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

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Enhancing Winter Curb Appeal

by Allyson Hoffman

Having your house on the market in the winter means you'll face some special challenges. Without the benefit of landscape in full bloom, a home can appear drab. To avoid losing potential buyers, here are three tips to garner buyers’ hearts through better winter curb appeal.

1. Turn drab into fab by adding a few winter-flowering shrubs and perennials to your landscaping. Some attractive options could include Pieris Japonica, the Hellebore, Christmas rose and winter jasmine.

2. Spruce up your intrigue. If you've got visible mulch around your trees and shrubs instead of a crisp white layer of snow, make sure it's fresh. The longer mulch sits in the sun, the grayer it becomes.  At some point it’s hard to even tell it is mulch anymore. So add that subtle punch of color to the otherwise dormant landscaping.

3. “Crisp and Clear” should be your motto during the winter months. So check all areas where winter storms can deposit problematic ice and snow. While you might not have issues with it, the young, old and those with disabilities likely will. Minimize your liabilities, both visual and actual, by shoveling snow and spreading salt or melting agents to alleviate the problems as they occur.  Keep in mind that an ounce of prevention can produce a pound of cure, so for more permanent solutions to recurring buildups of snow and ice, check for good drainage away from your driveway and house. Additionally, clean your gutters and downspouts to help to eliminate ice dams or the formation of massive (potentially dangerous) icicles and ice puddles as those begin to melt.

Selling a home in winter may not be the most ideal time to show off your home's beauty, but these tips can mitigate seasonal challenges. For additional information regarding the selling process, feel free to contact me and I'll be happy to offer suggestions for preparing to sell and regarding the best way to increase appeal or help you to determine the value of your current home.

 


Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

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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.

Image courtesy of ColinBroug/Stock.xchng.com

New Year’s Eve Festivities at Navy Pier

by Allyson Hoffman

Looking for fun-filled New Year’s Eve festivities? Look no further -- Chicago is full of a variety of celebrations everyone can enjoy.

Visit the Chicago Children’s Museum, Monday, December 31st from 10 AM – 12 PM to take part in their Noon Year’s Eve Celebration. This family-friendly event will feature craft making, dance party, and a countdown to high noon. Visit the official event website to purchase your tickets today.

If you are looking for a night out on the town, then be sure to check out the 7th Annual Chicago Resolution Gala at the Aon Grand Ballroom. This event is for adults, 21 and older, and features a variety of food, drinks, and fabulous music to dance the night away and ring in the New year. Visit the official event website for additional information and to purchase your tickets.

Crystal Gardens will also be hosting a fabulous New Year’s Eve party. From 9 PM to 1:30 AM enjoy top-shelf drinks, delectable treats, Live DJ, and a private terrace to watch the fireworks. Visit the official event website to purchase your tickets today!

Wanting to ring in the new year with a bang? Then don’t miss the New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Navy Pier. Enjoy this spectacular show of lights and color as the fireworks burst over Lake Michigan. The 15-minute spectacular will begin promptly at 12 AM. Visit the official website for additional information. This event is free to the public.

Whether you are with friends or family, dancing the night away or watching the spectacular fireworks show, there is an event for everyone is sure to enjoy to bring in 2019!

 


Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE
/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

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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. 

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

 

Get the Best from Your Real Estate Agent

by Allyson Hoffman

You’ve decided it’s time to buy a new home, and you’re ready to hire a real estate agent to guide you through the process. Wise decision!

Presumably, your selected agent wants to provide you the very best service possible.  Here are several things you can do to help your real estate agent produce those results:

1Share your expectations
. Exactly what do hope your real estate agent will do for you and what are your preferred methods of communicating – phone, email and/or text?

2. Get pre-approved for a loan. Knowing your affordable price range in advance of your formal home search assures a better chance of finding and securing that ideal property because sellers typically require prospective buyers to have been pre-approved for a mortgage.

3. Be clear about wants and needs. Create a list of what you’re looking for in a home and share that with your real estate agent. Include as many details as possible – from the price range supported by your loan pre-approval to the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need as well as the type of neighborhood you prefer to live in and the style of homes you like.

4. Be honest and frank. Speak up regarding homes you have viewed and share exactly what you liked and disliked about each. It will help your agent to better understand your expectations and make suggestions designed to guide you to the right property.

5. Move at your own pace. If you feel overwhelmed or tire when viewing more than a certain number of homes in one day, tell your agent so that your home tours can be designed to match your comfort level.

6. Be prepared to negotiate. While your agent will manage contract negotiations for you, be prepared to compromise. Ultimately some “give and take” will likely be your key to success when you finally select a home that you love, Offers, counter-offers and sometimes many counter-offers are necessary to reach an agreement and secure the home you want. Don’t risk losing it because you’re unwilling to negotiate.

7. Remember that you have the final word. Your agent can, and most likely will, make suggestions, but the final decisions are always yours. With your agent’s guidance when you locate the home that fits your needs, be ready to act quickly.

Just like any other relationship, a client-agent relationship, if managed effectively, should produce a more confident and relaxed setting that results in better decisions designed to help you achieve your real estate goals.

When you are ready to find the right real estate agent for you and your family, please contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, provide information on the buying process, make recommendations to trusted lender professionals who can assist you in determining how much you can borrow, and/or help you find your dream home.



Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

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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.

Photo licensed from iStockphotos.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light

by Allyson Hoffman

With the Holiday’s right around the corner, now is the perfect time to visit the Museum of Science + Industry Chicago’s Exhibit Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light. This is a one-of-a-kind event celebrates holiday traditions from all around the globe with live performances and more than 50 trees decorated to represent the holiday traditions from cultures across the world.

Saturday, December 22nd, enjoy an ornament “make and take” activity in the West Pavilion and live cultural performances from Puerto Rico, Ecuador, and Romania.

Visit MSI’s official website for additional event information and to purchase your tickets today. Don’t miss your chance to view this festive display and celebrate holiday traditions from around the world!

 


Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE
/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

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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.  

Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash

Field Life Museum’s Antarctic Dinosaurs Exhibit

by Allyson Hoffman

Get transported back to the Jurassic Era at the Field Museum’s exhibition of Antarctic Dinosaurs. Running from December 14th through January 6th, you can view numerous fossils and life-sized recreations of species that once called Antarctica home, including fossils of two dinosaur species that are new to science.  You can’t miss the life-size model of Cryolophosaurus, a 26-foot-long meat-eating theropod dinosaur. Also, be sure to check out the equipment used in the first exploratory expeditions, as well as today.

Visit the Field Museum’s official website for additional information and to purchase your tickets today. Don’t miss the chance to travel back in time as you view this unique and spectacular exhibit.

 


Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE
/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

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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.  

Photo by Brett Meliti on Unsplash

Beware of These Five Mistakes Between Your Loan Preapproval and Closing

by Allyson Hoffman

Real estate agents typically advise their clients to complete the loan preapproval process even before beginning to search for a new home. The process should clearly be worth the effort because once preapproved for a loan, prospective borrowers know what a lender is willing to contribute towards their purchase. Additionally, this ensures avoiding the wasting of valuable time looking at unaffordable homes.

It is important to keep in mind that a preapproval letter, even with a contract, is not a final approval. Unfortunately, inexperienced homebuyers sometimes make the costly mistake of assuming that final approval of their loan is guaranteed, a misstep that can potentially delay acceptance or lead to the loan be denied.

Here are five common mistakes to avoid while waiting to close on your home.

Taking on New Debt

While waiting to close on your home, don’t add new debt for household items such as furniture, appliances or decorating accents.  Avoid financing any major purchases like a new car or boat.

Sometimes even minor expenses can also be problematic when there are too many new charges to your credit cards. So, during this period, spend wisely and in a fashion that reflects your prior habits.

Moving Large Amounts of Money

Play it safe and let your down payment funds “age” for at least 90 days in your bank account(s).  Because lenders like stable finances and will review your bank statements during underwriting, it’s important to avoid large deposits or withdrawals. These transactions can raise red flags that ultimately delay the approval process.

Moreover, document thoroughly should you plan to use a gift or the proceeds from the sale of an item such as boat or car. Your lender will require paperwork to track the source of those monies.

Forgetting to Pay Your Bills on Time

There’s a lot going on when planning a move, so make sure to keep track of your bills. Packing can also be distracting. So whether you are moving to your new home or an interim location, make sure to contact all your providers ahead of time, verify all your bills are current and provide your forwarding address to minimize billing problems.

One way to avoid missing an important payment that could negatively impact your credit is to consider setting up online, automatic bill payments through your bank or with each provider individually.

Co-Signing for Anything

Some folks say you should never cosign a loan. That’s debatable, but you should certainly never cosign a loan while in the process of buying a home.  Lenders will consider this new debt, recalculate your debt-to-income ratio, and potentially reconsider approving your home loan.

Switching Jobs

Lenders love stability. So, if you are in the process of buying a home, this is not the time to change jobs or even the way your pay is structured – say from salary to commission based.  However, if you are offered that dream job at twice your current salary and they need an answer by the end of the week, call your loan officer and keep him in the loop. A loan officer who knows your situation can be proactive, possibility restructuring your loan package for underwriting so that no one is surprised a week before closing.

Minimize your risk by avoiding these contract-to-closing mistakes and streamline your smooth transition into your new home.

If you have any questions about mortgage pre-approval or the status of your credit, contact me for reliable references to lenders who deliver expert advice and results.  They can offer suggestions to improve your score or  recommend a wide range of loan options, and I can help you find the home of your dreams.



Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
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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.

Photo courtesy of am0903cass at Flickr.com.

 

37th Annual Holiday Treasure Hunt and Tea Party

by Allyson Hoffman

It’s time for the Art Institute of Chicago’s 37th Annual Holiday Treasure Hunt and Tea Party. This Sunday, December 9th starting at 10:45 AM, bring the whole family to participate in this one-of-a-kind art exploration event. Journey through the museum and enjoy a variety of fun activities at stops on your way through the galleries and the Ryan Learning Center. Once your mission is complete, stop by the historic Stock Exchange Trading Room for a Tea Party featuring refreshments, live entertainment, gifts, and more.

Visit the Art Institute of Chicago’s official website for additional information and to purchase your tickets today! This is sure to be an event the whole family can enjoy!



Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE
/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

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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.  

Photo by Anita Austvika on Unsplash

Your Home Inspection Reveals …

by Allyson Hoffman

Congratulations!  Your offer has been accepted and you’ve gone under contract on a new home. However in most cases, the sale is still subject to satisfactory results of a variety of inspections prior to its closing.  Although inspections are not mandatory, a home inspection is strongly recommended, regardless of whether the home is new construction or over 100 years old.  Moreover, some types of loans, such as FHA financing actually require an FHA appraisal/home inspection. Typically other lenders permit buyers to decide if they want to assume the risk involved in the purchase of a new home without the benefit of a home inspection.  Opting out of this highly-advised inspection process may prompt your realtor to have you sign a letter stating that you have waived the right to step.

A home inspection is exactly as the name states.  It is an inspection of the home, typically conducted by a trained and licensed home inspector.  His, or her job, is to probe, detect and identify any deficiencies in the current condition of the home.  Additionally, inspectors can also recommend areas or systems that would be best evaluated by specialists.  These could include roofers, HVAC contractors, electricians, plumbers and/or structural engineers, amongst others. Ultimately, the inspector should provide the client with a detailed and photo-documented report summarizing the discoveries, judgments and recommendations.  Any home buyer can then use this report to make informed decisions about their pending purchase.  Some buyers presume that the home inspector is guaranteeing future conditions, efficiency or life expectancy of areas investigated.  This is not the case.  The current condition of the home is the main focus of the analysis.

Home inspection reports can be presented in various forms.  However, most reports address similar pertinent areas of evaluation.  The pre-inspection agreement will be the first document signed by both the inspector and home buyer.  This agreement states that the inspector agrees to conduct an inspection for the purpose of discovering major deficiencies in the current condition of the home.  It often bullet points all that will be inspected, pointing out that latent and concealed defects are excluded.  The agreement will also explain that they are not looking for environmental hazards, such as radon gas, lead-based paint, or airborne hazards. (There are other specialized inspection companies that perform these services). 

So what should a home inspection provide?  First, the home inspector should assess the structural condition of the house and basement (if applicable).  The inspector typically checks the soundness of the structure and for the absence or presence of water damage.  If there is no basement, the slab, or crawl space will be surveyed.  Secondly, the heating and cooling unit/units are assessed.  There should be remarks regarding their present condition, age, type and any recommendations for repair or further analysis.  Examples could include the necessity for cleaning/maintenance, the presence of moisture on or in the lines and evidence of rust or cracked heat exchangers.  The inspector will also report on the plumbing and bathrooms.  Water lines, pipes, drains, water heater/heaters, and all areas of the baths (tub, commode, fan, shower, and vanities) will be commented upon.  The electrical system including the circuit breaker or fuse box is also reviewed for electrical hazards, service capacity, proper circuits/wiring and conductors as well as outlets and fixtures.  In particular, the kitchen will also be scrutinized heavily from the countertops and cabinets, to the sink, dishwasher, range/oven, refrigerator and ventilation which should be tested for functionality and compliance with code regulations.  Investigation of the floors, walls, ceilings, stairs, fireplaces, door and windows are also surveyed and reported in the interior section of the report. Lastly, the inspector should enter the attic space checking for moisture, stains, insulation and proper ventilation. 

The exterior of your new home will also be reviewed in the home inspection.  Many times inspectors start on the outside and then do the interior of the property.  From ground up to the roof, the inspector examines the condition of everything from the shingles and flashing to the chimney, gutters, and downspouts.  Exterior walls coverings and trim (siding, brick, etc.), porches, garages, and carports are also included in the analysis.  Finally, the property or grounds on which the house sits, gets an examination.  In this section notation for driveways, walkways, retaining walls, landscaping, fencing, grading, decks, patios, porches and balconies is provided. 

The most important part of your home inspection analysis report is the summary page(s).  These pages will itemize any, and all, findings or remarks regarding deficiencies and defects found by the inspector.  Once received, it is fully up to the purchaser to determine what, if anything, to do with this information.  If the list is extensive, buyers will often ask the sellers to make repairs at their expense prior to closing or to provide credits.

Performing an inspection of this scope is nearly be impossible to accomplish without qualified assistance.  So do not opt out of having a trained and licensed professional thoroughly assess your new home.  Spending the money and time upfront for a quality home inspection may well save thousands of dollars later on repairs.  To easily avoid this potential calamity, simply perform a home inspection.  Indisputably, this decision is of paramount importance.  For additional information regarding the sale or purchase of a home, please contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine the value of your home.

 

 

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
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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.    

Photo provided by flickr.com

Panoramic Views!

Cash In to Great Living, Great Space, Great Amenities & Location -- Fulfill Great Expectations Here!

Combine Carefree Living with Resort-Like Amenities, Captivating Updates and a Prime Sunny Corner Setting in this "Ready-for-Prime-Time" Airy, End-Unit Condo!

Thumbs up! Don’t miss this super-special sunny, Southwest corner unit with six rooms, 2 bedrooms and a multi-functional family room or third bedroom. This “Winner’s Circle” gem features a beautifully updated kitchen, baths and stunning Cherrywood flooring. The cheerful, bright living room with windows on two sides, boasts both a fireplace wall and sliders leading out to the balcony overlooking a quiet, central courtyard. Entertain with ease or enjoy family gatherings in the separate dining room, conveniently-adjacent to the like-new kitchen with its cherry cabinetry, granite counters, stainless appliances, breakfast bar and planning desk.

The spacious master bedroom suite includes a huge customized walk-in closet and appealing-remodeled, private master bath. Enjoy an additional large second bedroom with easy across-the-hall access to the lovely renovated family/guest bath and a great den, library, or third bedroom with the carefree flexibility to accommodate your individual needs. Add a convenient in-unit laundry room, deeded and heated underground parking and fabulous resort-like amenities including two outdoor pools, tennis courts and renovated clubhouse to this best-value delight. Combine lovely grounds, aerated ponds and a great easy-access location in desirable Pheasant Creek. Stop, look, love and buy!

To view the full description and collection of photos for this home please visit www.3050PheasantCreek-304.com!

Contact Allyson Hoffman for more information or to schedule a showing.  Visit www.RealEstateNorthernIllinois.com or email Allyson@Allyson.com!

Chicago Botanic Gardens Wonderland Express

by Allyson Hoffman

Looking for fun the whole family can enjoy? Then don’t miss the Garden for Wonderland Express at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. This extravaganza will begin November 23rd and continue through January 6th, 2019. Be sure to check out the magnificent model trains, magical and glittering indoor snow or enjoy the amazing sound of the indoor carolers singing your favorite holiday songs.

Don’t miss the unbelievable ice sculptors as they use chainsaws and other carving tools to create fanciful figures. If all that isn’t enough fun, the Wonderland will also feature FREE movie days on December 23rd, 29th, and 30th.

Visit the Chicago Botanic Garden’s official website for additional information and event times. Be sure to enjoy the awe and winter wonder of this festive event!

 


Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE
/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
847-310-5300
allyson@allyson.com

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Let’s Connect, Socially!

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
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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.  

Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

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Allyson Hoffman
RE/MAX Villager
1245 Waukegan Road
Glenview IL 60025
847-310-5300
Fax: 847-400-0881

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