Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

When the Lights Go Out

by The Jana Caudill Team

When the power goes out, especially at night, isn’t it nice to be able to walk right over to the bathroom cabinet, kitchen drawer, garage, or wherever you keep your flashlight(s) and voila, let there be light!

Doesn’t always work that way, does it?  Either the batteries are dead, extending the scavenger hunt in your Crown Point, Dyer, or Munster home for at least another ten minutes while you look for fresh batteries, or the flashlight isn’t there (now, when you need it most) to begin with.  Maybe you have candles tucked away for these infrequent not-quite emergency situations.  Again, are they still where you remember storing them?  Do you remember where you stored them?  Do you even own any candles?

Here are a few forethoughtful tips on ensuring you have ready and recharged access to illumination when the power goes down.

  1. Store candles in plain sight.  Many homeowners use decorative candles as part of their home décor.  Dining room center pieces, fireplace mantle dressing, bath accents, you name it.  Integrate candles in locations where you might otherwise place a vase of fresh flowers.  Keep a multi-purpose lighter handy, but in a secure location away from children, instead of matches which require an ashtray or similar unsightly receptacle for cooling down after use.
  2. Put a flashlight anywhere you have a sink.  Under the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, powder room sink, and laundry room sink.  That way you’ll have access to multiple flashlights in easy to remember locations.  The only issue here is if you have children.  Kids love flashlights.  The easy solution is child-proof cabinet latches.
  3. Like with the battery backup in your smoke detectors, replace your emergency flashlight batteries once a year.  I suggest every holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  Make it an annual part of decorating the house for the holidays.

Buy House, Change Locks

by The Jana Caudill Team

You signed the mountain of paperwork, and you and your spouse are so happy to finally be moving into your first Crown Point, Hobart, or Chesterton house together you know if you had to you’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.  The sellers are happy too, after all they’ve been trying to sell the house for almost two years and they can finally get on with their lives.  They slide five copies of the house key across the closing table to you and wish you luck.  Your Realtor gives you two gold engraved key fobs that proclaim “There’s no place like home…”  Ahhh, everything’s right in the universe until months later things start to turn up missing.

The facts are not everyone was a fan of Mr. and Mrs. Good Neighbor when they used to live in your home.  And it’s not your fault; how were you to know?  A neighbor kid never returned the key to the front door after the one time he house sat for the sellers and forgot to feed the dogs for three days…The forgotten key ring the sellers’ usually responsible thirteen year old lost at the playground after school…The code to the key pad mounted at the garage door Mr. Good Neighbor shared in a moment of weakness when Mr. Questionable Character next door called their cell phone while they were away on vacation.  He just wanted to borrow the ladder…

When you buy a house change the locks.  All the locks:

            Front Door Key
            Back Door Key
            Garage Access Key
            Remote Key Pad for the Garage Door
            Reset Garage Door Remote Controls for Your Cars
            Mailbox Key
            Utility/Exterior Storage Shed Keys

Remove access, remove temptation, and sleep easier.

Warning Signs Your Dishwashing Machine is not Draining Properly

by The Jana Caudill Team

With automobiles, costly breakdowns are often preceded by warning signs that things are not quite working properly.  That sign might be the engine not starting (battery, alternator, starter), or weird sounds coming from various locations (loose belts under the hood, muffler and/or pipe below, wheel issues, etc, etc, etc).

With dishwashing machines that unfortunate first sign it’s not draining properly might be a flood on your Crown Point, DeMotte, or Merrillville kitchen floor.  Not good if you set your machine to run at night after everyone has retired to bed, or worse, if you set it to run after the family hits the road for a long weekend getaway.

Never fear, there are other subtler warning signs that it’s time to either troubleshoot your dishwashing machine yourself or call in a repair man.  Watch out for these signs to avoid the coming tide.

  1. Dishes come out of the cleaning cycle covered with tiny food particles and soap residue.  If your machine isn’t draining all the way at the right time during the cleaning cycle, those broken down food particles and soap scum that were just washed away can be re-deposited during the rinse cycle.
  2. Food particles accumulating in the bottom of the machine.  Food debris can settle across the tub (bottom collector plate) in a machine where drainage isn’t moving fast enough to wash it down.
  3. Ants.  If you’re noticing ants in the bottom of your machine there’s a reason.  Even if you can’t see food particles, there can be a buildup forming under the drain screen, under the inside bottom edge of the dishwasher door along the gasket, even inside the water flow float switch.  After disconnecting power and turning off the water supply these areas can be properly cleaned.

Here’s a helpful video on solving other common dishwasher problems.

Preventing Exterior Home Fires

by The Jana Caudill Team

Colorado and many other western states have been in the news lately because of summer drought conditions and recent devastating wildfires.  This got me thinking about home fire safety, and I’m not talking about kitchen grease fires, interior smoke alarms, or worn floor lamp power cords under the rug.  Today I’m talking about exterior home fires and their prevention.

In drought-condition forest fires it’s often the dry underbrush (wild grasses, and fallen, dead tree limbs, etc.) that provide as much fuel for a wildfire as the trees themselves.  This goes for your yard as well.  Keep dry leaves, dead tree limbs, and rubbish clear.  This yard clutter can turn a small fire into a blaze.

Clean your outdoor grill, and check it to make sure it’s operating safely.  Many indoor home fires start in the kitchen.  Likewise many outdoor home fires start at the grill.  These are particularly dangerous if your grill is positioned like most on the patio, near the house.  Every summer clean out the inside of your grill, removing all accumulation of grease, fallen food debris, and (if you use your grill only infrequently) wasp nests.  You don’t want anything inside the grill that can cause an unexpected flare up.

Building materials.  Stacks of lumber, roofing shingles, etc. sitting on the side of the house or in the garage can provide fuel for home fires.  If you have a home improvement project underway, try to use flame resistant materials.  And to take the lumber issue one further, keep outdoor stacks of firewood for your fire place and other combustible material at least 30 feet away from your Crown Point, St. John, or Cedar Lake home!

Moving With Plants

by The Jana Caudill Team

You plan to take the fruits of your greenthumb’s labor with you when you move to your new Crown Point, St. John, or Dyer home.  Take these few considerations into account as you approach moving day:

  1. Let’s say for a second you’re moving to a new state instead.  Are there any laws against bringing plants inside their borders?  Some regions, especially where agriculture is a significant part of the economy, may have restrictions on what can be brought into the state.  Check with your local Department of Agriculture office before hitting the road.
  2. If your plants are in containers that are breakable like clay pots transplant them into unbreakable plastic.
  3. If you discover your plants have pests, take care of the problem before the move instead of taking it with you.  Check with your local nursery on effective methods for handling mildew, bugs, disease, etc.  You don’t want to infect the soil around your new home unnecessarily.
  4. Last to pack, first to unpack.  Just like with children, your plants should be the last things loaded into the car before you drive off into the sunset.  They should also be the first to be unloaded at your destination.  Also, be careful not to leave plants for too long in the car where temperature extremes can wreak havoc on your little green loved ones.

Hobbies Hinder Home Sale

by The Jana Caudill Team

Will your Crown Point, Schererville, or Griffith home be remembered for the great 100 piece Hummel figurine collection dominating the family room or for more practical home features like the cozy brick mantle and fireplace beneath the collection that might actually inspire home “lookers” to write an offer and become home “buyers?”


You’re proud of your collection of Matchbox cars, antique guns, license plates, state tea spoons, movie inspired memorabilia, vintage comic books, or everything Star Trek – whatever.  If you’re selling your home it’s time to pack up those hobbies and collections and put them in storage.  Here are five important reasons why:


  1. Distraction.  Too much clutter.  Yes, to those unlike you who aren’t in love with 50’s and 60’s vinyl albums, your collection is clutter.  It causes buyers to focus on the wrong thing, and the only thing worse is if buyers are actually interested in the collection.  Imagine a scenario where they might never notice any of your home’s great features because of the distraction.
  2. Memory.  If distraction happens while buyers are in your home, memory, or the absence thereof, happens afterward when they’re trying to remember which home had the jack-and-jill bath, or the hardwood floor in the study, etc.  What will buyers remember about your home when they try to recall the high points of their visit?
  3. Breakage.  See, touch, break.  Accidents happen.  Do buyers the favor of removing a potentially negative incident from marring their interest in purchasing your home.
  4. Theft.  Burglary happens too, even during a scheduled showing.  Pack up and remove temptation.
  5. You’re going to pack it up anyway!  You’re moving right?  That in itself is your sign that if you’re not willing to part with your collection via garage sale or eBay you will eventually have to pack it up and move it to your new home.  Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today while promoting your home to potential buyers in a more positive light?


by The Jana Caudill Team

Mice.  You’ve discovered droppings on the front porch in the corner by the front door, or along the walls in the garage – or even worse, inside your Crown Point, Chesterton, or St. John home!  Don’t let a small (some would say cute and furry) problem become an infestation.  You need to eliminate household pests like mice right away.

Should you take care of it yourself or call the exterminator?  Good question.  I guess the answer depends on how squeamish you are.  If you don’t mind setting and clearing/disposing of traps then by all means do it yourself, it’ll be cheaper.  If just the thought of setting the cheese or peanut butter on the mechanism gives you the heebie jeebies then you might want to call Orkin.

For you do-it-yourselfers there is one very important tip I must give you before you set out on your great pest adventure: DO NOT USE POISON!  Why?  Poison does a very effective job on killing mice you say.  True.  But it does not kill them instantaneously.  Mice eat poison then go back to their nests when feeling ill to die.  If their nest is inside the walls of your house, well then you do have your dead mouse, but it’s one that, if near any amount of moisture, as it progresses to decompose will become increasingly malodorous.  If you don’t know exactly where the nest is because you can’t see it then you’re looking at a potentially expensive and time consuming job poking holes in, patching, and refinishing walls until you find it.

Just sayin.

Considerations for Moving Elderly Parents

by The Jana Caudill Team
  1. Get help.  You don’t have to do it all on your own.  There’s packing, unpacking, garage or yard sales, selling the old Crown Point, Hobart, or Valparaiso home, cleaning and prepping the new one.  Enlist your brothers and sisters, other family members, even your children and long-time good neighbors of your parents to help out with some of the smaller tasks.  The job can seem daunting.  This is one of those times you should take advantage of the relationships you have with others who like you love your mom and pop.  Recruit them to help you help your parents.
  2. Prepare the elderly friendly new home.  Do you need handrails in bathrooms?  Maybe a wheelchair ramp to the front door?  How about no skid matting in the tub?  Do a walkthrough of the new home, even if mom and dad are moving in with you, to make sure when they arrive they can get in and out and around safely.
  3. Be there emotionally.  Moves like these are trying for everyone involved.  Just keep in mind how many years your folks have lived in the home they now see themselves as leaving forever.  Honor the memories they and the rest of the family have created over the years while living there, yet focus on a positive future of opportunity in their new digs.  What benefits will the new location provide that the old one lacked?  Proximity to family?  A more active and healthy social life?  Help them view this move as an exciting new chapter in the family history, not the end of the book.

3 Reasons to Re-evaluate Your Homeowner's Insurance

by The Jana Caudill Team

Property values are not static, especially in these tumultuous economic times.  Your Crown Point, Chesterton, or Dyer home’s value can depreciate in a rough housing market just as it can appreciate during a boom, and your homeowner’s insurance policy needs to cover more than just the replacement cost of all structure(s) sitting on your lot or land.  Here are three additional reasons beyond the fluctuating cost of rebuilding the physical house that I hope motivate you to re-evaluate your current policy:

  1. Personal possessions.  Let’s just say it’s been five years since you’ve evaluated your policy.  Here’s a question:  Do you own more (and more expensive) possessions?  Your policy can cover a certain dollar limit of replacement value for any personal possessions lost, for example, in a fire.  Have you purchased a new wide-screen TV, or in-home exercise equipment, or a closet full of new suits purchased for your new job?  Better to be safe than sorry.  Check it out.
  2. Cost of living.  The value of your home may have taken a little hit over the last few years, but the cost of living sure hasn’t.  For most people it has gone up, and if your policy covers any portion of cost of living expenses while your replacement house is being built you’ll want to make sure you’re not underinsured and susceptible to further financial strife.
  3. Home improvements.  Do you have a new addition off the back of the house, or maybe you finally built that detached two car garage at the back of your country lot.  These additional improvements increase the total value of your property and your insurance property should reflect these additions.

The worst way to find out if you have enough homeowner’s insurance is after disaster strikes.  Take a minute or two and give your insurance agent a call or send them an email.  They will take the time to walk you through the process.  If nothing else you’ll sleep easier knowing you’re already covered.

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9