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Does your family have a home escape plan in case of a fire?

by Rose Price

It's National Fire Prevention Week

Ensure your family's safety by following these critical safety tips:

1. Draw a map of your family home with every room included.

2. Plan two exit points for each room.

3. Keep all doorways & windows clutter free and clear of any obstacles.

4. Designate an outside meeting spot once all members have exited the home.

5. Practice your fire drill home exit plan with all family members.

6. Make sure to test all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors for full functionality.  Each room in the home should be equipped with these.

7. Do all family members know how to call the Fire Department?

8. Make sure your house numbers are clearly visible from the street...especially at night.

For more information and family tips, visit the National Fire Prevention Association.

Create A Cozy Outdoor Living Space This Fall!

by Rose Price

Champaign-Urbana is truly spectacular in the FALL! As the days get cooler, the landscape is filled with stunning shades of orange, red, and yellow. Take advantage of the beauty of the season and remaining warmer days of the year by sprucing up your outdoor space. Create an autumnal oasis for you and your family to enjoy by following these top suggestions for transitioning your home’s exterior for fall.

 

  1. Add natural, seasonal color to the space with groupings of your favorite fall plants. The perfect flowers to use are chrysanthemums, mums, and sunflowers. Arrange these flowers into a collage of floral pots. You can also add wood or seasonal (pumpkins of course!) elements for added interest.

  2. Hang lighting that creates new areas for you to entertain and gather. Light strands, pendant lights, and lanterns can all instantly make the space seem brand new and create incredible atmosphere.

  3. Focus on natural and metallic elements that fit within the fall season but can also easily transition throughout the year.

  4. Update with simple accents, such as throw pillows, blankets, and outdoor area rug. Buy these and other accessories in autumnal colors.

  5. Create the perfect cozy spot for you to stay warm by adding a modern outdoor fireplace.

 

 

For additional homeowner tips, visit my website http://www.champaignrose.com/.

 

Wishing everyone a colorful and happy Fall in Champaign-Urbana!

 

 

Resource: HouseBeautiful

 

Ways to Take Care of Your Champaign Home this Winter

by Rose Price

Although winter is slowly winding down, there is still a chance for more snowfall in the Champaign-Urbana area before the season is through. It is important to protect your home during these cold winter months to make sure that you do not have any lasting problems into the future. Before and after the next snowfall, examine these areas where damage can occur and take measures to prevent and correct any potential issues. Doing so will keep your Champaign-Urbana home looking and working its very best!

 

Driveway and sidewalks. Ice and snow on concrete can lead to cracks. On top of that, it makes for hazardous walking conditions for your family and your guests. Be sure to remove all ice and snow immediately. Use eco-friendly gravel or salt to melt ice and remove those slippery areas.

Dead, large branches. Large branches that hang over your home, garage, or yard can cause serious damage. When the branch is dead, it can easily break away under heavy snow. On nicer days, go outside and cut away these branches to avoid any potential problems.

 

Roof. Large accumulations of snow on your roof can lead to cracking. This can turn into water leaking into your home and causing damage. After the snowfall, make sure to remove any areas with heavy accumulation. Also, check inside your home for water spots or bends that could indicate that the roof has already been damaged this season. If you find any problems, hire a professional to fix it as soon as possible.

 

Foundation. Moisture can enter into your foundation if there is too much ice and snow up against your home. After the snowfall, be sure to shovel around the base of your home. Also, check inside your home to make sure that there aren’t any new cracks.


Pipes. Pipes will burst if they become too cold. This can lead to a huge expense if they do due to flooding. Always keep your home’s temperature at least at 55 degrees. Add insulation to the pipes if they feel cold to the touch.

What is Normal Wear and Tear in your Champaign Home?

by Rose Price

Home maintenance is considered a chore for a reason. Between work, taking care of the kids, and other cleaning that needs to be taken care of around the house, it often gets pushed to the side. It’s something that no one wants to spend their free time doing and can seem tedious. However, it can help cut energy costs and preserve your Home's Value the future. By doing regular, easy home maintenance tasks you can keep your Champaign/Urbana area home in tip top shape! Follow these Top 10 Tips for simple home maintenance.

  1. Do a Deep Clean

Perform a deep clean on everything inside of your house. Remove accumulated dust, dirt, and grime buildup throughout the rooms in your house. Clean appliances. Get rid of any mold and mildew buildup in rooms where moisture accumulates. Not only will this clean help your home looking its best but it will also allow to identify any potential problems in your house that might need further attention and repair.

  1. Clean Your Dryer Vent

A clogged dryer vent is one of the leading causes of house fires. Ensuring that this does not happen is incredibly easy to do! Along with cleaning out your dryer lint trap every time you use the dryer, you should regularly clear the dryer connection. The dryer connection is the tube/pipe that attaches the appliance to the outdoor vent. Pull the tube out and vacuum it clean of all the lint that has been accumulating within the pipe and the pipe connection. After cleaning it out, reattach the pipe to the dryer and make sure that it is properly connected.

  1. Clear Out Your Drains

No one wants to shower while standing in water up to your ankles. Make sure to keep your drains cleared out to avoid more serious problems such as a sewer backup. For less severe drain clogs, pouring boiling water down the drain can fix the issue. If that doesn’t fully clear it up, use a snake to remove the blockage. Always keep your plumber’s phone number handy if problems persist. Purchase a hair strainer to prevent the issue in the future.

  1. Replace Your Toilet Flapper

A leaky toilet tank can prematurely wear out the toilet and cause water damage to the bathroom floor. If you notice that your toilet is leaking, the flapper needs to be replaced. After turning off the water supply to the toilet using the valve in the back, empty the tank by flushing the toilet. Remove excess water left in the tank and the flush chain from the lever. You can then slide the existing flapper off and replace it with the new one. Reconnect the chain and turn the water supply back on.

  1. Fill Holes and Cracks in the Wall

There are very simple and cheap fixes to cover small holes and cracks in your drywall. A cosmetic sponge can be used to fill those holes. Cut it down to size, push it into the hole, and spackle over it. For those small cracks, add a bit baking soda to strong, fast acting glue and spread the mixture over the crack. This will create a strong surface that can easily be smoothed down by sanding it.

  1. Fix Your Windows

Avoid high energy bills by ensuring that your windows are keeping in the cold air or heat. With the cold winter months approaching in Illinois, you want to make sure that heat does not escape your home. Check the caulking around your windows. If there are any cracks or holes, remove the existing caulk with a box cutter and then apply a new line of it along the seam. To get a straight line of caulk, use painter’s tape. Remove the tape while the caulk is still wet. You can also fix a drafty window by applying an inexpensive insulating window film to the glass. Find a tiny hole in the glass? You can repair it with clear nail polish! Allowing the nail polish to dry in between applications, keep adding layers of the polish until it is flush with the glass.

  1. Get Rid of the Squeak Below Your Feet

Do you hardwood floors squeak when you walk of them? There is an easy fix for that. The culprit of the creak is moisture. Identify the floorboards that are creaking and sprinkle talcum powder on them. Take a makeup brush and sweep the powder in the cracks between the boards. This will help to soak up the moisture and remove the noise.

  1. Clean Your Fridge Coils

Your refrigerator is one of the items in your home that uses up the most energy. To help cut your utility costs, there is a simple fix. By vacuuming the coils underneath or in back of your fridge, you will keep it running as efficiently as possible.

  1. Inspect the Safety Features in Your Home

Make sure you and your family stay safe in your home by inspecting your fire extinguishers and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. For the fire extinguisher, make sure that it is in an easily accessible spot, check for adequate pressure, and ensure that no wear and tear has occurred. For the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, dust them off, ensure that they are working properly by pushing the test buttons, and replace batteries if necessary.

  1. Take Care of Your Gutters

Protect the exterior of your home and avoid more serious damage by regularly clearing your gutters of debris and buildup. If your home isn’t too tall, you can safely clean the gutters yourself by using a ladder. Remove all the muck that has been accumulating in the gutters. Then, take your garden hose to flush any remaining debris out and to make sure that water flows properly through them. If you notice that your gutters are sagging or pulling away from the house, replace the fasteners and hangers. As the leaves begin to fall this Autumn, it is important to make sure that your gutters are ready for any weather that comes our way. 

Boost Wintertime Curb Appeal for your Champaign IL Home!

by Rose Price

BOOST YOUR HOME'S CURB APPEAL DURING THE WINTER MONTHS!

It's easy to do with these simple steps:

1. YES....I'll Take Door Number One!

If you want to make a great impression & be remembered...start with your entry door. Even a fresh coat of paint with new hardware can make a statement! Go for a "pop" of a coordinating color and you're in for an amazing transformation!

2. BRING ON THE GREEN!

Evergreen shrubs look terrific in pots on the porch and can add a great boost to the look of your Entry way!

3. SAFETY FIRST....

Be sure your walkways are clear of snow and ice. It's that simple It prevents injuries due to slip and falls, and a shoveled or plowed driveway creates clean line that look great and imply your property is well cared for.

4. SAY GOOD-BYE TO MR. & MRS. CLAUS

Once we've reached the New Year it's time to take down the Christmas Decorations and neatly pack them away and store them for next year's festivities. Nothing is worse than a home that is on the market at the end of January...still sporting it's Christmas finest!

5. PORCHIFY!

Your porch is an excellent assest....Spring, Summer, Fall or WINTER! If you have the space, set out a Rocking Chair with a Cuddly Winter Throw or Bistro Set that is perfect for your home type that you can "stage" for the season. Let your prospective Buyers visualize what an evening during warmer months may be like spending time out there!

The "Spring" Home Selling season is HERE!! If you're considering putting your Champaign/Urbana Home on the market, the time is NOW! Use these tips to give the front of your home the extra WOW factor that will make Home Buyers want to get in the inside and take a tour!

For more Home Buying Tips give Champaignrose a call at 217-202-8843 or visit my website at champaignrose.com. You can also get great tips and ideas from my Facebook & Pinterest Page!

New Year's Resolutions For Your Champaign IL Home

by Rose Price

New Year’s Resolutions for your home!  We all know that sticking to our resolutions is harder than we expect, but don’t let your home suffer.  Here are the most popular Home related resolutions and how to get them done!  Make this year the year you stick to and achieve all of your home resolutions. Best of all, these improvements will add great value to your Home.    

1. Rebuild the Deck

Are your decks looking old and grey?  Even more so than looking bad, old decks can be unsafe.  Even FEMA has warned about these dangers; especially poorly flashed decks, which can fall off of homes and cause bodily injury to you, your family or guests. Make needed repairs now.  

We recommend an annual 6-point deck check to identify problems you should address so that accidents don't occur. 

 

2. Seal Drafts

Homes get cold in the winter, especially if you have an older home, but newer ones have drafty area's as well.  However, there are simple ways to reduce these chilly home temps.  Cold air is very likely leaking in from several recognizable areas around your house (windows, walls, outlets).

Give yourself an energy audit. It’ll cost around $400 to have a professional come in, or you can do it yourself (see the video below).  The pros will provide you with a report detailing your home's draft problems, but will also include a cost-effective solution.

If your windows are in rough shape, but the frames are sound, then you can replace your windows (install high-efficiency replacement windows) for around $500-$600/piece. You’ll most likely want a professional to install these.

 

Lastly, consider Blown-in Insulation for your walls, which fills the stud bays of exterior walls with heat-retaining cellulose material.

3. Update Your Kitchen Cabinets

Tired, outdated kitchen cabinets?  Kitchen renovations are the most expensive home-improvement projects. But you can add value to your home with these simple budget kitchen-cabinet upgrades. Instead of spending a minimal $5,000 on new cabinets, you can save big and reface the ones you have for under $1,000. Other money-saving options include painting your cabinets and, swapping out your cabinet pulls and hinges for new ones.

 

4. Add Curb Appeal

Curb appeal can add 10%-30% more value to your home!! Bet you weren't counting on that!  Here are some of the projects to look at to add curb appeal: 

Install Storm Windows

Paint Your Exterior

Privacy in the yard

Motions Detecting Lighting

Lamp Posts

 

5. Upgrade the Walkway

If you are thinking of re-routing your walkway, there are several options.  Brick & Gravel can be done in a single weekend, whereas concrete is a little more involved but offers a longer lifespan. You can also add special features like a pond at the end of a walk-way or small flower garden. 

6. Go Green On Top

Green Roofs aren't that prevalent here in the Fox Valley, but many area's have gone more to the eco-friendliness of them. Here are the reason some people are trending toward the "Green Roof" Movement:   

They reduce storm runoff

Absorb pollutants, 

give plants more room to grow, 

Best of all… They lower heating and cooling bills by providing insulation. 

If your dream green roof is too complex to install, check out development kits.  Green roofing is getting easier every day

7. Basement Makeover

Just do it!  Whatever your dream basement is, do it!  This is the year.  Whether you want to make it into a chic Mom's relaxing area, man cave for Dad & the guys, a game room for the kids, or an Exercise Room to accomplish your New Year's Resolutions....This is the year to Finish your Basement and Add Value to your Home!  

8. Paint Your Interior

This is one of the easiest on the list.  Start with one room and build momentum until every room is freshly painted.  It will do wonders for your home. 

1. First, select the proper hues with the help of a color wheel. 

2. Then, get the right equipment for the job.

3. Brush up on the best painting techniques from the pros…hem hem, YouTube!

4. Finally, paint the rooms!

 

9. Get The Little Things Done

There are always a handful of small repairs and the list grows throughout the year, becoming more and more frustrating.  Just fix this stuff.  Now, do these first.  They are simple things and you will feel a lot better when you check these things off your list.  Then, let this momentum continue through the rest of your changes. 

1. Fixing your outlets, or changing over to new ones.

2. Patching holes in walls where pictures, shelves or other wall hangings used to be.

 3. Recaulking Bathroom & Kitchen Sinks and Showers.

Good luck to you and all of your New Year’s projects.  If you are fixing up your home to put it on the market, give Champaignrose a call!  

Christmas Tree Safety in Champaign IL

by Rose Price

Christmas Tree Safety for Families in Champaign

For many people it just doesn’t feel like Christmas until there is a tree in the house. However, Christmas trees often present a few safety issues, even though they are much fewer than they were years ago. Each year home fires occur from Christmas Trees- Faux or Real for a variety of reasons.  Below are some tips to help ensure your Holidays are burning brightly....but in a good way, not with flames!

Choose your tree wisely: If you decide, like many people do, to go with a lovely fresh pine tree, there are certain things need to look for:

  • The tree should be flexible and fragrant NOT dry and brittle.
  • Shake the tree and make sure it doesn’t lose too many needles, this is a good indicator that the tree is fresh.
  • Examine the bark and make sure there are no insects crawling around.
  • Lastly, and often an after thought, bring a tape measure and make sure this tree will fit in your home.

Set it up right: Sounds simple, but there are things people overlook. Here's what you need to do:

  • Keep your tree at least 3 ft away from any heat source, including fireplaces, vents, radiators, and even light fixtures!
  • To keep your Tree fresh longer, always saw off the bottom 1-inch of the fresh tree- this ensures maximum hydration.
  • Make sure it is secured well; preferably in a tree stand and screwed in tightly!
  • Never put it in the path of traffic in your home. Find a nice, out of the way, focal point in your home.

Fa La La La Light it Up Safely! Faulty wires from Christmas lights is one of the main causes of Christmas tree fires. Although our Christmas lights are much safer now than they have ever been, caution and common sense should still be demonstrated.

  • Make sure your lights are working properly and meant for indoor use.
  • Always check for broken bulbs & exposed filament....replace before putting on the tree.
  • NEVER, EVER USE REAL CANDLES!! If you like the old fashioned look of candles in the tree, use the electronic version!

Your Tree Gets Thirsty....Water Often: Sure the tree is going to come down soon, it may not seem all that important to keep it watered, but having a well hydrated tree makes all the difference in preventing a fire. If you’re planning to keep your tree up for a while, don't forget to water in the New Year - almost as many Christmas tree fires occur in January as in December.

 


Faux vs. Real Christmas Trees:

Most people have already answered this question themselves, but for those of you still on the fence, here are some pros and cons of each to consider.

  • If your priority is minimum cost and maximum convenience, Faux Christmas trees may be the best way to go, especially since faux trees don't look all that "fake" anymore. You just purchase a quality artificial Christmas tree once and you will be set for years.
  • Most environmentally-minded groups advocate real over faux trees because they benefit local farmers (the great majority of trees currently come from farms and not forests), they are also 100 percent recyclable, and don't contain potentially harmful plastics or chemicals…all good things.
  • The whole faux trees are safer, hasn’t been proved, especially since most holiday fires are started by overloaded electrical outlets…in these cases, both types of trees are equally likely to catch fire. Even "flame resistant" artificial trees have been known to ignite if the temperature is high enough, and unlike real trees, they emit harmful toxins while burning.

​​

Our Conclusion: Do what makes you HAPPY!  If you prefer a Fresh Cut Tree...then get a beautiful fresh cut tree!  If you'd rather have a terrific Faux tree, then do a Faux Tree!  As long as you're happy and celebrating the season with love, joy, family & friends that's all that matters! 

If you are interested in looking for a home in the lovely Champaign/Urbana IL area, please give me a call! I'd love to show you around our Charming Community. 217-202-8843.  

ORGANIZATION! A word that haunts many homeowners, especially active families; when football cleats, hockey sticks, and various balls of shapes and sizes start invading your living room, But family and organization don't have to be contradictions.  Here are some simple home organization tips to help stay organized during your child's season.  The key here is variety and adaptability.  All of these storage tips can be easily modified, allowing you to adapt to your child's growing needs.  

Bungee Storage

Maybe the easiest way to stay organized in places like your garage, and still making it easy for the kids to grab balls or equipment in a hurry when they're late for practice is this phenomenal Bungee Storage system!  A Super easy & simple DIY project, but a great garage organizer too! 

Garage Cubbies

One of the keys to an organized garage is shelving!  Lots and lots of shelving.  So, nothing beats a great cubbie system.  You can make it even more convenient by using various sized cubbies; storing balls, bikes, helmets, bags, anything your little heart desires! 

Hockey Pad Drying Rack

One of my favorites!  This little guy is a life saver for all the hockey moms out there.  If you have a hockey player living in your home, you know that you'd rather keep that stuff outside, due to the stench it will leave in your home for days after every practice & game.  What's worse, is that if equipment doesn't dry completely, bacteria will grow on your child's pads, making them smell worse and lead to rashes and other health risks.  Not to worry, the problem has been solved.  Invest in a rack drying system!  If you're a really crafty parent,  these can easily be made cheaply with some PVC and some ingenuity.  Here's a guide to a DYI Drying Rack.

Peg Board Rack

The thing about child athletes is...they grow and so do their interests.  After a few seasons, you almost have enough equipment to open your own used sports store.  The answer to this is simple, a peg board!  It can constantly adapt to your child's growing arsenal of balls and equipment and coincidentally it's another easy DIY project.  DIY Pegboard.

Rollable Bins

For equipment used most frequently this Rollable Storage Bin is the perfect solution. It allows you to organize equipment by sport (soccer, tennis, baseball, etc.) and because it is on wheels, you can move it whenever necessary.  The Container Store has a few great options.

Hopefully this list helps lower the stresses of a busy fall sports season, allowing you to put all your effort into cheering on your little athlete!

For more Home Improvement & Organizational tips checkout my Facebook Page & my website. If you're interested in Real Estate in the Champaign/Urbana area, please give me a call!  I'd be happy to show you around our fantastic community or meet you and answer any questions you may have.

10 Fall Maintenance Projects for your Champaign IL Home

by Rose Price

1. Time to Stow that Mow...errrrr!

Two Words: Fuel Stabilizer.  If your mower sits for months with gas in the tank, it will start to deteriorate and damage the internal parts of the engine.  You can protect from this with a $10 bottle of stabilizer.  This way, you can keep your mower in good condition over the winter.

Another mower tip is to cool and remove the spark plug the pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole. After, pull the starter cord a couple times to distribute the oil.  This will keep the pistons lubricated and ensure an easy start in the springtime. Lastly, turn the mower on its side and clean out the grass and debris from the mower deck, finish and stow. Goodnight Mower til spring!

2.  Secure your hoses..

Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and plumbing.  Doing this can result in cracked pipes, water damage and lots of "green" spent on your end! Don't gamble with the weather. If the water does freeze and expand...it's already too late.

3. Give your sprinklers a long break

Drain your irrigation systems.  Even deep buried systems can freeze, which again, leads to broken pipes and sprinkler heads. It's pretty simple:

Turn off the water to the main valve, then shut off the automatic controller. Once complete open the drain valves to remove water from the system. Once you've drained the water completely from the system, remove any above ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out.  If you don't have valves, then you may need to hire a pro to blow out the pipes with compressed air.  It may cost you a little bit of money, but it's well worth the time & money spent!  

4. Caulk your Cracks

Purchase a couple of tubes of colored caulk to match your exterior color then walk around your home and seal the cracks between the trim, window frames, door frames, and entry points of cables, pipes & vents. This is one of the simplest and most important jobs you can do to ensure you're not wasting energy this winter.

5. Get your head in the Gutter!

Clogged rain gutters may be one of the jobs you dread most, but they can be one of the costliest repairs if left undone. These can cause ice dams to form which often lead to expensive repairs, not just at the gutters & roof, but the attic, ceilings of your rooms and even the walls and floors!  So make this a priority; After all the leaves have fallen, remove the leaves, and other debris- including the gunk that forms from the gutters and flush them out with a hose. Make sure your gutters aren't sagging; tighten gutter hangers and downspouts.  If you find any colored sand or grit it is most likely from your shingles.  If you find enough of this, it may be time to replace the roof or at the very least have it inspected by a professional.  Click here for Recommended Roofers in Champaign/Urbana

*Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet from your home to prevent foundation problems

6. Raise the roof!

Look for warning signs of damage or any loose or missing shingles.  If shingles are missing, you should replace immediately.  Black algae stains are normal, but masses of moss could be a sign that a roof is decaying underneath.  If you do find moss, call a roofer for an evaluation. 

You'll also want to check your plumbing vent stack, which is usually lined with a rubber collar (called a boot) that may crack or loosen.  They will definitely wear out before your roof does.  So check it annually to ensure it's not cracked or loose.

7. Drains

Look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your home at least 6 vertical inches and ideally over ten feet away.  This way, you'll keep water from soaking the soil around the foundation, which often leads to cracks and leakage.   

8. Check your furnace

Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling professional before winter. These checks should take place annually.  Make sure to check the filters, which should be replaced every 2 months. If your HVAC includes a humidifier, make sure to replace this filter as well. Remember, Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a silent killer. Don't put your lives at risk! Get your HVAC checked at regular intervals.

 

9. Prune the plants

Late fall is the best time to prune your plants.  The goal is to keep branches 3 feet from your house, so moisture doesn't continually drip on your roof and home during the winter and damage your home.  

10. Check your fireplace

This is important for safety.  Grab a flashlight and take a peek inside.  Make sure the damper opens and closes properly.  Look into the flue to make sure it's free of birds, nests, branches and any other obstructions.  Check for missing or cracked bricks and replace damaged ones immediately. Next check for creosote buildup and clean your chimney thoroughly. Because creosote is a dangerous & highly flammable substance, using a certified Chimney Sweep is highly recommended.   

 

 More Winterizing Tips Below  

For more Home Maintenance Tips give me a call or visit my website at www.champaignrose.com.

 

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