Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Top Return on Investment Kitchen Remodels

by The Jana Caudill Team

Anytime we set money aside in an investment, whether it’s a long term retirement account or the family’s rainy day or vacation savings fund, we are concerned with return on investment.  Maybe we’re not as worried about accumulating a great amount of interest on that vacation fund because we’re going to turn around and use it right away in the next six months, but we sure don’t want to lose money on it either.  The same can be said for investing in home remodeling projects whether we’re planning on staying in our house for the long haul, or we’re doing a little updating prior to listing our home for sale.

Studies show the national average home kitchen remodel cost over $58,000 last year with about a 68% return on investment, or another way to look at it is money recouped in resale values.  That was for major kitchen remodels.  For the smaller update or “facelift” kitchen remodels costing under $20,000 over 72% of the cost was recouped in resale values.

According to Remodeling Magazine, here’s what you get with your average $20,000 update kitchen remodel:

  • Replace cabinet and drawer fronts and hardware
  • Replace wall oven and cooktop with energy efficient models
  • Replace laminate countertops
  • New sink and faucet
  • Repaint trim and add wall covering
  • Remove and replace resilient floor covering

So if you’ve got a tight budget and still want to freshen up the kitchen there is a way to do it without breaking the bank.  Visit this site for some great new kitchen looks to inspire your Cedar Lake, Munster, or Valparaiso home remodeling project.

Moving With a Teenager - Tips for Teens

by The Jana Caudill Team

If you’re moving and you have children the bellyaching in your Dyer, Crown Point, or Cedar Lake home has undoubtedly already started.  And if you have teenagers the bellyaches may have morphed into moping, passive aggression, and even outright outbursts.  Here are a few tips to pass directly on to your teens to help them help themselves through the stress of a move.  Parents need read no further.  This is for teens only:

  1. Plan the room you’re moving into.  Get the dimensions from your parents of your new bedroom.  Where is the door, the windows?  Are you going to have the same setup you had in your old room, or are you going to shake things up since you have to move everything around anyway.
  2. Put together an MP3 playlist of favorite songs for the move. Talk your parents into playing it on the drive to the new house.  Tell them that article with moving tips for teens they made you read said it would be therapeutic.
  3. Take pictures along the way.  Use your digital camera or smartphone.  Post them on your Facebook or Myspace or wherever you have an account where you share stuff with your friends.  Post pics of your new school, new room, new backyard, new friends.
  4. Cut your folks some slack.  They love you, and the move is stressful for them too.  They’re trying to do what’s best for the whole family.

Moving With a Teenager - Tips for Parents

by The Jana Caudill Team

Moving is stressful.  The “To do” list of packing boxes, garage sales, turning off utilities, turning on utilities, notifying the post office, the physical job of the move, and unpacking, just to name a fraction of the beehive activity seems a mile long.  There are emotional “Goodbyes,” and first “Hellos.”  Add young children to the mix and your list doubles.  They are counting on you to take care of everything, even when they have no real idea of the totality of what goes into a successful move.

Now consider your teenagers.  What's the move like for children who are a little more mature, and are starting to have a more mature understanding of their world, who are beginning to have more mature relationships?  What about young adult children who have already started to drive, to date?

Here are some tips for parents to help their older children struggling with a move have a more positive transition to a new life in a new Crown Point, Chesterton, or Munster home:

  1. Talk to your teenagers.  The best way to address the issues surrounding a move is meet it head on.  Speak with all your children, especially your teenagers.  Ask them about their concerns.  Offer honest, positive advice.  Listen.
  2. Give them homework, and get them involved.  Have your teenagers research their new city on the internet.  Give them the assignment of locating the gas station, grocery store, movie theater, and McDonalds nearest to their new address.  Make it fun, but don’t forget there is work to be done.  Give them the responsibility of packing certain rooms besides their bedroom like the bathrooms, or the rec-room.  Help them to feel like an important part of this big change for the family.
  3. Give them a going away party with their friends.  Be sure it’s a fun activity with emails and mailing addresses exchanged all around before the night’s over so your teenagers can keep in touch by sharing stories of their new digs with old friends.

Taking Water Conservation to the Bank

by The Jana Caudill Team

Credit card companies will give you bonus airline miles.  Department stores tell you the more you spend the more you save.  You have heard all the offers.  Buy one get one free, take an extra twenty percent off your purchase when you spend X, enter your name to win a trip to Hawaii.  There’s free shipping, free gift wrapping, free tire rotation…  It seems the world is trying to convince you the only way to save is to spend.  How does that make any sense?

Here’s one tip.  Yeah, okay, so it’s not free, but it only costs about 8 bucks and pays for itself in no time flat: a low flow shower head.  The average American uses 25 gallons of water during a shower.  A low flow shower head can cut out 50 – 70% of that water usage for bathing. And don’t forget to account for the energy savings now that you are heating less water.  That’s more money in the bank!

There are many ways in your Crown Point, Munster or St. John home to conserve water and thus save money, like the tankless water heater that can save you up to 34% on the energy you normally use in your traditional water heater.  Plus you’ll never run out of hot water again!  Click here for more ideas on how to turn water conservation in your home into money in the bank.

Dawn to Dusk Common Stain Removal

by The Jana Caudill Team

If your Northwest Indiana home is spotless 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year then this article is not for you…  That, and I don’t believe you for a second.  Everyone is busy, rolling out of bed at the crack of dawn, sometimes not rolling back home until after dark.  There’s work and children, sports practices and dress rehearsals, lunch appointments and dinner dates.  Life happens in a hurry, and so do two of the most common household stains.  One generally occurs before breakfast and the other after dinner: coffee and red wine carpet stains.

Coffee stain:  Quickly, blot out the stain first, do not wipe.  The sooner you get to work before the stain sets the better your results.  Use just a touch of dish soap with warm water and brush into carpet fibers.  You’ll need white paper towels or a clean white rag to continue to blot out the stain.   Use one part vinegar to two parts warm water for stubborn or set stains, and blot.

Red wine.  Again, quick response is a must!  Blot out and soak up the wine the best you can, rinse the spot with clean water and continue blotting to remove as much of the coloring as possible.  Now, use three parts baking soda to one part water, mixing into a paste.  Scrub into stain, allowing to dry slightly, then vacuum.

Here’s a great indexed list of other common household stains with directions for their removal, and a great page on quick cleaning tips when time is in particularly short supply.

Thirsty Plants, Pet Sitters, and Nosy Neighbors

by The Jana Caudill Team

Summer’s nearly here, so get out, go camping, snorkeling, skydiving…Okay, maybe not skydiving.  Hop on a plane or drive cross country.  Take that well deserved time off to rest and recharge, and exercise some of these precautions to ensure your home is safe and sound when you return from your vacation:

  1. House/Pet Sitter.  This one costs a little, but if you have pets, plants and newspapers it’s a must.  Plus, a house sitter helps keep the house looking occupied which is the greatest deterrent to home burglary.  Lights are turned on and off during the course of the evening, pets are fed, plants are watered, and newspapers make it to the recycle bin all without you being there.  What about paying your sitter a little extra to dust and vacuum so you return from vacation to your clean Northwest Indiana home?  If you don’t use a house sitter you can still put a hold on your mail and newspaper service while you’re away.
  2. Nosy Neighbor.  If you don’t have pets and plants, or are not planning on spending the extra money on a house sitter, why not take advantage of that nosy neighbor and have them stop by the house every other day just to, well, stick their nose in your business?  Neighbors can walk the perimeter of the property, make sure newspapers are picked up, flyers are removed from your front door, and otherwise remove any sign that would indicate your family is out of town.  Give them the phone number where you will be staying in case of an emergency, and emphasize the phone number is for emergencies only.  You can catch up on the neighborhood gossip when you get home.
  3. Delayed blogging.  Many don’t think about this one.  If you’re real-time updating all your social networking sites with great photos of your family standing in front of the Grand Canyon you are effectively letting the world know you are not at home.  Save this practice until your return.
  4. Do not leave your GPS in your car unattended!  For many of the same reasons for observing delayed blogging, do not leave your GPS in your car where a potential burglar can see it.  What better invitation for a thief than a GPS unit programmed with your home address on the dashboard of a car with an out of state license plate, or parked at long term airport parking?

Here are more tips to keep your home safe while you’re away.

Closet Cleaners

by The Jana Caudill Team

It’s April, and that means not only is it time to get a jump start on spring cleaning in your Crown Point, Munster or Valparaiso home, but it’s also time to CLEAN HOUSE!  so throw those closet doors wide open and dig in!

How many clothes do you have that you’ve been holding onto since the 90s?  How about the 80s?  The 70s?  Longer than that?  I know, we all think I’m going to get back down to that size someday, or I’ll just keep it until it comes back in style.  Here’s the rule of thumb, if you haven’t worn it in over a year, chances are you won’t wear it in the next five years either.  Get rid of it.

The country has stepped up to the Reduce/Reuse/Recycle challenge.  Maybe your closet needs the same attention.  Weed out the stuff you haven’t worn (and probably won’t).  Do something for yourself by doing for others and donate those articles, or put on a garage or yard sale and make a little money.  There are many benefits to purging closet space.  Don’t undervalue the calming effect of reducing clutter!

Here’s a fun way to save money for you internet fans.  It’s a great way to swap some of your children’s outgrown wardrobe, and freshen their closets with some new-to-you items they can grow into!  These aren’t used clothes, they are preloved.  They do toys too!


by The Jana Caudill Team

Is your Crown Point, Hobart, or Dyer driveway sinking on one corner?  Or do you have a cement patio or walkway with one slab of concrete sunken below adjoining slabs?  Uneven driveways, patios, sidewalks, and garage floors are not only unsightly, they pose significant tripping hazards, and removing old concrete and pouring new takes time and can be very expensive.

Let me offer an alternative, more cost-effective solution: Mudjacking.  Whether you call it slabjacking, sandjacking, foam leveling or mudjacking, the process of concrete leveling has been solving the problem of uneven concrete surfaces for over 50 years.

First a small diameter hole is drilled in a slab of sunken concrete.  Then a hose and nozzle are attached to the hole, and any of a variety of mixtures (cement mortar, sand mix, expanding foam and others) are pumped in under the slab to fill in empty air pockets and raise the slab to its proper level.  This super short video does a great job of illustrating the process, and this longer video goes into much more detail showing examples of cement leveling at work.


by The Jana Caudill Team

In the United States, radon causes 20,000 lung cancer deaths annually.  By comparison, this is more than deaths resulting from drunk driving.  Radon is colorless, tasteless, and odorless, and occurs in the soils of every state in the nation.  It can get into your house through cracks in the foundation, through your water supply, gaps around service pipes, and gaps in service floors, etc. As radon is heavier than air it becomes trapped inside the home, and if improperly vented can reach toxic levels.

And now the good news.  Radon testing and mitigation are both easy and inexpensive.  There are several do-it-yourself testing kits available or you can hire a radon testing professional to do the job for you.  For self-testers, the EPA recommends starting with a short-term testing kit that takes only a few minutes to set up.  You will have results within 2 - 90 days depending on the kit.  If your results are 4 pCi/L or higher you should complete a second short-term test, OR a long-term test which is more likely to give you a more accurate year-round radon level reading.  At this point, if the second short-term or the long-term test are still at or above 4pCi/L than you need to proceed with mitigating your home of radon.  Here is a great resource page from the EPA on radon reduction in your home.

If you think you may have a radon issue get your Northwest Indiana home tested and protect your family.  It’s easy, and it’s inexpensive.

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9