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Packing for Your Move - Part 2

by The Jana Caudill Team

This is a continuation of our last blog, “Packing for Your Move - Part 1”.

  1. Use your move as an opportunity to de-clutter.  We all have stuff we have been hanging onto for far too long.  Clothes we no longer wear, or that have been out of style for decades; that old barbershop chair in the basement gathering dust; VHS tapes, rotary phones, vinyl record albums.  Some of it may very well be collectable.  Some of it may just be gathering dust.  Have a garage sale, and donate any leftover stuff.  Now’s the time to pull out everything that really has no business on the back of a moving truck, and no place in your new home.  Use the proceeds from your garage sale to buy pizza for lunch for your moving crew.
  2. Have a toolbox handy for taking apart bed frames, tightening loose screws, removing wall-hanging hardware, etc.  Be sure to have one or more box cutters in the tool set for unpacking, and be sure the toolbox is placed in a central location in your new home on move in day, like the kitchen, so you don’t have to look for tools when it comes time to reassemble bed frames, etc. at the end of an exhausting day.
  3. Use blankets to drape over delicate surfaces like electronics and furniture to prevent breakage and scratching.  Plastic garbage bags full of t-shirts or towels are excellent for stabilizing fragile items in the back of the moving truck, as are couch cushions and bed pillows.
  4. Ask for help.  Moving is by all means a daunting job, so don’t be shy.  Friends, neighbors, family – even the children!  If you’re worried about things getting broken then handle the computer monitor and your great-grandmother’s antique full-length mirror yourself.  Enlist more troops to handle the rest of the grunt work.  Children can help more than we often give them credit for.  They can carry smaller boxes, or at a minimum babysit the family dog in the back yard while the adults take care of all the lifting.  Kids love to feel included in all the excitement, and to have their own very special job assigned to them is all it takes.

This by no means is a comprehensive list of helpful tips to ensure a successful move for your family.  Check out this detailed checklist for more useful information.  And don’t forget to call on us when buying or selling in Northwest Indiana!

Packing for Your Move - Part 1

by The Jana Caudill Team

It takes more than boxes and tape for a successful move into a new home – it takes planning, organization, and a little help.  Here is the first of two beefy installments with some packing and moving tips that will ensure a minimum stress, minimum trouble, maximum efficiency move.

  1. Start early.  Begin saving empty boxes well in advance of the big day.  Visit local grocery stores and ask for their good used boxes, just be sure to take a pass on boxes that have produce residue or traces of odor.  Purchase good packing tape; duct tape doesn’t adhere very well to a cardboard surface.  You want to make sure what you put inside the box stays there until you’re ready to unpack.  Visit your dry cleaner and ask for some used plastic garment bags.  These can be used to protect clothing on hangers from dust, and tied off at one end they double as trash bags.
  2. Pack up any off-season belongings you may have first.  If you’re moving in June go ahead and pack up your Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations, and cold weather wardrobe.  The more you can get done ahead of time the better.
  3. Pack heavier items, like books or music CDs in smaller boxes; pack lighter items in larger boxes.  The fewer boxes you have to move the better, however you don’t want to pack boxes so heavy you risk a back injury.  Be sure to securely tape boxes as well.  We’ve already covered this, AND it bears mentioning again.  An over-packed box bursting open on its way to the moving truck is not the way to start moving day.
  4. When packing, label the box with a permanent marker for the room it is being moved into, not the room it is moving out of.  You may have two children currently sharing one room who will now each get their own bedroom in the new house, or you may have decided to store some items from your basement into your new spacious garage.  Label individual boxes for the appropriate destination room.

Check back next week for Part 2 of “Packing and the Move” for more tips.  In the mean time here’s a great comprehensive moving checklist to help keep important tasks from falling through the cracks.  And remember, whether you’re moving into, out of, or around Northwest Indiana we’re here to help.

Identity Theft Protection During the Holidays

by The Jana Caudill Team

Okay, so I’ll be the first to say it even though we’re all already thinking it: The holidays are right around the corner.  That’s right, it’s the most wonderful, chaotic, spiritual, emotional, hectic time of the year.  The decorations go up.  The decorations come down.  There’s meal planning, shopping, cooking and baking.  You’ll travel one week and host visitors the next.  You’ll spend time with friends, families, co-workers, and neighbors.  There’s the wrapping up of loose ends at the end of the school semester, and the end of the office quarter.  There’s wrapping gifts, which means more shopping…

Nowadays, like many places across the country, folks in Northwest Indiana shop online, but surprisingly only a very small percentage of identity theft cases occur as a result of online tampering, such as computer hacking.  More often than not it’s the same old-fashioned, live and in person thief that gets consumers in the most trouble.

However you spend your energy during the spirit of the season don’t neglect to heed these few tips that will help you keep from spending your January (and undoubtedly many more sad months to follow) cleaning up the fallout from having your identity stolen.

  1. Shred anything with personal information on it before throwing it out, including credit card and mortgage mail solicitations.  Thieves will dig through your garbage to find information they can use to open new credit accounts in your name that can end up costing you big.
  2. Keep your social security card, pass port, and any credit cards you don’t currently use at home.  This minimizes the amount of information a thief can get if they steal your purse or wallet.
  3. Take credit card receipts with you instead of leaving them behind.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the department store receipt for $100 or the coffee shop tab for $10.  If there’s ever a doubt, take it with you.
  4. Keep your virus and spyware software up to date and running (We had to get one computer tip in there).
  5. If you believe you have had your identity stolen don’t wait to get help.  Start here for information on common questions asked by people who suspect they have become victims of identity theft.

The Great American Garage

by The Jana Caudill Team

Here are three quick tips for freeing up space in your garage:

  1. Bicycle Racks.  Whether you have a lawn mower or a snow blower (or both) everyone has large, heavy equipment of some sort taking up valuable floor space in the garage.  Bicycles take up a good amount of space as well, but they are much lighter.  Install one of a variety of bicycle racks in your garage to get them up, off the ground, and out of the way.
  2. Clear Storage Bins.  Used cardboard boxes have always been a staple of garage and basement storage.  But even when the most detailed of us labels each box with its contents often it is still difficult to find what we’re looking for when the boxes are stored up high on shelves, in lofts, or up in the attic.  Try using clear bins for storage.  Multiple bins are all of uniform size and easy to stack, AND you’ll make locating that last box of holiday decorations easier because you are able to see the contents of each bin right through the clear plastic.
  3. Go vertical!  Use the ceiling of your garage to help maximize space for storage.  There are many companies who sell motorized lifts for the lifting and storage of, among other things, bicycles.  If that’s a little pricey for your taste what about adding ceiling or wall mounted shelving units to get boxes and bins up, up, and away?

Come back and visit our blog for more great tips for home buyers, home sellers, do-it-yourselfers and more!

Doggie Doors and Cat Boxes

by The Jana Caudill Team

We love our pets.  Too bad they can’t clean up after themselves like the kids.  Unfortunately doing the dirty work for our furry friends has never been pleasant activity.  If it was we would all have a scoop or a shovel in our hands, right?  And when our pets get older, well, they simply have less control and need to go more often.  Whether you’re taking care of it yourself, or it’s a part of your children’s chore list, it’s a necessary job that becomes critical if you’re selling your home.

There’s a distinction right there I’d like to emphasize.  There is a difference between selling your home and merely showing your home.  You may be priced right for the market, have more amenities than any other home for sale in your neighborhood, and be in the best area for schools in town.  But if you’re not committed to the daily grind necessary to keep your home in showing condition none of that may matter.  If you’re not willing to do what it takes to make sure your home stands out in a very crowded marketplace you are not going to sell.  You are merely showing your home, and providing to buyers by negative comparison more reason to make an offer on something else.  Buyers are comparing you to homes that are maintained daily in the best show-shape condition possible.

Which brings us back to cat boxes boxes and doggie doors.  Keep those cat boxes raked every day, twice a day if necessary.  Doggie doors are a great way to allow Rover to hit the back yard when nature calls without you having to be there to let him out and five minutes later let him back in.  The problem is they also allow your dog to track mud or worse into the house.  Keep the back yard, or the dog run, or wherever Rover does his business cleaned up.  You may even decide to keep the doggie door locked during inclement weather, reverting to letting your dog out on your own, yes, but also ensuring the opportunity to wipe messy paws before they have a chance to leave tracks.  When visiting your home buyers like to spend some time outside, picturing themselves having a cookout, playing with the kids on the swing set, or kicking around the soccer ball.  Get rid of the source of all odors at your home, inside and out.  That means, if Fido is using the back yard when nature calls you’ll need to put the poop scoop to use often.  We love our pets.  That doesn’t mean everyone else loves our pets.  The best policy is to eliminate as many negative distractions in your home to maximize its chances of selling.

For more tips when buying or selling a home visit our links!

Selling During the Holidays

by The Jana Caudill Team

Who’s to say what conventional wisdom is nowadays: Take the house off the market before Thanksgiving.  No one buys a house during the holidays.  We’ll relist right after the New Year, and maybe we’ll reduce the price then.

Humbug.  I know we’ve already stepped into November, and the family calendar is starting to fill in for the rest of the year.  There’s Thanksgiving dinner to plan for, and Christmas or Chanukah or other religious celebrations that involve travel, and shopping, and decorating, and cleaning.  Then there’s the office holiday party, and don’t forget about the kids finishing the semester strong at school…

There are a million little excuses not to sell your home during the holidays.  Here are a few very compelling reasons to buck the trend and sell your home during the happiest time of the year:

  1. Buyers buy during the holidays.  People who write an offer on a home during the holidays are serious about purchasing.  Businesses relocate people during slow times, and transferees have windows (sometimes small windows) of opportunity to find a home during holiday vacation time.  Remember, January is the busiest month for job transfers.
  2. Your house is clean and decorated.  Whether you’re having guests over for dinner, hosting the office holiday gathering, or Grandma and Grandpa are coming to stay for a week, you’re already planning to clean house and decorate for the holidays.  Showings are fewer and less intrusive, but the buyers are serious.  With holiday decorations done right buyers easily picture themselves living in your home creating their very own holiday memories.
  3. Less Competition.  Makes sense, huh?  There are still those who will take the home off the market only to come back again in January or February.  Your sticking with it during November and December can kick start a very happy New Year for your family.

For more home selling tips for our Northwest Indiana friends, family and neighbors click our links!

Showing Secrets Part 2 - Scents!

by The Jana Caudill Team

You want prospective home buyers to walk away with the best possible impression when they leave your home and head to the next house for viewing, so at the end of the day when they look back and discuss which properties they liked best (and why) you are on their short list for a return visit.

Home sellers naturally focus on how a home looks more so than the home’s potential impact on the other four senses combined.  But let’s not forget, at least for this article, your sense of smell.

Have you ever smelled a wet dog?  How about mildew, cigarette smoke, or cat urine?  Get the stinky picture?  Foul odors in the home can kill a buyer’s interest quicker than anything else.  The reason?  If you see a broken fence slat, or an outdated bathroom, or worn carpet the solution is easily identifiable.  Fix it, update it, replace it, and so on.  When there is an unpleasant odor involved suddenly people think the worst, and may not even get ten steps inside the door before turning to leave, and immediately writing your home off instead of writing an offer.  Bad smells affect us more negatively than ugly paint or chipped tile.  Even if mitigated, we will always remember that one room that smelled like a cat box.

Here are some tips for dealing with potential odor issues, including ground lemon in the garbage disposal and deodorizing sprays versus scented candles.  Think about the aroma of fresh baked bread in the kitchen!  Warm and inviting, huh?  Everyone remember the Easy Bake Oven?

You can find more tips for buyers and sellers at our blog page, and if you ever have a question for our team regarding Real Estate in Northwest Indiana let us know by clicking on of the links.  We promise to get back to you right away!

Showing Secrets Part 1 - Lights!

by The Jana Caudill Team

Staging your home for sale is all about accentuating highlights without drawing attention to negatives or low lights.

Open up all window coverings to take advantage of natural lighting.  A bright home is a cheery home, and natural sun light enhances the positive atmosphere of your great indoors.  One caveat: if you generally leave a set of blinds closed because you don’t like the view a window provides on the rusty water tower, or your neighbor’s obnoxious choice of exterior paint, go ahead and leave those closed.  No sense bringing extra attention where none is needed.

As far as lighting goes, turn on all interior lights for the same reason.  Just keep the television off!  We want potential buyers looking at your home not at reruns of American Idol.  Use spot lights or floor lamps for particularly dim corners, nooks and crannies.

If the season is appropriate light a fire in the fireplace.  Be sure the fire is properly screened for safety, and your fireplace is functioning correctly.  The warmth and glow of a fire in the hearth is a wonderful way to help potential buyers picture themselves living in your home.

Here are some more tips on staging and preparing your home for showings.  Also check out our Seller's Resource Page for great tips on everything from “Making Your Home Shine” to “Hiring a Real Estate Agent.”

Getting Rid of Drain Flies

by The Jana Caudill Team

If you live in Northwest Indiana you’ve seen them before.  They don’t have the annoying buzz of the regular house fly, and they don’t do flybys over your dinner plate.  In fact they seem to float quietly along, not really heading anywhere or intending to bother anyone.  But they are a nuisance, and they always seem to appear out of nowhere, usually in the kitchen, sometimes in the bathroom.

Drain flies can take over any drain in the house, but more often than not they show up close to their main food source, slime covered garbage disposals in the kitchen sink.  You can find them in bathroom sinks where gunk is beginning to build up around drain plugs, but most likely you’ll encounter them in the kitchen.  They lay their eggs in the gunk coating the grinding mechanism down in the disposals.  The problem is, although hot water and ammonia can get rid of the adult flies it does little to eradicate the eggs.  And simply running the disposal even with a standard disposal cleaner won’t get rid of the gooey stuff.  You need to use an enzyme like DF5000 that will eat away both the slime and the eggs, right down to the metal.  Just keep in mind, the more crud deep down inside the disposal, the more applications you will have to use to completely clean out the drain.  How will you know when the drain is clear?  When the flies are all gone you’ll know your job is done.

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