Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 31-40 of 54

Time for a New Roof?

by The Jana Caudill Team

How do you know when it’s time to replace your Northwest Indiana roof?   There are three main reasons for replacing roof shingles: the age of the roof, weather damage, and previously improperly installed roofing.

Start by taking the life expectancy of the type of shingle you currently have then subtracting for age, weathering and weather related damage to see how many more years you may be able to get out of your roof before needing to replace it.

Roof shingles generally are supposed to last at least twenty years.  Some shingle manufacturers have products that last twenty-five or more years.  Take your standard twenty year product and subtract the age of your current roof.  If you’re in a newer home, or you are the original owners of your home this is an easy number to get.  If there have been previous owners, or you are otherwise unable to determine the age of the roof you will have to estimate.

Next, is there any physical evidence of damage?  Do your shingles show curling, severe hail damage, cracked flashing or sealer around vents and fireplace flues?  How about brittle shingles due to a southerly exposure?  What about damaged or rotting eves?  The condition of your current roof has a drastic impact on its remaining life expectancy.

Lastly, let’s not forget the obvious.  If your roof is leaking you can skip the process above.  A leak trumps everything else.  You’re going to need some repairs at a minimum, potentially much more.  Keep in mind even newer roofs if improperly installed can also leak or lose shingles in gusting wind.  Have leaks checked out immediately.

Estimate how much time you have left with your current roof and if you are concerned you’re near the end of its life expectancy speak only with qualified, experienced, licensed contractors when considering having work done.  You may even weigh the pros and cons of doing the job yourself.  Whatever your decision, don’t wait until you have that first leak.  At that point your repair bill is likely to go through the roof.

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.

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.

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!

Displaying blog entries 31-40 of 54