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

Chicago North Shore, North and Northwest Suburban Real Estate Blog

Allyson Hoffman


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Managing Asthma In the Home

by Allyson Hoffman

Improving and maintaining good indoor air quality is key in asthma management and limiting the presence of irritants in the air in your home. Below are a few steps you can take to improve air quality in your home as found in the article Creating an Asthma-Safe Home by KidsHealth.

Improving Air Quality

  • Don’t allow smoking in your home. Quit or smoke outside.
  • Use unscented or non-aerosol varieties of household cleaning products.
  • Verify that all your gas appliances are properly vented outside.
  • Run air conditioning when pollen or mold counts are high or when there are ozone or pollution warnings.
  • Change air conditioning filter regularly.
  • Reducing the Presence of Dust Mites
  • Vacuum and dust regularly.
  • Avoid the use of feather or down pillows or comforters.
  • Wash your children’s bedding in hot water and also dry it on a high setting.
  • Cover mattresses, pillows and box springs with mite-proof covers. Regularly wipe down covers.
  • Remove carpeting in your child’s room.
  • Window coverings in your child’s room should be easily washed or cleaned. Horizontal blinds are not recommended as they accumulate dust on their multiple surfaces.
  • Store children’s books in a room other than his or her bedroom
  • Keep stuffed animals to a minimum. Favorite plush toys should be washed and dried regularly on the hot settings. Placing plush toys in a plastic bag in the freezer for a minimum of 5 hours will also kill any dust mites present.
  • Avoid using a humidifier particularly in your child’s room.

Reducing Moisture and Mold

  • Fix leaky pipes, faucets, or roofs. Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
  • Make sure your bathrooms and basement are well ventilated. Install and use exhaust fans to help lower moisture in these areas.
  • If you have any damp closets, clean them thoroughly and leave a 100-watt bulb on all the time to increase the temperature and dry out the air.
  • Run a dehumidifier in the basement or other damp areas. It's important to empty and clean the water pan often.
  • Remove wallpaper and wall-to-wall carpeting from bathrooms and basement rooms.
  • Run the air conditioning (this is especially helpful if you have central air), making sure to change the filter monthly.
  • Avoid houseplants, which may harbor mold in their soil.
  • Clean any visible mold or mildew with a solution that's one part chlorine bleach to 10 parts water. Don't paint or caulk over moldy surfaces without cleaning them first.
  • When painting bathrooms or other damp areas of your house, use anti-mildew paint.
  • If there's visible mold on ceiling tiles, remove and replace them. Also check to see if there's a leaky pipe that may be causing the problem.
  • Replace or wash moldy shower curtains.

Pets in the Home

  • Keep pets outside. If you can't, at least keep them out of your child's bedroom and playroom.
  • Wash and brush your pet every week.
  • Make sure your child doesn't play with or touch your pet and keep him or her away from the litter box if you have a cat.
  • Wash your hands every time you touch your pet.
  • If you have a pet that lives in a cage, keep it in a room that your child doesn't spend time in regularly. Also, have someone other than your child clean the cage daily.

For more detail information and tips how to create an asthma-safe home visit the KidsHealth website and talk with your child’s doctor about their specific triggers.

Many of us have allergies, and children with asthma, and we want to ensure family members live and play in surroundings that won’t aggravate this chronic disease, and this starts at home. When it comes to children, we want to keep them as safe as possible; however the reality is we have little control over conditions outside of our own homes. By beginning with your own home you can implement a few no-cost or low-cost lifestyle changes that will help turn your house into an asthma safe home, for family members suffering from this condition.

Identifying the Triggers Allergens
If you are unsure what triggers are specific to your child, or children, with asthma, please consult your physician, as they will be able to help identify these triggers and advise you in this regard.

Image courtesy of Lori Lindner/

Chicago's North Shore Farmers' Markets

by Allyson Hoffman




It's that time of year when we all love the summer smells. the beauty of  the trees and flowers in bloom and shopping for that perfect fruit or vegetable at the local farmers' market. The farmers' markets are preparing to open for the season and below is a list of a few great local markets to find the sweet tastes and smells of summer.

Evanston Farmer’s Market - Opens May 17th

When: Saturdays
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Location: University Pl. and Oak Ave.

Highland Park Farmer’s Market - Opens June 6th

When: Fridays
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: Port Clinton Square, 600 Central Ave.

Northfield Farmer’s Market - Opens June 7th

When: Saturdays
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Happ Rd., across from New Trier’s freshman campus.

Deerfield Farmer’s Market - Opens June 14th

When: Saturdays
Time: 7 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: Deerfield Rd. and Robert York Ave.

Glenview Farmer’s Market - Opens June 21st

When: Saturdays
Time: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Wagner Farm, 1510 Wagner Rd.

 Image courtesy of condesign/

The Best Gas Prices In Your Area

by Allyson Hoffman


If you're trying to cut your gas expense, this site my help.

Just enter your zip code in the site below and it tells you which gas stations have the lowest and the highest gas prices in your zip code.  It will even give you a map to show where they are.

Image courtesy of JirkaF/

Happy Mother's Day

by Allyson Hoffman

Growing up we have all had our mother's scold us or give us advice, that at the time may have not meant too much to us. Whether we like to admit it or not, those little pieces of advice and information have stuck with us and without a doubt had an impact on us as we grew up.

Below are a few phrases I am sure you heard as a kid, and may even have used them on your own children. It isn't until we are grown adults, that we realize that Mom was only saying these things out of love and concern for us.

  • Money does not grow on trees.
  • Always change your underwear; you never know when you'll have an accident.
  • What if everyone jumped off a bridge? Would you do it, too?
  • Don't make that face or it'll freeze in that position.
  • If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
  • Don't put that in your mouth; you don't know where it's been!
  • Be careful what you wish for, it might come true.
  • Close that door! Were you born in a barn?
  • Because I'm your mother that's why.
  • If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times.
  • Because I said so.


Wishing all you mother's a Happy Mother's Day.


Happy Mother's Day!
Image courtesy of MZPlus/  

Spring and Summer Cleaning Your Garage

by Allyson Hoffman



It is the time of year when we all like to do a little Spring cleaning to ready ourselves for a beautiful summer. Most of us spend our time cleaning and organizing the inside of our homes, but does that extend to our garages?

Garages are a great place to store all those products, or household hazardous waste, we don't want inside our house. These products may include (and are not limited to) automotive fluids, paint and lawn care products.

Now is the time to spring clean and rid your garage of these household hazardous waste (HHW) products and, where available, replace them with more environmentally friendly products.

Motor Oil can be disposed of at dealerships or vehicle repair shops.

Fertilizer for lawn care can be replace with certified organic products. Ask your local garden center for any certified organic products they may carry.

Pesticides can be disposed of by contacting your local sanitation department. An alternative to this HHW would be a less toxic product that can also be found at your local garden/yard center.

Paints should not be kept for long periods of time and can be disposed of at designated areas of your local sanitation department. New paints can be purchase with a low VOC (volatile organic compound) content.

If you're unsure of how to properly dispose of the Household Hazard Waste found in your garage, contact your local sanitation or fire department.

Image courtesy of DiamondBack Truck Covers/

Improving Air Quality in Your Home

by Allyson Hoffman

In our original post, Air Quality in Your Home. we pointed out that it had been suggested that the air we breathe in our homes is often more polluted than the air breather outside. this was an alarming realization and now we would like to offer a few tips to reverse this.

According to National Geographics Green Guide there are a number of things we can do to improve air quality in our homes.

  • Ventilate your home regularly
  • Vacuum weekly
  • Use a good quality air filter on your furnace and replace it regularly
  • Maintain ventilation systems (If your home has one) and dehumidifiers
  • Run exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens
  • If you're considering an air purifier, avoid devices that generate ozone, as these can make lung problems and asthma worse.

In addition to these few necessary steps, you should also pay close to attention to the indoor chemicals that may be linked to allergies, asthma and learning disabilities in children, according to some studies.

The two more commonly identified chemicals in our homes include formaldehyde which is present in home renovation products and solvents from fresh paint and phthalates which are used in soft plastics and synthetic fragrances such as air fresheners and dryer sheets.

There are an number of alternatives to these damaging products as described below.

There are products on the market that offer a great alternative to the products that contain formaldehyde such as formaldehyde-free-products made of solid wood and natural products. There are also a number of low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints available to consumers these days.

The best way to eliminate phthalates from your home is to get rid of any air fresheners completely. Alternatively, baking soda in your trash cans can also leave your home smelling fresh. Baking soda can also replace your dryer sheets, used in the rinse cycle to soften fabrics and tackle static cling.

These are a few of the basic steps we can take to improve air quality in our homes for our families.

Image courtesy of Ivy Dawned/

Chicago Celebrates Earth Day April 22nd, 2008

by Allyson Hoffman


I think we are all aware that the environment is becoming increasingly more fragile and we need to take the time to educate ourselves and our families about environmental issues and how we can do our part.

April 22nd is Earth Day and Chicago will be celebrating the environment with numerous events and activities. We encourage you take part in this celebration, with your families,  in an effort to recognize the importance of nature around us and preserving this wonderful planet for generations to come.

A few of the Chicago Earth Day celebrations include:

  • Tuesday, April 22 - Mayor's Office of Special Events - Earth Day Celebration
    Daley Plaza from 10am to 3pm.
  • Tuesday, April 22 - 2008 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Exposition
  • Tuesday, April 22 - Chicago History Museum - The Local Eating Option
  • Saturday, April 26 - Earth Fest - IL Tour of Earth-Sheltered Homes

  • Saturday, April 26 - Chicago Botanic Gardens - Earth Day Walk

I hope you and your families have a fabulous Earth Day. For more information regarding these events and other Earth Day information please visit the following links.

Image courtesy of Kate Ter Haar/




In Part 1 of the Moving Guide series we discussed the types of moves that are available. Now we would like to continue with Part 2. You have everything packed and loaded in the movers van or vehicle that you will be driving yourself. Once you arrive at your new home, you may or may not set out to unload and pack as soon as you arrive so you want to be prepared.

Below is a list of some of the essential items that you should pack separately and have with you during the move, for your first night in your new home. These few things will help to ensure that everyone in your family, including pets, is taken care of for the first night in the event that you don't get around to unpacking or if the moving truck hasn't arrived the same time as you.

Food & Kitchen Supplies
It's a good idea to pack a few snacks, sandwiches and bottled water as cooking may not be a top priority when you arrive at your new home. A few additional items you will want to have on hand include paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins and garbage bags.

With everything packed and in boxes or possibly still in the moving van you will need necessities such as toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and a few towels. Also you will want to keep with you any contact lens solutions and hygiene products that may be required.

Always pack prescription medication and keep it with you. A first-aid kit and extra band-aids are also a good idea to have on hand during the move and on the first night...just in case.

Try to have a few emergency tools on hand for unforeseen circumstances. Tools such as flashlights, candles, matches, screwdrivers, pliers and scissors.

Clothing for a couple of days should be sufficient to see you through the first night (or two) and maybe a couple of extra blankets or sleeping bags.

Children's Items
For your children you will want to have baby food, diapers and their favorite toys and blankets for their first night in the new home.

Pet Items
Your pets are affected just as much by a move as you and the rest of the family are so be sure to have food, treat, water and any medication that they may require.

These are the necessities that will help you get through the first night in your new home. Keep this list handy well in advance to your move date and add or delete items that you feel will help you best in achieving a stress free first night in your new home.

Image courtesy of Mr.TinDC/


New Chicago Illinois Real Estate Transfer Tax

by Allyson Hoffman


In an effort to solve the funding issues plaguing the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Chicago City Council has approved the Real Estate Transfer Tax increase, and in another twist, how the transfer tax is to be paid.

Effective April 1, 2008 sellers in the Chicago area will now be responsible for sharing the cost of the real estate transfer tax with the buyer.

Previously, the Real Estate Transfer Tax was $7.50 per $1,000 of the price of the home and it was paid by the buyer. Now, as of April 1/08, the transfer tax has increased to $10.50 per $1,000 of the price of the home where by the buyer will continue to pay $7.50 per $1,000 and the balance will be paid by the seller.

For more information regarding the Chicago Real Estate Transfer Tax increase please do not hesitate to comment or contact me. You can also read more about the changes here.

Image courtesy of

Should We Renovate Before We Sell? Renovations That Sell.

by Allyson Hoffman

It is no secret that the current buyers market that we are in has left home sellers wondering what it will take to get the best possible price for their home and as quickly as possible.

Many homeowners are turning to renovating their homes in an attempt to set themselves apart from other homes for sale in the community, but what renovations can be done to get the largest rate of return?

First and foremost it is important to keep in mind, whether you are selling now or in the future, general maintenance and upkeep of your home is a logical investment. Homebuyers are drawn to “move-in-ready” homes so they are not burdened with having to tend to basic repairs after moving in.

With that said, there has been a lot of discussion, articles written and blog posts made that outline the types of renovations, beyond general maintenance, that are commonly taken on, resulting in a reasonable return on your investment when selling your home. These renovations include:

•    The Kitchen
•    Bathrooms
•    Floors and Wall Finishes
•    New Siding
•    Extra Living Space
•    Windows
•    Decks
•    Energy Efficient Improvements

Before you decide to jump into any major renovations before selling, it is always a good idea to consult with your Realtor® to evaluate the market values in your community.  Ideally you want the renovations you decide to spend your time, effort and money on, to get you the best possible price for your home (within a reasonable neighborhood price point) and the largest return on your investment.

Major renovations before selling can be pricey, time consuming and a great investment, but shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Depending on your time frame and when you need/want to be out of your home, all renovations should be carefully planned and reviewed with your agent.

Image courtesy of cilesfineline/

Displaying blog entries 1041-1050 of 1099




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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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