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11 Small Towns Where Everyone Knows Your Name

by Rose Price

Is there anything better than walking into your local coffee shop and having the barista write your name on the cup without having to ask you? Ok ok, I get that this may seem trivial, but you do have to admit it is a wonderful feeling when the locals in your community all know you.  This month onlyinyourstate.com published a list about “11 small towns where everyone knows your name” in Illinois, and we were thrilled to see Tuscola and Monticello, two towns in our community, named!

But what makes these towns so special? 

The list is as follows:

  1. Clarendon Hills, located outside of Chicago in Dupage County.

  2. Casey, known for its large construction projects.

  3. Cherry Valley, located in Boone County with a population of 3,000.

  4. Winchester, located in Scott County and known for its gorgeous courthouse.

  5. TUSCOLA, located in Scott County, and is our backyard, and known for its great outlet mall. Click here to view current homes for sale in Tuscola.

  6. MONTICELLO, is also located in our community! Click here to view current homes for sale in Monticello.​

  7. Milford, located in Iroquois County and has a population of only 800.

  8. Ladd, located in Bureau County and was a former mining town.

  9. Hebron, located in McHenry County with a population of 1200.

  10. Galena, may get a lot of visitors but the locals still know you well.

  11. Benld, located in Macoupin County and is known as one of a small group of towns where an object was hit by a meteor.​

Please click here to read the entire article.

If you're interested in Buying, Selling or Investing in the Champaign community, give ChampaignRose a call or visit our website at: www.champaignrose.com

 

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!

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

 

 

 

 

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.

Mahomet IL is One of the Best School Districts in Illinois!

by Rose Price

BEST SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN ILLINOIS

I am so happy to work in the communities that I service!  Four of the school districts that I work with clients who Buy & Sell Homes in everyday have been ranked on NICHE'S Best Public School Districts in Illinois, which ranks 8,738 school districts based on dozens of key statistics and 4.6 million opinions from 280,000 students and parents. A high ranking indicates that the district contains great schools with exceptional teachers, sufficient resources, and a diverse set of high-achieving students who rate their experiences very highly. In addition to that, Illinois has 200 School Districts in the state.  200...that means that our wonderful, albeit small in comparison to many in the state, has 4 that have ranked extremely well, in a category that is a PRIORITY for every family that is living here today and is contemplating a move to our communities in the future!

So, without further ado...let's take a look at those districts that made this coveted list!

Mahomet Seymour Community Unit School District #3 Ranked #25

Mahomet-Seymour Community Unit School District No. 3 is centered in the Mahomet Township, Illinois. It has 2,981 students attending 5 schools in grades PK and K-12. According to state standards, 74% of students in this district are considered proficient in math and/or reading. The district has an annual budget of $30,358,000, spending an average of $10,454 per student. There have been 65 reviews written and they have been mostly positive.

Tuscola Community Unit School District #301 Ranked #38

Tuscola Community Unit School District No. 301 is centered in Tuscola Township, Illinois. It has 1,010 students attending 3 schools in grades PK and K-12. According to state standards, 66% of students in this district are considered proficient in math and/or reading. The district has an annual budget of $9,992,000, spending an average of $9,903 per student. There have been 14 reviews written and they have been mostly positive.

Monticello Community Unit School District #25  Ranked #63

Monticello Community Unit School District No. 25 is centered in Willow Branch Township, Illinois. It has 1,664 students attending 5 schools in grades PK and K-12. According to state standards, 71% of students in this district are considered proficient in math and/or reading. The district has an annual budget of $17,451,000, spending an average of $10,302 per student. There have been 55 reviews written and they have been mixed.

Mount Zion Community Unit School District #3 Ranked #85

Mount Zion Community Unit School District No. 3 is centered in Mount Zion Township, Illinois. It has 2,410 students attending 5 schools in grades PK and K-12. According to state standards, 76% of students in this district are considered proficient in math and/or reading. The district has an annual budget of $22,448,000, spending an average of $8,968 per student.

**Some extra special news for those of you considering a move to the gorgeous Mount Zion area!  I have an incredible new, premier development...WOODBINE PARK PRAIRIE ESTATES that offers the "Peaceful coexistence between Neighbor and Nature"! An amazingly beautiful community that offers Home Buyers  Premium Lots in sizes of 1 to 10 acres....almost unheard of today!

                                  

If one of these School Districts sound like a place you'd like to live & raise your children...Give me a call at 217-202-8843 or visit my website at Champaignrose.com!

You can also search homes in each of these cities by clicking on the links below:

Homes for Sale Mahomet IL          Homes for Sale Tuscola IL       Homes for Sale Monticello IL       Woodbine Park Prairie Estates

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!

8 Things You Should Do When Moving Into A New Home

by Rose Price

Buying a home is obviously a BIG investment.  There are factors you've been considering for months: location, amenities, neighbors, schools, and more.  Once the papers have been signed, it's easy to relax and forget key chores every homebuyer should do once they move into their new home, but don't worry, here is a list of 8 important things you don't want to forget.   

1. Change the locks

You really don't know who else has keys to your place...when it comes to security, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re the only one with keys, and the only way to really be sure is to get new locks. This is done by either re-keying or buying an entirely new lock set.  You can replace dead bolts yourself for around ten dollars.  Another option, becoming popular these days, is digital locks.  These open with a code and work with a home automation system (smart home).  So, you can live "key free" as well as lock or unlock your doors remotely.  

2. Look for leaks

Ok, so you've probably had a home inspection done before you bought the property, however, even if this report came back clean, theres no harm in double checking.  The risk is too great.  One way people are combating these water issues is with a set of sensors linked to their smart home system.  These sensors give you real time information for- if and when- a water leak develops.  This way you can be absolutely sure leaks have been taken care of, and if one occurs, you can handle it before a lot of damage can occur.   

*TIP: Here’s a neat trick: Check your water meter at the beginning and end of a two-hour window in which no water is being used in your house. If the reading is different, you have a leak.


3. Kick out the pests

 Pests are tricky.  You may not even know you have a pest problem. The previous homeowners may not have known about the issue, or maybe they simply "forgot" about the “friendly” squirrel living in the attic.  Well, there are a number of ways to get rid of these critters, some are more squeamish than others.  But, the easiest way is to hire a professional, which will run you usually costs about $100-$300, and there is a way to ensure these professionals don't miss anything; similarly to the water sensors, you can place motion sensors where suspected pests are, which will then alert your mobile device when motion is detected.  Now you know exactly where these pests have been hiding and can call a pest control company and point them right to where the problem exists.  

4. Inspect your Furnace / AC

Get familiar with your new HVAC system as soon as possible. Make sure to take a close look at the duct work around your furnace for broken or torn ducts and excessive taping.  Also, stand near the furnace while it’s running- the air should move through the system not into the room.  

Digital thermostats are also a great investment.  Especially ones you can control with your smart phone or tablet.  They give you the ability to set your temperatures remotely... say if you're on vacation and it is a super hot day back home.  

5. Update your Lighting

Everyone has their own unique lighting preferences.  I like being able to change the brightness of lights in each particular room, so I like the dimmable ones. Once you've lived in the house for a couple weeks, you start to get a feel for your preferences in this particular space.  Make it YOUR home.  And yes, you guessed it, you can also set these up digitally and control them from your phone! 

6. Get to know your Circuit Breaker 

It's always a good idea to figure out what fuses control which room and then label them accordingly.  It will take two people: One to flip the switch and and yell "How about now?" and the other to stand in the different rooms and yell back "yeah, that one!".  All kidding aside, it's good to figure out your new circuit breaker before you may really need it. If you need some assistance, your local hardware store is usually a good source for some of the more basic questions.

7. Get to know the Main Water Valve 

You want to make sure you can turn this valve off incase of an emergency; tornado or plumbing emergencies are common.  Another smart idea is to turn this valve off when you leave town.  You don't want to come home from vacation to find a pool of water in the basement.  It could be located outside or inside the home; find it and make sure you can turn it off.  Then test it by going inside and turning on the faucet.  

8. Steam Clean your Carpets

If you really want to get off to a fresh start, steam clean your carpets before you move any of the furniture in. You can hire a professional for around $50. a room or you can rent a steam cleaners and do it yourself.  Either way, you won't regret it.  

 

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