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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Tired, outdated kitchen cabinets?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!  

New Year's Resolutions: Tips For Champaign

by Rose Price

HAPPY NEW YEAR CHAMPAIGN

 

Ok Champaignlet me guess: You want to lose weight this year…or maybe you chose a simpler goal…say, eating healthy.  Maybe you want to spend less money on material things or spend more time with loved ones.  I certainly do. Self-improvement, or at least the desire for self-improvement, is a shared hobby amongst Americans, and most humans.  It’s why so many of us (an estimated 45% of Americans) make New Year’s resolutions.

***(Note that only one-third of Americans watch the Super Bowl)***

The intentions are there, but a small fraction of us actually achieve our intended resolution.  The University of Scranton research suggests that a small 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.  So, why do so many people fail? What are the secrets behind those who succeed? 

 

There are no shortage of studies on how the brain works, so many experts are attempting explain the science behind why we make resolutions and more importantly, why we can never seem to keep them.   

 

 

One word: Simplicity 

Many people use the New Year to attempt extreme makeovers, both personally and/or professionally.

It’s a nice aspiration, but most of us have so many competing priorities that approach is destined to fail. 

 

Shooting for the moon can be daunting, so much in fact, most people fail to even launch! 

 

So “this year, try a different approach.  Simplify your resolutions.  Make your goals smaller.  Keep your list shorter.  When you accomplish one of these goals, you will feel satisfies, and proud, which will only give you fuel to accomplish the others; and you can always make new goals throughout the year! 

Set simple attainable goals throughout the year.  This is a much better approach than setting one hugely overwhelming goal. 

 

It’s not even the extent of the change that matters, but the courageous act of recognizing change is important and then working toward making it happen.  

 

Q: How do you eat an elephant?

 

A: One bite at a time!

 

Make it Tangible

Setting huge-ambitious goals is fun and can be really exciting…but they are much more difficult to attain, and when you see yourself coming up short, you will most likely become discouraged…and then frustrated…and then…you give up.  So, Keep your goals simple, rational, and most importantly achievable.  Be honest with yourself…be kind with yourself…and make this the year you finally achieve a New Years resolution.  

The way in which we state our goals is important too.  Many people have a resolution to lose weight…which is actually pretty broad and not as easy as it sounds.  Instead, make goals that will inevitably lead to weight loss; things like No potato chips, No fried, No ice cream…you can make this goal even more attainable…set a short time goal.  No fries for 6 weeks.  Once you find you can accomplish this… set another: No fries for 8 weeks.  Simple attainable goals is the key.  Heck, you can even start with no fries for 2 weeks.  Then when you achieve this goal, use that feeling to fuel the next few weeks.  This sort of specificity helps too.  You are less likely to fall off the wagon if you are specific.   

Instead of saying “I’m going to start going to the gym” in 2016” set a clearer ambition, like “ I’m going to attend a weekly spin class on Monday and a weight training class Wednesday and Friday.  Now you have a clear schedule. 

Set goals you can really measure.  Vague goals ensure vague results.  

Hope your New Years celebrations are fantastic and safe!  Good luck with the resolutions!  If your resolution is to find your dream home in Champaign, or if you're looking to sell, please give the Rose Price Team a call at 217.202.8843.  We'd be happy to put our expertise to work and help make your New Year's resolution come true!

THE TEN MOST COSTLY HOME SELLING MISTAKES & HOW TO AVOID THEM

by Rose Price

The Ten Most Costly Home Selling Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

Want to get the most money for your home?

Then avoid these costly mistakes.  

The past few years the American Real Estate Market has been marked with bad news, but it seems like most markets are have turned that around; Prices are increasing, there are historically low interest rates for buyers, and the past selling season was one of the best in recent years.  

BUT

Before you list…do a little research or list with an experienced LOCAL Real Estate Agent!  Knowledge is power!  To help you here is a list of the 10 most common sellers mistakes—avoiding these, can save you thousands of dollars!

1. Selling your Home on your own

Attempting to sell your home on your own is a brave move. Before you take that step, consider everything that you're going to need to know & do in order put your home on the market, market your home, get buyers into see your home, make sure you abide by all the regulations and state codes, negotiate possibly many things along the way, then set-up all the appropriate people who need to be involved in the sales process just to close.  You really do need the expertise of a professional. Don’t believe me?… Check the numbers, those won’t lie.  For instance, homes without representation remain on the market longer and end up selling at a lower price than those with a professional at the helm. A professional agent is also their to protect you every step of the way.  

2. Not Pricing Your Home Properly

Overpricing isn't good for you! Under-pricing isn't good either! Finding the sweet spot is what it's all about.  These can be costly errors on both ends.  It is absolutely critical to understand the local housing market. This is why you NEED the experience, knowledge and expertise of a LOCAL Real Estate Professional. And I'm distinguishing between a professional and a part-time, dabbling in real estate. A Professional, like myself, that has been working & living in the Champaign/Urbana market for 20+ years, continually works on updating their own knowledge of the Real Estate market on a whole...and more importantly, what's going on in the Champaign area. They can guide you to a successful sale and protect you & your asset along the way.

3. Neglecting Repairs

This is fairly black and white, you will lose money if you don’t remedy repairs before you list your house. It’s less costly to fix things ahead of time.  You don’t want potential buyers to see these problems during a tour of your home.  When they do, the negotiation process will begin and the price you're asking will come down. If they find something larger after the sale...they will come back to you.  

4. To Clutter or Not?

Clutter can kill a deal. So declutter...it's that simple.  Everywhere!  It will help your home feel more spacious. declutter the kitchen countertops,  declutter overstuffed closets,  declutter ALL of your shelves, declutter EVERYTHING! It wont’ cost a thing other than your time and a little elbow grease and it will have BIG benefits when it comes time to sell.  


5. Listing a Vacant House

Home Buyers generally like to see a home with furniture in it, it makes the home feel warm & lived in. If it's absolutely necessary that you list your home vacant, you may want to list the services of a Home Stager or make a small investment in a few pieces of rental furniture to make the house look "homey". Sources show that vacant homes do take longer to sell and usually sell for a lower selling price. So your small investment will most likely pay for itself when your house sells.  

6. Letting your personal feelings get in the way

Don’t take negotiating personally.  This is a business transaction, probably one of the biggest of your life.  Take your personal feelings and put them aside, or let your Real Estate agent handle the negotiations while you take a break from the room. 

7. Failing to complete a full set of disclosures

There are sellers who lose money simply because they were afraid to disclose their home’s imperfections. Always Be upfront and forthcoming about all of your home’s issues. It will save you money and time, especially if the buyers end up uncovering problems themselves, AND THEY WILL.  Don’t hide anything!

8. Timing the Sale of your Home

Even a sale that misses its schedule by one day can cost you tens of thousands in extra taxes. Don’t let this happen. Talk to your accountant in advance to determine if any long-term capital gains tax breaks apply, and then time your sale accordingly.

9. Overlooking extra Expenses at Closing

Home sellers burn thousands of dollars by not requesting and confirming a list of fees and expenses prior to closing. Review the Estimated Closing Cost statements with your real estate agent before it’s time to hand over the keys. Then, request these fees in advance of closing day.

10. Using Lousy Listing Photos

This is a big pet peeve of mine. Don’t expect to sell your home for top dollar if you’re using amateur photos in your listings.   More than 90% of all buyers start their home search online, so make sure your Listing Photos are excellent…This means A LOT OF GREAT PICTURES! First impressions are important, especially when selling a home.  You won’t get a second chance to make a GREAT IMPRESSION, so don’t skimp on your photos.  

Considering selling your home in the Champaign/Urbana Area?  If you'd like more tips on Selling Your Home give Rose Price  a call at 217.202.8843.  

Selling homes is my passion and I'd be happy to assist you with this exciting time in your life. 

The 12 Credit Tips Of Christmas in Champaign IL

by Rose Price

So, the only thing you really want for Christmas is a new Home!  Homes can’t really fit down your chimney, so you can't really ask Santa, but I'm here instead!  Here's a list of tips to help you whip your credit score into shape by Christmas, so you don’t have to rely on the big guy to make your Christmas dreams come true!  

You’ve been saving and scraped together a down payment, you’ve got a line on the areas top realtor Rose Price, of course, but… have you checked your credit score lately?  If your score isn’t 620 or higher you may not even land the mortgage pre-approval, a crucial step in the home buying process.  So, before you go touring homes with your significant other, consider these small gifts, which will no doubt have your credit score in tip top shape by Christmas. 

Credit Tip #1…

Check my credit score for FREE.  Here's a link to my annual credit report. 

Ok, first, check your three credit reports.  You can do this free once a year.  This will help you spot and correct any problems you are currently unaware of.  

Credit Tip #2

Pay early!

Early payments cut down on the amount of interest on your debt.  They also reduce the chances you’ll overspend while Christmas shopping.  The last thing you want is to hurt your credit score by over shopping.  

Credit Tip #3

Freeze your credit reports.

Experian, TransUnion, and Equinox all offer consumers the option to prevent the release of your credit report without your consent.  This gives you control over who accesses your personal and financial information…BUT know that this may also interfere with or delay timely approval of mortgage applications.  

Credit Tip #4

Work with a credit counselor.

Even the best budgeters need some help sometimes,  especially if your credit reports hold a little less than satisfactory information.  A credit counselor can get you on the path to correcting these things… ensuring you don’t lose your dream home!

Credit Tip #5

Know the 5 golden factors that determine credit scores.

Kind of like a humble Kanye West, the perfect 850 credit score is extremely rare.  However, understanding these five factors and the way they are measured to determine your score can help you score better in your financial future.  

The 5 golden factors:

Payment History (35%)

Debt and Credit utilization (30%)

Length of credit history (15%)

New accounts and Inquiries (10%)

Diversification (10%)

Credit Tip #6...

Keep an emergency fund...of 6 months (or more)!

Savings equals security…living without an emergency fund is risky business.  Before taking on the responsibility of a mortgage, you should really have at least 6 months of income saved, which will shelter you from credit burning events like unemployment, increased cost of living, medical emergencies, and home or auto damage.  

Credit Tip #7

Review your budget weekly.

Google calendar, iPhone apps, or just an old fashioned calendar will help you keep track of bills, ensuring timely payment.  Remember, bills paid late, even just one, can lower your score several meaningful points. 

Credit Tip #8

Use technology...here are apps to help track your spending and budgeting.

Even better than a system to help pay your bills on time, is one that gives you the bigger picture of all your income and expenditures.  This will help fine tune your budget.  A few we are quite fond of: Spendbook, MvelopesWally, YNAB, Dollarbird, BillGuard, and Mint.

Credit Tip #9

Sell the stuff you don't need or use anymore...Hello Ebay!

A great way to get extra cash!  Sell the stuff that clutters your home and you no longer use.  This is a good way to pay off debt and/or start an emergency savings account.  

Credit Tip #10

Clip, Clip, Clip your coupons.  It's a start.  

Sure, it sounds old school and it is!  I remember my grandmother sitting at the kitchen table clipping away…but there is something to it.  You can save some serious dollars on simple things like toilet paper, soap and other life essentials.  Free money?!  Why not?  If you are buying these products anyway, who not spend a little less for it.  All of the nickels and dimes will add up, just try it.

Credit Tip #11

Use calculators to help get out of debt… here is a link to 11 of the best!

It’s a good idea to know exactly how long it will take to pay off credit cards and get out of debt.  Debt calculators can provide essential information and perspective to help you understand if you’re on track or need to tweak your plans again.  

Credit Tip #12

Protect yourself from identity theft.

When someone steals your identity, they can open accounts and amass debt in your name, which obviously hurts your credit score.  

These service alert you instantly, when a new account is opened in your name…or if there is suspicious activity.  In some cases, it will even alert users to positive or negative changes in their score.  

CreditKarma.com offers FREE monitoring, however, the pay services offer a lot more preventative features and more assistance if you identity is actually stolen.  

Hopefully these tips will help bring your Christmas Wish to life!  What better gift is there than moving into your dream home?! 

 If you are interested in any homes in the Champaign/Urbana area please give the Rose Price Team a call at 217-202-8843 We'd be happy to help make these Holidays special and help you through the process of finding and moving into the perfect home.  

 

*A special thank you to Gina Roberts-Grey of Realtor.com for the great advice!

Are you looking for the pawfect gift for your furry friend this Christmas? For most of us, our pups aren't just our buddies, they are truly members of our families, and we want to pamper them at Christmastime just like we do the rest of our loved ones! So I've sniffed out some bark-worthy deals and spectacular gifts that your dog will absolutely LOVE. Take a look:

Dog Cookies

 

Everyone else is eating cookies at Christmas, so why can't your dogs?  Well, they can, just not our cookies, dogs really shouldn't have sugar, but there are many places offering homemade dog cookies.  Gifts like this pack from Exclusively Dogs offer treats with four different cookies in it, made especially for dogs. This one includes 1 package of peanut butter wafer cookies, 1 package of beef and liver bits, 1 package of vanilla sandwich cremes, and 1 package of cheese-flavored bones AND tt even comes in festive packaging!

Browse more Exclusively Dog Items Here.

WXQ Winter Reflective Dog Jacket

Winter can be dangerous for dogs. Sure, they have more hair than us (well most of us) but they are still susceptible to the dangers of freezing temperatures. It also gets darker earlier, making it harder to see.  Glare can be especially bad on wet nets, so, maybe this reflective fleece lined dog jacket is just what your pup needs.  It's waterproof, warm for snowy and rainy days, and it helps drivers see your pooch.  It's available in a larger variety of sizes too.  Browse Reflective Jackets & other products here.

Paw Protection

If your dog loves romping around in the snow, or if you live in a colder climate where snow is prevalent, chances are your dog comes in contact with a lot of sand and salt.  This does a number on your dog’s paws and can be very painful, sometimes leading to cracking and bleeding.  So here’s a tip from the Mushers.  Apply this cream to the bottom of their paws before a walk.  It forms a protective barrier over the paw, making each walk more enjoyable and protects their paws from bleeding .   This method is often more tolerated by dogs than those protective booties. Get your MUSHERS CREAM here.

 

Kurgo Loft Hammock-Style Car Seat Cover

Dogs who ride in the back seat make a mess, obviously, but It’s not their fault.  They shed, their paws get dirty, leaving trails of prints all over the seat.  But this doesn’t have to be the case.  No, the answer is not a crate carrier, that’s cruel.  Instead, try the Kurgo Loft seat cover. It’s really a gift for both of you.  It protects your seats and secures your dog safely in the back.  This one is reversible AND waterproof AND machine washable. Check your local pet store or get your cozy KURGO LOFT SEAT here.

1 Foot Long Dingo Rawhide Candy Cane 

Everyone loves Candy Canes at Christmas…now your Dog can Enjoy them too!  A foot long Rawhide candy cane.  This will definitely keep your pooch busy while everyone is opening presents.  Our local pet stores definitely have these holiday treats!

The Ultimat BARK BOX!

If you want to be as surprised as Fido once a month when the mailman comes to the house with a nice boxed gift....then the Bark Box is for you! The BarkBox is a monthly subscription service that delivers treats, toys, chews and gadgets handpicked to engage your pup. You can sign up for a one-, three-, six- or 12-month subscription, which will be shipped on the 15th of each month. You can order your BARK BOX here!

PETZI TREAT CAM!

The real world forces us to leave our pets at home for big stretches during the day, but that doesn't mean we have to be completely separated from them. While any home-monitoring camera will let you keep an eye on what they're up to, the Petzi Treat Cam lets you watch in 720p high definition, speak to them via an embedded speaker, take pictures of them and even reward your pet with a treat remotely. Just push a button on your smartphone or tablet and out will pop one to three treats. The camera works in low light and has a wide viewing angle.  SO COOL!

Find the PETZI TREAT CAM here.

4-Legger Certified Organic All Natural Dog Shampoo

A good dog shampoo is hard to find. The pet store formulations are meh, okay, I guess…and human shampoo isn’t made for dogs. This organic shampoo uses rosemary and lemongrass essential oils, which will help deter fleas and ticks while leaving behind a fresh lemon scent. This is formulated as a mild cleanser, so it should be good for even the most sensitive dogs.

GoughNuts - Indestructible Dog Toys

One of the toughest dog toys available.  They guarantee it!  It's made from two solid pieces of rubber. Their goal is to provide the safest fun and durable product possible.  In the case of the Tug Toy design, there are two rings to protect human hands and dog snouts. Perfect blend of function and play for your pet! There is a large selection of shapes and sizes, perfect for every dog. Want to try a Ghounut...get it here or at a local pet store

WHISTLE GPS PET TRACKER

This small system fits onto your pet's collar and acts as a GPS beacon should they escape. Just press "locate" on your computer or mobile device, and the system will show you where your animal companion is exploring, letting you go and fetch him or her. The system can also be set up to send you — and up to four other people — an alert when your pet escapes. It also acts as a fitness tracker of sorts for pets, logging their activity and rest, which gives some insight into how man's best friend spends his or her day.   Get your WHISTLE TRACKER here!

I love my pups, Pharis and Simon, and Christmastime for them is no different than it would be for children in our families. If you feel the same, try any or all of these items and spoil your pups too!

Have a POWERFUL Day!

5 Tips For Making Your Home More Appealing to Both Men & Women!

by Rose Price

Neutralize Your Home!

Neutralizing your home makes it appealing to both Genders.  

Here are 5 Tips on how to do it best

Whether you’re getting ready to put your home on the market or you’re simply updating your decor, there are a few important tips that will help you transform your home, while still appealing to both Gender’s personal tastes.

1. Pick a neutral base.
A good rule to follow is to start with a good base; pick neutral colors like grey, beige, and white for walls, floors, counters and your large furnishing. Then create depth with deeper tones; choose navy, black or burgundy and then add a splash of color with your accent pieces. Accent pieces can be artwork, rugs, pillows or curtains. This method is tried and true and will never go out of style.

2. Utilize tailored furniture with contemporary accents

Big tufted velvet or floral patterned sofas obviously speak more to feminine tastes with a more formal style. Using a streamlined sofa (pictured above) in a great neutral fabric with a sleek, contemporary coffee table, while adding in modern accents makes for a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere.  This is pleasing to both sexes.  You can still add your "pop of color" by pairing it with a colored leather chair- which is regarded as more "manly" but the colored part lends itself to the females a well, and the whole set-up gives you some sophistication too.

3. Bring on the patterns & texture! 

Just because you're looking to neutralize a room to make it more amenable to make sexes doesn't mean you need to give up texture & patterns....it just means you stay away from sequins & fluff.  Grab a great neutral patterned rug with a cozy woven throw blanket to hang over your sofa or chair and find some mis-matched, patterned & textured pillows. Believe me, both men & women LOVE cozy blankets & great pillows.  They look chic and are comfortable too!A patterned rug along with fun accents like a cozy woven throw blanket and textured pillows is a great way to add chic appeal.

*Don't go for delicate trinkets on coffee tables or shelves! Instead opt for the cool industrial or vintage style with chrome, metal, brass side tables, floor lamps and finishing touches that are super modern.

4. Mix and match fabrics

So many times, even in regular decors, people are afraid to mix & match fabrics. Don't be! Leather or velvet fabric furniture can be neutralized by adding accent pillows in linen, cotton, or canvas.  You can simply drape a cashmere throw blanket over the back of the leather couch and it becomes more welcoming and cozy. Even a fur blanket can be draped over the brushed leather and look ultra modern and appeal to both sexes, just don't overdo it with other more feminine accents. Keep things very balanced.  You also need to keep window treatments simple! Think soft, easy flowing fabrics or a simple, tailored roman shade style in a cream, gray or white.

5. Bring natural elements inside the home.

Nothing adds more of a manly touch to a home than adding a touch of nature with earthy elements like reclaimed wood tables, tree stump stools, woven baskets, natural fiber rugs, and even twisted tree branch arrangements.  You can bring flowers indoors, but you'll need to look at succulents or berry bearing type branches & greenery. Artwork should also be kept to coastal, nautical or landscape type scenery. Remember your theme throughout the home should stay neutral in order to stay pleasing to both genders. 

For more Home Selling and Staging Tips visit my Blog, Facebook Page and my Pinterest Boards

Have a POWERFUL day!  

Find out:  

What Your Home Is Worth: Get an instant market analysis of your home. Find out what your home is worth in the current real estate market.   

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.  

Holiday Fun Around Champaign

by Rose Price

Garage Sale for Uni High’s Habitat for Humanity Club 

December 5 First Presbyterian Church

 302 W Church St

Need inexpensive gifts for the holidays?  Check out the Garage Sale at Uni High. The sale will take place From 8am to 1pm in the basement of the 1st Presbyterian Church in Champaign. Clarksdale MS is one of the poorest areas in the country, and is in desperate need of better housing. Uni High’s club supports the Habitat for Humanity affiliate there.  This is one of their biggest fundraisers. 

​Holiday Wonderland

Lincoln Square Mall - 201 Lincoln Square, Urbana, IL

Roberta Morris and the American Cancer Society host this special viewing of the biggest Christmas Village display in the Midwest. There are over 500 Department 56 lighted houses and accessories.  Best of all, it's free.  Go to Lincoln square and walk through the Holiday Wonderland with your family.  There will also be an interactive village for kids.  

Hours for viewing 

Saturday, December 5 – 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday, December 6 – noon to 6:00 pm

Monday, December 7 – 4:00 to 7:00pm

Tuesday, December 8 – 4:00 to 7:00 pm

Wednesday, December 9 – 4:00 to 7:00pm

Thursday, December 10 – 4:00 to 7:00pm

Friday, December 11 – 3:00 to 7:00 pm
Saturday, December 12 – 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday, December 13 -noon to 6:00 pm
Wednesday, December 16 – 4:00 to 7:00pm

Friday, December 18 – 3:00 to 7:00 pm
Saturday, December 19 – 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday, December 20 – noon to 6:00 pm

Wednesday, December 23 – 3:00 to 7:00pm
Snow Village design by Roberta (Bert) Morris

Donations going to American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Champaign County.

 

The 2nd Annual Light Up McFerren Park Christmas Light Display

786 W Elm St. Hoopeston IL

This year the City of Hoopeston added several new displays throughout the park.  Visitors drive the mile long loop at McFerren Park and view the incredible light display. Tens of thousands of lights guarantee a night you won’t forget. View the displays every evening, now through Jan.3, from sundown until 11 p.m. at McFerren Park. Admission is free.

Contact Hoopeston City Hall for more details at (217) 283-5833

Santa Stuff

Pictures with Santa

Marketplace Mall

Santa will be at the Mall through Dec. 24.  

There are Special deals available when you purchase in advance and reservations can be made. *Remember* Reservations and photo packages are NOT required to visit Santa. 

Calls From Santa

What if your child could talk to the Big Jolly man himself?  That can actually happen!  For over 20 years, the Champaign Park District has been offering free calls from Santa to Champaign-Urbana children. 

This year, calls will be made on Dec. 9 between 6-8 p.m. The deadline to register is Dec. 8 by 5 p.m. 

Calls are FREE

Register here

***Volunteer “Santas” are still needed!! Contact Claudia Christy at claudia.christy@champaignparks.com for more information*** 

Santa Train

Gibson City Railroad Station

221 N Sangamon Ave, Gibson City, Illinois 60936

This year the Santa train will be stopping at the Gibson City Railroad Station on December 12 sometime between 8 am and 11 am.  

No tickets are necessary.  Show up...and wait.  Santa will be there, there is singing and candy and it's been rumored that Mrs. Claus is making the trip this year.  Don't forget you camera and maybe some hot chocolate!  Regular railroad operations may cause delays, thus the big time slot.   

Urbana IL Makes the List for Best Main Streets in Illinois!

by Rose Price

Everyone knows that the heart and soul of a town is their "Main Street", and in Central Illinois we have many wonderful, quaint downtown area's that have great Main Street's!  Now, however, we have two town's in Central Illinois that can actually lay claim to the phrase "One of the Ten Best Main Streets in Illinois"!

DRUM ROLL PLEASE.....Urbana  & Monticello IL have made this coveted list!  What makes these two downtown's worthy of the Best of the Best? Let's dig deeper.

                           

Urbana IL has gone through quite a bit of revitalization over the last few years. during that time they have also brought back many great small businesses to the Main Street to service the great University of Illinois community as well as the growing millennial generation. From quaint Diners and unique Shops that cater to every type of personality to the Sports Bars and incredibly delicious BBQ Joints you'd more than likely find in bigger cities! Yes, the Urbana downtown has something for everyone while still keeping the charm of the older days very much alive and well.

                             

Monticello IL is the newcomer to this fabulous list of Main Street "must visit" locale's and I must say, it most certainly deserves to be on this list! Monticello was, and always will be, a TRAIN TOWN. From the Wabash Depot and Monticello Railway Museum as it's anchors and definitely the highlights of downtown,  Monticello is actually accredited as a National Main Street Community! It will endear you to it's lovely little shops and restaurants from the moment you step on the streets of this charming little community. But don't be fooled! While the looks of yesteryear are very much alive and well in Monticello, the technology of today is very much being used behind the scenes!

The best way to learn about both of these extraordinary, and Best Main Streets of Illinois is to come and visit them yourself! The people are friendly, the establishments are excellent, the service, food and merchandise is always top notch and there's always Champaignrose.....that's me, to be your personal tour guide of our excellent central Illinois oasis!
 
If you're interested in homes for sale in either Urbana IL or Monticello IL please give me a call or visit my website at champaignrose.com.

It's GIVING TUESDAY Champaign/Urbana IL!

by Rose Price


We had Black Friday to kick-off the Champaign/Urbana Holiday shopping season, then Small Business Saturday to support all our wonderful local shop owners and Cyber Monday to grab all the last minute deals we didn't get on the previous 2 days.   Now we have the opportunity to Give Back to our fantastic local Community Centers, Charities, Families and Businesses with...GIVING TUESDAY!

Yes....today is Giving Tuesday, a national day of generosity started in 2012, and the spirit of giving is in the air!! Today we can choose which of the fantastic Champaign/Urbana organizations we'd like to support. All of these organizations give to our local residents all year long in a variety of ways and are very deserving of our support. For those of us who may be feeling stretched this holiday season, consider one of these options in lieu of a monetary donation:

  • Donate your Time: Money is always needed, but it’s not the only thing we have to give. Homeless Shelters, schools, hospitals, and nursing homes often need extra individuals on hand to help with various duties.
  • Benevolent Spending: Some companies make it possible to simultaneously give to charity while taking care of your gift list too! Look for companies that donate part of your Holiday Spending to a charity of your choice with each Gift Purchased.
  • Bring in your Coins: You might be surprised by how quickly those little coins laying in the bottom of your Purse, in your Car, or stuck in Couch Cushions can add up. You may end up giving more than you thought you could give. Besides, many organizations take any amounts and put it towards bigger goals.
  • Donate your Air Miles: If you haven’t already used them for holiday travel, you can donate any extra airline miles or hotel points to charity. Check with your airline for all the specifics, but many work with the American Red Cross and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

To locate which Champaign/Urbana Organization you'd like to support, you can search this main GIVING TUESDAY website:  GIVING TUESDAY

Here are some quick links to Champaign/Urbana Organizations we know are looking for support;

University of Champaign YMCA

Christie Foundation

 

 

Illinois Walk & Run for Wishes

 

Champaign Park District

 

Feeding Illinois

To find any Illinois Organization:  ILGIVES.com

 

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Rose Price
Landmark Real Estate
One East Main Street, Suite 200
Champaign IL 61820
217-202-8843
217-352-1933
Fax: 217-378-1281