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Top 100 School Districts in Illinois!

by Rose Price

Once again the Champaign/Urbana IL area has 3 area school districts that have earned spots on the highly coveted list of the TOP 100 SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN ILLINOIS for 2016! With 863 School Districts in Illinois, earning a spot on this list isn't an easy task, you have to be truly outstanding in virtually every category. For the 3 School Districts that have found their way to this list, I feel they exemplify this type of achievement in their school programs on a daily basis. These districts are:

URBANA SCHOOL DISTRICT #116

 

 

TUSCOLA COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT #301

 

MOUNT ZION COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT #3

 

 

 

 

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!  

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. 

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.   

Champaign IL Top 3 Style Preferences of Home Buyers!

by Rose Price

Champaign/Urbana IL Home Owners if you're looking to "Freshen-up Your Decor" and get your homes on the market, take note of the Style Preferences below! In a recent promotion taken of prospective Home Buyers by Realtor dot com, buyers were asked to vote for their favorite type of decor as part of their “Get This Look” promotion. The styles below won overwhelmingly over any other home styles. 

The following is a breakdown of the TOP 3 STYLE PREFERENCES of BUYERS:

Good-Bye Hollywood's Spectacular looking but "don't touch" decor! Follow these tips for an easier to sell home!

INVITING: This is described as a welcoming atmosphere that includes fun bar ware, plenty of seating, and a gather-worthy kitchen that can serve as the LIFE OF THE PARTY!

RUSTIC: This look is for those who prefer natural elements: wood, stone, water and light. This design style usually incorporates organic materials from the outside/ inside for a perfect balance.

BEACHSIDE CHARM: This design has a relaxed and casual feel, often incorporating terra cotta tile, patio umbrellas, sun decks, and scattered shells.

Meanwhile, the design styles least favored in the survey: Regal (a design that uses fine fabrics and antiques), Urban, eclectic Mid-Century Modern, and Earthy.

Happy decorating...Look for more tips to come here on my Blog and on my Facebook Page!

If you'd like more information about homes for sale in the Champaign/Urbana IL area, please give me a call at 217-202-8843 or visit my website at www.champaignrose.com.

Resource: Realtor Mag.

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.

 

Get Your Champaign IL Home Ready For Fall

by Rose Price

It may seem like summer has just ended, but before we know it, the blustery winds and  cooler temperatures of Fall will be upon us. Now is the best time to prepare your home for the change of seasons, before the actual change begins. Just think of the cash you will save by taking care of the weatherizing of your home now. Here are a few area's to check out on your home:

Raise the Roof

Few home problems are more frustrating than a leaky roof, as it’s often hard to find the exact source of the problem.  So, taking care of these things before the rain and snow begin is a good idea. 

Inspect your roof from top to bottom, searching for missing or damaged shingles. Check shingles for cracks and other damage. Look for damage to metal flashing around vents and chimneys. Look in your gutters. If you find large granules, it could be a sign that you are losing your roof’s coating. Finally, make sure your gutters are flowing freely of any type of debris; leaves, sticks, sludge from rains and storms throughout the summer months.

Get your mind IN the Gutter

The drainage system on your roof is extremely important, as it diverts thousands of gallons of water from your home annually, protecting your foundation and walls. Obviously you want to keep these drains flowing smoothly.  Clogged gutters lead to basement flooding and other hard to detect damage.  They are not immune from rust and erosion, so you need to keep them cleaned out, especially BEFORE the Fall leaves start falling into them. Once they have been cleaned, we'd recommend using a mesh guard over the top to protect them from future debris, and it makes keeping them clean  & your job, a whole lot easier!  

Hunt your Home for Drafts

Many homes have air leaks around windows and doors, which can account for an increase of  10% in your energy bill (according to the U.S. Department of Energy).  So, check for gaps in caulk and weather stripping.  If you don’t have weather stripping…you’re missing out!  Seriously, weather-stripping is by far the most cost-effective way to control heating and cooling costs. It will reduce drafts and keep your home comfy cozy year round.  However, this stuff can deteriorate over time, so even if you already used it, you want to inspect it annually.  

There are a couple easy techniques for checking your stripping:

  • 1) Close your door or window on a strip of paper…if the paper slides up and down easily, you have some work to do.
  • 2) Light a candle and hold it near the frame of the closed door or window…if you find the flame flickers at any point near the frame…you have a leak!

You’ll also want to check your caulking, especially near entry points for cables.  This can also deteriorate over time, so look for area's you may have to re-caulk.  

Brrr.....It's Getting Chilly!

Winter is coming, and we all must protect our pipes or deal with a very messy & expensive aftermath! Close any shut-off valves to outdoor faucets…then drain the water line, by opening the valve outside.  

*If you don't have shut-off valves or your faucets are not "freeze-proof “, you may benefit from styrofoam faucet covers sold at home centers.

In-ground irrigation systems should come with instructions from the manufacturer on how to freeze proof. 

Where’s your Filter?

Furnace filters trap dust that would otherwise be deposited around your home.  Clogged filters also make it harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, and can seriously increase your utility bills. It’s easy to manage by a simple monthly cleaning to keep the filters breathing free and clear.

Disposable filters can be vacuumed once before replacement. Foam filters can also be vacuumed but these don't need to be replaced unless they are damaged. Use a soft brush on a vacuum cleaner. If the filter is metal or electrostatic, remove and wash it with a firm water spray.  Boom, your filter is good as new.

Professional Help

It's a good idea to have your Heating System inspected by a professional once a year. People often wait until the last minute, so beat the rush and schedule this for the early fall, before the heating season even begins.  Here are some of the signs that your Heating Systems isn't functioning properly:    

  • Noisy belts Weird screeches or whines may signal that belts connected to the blower motor are worn or damaged.
  • Poor performance. A heating system that doesn't seem to work as well as it used to could mean a lot of different problems. Your heating ducts could be blocked, the burners might be misadjusted or the blower motor could be on its way out.  But before you panic, check that the filter is clean.   
  • Erratic behavior. This could be caused by a faulty thermostat.

Come on Baby Light your Fire

Even if you rarely use your fireplace, you should check it annually for damage. 

Inspect your flue for creosote. Creosote is a flammable by-product of burning wood, so if it accumulates in your chimney, you could be victim to a devastating fire. Have your chimney inspected annually for creosote buildup. If you use a fireplace frequently, then have the flue inspected after each cord of wood burned.

The best option is to have your entire chimney system inspected by a chimney sweep. Once you know what to look for, you can perform the inspection by shining a bright flashlight up the flue, looking for any deposits approaching 1/8 inch thick, though the actual cleaning of these deposits should be performed by a professional.  

  • Look for flue blockages. Birds love to nest at the top of an unprotected flue. A chimney cap is an easy way to prevent this.  If you don't have a cap, just take a look up the flu to be sure.
  • Exercise the damper. The damper is the metal plate that opens and closes the flu just above the firebox. Test the open and closed positions to ensure that it is working properly.
  • Check for damage. Make certain that the flue cap is in place. Inspect brick chimneys for loose or broken points. If access is a problem try using binoculars.

Keep your Humidifier Happy 

Really dry winter air is bad for your health, but did you know it can make fine wood crack easier? You and your home will feel more comfortable if you keep your Central Humidifier running properly. 

  • Inspect the plates or pads. You can clean them with laundry detergent. You should also rinse and scrape off mineral deposits (use a wire brush or steel wool). 

Gassy 

Anything involving gas is a huge safety issue.  Heaters that are not maintained properly can spew poisons into the air of your home, or at least it may be costing you more to operate. Have a professional check these devices annually. 

Smoke and CO Detectors 

Replace batteries in all of your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Then vacuum them with a soft brush attachment. Test the detectors by pressing the test button or holding a smoke source (like a blown-out candle) near the unit. If you haven't already, install a smoke detector on every floor of your home, including the basement.

Fire Extinguishers 

You’d be surprised how many homes don’t have a fire extinguisher.  Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher rated for all fire types (look for an A-B-C rating on the label). Keep one near the kitchen;  though having one per floor isn't a bad idea. Check the indicators on the pressure gauge to make sure the extinguisher is charged. Make sure the lock pin is intact and in place, and then make sure the discharge nozzle is not clogged.  

  • Fire Extinguishers should be replaced every 5 Years.
  • With every replacement, use a permanent marker to mark the date clearly on the new unit

​​For more Homeowner Tips and Fall Maintenance, visit my website and Facebook page. If you're looking to Buy or Sell a home in the Champaign/Urbana IL area in the fantastic Fall season, give me a call or stop in our office. You can contact me anytime at 217-202-8843 or view local homes at this link: Homes for Sale in Champaign IL.

Have a POWERFUL day!

Items That Can't Be Moved By Your Champaign IL Moving Company

by Rose Price

It's Moving Day, you've waited for this day for a long time and it's finally here! It's early morning and you're armed with your Moving List, Breakfast is ready for the family and everything in the house is packed and ready to go. You're super prepared,  just like you always are....it's going to be a SMOOTH MOVING DAY!

Just one thing, are you aware of the list of items that are banned by Federal Law from being moved from your home?  Common sense tells us that they won't be able to move things like a Gas Tank, Propane Tank and Ammunition, but the list is actually much longer than that! So we've put together the list for you so you're not caught off guard and left having to make other choices for these items and taking up valuable time on moving day, or holding up your moving day altogether, until you can take care of these items before you can leave the home.  

It's important to pay special attention to this list because your Moving Company WILL NOT move these items, under any circumstances, and you can't just leave them in the home your vacating.

HERE'S AN UP-TO-DATE LIST:  

  • Gas Tanks
  • Propane Tanks
  • Ammunition
  • Car Batteries
  • Charcoal
  • ​Darkroom Chemicals
  • Batteries
  • Nail Polish
  • Scuba Tanks
  • Liquid Bleach
  • Household Plants
  • Lawn Chemicals:  Weed Killers & Pesticide
  • Pool Acids & Chemicals

* Some Movers will NOT take Lawn Movers or Generator's you'll need to check ahead of time. If your mover does take these, remove as much gasoline as possible before moving day!

** We have provided you with a complete list as it stands within our resources. Because Federal Guidelines change & Moving Companies have their own rules and regulations, it is critical that you check with your Moving Company PRIOR to your move to find out exactly what THEY will and will not move for you.

For more helpful Home Selling and Moving Tips, check out my website and Facebook Page, or give me a call anytime at 217-202-8843.

Have a POWERFUL day!

CHAMPAIGN IL, Top 40 Commuter City in Illinois!

by Rose Price

Obviously there are many great reasons to live in the Champaign/Urbana IL area, but one often overlooked is commute time!  A bad commute can get old quickly and the daily back-and-forth to work can have a serious impact on your overall well being, turning your new dream home into a cage of sorrow. Well, no worries because now we've added a great commute to our list of great Champaign/Urbana traits.  Each of these cities are well below the average American commute time of 25.5 minutes.  

#7 Champaign

Coming in at number seven is Champaign!  That's pretty high on the list and here's why:  

Champaign IL is home to the University of Illinois' Research Park, which has received numerous high profile rewards over the past few years for it's unparalleled innovation and consistent creation of new high tech jobs.  The increasing job opportunities provided from the University means that residents no longer have to travel far to work a great job.  9 out of 10 Champaign residents make it to work in 29 minutes or less, with an average commute time of 16.4 minutes. 

#8 Urbana

Urbana IL, gets the green award on this one!  Over 10% of residents carpool and 4% telecommute!  So, obviously, less cars helps commuters get to work an average of 35 percent faster than workers across America and due to technological advancements, it looks like more and more people will be working from home, which will reduce commute times even more.    


#32 Rantoul 

The University of Illinois' Research Park isn't the only innovator in the area.  The Business Center in Rantoul IL is gaining a reputation as a new hub for innovation.  Not only does it offer new businesses high tech office spaces it is also home to the Rantoul Business Incubator and the Illinois Small Business Development Center and like The Research Park, more and more high tech jobs are being created here.  So Residents here don't have to travel far for a great job either.  Half of all workers in Rantoul travel less than 15 minutes to get to work, making the average total commute time 19.2 minutes.   

*All information and graphs taken from Obrella Insider.

Visit Obrella for a complete list of the 40 Best and Worst Commuter Cities in Illinois and check back with us for more information and useful tips for living in the Champaign/Urbana area.  

If you're sick of the lousy commute time in your area, then Champaign/Urbana may be the perfect town for you! give me a call, I'd be happy to show you around my fabulous community. If you'd rather look at some homes that are available first, visit the links below for homes available in each of the area's listed.  Then give me a call with any questions you have!

Champaign/Urbana Homes for Sale

Urbana Homes for Sale

Rantoul Homes for Sale

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 32

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