light refreshments, as well as a 20% discount on all styles at both vive la femme and violette!

If you were looking for something new and exciting to do in Northern Illinois you found it - it's times to sparkle! 

Thank you for all of the great information on this local North Shore event!





Avoiding Common Staging Mistakes

by Allyson Hoffman

Staging is a wonderful way to help sell your North Shore home because it helps your home become more appealing to a wider gamut of possible buyers. Your goal is to impress these possible buyers, so you want your home to look neat, well maintained, spacious, and ready for them to move in.

Below are some of the top mistakes sellers make that you want to avoid when you are preparing your house for the market:

  • Don't go it alone. Get advice from others on what looks neat and organized. Get your realtor’s advice; or if selling on your own, have a trusted third party walk the home with you and point out areas that look cluttered or cramped.
  • There is no need to make extensive renovations or replace all the furniture. Keep things simple and your investments small. Updates to paint, replacing light fixtures or changing out pillows or bedcovers can all go a long way to giving your home an updated look without major expense.
  • Leave out personal items and knick-knacks. Be sure to remove family photos, school projects and other personal items that might make it hard for a new family to envision themselves living in the space. 
  • If you need some inspiration, visit a few model homes for sale for ideas on attractive staging ideas for open spaces. Open up heavy curtains with tie backs and make sure that your furniture isn’t in the way of creating bright open spaces. If you need to take some things out, try temporary storage.
  • Avoid painting with dark or intense colors. Keep your wall and flooring colors to neutral, adaptable tones. Even if bright or varied color palettes are trendy, they are too much for most prospective buyers.
  • Avoid over-staging with accessories. Over the top accessories, including flowers, scents, and home décor items not only make it look like you are trying too hard, they can detract from the real form and functionality of your house.

Keeping it simple is the key to getting results from staging your home. Clean, uncluttered and neutral surroundings show off the possibilities of your home to your potential buyers.

Image courtesy of TNS Sofres/


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 24




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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]