National Advantage Real Estate Service
328 E. Lincoln Highway (Rt. 30)
New Lenox, IL 60451
Tis the season for holiday shopping, but itís also the season for holiday thievery. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) in San Diego, Calif., estimates that 15 million people are victims of identity theft every year. The not-for-profit group reports that it gets more calls about lost and stolen wallets and purses during the holiday season than at any other time of the year. To make sure identity theft does not spoil your holidays, the ITRC has several tips for safeguarding your personal data.
Moving to a new home can be a stressful experience for many homeowners. But imagine how it can affect your pet. The Humane Society of the United States has a few tips for owners to help make Fido or Snowball feel more comfortable during the transition.
Before moving in, remove odors from previous pets. Moving into a home where other pets resided previously might encourage your pet to mark its territory.
On moving day, confine your pet to a safe, quiet place with favorite toys, familiar blankets, food and water. When the moving is complete, allow your pet to explore the home with you. Show your pet where you placed the favorite food bowl, bed, toys and litter box so they can become more familiar with their surroundings. For more moving tips for pets and pet owners, visit the Humane Society Web site, www.hsus.org.
Room for Improvement
It may sound strange, but did you know that some home renovations may decrease the value of your home? Money magazine suggests avoiding these four renovations at all costs:
∑ A swimming pool. Unless you live in a hot climate, a swimming pool can be a liability, not an asset. In the Southwest, a pool can increase a homeís value by 11 percent. But if your home is in Oregon or Illinois, the cost of insurance and pool maintenance is a buyer turn-off. Families with small children especially avoid homes with pools.
∑ Home addition. Sure, an addition to your home will add inside space. But how will it look from the outside? Many home additions can look boxy or unnatural with the rest of the house. If you do go for an addition, make sure it is well designed.
∑ Trendy finishes. Donít fall for the latest style or trend when it comes to renovating. As soon as itís out of style, it will stick out ó and look bad. One trend that will probably last for a while is custom paneling in maple or mahogany for home appliances. Otherwise, stick to timeless, classic ≠renovations.A Jacuzzi. Nothing beats a good soak after a long day. But not everyone loves a giant tub with multiple jets. Instead, try a rain showerhead if you want to add some
Wired @ Home
FEELING MORE 1997 THAN 2007? Check out these top technology trends for homes, according to the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association:
∑ A home theater or media room. A home theater is a room dedicated solely to the viewing of movies and programs, designed with top sound quality in mind. A media room is incorporated in a homeís living space and is a multipurpose room where a homeowner can watch television, read a book or play a game. Home theaters can run anywhere from $15,000 to $150,000 or more, depending on the components.
∑ Home health-care products and installation. As the population ages, thereís more demand for health-care products that take advantage of the latest technology. Patient-monitoring systems can allow a caregiver to check up on an elderly loved one from afar. Biometric monitoring devices can keep constant watch on a patientís vital signs.
∑ Media Center Edition (MCE) computers. This audio/visual computer can help manage a homeís various media sources, providing such features as surround-sound processing, as well as access to Internet radio and the one-touch recording of TV shows.
∑ Micro display-based televisions. High-definition televisions are hot, including LCD (liquid crystal displays), DLP (digital light processing), LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) or LCD-based rear-projection≠ TVs. Depending on size and type, prices for these products run the gamut.
Lighting and automation. Homes can be set up with the ability to control lighting and other features throughout the house from any room ó and any part of the world. Systems can also create lighting schemes and automation that can turn down the lights and close the curtains when a DVD
Cork isnít just for wine bottles anymore. This green material is, well, popping up all over the place, from wall coverings that are durable and soundproof to stylish flooring thatís easy on your feet. Plus, cork is naturally antimicrobial and insect-repellent, and it doesnít absorb dust. Harvested from the bark of the cork oak, the material is eco-friendly and renewable. So, save a tree and look to cork the next time youíre considering what to do with that outdated parquet kitchen floor.
Fix or Replace?
issue of Consumer Reports offered a timeline to determine when to
say ďadiosĒ to old appliances that arenít operating properly. The
magazine took into account age, typical repair and replacement costs,
and improvements made in newer models.
Here are the ages when itís more sensible to replace an appliance than to fix it:
∑ Six years: dishwashers, over-the-range microwaves, and top-freezer refrigerators
∑ Seven years: clothes dryers and top-loader washers
∑ Eight years: Bottom-freezer and side-by-side refrigerators, electric or gas ranges, electric wall ovens and front-loader washers
temperature of the
water in your dishwasher should be 130 degrees F or higher. Any lower and itís more difficult to remove grease and food. Lower temperatures can also result in spotting, filming and improper drying
If a fire occurred in your home, would you know what to do? The best course of action, says the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is to get out as quickly as possible. Escape planning is the
Theme of NFPAís Fire Prevention Week Oct. 7 Ė 13, 2007, and it can help you and your family flees a home fire quickly and safely. The NFPA (www.nfpa.org) offers these tips for creating a home escape plan.
Fighting the Credit Crunch
These days, getting a home mortgage is not as easy as it used to be. Tighter lending standards have made it more difficult to obtain financing for some borrowers. Hereís what you can do to prepare for a home purchase under the new lending guidelines.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY YOUR AGENT, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS
National Advantage Real estate
New Lenox, IL 60451
Home buyers want more space, and that extends to their garages too. According to NARís 2007 Profile of Buyersí Home Feature Preferences, 57 percent of home buyers said an oversized garage with space for two or more vehicles was considered ďvery importantĒ compared to 41 percent in 2004. Other desired features include:
A Visual Guide
to Home Repairs
A new how-to book, How Your House Works, provides the answers to many of the questions many homeowners ask when
faced with repair or remodeling projects. Author Charlie Wing, a renowned home improvement expert who has written more than 20 books, uses transparent, cross-section drawings to show how things are put together, how they function, and what to check if they donít work. The easy-to-use guide helps readers quickly assess a problem, tackle simple repairs and ask the right questions when hiring a contractor or repairman.
Work With a
Buying a home is one of the biggest and most emotional decisions you will ever make. So itís important to work with someone who can provide sound advice and a steady, guiding hand when you need it. Thatís why a CRS agent is the best person for the job.
A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) is among the top four percent of all agents in the country. CRS agents have achieved a high volume of transactions and advanced training in areas such as business planning, real estate investing, marketing and technology. They must also maintain membership in the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORSģ and abide by its Code of Ethics. A CRS agent is a proven leader with years of experience, demonstrated success and professional advice to help you make smart decisions about buying or selling your home. Why work with anyone else when you can work with a proven leader?
With fall's transition between the seasons comes a transition for your home as well. That roof and those four sturdy walls need to protect you from winter's fury, and there are several things you can do to help get ready.
1. Seal masonry surfaces: Apply a sealer to concrete driveways and walkways, brick patios and other exterior masonry. The sealer, available from paint stores and masonry supply retailers, prevents water from penetrating into cracks and crevices where it can freeze and cause serious damage.
2. Prepare your fireplace: Now is the time to get wood-burning appliances such as fireplaces and woodstoves ready for the season. Remove ash buildup; check screens and glass doors for damage; replace door gaskets as needed; and check doors, door latches, screen brackets, and other metal parts to be sure they are secure and operating properly. Check the condition of the exterior of the chimney or flue pipe, including the cap, and then clean the chimney to remove last season's accumulation of soot and creosote. Consider having a professional chimney sweep service clean and check everything at least every other year.
3. Prepare humidifiers: Winter is a dry time inside your home, and many people choose to use a portable or central humidifier to put much-needed moisture back into the air. Now is the time to check your humidifier to make sure it's operating properly, that all necessary plates and filters are in place, and that the system is clean and the water supply is correct. Check your operating and maintenance instructions for more information.
4. Check the gutters: Check and clean gutters to remove leaf and pine needle debris, and check that the opening between the gutter and the downspout is unobstructed. Look for loose joints or other structural problems with the system, and repair them as needed using pop rivets. Use a gutter sealant to seal any connections where leaks may be occurring.
5. Change your furnace filters: Replace your old furnace filter with a new one. While you're at it, check the furnace for worn belts, lubrication needs or other servicing that might be required; refer to your owner's manual for specific suggestions, and follow any manufacturer safety instructions for shutting the power and fuel to the furnace before servicing.
6. Install a carbon monoxide detector: As we close up our houses for winter, the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning from malfunctioning gas appliances increases substantially. If you have a fireplace, water heater, or other appliance that is fueled by propane or natural gas, fall is an ideal time to install a carbon monoxide detector -- available from many home centers and retailers of heating system supplies. While you're at it, consider also having a professional heating contractor come out and inspect all of the fittings and components on your gas appliances.
7. Check smoke detectors: Fall is a great time to check the operation of your smoke detectors and to change batteries. You should also consider installing additional smoke detectors outside each bedroom.
8. Close off foundation vents: Depending on the winter climate in your area, you'll want to be thinking about closing off your foundation vents to help prevent pipe freezes. You can leave the foundation open for as many months as the weather remains mild, but close them off when the local forecasts begin calling for freezing temperatures. Once closed, you can leave them that way until it warms up again in the spring.
9. Check weather stripping: Air leaks around doors and windows can rob your home of expensive heated air and create uncomfortable drafts that keep you feeling chilly. Check the weather stripping around doors and windows, and replace any that are worn -- retailers who specialize in doors and windows can fix you up with the proper replacement type for your situation. Now is also a good time to close up a few more air leaks by checking the condition of caulking around exterior door and window frames.
Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
***What's your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to email@example.com.
Hello, I'm Eleanor Nastepniak of National Advantage Realty in New Lenox, Illinois. I'm committed to providing the highest level of service possible to my clients. I always try to stay educated on happenings in the market so I can provide the best professional advice and counsel. I love working with both buyers and sellers and I am dedicated to helping my clients navigate the markets smoothly and successfully.