lake county real estate. and then some…

selling homes…a family tradition

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Housing recovery is in motion…

Housing recovery in its…

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Do you know this simple step that could prevent a battery-triggered fire?

In an effort to minimize my “carbon footprint,” I collect all of our dead batteries and place them in a  box in the basement.  When the box is full, I take it to the County hazardous waste collection event.  Never did I imagine that my recycling effort could potentially be exposing my house, family and pets to a devastating fire.  Having experienced a fire in my college apartment, I know that it is something a never want to relive.  Twenty years later, I can close my eyes and see the flames shooting up the wall and across the ceiling.  The melted ceiling light fixture, the burned counter top.  And I can hear the popping of the exploding Pepsi cans, that were sitting right next to the stove.  I haven’t tried to heat up oil for fondue since.  Guess how many fire extinguishers we received as wedding gifts the following year?

Take a few minutes to watch this quick video and learn one simple, quick & inexpensive tip to minimize your risk of a house fire.  I’m off to buy some electrical tape…

Battery Fire Safety Video

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If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, then what is a cluttered home the sign of?

Chaos.  A busy family.  A society triggered by instant gratification.  And stuff.  As a Realtor, I still am amazed at how much “stuff” I see when when I enter so many different homes, especially those  where children have grown up and moved out.  Last year, I decided that one of my New Year’s resolutions was going to be to organize my house – to go through it, from top to bottom, as if I was preparing to sell.  I did pretty well, however life got in the way, and I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped.  This year, “organizing my house”is once again on top of my list.

Last year, I found great help through a number of Facebook pages and blogs.  Suggestions ranging from focusing on one room each month, tossing 10 items a day for 30 days, to setting a timer for 15 minutes at a time.  I was able to sign up for email programs that prodded me along, that told me what to focus on, and kept me going.  This year, I have joined two groups – one that requires the tossing of one item a day, with the goal to eliminate 365 items over the course of the year; the second is a 52 week calendar, with different tasks each day.  The available resources are even better than last year. Need some help?  Try one of sites:

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7 tips to help your home make it through this cold weather

Chi-seberia. The newest term used to describe the Chicagoland area as we experience the coldest temperatures since cold temperatures were recorded. We knew the cold was coming. The news outlets have told us – repeatedly – how bitter the cold would be, giving people time to prepare. The question becomes, how many people listened? And more importantly, how many people KNEW what actions to take? Here is a simple list of tips you can take to prepare your home *quickly* for the winter weather:

1) Avoid the frozen pipe catastrophe. Water lines that run along an exterior wall, or over a garage, are prone to freezing. Turning the faucet on to a fast, steady drip, or low stream of water, is enough to keep the water running through the pipes. Running water doesn’t freeze. Opening sink cabinets allows the warmer air in the room to circulate, and helps keep the pipes from freezing as well.
2) Close blinds and draperies. This will minimize the window drafts and the cold of the glass from chilling the air in the room. Older windows, or poorly made ones, should be sealed. Hardware stores sell plastic that can be attached to the windows, usually with tape or a heat activated seal
3) Keep garage doors closed, especially if there is finished living space above the garage.
4) Keep exterior doors tightly closed, even if you have a storm door attached.
5) Check exterior doors for drafts. Add some weatherstripping to improve the seal. A rug, rolled towels, or even a door seal “buddy” can be placed at the bottom to stop the draft.
6) Reverse your ceiling fans. During the winter you want the hot air pushed down, reversing the switch on the motor housing creates an updraft that will do that. Just remember to switch it back for the summer months, when you want the hot air pulled up.
7) Be very careful when using space heaters. Most winter house fires are caused by careless use of these heating devices. Firefighters have a near-impossible task to fight fires in sub-zero temperatures, so the best course of action is to be sure that you minimize all risks.

These are all “quick-fixes”, useful in times like this. Don’t let them take the place of regular household maintenance – like servicing your furnace every fall to ensure it heats your house, having your roof routinely checked for loose shingles & worn spots, cleaning out gutters to help minimize ice damming, and keeping windows airtight.

Stay warm!