Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 45

Stop the Moisture, Stop the Mold

by The Jana Caudill Team

The root of the problem with indoor mold is moisture.  When you find mold in your Cedar Lake, St. John, or Crown Point home, you clean it up, right?  But if you don’t find and fix the moisture issue the mold will return.  The source of moisture might be as easy to find as a leaking pipe under the sink or in the basement.  It may be a little more difficult to identify like a leaking pipe inside a wall.  And again, diagnosing the moisture problem is one thing, yet prescribing the correct and complete remedy may be the tricky part as with a cracked foundation wall in your basement or crawlspace.  One thing is certain, if you only treat the symptom (the mold) the illness (moisture) will continue to rear its troublesome head.

Once you discover mold in your home get to work on mitigating the source of moisture and the clean-up right away.  Don’t ignore it.  Call a plumber with a good reputation in the community if you need to.  Simply closing the cabinet door to the kitchen sink and pretending it’s not there doesn’t work.  The problem won’t just walk away on its own and neither should you.  And don’t simply paint over the stain of a recently cleaned patch or wall without mitigating the moisture.  You’re putting more energy into a problem that will continue to reoccur.

So the question is, Where to begin?  A great place to start if you’re unsure just how to get started is the Frequently Asked Questions on the http://www.epa.gov/ website.  Stop the moisture, stop the mold.

Leaking Gutters, Fascia, and Soffits

by The Jana Caudill Team

Obviously, if you walk around the perimeter of your Crown Point, Merrillville, or Hobart home inspecting the roof and spot physical damage or rotting, that’s your sign to call in a repairman and get your roof drainage issue resolved quickly.  Leaking and rotting soffits and fascia can become an expensive repair, and the sooner you address any issues you discover the lower the final total on your repair bill.

The problem is this is one of those home repair issues you often don’t notice until it’s too late.  So I’m going to give you a quick task that can potentially save you a bundle.  And watch this linked video to learn more on how to spot the warning signs of gutter, soffit and fascia leakage before it become too costly.

The easiest way to spot a potential problem area along your roof line is to go outside and watch for leaks while it’s raining.  This is not very practical as first it must be raining outside, and second, you’ll have to remember my little message here and do your inspection when it does.  So here’s the trick, go outside and inspect the perimeter of the roofline RIGHT NOW!  Go ahead, I’ll wait...

Here’s what you’re looking for: Evidence of leaking.  I’m not talking about soffit and fascia that’s already pealing, cracked, decaying and falling apart, and I’m not talking about gutters that are falling away from the side of the house.  If you have those issues you already know to call a repairman.  I’m talking about finding a little problem before it becomes a BIG problem.  Look along your gutters, and the underlying fascia, trying to spot dark vertical streaks that are residue of dirty water from your roof overflowing the gutters, or working in behind the gutter and soaking the fascia.  I refer you to this website for the sole purpose of giving you a photograph example of what to look for.  This is not a foolproof method for spotting all problems.  There are many little things that can contribute to leaking.  This is however a very inexpensive (because it’s free) inspection you can perform yourself that can keep your repair bill in the hundred dollar range and out of the thousands.  If you find these streaks, and your gutters are not obstructed with debris or tennis balls, call your handyman and set up an appointment.  The problem might be as simple as installing a drip edge inside your gutters.

Preventing Falls at Home

by The Jana Caudill Team

Okay, first I’ll state the obvious:  the better you manage risks in your Hobart, Munster or Crown Point home that contribute to falls the less likely someone will suffer a fall resulting in an injury. 

Makes sense, right?  It should.  Any family member can have an accident, it’s true.  But just for the moment let’s take into special consideration our seniors?  Children’s toys scattered about the floor, even pet toys like the dog’s bone can twist an ankle and send Grandma or Grandpa for a tumble.  Rugs and doormats without the no-slip backing can do the same.  In fact, getting rid of rugs altogether in homes with seniors is the best idea.  There are power cords, or standing liquids like water from a leaking pipe that can trip or slip.  No skid strips in the tub are a must.  Adding handrails in the tub and seats in shower stalls are great.  Now we're talking...

Now I’ll ask you to consider something beyond just the fall and the injury.  I’ll sum it up in one word: comfort.  The safer we can make the home for seniors, the longer a senior can stay in the home.  Put another way, There’s no place like home.  Have you ever heard Grandma say, “I can’t wait to move into assisted living!”?  Never!  Seniors want to be at home, where the heart is – where it’s comfortable.  Of course, there might come a time when the only realistic alternative is the retirement home, but there’s always something more we can do to help our seniors live longer and where they’re more comfortable.

Summer Blankets - Home Insulation

by The Jana Caudill Team

Insulation isn’t just a winter blanket for your Crown Point, Cedar Lake, or St. John home.  Did you know the energy savings benefit of insulation during summer months can be as much as the savings during colder winter months?  Of course your savings is dependent on the local climate, and the size and age of your home, among other things.  Homes in the south don’t deal as much with the cold as those in the north do, but have you ever spent a blistering summer in Houston or Baton Rouge?  Insulation not only keeps the heat in during the winter, it keeps the heat out during the summer.  The bottom line is, anytime your heater or air conditioning is running is prime time when proper home insulation will help you save energy.  Here’s a great article on insulation basics, as well as a short video.

Saving energy means saving money, and who isn’t interested in keeping more of what you make and spending less?  Here’s the caveat.  You all have heard the expression, “You have to spend money to make money.”  Well, with insulation you have to spend money to save money.  It just doesn’t take as long as you might think to recoup the cost  you paid up front to add insulation to your home.  Let’s not forget your heating and air conditioning units will not have to work as hard with proper insulation, which means your units will last longer, and that’s less out of pocket in maintenance and replacement costs.  Even when the insulation has paid for itself in reduced energy bills you will continue to save every month you’re in the home, and that is as comfortable as a nice cozy summer blanket.

Unclogging the Bathroom Sink

by The Jana Caudill Team

Okay, okay.  So you’re wondering why we’re taking the time to cover an issue as simple as a clogged bathroom sink.  You say to yourself, “What’s the big deal?  Get a bottle of Drano and go!"

Hold on a second.  Sometimes the simplest solution is not always the best solution, though in this case it could turn out to be the most expensive one.

It’s generally pretty easy to figure out what’s clogging a bathroom sink.  Hair, hairspray, gel, and daily grease and grime are the usual suspects.  Sometimes one of the kids’ toys gets down there, and that generally accelerates the accumulation of all the gunk listed above.  First, be certain the problem is localized to the one sink in the bathroom, and that the issue does not in fact include, let’s say, the bathtub or any other areas of plumbing in your DeMotte, Merrillville, or Hammond home.  If you’re not certain if a plumber needs to be called in please refer to this quick “When to” guide.  If you’re good to go, then start with this how to guide on unclogging the problem sink.  Take the time to read through the entire article first.  The last thing you want to do is pour a gallon of boiling water down the drain if you have plastic pipes, although this might be all you need with steel pipes.  That’s why you need to take the time to read up first.  You can save some money by doing it yourself, AND keep from turning a small problem into a big one.

The Family Home Budget

by The Jana Caudill Team

Are you saving for a down payment on a new Crown Point, Chesterton, or Valparaiso house?  A car, motorcycle, or Winnebago?  What about saving for college for your child?  Saving for college for your children?

Whether you want to move cross country, travel cross country, or ship your kid cross country to school you have to know how to save, and the first step in learning how to save is learning how you spend.  CNN Money has a great series on creating your own home budget, as well as other articles covering the subjects of making, saving, and investing your money.  Once you learn to track your spending and make some necessary spending cuts based on your saving goals, you will be well armed to start socking away for a rainy day…or a trip…or a home…or college…

Quick note: nowadays banks are requiring larger down payments when qualifying people for mortgages.  With today’s real estate market you can get more home for your money, you will just be required to have more of your own money to get the loan for your dream home.

Guidelines for the Flower Garden

by The Jana Caudill Team

Whether you’ve planned for an entire garden of flowers or just a few bulbs along the side your Crown Point, Chesterton, or Valparaiso home or along the fence line, here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to get the most satisfaction out of your money and time…

First, a couple paraphrased definitions (Webster would be proud) only because this is one of those easy ones we all mix up from time to time.  An annual lasts for one season before it dies, needing to be replanted every season.  A perennial comes back year after year without needing to be replanted.  I bring this to your attention because you don’t want to plant an entire garden of annuals only to discover next spring that the beautiful result of all your efforts only lasted one season.  At the same time, if you go gang busters with perennials only to grow tired of the layout of your garden in a year of two you are faced with the task of digging up your previous work and transplanting for your new layout.

Speak to garden professionals.  Know which flowers are annuals and which are perennials, and mix them up in your garden plan for an explosion of color.  Layer plants from those low-creeper, ground cover types all the way up to those trellis-tall so everything is on clear display and nothing is hidden behind a taller, fuller plant.  And be sure your plan for perennials is something you can live with before you start digging.

Most flowers are planted either in the spring or the fall.  Use this handy planting time tip sheet and this zone guide to help you plan for planting in both seasons!

4 Top Baby-Proofing Tips

by The Jana Caudill Team
  1. The Baby Gate.  Whether your baby first crawls, rolls or scoots around your Crown Point, Munster, or Dyer home she will undoubtedly learn to fall before she learns to walk.  Be sure to gate off open stairways, both those leading up as well as down.  A child can just as easily make it up a few steps headed toward a second floor bedroom prior to a tumble as teeter on the edge of stairs headed down to the basement.
  2. Electric Outlet Safety Covers.  Not much to say here.  If there’s a way for a curious infant to squeeze a tiny little finger into an outlet that’s on the wall only a foot above the floor…Best not to gamble.
  3. Cabinet and Drawer Locks.  Keep Billy away from chemicals, aerosols, ant traps – whatever you keep under the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and in the laundry room cabinets that you just can’t put up high and out of reach.
  4. Curtain, Drape, and Blind Safety Ties.  Babies grow into toddlers faster than you can sing “Happy Birthday,” walking and running before you know it.  Children love to learn about their environment, checking out plants, testing the family cat, finding weeks old Cheerios under the edge of the sofa.  And they love windows.  Tie loose cords up high enough to keep toddlers from getting all tangled up and in trouble.

Lawn Fertilizer

by The Jana Caudill Team

There are many reasons to fertilize your Northwest Indiana lawn.  It helps control weeds.  It returns nutrients to the grass to help promote root and leaf growth.  It can also help grass repair itself after suffering damage due to foot traffic or pests.

Experts say you should fertilize your lawn from 2 – 8 times per year.  I don’t own stock in the fertilizer companies, so I’m not here to tell you more is better.  In fact, if you lay down another application of fertilizer before the last one has fully run its course you risk burning your grass.  Likewise, if you apply fertilizer at the wrong time you may be promoting weed growth instead of healthy grass.  Whether you are looking for that full, lush lawn or simply want to do a quick weed and feed, I have found a couple great resources to help you get the results you are after.

Check the middle of this page for two handy charts showing you the best time of year to apply fertilizer.  One shows you cool season and warm season grasses and a schedule for getting either minimum results or best results out of your fertilizing plan.  Cool season grasses generally are found in the north and have growing seasons right after waking up from the winter, and in the early fall.  Warm season grasses are more common in the south and flourish in the warm summer months.

The other chart shows a fertilization time table based on the exact type of grass you have which is helpful if you know exactly what you’re working with.  Here’s a great page from Home Depot with great tips on application of fertilizer as well as buying advice.

Kitchen Sink Odors

by The Jana Caudill Team

It may sound simpler than it really is, getting rid of that odor emanating from the kitchen sink.  When trying to mask the smell with candles, air fresheners, or Lysol only makes things worse try a homemade solution that works.  Two quick safety tips before you begin:  Never mix products containing bleach and ammonia to clean your sink, or for any other purpose for that matter.  Together they give off toxic vapors that are very harmful to your health.  Also, use extra care when working around a garbage disposal.  We don’t need any trips to the emergency room.

  1. After thoroughly cleaning sink pour ½ cup bleach into drain and let sit for 15 minutes.  Rinse with cold water.
  2. For a sink with a garbage disposal, use small cleaning brush and dish soap to safely scrub food particles from top and bottom sides of rubber splash guard.  This is one of the main hiding places for decomposing food and bacteria to hide.  Scrub well.
  3. Turn on cold water to rinse.  While the water is running turn on garbage disposal, then drop a couple handfuls of ice, one cube at a time through the disposal.  This will clean the disposal’s blades and inner wall.  Grind up a whole lemon or orange peel for a nice fresh citrus smell.

Here are a few more helpful how-to tips for taking care of that odorous Crown Point, St. John, or Hobart kitchen sink.

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 45