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Friday, March 23 2012

Economists say the housing market is starting to heal, but too many people aren't aware of it because they're judging a housing recovery on the wrong sign: What’s happening with home prices.

Paul Dales at Capital Economics says higher prices won’t be the sign that the housing market is on the mend — that can be a lagging indicator — but rather an increase in overall home sales. And that's showing signs of improvement: Existing home sales in 2011 rose to 4.26 million compared to 4.19 million in 2010. In the last six months alone, home sales have increased 13 percent.

As a recent article at Fortune points out, “The evidence reminds us that perhaps we should change our expectations of what a housing recovery might look like, particularly following a crisis marked by record foreclosures and a financial crisis that sent the economy into one of the deepest recessions. The recovery we have been anticipating is defined more on the rate at which the glut of vacant properties comes off the market as opposed to any steady rise in prices, which some think won't happen for another few years.”

Source: “The One Number to Watch for a Housing Recovery,” Fortune (March 20, 2012)

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 22 2012

Nothing ruins your garden or yard like weeds, those uninvited guests that rob your plants of space and nutrients. So murder those weeds most foul, but without harmful chemicals that can do you in, too.

Here are 7 ways to kill weeds with weapons you already have around your house.

1. Newspaper: A carpet of newspaper, which blocks sunlight and oxygen from reaching the soil, will smother weeds already sprouted and prevent new ones from growing. Throw down newspaper in 10-sheet layers, wet to hold it down, and cover with an inch or two of mulch. If weeds begin to grow in the mulch, add more layers, making a mulch-newspaper lasagna, which eventually will decompose and nourish the soil.

2. Old shower curtains and carpet samples: Spreading these useless items in garden paths or between rows will keeps weeds from ever showing their unwanted heads. Cover with mulch.

3. Corn gluten meal: This corn by-product stops seeds from growing into weeds. Since the meal will prevent germination, spread it around established plants, and after seedlings and transplants have taken hold in the soil. After harvest, spread the meal to prevent late-season weeds.

4. Vinegar: The acetic acid in 5% vinegar is a desiccant that sucks the life out of plant leaves. It’s most destructive to young plants with immature roots, though it just rolls off weeds with waxy leaves, like pennywort or thistle.

Make sure you cover desirables before spraying, because vinegar is an equal opportunity killer. Keep your spray on-target by removing the bottom from a 2-liter plastic soda bottle, and placing it over the weed. Spray vinegar into the mouth of the bottle, which will keep it from splattering on your vegetables.

5. Vodka: Don’t know if vodka makes weeds fall down dead or drunk, but 1 ounce mixed with 2 cups of water and a couple of drops of dish soap will dry out weeds that live in the sun. Doesn’t work that well on shade-loving weeds. Protect desirables, because vodka will dry them out, too.

6. Soap: The oil in soap can break down waxy or hairy weed surfaces, making them vulnerable to desiccants. So add a few drops of liquid dish detergent to vinegar or vodka sprays to keep the solution on leaves. The soap also makes leaves shiny, which will help you keep track of what you’ve sprayed.

7. Boiling water: After you’ve made yourself a cup of tea, take the kettle outside and pour the boiling water on weeds, which will burn up. This is a particularly good way to whack driveway and walkway weeds, because the boiling water can run off impervious surfaces and cool before it reaches border plants.



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/landscaping-gardening/how-to-get-rid-of-weeds-naturally/#ixzz1pgaGDfcJ
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, March 21 2012

A lot of prospective homeowners have already been taking advantage of today's real estate buyer's market. The benefits of larger profit margins, tax deductions, and the simple joy of ownership outweigh the expenses of doing so.

There are certainly a lot of perks when you begin your search to buy real estate online as opposed to doing it the old-fashion way.

Offline

Online

You can't filter your options according to what you need. You might have to physically go through a lot of listings to find what you need.

Your choices for buying real estate become extremely limited.

While some photos are available in printed real estate listings, a lot of them don't feature images of the interior.

You can easily access a treasure trove of information regarding realtor credibility

Contacting a trusted realtor relevant to your search in terms of property type and location comes much faster.

Virtual tours of the property are a definite possibility, making the decision to physically visit property sites much more informed. You don't want to waste time driving only to find that the property type does not suit your needs.

This is not to say that you should go through the entire process of buying real estate online. The biggest risk of completely buying real estate online is that of misrepresentation. Note though that that risk is easily addressed by checking with a reliable realtor in the area you are eyeing, and by doing the final walkthrough yourself.

A lot of other people are now taking advantage of the real estate buyer's market. Prices are down, more properties (read: more investments) are up for sale. Start your search to buy real estate online now, before someone else beats you to the punch.

I hope you have found this information helpful. If you need any help with buying, selling or renting a home in Evansville, Indiana please contact me at any time. You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or by email at Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com

 

 

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 20 2012
Advanced technology has become such a prominent feature in our everyday lives it is no surprise that it’s increasingly affectingEvansville home values. As “Home Automation” features grow in importance, bottom-line home values are following suit. It’s a new phenomenon, one that motivated home sellers (as well as homeowners heeding long term home values) should understand. 
 
Home automation – the inclusion of luxury technological features like temperature control, lighting control, security systems and the like – are becoming more commonplace, increasing home values in the process. A few years ago, adding such bells and whistles to an existing home would probably have been more pricey than the return would justify -- but that is becoming ever less true. Think hi def flat screen TV and you’ll have a good example of the direction home automation is headed: ever-improving features for lower and lower prices.
 
As automated features become more widespread and their prices lower, some of them are growing increasingly simple to add. And the scope of home systems and their effect on home values can be quite varied. For some, adding an ‘automation system’ might consist of something as simple as installing remote or automatic control of a few lights. Others might make electronic security the key, choosing to install a full-fledged central system.
 
Where wireless home Internet networks are already in place, home values can easily be raised by the addition of remote operation. Right now that may sound like an unnecessary futuristic feature, but it may turn out that being able to control lights or heating systems from afar could substantially increase energy efficiency (along with home values).
 
Matthew Berman, one of the owners of New York design firm Workshop/apd, was recently quoted in the New York Times describing a “whole-home” lighting system.
“A popular feature of this kind of system is the ability to hit one button when you're leaving your house to turn off all the lights." As a practical matter, he also recommended keeping automated systems separately controllable, making them less complicated to operate and less subject to breakdown.
 
It's important to think long-term as well as short-term -- especially for anyone looking to increase home values, whether for future or immediate sale. Home automation is looking like a worthy candidate for the Next Big Thing, and buyers might be ready to gravitate toward advanced features that distinguish one Evansville seller's home from the competition. Call me if you would like to discuss how home automation might come into play when it comes to selling your  home. You can call me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RoalndoTrentini.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 19 2012
Market Watch
 
     I have one important message in this month’s Market Watch: If you or someone you know is thinking about selling their house, list it NOW. Seriously, I know that sounds like a Realtor talking but it is also the truth. Let me tell you why.
    Combined January and February closed transactions are up 5% from last year and up 17% from 2010. The number of homes currently listed is down 10.1% from last year and down 17.6% from 2010. When sales increase, as they have, and listings decrease, as they have, the month’s supply of homes also decreases. It will then be no surprise that average month’s supply has also declined significantly.   The average month’s supply this year is 16.2% less than last year and 30.7% less than 2010. The absolute number of active listings is down over 33% from its peak. If we close the same number of homes this March as we did last year in March and active listings don’t increase we will only have 6.28 month’s supply of homes on the market. The supply of homes has been that low for exactly one month since June of 2006. That was for the month in which the last home buyer tax credit expired, clearly an aberration.
    Winter decided to skip us this year. The home buying season has already started. Home affordability (a calculation based on average household income, median home price and mortgage interest rates) is at an all time high. Homes have never been more affordable and there are not too many on the market.
    No one has better tools to market your house and FCTuckerEmge.com is the best local website for shoppers in our market. Opportunity is knocking. Call me now and take advantage of today’s housing environment. You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or by email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Kathy and I wish you a happy and safe spring season.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 16 2012

There's time this month to do the prep work before the planting and growing season gets going.

March may find you sighing with impatience as you watch yet another snowfall cover your barren container boxes, but it's one of the most important months for gardeners.

There's still time to do all of your prep work, from honing tools to starting seeds, as you imagine the shapes, tastes and colors of your next garden. Spring begins with the vernal equinox on March 20.

Tool cleanup
If you didn't do so in the fall, it's time to give your lawn mower and other tools some tough love.

Get ahead of the spring crowds by dropping off your lawn mower now to have the oil changed, bolts tightened and blades sharpened.

Remove soil from your tools' metal parts using sandpaper or a hose.

  • Sand rough edges on wooden tool handles, then coat them with linseed oil.
  • Sharpen your tools. A file will sharpen tools of all sizes, from shovels and hoes to trowels and clippers. A Carborundum wheel will work on smaller tools. Pruning shears can be sharpened with a whetstone. After sharpening, use a rag to apply a thin, penetrating oil to metal tool parts; follow with a heavier oil on tools that have moving parts.

Lawn doctoring
The green, green grass of home doesn't get that way by accident, and March is a perfect time to assess your lawn's health.

  • Pluck a 4- to 5-inch square from your yard to see what's going on down there. If your area has crane flies, count the larvae. Fewer than 35 per square foot means less work for you: Your lawn should be able to withstand that number.
  • If you're not sure what to look for, take your lawn sample to an expert at your garden store and ask for a diagnosis; then just press your sample back into its "bed."
  • Lime, treat moss and, finally, reseed as needed. (Overseeding can be done after midmonth.)
  • Fertilize your lawn now or start a new lawn using seeds or sod.

Read more here: http://ht.ly/9yLMA

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 15 2012
Is now really the best time to buy real estate? Let's try to rephrase that: is now the best time to buy real estate for you? The real estate market fluctuates every now and then, but it's pretty much a rule of thumb that property values always go up in the long run. This little article will go on about a few signs that indicate when you should absolutely make that home purchase.

You love your job and it pays off well - Job and income security are definitely two things that we all strive for. With this moving-up-in-the-world, you should definitely start thinking about making that real estate investment.

The prospect of having a family is in the not-so-distant horizon - Living spaces are typically bigger in houses as opposed to apartments or condos and hence serve better avenues to raise families in. Though there might be exceptions to this, the ownership of your own home might serve you better in terms of the little ones painting on the walls and other adorable vandalisms. At least you wouldn't have to answer to any landlord.

Relocation isn't all too probable - If you believe you will be calling an area your home for 5 years or more then contact your realtor as soon as possible. Staying that long at a certain location without investing in that area's real estate is a missed opportunity!

The property is closer to places you frequent - Apart from being a major convenience, this sign can also save you a lot of gas money accumulated over time. After all, real estate is still about location, location, location. If this place is close to hospitals, shopping centers and schools, then that would just make this investment all the sweeter.

If you can see these signs working in your life, then it’s time to take a chance and get in touch with a trusted realtor in the area your eyeing. Things might just be lining up for you to make that investment!

I hope you have found this information helpful. If you need any help with buying, selling or renting a home in Evansville, Indiana please contact me at any time. You can call me at 812-499-9234 or email at Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com

 

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 14 2012
The subprime mortgage crisis and the resulting haymaker it dealt the entire housing market has caused noticeable changes in how Evansville homeowners look at mortgage rates and the loans they negotiate.
 
The intense media focus on the residential financing industry has caused everyone to pay closer attention to the form of home loans they arrange. The truth is that borrowers are more wary about the loans they choose. They are insisting on clarity in how their choices will pencil out in dollars and cents in both near and long terms.
 
One decision that determines what mortgage rates wind up on Evansvillebottom lines is whether to ‘buy down’ mortgage rates with points. Points represent interest that buyers pay up front to lower the rates on the remainder – the mortgage rates that show up at the bottom of our monthly statements.
 
Increasingly, Evansvillebuyers are shunning the points option.
 
There are many reasons for the shift. Some are clearly related to the subprime mess, but others less so. Many of today’s buyers are entering the market for the first time, and they are cash-strapped. They may find it a struggle to come up with money for the down payment and closing costs. Often, these new homeowners simply can’t afford to pay points -- even if they can be rolled into the loan.
 
Historically low interest rates are another reason  buyers at all levels are thinking harder about points vs. mortgage rates. Last week’s national average on 30-year fixed mortgage rates 3.88% was a full percentage point lower than a year ago – when it was already visiting the basement! Some buyers just don't see the value in making an advance interest payment – financed or otherwise – when it may only knock a fraction of a percent off an interest rate that's already at such low levels.
 
First-time homebuyers can also see points as an unnecessary expense if they do not plan to stay in their homes long enough for the lower mortgage rates to return the investment. For them, it just doesn’t pencil out.
 
With interest rates at historic lows and lenders competing for the same pieces of a smaller pie, it has never been more important for buyers to take a hard look at the pros and cons of the mortgage rates vs. points decision. If you are looking for a home to buy inEvansville and would like to discuss your options, give me a call. The time has never been better. You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234 or by email at Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 13 2012

Contracts to buy previously owned homes in the United States neared a two-year high in January, an industry group said on Monday, further evidence the housing market was slowly turning the corner.

The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in January, increased 2 percent to 97 points, the highest reading since April 2010. New contracts generally lead sales by a month or two.

Housing data ranging from home building to resales have been relatively upbeat, buttressing other signs of underlying economic strength that should help the recovery better withstand rising gasoline prices and a recession in the euro zone.

The housing market is becoming less of a drag on the economy, and home construction is expected to add to growth this year for the first time since 2005.

“Clearly we had better weather conditions in January that might have helped, but we have a situation where we are seeing a number of housing statistics turn,” said Michael H. Strauss, chief economist at Commonfund in Wilton, Conn. “It suggests housing is going to be an additive to G.D.P. this year.”

December’s index of pending home sales was revised to show a much smaller 1.9 percent drop instead of the previously reported 3.5 percent decline. In January, new contracts were up 8 percent from their year-ago level.

The rise in last month’s index suggested home resales would increase for a second consecutive month in February, and it also bodes well for the spring sales season.

“This spring we expect to see continued forward momentum in the housing market as excess inventory is absorbed and low-cost mortgage debt becomes more prevalent,” said John Tashjian, principal at Centurion Real Estate Partners in New York. “A strong spring housing season will be a critical indicator toward predicting growth in the housing market for 2012.”

The market has been hampered by an oversupply of unsold homes, but the number of both new and previously owned properties for sale has been whittled down in recent months.

However, with the foreclosure tide yet to recede and continuing to depress prices, recovery will take awhile. A report due on Tuesday is expected to show that prices in 20 metropolitan areas tracked by the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller fell by 0.5 percent in December after declining by 0.7 percent in November.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/business/economy/pending-home-sales-in-us-near-a-two-year-high.html?_r=1

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 12 2012

You wouldn’t expect to run a 10-mile race after spending all winter on the couch drinking beer and eating potato chips. Likewise, too many of us neglect the health of our gas-powered lawn mowers then curse them come spring when they just say no. Here are six ways guaranteed to shorten the life of your mower from Consumer Reports' mowing expert Peter Sawchuk who is just back from conducting our mower tests in Florida.

Consider your mower’s fuel tank the perfect place to store old gasoline. Even without additives, stabilized gasoline will eventually gum up, clog fuel lines, and ruin your carburetor. And gas containing ethanol ages even more quickly. “It’s not so much the ethanol but that it absorbs a lot of water,” says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, a trade group. “Water in the engine is a killer.”
Smart move: At the end of the season, take 10 minutes to drain the tank or run the engine dry.

Never change or add oil. Moving metal parts need oil, and an engine that’s denied clean oil, and enough of it, will overheat for sure.
Smart move: The best time to do change the oil in a walk-behind mower is when it’s drained of gas—since you’ll need to flip the mower to remove the old oil.

The blades still turn, so forget about sharpening them. Ideally, you should sharpen your mower’s blades monthly—and even more often in the fall if you mulch leaves using your mower. This keeps the engine from working harder and less efficiently than it needs to, which affects its lifespan. But if you indeed forget, the brown-tipped grass will remind you before it dies altogether.
Smart move: You’ll need: A piece of 2x4 to wedge in the blade to keep it from turning (shown in photo) as you remove it. Sharpening costs about $10 if you don’t do it yourself.

Leave in your original air filter year after year. An engine’s carburetor needs to mix the gasoline with filtered air for smooth running, but the bigger hazard in not cleaning or replacing the filter annually is that a dirty or torn filter can allow dirt into the engine, which will accelerate wear and shorten its life.
Smart move: It costs about five dollars for the part and 30 seconds to put it in.

Ignore the engine’s cooling fins, even if they’re clogged with clippings. The cooling fins help distribute heat from the engine, which matters most on hot days. Let grass clippings and dust accumulate on them, and the engine could overheat.
Smart move: Running a whisk broom back and forth over the fins for a few seconds.

Don’t check the lawn for stationary hazards before mowing. Even if you know the location of every metal stake, sprinkler head, or tree stump, you could come upon a thick branch or jutting rock suddenly and hit it with the mower. Doing this with a walk-behind mower can bend the crankshaft. “If you bend the shaft, typically because of the price point of the product, it’s dead," says Kiser. “You’re just not going to get it repaired.”
Smart move: Take short walk and make a visual inspection before you mow.

There’s a seventh way to kill your mower as shown by Milwaukee homeowner Keith Walendowski when he took his shotgun to his Lawn-Boy a few years ago. But technically the mower was already gone—or at least needed a little TLC.

Source: http://news.consumerreports.org/home/2012/03/six-ways-to-kill-a-mower-and-what-to-do-instead.html

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 01:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 12 2012

You wouldn’t expect to run a 10-mile race after spending all winter on the couch drinking beer and eating potato chips. Likewise, too many of us neglect the health of our gas-powered lawn mowers then curse them come spring when they just say no. Here are six ways guaranteed to shorten the life of your mower from Consumer Reports' mowing expert Peter Sawchuk who is just back from conducting our mower tests in Florida.

Consider your mower’s fuel tank the perfect place to store old gasoline. Even without additives, stabilized gasoline will eventually gum up, clog fuel lines, and ruin your carburetor. And gas containing ethanol ages even more quickly. “It’s not so much the ethanol but that it absorbs a lot of water,” says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, a trade group. “Water in the engine is a killer.”
Smart move: At the end of the season, take 10 minutes to drain the tank or run the engine dry.

Never change or add oil. Moving metal parts need oil, and an engine that’s denied clean oil, and enough of it, will overheat for sure.
Smart move: The best time to do change the oil in a walk-behind mower is when it’s drained of gas—since you’ll need to flip the mower to remove the old oil.

The blades still turn, so forget about sharpening them. Ideally, you should sharpen your mower’s blades monthly—and even more often in the fall if you mulch leaves using your mower. This keeps the engine from working harder and less efficiently than it needs to, which affects its lifespan. But if you indeed forget, the brown-tipped grass will remind you before it dies altogether.
Smart move: You’ll need: A piece of 2x4 to wedge in the blade to keep it from turning (shown in photo) as you remove it. Sharpening costs about $10 if you don’t do it yourself.

Leave in your original air filter year after year. An engine’s carburetor needs to mix the gasoline with filtered air for smooth running, but the bigger hazard in not cleaning or replacing the filter annually is that a dirty or torn filter can allow dirt into the engine, which will accelerate wear and shorten its life.
Smart move: It costs about five dollars for the part and 30 seconds to put it in.

Ignore the engine’s cooling fins, even if they’re clogged with clippings. The cooling fins help distribute heat from the engine, which matters most on hot days. Let grass clippings and dust accumulate on them, and the engine could overheat.
Smart move: Running a whisk broom back and forth over the fins for a few seconds.

Don’t check the lawn for stationary hazards before mowing. Even if you know the location of every metal stake, sprinkler head, or tree stump, you could come upon a thick branch or jutting rock suddenly and hit it with the mower. Doing this with a walk-behind mower can bend the crankshaft. “If you bend the shaft, typically because of the price point of the product, it’s dead," says Kiser. “You’re just not going to get it repaired.”
Smart move: Take short walk and make a visual inspection before you mow.

There’s a seventh way to kill your mower as shown by Milwaukee homeowner Keith Walendowski when he took his shotgun to his Lawn-Boy a few years ago. But technically the mower was already gone—or at least needed a little TLC.

Source: http://news.consumerreports.org/home/2012/03/six-ways-to-kill-a-mower-and-what-to-do-instead.html

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 09 2012
Electric fireplaces are cheap and easy ways to spark a little somethin’ on a cold winter night. Just plug and play. Here’s how they work.

Sparking the mood for love in the bedroom — or any room — is easier than you think with an electric fireplace that ignites romance without a complicated install, high price, or frilly lingerie.

Electric fireplaces have become the fastest-growing segment of the fireplace market. That’s because new technology makes flames look and feel real. Coils and blowers give off enough heat (4,600 to 5,000 BTUs) to warm 400 sq. ft., and add-ons provide the snap and crackle of a real wood fire for as little as $300.

In fact, if you don’t have the budget or structure to support adding a fireplace fueled by wood or gas, you easily can light up with an electric fireplace, which doesn’t need to be vented or surrounded by noncombustible material. In fact, the only thing you need is a 120V outlet.

You can even buy fireplaces-to-go on casters that let you wheel them throughout the house. And if you’ve got money to burn, you can buy elaborate mantle packages that boost the price to $2,000. You can buy electric fireplaces at big-box stores and fireplace specialty stores.

But even with all the bells and whistles, you won’t be spending near the $7,000 that a comparable gas fireplace would cost to install.

With those savings, you can buy some champagne and get something waxed. (There’s only so much a fireplace can do.)


Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/blog/fireplaces-chimneys/fake-fire-portable-electric-fireplace/#ixzz1oSdf6ZgF
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 08 2012
In our ongoing “Why You Should Fake It” series, we look at garage doors that give you the look of wood at a price point that’s easier to swallow.

Money’s tight these days, but your desire for nice things needn’t be stifled. That’s why we’ve been examining faux products in our “Why You Should Fake It” series.

Today’s topic: Fiberglass garage doors with the deluxe look of wood for a get-real price.

New die technology lets fiberglass doors mimic wood grains so closely that only a professional eye can tell the difference. But unlike wood, which is vulnerable to heat and water and must be painted or stained every few years, pre-finished fiberglass garage doors are impervious to the elements and require almost no maintenance.

Other plusses of fiberglass garage doors:

  • Won’t warp, rot, or rust
  • Insect-proof
  • Lightweight
  • Available in many prefinished colors
  • You can paint them (but you’ll have to repaint every couple of years or so)

Although the energy efficiency of insulated fiberglass and insulated wood doors are practically the same, the initial cost can be worlds apart.

Most 16-by-7-foot fiberglass doors cost about $1,800 installed, while hardwood doors start around $2,500 to $3,000, then zoom up from there depending on wood and style. Your local garage door contractor can help you explore your faux door options.

What’s the downside of fiberglass garage doors? They can crack with age and are more expensive than other low-maintenance options, such as steel garage doors ($750 to $1,200).



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/blog/garages/price-garage-doors/#ixzz1oScf6ks6
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 07 2012
For people in the first stages of their Evansville real estate search, entering a 5-number zip code seems to anchor almost every step of the way. That’s a quick way for computer databases like the MLS to direct searches, but there are some not-so-apparent facts about zips that it’s good to keep in mind.
 
School district 
Those of us who spend our professional lives assisting others to buy and sell homes in Southwest Indiana  know it to be true. Many future homebuyers – even those who currently don't have children -- base much of their search direction on the type and quality of nearby schools. Families want the option of being able to settle down, and most hope to be within hailing distance of good schools. But zip codes can exist in more than one school district, and many neighborhoods have more than one zip code! Add to that the fact that a given school district may have schools of varying quality and it becomes clear that zip code = school quality is not necessarily a valid real estate equation.
 
Taxes
We all know that different towns have different tax ordinances, which might lead one to assume that taxes can be approximated by zip code. Not! Within a single zip code there can be different area ratings that influence property values. Proximity to water is frequently such a factor, and it can be significant.
 
Zip Grab Bag
Cities and towns have different zip code overlays: multiple town names may be included in a single zip, and many zips can share the same town name. Zip codes can direct a real estate search toward a general area, but as for being certain that it describes the place you are thinking of -- not so fast! A single zip’s radius can cover anything from Alaska’s amazing 99756 (roughly the size of California) to those metropolitan codes that cover just one building.
 
It’s the Neighborhood!
Getting serious about any Evansville real estate home search means going well past simple online zip code entry. It means being familiar with neighborhoods. Neighborhood is a vague term because it encompasses the human factors: some are appropriate for young couples, featuring trendy shops and nightlife; others are more family-oriented with parks, playgrounds, and family-friendly dining options. These factors are not dependably tied to the five-number zip codes that govern most web searches.
 
 The National Association of Realtors tells us that the average homebuyer spends 12 weeks looking for a new home -- and actually views a dozen of them. My office is here in Evansville to help you with your actual neighborhood searches. You can bet that they will be the ones that count! You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234 or by email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 06 2012

Your smartphone may be putting you at increased risk for identity fraud, according to a new report issued by Javelin Strategy & Research.

According to the report, nearly 12 million Americans last year became victims of identity theft, an alarming 13 percent increase over 2010 numbers. Seven percent of those victims came from using the smartphone, the report says.

The report blamed smartphones and social media for making more Americans vulnerable to identity theft. The report says that Americans tend to be less cautious when using their smartphone or logged onto social media sites. Letting their guard down and not taking safety precautions can easily make them a target.

Sixty-two percent of smartphone users were found to not password protect their home screens, according to the report. As such, if you happen to misplace your phone, anyone can gain access to the device if you do not have a password on it.

Smartphone users also need to be careful about what apps they download. Some apps can contain viruses or can compromise your personal information. The report says services such as iTunes monitors apps and is a safer place to download apps than directly from a Web site page.

As for social media users, they can increase their chances of identity theft by revealing too much personal information online. For example, social media users should be more cautious about revealing information such as birth dates, where they went to high school, phone numbers, and additional personal information.

The report also warns Americans to be careful when you log onto a public wifi network and be cautious about the information you share, which may be more at risk.

Source: “Rise in Identity Fraud Tied to Smartphone Use,” Reuters News (Feb. 22, 2012)

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 05 2012
Make a home emergency preparedness kit with all the essential supplies to aid you in case a disaster strikes your area.

Putting together a home emergency preparedness kit you hope never to use may seem like a waste of time and money. But when disasters happen that are beyond your control, you can take charge of how you respond.

Items for an emergency preparedness kit

Store all items in an easy-to-carry bag or suitcase that’s readily accessible. Make sure everyone in the family knows where it is and what it contains. If you need to evacuate your home quickly, here are the essentials you’ll need for a basic “grab and go” kit:

  • Water: One gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation; double if you live in a very hot climate, have young kids, or are nursing. Bottled water is best, but you can also store tap water in food-grade containers or two-liter soda bottles that have been sanitized. Factor in your pet’s water needs, too.
  • Food: At least a three-day supply of non-perishables and a can opener. Pack protein, fruit, and vegetables, but make sure they’re in a form you actually like—it’s bad enough not to have access to fresh food without also having to subsist on nothing but canned tuna. Include treats like cereal bars, trail mix, and candy bars. Store food in pest-proof plastic or metal tubs and keep it in a cool, dry place.
  • Flashlights and extra batteries: Candles are not recommended because there are many house fires caused by candles left unattended.
  • First-aid supplies: Two pairs of sterile gloves, adhesive bandages and sterile dressings, soap or other cleanser, antibiotic towelettes and ointment, burn ointment, eye wash, thermometer, scissors, tweezers, petroleum jelly, aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever, and stomach analgesics such as Tums or Pepto-Bismol, and a laxative.
  • Sanitation and hygiene supplies: Moist towelettes in sealed packets, paper towels, toilet paper, garbage bags, and plastic ties. You might also want travel-size shampoo, toothpaste/toothbrush, and deodorant.
  • Radio or TV: Keep a portable, battery- or crank-operated radio or television and extra batteries to remain connected in case the power goes out, as well as an extra cell phone charger. You can buy an emergency radio online from the Red Cross.
  • Helpful extras: Duct tape, dust masks, a signal whistle, toys for kids.
  • Cash: Have at least $100 in your kit.

Tailor a emergency preparedness kit to your needs

Along with the basics like food and water, it’s important to have what you need for your particular situation. You may not need extra blankets in southern California, but you do need escape ladders in case of wildfire. And you’ll want extra blankets to survive a winter power outage in Maine.

Update your emergency preparedness kit regularly

Replace all food and water approaching its expiration date. Replace batteries. You might pick a specific time each year to check, such as before hurricane season in the south or after Thanksgiving if you live in the north.

Buy a pre-made kit

As an alternative to making your own kit, you can buy a fully stocked kit from the American Red Cross. A kit with a three-day supply of essentials for one adult costs $50 to $70.



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/emergency-preparedness/make-home-emergency-preparedness-kit/#ixzz1ncZcTjyB
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 02 2012
You dropped and broke a CFL bulb. No need to call a Haz Mat team — just keep a cool head and follow these 8 tips.

A broken compact fluorescent bulb isn’t cause for panic, but it is cause for concern. CFLs and other fluorescent bulbs typically contain a small amount of mercury, which can turn into dangerous mercury vapor if the bulb breaks.

Cleaning up and disposing of a broken CFL properly is important, especially if you have young children, you’re pregnant, or the bulb breaks on a carpet.

Don’t reach for the broom to sweep it up. That’ll disperse the mercury; your goal is to keep the mercury in one place and remove it.

Follow these 8 steps to clean up and dispose of any CFL bulbs that break:

Step 1: Contain the damage

  • Get people and pets out of the room.
  • Open the windows to let in fresh air.
  • Shut the door to the room and turn off your forced-air heat or AC to keep mercury vapors from traveling elsewhere in your home.
  • Avoid stepping on the broken glass or mercury powder as you leave the room.

Step 2: Gather up cleaning supplies

Stay out of the room for 5 to 15 minutes to give the mercury enough time to settle into little balls, but not long enough to disperse. Meanwhile, collect:

  • disposable rubber gloves
  • duct tape
  • a piece of stiff paper or thin cardboard
  • a few damp paper towels or baby wipes
  • a sealable container — a glass jar with a lid (best), a plastic jar with a lid (OK), or a zipper plastic bag (better than nothing)

Step 3: Cleaning up your broken CFL

  • Put on the gloves and pick up the big pieces of broken glass.
  • Use the stiff cardboard to scoop up the smaller pieces.
  • Use the sticky side of the duct tape to pick up the smallest shards.
  • Wipe the area with your paper towels or baby wipes.
  • Put the broken CFL pieces, the cardboard, and the wipes in your container and seal it.

Step 4: Double-check your work

Look closely at the area where the CFL broke for any remaining powder, pieces of glass, or mercury balls. If you see any, repeat Step 3.

You may vacuum the area, but use only the hose attachment and pay special attention to the disposal techniques in Step 5.

Did your CFL break onto a carpet? If you have small children who crawl or play on the carpet, you may want to replace the area of carpet where the CFL bulb broke. A Maine Deparment of Environmental Protection Agency study says residule mercury left behind after you clean the carpet can be released as vapor when children play or sit on the carpet.

You can avoid the problem entirely by using only LED or halogen bulbs in rooms where your kids play or sleep, and in your bedroom while you’re pregnant. Also, make sure you’re using CFLs appropriately to keep them from burning out too soon.

Step 5: Take out the trash

  • Take the zipper bag or glass jar right out to the trash.
  • Toss out anything else the CFL broke on, such as bedding, fabrics, and clothing.

If you vacuumed, take the whole vacuum outside before pulling the bag out of the machine. Seal the vacuum bag and put it in the trash. If you have a canister vacuum, empty the canister into your sealable container and wipe the inside of the canister clean. Put the cleaning rag into the container, too.

Step 6: Clean yourself

  • If bits of glass or mercury got onto your shoes, use a towel or wipe to clean your shoes, then dispose of the wipe.
  • If mercury got onto your clothes, toss them out.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

Step 7: Remove the debris from your property

Your sealed waste container and contaminated trash need to go to a universal waste facility that handles all types of trash, including environmentally sensitive materials.

Ask local government officials where to find one in your area.

Step 8: Continue to air out the room

Continue to air out the room and leave the HVAC system off several hours, or as long as that’s practical given the outdoor temperatures. If the CFL bulb broke on carpet, open the windows when you vacuum for the next few weeks in case vacuuming releases any mercury you didn’t already get out of the rug.



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/lighting/broken-cfl-clean-up/#ixzz1ncYW3mmv
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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The Trentini Team
F.C. Tucker EMGE REALTORS®
7820 Eagle Crest Bvd., Suite 200
Evansville, IN 47715
Office: (812) 479-0801
Cell: (812) 499-9234
Email: Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com


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