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Add an Outdoor Entertaining Space

by Rose Price

As we head into the final days of summer, you may be planning one last outdoor party. Not every home has an ideal layout for such parties, and if you find yourself in that situation, here are a few relatively inexpensive ways to create an inviting area for entertaining, while investing in the value of your home.

Budget

Your first step is to set a budget.  You don't have to spend a lot of money to make a dramatic impact. The budget may change as you explore your options, but it's good to have a ballpark figure so you don't overdo it.

Survey

Next, make a detailed survey of what you have to work with around your home.  Do you already have a functional outdoor entertaining area that you can improve? Or a nicely shaded area where you can develop a feature?  Do you need shade? Chances are good you already have some ideas.

Explore

Now you'll want to explore your options in terms of designs and materials. You can draw on your friends and neighbors experiences and outdoor spaces. Turn on HGTV, or go to HGTV.com, which offers a variety of ideas that are definitely work checking out. Home Depot and Lowes both offer sections on their websites that can provide inspiration and ideas.

Plan

The hard part is narrowing your project down to its essentials!  Create a simple sketch or layout of what you have in mind. If you're accomplished at home-improvement, you'll be able to determine what your material needs will be and how best to proceed. If not, turn to some of the experts at your local home-improvement center for direction. You'll find a wide variety of books for sale or available at the library that can help. Also make sure your project won't violate any city or county ordinances: Better safe than sorry.

Build

Doing the actual hard work might seem like a daunting task, but turn it into something fun! Invite your friends and family to help you create your outdoor living space in exchange for a great summer-time cookout.  That way you can have your party and your brand new outdoor entertaining space at the same time!

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy R_A_L/flickr.com

Food Fundraiser for Kids

by Rose Price

For the 18th year in a row, The Hope Institute is holding it's Annual Celebrity Chef fundraiser. Tickets, which range from $150 to $250, can be purchased on the website. Since 1957, The Hope Institute has been helping children with developmental disabilities and their families.

This year's Celebrity Chef is Stephanie Izard (at left), who's "Girl and the Goat" restaurant in Chicago was named "America's Best New Restaurant" by Saveur magazine. You may have seen her win the 2008 season of Bravo's Top Chef, or read about her in Wine Magazine, where she was named 2011's Best New Chef. Now, get the full spectrum by being able to enjoy her fabulous menu.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy Stephanie Izard

Don't Risk Being Unprepared for Disaster

by Rose Price

It is not something anyone wants to ponder, but the only thing worse than a natural disaster is not being prepared for it.  Not having proper insurance coverage can make a bad situation far worse. Here are some disasters that may require insurance special coverage.

Flood Insurance.  If your house is in a flood-prone area, you may already have flood coverage in your basic homeowners policy. Don’t wait to find out:  Call your agent and make sure. Flood insurance policies are usually inexpensive, unless you are in a flood-prone region.  But even a few inches of standing water in your home can cause enormous damage.

Mine Subsidence.  Sinkholes are rare, and so are the homeowners policies that cover this type of disaster.  More common is minor ground shifting that can damage your foundation and structure. Coverage for this type of damage isn’t expensive at all. You can get coverage for about a hundred dollars a year for a $250,000 home.

Earthquake. Another rarity, but they do happen. You might remember the little quake that shook northern Illinois a couple of years ago.  Typical homeowner policies don’t cover earthquake damage, and it can be expensive. You might also want to read this guide from the Red Cross of Central Illinois!

Tornadoes. Usually a standard part of a homeowners policy, but worth double checking. Tornadoes happen just too often for this not to be a part of your protection. The image above is from a tornado near Secor, Illinois on May of 2004. 

Insurance is vital for preserving the investment you’ve made in your house, furnishing and personal property. If you have questions, talk to your agent, or check out the insurance information website the state of Illinois provides.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy tlindenbaum/flickr.com

Take a Walk with the Birds This Weekend

by Rose Price

As we move slowly towards fall, now's a great time to take a walk with the birds of Central Illinois. Specifically, with the Champaign County Audubon Society at the Anita Purves Nature Center [map] in Urbana. These lovely strolls through Busey Woods and around Crystal Lake begin at 7:30am every Sunday through the end of October, and last about ninety minutes. It's a wonderful chance to learn the basics of bird watching and identification techniques from long-time Audubon members.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy Judd McCullum/flickr.com

Spotlight: Quick Bathroom Renovations

by Rose Price

Home owners considering putting their house on the market often know they have work to do to maximize the value of the property. Renovations that include new flooring and appliances can go a long way, but usually need to be done by professionals, are expensive and time consuming. But, there are things you can do yourself. Today, let’s talk about making the most of your bathrooms.

The first step is to do a maximum cleaning job on the bathroom. It’s going to be easier to identify the biggest problem if everything is a spotlessly clean as possible. I’m talking about the old-fashioned, Momma’s watching you type of clean. Wash the sides of the cabinets and make sure that the area behind the toilet shines!

With that out of the way, what you see is the best of what you’ve got. Now you can start to prioritize ways to give the space a quick renovation.

Some things are almost mandatory if you’re looking ahead toward selling. The walls, for example, should be spotless and a simple, neutral light color, preferably white. Any other choice you make is a potential problem for possible buyers, who will be looking for things they’ll have to do after buying. Strip that wallpaper! Prime and paint. A fresh coat of paint is an amazing start on a great renovation. And it’s easy enough that just about anyone can do it themselves.

Got grout? You need to make sure it’s as white as possible. The Do-it-Yourself Life website has an excellent article on cleaning tile grout quickly and inexpensively. And don’t overlook the shower or tub.

Make sure your light fixtures are clean and the lights bright. Fixtures are easy to overlook when cleaning, but clean fixtures keep the look bright. Make sure the bulbs are fresh and match, and don’t even try to hide imperfections with dim light.

Add decorative touches, but keep them simple. Again, a buyer is going to do their own thing in the room, and it’s hard to imagine that when your own stuff is cluttering up the space. Make sure you coordinate colors, and avoid garish artwork.

At this point, you may want to replace a fixture or alter the flooring. But, you’ve already got a good start on improving your home and making some potential buyer a little more interested in your home. For more ideas, check out this article on Stylist Home.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy A30_Tsitika/flickr.com

Urbana's Sweetcorn Festival

by Rose Price

​Downtown Urbana will be filled with people this weekend. People and corn. That's right, the Sweetcorn Festival is back Friday evening and all day Saturday. In addition to all the Illinois sweetcorn you can eat, it's also time to welcome returning and incoming students at the University of Illinois.  Rock climbing, laser tag, pony rides, the Motor Muster Car Show and music, including Warrant, are on tap.

You'll find the festival where you find the people, on Main Street between Race and Vine streets. The festival runs from 5pm to 11pm on Friday, and 11am to 11pm on Saturday.

Friday Music Lineup

  • 6:00pm - Timmy D and Blind Justice
  • 7:30pm - Kilborn Alley
  • 9:15pm - Dr. Duke Tumatoe & the Power Trio

Saturday Music Lineup

  • 6:00pm - X-Krush
  • 7:30pm - Firehouse
  • 9:15pm - Warrant

If you go, have a great time and here's hoping it's a fantastic weekend. And if you need real estate assistance, just let me know!

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy Artotem/flickr.com

Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh for Prospective Buyers

by Rose Price

Walking into a home on the market, one of the first things a prospective buyer will notice is what they smell. While our sense of smell isn't as good as a dogs, people will smell the odor of dogs, cats or other pets. Even if they love animals, pet odor can turn off a buyer before the charms of the rest of the house can even be seen. Some experts advise moving your pets somewhere else while you have your home on the market, but that's not always a realistic solution.

So before you see a potential buyer crinkle their noses when they walk in your door, you'll need to address any lingering smells in the air.

Clean your home thoroughly. Focus heavily on odor traps like fabrics, upholstery and carpet. Professional ozone-based carpet cleaning can do miracles.

Cats? Make sure litter-boxes are scrupulously clean at all times.

Your pets aren't to blame here, but avoid strong cooking odors. You might love stinky cheese, but that smell won't be pleasing to strangers.

Avoid using air fresheners and heavily scented cleaning products, candles or incense. Some people can have an allergic reaction to them, and others will assume you're using them to cover up something bad.

Let your home air out naturally. When temperatures outside cooperate, open the windows for a while. The scent of the outdoors around your home will help ground it when people walk in the door.

It can be hard sometimes to notice an odor you live with, so ask a friend to walk through and do a sniff test. Better a friend than a prospective buyer!

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy pretendtious/flickr.com

Celebrate Bluegrass at Rockome Gardens

by Rose Price

A weekend full of bluegrass music awaits you at the 18th Annual Bluegrass in the Gardens, taking place at Rockome Gardens in Arcola [map] Saturday and Sunday. Rockome Gardens is a twenty acre park devoted to Illinois Amish culture. The music starts a noon both days, and features The Roys, The Bankesters, Rigney Family, Sawtooth Bluegrass Band, Mississippi Sawyers (pictured), Pickin' Chicks, Bluetown, and High Cotton.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for children, with those under 7 getting in for free.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy the Mississippi Sawyers/flickr.com

Managing the Little Fix-ups

by Rose Price

Before you put your house on the market, you have to address a variety of issues. Not the least of which is making the house look fantastic. So as you survey your home, you'll start to see little problems that have to be dealt with. For example, damage to drywall where you have hung artwork or secured tall furniture pieces.

And that's what I want to talk about with you. If you've got something larger than small holes, you'll probably need some professional help. It's pretty remarkable what a contractor can do to make repairs. But, if you've just got some small holes, you can save yourself some money by doing it yourself. It's not going to take long, but we need to get some tools. You’ll need to have spackle, a putty knife, a sanding block, primer, paint and a paint brush. I’ll wait while you go get them.

Fill – Okay, we’re going to use the spackling paste to fill the hole itself. Spackle is just a putty made of plaster and glue. Fill the hole and then use the putty knife to scrape off any spackle sticking up out of the hole.

Sand – A tiny hole won’t need much, if any, sanding. But, if you can You’re going to want to use a sanding block or even a dry wall sanding screen to make sure the result is perfectly flat. Just using sandpaper by hand won’t cut it.

Paint – Again, with a small enough hole, you don’t really need to prime, but it’s not a bad idea. Then you’re going to want to find the paint that was used to cover the wall you’re working on. Usually, when an interior is painted, the contractor will leave a can of the color they used in a storeroom or garage.

If you can’t find the right paint, you’re best bet is to repaint the entire wall: Any odd color patches are going to really stand out when the room is empty of furniture. And, if the hole is a bit bigger, you can find self-adhesive patching kits that include a metal mesh and come in a variety of sizes. You’ll still need to sand, prime and paint.

If your walls are bare, you can tackle this chore quickly. And a lot less expensively than a contractor will do it!

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy mich_bsd/flickr.com

Cheeseburgers and Fun in Danville Saturday

by Rose Price

The Vermilion County Conservation District Foundation is once again holding it's 2012 Cheeseburger and Fun event on Satrurday. The party gets started at 7am at the Bunker Hill Historic Area at Kennekuk Cove County Park near Danville. 

In addition to the traditional Cheeseburger meal, which goes to fund the VCCD Foundation, there will be the Howl at the Moon run/walk, and the Bunker Hill Run Show with trucks, tractors, cars and motorcycles. Music will be provided by the Big Creek Guitar Band, Ryan Ideus and the Feudin' Hillbillys and Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets.

Admission is free, but donations to the VCCD Foundation will be accepted. For more details, call (217) 662-2142 or visit the website.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
ChampaignRose.com

Search for Homes in the Champaign Area 
Featured Champaign Properties 
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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy L.Richarz/flickr.com

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 80

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