Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 25

Condominium or Townhome?

by The Jana Caudill Team

If you’re not in the Real Estate, Mortgage lending, or any other industry on the periphery of Real Estate it might be difficult to draw the line and differentiate between “Condominium” and “Townhouse.”  Here are a few key differences between the two to give you a better understanding:

  1. Because “Condominium” is a legal term in our country, condo owners are governed by a set of legal statutes regarding their creation, sale and purchase, and ownership, whereas townhome owners are not.  In addition to that, each state has its own Condominium statutes.  In the eyes of the law a townhome is looked at the same as any other single family residence.  As such, Condominium is a legal type of ownership.  Townhouse is a type of housing.
  2. Townhouses start on the ground floor, and can be one or multiple stories high.  Condominiums can be on any floor in the building, not necessarily starting on the ground floor.  Townhome owners may have common walls with other townhome owners, with no one living above or below them.  Condo owners may share walls, AND may have other condo owners’ units above and/or below them.
  3. Condo owners own the interior of their unit.  Townhome owners own the interior of their unit, plus the land, plus any exterior features like a deck, patio, yard, etc.  The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is another good source of information on the legal differences and common area ownership issues associated with Condominium Associations and Townhouse Home Owners Associations (HOAs).

This article is not intended to offer expert legal advice to our Northwest Indiana neighbors concerning condominiums or townhouses but to be used for informational purposes only.  Please consult an attorney with regard to your own individual situation.

Storage Options in the Kid's Rooms

by The Jana Caudill Team

We often have to remind our children to take care of their responsibilities.  Brush your teeth; do your homework; take out the trash.  But the sound of one reminder echoes louder than the rest when you’re considering putting your Northwest Indiana home up for sale:  Clean your room! 

So you do your best to help support this request of the youngest members of your family.  You de-clutter the house.  You pack some items away in anticipation of a quick sale and a timely move.  You’ve even completed your garage sale.  Yet there still seems like there’s just too much stuff in your children’s bedrooms.  Maybe all the action figures, matchbox cars, dress up clothes and art supplies aren’t the problem.  Maybe it’s not all that stuff.  Maybe the real issue is the lack of neat and tidy places to tuck everything away in.

Here are a few helpful tips to increase bedroom storage for the kids:

  1. Hanging, behind-the-door, shoe bag.  Get shoes, sandals, cleats, slippers, and flip flops out from underfoot or lost under the bed.  And here’s a bonus, these hanging shoe bags are not just for shoes anymore!  Here’s a fun place to keep toy cars and superheroes, and anything else shoe-sized or smaller.
  2. Under the bed storage bins.  Great for all sorts of loose toys, off season/winter clothing.  Helps keep the mess at bay by organizing this often forgotten space.
  3. Corner cabinet.  Besides under the bed or the floor of the closet, the favorite place where kids the world over love to toss their stuff is simply in the corner of the room.  Banish that mound of clutter once and for all!  So whether you’re in Chesterton, Valparaiso, Crown Point, or St. John, install a corner cabinet that is your catch-all solution for that unexpected short-notice We have a buyer who wants to see your home right now showing call.

Window Blind Slat Repair

by The Jana Caudill Team

You’re getting ready to put your home in Crown Point, St. John, or Hobart on the market.  You call your Northwestern Indiana Realtor to stop by to do the paperwork, with the notion you ought to ask her whether or not to replace the carpet, paint the kids’ bedrooms, patch the fence, replace the blinds…You want to get the most you can for your home without spending too much up front on the repairs that have been mounting up, but there are two other homes right there on your block already listed for sale.  Can you get your asking price?  Are you going to be able to stand out from the competition?  And how much is it going to cost? 

The price tags on some fixes are generally worth it down the road in the form of a better sales price, and/or your home selling faster.  These are repairs like flooring, paint, kitchen appliances and cabinets.  The key to keep in mind here is the average buyer doesn’t want to move into a new home that has mounting deferred maintenance they know they will end up having to deal with.  There is one easy home repair you can do prior to listing your home for sale that won’t cost you anything but your time.  And if you’ve ever had a child throw a football or kick a soccer ball indoors this article is probably for you.

Do you have mini blinds with unsightly bent slats?  You know what I’m talking about, most of the slats line up, overlapping nicely to let in or keep out sunlight, or maintain privacy.  Then one Saturday your son, or daughter, or grandchild, (or husband) was playing with the football indoors.  One bounce against the delicate slats is all it takes to bend or break multiple slats.  And attempting to bend aluminum slats back into shape often makes things worse.

Repairing window blinds with bent or broken slats is much simpler than it looks.  Because most mini blinds are manufactured to fit different sized windows by adding extra slats at the bottom, this repair is almost as easy as threading a needle.  This video shows you how to shorten mini blinds, and to replace broken or bent slats you will follow this same procedure with the added step of replacing damaged slats with extra slats from the bottom.  Many repairs like restringing, broken continuous or end controls, and replacing tilters on vertical and mini blinds, and pleated shades are easy to tackle with help from this short video that illustrates solutions for the most common problems encountered with blinds.

So fix your blinds, save your money, and tell your husband to take the football outside.

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.

Privacy for the Cat Box

by The Jana Caudill Team

Maybe your family is growing, or one day you woke up to discover you and your spouse are empty nesters.  Either way, you’ve decided the time is right to put the house on the market.  There’s just one problem, the distress caused by all the hubbub and showings to potential buyers at all hours of the day hasn’t gone unnoticed by the family cat who is suddenly doing his business everywhere but in the box.  To make sure your feline cooperates with keeping the house clean you’ll need an out of the box solution.  You don’t have to look much further than an old real estate maxim: Location, location, location.

Be sure to move the cat box to a nice private area of the home.  Cats like to be alone when nature calls, that’s why it’s important to keep the litter box out of high traffic areas.  You will want to continue prohibiting the family dog from having free access hovering about the box as well.  The key is putting the litter box in a location where it’s neither the very first thing buyers see when entering your home, nor the very last thing they see before they leave.  Negative first and last impressions are difficult to overcome when accompanied by unpleasant odors.  If you keep this in mind you’re likely to place the box where the kitty will be happier as well.

Place an old area rug or carpet remnant under the box.  Cats love to dig and scratch around the litter box; tile, hardwood, or basement cement floors aren’t the best choice.  The texture of a rug under paw makes the litter box that much more attractive to the cat, likely helping you to reaffirm that as the place to go when it comes to doing his duty.  Likewise, you can place a few sheets of aluminum foil in areas where kitty may have had recent accidents.  As much as cats love the feel of a rug under their paws, they hate the feel of aluminum foil.  Hide the foil before showings, and return it to problem spots afterwards until kitty becomes retrained to the new box location.

Click here for more dos and don’ts on retraining your cat to his litter box, and check out our blog page for more tips for home buyers and sellers.

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.

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!

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 25