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 Real Estate Blog 
Thursday, March 31 2011


A Russian investor paid $100 million for a 25,500-square-foot home in Los Altos Hills, Calif., which marks the highest price paid for a single-family home in the U.S.

Billionaire Yuri Milner, 49, who heads Digital Sky Technologies and whose investments include Facebook Inc., Groupon Inc., and Zynga Inc., has no immediate plans to move into the French chateau-style mansion and has a primary residence in Moscow.

The $100-million home features views of the San Francisco Bay, indoor and outdoor pools, a ballroom, and a wine cellar.

The high-price purchase is another sign in the growing strength of the luxury real estate market. Sales volume of homes more than $1 million increased nearly 4 percent in February year over year, the National Association of REALTORS® reports. Meanwhile, sales volume for homes priced between $100,000 and $250,000 have dropped nearly 8 percent.

This marks the highest known price anyone has paid for a single-family home. Investor Ron Baron in 2007 paid $103 million for 40 acres of vacant land in East Hampton, N.Y.

Source: “Home Brings $100 Million,” The Wall Street Journal (March 31, 2011)

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 04:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 30 2011

Pending home sales increased in February but with notable regional variations, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, which measures the number of homes under contract to sell, but not yet closed, rose 2.1% in February.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says February’s rise is part of a longer upward trend. “Month-to-month movements can be instructive, but in this uneven recovery it’s important to look at the longer-term performance,” he said. “Pending home sales have trended up very nicely since bottoming out last June, even with periodic monthly declines. Contract activity is now 20% above the low point immediately following expiration of the home buyer tax credit.”

Yun notes there could have been some weather impact in the February data. “All of the regions saw gains except for the Northeast, where unusually bad winter weather may have curtailed some shopping and contract activity.”

The PHSI in the Northeast fell 10.9% in February and is 18.4% below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index rose 4.0% in February but is 15.9% below February 2010. Pending home sales in the South increased 2.7% but are 5.3% below a year ago. In the West, the index rose 7.0% and is 0.6% higher than February 2010.

“We may not see notable gains in existing-home sales in the near term, but they’re expected to rise 5% to 10% this year with the economic recovery, job creation, and excellent affordability conditions providing confidence to buyers who’ve been on the sidelines,” Yun said.

Source: NAR

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Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 29 2011

Home buyers and -sellers alike often bristle with anticipatory irritation at the mere thought of all the paperwork they expect they’ll have to come up with to do their transaction, above and beyond the basic loan application, contract, disclosures and closing docs. And these worries start way in advance; it’s as though, before they even start visiting open houses, buyers begin to visualize - and dread - spending hours upon hours in the dank catacombs of the Vatican (à la Da Vinci Code) combing through ancient files, seeking some rare and precious artifact documenting their childhood dental history or genealogy.

In some respects, this vision of the experience of obtaining a home loan might not be far off - there are oodles of hoops through which to jump and, occasionally, the loan underwriter requests something sort of bizarre. But more commonly, there’s a pretty finite universe of documents you’ll really need to scrounge up to get your home bought - or sold. Here they are:

  1. ID (e.g., driver’s license, state-issued ID, passport).  Who must produce it?  Buyers and sellers.  Why?  Uh, hello!?!  Lender wants to know that you are who you say you are, buyers, and the title insurance company wants to make sure, sellers, that you actually have the right to sell the home.  Funny enough, this commonly goes unrequested until you get to the closing table, when the notary requests to see it before signing, but some mortgage brokers and even some real estate brokers and agents may ask to see it earlier on.
  2. Paycheck Stubs.  Who must produce it?  Any buyer financing their purchase with a mortgage.  Sellers, usually only in the case of a short sale.  Why? Buyers’ purchase price ranges are determined, in part, by their income. And short sellers have to prove an economic hardship.
  3. Two months’ bank account statements. Who must produce it?  Buyers getting financing; sellers selling short. Why? Buyers’ lenders now require proof of regular income and proof that the down payment money is your own.  Short sellers?  It’s all about the hardship.
  4. Two years’ W-2 forms or tax returns. Who must produce it?  Mortgage-seeking buyers and short selling sellers. Why? Banks want to see a stable, long-term income. They also limit you to claiming as income the amount on which you pay taxes (attn: all business owners!). And in short sales, again, they want documentation of every single facet of your finances.
  5. Updated everything. Who must produce it? Buyer/mortgage applicants. Why? Because things change, and because the time period between the first loan application and closing can be many months - even years! - on today’s market. During the time between contract and closing it’s not at all unusual for underwriters to demand buyers produce updated mortgage statements, checks stubs, and such - and its quite common for them to call your office the day before closing to request a last minute verification of employment!
  6. Quitclaim deed. Who must produce it?  Married buyers purchasing homes they plan to own as separate property.  Married sellers selling homes that they own separately, or joint owners selling their interests separately.  Why? With the Quitclaim Deed, the other spouse or owner signs any and all interests they even might have had in the property over the the selling owner, making it possible for the title insurer to guarantee clear, undisputed title is being transferred in the sale.
  7. Divorce decree.  Who must produce it? Buyers and sellers who need to document their solo status or the property-splitting terms of their divorce. Why? Again, to ensure that the seller has the right to sell.  Recently single buyers might need to prove that they shouldn’t be held to account for their ex’s separate debts or credit report dings.
  8. Gift letters.  Who must produce it? Buyers using gift money toward their down payment.  Why? The bank wants to be sure the gift came from a relative, and is their own money to give.  They also want the relative to confirm in writing that it’s a gift, not a loan - a loan would need to be factored into your debt load.
  9. Compliance certificates. Who must produce it? Usually sellers, but sometimes buyers, by contract. Why? Some local governments require various condition requirements be met before the property is transferred, like some cities which require a sewer line be video scoped and repaired, cities which require a checklist of items be met before a certificate of occupancy be issued (usually relevant to brand new and really old homes, the latter of which are often subject to lead paint concerns) and energy conservation ordinances which require low-flow toilets and shower heads to be installed. Ask your real estate pro for advice about which, if any, such ordinances apply in your area.
  10. Mortgage statements. Who must produce it?  Any seller with a mortgage. Why? the escrow holder or title company will need to use them to order payoff demands from any mortgage holder who has to get paid before the property’s title can be transferred.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 28 2011

Too many Americans mistakenly believe that the coverage limits of their home owners insurance policy are linked to the market value of their home, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

In the I.I.I.’s 2011 Insurance Pulse Survey, conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation, nearly half (48%) of survey respondents came to that incorrect conclusion.

“The real estate value of a home, that is the price you can buy or sell it for, has absolutely nothing to with the amount of insurance needed to financially protect the home owner in the event of a fire or other disaster,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I. “Reducing insurance coverage because the market value of a home has decreased can result in being dangerously underinsured.”

One out of three respondents to the Pulse Survey reported that they purchased less home owners or auto insurance as a way to save money. A better strategy would be to take a higher deductible, which can substantially reduce insurance costs. Home and car owners can then put the savings into a purchasing the right amount and type of insurance for their specific needs, pointed out Salvatore.

Another way to save money is to comparison shop, something that seven out of 10 Pulse Survey respondents said they did to save on both their home and auto insurance needs.

I.I. I. says three biggest insurance mistakes home owners can make are:

1. Insuring a home for its real estate value rather than for the cost of rebuilding. When real estate prices go down, some home owners may think they can reduce the amount of insurance on their home. But insurance is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding, not the sales price of the home. You should make sure that you have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home and replace your belongings.

  • A better way to save: Raise your deductible. An increase from $500 to $1,000 could save up to 25% on your premium payments.

2. Selecting an insurance company by price alone. It is important to choose a company with competitive prices, but also one that is financially sound and provides good customer service.

  • A better way to save: Check the financial health of a company with independent rating agencies and ask friends and family for recommendations. You should select an insurance company that will respond to your needs and handle claims fairly and efficiently.

3. Dropping flood insurance. Damage from flooding is not covered under standard home owners and renters insurance policies. Coverage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as from some private insurance companies. Many home owners are unaware they are at risk for flooding, but in fact 25% of all flood losses occur in low risk areas. Furthermore, with the significant snow fall this winter, spring related flooding may be particularly severe, thus increasing the importance of purchasing flood insurance.

  • A better way to save: Before purchasing a home, check with the NFIP to determine whether the property is situated in a flood zone; if so, consider a less risky area. If you are already living in a designated flood zone, look at mitigation efforts that can reduce your risk of flood damage and consider purchasing flood insurance. Additional information on flood insurance can be found at

Source: Insurance Information Institute

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Posted by: Rolando trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 18 2011
Evansville's historic Old Post Office may soon have new ownership.
The building's nearly vacant and in need of repair...but one local developer says he has the money and the business savvy to fix it.
The former post office, built back in the 1870s, is a truly unique part of Evansville's downtown landscape. But inside, it's in pretty bad shape and it'll take a lot of money and work to change that.
Walking around the Old Post Office, Bashar Hamami is quick to point out the building's potential.
"Most people that see this building fall in love with it."
He took interest in the property after purchasing the General Cigar Building across the street...his first commercial venture.
But he says this one needs some serious TLC.
From extensive water damage to rotting window frames and stripped floors, the to-do list for this property will be long...the interior repairs adding up to about $600,000.
That doesn't include another estimated $600,000 for exterior repairs...a total of 1.2 million in renovations.
Hamami says although former owners let it go, he admits the operating costs are extremely high.
And since only 60 percent of that square footage is rentable space...
"You're heating and cooling and maintaining 40 percent of the space that generates absolutely no revenue."
Aline Lewis works for one of the few businesses left in this building.
She says it's worth all the work.
"The glasswork is unbelievable, the plasterwork is beautiful. It would be magnificent redone...I hope that's what he's gonna do."
Hamami says he's committed to that goal...once he officially holds the keys.
Hamami has the go ahead from the Redevelopment Commission to negotiate taking over the lease for the building.
He says he expects to close on that deal this Friday and get to work soon after that
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 17 2011
Donations Accepted At All Old National Bank Locations


Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel announces that a special fund has been set up to accept donations toward relief efforts in Evansville’s Japanese Sister City, Tochigi City, in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Donations to the “Tochigi City Relief Fund” can be accepted at any Old National Bank location.

Sister City - Tochigi City Japan Guests at ClearcrestThe extent of damage in Tochigi City is still being assessed. Any funds collected above and beyond what is needed for recovery efforts in Tochigi City will be donated to a national relief organization, such as the Japanese Red Cross Society, as may be deemed appropriate by Tochigi City officials.

The City of Evansville has had an official Sister City relationship with Tochigi City since July 19, 1999. Tochigi was chosen to be Evansville’s Japanese Sister City because of similarities between the two communities such as population, active industrial base, location on a river, climate, and reputation as a great place to raise a family. Through numerous visits over the past 12 years, the bonds between our communities have grown strong. Business relationships have expanded. Educational and cultural exchanges have flourished. Acquaintances have turned into friendships.

Read more here.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 16 2011

Buyers have a long list of what they want when home shopping, but one of their biggest desires: A good deal.

"And no matter where a seller prices their property, they're looking to negotiate," says Patricia Szot, president of the MetroTex Association of REALTORS®.

But that’s not all they want. recently asked real estate professionals to chime in on the top desires of their buyers when home shopping. Here are four things that made the list of top home buyer preferences:

1. Homes that are in good condition. "There's not a lot of flexibility in that," says Ron Phipps, president of the National Association of REALTORS®. Many buyers now take the attitude: "I'd rather spend the money getting into the house" and not have to spend more money later, Phipps says. One of the major reasons is that "buyers have limited amounts of cash," he adds. "Even if they want to do a fixer-upper, they don't have the money to do it."

2. A bargain with incentives. Buyers are looking for a good deal, even when considering bank-owned properties, says Joan Pratt, real estate broker with RE/MAX Professionals in Castle Pines, Colo. "They want the short sales and the foreclosures and they want them to look like they're owner-occupied," she says. "They don't want to paint. They don't want to put carpet in. They don't want to clean."

And they aren’t only asking for a low price but they also want incentives to buy too. As such, sellers are offering everything from gift cards for new furniture to paint to financial assistance at closing.

3. Outdoor living areas. Homes with screen porches, outdoor kitchens, two-way fireplaces are becoming increasingly competitive in the marketplace as more buyers say they want more outdoor living space.

4. Open kitchens. "The wall between the kitchen and the family room is evaporating," Phipps says. "The kitchen is becoming part of the gathering space.” (See Buyers Want Cozy, Connected Kitchens)

Source: “9 Items Homebuyers Desire in 2011,” (March 2011)

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 15 2011
     While the national media continues to report that home prices are declining and sales are decreasing I have much better news locally. Closed transactions for the January-February 2011 time period were up 12.6% compared to the same period in 2010 (501 homes in 2011 vs. 445 homes in 2010). In addition the average sale price is up 2% to $120,711 for the first two months of the year. 
     If you are thinking about listing your home let me give you some great reasons to list it now. At the time I wrote this Market Watch there were only 2660 active listings in our multiple listing service. There have not been that few homes on the market since May of 2006. Many sellers think that “buying season” correlates to the summer months but the truth is homes sales pick up in the spring and potential buyers, on average, look for a couple of months before they sign a purchase agreement. All of this means that buyers who will close on the purchase of their new home this summer are looking for homes now. If your home is not on the market buyers won’t find it. 
     My company feels so certain of this time schedule that we are kicking off a new billboard and radio campaign this month. We will advertise both as well as our mobile site, These are absolutely the best local sites for buyers to find homes whether they are at home, in the office, or in their cars. They are also some of the most effective marketing tools for our sellers.
     Remember, buyers are looking, improving weather makes looking for a home more pleasant and I am ready to help you sell your home today. Give me a call and let me show you how I can help you today. You can reach me at 812-499-9234 or or our website
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 03:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 15 2011

The majority of America’s potential home buyers and sellers—68%—believe that the real estate market and property values will recover in the next year or two, according to a survey released today by Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc., a Prudential Financial, Inc. [NYSE:PRU] company.

That’s way up from last April, when only 47% of people who answered a similar survey thought home prices would recover that fast. Despite the market volatility of the past few years, 86% of Americans believe real estate is a good investment.

The Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey reveals that six in 10 respondents are more interested in buying real estate (58%) and are optimistic about buying given the momentum of the economic recovery (59%).

It also shows that although the price of many Americans’ homes declined during the recession, 89% recognize they can also buy a new house at a lower price.

“A key takeaway from the survey is although consumers recognize that it is a good time to buy, they are concerned about their ability to sell their homes. This is one of the reasons the market is still struggling to recover,” said James Mallozzi, chief executive officer of Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc.

For those on the fence about buying, uncertainty about selling an existing home (77%), concern about getting a fair price for the home (67%), and emotions (58%) are holding them back.

Despite the tough market, 78% of Americans who sold a home were satisfied with the sale. Of these, 32% were very satisfied with the final price of their home and 46% were grateful they were able to sell given market conditions. A relatively small number, 22%, were disappointed or resentful about the price they received for their home.

Source: Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc

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Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 14 2011

After what’s felt like an eternity pretending not to see it, you’ve reached the point where you can no longer ignore that ugly wallpaper the previous owners put up. Yes, indeed, this wall covering must come down. Now.


The problem: How do you remove the wallpaper without damaging the wall — or yourself? There are several options, including steaming or spraying with chemicals, but you'll have to decide which one will work best for you and your wallpaper.


How do you remove the wallpaper without damaging the wall — or yourself? Use these tips to help you decide which option will work best.

"People usually have no clue on how to strip wallpaper," says Gerald Bishop, owner of Wallcoverings and the Fresno Wallpaper Design Warehouse in Fresno, Calif. "It's not that difficult. But it takes a lot of patience, and there's an art to stripping wallpaper."


Which method you use to take down the wallpaper will often depend on the product. Some wallpapers can be stripped dry, while others will need a removal solution. And then, any damage to the wall will depend on how the wallpaper was installed.


"Every job is different," Gerald says. "It all stems from what the contractor did before." For example, if the wall wasn't sealed with a primer before the wallpaper was put up, removing the wallpaper can cause some damage to the wall's texture or the drywall.


Using a steamer to remove wallpaper isn't as popular as it once was. "We used to use them 25 years ago, and they were (heated with) propane," says Larry Meacham of Larry's Painting and Decorating in Fresno.

These days, steamers are electric, he says. "They may work for some people, but I don't use them."

Gerald doesn't use steamers either. "It works, but you end up scalding your hands. It also takes twice as long to strip the wallpaper."


Instead, Larry and Gerald like to use a concentrated remover solution that is mixed with water. The solution dissolves the adhesive wallpaper backing, making it easy to take off. Before starting, gather the right tools and do some basic preparations. Tools you'll need include: one or two 3-to-6-inch broad knives, a ladder, a scoring tool and a garden sprayer, such as a 2-gallon plastic pump.


You'll need a plastic sheet or a drop cloth to cover the carpet or floor. Take down outlet covers, then mix the solution and hot water together. Larry and Gerald like to use DIF by Zinsser, which is available at home-improvement stores.


Next, test a small area of the wall, about a 3' x 3' section, by lifting an edge of the wallpaper. "You have to determine what the grain is," Gerald says. "It can be stripped left to right, up and down, or more."

If the wallpaper doesn't come off easily, spray the remover-solution mixture on the area and let it soak into the wallpaper. You may need to apply it several times.

Next, try stripping the wallpaper by hand. The backing will be left, which you can scrape off with a broad knife.


If the mixture isn't penetrating through the wallpaper, use the scoring tool in circular motions to make tiny punctures into the material. This will allow the mixture to saturate the wallpaper and its backing quicker.

Gerald cautions, however, to use the tool as a last resort. "You have to do it with the right pressure and not gouge the drywall," he says.


As you take off the wallpaper, you may find more underneath. "No matter what the manufacturers tell you, you can only take down one at a time" without risking damage to the wall, says John Franke, an interior design expert with the Comfort Council, an advisory board of design and lifestyle experts.

Once the wallpaper and its backing are removed, spray the wall with the mixture one last time and scrape off any missed spots. Then, wipe down the wall with a moist sponge and let it dry for a few days.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 11 2011

A good exterior paint job isn’t cheap, but done right, it can easily last 10 or more years. To get the most for your money, follow these steps.

At first glance, the days of wood home exteriors seem long gone. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, homes with wood siding comprise less than 10% of all new residential construction, the lowest usage of any exterior material.

But if you’ve got wood siding, there’s a solid, money-in-the-bank reason why you’d want to repaint rather than switch to fiber-cement, brick, or vinyl. In the short term, repainting or staining costs less. A midrange vinyl siding replacement project will cost you around $10,000, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report. By comparison, hiring a pro to repaint the same 2,000-square-foot, two-story house costs $4,000 to $6,000.

True, if you’re planning to stay in your house for a long time, you’ll have to spend that money again. But properly applied, exterior paint can easily last 10 years or longer. The key to a successful job is in the preparation. Here are the steps to take to make sure you get perfect results.

Step 1: Check for lead paint

Beginning April 22, 2010, all paint contractors must observe EPA regulations for lead-safe practices and be certified to perform this work. The rule applies to houses built before 1978, when lead paint was banned for residential use, especially those that are occupied by children. (Do-it-yourselfers are exempt.)

To protect against airborne lead particles, contractors must take steps to keep paint dust to a minimum: collecting scrapings, cleaning with a HEPA vacuum, wearing masks and Tyvek suits, and disposing of all materials at an approved hazardous materials site.

The first step is to initiate the process with a lead paint test (homeowner kits are available for $10 to $15 online or at paint and hardware stores). Following the new rules will add as much as 10% to 20% to the cost of a contracted paint job. But since many contractors are still unaware of the regulation, costs will vary widely.

Step 2: Wash the exterior

Pigment won’t adhere well if you don’t wash grime off the house first. A good cleaning agent is water mixed with a phosphate-free cleanser such as Jomax House Cleaner or Green Clean by Sherwin-Williams, which won’t harm plantings. “You want to clean off everything: dust, dirt, and mildew,” says Paul Dixon of Bionic Man Painting, in Asheville, N.C. “A lot of people don’t, and then wonder why the paint comes off.”

Mildew, in particular, thrives under fresh paint. A good wash will kill spores so they don’t proliferate. You can hand-apply the solution with a sponge, but that requires a lot of up-and-down on a ladder. Most contractors simply apply solution with a pressure washer.

Step 3: Scrape off loose paint

Once clapboards are dry, remove loose, flaking paint. A handheld scraper is usually the best tool for the job, though you can also use a hot-air gun or infrared paint stripper. Never use an open-flame torch. They can easily cause a fire and are illegal in most states unless you have a permit. To work lead-safe, you must wear a mask and Tyvek suit, spray water on the paint as you scrape, and collect the debris.

Step 4: Sand rough spots

A pad sander or random-orbit sander fitted with 50- to 80-grit sandpaper will smooth out any remaining rough spots, but take care not to push so hard that you leave sander marks in the wood. As with the previous step, sanding lead-safe means working masked, wetting as you go, and using sanders fitted with HEPA filters.

Step 5: Fill and repair

Inspect what you’ve uncovered and make some decisions. Minor holes or dings in the siding can be easily filled in with a patching putty or compound such as Zinsser’s Ready Patch ($20 per gallon). If you’ve got a major rot problem, summon a carpenter to replace the bad wood.

Step 6: Apply a coat of primer

Apply primer as soon as possible after the previous step. White, gray, or tinted primer provides an even base for topcoats to adhere to, and a uniform canvas from which to survey your work. “Once you get the primer on, now you can see what’s really going on,” says Mario Guertin, a contractor with Painting in Partnership, in Palatine, Ill.

Small gaps in joints and around doors, windows, and other spots where horizontals meet verticals will all stand out in high relief, showing you where you need to fill in with caulk.

If you’re painting over bare wood or existing latex paint, then latex primer is fine. But if you’re painting over multiple coats of oil-based paint, it’s best to stick with a new coat of oil-based primer.

Step 7: Caulk all joints

Siliconized or top-of-the line polyurethane acrylic caulks give paint jobs a smooth, pleasing look. But the benefits aren’t purely aesthetic. Tight joints also prevent air leaks and block water penetration. It’s worth springing for $7-a-tube polyurethane caulks with 55-year warranties, which will stand up to weather better than 35-year caulks costing less than $3. The average house requires about 7 tubes of caulk; contractors buy them in 12-pack cases and use them for several jobs.

Step 8: Choose the right paint

No-brainer here. Painting with water-based acrylic latex is so much easier than dealing with oil-based paints. But choose finishes carefully. As a rule, the higher the sheen, the better the paint is at blocking the sun’s damaging rays. Satin is fine for shingles or clapboards, but you’ll want gloss paint to protect high-traffic parts of a house, such as window casings, porches, and doorframes. A gallon of premium exterior latex costs $35 to $45.

Step 9: Apply top coat(s)

There is such a thing as too much paint. The more layers, the more likely the paint is to flake off years later. Tread lightly. If you’re going from a white house to yellow or cream, you might be able to get by with one coat. Going from a light to a dark house, and vice versa, usually requires two coats.

Step 10: Practice good maintenance

You can extend the life of a good paint job by inspecting the caulk every year, replacing any that’s cracked or missing, and doing minimal touch-up-all easy jobs for homeowners to do themselves.

Joseph D’Agnese is a journalist and book author who has written numerous articles on home improvement. He lives in North Carolina.

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Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 10 2011

Remodeling kitchen trends are creating stylish kitchens with cleaner lines, built-in dining, and pops of color, according to a recent article in RISMedia.

Here are some recent trends in kitchens across the country.

1. Built-in dining areas. Eat-in kitchens are in high demand as more remodelers are opting for extensions in counters that resemble a table, either in lower or higher height to the countertop. The counter extension is different than bar seating because diners can sit around the edge and face one another, and not just sit in a row. The counter extension saves space, offers an extra buffet service, and more kitchen storage, says Deanna Carleton of Kitchen Design Group.

2. Dressing up the kitchen with lighting. An affordable way to upgrade a kitchen is just by switching out the lights, designers say. For example, hand-blown glass shades on pendant lights, contemporary drum shades, and chandeliers can quickly update a kitchen. Layers of light continue to be popular, such as with a ceiling lighting fixture combined with under-counter lighting as well as ambient lights behind a glass-front door, designers say. LED under-counter lighting and LED recessed ceiling lights are also popular.

3. Pops of color. Neutral colors in the kitchen is the safe preference, but more kitchens are adding bolder pops of color--such as in persimmon or pomegranate--to spice up the kitchen. Colored knobs, kitchen accessories, and even appliances are bringing in these pops of color. Designers say pops of color can also be brought in by the fabric choice in kitchen window seats, the upholstered seats, or window valances.

4. Striving for simplistic luxury. Clean lines and transitional designs are “in” while ornate Tuscan and French country kitchen styles are falling out of favor in the kitchen. Betty Nairn of Cabinet-S-Top in Granger Township, Ohio, says “simplistic luxury” is the kitchen trend nowadays.

Source: "8 Areas to Pay Attention to When Updating Your Kitchen," RISMedia (March 5, 2011)

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:47 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, March 09 2011
Spring is upon us, and it's time to dust off the old mop and get ready to do some deep cleaning. 
Don't worry spring cleaning can be a fun and rewarding experience, if you approach it with the right mindset! See for yourself with this letter, we are including a list of tips to help you get the most out of your spring cleaning experience. We hope you find these special tips useful. Remember to call us with any real estate questions you may have, and remember to tell your friends about us! You can reach Rolando at 812-499-9234 or Kathy at 812-499-0246 or visit our Web site at:
·         Dance while you dust: This is the perfect time to fully indulge your musical interests; break out the iPod or turn up the CD player, and you'll be singing along to your favorite tunes and won't find cleaning to be a chore at all!
·         Clear out the clutter: Take the opportunity to dig into the closets, storage spaces and, of course the garage. You've probably got a veritable treasure trove of old clutter that's just taking up space now's the time for a yard sale! Turn that clutter into cash.
·         Room by room: Try to focus on just one room at a time, and try to complete one room each day. This will make the whole job seem more manageable, and you'll probably get things cleaned more thoroughly than if you tried to tackle the whole house at once!
·         Just a little more laundry: One of the things that we rarely attend to is the state of our draperies, shower curtains and rugs. Now is your chance: gather up every spare bit of linen in the house and have it laundered; you'll be surprised by how much brighter your home will look!
·         A room with a view: It's time to tackle those windows! Set aside a special day to give your windows a good scrubbing. Clean off any screens while you're at it: your home will literally sparkle once you're finished.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 08 2011

Evansville-based Berry Plastics Corp. says it plans to invest $5 million in a new production line at its Daviess County operation. The expansion is expected to create five positions. The company says it could make an additional capital investment and boost employment at the Odon facility in the future.

 Berry Plastics Corporation announced plans today for the addition of a new $5 million production line at its operations in Daviess County Indiana to increase manufacturing capacity. The company had earlier expanded its physical operations near the city of Odon in Daviess County to 29,000 sq. ft. The expansion, which is receiving tax abatement incentives from the county, is expected to create up to five new jobs.

“Berry Plastics has continued to strategically diversify and grow its business operations in southern Indiana, which benefits all Hoosiers,” said Mitch Roob, Indiana Secretary of Commerce and CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). “When a company adds even five high-impact jobs in a small town like Odon, it translates out to considerable economic impact for the immediate region.”

“Berry Plastics has proven itself to be a great corporate citizen for the region,” said Ron Arnold, executive director of the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation. “The company’s continued growth helps diversify and grow our local economy.”

“The workforce and expanding transportation infrastructure in south central Indiana makes great strategic sense for a company like Berry Plastics,” said R.J. Reynolds, president and CEO of Radius Indiana, an eight-county regional partnership that includes Daviess County. “We appreciate their confidence in the region and we look forward to helping Berry Plastics continue its great track record of growth.”

“The investment in Daviess County and the local economy reflects Berry Plastics’ continued belief in the high quality support provided by the residents and local communities,” said Dave Corey, President of Berry Plastics Specialty Films Division. “This investment is being made in a very challenging flexible film manufacturing application and successful operation is dependent on dedicated, highly competent personnel. Berry Plastics reviewed the overall business and operational requirements for this investment and determined that Daviess County met all criteria and has proven to be an outstanding manufacturing base.”

Beyond the initial project phase, Berry Plastics’ future plans could include additional capital investment and employment at the selected site as additional capacity is required by the market.

Source: Berry Plastics & InsideINdianaBusiness

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 07 2011

You're about to relocate and along with that comes the task of moving all your goods. Now is a good time to decide what you will keep and what you wish to leave behind. A moving sale can reduce the weight of your shipment and the cost of your move. Also, of course, a moving sale can generate additional funds that may offset other expenses.

The key to a successful moving sale is determining what you no longer use, have outgrown or what you can easily replace at your new home. Remember, what may seem worthless to you is another person's treasure.

And who knows, if you haven't sold your home yet, a moving sale may even attract the right buyer!

How To Begin

Ask your family members about items they wish to sell, they may desire to sell more things than you imagined. Or, you might organize a "neighborhood" sale and pool the efforts of other famlies on your street.

When To Have Your Sale

Set a date and a time as soon as you can. Fridays and Saturdays are usually best; however, try to avoid holiday weekends. Establish a rain date if you think it may be necessary. Determine the hours, such as 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Many shoppers like to be first in line, so be prepared for early arrivals.

Where To Hold Your Sale

Check with local authorities about restrictions for sales in your area. Once you have a location, decide if the sale will be in the garage, yard or basement. Make sure there is ample parking and space for people to move about.

Publicize Your Sale

A good source of publicity is your local paper. Contact the Classified Advertising department to find out:

  • How they calculate costs — by column inches, number of lines or number of words?
  • What is the cost to run the ad Friday and Saturday vs Saturday only?
  • What is the additional cost for a bold headline?
  • What is the deadline for submitting an ad?

Mention the most popular items in your ad, such as furniture, appliances, tools, electronics, etc. Consider including your phone number so people can call for more information about sale items or for directions (this is especially useful if you live in an obsecure area).

Another publicity technique is to display flyers around the neighborhood. Note in large letters the type of sale, date, time and location. You may also place signs in high-traffic areas on the day of the sale with arrows and directions. (Please note that there may be restrictions on the posting of flyers and signs. Your local Chamber of Commerce can assist you should you have any questions.)

  Set up a cashier's desk (a card table will do fine) with a calculator, scissors, tape, string, markers, a cash box and plenty of change.

Ten Essential Preparations

  1. Look at your list of items for sale. Visit secondhand shops, retail stores, etc. to determine prices for each.
  2. Record the price on a tag or sticker and place on the item in an easy-to-see location. Use different colored stickers or an identification code on the tags if more than one family is involved in your sale.
  3. Start saving shopping bags and cartons to make it more convenient for customers. Have tissue paper or newspaper on hand to wrap glass, knickknacks and other fragile purchases.
  4. Bundle or package all sets, groups, or units together so customers know what they are getting. Put loose game pieces in a sealable bag and secure inside the box.
  5. Set up the yard, garage or basement so that all "For Sale" items will be separated from items not for sale.
  6. Display items in groups according to type, such as kitchen utensils, sporting goods, tools, etc. If possible, hang clothing on a clothesline or rack for easy viewing.
  7. Set up a cashier's desk with a calculator, scissors, tape, string, markers, a cash box and plenty of change.
  8. Be prepared for the weather to change at any time. Have several large sheets of plastic handy to quickly cover everything.
  9. To keep the kids busy, buy a few varieties of soft drinks and bottled water. Ice them down in a cooler the night before. Tell the kids that the money they earn selling drinks is their reward for helping. On a hot summer day, a cold drink will be a welcome relief to shoppers.
  10. Assign everyone a responsibility for the day, like cashier, clerk, organizer, etc.

Now You Are Ready For A Successful Moving Sale!


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 04 2011
Pests are not just unwanted houseguests--they're also a threat to your home investment. In many cases, pests bring down a home's price more than high crime rates or low quality schools. In this sense, they pose a greater risk than fire and flood. Termite damage costs U.S. homeowners more than $5 billion annually.
The 's ChallengeExterminator
The best time to call an exterminator is right away, before the symptoms of an infestation appear. Early detection of termites or other pests can help you protect your investment and avoid thousands of dollars in treatment and structural repair costs. Termites and carpenter ants work from the inside out, gradually consuming the wood until the structure fails altogether. Unlike rats or raccoons, these destructive pests are "silent invaders"--they may hide undetected for years, leaving no marks on the wood's exterior surface.
Exterminators Detect the Early Signs of Termites
Professional exterminators possess a trained eye to spot the early signs of a termite or carpenter ant infestation. Telltale evidence of termites or ant colonies includes:
  • Mudholes or "mud tubes" along the exterior walls of your home. About the size of a pencil, these are tunnels that provide termites a direct thoroughfare from the soil outside into your home's wall.
  • Piles of sawdust along windowsills or on the ground next to walls.
  • Cracks, small holes, or paint bubbles on the wall's surface.
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped with a hammer.
  • Swarms of winged insects in and around the home.
These signs indicate that an infestation is underway. An expert can assess the extent of the problem and recommend solutions. Exterminators are trained in pest identification and control. They understand how pests such as termites behave, and how best to clear the premises of these destructive visitors.
A standing relationship with a pest exterminator can help you protect your property from pest invasion. "Every successful pest control program begins with a partnership between the homeowners and the professionals," explains Ron Harrison, Ph.D., technical director for a leading pest control company. Routine inspections (at least once a year) by an experienced exterminator can catch the worst offenders--termites and carpenter ants--before they eat into your walls and your property value.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 03 2011
You have installed vinyl or aluminum siding on your house, and you look forward to a long vacation from the cares of maintaining wood siding. You are done scraping and repainting every four or five years, and you are delighted. Sadly, no house siding product for your home can be 100% maintenance free. With a little bit of care though, your house siding will retain its good looks for years to come. Cleaning Your Vinyl Siding or Aluminum Siding

Over time dirt, grime, and even mildew can build up your house siding. You can clean off these deposits using a pressure washer, which can be rented from most hardware stores. The key is to use a lower-pressure nozzle to avoid damaging the siding. A cleaning solution made with diluted liquid detergent works well on especially dirty siding, but if your siding is only lightly soiled, water alone should do the trick. You should always spray the siding using a downward angle to avoid shooting water up between the spaces in the siding. If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, you can find a pressure washing professional to do the job for you.

Aluminum and Vinyl Siding Repairs

At some point, your house siding might require some repairs. Aluminum siding can get dented when objects such as stray basketballs hit it. Vinyl siding is susceptible to cracking in the winter because the cold temperatures make it more brittle. Also, vinyl siding can melt if you lean something very hot against it, such as a barbecue grill lid. If a panel of your house siding is damaged, it easily can be removed and replaced with a new piece that has been cut to size and locked into place. In general, it is much easier to repair vinyl and aluminum siding than wood siding.

Though you will not escape maintenance duties entirely with vinyl or aluminum siding, they offer a worry-free and attractive exterior finish for your home.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, March 02 2011

The phrase “home energy efficiency” causes most of us to immediately think about triple-paned windows and Energy Star appliances. Important energy savers, to be sure. However, as one energy efficiency expert counsels, not all changes have to be big or expensive to make a difference. Many of the small choices we make every day can impact our energy usage as well.

Daniel Lanzilotta, owner of The Mindful Chef and an executive chef/chef educator, offers these simple tips to ensure your kitchen is energy efficient.

Refrigerator tips:

  • Check your seal. One of the most important factors in determining your refrigerator’s energy efficiency is the quality of its seal. Check the seal regularly to ensure it is not dried out and is still sealing properly. If it’s not, replace it. This inexpensive repair can make a big difference in your refrigerator’s efficiency.
  • Stop refrigerator gazing. We’re all guilty of standing mindlessly in front of the open refrigerator door, pondering what we should eat. Not only can this habit lead to poor choices, it also increases our utility bill as well. According to Lanzilotta, this represents one of the basic laws of thermo-dynamics—heat is attracted to cold—and gazing at an open refrigerator causes the hot air to rush in, raising the internal temperature of the appliance.
  • Allow food to cool. When you place hot leftovers directly into your refrigerator, you are forcing your appliance to work harder than necessary to cool your food and, in turn, the interior of the unit. By allowing your food to begin to cool naturally before placing it in the fridge, you’re increasing your efficiency and saving money and energy.

Sink and dishwasher tips:

  • Be mindful of water waste. By being aware and conservative when using water at the sink you can dramatically reduce your water waste. Run water only when necessary and only use hot water when absolutely needed.
  • Wait until your dishwasher is full. Many people are guilty of running a dishwasher half-empty. Lanzilotta urges people to wait until the unit is full before running. Also, check your settings to make sure you are only utilizing the features that are necessary.
  • Take care of your hot water heater. Perhaps the most important kitchen-efficiency change you can make is not even found in the kitchen. Check your hot water heater’s setting and insulate pipes to prevent heat loss.

Read more:
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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The Trentini Team
7820 Eagle Crest Bvd., Suite 200
Evansville, IN 47715
Office: (812) 479-0801
Cell: (812) 499-9234

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