Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 21-30 of 45

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.

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.

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

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.

Toddlers on the Run

by The Jana Caudill Team

Ok.  You’ve baby proofed Cedar Lake, Crown Point, or Chesterton home. You’ve addressed sharp cornered furniture, choking hazards, exposed electric outlets, and more in every room.  You’ve installed baby gates to restrict movement to off-limit areas of your home.  You’ve secured top heavy furniture like bookcases and TV strands to walls.  You’ve put safety latches on cabinets and drawers, and even on the stove door.

Now it’s time to look ahead to when your infant becomes a toddler. The first step a baby takes as it works toward walking is to stand, which means using furniture to help pull himself up.  This is where I remind you, if you haven’t already done so, to please, please, please secure all top-heavy furniture like bookcases, wide-screen televisions, TV stands, plant stands and the like to a nearby wall.

Soon to be toddlers can use the wall as well to help them stand.  Accordingly, secure curtain and blind cords that are strangle hazards up and out of reach of your little one.  If you’re remodeling a room and window coverings are in the budget, consider purchasing cordless products.

Window latches, especially 2nd story and higher need to be safety locked.  Children are inquisitive by nature.  Once they learn to walk and can better maneuver about their environment it’s only a matter of time before they start testing doors and windows.  Avoid accidental falls by securing all home egresses.

Babies on the Move

by The Jana Caudill Team

Sharp.  Small.  Secure.  Start.  Think of these four S’s when baby-proofing your home for your soon to be crawling bundle of joy.

The best single piece of advice for our Crown Point, St. John, and Valparaiso parents baby-proofing their home in anticipation of their child starting to crawl is to approach the project from the baby’s perspective.  That is to say, get down on all fours and crawl around on the floor yourself looking for possible safety hazards.  Be sure to look for anything sharp.  Put smaller sharp items up high, and well out of baby reaching distance, or lock them up in a drawer or cabinet.  Add padding to sharp furniture corners, or consider moving that particular piece into another room restricted from access by the baby.  Complete your baby bird’s eye view in every room of the house.  You don’t know what you’ll find until you take a look.

Choking hazards are particularly worrisome especially if there are older children in the home who enjoy playing with smaller toys.  Restrict baby’s access to older brother’s and sister’s rooms that are already themselves a challenge keeping picked up and put away.  An old rule of thumb is “If it fits through a toilet paper cardboard tube it is a choking hazard.”

Electric outlet covers.  Tiny fingers can find small holes just as easily as tiny toys.  Cover up electric outlets.

Secure.  Use safety latches on all cabinets and drawers, keeping household chemicals, knives, and all other safety threats securely out of little hands.  Use baby gates to restrict baby’s access to not only older siblings’ rooms, but stairways, laundry rooms, etc.  Keep furniture like TV stands, dressers, and bookcases from toppling by securing to walls.

Start before the baby is born.  Your hands will be plenty full when you come home with your newborn.  Implement your safety plan well before that glorious day.  Here’s another great video on the basics.

Wall Finishing Textures

by The Jana Caudill Team

You’ve seen some of those attractive textured finishes on interior walls.  You may have even heard some of the terms to go along with those textures: knock-down, orange peel, popcorn, etc.  As these textures are better understood visually than by reading a description, today’s blog directs you to multiple resources that will help you differentiate between the different textures with some videos and pictures culled from the internet, and will hopefully show you just how easy adding and removing some of these textures during your finishing projects really can be:

Knock-down: Popular, easy to apply, great for covering wall imperfections.

Popcorn: Here’s a great video on how to easily remove a popcorn texture with a safety note on asbestos.

Orange Peel: Here are some helpful tips for application, also illustrating the difference between orange peel and knock-down.

Some of the textures like orange peel are also available in spray cans.  This makes it easier for application, but the larger your application area the quicker your project costs will skyrocket.  These spray can varieties are better for smaller projects and repairs like when your child surprises you with a hole in the wall after hanging like Tarzan from the bathroom towel rod.  As well, your Crown Point, Hobart, or other Northwest Indiana painter can consult with you on your project and give you an estimate you can weigh against doing the job yourself.

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.

Displaying blog entries 21-30 of 45