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Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Heart Set on Wallpaper,Huh?

by The Jana Caudill Team

Need to tear down that old, peeling, yellowing wallpaper?  Considering repapering a room?

Ugh.  Just the thought of taking on a wallpapering project is enough to have you wondering if you’re a glutton for punishment.  Wallpapering a room, especially if you have to remove old deteriorating paper first conjures up nightmares of uneven patterns, paste in your hair, and vanishing weekends.

Let’s face it, most of us are not professional contractors, so, as with most home repair/remodel projects the more time you put into preparation the greater the chances your project will go smoothly with little to no headaches.  That means the first thing on your supplies list is Patience with a capitol “P,” and with wallpapering, the second item on your list is, like it or not, Time, yes with a capitol “T.”  Be realistic with how long your project may take.  Anything worth doing is worth doing right.  Take your time.  Be patient.  Sound like something your parents used to say?

When removing old wallpaper the trick is in using a perforator so when you apply your glue dissolving solution the solution can penetrate the paper and do its job.  You have to allow the solution sufficient time to work its way in before you start pulling the paper down.  This is the part where I stress the first item on your supply list again.  You have to be patient with this process.  The old paper may come down easily in large strips.  Then again, you may have to use your scraper to do some additional coaxing.  Be patient.  You don’t want to scar the wall underneath and turn your wallpaper job into something bigger and more time consuming.

Once your surface is prepared, and that means the wall is not only dry but dust free, you are ready to start papering.  Make sure you have all the supplies you need using this project list, then watch this video on great tips for cutting proper lengths of paper and hanging the wallpaper.

Here are more great do-it-yourself articles!

Combating Lead-Based Paint

by The Jana Caudill Team

Most homes built before 1960 contain paint with dangerously high levels of lead.  Many homes built as late as 1978 contain some level of lead in their painted surfaces.  This doesn’t mean only interior and exterior painted walls though.  Other common areas for lead-based paint in older homes are window frames.

There is a significant health threat by ingesting particles of lead-based paint, most often by inhaling dust from dry-scraped lead-based painted surfaces.  The danger is compounded for infants, children, and even unborn fetuses as the growing body more readily absorbs and is damaged by the lead.

If you are undergoing a remodeling or refurbishing job and have old lead-based paint to deal with, here are a few safeguarding tips and links going into greater detail to help you mitigate the potential negative impact on your family’s health.

  1. Seal off and ventilate remodeling areas separately from the rest of the living areas in your home.
  2. If it is in good condition, leave lead-based paint alone!  Lead paint in good condition poses little threat.  It is a surface that is worn, potentially from rubbing against itself like in a window frame that creates the harmful dust.
  3. Keep work areas clean, and avoid tracking paint dust through the house on your clothing or work boots.
  4. Read the EPA’s pamphlet titled “The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right” here.

If your home was built in 1978 or earlier (really, if your builder’s permit was issued in 1978 or earlier) you owe it to your family to observe these safety tips before beginning any project that could expose them to potentially lethal levels of airborne lead through lead-based paint.

Check out our blog for more how to tips for Do-It-Yourselfers.

Financial Planning and Your Home Purchase

by The Jana Caudill Team

Planning on buying a home over the next two, three, five years?  Take the time now to put a sound financial plan in place that will set you up for success when you’re ready to make your home purchase.

SAVE for your down payment.  The days of no money down home purchases are gone, at least for the foreseeable future.  And coming up with enough money to satisfy the bank who is considering issuing you a mortgage doesn’t happen overnight.  What would it be like if you took an extra twenty, forty, even a hundred dollars out of your monthly salary and socked it away toward your down payment?  Saving money is a long term endeavor so you need to start now.  A smart person (I fail now to remember who it was) once said, “You’ll know you’re doing a good job saving money when it starts to hurt a little.”

CUT expenses.  In order to increase your capacity to save money you either have to make more money or cut back on the money you spend.  The best way to go from no savings to a nice sized down payment on a home is to look at your budget and make little cuts here and there.  Ask yourself, where am I spending my income right now?  How much money can I save by making my own coffee and skipping that daily stop at Starbucks?  What about fast food?  Try cooking at home one or two more times a week.  Cook enough so you have plenty of leftovers to take to work the next day for lunch instead of opting to super-size the number 5 at the drive-thru.  Cutting expenses and saving go hand in hand.

MONITOR your credit scores.  You’ve cut back on your spending.  You have even found a way to stick another fifty dollars under the mattress every month for the down payment.  None of this does you any good if your credit scores are in the tank.  Keep a close eye on your scores!  Make your payments on time.  That 30-, 60-, 90-day late payment can stick around to haunt you for some time!  No bank will give you a mortgage if they see you are unable to handle the bills you already have.  Get your free annual credit report here.  This report will show you your scores from the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.  Then when you’re ready to speak to a reputable Realtor your family finances will not hinder you when they help you find your dream home.

Your Children and the Big Move

by The Jana Caudill Team

Moving is stressful.  There’s packing and unpacking; change of address cards to be sent and notice to the Post Office; the last minute garage or yard sale; transfer or closing and opening of utility accounts; closing paperwork on the home you’re selling and the home you’re buying; inspections, repairs, allowances; family finances…  And on and on.  How do you keep it all straight?  Here’s a great checklist starting at two months prior to the move.

But what about your kids?  If you’re stressed out imagine what’s going on in their young minds:  Will I make new friends?  Will I hate the school?  Does anyone else like baseball as much as I do?  How far away is McDonalds?  I’ll never remember my new phone number, address, locker combination…  They won’t be concerned about the same things as Mom and Dad.  They will worry about things that directly affect them.

How do you settle your children’s nerves during a move?  Give them an opportunity to participate by working on small projects that address their own personal needs.  Children of any age can help pack boxes.  Have them label their own boxes so they get placed in their new room in the new house.  Have them draw out a plan for their new room, or make a list of things they want to learn from their parents about their new town before they get there.

Pack plenty of music, movies, and games if you have a long cross country drive to your destination.  Keeping kids entertained when cooped up in a car all day goes a long way in soothing their nerves as well as Mom’s and Dad’s.  And don’t forget the pets!  Now that you have arrived, here are some great ideas for the whole family once you get settled in.

The Cost (And Benefit) of Home Ownership Today

by The Jana Caudill Team

Everyone generally knows one of the great benefits of homeownership is the mortgage interest write off come tax time every April.  The question is how does that benefit translate in real dollars?  Tough question.  The answer is, “It depends.”  Whether you saved a couple hundred or a couple thousand dollars with the write off this past year there are many more factors involved for the home-renter considering becoming a home owner if you want a true picture of the bottom line benefit of homeownership.  Some of those factors already have dollar signs attached to them: current monthly rental payment, purchase price of home, mortgage interest rate, length of loan, etc.  There is a buying versus renting tool available here at the Ginnie Mae website to help you factor in all those numbers for a better picture of your specific situation.

Here’s a great article discussing those hard number factors as well as some of the more subjective dynamics like pride of ownership, dealing with landlords, long term plans, and the volatility of the real estate and mortgage markets.

Check our blog page for more informative personal finance articles, and happy house hunting!

Caulking Bathroom Fixtures

by The Jana Caudill Team

Cracked and pealing caulk around kitchen and bathroom fixtures can cause more problems down the road if not addressed right away.  If improperly sealed against moisture, water can get between the fixtures and adjacent walls, and if the wall stays damp long enough soon you will be dealing with bigger issues, mold and rot.  Considering faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms are used multiple times every day, if you notice a caulk problem you’d be better off to fix it sooner rather than later.

Replacing caulk is one of the simpler home repairs you can do on your own.  Here is a video on the basics.  Supplies you will need are a putty knife, a tube of caulk and caulking gun, household cleaner, chlorine bleach, and scissors.

First peel away the old caulk using the putty knife.  Then use household cleaner to clean the surface, adding bleach to take care of any mildew.  Dry the joint where you will lay down the new caulk thoroughly.  You don’t want to seal any moisture in.  Put down a new bead of caulk following instructions on the package.  Check out this step by step video illustrating a bathtub project.

Visit our blog page for more great articles including additional do-it-yourself home repair projects.

Moving Across Country With Pets

by The Jana Caudill Team

We love our pets as part of the family, and just as moving can be overwhelming at times for Mom, Dad, Billy, and Suzy, don’t forget this short “Have to” list for our four-legged family members.  With just a few steps you can set Rover and Fluffy up for their own successful relocation and ensure none of the following important details fall through the cracks.

First, call the state Veterinarian’s office or Department of Agriculture in the state you are moving to.  Check the bottom of the page at this link for most states’ contact information.  Ask for the laws and regulations concerning the types of pets you will be relocating with, keeping in mind the more exotic your pet the more restrictions you may be facing.  This quick call will let you know everything you are going to need, including medical documentation, to license your pets in your new state.

Call your current Veterinarian for copies of medical records including an up to date list of vaccinations.  The reason?  See paragraph above.  You’ll want to have all your paperwork in order as each state has its own set of required documentation for incoming pets.

Lastly, make sure all animals are tagged with identifying information, including phone number, and that you have photographs handy of each pet should a certain someone wander off while the family takes a break at a highway rest stop.  Many lost pets have been known to find their way home after getting lost.  Not so during a move.  Take the time to make sure the whole family arrives safe and sound at your new home on move in day.

Here’s another handy checklist to assure a smooth move for your pets, and don’t forget to check our resource pages for more buyer and seller tips!

Showing Your Home When You Own Pets

by The Jana Caudill Team

You love your pets.  Your neighbors love their pets.  That doesn’t necessarily mean your neighbors love your pets.  The same goes for prospective buyers considering making your home their new home.

When it comes to pets and show shape for your home here’s a simple rule of thumb: Less is better, none is best.  We’re talking about the evidence!  A best case scenario would be to have your pooch or kitty stay with a neighbor, friend or relative during showings.  Be sure all food and water bowls are picked up and put away.  The same goes for toys, kennels, cat boxes, etc.  Get them in the garage or outside on the side of the house.  Pictures of you and the family pet?  Take them off walls and desks and put them in dresser drawers.  Then vacuum!  Try to minimalize or eliminate any evidence that there are pets sharing your home.  Extreme?  Maybe.  Just remember this doesn’t mean you don’t love your furry friends.  All you are doing is removing any hesitation that might come up for a homebuyer upon discovering there is a German Shepherd living in the room where they envision putting their baby nursery.

It’s not always feasible to completely eradicate all signs of pets.  Sure you can pick up, put away, clean, vacuum and even shampoo carpets.  But what about the animals themselves?  If you don’t have another loving home where Fido can take a vacation while your home is on the market, think adventure!  Whether it’s you, a neighborhood teenager you trust, or the stay at home Mom or Pop next door, have someone available to step in at a moment’s notice and take your pets out of your house, either for a walk or just a short visit, so buyers can focus on your home and not on your pets.

Education and Preapproval, The First Step

by The Jana Caudill Team

Whether you’re a first time home buyer or you’ve been through the home buying process many times before, do yourself a favor.  Make speaking to a mortgage lender one of your first priorities when beginning your new house hunt.

Unless you have just come into a windfall of cash you’re probably like the rest of us and need to get a mortgage in order to move into that dream house.  There are many reasons for speaking to a mortgage lender or mortgage broker up front.  A professional who deals everyday in these types of loans will know what the current rates are.  They will take into consideration your credit scores, monthly income, available savings for a down payment, and best available interest rate based on all your information to come up with the loan amount you qualify for.

Please understand the primary benefit here: education.  This is a process not to be taken lightly.  The lender’s job is not to put you into the biggest house (and by association the biggest loan) possible.  Their job is to counsel.  Through the interview process they learn about your financial situation and determine your expected ability to repay the loan over the five, fifteen, and most common thirty year term.  The lender can also let you know whether there are some items on your credit reports that are getting in the way of your getting a better interest rate, or simply getting in the way of your qualifying for the loan altogether.

The mortgage market has changed over the last few years, and it has become more difficult to get that perfect loan.  Today you need more money for the down payment than you may have needed in the past, and guidelines for qualification are stricter than ever.  Speak to a mortgage professional you trust.  If you don’t have one, speak to friends, family and neighbors.  Ask who they have used in the past and what the experience was like.  Ask your friendly neighborhood Realtor® for a list of reputable candidates.  The last thing you want to happen is to find your dream home, write and have your offer accepted by the sellers, then discover you can’t get the mortgage to complete the purchase.  Get prequalified first, and house hunt with confidence.

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Contact Information

Photo of The Jana Caudill Team Real Estate
The Jana Caudill Team
Redkey Realty Leaders
503 East Summit St., Suite 2
Crown Point IN 46307
219-661-1256
Fax: 219-663-5949