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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.  

 

MT ZION IL SNEAK PEEK! New Developments Coming Soon!

by Rose Price

COMING SOON!

Exciting New Developments In Rural Mt. Zion

Modeled after the nationally acclaimed Prairie Crossing Development in Grayslake, Illinois, and located in rural Mt. Zion, Illinois, Woodbine Park Prairie Estates is a 194-acre conservation community, featuring glacial topography, lakes, and wildlife.  Strategically located between Ft. Daniel Conservation Area and Spitler Woods State Park, the community is designed to safeguard a key environmental corridor for Macon County. 

The area was developed with a focus on rejuvenating the land, which is now back to it’s pre-European Settlement days.  There has been extensive wetland, wildlife, woodland and prairie land restoration, complete with a Big Creek stream bank stabilization project.   In addition to Mesic prairie grasses and animals, Woodbine Estates is home to bald eagles, herons, sparrows, hawks, deer, coyotes, muskrats, and possums.  

At Woodbine Estates, people live in ways that are healthy not only for themselves but also for the environment around them, which is important due to the miles of trails that wind through the property, including forty-five acres of protected common ground.  Occupants can look forward to many outdoor activities like canoeing, fishing, swimming, ice skating, walking, biking and cross country skiing. The “Field of Dreams" baseball field on the west end of the property will no doubt provide hours and hours of summer entertainment.  The homeowner's declaration ensures and protects standards that will enhance and protect each occupant's investment, along with the preservation of nature, wildlife, trails, wetlands, and green ways.

Despite Woodbine's private, rural charm, it is still conveniently located near many modern amenities like the Strand Movie Theater, Shopping, the Decatur airport, Schools, and plenty of tourist activities, like the nearby Amish Community and Shelbyville Lake.   

If you want to live the good life in a quiet natural setting--Woodbine Prairie Estates may be the place for you.  If you would like more information please give me a call 217.202.8843 and I would be happy to answer any of your questions. 

 

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

Mahomet IL One Of the Top 100 Places To Live In America!

by Rose Price

For those living in Mahomet, Illinois, it comes as no surprise that this thriving village has made Niche's 2015 list of Top 100 Communities to live in America. Niche ranks US suburbs based on livability; grading each for weather, safety, schools, and access to activities, jobs, housing, and transportation.  A high ranking then, indicates those particular suburbs offer a high quality of life to those living there.

MAHOMET IL

This midsize Illinois town of 7,412 is a great all around mid-western town.  Home Values are in the range of $185,300.  Rent Values are average and the Unemployment rate is extremely low at 3.1% (half of the national average).  Citizens here are usually highly educated and enjoy high income levels, with an average household income of $80,529. Housing here is varied; from turn of the century beautiful homes to high end new construction, so there's really a home to fit every taste and need.  The people are friendly and there's no shortage of unique local shops.  There are great parks in the area, providing many options for outdoor activities.  A favorite among residents is Lake Of The Woods Forest Preserve, which offers multiple walking/biking trails, swimming, boating, fishing and prime picnic spots, as well as a museum, botanical garden and golf course and in the wintertime, the preserve is a great spot for sledding, snowshoeing and other winter activities.  

If this sounds like the perfect town for you, give me a call! I'd be happy to show you around the town and find a home that fits your personal needs. If you'd rather look at what is available first, follow this link to see all available homes for sale in special mid-western town. Mahomet IL Homes for Sale

I'm here to help make your Home Buying as easy & painless as possible, so please contact me with any questions you may have at 217-202-8843.

Getting your Champaign IL home ready for a walk through can be frustrating, especially when you're still living in your home, but keeping your home clean as you take all the necessary steps to sell your home is key; things like removing the personal items, staging, and ramping up your curb appeal.  Hiring a professional cleaning service isn't a bad idea, but those expenses add up over time.  So, here are some tricks to help you clean your house in a hurry, and  you'll be ready for a walk-through or a surprise visit from your inlaws, at a moments notice!

The trick is to start with the big rooms and move to the small:

1. Kitchen 15 minutes

  • Remove Clutter from all counter tops, cabinets and tables.
  • Clean Counters and Cabinets Wipe down counters and cabinets with all-purpose cleaner, speed up your process by brushing all crumbs and such on the floor (you'll sweep later).
  • Wipe Appliances Wipe down the fridge, dishwasher and cooktop areas as well as microwaves, toasters, etc.  
  • Load Dishes into your dishwasher.
  • Sweep and Mop Starting from the back and working your way to the front sweep those crumbs up and mop.  

2. Living and Dining Rooms 10 minutes

  • Clean Up The Clutter put anything that's out of place in boxes or drawers...if you put it in boxes, you're going to have to neatly hide the boxes somewhere.
  • Ditto for the Dust! Dust tables, fireplaces, mantels, window blinds and shades.  If any dust happens to fall on the floor, no worries, you will vaccuum at the end.  Don't forget to dust the ceiling fans and bookshelves... get yourself a long armed duster.  
  • Make that Glass Sparkle! Use glass cleaner to wipe down anything made of glass.
  • Ramp up the Vaccuum Now... vacuum all the dust you just put on your floor and on to the next room. 

3. Bathrooms 10 minutes

  • Start With Sink and Tub wipe down the sink and shower/tub with a good all purpose cleaner.
  • Clean the Toilet Thoroughly scrub the bowl with a brush, finish by scrubbing the outer area with a rag.
  • Wipe Mirror with your glass cleaner.  Start from the top corner and work your way down in a circular motion, think karate kid, "wax on...".
  • Wash The Sink Scrub the spots around the sink and fixtures with a brush to free up the grime, then finish with a rag and cleaner.  
  • Wipe the Shower/Tub Use a damp rag to wipe the shower and tub, if there are any tough-grimey spots, use a hard cleaner and brush to remove it...but don't scrub too hard. 
  • Mop the Floor Use a mop to quickly clean the floor of your bathroom, starting at the far corner and then working your way back to the door.

4. Bedrooms 10 minutes

  • Remake the Beds Remove the linens and replace with fresh ones so they look clean and crispy.  Don't forget to tuck the sheets in at the corner, go for the 5 star hotel feel, neat and crisp!‚Äč
  • Clear the Clutter Everything out of sight! Use drawers, baskets, the closet...you can organize more later.
  • Clean Furniture Wipe down furniture with a moist cloth or use a vacuum with hose attachment to suck up the dust.
  • Dust everything! tables, furniture, lamps, closets, shelves, ceiling fans, mirrors...everything.

Try these steps before your next showing, and be amazed at how quickly this can all be done.  If you are no longer living in the home or will be out of town you can hire a cleaning service and have this done for around $150. Check out my website for area businesses who are trusted individuals or companies who will provide these services in the area:  Preferred Vendors

For more Home Selling tips you can visit my website or check out my Facebook page.  Better yet, give me a call or stop in to see me!  I've been helping people Buy and Sell homes in the Champaign/Urbana area for 20+ years very successfully....and I'd like to do the same for you!

CELEBRATE FREEDOM IN CHAMPAIGN, IL

by Rose Price

The Fourth of July is a sacred day for our country, we call to mind the blood, sweat and tears that accompanied the founding of this great nation.  We also call to mind the many men and women who still fight to protect our freedom, especially those who've made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy the rights that make America the greatest country on earth.  

Read the Declaration Of Independence here.

Champaign hosts one of the best 4th of July events in the country, with it's 66th Annual Freedom Celebration.  Festivities will start at 7pm. with live music on the main stage, located on Kirby Avenue between First and Oak Street.  There will also be a bounce house and inflatables for the little ones.  After the music will be the singing of the national anthem and retiring of the flag and immediately following, will be the long awaited fireworks show from the pyros Melrose Pyrotechnics. Go here for the full program and map.

 

 

  

OTHER 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS AROUND OUR AREA:
 
Paxton IL July 4th Celebration:  Paxton celebrates with a day of fun! Starting at 9:00 am there will be Live Music, Food, Children's Games- Bounce House, Great Car Show, Tractor Show and even a Watermelon Eating Contest!  Everything will take place at Pells Park, with a grand Fireworks Display at 9:00pm at the Memorial Field.  For more information follow this link:  PAXTON IL 4TH OF JULY 
 
Mahomet IL Freedom Fest 4th of July Celebration- Lake of the Woods Park:  Get set for a day with Family activities, food, and Music in Motion beginning at 3:00 pm!  After a tribute to our military men and women, they will LIGHT UP THE LAKE with a Fireworks Display that is set to music! Admission is $1 per person. Need more information, Follow this link: FREEDOM FEST MAHOMET IL
 
Tuscola IL- Sparks in the Park- 4th of July CelebrationThey don't fool around in Tuscola! The day starts with an early morning 5K run....but then you get to eat! A hearty pancake breakfast follows, then it's a basketball tournament, parade, and so much more!  The day is filled with a family carnival carnival of inflatables, games & food for the kids. Lives Music, food and drinks for Mom's & Dads. Followed by a fantastic Fireworks Display at dusk!
 
 
                                     WISHING YOU ALL A HAPPY & SAFE 4TH OF JULY!

9 Tips For Making Your Champaign IL Home Energy Efficient

by Rose Price

Summer is officially here and inevitably your electrical bill is slowly creeping up as the months go on.  We have a few simply upgrades you can make to your home to make it more efficient and help keep more money in your bank account. 

 

Programmable Thermostats

Energy.gov suggests that turning your thermostat down 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day can save you "as much as 10% a year on your heating/cooling."  Save more money; follow the recommended optimum daytime (78 degrees) and night time (70 degrees) temperatures, you can preset these and your thermostat will adjust on it's own.

 

 

Insulate

Adding new or additional insulation to your ceilings, attic and walls along with using caulk and or weather stripping (ensuring windows and doors are properly sealed) will prevent cold drafts and air leaks, keeping warm air inside in the winter.  These same improvements will help trap cold air inside in the summer.  

Ceiling Fans 

Now you've programmed your thermostat to the optimum levels, but chances are you may feel a little warm in certain rooms throughout the day.  This is where an energy star ceiling fan can help.  The average central air conditioning unit uses 3,500 watts of energy when running while the average ceiling fan uses only 60 watts, even when running on high!  You could save a lot of money even by running your fan for only half an hour a day.  In order to get the most from your ceiling fan follow these simple ceiling fan hacks from The Simple Dollar.  

 

 

HACK #1  In the summer time you want to adjust your fan so the air blows downward.    

Most fans have both a clockwise and a counter clockwise setting.  There are conflicting theories on what direction to use and when, simply because it is all dependent on how the blades are aligned and this varies from model to model.  Forget the theories, there's an easier way.  Simply stand below your fan and turn it on high, if you immediately feel a breeze, then it is on the summer setting (usually counter clockwise).  During the summer months, your ceiling fans should be running on high, with air blowing down, this will create the most air movement and give you the coveted breeze effect.

HACK #2 Turn the heat up a few degrees in the summertime.  

Sounds crazy right?  But, running your fan on high throughout the day will circulate the air better and create a breeze effect that will make the room feel cooler than it actually is.  

HACK #3  Turn ceiling fans off when you leave your home.

Obviously! Right?! Though running at 60 watts isn't a ton, you are sure to save quite a bit more if you shut your fans off when you're not home.  

 

Check out the video from Home Depot for instructions on how to install a new ceiling fan:

Replace Old Appliances

Obviously, old appliances aren't as energy efficient as newer models.  So, replace these dinosaurs with newer more efficient, Energy Star certified appliances.

For example:

  • A high efficiency on-demand water heater only fires when you need hot water.  It heats it quickly and then stops burning fuel.  
  • Get low flow appliances.  Low flow toilets, shower heads, and washing machines save a lot of water than more traditional models.
  • For the best results, double up.  Combine a low flow shower head with a on-demand water heater and double your savings.    

Window Treatments

Installing blinds, drapes, and shades will reduce the amount of sunlight and heat that enters your home.  Of course, these can be positioned in a way to let light and heat in only when you want it.  

Go Fluorescent

Fluorescent light bulbs last 8-12 times longer than incandescent. Plus they look dynamite in the home!  

Open Your Doors

Keeping your doors closed stops your cooling systems from cooling the entire house and interrupts the flow of air, so open those doors!

Check Those Vents

A lot of homes, especially older ones have vents in strange places like closets for instance.  Go through your home and seal off any vent that is cooling an area that doesn't need cooling.  Even spare bedrooms and little used rooms can be wasted vents; blocking these will save you money. There are a large variety of covers out there, you're sure to find one that suits our vents. 

Last but certainly not least...

Take Advantage of Tax Incentives

The federal government offers a ton of incentives for making energy efficient home improvements.  Recent increases in incentives now allow for up to 30% of the cost of the home improvements, whether its for new windows, insulation, or air conditioning, up to $1,500 back into your bank account. 

 

The Champaign IL Land Connection Farmer's Market Update!

by Rose Price

                         

It's hard to believe that we are in our inaugural year of the Champaign Farmer's Market because it is going strong already...as if we had been here for years!  The people of the Champaign/Urbana area had been wanting a Farmer's Market that was central to the downtown Champaign area for quite some time, and boy are they showing their support!

Personally, I couldn't be happier. The vendors are all exceptional, the produce is absolutely amazing and all the products that have been brought to the market are truly incredible. Whether you are looking for fruits & vegetables, meats, fish or poultry, or the wares of the many talented artisans that set-up in the market weekly...you will never be disappointed!  The quality and care that is put into every single item in this Farmer's Market is evident at each of the Vendor's booths.

Right now is Strawberry season in Champaign County! Are you a berry lover? You must come on down to the market tomorrow and try some of these scrumptious berries. I take them home and eat them just as they are...although I do know that some people prefer to use them to bake some yummy items or turn them into jellies and jams. I'm all for that too!  And if you'd like to drop some off, I'd be a very happy recipient, I'm just not very good at doing all of that stuff.

Purple Kohlrabi and Tomato's have made a show the last week and are anticipated in larger quantities this week.  All in all, I can't wait to stroll through the market and check out all the goodies that await.  

If you get the chance, make sure to come downtown and take a look.  The Market takes place every Tuesday from 4:00- 7:00 pm in Parking Lot M at 310- 330 N. Neil St, downtown Champaign IL.  If you need directions, give me a call, I'd be happy to help you along your way.

Reminder:  Don't forget to collect all your Farm Fresh Recipe cards when you're at the market!

Farm Fresh Recipe Link

Have a POWERFUL afternoon!

 


YES IT'S BACK!!!

COME TO THE LARGEST SODA TASTING IN AMERICA

The mission of the festival is to expand your taste bud's exposure to flavorful soda pop while providing a unique festival experience with the backdrop of Main Street USA Americana; inviting to young and old bringing generations upon generations back to downtown America 

HOW IT WORKS: Tasting Soda is only a quarter each, but there are VIP tickets available for you Fizz Heads out there.  The ticket includes a commemorative tasting glass and UNLIMITED soda tastings through the day, plus a bag full of goodies from the sponsors!

It doesn't stop at soda.  This fest promises to bring out the inner foodie in all of the attendees, with award winning BBQ, wood fired pizza, all natural meats and more.  There is also a BBQ cook off for the die-hards.  

MORE:  This year there will be 2 Car events, a CU Folk and Roots Festival and loads of kids activities!  The kids will even have inflatable games that are interactive, provided by our very own Orpheum Children's Museum!  Balloon artist- with Massive bubbles,since it was such a huge hit with kids in 2014, even a concert for the kids will be performed. 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAP OF THE FESTIVAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VENDOR LAYOUT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REMINDER: It is a family friendly event and as such the only bubbles for drinking will be of the sweet syrupy kind. 

So, bring your friends and family to one of this year's "can't miss" events!

 

Taking a queue from the Blockbuster Feature Film, Fast & Furious - the last in the series, is the best way to describe the Champaign/Urbana Real Estate market

April saw gains in the Existing Home Sales Market of Owner Occupied Homes by 11.4%, in fact owner-occupied buyers accounted for 63.2% of all residential single family home and condo sales in the first quarter of 2013. This is a switch in the marketplace, especially in places like Champaign/Urbana from the investor sector of the market. 

But this isn't the BEST part! The housing market in the our area is HOT and inventory is moving fast and furiously, so this is what you need to know: (and the Fast & Furious Soundtrack to go with it!)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK ON THIS LINK OR THE PHOTO /to listen to the Fast & Furious Soundtrack

WHAT IS GETTING LOW? Listings spent 10 fewer days on the market in April than in March and are expected to spend even fewer days in May!

HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT? When a market is moving this fast, you need to decide a few things up front right away. Seventy-eight percent of home searches start on the Web, and 90% of buyers use the Internet at some point during the search and buying process.  Review's show that traffic, searches, and listing views are up more than 35% over last year. 

With 3 million jobs created and close to 1.5 million new households formed in the past 12 months.  More & more people want a new Champaign/Urbana area home of their own, and they want it now and they want it bad. The only bad news is that inventory is low, so finding the "home of their dreams" is going to be hard....testing their patience! This was the #1 problem for buyers in April- low inventory & not finding the home that they really liked and met their needs!  

So you need to decide... What you want, What you are able to afford, Where you want to live, and What you want in a home & neighborhood.  Lastly the big question....What are you willing to give up, if  you find the home you are really looking for?

"SEE YOU AGAIN.....FAMILIES ALL WE'VE GOT"  Although this song is obviously a moving tribute to the movies lost star, Paul Walker, the words aptly fit into our world of homes so well. HOME is where our family's heart and soul reside. It is the nucleus of our everyday lives and where we share our lives with each other. So it's no wonder that Buying A Home remains the American Dream and why so many people are STILL making it the #1 priority for themselves and their families. With the market rebounding back, interest rates still near historic lows and more homes coming onto the Champaign/Urbana market weekly....this IS THE TIME TO MAKE YOUR DREAM OF OWNING A HOME A REALITY!

If you are looking to move-up into that DREAM HOME, or downsize into a more manageable home now that the kids have grown....NOW IS THE TIME! With all the Real Estate Guru's reporting, these numbers will NOT hold for long and we will not see them this low for a long time to come. Don't miss your chance, come in and talk with me today and we'll find you the home that suits you wants & needs before the market turns again.

You can also search any homes directly from my website at: Search Homes for Sale Champaign IL

Search Homes For Sale Urbana IL   Search Homes For Sale Monticello IL  Search Homes For Sale Savoy IL

*Realtor com Blog information 2015

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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