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FALL HOME MAINTENANCE TIPS FOR YOUR CHAMPAIGN/URBANA HOME

by Rose Price
It's that time of year ... before we know it the Champaign/Urbana area will be blanketed with the beautiful colors of red, orange, and gold and the temperatures will be dipping lower. That means we need to get our butts in gear and start preparing our homes to handle the demands of the upcoming cooler season. Below is a checklist of the most common Home Maintenance items that need to be done in the fall. The great news is, you can easily get them done on a weekend....and you'll be able to save a little money by tackling them now.
 

 

1. Paging Dr Heat!........It's time to get your furnace a physical. Each year you need to clean and /or replace furnace filters and wipe down any dust that has accumulated around the unit. If you hear any screeching or whines, or unusual noises with the system, you should call in to have a service technician come out and check the unit before winter season sets in. If you would like a recommendation, you can call me directly or follow this link to the people I work with and recommend: Rose's Recommended Providers.

2. Time To Get Your Mind In The Gutters! Inspect your gutters and downspouts for any clogs, and clean out the path thoroughly. Make sure this is done once the leaves are completely down from the trees at the end of the season as well. Keeping the gutters cleaned ensures that your home will not incur exterior damage to foundation walls or water in the basement. You may want to invest in mesh coverings for your gutters that will prevent any leaves or other debris from collecting in them in the future.

3. Get Yourself A View From The Top! Now that we're already talking about the top of the house we might as well stay there. It's very important to check your roof for damaged shingles before entering the winter season. Nothing is worse for a homeowner than a small drip that turns into a full blown disaster by the time they realize it's a hole in the roof! So take the time to scan the entire roof, top to bottom, looking for cracks, wind damage, curling of shingles, ones completely gone, damage to the metal flashing, etc. Once you have done your evaluation, have it repaired as soon as possible. Again, if you find yourself in need of a professional Roofer, give me a call or follow this link:  Rose's Recommended Providers.

4. Walk the Walk Baby! You really need to take a walk around your home, inspection every walkway surface. Damaged walkways are a hazard everyday, but bad weather makes them even more dangerous. Look for large cracks, uneven payment, loose bricks or pavers, loose railings, etc. Once you've made your list head over to your local home improvement store and get to work. The little time it takes to fix could potentially save you thousands in bills later on.

5. CHILL OUT.....or maybe we should just say FREEZE! Make sure to shut off all your exterior irrigation systems and drain the lines of the systems and hoses. Make sure to use a styrofoam faucet cover for your outdoor faucets and make sure all valves are in the closed and off position.

6. Gather 'Round the Fire. Fall and Winter are great for having fires in the fireplace, but making sure you have cleaned out the soot and creosote buildup is critical. It is also important to clean out any cobwebs and check for any bird nests or any other unwanted pests. I recommend calling in a professional if you have any questions at all.

7. Keeping the OTHER Wood fires Burning. Wood-burning stoves have made a huge comeback over the past couple years, but like fireplaces, need to be inspected to run efficiently and safely. Be sure to read and operate by the instruction manual and maintenance as required.

8. I'm Sealing Away.... This can be a big job, but a very necessary one that can help save some green on the heating bills for the year! Walk through your home and seal any gaps and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping or caulk. If you are going to be using caulk- especially in places like joints, corners, & places protruding from the wall- this will need to be done before the temperatures get too cool.

9. Keep it Humming! With winters dry air many of us keep the humidifier going on a constant rotation. To ensure efficient operation make sure to clean the plates or pads every 30 days or as recommended by the manufacturer. This also helps cut down on re-circulating moisture into the air that has any mold or bacteria in it that has built up in the humidifier itself.

10. Ready....Stop, now Reverse. Help with your heating bills by changing the direction of your ceiling fans. Reverse the direction of the fans and create an upward draft that redistributes the warm air from the ceiling. Also make sure to clean the blades of the fan regularly with a soapy water mixture. Dust and bacteria builds up on the blades daily and regular use also moves that through the air as well.

11. It's a Safety Dance. Make sure your family is safe. A home safety check is a ritual that should be done twice annually in every household. Test your Smoke Detectors & CO Monitors, Inspect or Install Fire Extinguishers, Review or Make a Fire Escape Plan for your Family and rid your home of any fire hazards.

12. A Few Final Notes...... Make sure to embrace the season! Put up a great fall wreath on the front door, buy a few Mums from a local store. Visit a local orchard and pick some apples for baking a yummy Apple Pie and get ready for the pumpkins!  

3 Questions to Ask Before Your Kitchen Remodel

by Rose Price

1. Clean Your Furnace

A clean furnace is an efficient and happy furnace. If you’re looking to save money on energy bills, you should start with having your furnace checked and cleaned. Clearing dust and other build up out of the furnace will help the furnace more effectively heat your home during the winter months.

2. Change Your Air Filter
Air filters need to be changed on your furnace regularly. Dirty filters block airflow and can result in system failures and pollutants in your home. So for about $20 keep your home furnace running efficiently and pollutants to a minimum.

3. Use Your Ceiling Fans
While this may sound counter-intuitive, using your ceiling fans during the winter helps push that warm air lingering on your base floor upwards into the living areas of your home. You'll ultimately save money by not having to hike up that temperature!

4. Use Washing Machines and Dishwashers Wisely
When doing your laundry, make sure you are doing only "full" loads at any given time.  Laundering daily with partial loads ends up wasting energy!

5. Use Compact fluorescent Lighting
Fluorescent lighting has improved greatly over the past few years and they use half of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last longer!

6. Keep Shades Up and Blinds Open
Open up those blinds and shades and harness the natural energy and light from the sun!  This also cuts down on heating costs and closing them at night keeps the temperatures in the house consistent.

7. Insulate Your Water Heater
Insulation is important in older water heaters because it helps retain heat and reduces energy bills.  Also, remember to change the mode of your unit if you will be gone from the home for more than several days.

8. Install and Use a Programmable Thermostat
If you're goal is to truly save money this winter season, then switch out those old thermostats for the new programmable ones. They allow you to program your heat by individual floors and while you sleep.  Easy to install and lowers energy costs.

9. Light A Candle
Light a candle on a windy day and walk through your home looking for air leaks.  Once you've identified them;  seal the areas so that you won't sending your heat right out the door!

10. Ensure Duct Work is Properly Sealed
Hot and cold air alike can be lost in improperly sealed and insulated duct work. Our expert staff can assist with repairing or replacing your duct work with super efficient duct work to help cut your yearly home comfort expense.

Home Warranties....Good? Or Good For Nothing?

by Rose Price

Home Warranties are a service contract to complete future repairs/ or replacement on household appliances and systems. The interest in Home Warranties seem to go in cycles, but bottom line- they do help both the seller and buyer. Once misconception about Home Warranties is that they are only available for "single family" homes. Untrue- they can also be purchased to protect appliances and systems in condo's, townhomes, vacation homes, multi-family homes and rental properties.

What do Home Warranties typically cover? Most policies cover the cost to repair/ or replace the following:

*Furnaces

* Air Conditioning Systems

* Plumbing & Electrical Systems

* Dishwashers

* Ovens

Garbage Disposals

* Refrigerators

* Water Heaters

and so much more.

Because these items are not typically covered in a Homeowners Insurance Policy, the cost to repair/replace even one item, more than pays for the cost of the warranty itself.  And having one in place gives your buyer an added level of protection and comfort knowing that if something should go wrong with any of these....that it will be covered.  This is another enhancement to the Homeowners Insurance Policies.

If you're a seller, you should know that research from the National Home Warranty Association estimates that, on average, listings with home warranties sell 50% faster than homes without warranties. And Business Week Magazine indicated that homes with home warranties sell at a premium of 3% in higher price.

Even better...these claims are extremely easy to use! Here are the simple steps you would take to file a claim:

  • When a covered appliance or system fails, the home owner calls the Home Warranty company.
  • The Home Warranty company then confirms that the failure is on a covered system or appliance.
  • If the system is eligible, the home warranty company selects a pre-screened service provider from its roster and asks them to make an appointment with the homeowner.
  • When the service provider arrives at the home they will diagnose the problem and call the Warranty company who will then authorize the claim.
  • The homeowner usually pays a service fee to the contractor, and the Home Warranty company pays for the balance of the repair.

‚ÄčFor more information on Home Warranties or any of your Real Estate questions or needs, give me a call and I'll be happy to assist you!

 

Most Common Fall Improvements for Homeowners This Season

by Rose Price

With over half of all homeowners planning to make some type of improvement to their home this year, the question is, what exactly are they changing? Homeowners are choosing to wait until the high temperatures break and cooler weather hits to begin outdoor work, and home improvement companies are looking to unload new products to prepare for the new season, allowing homeowners to grab some great deals as autumn begins.

The most common fall home improvement projects include fencing, interior and exterior painting, window work, flooring, and roof repair, all of which are in preparation for the cold winter weather when home improvement projects are not at the top of your priority list. By getting these projects done before winter, you can put your home improvement projects to rest until spring without worrying about leaky roofs, cold air coming through cracks in the windows, and maintaining the value of your home with fencing and a fresh coat of paint.

The cooler autumn temperatures make for the perfect time to focus more on the home and any remodeling projects, Such projects like adding in bamboo or aluminum fencing, not only increases your family's security, but the value of your home. Now that autumn is officially here, people are likely beginning to get these home improvement projects rolling.

Projects such as flooring, such as wood, can only be done during certain months of the year because certain types of flooring employ adhesives that need temperatures inside the home to be within a certain range, usually between 70 and 80 degrees. Attempting to employ these types of flooring in the winter can make it difficult for the flooring to dry and bond, which will prove problematic down the road.

Fall offers the perfect time to increase the security of your home, particularly for fencing, as the ground is not too hard to work with.
Painting provides a pungent scent and sometimes toxic fumes, making fall the perfect time for painting. Without the humidity, paint can dry quickly, keeping the aromas of the paint to a minimum.

How To Get Your Home Ready For Winter

by Rose Price

With the cold months looming ahead, you've gotten your sweaters, coats and gloves out of your storage bins;  but what have you done to prepare your house for the brutal months ahead?

Readying your house for winter is just as important as preparing yourself.  So here are some tips to get you started:

1) Make sure you have blocked any "leaks" in your home.  This can be your windows, doorways, even electrical outlets on outer walls.  Get your weather stripping, door sweeps or caulking done both inside and out.

2) Clean out your gutters. Yep...cleaning out leaves and other debris that have gotten into the gutters, gives your home optimum drainage potential when snow and ice are gathered on your rooftop.

3) Check your furnace.  Sometimes overlooked by homeowners, but extremely important! Check for a prolonged smell when you turn it on, check and clean the filters each season, and have a professional clean and tune it before you need to use it on a daily basis.

4) Add insulation.  This may cost a little more than you want to spend, but adding insulation to your attic or leaky exterior walls, will save you a bundle on heating costs.

5) Check the duct work.  Did you know that you can lose up to 60% of your heated air if the ducts are not connected correctly, or are full of dust and other particles! 

6) Inspect your chimney. This is so important....doing the necessary cleaning and venting will not only close out leaks that may be present, but will also ensure that your fireplace is not a fire hazard.

7) Reverse those fans! When you reverse the direction of your ceiling fan from summer mode, you will force warm air downward, and keep it circulating throughout the home.

For more helpful tips make sure to visit my website regularly.

Landscaping and the Fall Selling Season

by Rose Price

Now that Fall has begun in the Champaign area, and the selling season is off to a terrific start, it's important to be mindful of the first impression a potential buyer has of your home.  Many interested buyers will drive by a home and neighborhood to get a feel for what living there would be like.  So you need to make sure that you've put your best foot forward and that means making sure the front of your home and it's landscaping are up to par and says "Welcome to our Home".

Although this is usually the last place you look to "tidy up", prospective buyers can be very particular about the landscaping of the home and may not even get  to the inside if they don't like what they see outside.  Therefore, it is important to make sure your landscape say's "this homeowner pay's attention to details and has kept up all the maintenance of this home".

First place to start...your lawn! Buyers love to see pretty green grass, regardless of season, so make sure you have kept the grass cut to a low manicured level- usually 3 inches, and have used seasonal seeding in areas that are sparse. Watering may be necessary with seeding or to perk it up, so water a few times if needed.  A few brown spots are bound to happen, and aren't the end of the world, you'll just make sure that the focal point is elsewhere.

Second, make sure you've edged your sidewalks and driveways, and taken care of any weeds that are lurking in and behind bushes and shrubs.  Using a Round Up type weed killer will save your knees , and will make sure you've gotten even the most stubborn weeds out of the way. It is also the season for those lovely Fall leaves to cover the ground, so be sure to rake on a consistent basis and bag the leaves as you go.

Third, make sure your shrubs and bushes are nicely trimmed, and pruned, if necessary. Nothing is worse that driving up to a home with bushes and shrubs that are overgrown. If you have wood chips or stones around these areas, you may want to add a few bags just to freshen them up. A little effort goes a long way with landscaping basics, and you'll be surprised how beautiful it will look.

Lastly, add a "pop" of color! Although we have beautiful colors in the trees, once leaves are on the ground they look pretty dingy, so look for some Fall flowers that will give you a nice spot of color and emphasize the entrance to the home. Chrysanthemums, Mums, Sunflowers , and Astors are all hearty Fall flowers and take minimum effort to keep them looking great.

Stage Your Champaign Home For Sale

by Rose Price

Extreme Home Staging 

Today's post is the first post in a new series that will address the power of "Staging" your Champaign - Urbana  home for sale. Staging your home is a proven strategy to help sell your Champaign Area home more quickly, and for a higher price.

What is Home Staging? 
Home staging is an applied art, for strategically presenting your Chesire home so that it appeals to the most Cheshire CT home buyers. A home staging strategy typically will include, but is not limited to: enhancing curb appeal, beautifying landscaping, improving entry ways, presenting key rooms,  rearranging furniture, adding or removing accessories. 
Excellent home staging, requires a unique staging plan for each home based on the potential buyer for the demographics of that Cheshire Area home's price range,  location, and style. An experienced, professional Cheshire Real Estate Agent, knows what Chehire, CT  home buyers want and can advise you on how to strategically highlight your home's best features. 
10 Home Staging Ideas To Sell Your Cheshire Home
Clutter MUST GO! The most important thing you can do to prepare your home for sale is to get rid of clutter. 
Furniture Arrangements There's a common belief that rooms will feel larger and be easier to use if all the furniture is pushed against the walls, but that isn't the case. Instead, furnish your space by floating furniture away from walls. 
Move it around Give yourself permission to move furniture, artwork and accessories among rooms on a whim. 
Transform Whole Rooms If you have a room that serves only to gather junk, repurpose it into something that will add to the value of your home. 
Lighting One of the things that make staged homes look so warm and welcoming is great lighting. 
Bigger is Better To make a room appear to be bigger than it is, paint it the same color as the adjacent room. 
Neutral and Appealing Painting a living room a fresh neutral color helps tone down any dated finishes in the space.
Experiment with Paint Color Don't be afraid to use dark paint in a powder room, dining room or bedroom. A deep tone on the walls can make the space more intimate, dramatic and cozy. 
Rearrange Pictures and Wall Hangings If your home is like most, the art is hung in a high line encircling each room. 
Rearrange, Add or Remove Accesories Mixing the right accessories can make a room more inviting. 
Add Fresh Flowers Staged homes are almost always graced with fresh flowers and pricey orchid arrangements, but you can get a similar effect simply by raiding your yard. 

What is Home Staging? 

Home staging is an applied art, for strategically presenting your Champaign home so that it appeals to the most Champaign IL and Urbana IL home buyers. A home staging strategy will typically include, but is not limited to: enhancing curb appeal, beautifying landscaping, improving entry ways, presenting key rooms, rearranging furniture, adding or removing accessories and more. Excellent home staging, requires a unique staging plan for each home based on the potential buyer, for a specific Champaign Area demographic, price range, location, style and floor plan.

An experienced, Professional Champaign Real Estate Expert, knows the Champaign, IL real estate market; what Champaign, IL  home buyers want, and can advise you on how to strategically highlight your home's best features. 

10 Home Staging Ideas To Sell Your Champaign, IL Home:

  1. Clutter MUST GO!   Removing all your clutter is the first thing you need to do!
  2. Furniture Arrangements Some people believe rooms will feel larger and easier to use if all the furniture is pushed against the walls, but that's not the case.  
  3. Transform Whole Rooms If you have a room that's gathered junk, change it and make it functional, to add value of your home. 
  4. Lighting Matters Lighting updates can make staged homes feel comfortable and welcoming. 
  5. Bigger is Better  Paint rooms the same color as an adjacent room, to create the feeling that the room is bigger.
  6. Neutral and Appealing  Tone down outdated finishes or paint by painting a living room a new, bright neutral color.
  7. Experiment with Paint Color  Deeper wall tones will make some areas more intimate & cozy. So it's OK to use dark paint in bathrooms, dining rooms or bedrooms. 
  8. Rearrange Pictures and Wall Hangings If your home is like most, the art is hung in a high line encircling each room. 
  9. Rearrange, Add or Remove Accessories Mixing the right accessories can make a room more inviting. 
  10. Add Fresh Flowers  Fresh flower arrangements, from a florist or your own yard make your home more appealing. 

In the coming weeks, I'll post detailed thoughts and ideas to help you use each of the categories on the list. 

 

6 Ways to Go Organic

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