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Allyson Hoffman's Blog

By Allyson Hoffman | Broker in Glenview, IL
  • Winter Curb Appeal

    Posted Under: Design & Decor in Chicago, Home Ownership in Chicago  |  February 6, 2014 8:07 AM  |  410 views  |  No comments

    Having your house on the market in the winter means you'll be facing some special challenges. Without the benefit of landscape in full bloom, a home can take on a drab appearance. To avoid turning away potential buyers, here are three tips for better winter curb appeal.

    1. Adding a few winter-flowering shrubs and perennials to your landscaping can quickly turn drab into fab. Pieris Japonica, the Hellebore or Christmas rose, and winter jasmine are some options.

    2. 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 its hard to even tell it is mulch anymore. Rake up the old stuff and put in a layer of color against otherwise dormant landscaping.

    3. Take a good look at areas where ice and snow becomes a problem around your home during a winter storm. You might not have a issue with it, but it can be a huge negative for the elderly or those with disabilities. Shoveling snow and spreading salt or melting agents can alleviate the problems after they occur.  But for more a permanent solution, make sure you have good drainage away from your driveway and your house. Additionally, make sure to have your gutters and downspouts checked and cleaned if necessary. This will help to eliminate ice dams and 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 you can mitigate seasonal challenges. Get in touch with me and I'll be happy to help you prepare to sell your home, and offer suggestions on the best way to increase your home's appeal.

    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.

    Image courtesy of ColinBroug/Stock.xchng.com

  • Inspiration for Design

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Chicago, Design & Decor in Chicago  |  August 16, 2013 12:02 PM  |  960 views  |  No comments

    If you’re just moving into a new home or would like to brighten the home you’re already living in, a little inspiration can go a long way to making your living space fantastic.  The resources available to help showcase the best in design are numerous … from magazines to television networks.   Perhaps this is overwhelming, so to get right to the heart of the matter, here’s a list of some of the best websites offering decorating and design advice.

    HGTV.com:
    This television network offers a companion website that gives you quick access to a broad variety of ideas. You can browse their huge article database by room or even by color.  For example, if you like pink, there are about 188 options to choose from.   If you prefer an Eclectic style, HGTV.com offers 1,189 ideas.  The selections are truly voluminous!

    Home Designing:
    This website brings you design concepts from around the world.  If you want to see design ideas for an Umbrian villa, it’s here.  Looking for the perfect home for cat lovers?  Home-Designing.com also has intriguing ideas and beautiful photography.

    House Beautiful:
    The companion website to the magazine offers an abundance of tips from top designers, delightful weekly recommendations and suggestions for more than 100 color palettes.  In addition, they actively cultivate posts from top design blogs from around the country!

    Better Homes and Gardens:
    The BH&G magazine has been helping amateur designers with ideas for decades.  Now they’ve additionally brought their expertise to the web with this well-organized site.  Articles such as
    38 Blank Wall Solutions and 25 Weekend Home Decorating Projects couldkeep you busy sprucing up your home for months!

    Apartment Therapy:
    The title says Apartment, but let me assure you, this site is full of wonderful ideas that are perfect for a
    smaller home.  There are some truly fantastic suggestions available here for working with small spaces, green living and general decorating projects.  In addition, their sister site, theKitchen.com, focuses exclusively on life in the kitchen, from design to delicious recipes.

    The bottom line is that everything you can do to make your home more functional and beautiful will pay off.  The value added to resale price should not be overlooked.  When you reach point that you’re ready to move on, please contact me and let me help you get the most from your investment.

     

    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
    Google +1

    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 HGTV.com  

     

     

  • Getting the Most from Your Swimming Pool

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Chicago, Design & Decor in Chicago, Home Ownership in Chicago  |  July 18, 2013 12:13 PM  |  882 views  |  No comments

    Summertime means a lot of things, possibly including a trip to the pool.  But, if you happen to own the pool, you’ll know that summertime also means a lot of regular pool chores … and no one will enjoy your pool if you neglect them!  To assure a great swimming season:

    · Regularly test your pool water chemistry.  Twice a week provides a good base line because it’s easier to keep things in balance if you don’t let them get out of control.  Make sure to check after periods of heavy rain or even after a day with many swimmers.

    · It’s also important to keep your pH level as close to 7.5 as possible and make sure your alkalinity stays within the recommended levels.  If you must add chemicals, doing it in the evening is preferred to avoid the strong daytime sunlight which has a weakening effect.

    · Make repairs promptly. Broken drains or suction pipes are dangerous.  Cracks in a pool wall will worsen over time and wall liners eventually tear.  Problems with pumping equipment can allow the pool water to stagnate – unsightly and unsafe too.

    · Keep things clean. No one wants to swim in a pool with algae covered walls and debris on the bottom.  Try a Polaris system to sweep the pool floor and walls automatically or you’ll need to brush and scrub floors, walls and tile. And don’t forget to regularly empty the skimmer baskets daily.  If you have trees dropping debris, you may need to do that multiple times each day.

    · Your pump has to run between 8 and 12 hours each day to ensure proper circulation. Many people run their pumps around the clock.  Most have built in timers, so you’ll want to make sure they’re working properly.

    · Periodic backwashing of the sand filter is needed every week or two, depending on the size of the pool.

    · Maintain a proper water level in the pool at all times so that pumps and skimmers do not run dry, suck in air and impact the proper function of your filtration system.

    · Once summer is over and temperatures begin to fall, you’ll need to properly winterize your pool and close down the equipment.  Failing to do that could mean expensive repairs the following season and those may not be covered by your home owners’ insurance.

    Maintaining a pool does take some work.  But pool care is essential to maximizing its value when the time comes to sell your home.   And if that time is now or in the future, I can help you get the best price for 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
    Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

    Let’s Connect, Socially!

    Facebook
    Twitter
    LinkedIn

    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.

     

  • Outdoor Deck Safety

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Chicago, Design & Decor in Chicago  |  April 17, 2013 7:04 AM  |  580 views  |  No comments

    As we settle into spring, many people are ready to move the party outside. Mild temperatures, warm sunshine and the blooms of the season are a siren song to enjoy living outdoors. But, if that means sitting out on a deck, take a few minutes to make sure you're safe.

    The estimates vary, but a significant portion of the decks on American homes were not built safely. And every spring and summer, there are stories in the media about decks collapsing.  Before you entertain any guests on your outdoor deck, you'll want to make sure that it's safe and sturdy. Any sway or movement of the deck, railings or stairway, needs to be checked. You can also look for signs of rot, especially where the deck attaches to the house and where two deck boards meet over a joist. The National American Deck and Railing Association offers a complete guide on checking your deck here [pdf].

    A safe, well-maintained deck can add a lot of value to your home … but, only if it's safe.  If you have any doubts at all, call a professional carpenter who can ensure the deck is still securely attached to your home or advise about any needed repairs.  And if you need any advice about selling your home, please be sure to contact me.

     

    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
    Google +1

    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.

     

  • 5 Remodeling Mistakes You Don't Want to Make!

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Chicago, Design & Decor in Chicago  |  December 14, 2011 8:16 PM  |  1,152 views  |  2 comments

    Homeowners know that remodeling their home can improve its value. Unfortunately, some homeowners can be a bit overzealous and their dream kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms turn out to be renovation nightmares and money pits! Below is more information on how it happens, why people do it and, best of all, how to avoid making these mistakes in your Chicago home.

    1. Gutting Everything
    Make sure you have a well-set plan before you start your renovations, because you don't want to go in there and just clear everything out, when you might be able to work around some areas. Often people just start, and they think they're going to pull a piece of wallpaper off, and by the time the process is over, they've completely gotten themselves into a deep, dark hole that's very difficult ( and expensive) to get out of.

    2. Using Cheap Materials
    One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to home renovation is that they try to be cheap when they buy materials. The bottom line is, you're going to get what you pay for.If you're going to do it, do it. If you can't afford to do it, wait.

    3. Excessive Use of Duct Tape
    People use duct tape because it's cheap and it's quick and it's easy, but it's definitely a temporary solution. Don't leave it up for more than a couple hours ... ever.

    4. Inaccurate Measurements
    Not paying close attention to the prep work for a home renovation project can spell disaster. Simple things such as cleaning the subfloor of all dust and debris before adding new flooring can make for a much smoother application.

    5. Using the Wrong Tools
    There is really three problems with using the wrong tool: You can wreck the tool, you can wreck the project you're working on, and you can wreck yourself.

    Contact me for more tips on how to get the most for your money when you're remodeling!


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  • Consider Home Improvements for a Quicker Sale

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Chicago, Remodel & Renovate in Chicago, Design & Decor in Chicago  |  November 9, 2011 7:10 PM  |  1,453 views  |  No comments
    When we decide to sell our homes we often think of the improvements that need to be done. We would hope that these improvements would increase the value of our home and make it more attractive to potential buyers, but what "we" like in a remodel may not necessarily be what the buyer wants.

    Everybody has different ideas and tastes when it comes to the decorating, form and function of their homes, so how do we know how far to go with a remodel?

    Household improvements are great and should be done, but we should think carefully before investing a lot of money in a "personalized" remodel that may limit our potential buyers market. Some of the best improvements can be as simple as upgrading appliances and adding a fresh coat of paint. Click here for a list for some of the best and worst remodeling projects to see how they stack up. 



    Need help on where to start? Contact us for great ideas on what improvements to tackle for the easiest and fastest home sale. If you have recently made some improvements that worked to help sell your home, share them here with us!



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  • 10 Simple Reasons You May Want to Try and Sell During the Holidays

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Chicago, Curb Appeal in Chicago, Design & Decor in Chicago  |  November 2, 2011 8:13 PM  |  1,659 views  |  No comments
    Halloween is over so you know what comes next! With all the hustle and bustle associated with the holiday season, you may think that now is the worst time to prep your house for showings and finally get your house off of the market. However, it seems that the this may be the perfect time to find the right buyer!

    Still not convinced? Here are some reasons that might change your mind.

    1. People looking are more serious buyers.

    2. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose, so you have less competition.

    3. Houses “show better” with Holiday decor.

    4. Buyers are more emotional during the holidays.

    5. Buyers have more time to look during the holiday.

    6. Many people will buy by year-end for tax reasons.

    7. January is the month for transfers. Transferees cannot wait until spring; you must be on the market!!

    8. Sold listings have proved to be up August – December.

    9. You can sell now, but specify a delayed closing or extended occupancy until Early next year if you desire.

    10. By selling now you have an opportunity to buy during the spring, when Many houses are on the market.

    BOTTOM LINE:

    By listing now, you may have fewer actual showings, but more qualified buyers and less competition.

    Dress up your Chicago North Shore home with white lights and evergreens and possibly draw in the perfect buyer before New Years!


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