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Plant a New Investment

by Rose Price

Looking for a simple way to add beauty and value to your home? Plant a tree! There are a wide variety of trees native to Illinois, but making the best choice takes a little work. Adding a healthy, beautiful tree is an excellent investment in your home’s value.

First of all, you’ll want to have a good assessment of the quality of the soil where you want to plant the tree. The pH balance of your soil, for example, can make the difference between a beautiful tree and a dead eyesore. Soil testers can be purchased at most lawn and garden centers.

You’ll also need to know how well-drained the planting area is before you put the tree in the ground. Too much water in the soil can cause problems for the roots. Adding bark mulch around the base of the tree will help add nitrogen to the soil. And wrapping trees in the fall and winter will protect them against the cold and deer.

The University of Illinois Extension has a wonderful website filled with information about trees you might want to consider. You can use the site to filter trees by size, tolerance to different conditions, exposure and use. It also contains useful warnings about pests specific to central Illinois.

Whatever your choice is, you’ll probably want to consult with a local garden center or tree farm to confirm you’re making a good decision. Do you have a favorite tree? Send me a picture! Plant a tree, invest in your home’s value, and make Illinois just a little more beautiful.

Rose Price, CIPS, CRP
Prudential Landmark Real Estate
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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy Andrew Griffith/flickr.com

A World of Shoes!

by Rose Price

You know you love them, and now you can see dozens of pairs of shoes from around the world and representing a variety of cultures and purposes. A World of Shoes is an exhibit this fall at the Spurlock Museum's Campbell Gallery. The main themes of the exhibit all begin with the letter “S:” Sports, Style, Soul, Service, Substance, Self, and Sensuality. There are a pair of animal shoes from The Museum of the Grand Prairie in Mahomet, a pair of Weary Willie clown shoes worn by renowned entertainer Emmett Kelly from the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, as well as shoes worn by Shinto priests in Hawai’i!

The exhibit is open every day except Monday and will run through February.

  • Tuesday - Noon to 5pm
  • Wednesday - 9am to 5pm
  • Thursday - 9am to 5pm
  • Friday - 9am to 5pm
  • Saturday 10am to 4pm
  • Sunday - Noon to 4pm

The Spurlock Museum is located at 600 South Gregory [map], just across the street east of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana.

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

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Photo courtesy tlindenbaum/flickr.com

DIY Painting: Ceilings and Walls

by Rose Price

Previously, we’ve talked about how a new coat of a paint is vital when you’re planning to sell your home. But, you may decide that the expense of hiring a professional painter is too much when you can do most, if not all, of the work  yourself.  In the first part of this series, we looked at the steps you need to take before you dip a brush into a can of paint. Today, we’re going to get to work painting.

The first stage of paint is treating the surface with a coat of primer. The primer protects the surface, gives the paint something to adhere to and helps prevent stains. The guidelines below work for both the primer and paint.

Wait! Put the brush down for a second. You’ve moved the furniture out of the room, or pulled it away from the walls. You need to use drop cloths or tarps to cover the flooring and any furniture still in the room. Murphy’s law says if you leave something unprotected, it will wind up with paint drops on it. Anywhere on the walls and along the edges of a ceiling where you don’t want paint splatters needs to be covered with strips of painters tape. Also, go ahead and make sure you have cleaning supplies on-hand just in case.

Okay, let’s get to work. If you’re going to paint the ceiling, and that’s usually a good idea, do that first.  Again, these guidelines work for both the ceilings and the walls. The first steps here is to use a trim brush to outline the edges of the ceiling. You’ll want a border about three inches wide. When that’s done, move on to the roller and the rest of the surface.

You’re going to pour the out the paint into a roller pan. Make sure you don’t overfill the pan: Fill it so they paint just touches the grated part of the pan.  Depending on where you’re painting, you may need to work on a ladder or with an extension pole. Dampen the roller with water for latex paint or paint thinner for oil paints. Coat the brush completely with paint, and then roll it against the grate to distribute it and squeeze out and excess.

Using a zig-zag motion, cover an area three to four feet square. Then roll over the same area in straight lines. Make sure to overlay the edges of previously painted areas to reduce visible lines when the paint is dry.  Once you’ve completely covered the surface you’re working on, move to another area and let the first dry.

You’ll want to let the painted surfaces dry before you apply a second coat, which will ensure the paint isn’t too thin or missing in places. Don’t remove your drop cloths or tape until you’re sure there aren’t any spots that need touch-ups.

The next part of your painting project is to tackle the door frames, window frames and molding. We’ll talk about that and cleaning up in an upcoming blog post. So for now, get to work on your walls. That way, when you call me to help you sell your home, we’ll already be ahead of the competition!

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 theunquietlibrarian/flickr.com

Celebrate Oktoberfest in Champaign

by Rose Price

Drag out the lederhosen! It's never too early for Oktoberfest, and Destihl in Champaign will begin the party on Saturday afternoon at 4pm.  Champaign Mayor Don Gerard will do the honors by tapping the first keg at 4:30pm. You'll be able to compete in the best dressed and best traditional costume contests, as well as the Stein holding contest. Bavarian cuisine on the menu all day, and you'll enjoy music from the Maria Merkelo Polka Trio, the Peoria Area Accordion Club and the Killborn Alley Blues Band. Destihl is located at 301 North Neil Street in Champaign [map].

Did you know this? Oktoberfest dates back to 1810 and the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese in Munich!

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

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Photo courtesy wikimedia.org

DIY Painting: Getting Started

by Rose Price

Many people know that painting is one of the easier home improvement efforts you can make yourself. If you have the time, and doing it right does take time, then you can save a lot of money if you can do at least the basics yourself. And that's what we're talking about today, giving your rooms a face-lift without the expense of painting contractors.

What are you painting and how do you want it to look when you're finished? Color is beyond the scope of this discussion, so let's wrap up that point by saying that unless you're going to live with the color for a good, long time, don't get  too crazy: You'll wind up having to tone it down when you decide to sell.  

You probably know there are a variety of interior paint types you can work with, but in general, you're going to use a flat, non-reflective finish on the main walls and semi-gloss or gloss finish on trim, moulding, baseboards, and door and window frames. You'll get great advice for your particular situation from the folks at your local paint store or in the painting section of Lowes or Home Depot.

How much paint to you need? You'll need to determine how many square feet you'll need to cover. Simply measure the height and width of each wall (in feet) and multiple those numbers together. If you have a lot of windows or doors along the wall, you'll want to subtract the square feet they take up from the total square feet. The paint can itself should tell you how many square feet it will cover.  Remember, paint left over is great for when you need to do repairs or touch-ups later!

You'll also need the tools to do the job: Brushes, rollers, roller tray, painter's tape and drop clothes. Don't skimp on these items - the quality will make a difference! Make sure you have a sturdy ladder. And grab some  face masks, because breathing those fumes isn't good for anyone! For more on the tools you'll need, here's expert painter Grady Johnson:

Before you start painting, you'll need to ensure your walls are ready. You're going to have big problems if you don't take care here. You need the painting surface to be in great shape, and that means fixing holes or other damage, and make sure the wall is free of dust and debris. You're going to also need to make sure you have plenty of space to work in and that the floor and any items in the room are properly protected with drop cloths.

For more details, let me suggest these articles on Sherwin-Williams.com, or the TLC network's articles on HowStuffWorks.com. And stay tuned here for the next step, actually putting the paint on the walls!

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 Wuertele/flickr.com

Savoy Orchard Days Festival

by Rose Price

The Savoy Orchard Days Festival kicks off Friday and offers a weekend of family-friendly fun. You'll be treated to a vendor fair, carnival rides, a video game trailer, and of course, food and lots of live music Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday, get your exercise with the 5K Run/Walk, the "Hardest Finish in Champaign County," and the 1K Youth Fun Run. Registration for the race starts at 6:45am. And an antique car and truck show will be held Saturday.

Friday Live Music

  • 7:00pm - The Brat Pack
  • 9:00pm - Ryan Ideus and Feudin' Hillbillys

Saturday Live Music

  • 6:00pm - The Prairie Dogs
  • 7:30pm - The Boat Drunks
  • 10:00pm - The Sugar Prophets

The Festival is located at 203 East Church Street in Savoy [map].

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

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This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

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

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

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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