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 Real Estate Blog 
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


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, August 12 2011
One of the best things about owning your own home particularly in the summertime is the opportunity to enjoy your privacy and to entertain guests. Want to make the most of these luxuries? We have compiled a list of fun summer activities that we thought you might enjoy.
By the way, if you need any additional advice pertaining to real estate or to your home, please don't hesitate to call Rolando at 499-9234 or Kathy at 499-0246 or visit our Web site at:
·                     Barbecue: Nothing says summertime as much as an old-fashioned barbecue! Do you have friends or family who still haven't had the chance to see your beautiful new home? Invite them over for an afternoon of sun, fun and a tour of the house.
·                     Campout fun: Another longstanding tradition is the summer campout but this doesn't mean you have to drive hundreds of miles to find a great location. Your backyard is a great camping spot! Dig the flashlights, tents and camping gear out of the garage and thrill the kids with a backyard campout!
·                     Cool and clean: It might not sound like fun, but having a neighborhood car wash is a great way to keep cool and make friends with the people who share your street. Rally the neighbors and make a day of it the kids will have fun squirting each other with the hoses, and you'll have a shiny, clean car!
·                     Who dunnit: Throw a mystery dinner party, and invite your guests for an evening of fun and intrigue (and show off that dining room!). Kits can be purchased at most toy stores (or via the Internet) for a reasonable price, and you'll have a wonderful evening that will be memorable for everyone!
Grab a mallet: While you may have once thought that croquet was a sport for fuddy-duddies, it is rapidly growing in popularity. Show off your perfectly manicured lawn by inviting a few friends over for an afternoon croquet party. If you're feeling really adventurous, try some horseshoes as well!
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 14 2011
Are you ready for summer in your new home? We all know that summer brings to mind relaxation, vacation and rest but we also know that it can get hot! We thought you might like to have a few tips on keeping cool in the upcoming summer, so that you can enjoy life to the fullest in your beautiful new house.
Remember, if you have any real estate questions on your mind, we hope you'll remember to call Rolando at 499-9234 or Kathy at 499-0246 or visit our Web site at: and our Blog at
We will be happy to answer any questions you may have!
Spin it: Ceiling fans are an excellent way to keep everyone cool, and they're beautiful as well. But did you know that they can also help you to save on your energy bill? By circulating cool air throughout your home, you won't need to keep the thermostat set as low as you would without the help of one, two or more well-placed fans.
Green is good: There's no debating how refreshing a large patch of shade can be on a hot summer day& so why not invest in some shade of your own? Planting trees is an excellent way to ensure shade and to keep your house cool in the warmer months. Already have some? Make the most of the summer foliage by relaxing beneath a large tree and sipping some cool lemonade.
Clear as a bell: Window manufacturing and supply companies now offer an invisible way to keep you cool: by installing a transparent coating to windows that effectively blocks heat. Adding this type of treatment to your sunniest windows is a smart and easy way to save a few dollars on your energy bill.
 Program and relax: If you have a programmable thermostat but haven't gotten around to figuring out how to use it, now's the time. Setting your thermostat to regulate the temperature of your house and maintaining an average temperature can save you a lot of money. Can't find the instructions? Most manufacturers provide free, downloadable guides via the Internet.
Block it out: Room-darkening blinds can reflect a great deal of sun and heat, so keep them closed during the morning and afternoon hours to keep things cool inside!
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, May 19 2011


Did you know that, on average, quality landscaping adds 5 to 11 percent value to your home? Even if you’re not looking to sell landscaping is an improvement that appreciates over time. Here are some ideas to get a head start:
If you’re selling in a year or less
If you’re looking to buy a new home and sell your current one, you’re likely on a budget and short on time. Consider these simple enhancements:
·         Edge the beds and nourish the grass – a clean, well-kept lawn gives a great first impression.

·         Add some color
There are a lot of inexpensive flower varieties that can make your home stand out to potential buyers.

·         Pay attention to your selection– Buyers will appreciate plant, tree and flower varieties that are low-maintenance and require less water.
If you’re improving for the long-term:
·         Make your backyard your space – A fence is a great investment for added privacy and one that will pay off if you decide to sell.

·         Trim down, add drama –
Cut down overgrown, out-of-control bushes and add some exotic varieties to give your yard a unique look.

·         Change your view –
Stemming away from traditional plant patterns can help accentuate your home’s best features. If you’re not sure, many nurseries offer free design help.
Herb gardens add fragrance and provide great options for fresh summer recipes. Here’s a great one to try:
Easy Grilled Pork Chops with Fresh Herbs
·         2 (1-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
·         Salt and pepper to taste
·         Extra virgin olive oil
·         1 tablespoon chopped mixed
·         herbs (such as parsley, thyme and chives)
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Lightly brush both sides of the chops with oil, then set aside on a plate at room temperature
for 20 minutes.

Grill chops over direct medium heat, turning once, for 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter and set aside to let rest for 5 minutes. Garnishwith herbs and serve.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 13 2011
Spring is here, and it's time to truly make your landscape shine! After all, one of the joys in owning your own home is attending to and personalizing your own yard! Since the focal point of most landscaping is the lawn (also one of the trickiest things to maintain), we are including a special list of tips and tricks to help you whip your lawn into perfect shape. Giving special attention to the lawn now will help to keep it healthy throughout the summer; we hope you find this list to be as helpful as we have!
Please remember that if you have any need for household advice or tips or would like to discuss any real estate questions Rolando is always available at 499-9234 or Kathy at 499-0246 or visit our Web site at:
·                     Water = Green: Water is one ingredient that your lawn cannot live without, so make sure that you've got a great routine in place for keeping the lawn damp. If you have a good sprinkler system installed, you're already a step ahead of the game! If not, make sure that you're reaching all areas of the lawn if watering by hand or by moveable sprinkler. Water in the evening or very early morning for best results, but don't overdo it!
·                     Know how to mow: Make sure your lawn mower has sharp blades; mowing with dull blades can tear the grass, altering its healthy appearance. Also, the more often you mow, the healthier your grass will be! Mow the lawn at least once per week for optimal results.
·                     Fertilize and vitalize: Invest in a good fertilizer and use it regularly for the thickest, greenest grass. Ever wonder why the fairways and greens on a golf course manage to look beautiful throughout the year? Fertilizer is the key to the greens keeper's success. For the greenest grass possible, purchase a fertilizer with iron content.
·                     Weed it out: Weeds are an obvious eyesore when it comes to the care of your lawn, and you've probably noticed how quickly they can grow. With a good fertilizer program in place, you'll get a step ahead of weeds in no time. For the pesky, hardier plants, manage the growth with a little weed spray (or dig them out by hand for best results).
·                     Don't get bugged: Lawn pests are not just annoying: they are bad for the grass. If you're properly watering, fertilizing and mowing your lawn, but still have an insect or pest problem, try aerating the lawn; this should help to eliminate the little buggers!
We are pleased to let you know that we have started a new blog site TheTrentiniBlog. We will continue to bring you articles pertaining to Evansville and real estate. We hope you will bookmark this page and we hope you enjoy reading our articles. We are certainly open to discussions how we can improve our site. Please send us a short note, this would make our day.
Thank you, Rolando & Kathy Trentini
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 25 2011
a happy home
Did you know that a typical U.S. home emits more carbon dioxide than two average cars? Or that the average U.S. household spends $1,900 per year on utility bills? Earth Day is just around the corner, and serves as a great reminder to consider new ways to become more eco-friendly. Below, tips for your home that will benefit the earth and your wallet.
Start with heating and cooling
Heating and cooling systems drain more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Consider programmable thermostats, upgrades to current equipment, regular replacement of filters, and drawing the shades on your windows to save energy use and cost.
Address leaks
Check the insulation in your attic, ceilings, basement walls, floors and crawl spaces to increase the comfort of your home while reducing heating and cooling needs.
Watch your watts
Changes to your lighting are one of the most immediate ways to reduce energy costs. Use energy-efficient bulbs and consider occupancy sensors, dimmers and timers for high-use areas such as the kitchen, living room and outside.
Monitor appliance consumption
Shop for new appliances with two price tags in mind: the initial cost of the appliance itself, and what it will cost you to operate that machine over its lifetime.
Want to start conserving but don’t know where to start? Here’s a simple guide to the steps you should take to maximize energy and cost savings.
 1.            Find out which appliances or areas of your home use the most energy. This can be done with your utility company, or you can do an audit yourself.
 2.            Compare your current energy costs with your
areas of greatest energy loss. Determine your energy efficiency investment solution and how long it will take to pay off in the long term.
 3.            Weigh factors such as “How long will I be in my home,” “Does the work require a contractor?” and “What is my budget and how much do I have for maintenance and repair?” before developing
a plan.
 Learn more about smart energy conservation by visiting
Home service agreements give you the assurance that there is someone to help at any time with problems on covered items. A HomeTrust home service agreement gives you the protection you need against breakdowns of covered appliances and major systems such as plumbing, heating, electrical and air conditioning.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 04 2011

The Solid Waste District conducts tire recycling programs each year in the spring and fall for the residents of Vanderburgh County. 

These programs provide an environmentally proper method of disposal of used tires so that they are kept out of the landfill and are not illegally dumped. 

There is a $1 per tire fee for car & light truck tires.  Semi tires are $10 and tractor tires are $25.  Tires from businesses are not accepted. 

The District accepts an unlimited number of tires free of charge from neighborhood associations and other civic groups who collect unwanted tires from alleys, roadsides and ditches.

2011 PROGRAMS     Civic Center Parking Lot    8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Saturday, April 16

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
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
Monday, July 19 2010


Market Watch For July 2010

We now have results from June closings and as I suggested, closed transactions declined from April and May.  Although June closings were almost 21% below May levels they were still slightly higher than the average for the preceding twelve months.  I do not expect July closings to be significantly different from June.  2010 will be something of a mirror image of 2009 for closed transactions.  The second half of 2009 was significantly stronger than the first half of 2009.  I believe that the first six months of 2010 will be stronger than the second six months of 2010.  The reason for this disparity in both years is the timing of tax credits.  The initial homebuyer tax credit expired in November of 2009.  The tax credits were subsequently extended and they expired in April of 2010.  I do not expect any renewal of these tax credits.

The best news going forward is that interest rates are at some of the lowest levels in history.  Since home prices are lower than they were a few years ago, and rates are great, you can buy more house with a lower monthly payment than at any time in recent history.

 We have also made shopping for homes easier than ever.  We just introduced This allows you to shop for homes quickly from your smart phone.  Now you can find everything from anywhere, any time.  Simply go to and you can search by Street name, MLS number, zip code or any of several other options.  You can also save properties you select.  If you have signed up for any saved properties you select on will automatically appear on your saved searches.  All of this is free.  All of this is automatic.  None of it requires a download and it gives you 24/7 access to the entire MLS system from your smart phone.

 I can’t do anything about the temperature outside but I can help you shop from where ever you are comfortable.  Give me a call if I can help with any of your real estate needs and as always I really appreciate referrals if you know of someone else that is thinking about buying or selling.

Wishing you a great summer and we look forward talking to you soon.

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 10:17 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, July 13 2010


True outdoor furniture is manufactured to resist the rigors of radical temperature fluctuations and the onslaught of moisture. Arrange furniture for your deck or patio just as you would any room. Create groupings for various activities. Place seating close enough for easy conversation, but not so close as to invade personal space. Allow for traffic to flow easily between furniture groupings. Certain materials are designed to withstand the weather. Here are some durable options:

Cast- or wrought-iron furniture is heavy and durable yet prone to rust. It also requires periodic touch-ups and repainting if exposed to the elements. This type of outdoor furniture is appropriate in windy climates, where its considerable weight makes it less prone to being shifted around by gusts.

Synthetic wicker Synthetic wicker is typically made from moisture-proof polyester resins and rustproof aluminum framing. Colors mimic those of natural wicker, but the furniture can be placed outdoors and exposed to the elements without damage. Synthetic wicker is slightly more expensive than comparable pieces made of natural wicker.

Plastic and resin furniture is inexpensive and offered in limited styles and colors. When buying plastic furniture, look for qualitytop-grade plastic furniture has a 10-year warranty. Some plastic furniture is made from recycled materials. It's thick, heavy, and looks like wood, but never needs to be painted.





Can't find (or afford) that perfect rug for your hallway? Make a custom runner by piecing together smaller floor mats.


A painted staircase "runner" can bring bold color to a small space.


Painting a floor can give form to a room where everything is function. Before you start painting, take a long look at the shape of the room: The more complicated its layout the more radiators and hearths and pillars it has - the less complicated the floor pattern should be. A small area seems larger by a floor painted with oversize squares in closely related tones of blue and green.


Add an element of surprise to a staircase. Create stair-climbing vines with a rubber stamp and latex paint; use a brush to apply paint to the stamp. Wipe mistakes away with damp paper towels.


A carpet remnant one of your own or from a rug store - can serve as the basis of a distinctive but inexpensive custom floor covering.


Turn any surface into a unique faux-brick wall or floor with a decorative painting technique.


Rough jute upholstery webbing is normally hidden beneath layers of batting and fabric. When handwoven in a simple under-and-over pattern, this practical textile becomes a trim, durable floor mat or decorative runner for a front hallway.

Source: MarthaStewart.c



True outdoor furniture is manufactured to resist the rigors of radical temperature fluctuations and the onslaught of moisture. Arrange furniture for your deck or patio just as you would any room. Create groupings for various activities. Place seating close enough for easy conversation, but not so close as to invade personal space. Allow for traffic to flow easily between furniture groupings. Certain materials are designed to withstand the weather. Here are some durable options:

Cast- or wrought-iron furniture is heavy and durable yet prone to rust. It also requires periodic touch-ups and repainting if exposed to the elements. This type of outdoor furniture is appropriate in windy climates, where its considerable weight makes it less prone to being shifted around by gusts.

Synthetic wicker Synthetic wicker is typically made from moisture-proof polyester resins and rustproof aluminum framing. Colors mimic those of natural wicker, but the furniture can be placed outdoors and exposed to the elements without damage. Synthetic wicker is slightly more expensive than comparable pieces made of natural wicker.

Plastic and resin furniture is inexpensive and offered in limited styles and colors. When buying plastic furniture, look for qualitytop-grade plastic furniture has a 10-year warranty. Some plastic furniture is made from recycled materials. It's thick, heavy, and looks like wood, but never needs to be painted.





Can't find (or afford) that perfect rug for your hallway? Make a custom runner by piecing together smaller floor mats.


A painted staircase "runner" can bring bold color to a small space.


Painting a floor can give form to a room where everything is function. Before you start painting, take a long look at the shape of the room: The more complicated its layout the more radiators and hearths and pillars it has - the less complicated the floor pattern should be. A small area seems larger by a floor painted with oversize squares in closely related tones of blue and green.


Add an element of surprise to a staircase. Create stair-climbing vines with a rubber stamp and latex paint; use a brush to apply paint to the stamp. Wipe mistakes away with damp paper towels.


A carpet remnant one of your own or from a rug store - can serve as the basis of a distinctive but inexpensive custom floor covering.


Turn any surface into a unique faux-brick wall or floor with a decorative painting technique.


Rough jute upholstery webbing is normally hidden beneath layers of batting and fabric. When handwoven in a simple under-and-over pattern, this practical textile becomes a trim, durable floor mat or decorative runner for a front hallway.



Grilled Spare Ribs with Barbeque Sauce

2 slabs pork spare ribs (2 1/2 pounds each) 2 tbsp chili powder Coarse salt Ground pepper

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 small onion, grated

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups ketchup

1/3 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Desired variations (Kansas City style: 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar, 2 tablespoons molasses, and 1 tablespoon yellow mustard; Memphis style: 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco) and 1/4 cup sugar; Dallas style: 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle in adobo sauce and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season ribs with chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stack slabs on a double layer of aluminum foil; wrap tightly. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Cook until meat is fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, make barbecue sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, cayenne, and desired variation (see ingredients above). Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thick, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Heat grill to medium-high; lightly oil grates. Carefully remove ribs from foil, pouring off any accumulated liquid. Brush ribs generously with sauce; grill until charred, 2 to

3 minutes per side. Serve with extra sauce, if




Home warranties are often used as a negotiating tool in competitive real estate situations. Whether you are buying or selling your home, a HomeTrust Warranty® home service agreement provides protection from unexpected breakdowns of covered appliances and in major systems. It can also give you the assurance that someone is there to help you with a problem on covered items.



Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, June 06 2010
Attractive custom built 1.5 story brick home with many upgrades at time of construction.
6424 Antoinette Drive   Evansville 47715
   Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 174915
Year Built: 1996 to June 1, 2010
Square Feet: 2460
Bedrooms: 2 to 3 Bedrooms
Bathrooms: 2 Full & one Half Bath
Lot Size: 64 x 145
Stories: 1.5 Stories
Garage: 2 Car Garage Attached
Company: F.C.TuckerEmge Realtors, LLC
Agent: Rolando Trentini
Office: 812-499-9234
   Room Dimensions:
Kitchen:  8.11 x 11.1
Living Room:  27.1 x 19.4
Master Bedroom:  16.11 x 13
Den or Third Bedroom:  18.9 x 12.9
Laundry Room:  7.3 x 5.3
Bedroom 2:  20.1 x 12.6
Attick :   Can be made into Rec or Play Room x 15.10

Numerous windows allow plenty of natural light into the living room. The open floor plan makes this room appear much larger than it is. The gas log fireplace with a wooden mantel enhances the elegance of the living room. A well designed large open kitchen with dining room is great for intimate gatherings or family reunions. The kitchen features an abundance of cabinets,counter space and 2 lazy susan's. All appliances including washer and dryer will stay. There is a half bath off the kitchen in the hall way to the den/3rd bedroom. The spacious master bedroom has a large closet and there is a walk in shower stall in the bathroom. The upstairs bedroom has a large closet and nice sized bathroom. There is an air conditioned storage room adjacent to the bedroom which could be finished as a bonus room or recreation/hobby room. The 2 car garage has additional storage areas for garden tools and plenty of space to park a riding lawn mower. The back yard has many nice features as well. You can enjoy breakfast or a candle light dinner in the screened-in patio. There are decorative trees and beautiful landscaping as well as a wooden fence for your privacy. Homeowners Association fee of $125/YR. has been paid until April 30th,2011.The living room has just been painted and all the carpet on the main floor has been replaced. Seller offering a one year Home Trust Warranty with a $ 75.00 trade fee.

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, May 20 2010

If you live in the Midwest, here are maintenance jobs you should complete in spring and summer to prevent costly repairs and keep your home in top condition.

Certain home maintenance tasks should be completed each season to prevent structural damage, save energy, and keep all your home’s systems running properly. What maintenance tasks are most important for the Midwest in spring and summer? Here are the major issues you should be aware of and critical tasks you should complete. For a comprehensive list of tasks by season, refer to the to-do lists at the end of this article.


When spring arrives in the Midwest, it’s time to clean up your home and yard from the ravages of winter. As the weather warms, you can also accomplish some routine maintenance tasks that are much more agreeable when the sun is shining.

Key maintenance tasks to perform

Check your gutters and downspouts. “Stuff accumulates even after your fall gutter cleaning,” says Frank Lesh, president of Home Sweet Home Inspection Co. in Indian Head Park, Ill. “Pine needles especially, which fall all year long and are difficult to remove.” Children’s toys, he says, also find their way into gutters between cleanings, as well as nails and other debris from the roof. Look for any signs of wind or ice damage—has the gutter pulled away from the house, or bent so that there are depressions where water can stand? You can usually repair damage yourself for under $50 by adjusting or reattaching brackets and gently hammering out bent areas.

Lesh also recommends examining your downspouts for blockages. “You can’t see inside them,” he says, “so tap them with a screwdriver handle to see if they sound hollow.” If the ends run underground, where animals can build nests or winter debris can become trapped, your best bet is to put a garden hose in the gutter and see where the water discharges. If you have a blockage, you’ll have to disassemble or dig up part of the downspout until you locate it.

Inspect your roof for winter damage. This is best done from a ladder, but if you’re allergic to ladders, use a pair of binoculars to check your roof from your yard. Look for loose and missing shingles. If anything looks unusual, investigate further yourself or call a roofing contractor.

Take a close look at your chimney. “Do this even if the winter was mild,” Lesh says. “High winds, rain, and snow can damage a chimney. Look for cracks, missing mortar, loose bricks or boards, and signs of rot.” If any of those things are present, call a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America for a repair estimate. If the metal flashing and the cap on a chimney are galvanized, Lesh says, check to see if they look brownish, which means they’re rusting and should be replaced. Also, make sure the cap is still present but hasn’t collapsed and covered the flue opening, which could cause a dangerous carbon monoxide buildup inside the house. Expect chimney repairs to start around $200.

Examine your drainage. Make sure soil slopes away from your foundation at least 6 vertical inches in the first 10 feet on all sides of the house and that there are no areas of standing water. If you have properly sloped foundation drainage but still have areas of standing water, consider a landscaping solution, such as a swales (contoured drainage depressions), berms (raised banks of earth), terraces, or French drains (a shallow, gravel-filled trench that diverts water away from the house).

Take a look at your siding. Has any of it come loose or begun to rot? Repair any damaged sections before moisture has a chance to set in. No matter what your siding is made of (wood, vinyl, brick), it may need a spring cleaning. The best DIY method for any kind of siding is a bucket of soapy water and a long-handled brush. A power washer is not recommended and should only be handled by a professional cleaning contractor. If you choose to have your siding professionally cleaned, expect to pay $300–$500 depending on the size of your home.

Schedule your biannual HVAC appointment. Get ready for the air conditioning season with your spring tune-up. If your system wasn’t running well last season, be sure to tell your contractor, and make sure he performs actual repairs if necessary rather than simply adding refrigerant. “He shouldn’t just charge it up,” Lesh says. “That will work for a while, but it won’t last. Freon lasts forever—if your system is low, there’s a leak somewhere, and he should tell you specifically what he’s going to check to fix it.” Expect to pay $50–$100.

Your contractor’s maintenance checklist should include checking thermostats and controls, checking the refrigerant level, tightening connections, lubricating any moving parts, checking the condensate drain, and cleaning the coils and blower. Duct cleaning, while it probably won’t hurt anything, is not necessary; be wary of contractors who want to coat the inside of the ducts with antimicrobial agents, as research has not proven the effectiveness of this method and any chemicals used in your ducts will likely become airborne.

On your own, make sure your filters are changed and vacuum out all your floor registers.

Check your GFCIs. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that you do this once a month, and it’s a good idea to incorporate it into your spring maintenance routine. GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) are electrical outlets that protect you from deadly electrical shocks by shutting off the power anytime even a minimal disturbance in current is detected. They feature two buttons (“test” and “reset”), and should be present anywhere water and electricity can mix:  kitchens, bathrooms, basements, garages, and the exterior of the house.

To test your GFCIs, plug a small appliance (a nightlight, for example) into each GFCI. Press the test button, which should click and shut off the nightlight. The reset button should also pop out when you press the test button; when you press reset, the nightlight should come back on.

If the nightlight doesn’t go off when you press the test button, either the GFCI has failed and should be replaced, or the wiring is faulty should be inspected. If the reset button doesn’t pop out, or if pressing it doesn’t restore power to the nightlight, the GFCI has failed and should be replaced. These distinctions can help you tell an electrician what the problem is—neither job is one you should attempt yourself if you don’t have ample experience with electrical repair.

Spending a weekend or two on maintenance can prevent expensive repairs and alert you to developing problems before they become serious. Be sure to check out the comprehensive seasonal to-do list following this article, and visit the links below for more detailed information on completing tasks or repairs yourself.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, May 18 2010

As I said last month, pended transactions (signed contracts for sales not yet closed) for March were great.  Pended transactions for April were simply off the chart.  I believe that pended transactions for March and April combined were the best two month period in local MLS history.  As a result, inventory was just over 7 month’s supply.  I think the important questions, as a result of the past two months performance, are what does this mean and where are we going?

I think we know several things and we can draw some conclusions.  First, closed transactions during May and June will be excellent.  This will continue to keep inventory levels relatively low especially compared to unusually high levels we saw at the beginning of the year.  I also believe that the homebuyer tax credits that expired at the end of April were clearly a factor in these remarkable sales numbers.  The key question is: how big a factor were the tax credits?  If average pended transactions for May-July are only down 25% from April’s spectacular numbers the housing market is in excellent condition.  If pended transactions are down closer to 50% then we still have to wait for a fuller recovery.  I believe that the number will be between 30-40%.  That indicates that things have definitely improved and we are moving in the right direction, but we still have room for improvement.

Two other bright spots are an improvement in closed transactions over $200,000 and an improvement in sales price to list price percentage.  For homes over $200,000 sales are up 31.3% in the first four months of this year compared to the same four months last year.  Sales price to list price in April was 95.83%, the highest percentage in almost two years.  This is another sign of our improving market.

 School will be out soon and I’m looking forward to a great summer.  It’s easy to look for homes anytime, regardless of the weather, at

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 03:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, May 16 2010

Appraisers and real estate agents offer advice for curb appeal that preserves value and attracts potential buyers.

Curb appeal has always been important for homesellers. With the vast majority of today’s homebuyers starting their search on the Internet, the appearance of your property is more critical than ever. You only have a few seconds to catch their attention as they scroll through listings online to get them to stop and take a closer look.

But the role of curb appeal goes beyond just making a good first impression. The way your house looks from the street can impact its value. It can also shorten the time it takes to sell your house.

We asked real estate agents, appraisers, home stagers, landscape designers, and home inspectors which curb appeal projects offer the most value when your house is on the market, both in terms of its marketability and dollars. Here is what they told us:

1. Paint the house.

Hands down, the most commonly offered curb appeal advice from our real estate pros and appraisers is to give the exterior of your home a good paint job. Buyers will instantly notice it and appraisers will note it on the valuation.

“Paint is probably the number one thing inside and out,” says Frank Lucco, managing partner of Houston-based IRR-Residential Appraisers and Consultants. “I’d give additional value for that. If you’re under two years remaining life (on the paint job), paint the exterior because it tends to show wear badly.” 

Just make sure you stay within the range of accepted colors for your market. A house that’s painted a wildly different color from its competition will be marked down in value by appraisers.

2. Have the house washed.

Before you make the investment in a paint job, though, take a good look at the house. If it’s got mildew or general grunge, just washing the house could make a world of difference, says Valerie Torelli, a California real estate agent with a background in accounting.

Before she puts a house on the market, Torelli often does exterior makeovers on her clients’ homes, a service she pays for herself to get higher selling prices. Overall, she says her goal is to spend less than $5,000, with a goal of generating an extra $10,000 to $15,000 on the sale price.

Torelli specifies pressure-washing—a job that should be left to professionals. Pressure washing makes the house look “bright and clean in addition to getting rid of unsightly things like cobwebs, which may not be seen from the yard but will detract from the home’s cleanliness when seen up close,” she says.

The cost to have a professional cleaning should be a few hundred dollars—a fraction of the cost of having the house painted.

3. Trim the shrubs and green up the yard.

California real estate agent Valerie Torelli says she puts a lot of emphasis on landscaping, such as cutting down overgrown bushes and replacing them with leafy plants and annuals mulched with beautiful reddish-brown bark. “It runs me $30 to $50,” says Torelli. “Do you get a return on your money? Absolutely. It sucks people in.”

You also don’t want bare spots. Take the time to fertilize the yard, throw out some grass seed, and if need be, add some sod.

4. Add a splash of color.

It could be a flower bed of annuals by the mailbox, a paint job for the front door, or a brightly colored bench or an Adirondack chair. “You can get a cute little bench at Home Depot for $99,“ Torelli notes. “Spray paint it bright red or blue and set it in the yard or on the front porch.”

It’s not a bad idea, but don’t plan on getting extra points from an appraiser for a red bench, says John Bredemeyer, president of Realcorp in Omaha. “It’s difficult to quantify, but it does make a home sell more quickly,” Bredemeyer says. “Maybe yours sold a couple weeks faster than the house down the street. That’s the best way to look at these things.”

5. Add a fancy mailbox and house numbers.

An upscale mail box and architectural house numbers or an address plaque can give your house a distinctive look that stands out from everyone else on the block. Torelli makes them a part of her exterior makeovers “I’ve gotten those hand-painted mailboxes,” she says. “A nice one runs you $40 to $50.” Architectural house numbers may run as high as a few hundred dollars.

6. Repair or clean the roof.

Springfield, Va.-based home inspector and former builder Reggie Marston says the roof is one of the first things he looks at in assessing the condition of a home. He’ll look at other houses in the neighborhood to see if there are a lot of replaced roofs and see if the subject house has one as well. If not, he’ll look for curls in the shingles or missing shingles. “I’m looking at the roof for end-of-life expectancy,” he says.

You can pay for roof repairs now, or pay for them later in a lower appraisal; appraisers will mark down the value by the cost of the repair. That could knock thousands of dollars off your appraisal. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2009-2010 Cost vs. Value Report, the average cost of a new asphalt shingle roof is more than $19,000.

“Roofs are issues,” Lucco says. “You won’t throw money away on that job. You gotta have a decent roof.”

Stains and plant matter, such as moss, can be handled with cleaning. It’s a job that can often be done in a day for a few hundred dollars, and makes the roof look like new. It’s not a DIY project; call a professional with the right tools to clean it without damaging it.

7. Put up a fence.

A picket fence with a garden gate to frame the yard is an asset. A fence has more impact in a family-oriented neighborhood than an upscale retirement community, Bredemeyer says, but in most instances, appraisers will give extra value for one, as long as it’s in good condition. “Day in a day out, a fence is a plus,“ Bredemeyer says. Expect to pay $2,000 to $3,500 for a professionally installed gated picket fence 3 feet high and 100 feet long.

8. Perform routine maintenance and cleaning.

Nothing sets off subconscious alarms like hanging gutters, missing bricks from the front steps, or lawn tools rusting in the bushes. It makes even the professionals question what else hasn’t been taken care of.

“A house is worth less if the maintenance isn’t done,” Lucco says. “Those little things can add up and be a very big detractor. When people say, ‘I’d buy it if it weren’t for all the deferred maintenance,’ what they’re really saying is, ‘I’d still buy it if you reduce the price.’”


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 14 2010
Real estate can be an engine or a brake for the U.S. economy. And today, it's mostly slowing things down.

"The housing market, since it was the epicenter of the crisis, is also central to the feeble recovery," says Ethan Harris, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Everything is interconnected: Employment is closely tied to construction spending, which is 25 percent below what it was in 2006. And because property values remain low, many people are mired in debt and can no longer rely on home equity to help them out of it.

The decline in property values is also preventing small businesses from using equity to expand. And lower property values mean lower property taxes, which dents government spending on everything from teachers to police officers.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Conor Dougherty (05/10/2010)
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 12 2010


Add wallpaper - With wallpaper’s recent comeback, a slew of beautiful choices are available to jazz up any room. Look for oversize patterns to create a sophisticated and dramatic look.

Tile your backsplash - Transform your kitchen with a new backsplash. This easy DIY project will add sophistication to your space. Consider small tiles on a mesh backing for the easiest installation.

Add or upgrade your molding - From grand crown molding to handsome baseboards, millwork can really elevate a room. If you want to add extra architectural interest, consider adding a chair rail or wainscot.

Make a new headboard - Two salvaged windows are a great alternative to an ordinary headboard. Find windows that measure approximately the width of your mattress. Remove the glass and install fiberboard or foam board to cover the backs. Cut fabric or wallpaper remnants to fit each section and adhere with spray adhesive.




Spring temperatures draw us outdoors. If you’re like many homeowners, you can’t wait to head outside to assess lawn maintenance needs and plan what plants to add to the landscape.

Collect and Use Debris - Get out your lawn mower and mulch up leaves that have blown into your yard over the winter. They are nature’s fertilizer, so don’t send them to the landfill.

Plan to Fill In - Think about which areas will receive full sun and which will be partially or fully shaded. Remember that the best plants for your yard are usually natives that have adapted to the particular soil and climate in your area. The natural relationship to your environment makes them worth the extra effort it might take to find them.

Where to Shop for Native Plants – Large retail garden shops don’t always offer plants that are best for the local area. Familiar flowers fill their greenhouses, but these aren’t always the best for you because they may not thrive in local soils without many hours of feeding and watering.

Take a little extra time to learn from knowledgeable local vendors about the varieties of plants that will thrive in your yard. In the long run, you will save money and time as plants that spread by roots and seed will come back next year to reward your efforts.



Begin by gathering up your docs. Pull out stray files, snatch the latest round of bills, and empty that overflowing kitchen or office drawer stuffed with papers you've been meaning to get to for ages. Sort everything into six piles:

           Monthly Bills, Bank Statements, and Pay Stubs

           Investment Statements (pension updates, 401(k) statements, brokerage and fund statements, and so forth)

           Tax Returns and Supporting Docs

           Policy Documents & Deeds (insurance docs, home deed)

           Warranties and User Manuals

           Forever Docs (things like marriage license, will, birth certificate)

Next, create a folder for each type of document and add new papers as they come in. Then create folders within the folders: Take ongoing bills, for example. Store all gas bills in one folder, electricity bills in another, cable bills in a third, and so on. If possible, keep all folders in a fireproof, water-resistant file cabinet or box; if not, a drawer or shelf will do.

It's an entirely different ball game for the forever docs. Because of their importance, they must be put in a portable fire- and water-resistant home safe or file container—something that you can grab at a moment's notice. Why not a bank deposit box? Because you don't have access 24/7. If, God forbid, you die or become incapacitated, your relatives may not be able to access it; besides, the maintenance fee is a waste of money compared with the onetime cost of buying    a safe.




24  unpeeled, large raw shrimp

1/2  cup  Mojo de Ajo

24  (6-inch) wooden skewers

Garnishes: lime wedges, fresh cilantro

   sprigs, coarse sea salt



Peel shrimp, leaving tails on; devein, if desired. Combine shrimp and Mojo de Ajo, tossing to coat. Let stand 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, soak wooden skewers in water 30 minutes.

Remove shrimp from Mojo de Ajo, discarding marinade. Thread 1 shrimp onto each skewer.

Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink. Garnish, if desired.



When searching for a home service agreement, check to see if plumbing stoppages are included. Sometimes they are not covered at all, and other times you may have to pay extra. With a Home Buyers Warranty VI® home service agreement, plumbing stoppages are covered under the standard coverage.

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 10 2010

Unmarried women accounted for 21% of home purchases in 2009, while unwed males were 10% of the buyers, according to a National Association of Realtors report in November. It's a dramatic shift from 1981, the first year the numbers were tracked, when single women and men each accounted for 10% of home sales.

Still, some industry professionals have been slow to take note of females' robust activity. Single women have held steady at the 20 % mark for more than five years, yet when the Urban Land Institute hosted its annual real-estate conference in late April, analysts had to remind the audience to expect big numbers from young, single female buyers.

"I've given some of my [home-building] clients lessons on how to be gender friendly," said Brooke Warrick, president of the market research firm American Lives. He reminded sellers to treat young women as viable buyers, not bystanders, by doing something as simple as handing them a brochure when they enter a for-sale home.

His advice to real-estate developers: "Make sure to pay enough attention to these women. You want these women."

These women tend to stake their claim on homes in the 1,700-square-foot range predominantly in the Washington, D.C., California and Texas markets, Warrick said.

After segmenting the market, Warrick noticed that young women, especially those rooted in secure industries like health care, make more money than their male peers.

Though not quite rooted in a stable industry, freelance video producer Sara Barger, 26, pursues buying homes as a way to safeguard her net worth.

26-year-old owns three homes

Earning roughly $90,000 a year, the American University graduate bought her third Washington property in three years in January when she closed on a four-bedroom $350,000 foreclosed townhouse in Columbia Heights. Barger rents out three of the bedrooms as well as her two condominiums to supplement her income and subsidize her monthly $5,866 mortgage, condo and tax expenses. After her rental income, she ends up owing about $625 a month, including utilities.

"I think people put way too much emphasis on the long term," Barger said of the ease with which she approaches purchasing. "You have to look at it the same way as a 401(k). It's a gamble, but it's something tangible. At least I can get some utility."

Relatives contributed $5,000 to Barger's first two purchases. Her father loaned her $50,000 for the third and she repays him in $1,000 monthly installments. She said that buying properties that needed work was one of her strategies, as was working a full-time job throughout college.

Barger's broker, David Bediz of Coldwell Banker subsidiary Dwight & David, began to see women taking a more active role in real estate five years ago. But he said the company's 20-something clients are still pretty much split evenly down the gender line.

From the 1920s almost through to the present, the predominant female homeowners were widowed seniors, according to Richard Sylla, financial historian at New York University's Stern School of Business.

Although pop culture tends to portray women as eager shoppers, women may have taken the lead in home purchases in recent years because of their thrifty habits, some say.

"Men are much more interested in consumption," said Walter Molony, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors.

Barger said she observed such indiscretion in spending among her male friends, noting that quite a few who have hit 30 are now reeling in the debt they racked up in their early 20s.

"The last three boyfriends I had, I've broken up with because they were dirt broke," Barger said. "I don't need you to pay for me. I need you to go out and do things."

Inspired by women's interest in personal finance, in January 2009 Amanda Steinberg established, a free newsletter tailored to teaching women how to manage their money. Steinberg said her readership doubled to 20,000 in the last three months and that their interests lie mostly in protecting their assets. Of the eight topics offered in a recent preference poll, 79% of 500 respondents checked off "saving" as one they would like to read more about, whereas 45% chose "frugal shopping."

Steinberg said she's pretty sure she knows why her readers are swiping less and budgeting more. "I think it's the fact that more and more women realize that a man is no longer the financial plan."


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 05 2010

The backyard will be the summer entertainment hot spot as Americans seek affordable ways to spend time with family and friends. But your outdoor party can be spoiled quickly if unwelcome insects show up.

More than half of backyard revelers have moved a party indoors due to mosquitoes, and 46 percent have left a party to escape the pests, according to a new survey from the makers of OFF! PowerPad Lamp and Lantern.

Create an unforgettable party within a tight budget with these five tips from Natalie Ermann Russell, author of “The Outdoor Entertaining Idea Book:"

1. Keep decor simple: Save money on decorations by making the most of the greenery and foliage that surround you. Simple potted plants as center pieces create an elegant setting at little cost, and they’ll last much longer than cut flowers.

2. Set a realistic menu: Give yourself a break by creating a menu that is realistic for your budget and your schedule. To get the best prices, focus on foods that are in season and check out your local farmers’ market for deals. Using produce from the farmers’ market also makes for less work -- the flavors of these foods are so intense and beautiful, they’re at their best when prepared simply. For example, a pasta primavera with blanched farmers’ market veggies can be assembled quickly, and is super colorful and so delicious.

3. Invite guests to pitch in: The beloved potluck is making a comeback. Your friends and family will enjoy contributing to the event, but be sure to be specific about what you need so that you end up with a good variety of foods. And establishing a theme can make it even more fun. For instance, call it the Fresh from the Farmers’ Market Potluck, where each person brings a dish to highlight a different fruit or vegetable that’s in season.

4. Keep away mosquitoes for less: OFF! PowerPad Lamp can repel mosquitoes from an area of up to 15 by 15 feet -- the size of an entire patio -- for less than $10. It would take 15 citronella candles at a cost of up to $60 to protect this same area.

5. Plan right: The fear of running out of food often drives hosts to prepare twice as much food as they need -- at twice the cost. Know your head count beforehand and shop accordingly. A general rule of thumb is to plan for six to eight ounces per person of the main protein (e.g., steak, fish, chicken) and one to two ounces of a side dish like rice or pasta.

Use these simple and affordable tips to entice your guests to linger at your next outdoor party. For more information about how to combat mosquitoes, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 16 2010
The snow is gone and we are ready to sell some homes. It seems however that our market is not leading the nation in the housing recovery. Almost half of the country showed an increase in the price of homes in the 4th quarter compared to the previous year. The number of homes sold increased in 48 states in the 4th quarter compared to the 4th quarter of the previous year. Nationally the supply of homes on the market is less than 6.5 months. These are all positive and encouraging statistics.
When the real estate market started slowing a couple of years ago our market stayed stronger longer and never declined to the same extent as the nation as a whole. Since our market slow down started later and since we did not fall as far, our recovery is running a little later than most parts of the country. For the first two months of 2010 our market is virtually unchanged having closed 2 fewer homes than the corresponding period in 2009. Average prices however were slightly higher at $118,075 compared to $112,319. Our inventory of homes is still too high at just under 12 months supply. I am certain that we will show a significant increase in closed sales in March compared to January or February. We have also seen more activity in more expensive home transactions in the past few months. Pending transactions increased significantly the second half of February and I firmly believe that sales will stay strong at least through April. I am confident about the April date partially because of the Home Buyers tax credit which is still available for contracts that are completed by April 30 and close by June 30. Smart shoppers and prudent sellers need to act soon to take advantage of this credit before it expires.
Remember the best place to start your home search is at, where you can register yourself and receive automatic notifications at My   Signing up is simple and easy.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:11 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, February 18 2010


The middle of the winter is prime time for carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure your appliances and heating system are operating safely.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is formed when carbon-based fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, charcoal or wood, are burned with inadequate amounts of oxygen, creating a condition known as incomplete combustion. When incomplete combustion occurs, carbon monoxide is produced, and this can potentially lead to carbon-monoxide poisoning to a family.

The early stages of carbon-monoxide poisoning produce unexplained flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and mental confusion. Since carbon monoxide displaces the oxygen in the blood, prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to death by asphyxiation.

According to the Southern California Gas Co., these signs may indicate the presence of carbon monoxide:

  • A yellow, large, and unsteady gas appliance burner flame (with the exception of decorative gas log appliances).
  • An unusual pungent odor when the appliance is operating. This may indicate the creation of aldehydes, a by-product of incomplete combustion.
  • Unexplained nausea, drowsiness and flu-like symptoms.

What to do if someone suspects carbon monoxide is present in their home:

  • If safe to do so, immediately turn off the suspected gas appliance.
  • Evacuate the premises and call 911.
  • Seek medical attention if anyone in the home experiences possible carbon-monoxide poisoning symptoms.
  • Contact The Gas Company or a licensed, qualified professional immediately to have the appliance inspected.
  • Don’t use the suspected gas appliance until it has been inspected, serviced and determined to be safe by The Gas Company or a licensed, qualified professional.

How to maintain and use gas appliances safely and efficiently:

  • Clean inside the burner compartment of built-in, vented wall furnaces once a month during the heating season to prevent lint build-up.
  • Inspect and replace furnace filters on forced-air units or central heating systems according to manufacturer instructions.
  • When installing a new or cleaned filter, be sure to re-install the front panel door of the furnace properly so it fits snugly. Never operate the furnace without the front panel door properly in place.
  • Never store anything near a gas appliance that might interfere with normal appliance airflow.
  • Assure that appliance venting is intact and unblocked.
  • In higher-altitude areas, where snow can accumulate on rooftops, ensure that gas appliance intake and exhaust vents are clear of obstructions.
  • Never use gas ovens, ranges or outside barbeques for space heating.

Carbon-monoxide alarms may provide an extra measure of safety, but they also require routine maintenance such as battery replacement and the unit itself must be replaced periodically per manufacturer’s instructions. Even with alarms in place, regular gas appliance maintenance still is required.

Inspection and routine maintenance are still the best defense against accidental carbon-monoxide poisoning from natural gas appliances.

Source: Southern California Gas Co.

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, February 16 2010
Real estate investors are coming to the same conclusion that housing activists reached at the beginning of the crisis forgiving principal on underwater loans may be the best way to deal with the problem.

“Principal reduction is the only answer,” says Laurie Goodman, a senior managing director at mortgage-bond trader Amherst Securities Group L.P.

Some activists and investors are asking banks to consider principal reductions so that the amount borrowers owe on underwater loans can be sharply reduced. They say this offers the best incentive for borrowers to continue to make their monthly mortgage payments.

Even though principal reductions are complicated transactions for lenders, even the largest of them are beginning to accept the idea.

"Everybody's realizing there is a place for principal reductions to a much greater extent than before," says Jack Schakett, a senior Bank of America Corp. executive involved in loan workouts.

Micah Green, a partner at law firm Patton Boggs LLP, who represents some of the largest investors in mortgages, shrugs the idea that write-downs are unfair to those who continue to make their payments. "Everybody's going to have to give a little for it to work," he says.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, James R. Hagerty (02/09/2010)
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 17 2009

-- Don't ignore safety

This goes for any home-improvement project. Simple precautions like wearing safety goggles, not overloading outlets and turning off breakers will only take a few minutes or a few extra bucks -- but these steps can save you from disaster.

-- Don't forget about the subfloor

Laminate flooring needs an underlayment/vapor barrier for almost any surface upon which it is being installed. Not only will a subfloor protect flooring from moisture, it will also help with soundproofing. Hardwood floors need an even subfloor; use subfloor compound to ensure a level surface. If laying tile in a bathroom, cement backer board should be used underneath.

-- Don't skimp the grout sealer

You can spend a lot of time and money installing tile, but if you don't properly seal the grout it can absorb water, dirt and other stains.

-- Don't get the wrong pro

If you need to hire a pro, make sure the person is qualified for the job. Never let anyone other than a licensed electrician repair or alter the wiring in your home. The same goes for plumbing -- many states also require them to have a license or state certification.

-- Don't skip the primer

The key to a successful paint job is comprehensive preparation. A coat of primer will seal the surface, provide durability and create a solid bond for the paint to adhere. The only time primer may not be needed is when painting latex over latex, and the colors have a similar intensity.

-- Don't forget the building permits

The last thing anyone wants is to spend time and effort building a beautiful deck only to find out it must be ripped up because there was no permit. Check out the rules and regulations for building permits, codes and inspections before you start any remodeling project.

-- Don't get the wrong style of window

The wrong windows can have consequences on both the interior and exterior of the home. When choosing windows, make sure the style matches the appearance and architecture of your home's exterior. On the inside, windows will affect the light, ventilation and temperature of the house.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:29 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 16 2009
As we mentioned last month, the Home Buyer Tax Credit has been extended and expanded. For first time buyers the extension is straightforward, you must have an accepted contract no later than April 30, and close the transaction no later than June 30, 2010. In order to take advantage of the existing buyer credit the owner must have used the property as their principal residence for 5 of the past 8 years. The owner must purchase the new home under the same deadlines as a first time buyer.
 Although this sounds simple enough, let’s talk about realistic timing to take advantage of this unique and probably one time only opportunity to receive a $6,500 gift from Uncle Sam. Most buyers prefer to sell their existing home before purchasing a new home. In our area during November the average days on market for houses that sold were 107 days (more on this later). It is not unusual, and is frequently helpful, for sellers to stage and spruce up their house before putting it on the market. These steps can maximize the sales price and reduce marketing time. The typical buyer starts their home search 10 weeks before purchasing a home. If you back up 107 days from April 30 and factor in some time for looking for a new home, it is easy to see that the buyers with the best chance of receiving their $6,500 gift will be those that start the process immediately.    
 The next few weeks will be an excellent time to list a house for several reasons. First there are over 300 fewer houses on the market today than there were last November. In addition 52 more homes sold this November than last November. Finally the list price to sales price ratio was a full percentage point higher last month than it was a year ago. The keys to maximizing your return on your house are to have it in great condition and price it right. Keep in mind the average days on market for homes that sold last month was 107 days. By comparison, houses currently listed have been on the market 162 days. From this one can conclude that houses priced right are selling. This is probably the only year we can help get you a $6,500 Christmas gift. Give us a call at 812-499-9234 or email us at
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, August 23 2009

Ivy Tech Community College says it has a record fall enrollment and is still signing up as many as 2,000 students a day.

Some students are having trouble getting into classes they want or need to take. The school says those still planning to enroll for fall semester can get on waiting lists for courses, decide to take a class at another Ivy Tech campus or choose classes that start later in the semester.

Ivy Tech says a record 106,000 students are already enrolled in campuses across the state. That’s a 24 percent increase over last year’s fall semester and more students are still registering.

Classes start Monday at Ivy Tech campuses across Indiana.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, August 22 2009

Inside INdiana Business has learned that Shelby County is under consideration for a Harley-Davidson, Inc. motorcycle assembly plant and hundreds of jobs. "I can tell you company officials were in Shelby County Wednesday," said Shelbyville Mayor Scott Furgeson, who added the company is interested in a site outside city limits. The Milwaukee-based company is considering closing or restructuring a plant in York, Pennsylvania and moving that work to a new location.

The Business Journal of Milwaukee is reporting sites in Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana are among finalists for the investment and management has made official visits to all three states.

This week, sources have told Inside INdiana Business the new plant could mean between 800 and 1,500 jobs.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, August 22 2009

Bank of Evansville finds 'Bank On' program works

A Bank of Evansville program led to the opening of 324 bank accounts in the first half of 2009.

The program is a response to Census statistics indicating that 6,000 Evansville households lack bank accounts. It is believed those who live in such households spend more than $800 a year to cash paychecks and to write checks for their bills.

The 324 accounts added in the first half of 2009 were opened by the 15 financial institutions participating in the program. That number makes up 27 percent of 1,200 accounts the city wants to see opened through Bank on Evansville this year.

The average monthly balanced held in them was $219.

The National League of Cities has reported that Evansville has the fastest expanding "Bank On" program in the United States.

"These numbers show that Bank on Evansville is really making an impact in our community," Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel said.

— Dan Shaw


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, August 21 2009

The Indiana Association of Realtors (IAR) reports statewide sales of single-family homes in July dropped 6.3 percent, compared to the previous year. IAR also says the median price declined by only 0.9 percent. Chief Executive Officer Karl Berron says there are signs the decline in home sales is slowing. He adds the state may be "near or at the bottom of this challenging period."

The Indiana Association of REALTORS® (IAR) today released its “Indiana Real Estate Markets Report” for the month of July as a continuation of its “Indiana is Home” project.

The Report, found online at, is the first-ever county-by-county comparison of existing single-family home sales in Indiana. IAR obtains the data directly from the state’s 18 largest Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) and the Broker Listing Cooperative® (BLC®) in central Indiana. July’s Report includes Dearborn, Ohio, Ripley, Switzerland and White Counties for the first time, bringing the Report’s representation to 93% of the housing market statewide.

July’s report was similar to June’s in that statewide sales of existing single-family homes decreased from the previous year. From July 2008 sales decreased 6.3%, but median prices declined at a much smaller rate of .9%.

“The decline in sales is slowing and when compared with a year ago, sales have not declined as much as they did in the first half of the year,” said Karl Berron, Chief Executive Officer. “This indicates that we may be near or at the bottom of this challenging period. Combined with the signs of the overall economy, there is cause for optimism.”

Clark, Allen, Johnson, Grant, Porter and Montgomery Counties saw increases in sales, median prices or both.

More about “Indiana Is Home”

It is a multi-media project aimed at keeping Hoosier homeowners, would-be homeowners, policymakers and the media well-informed on the ever-changing local real estate markets.

This month, media professional and host Pat Carlini narrates a third reportisode entitled, “1st Timer,” which explains how the $8,000 tax credit can be used by first-time home buyers, or those who have not purchased a home within the last three years.

Indianapolis-based Boost Media and Entertainment shot and produced all videos found at

IAR represents more than 16,000 REALTORS® who are involved in virtually all aspects related to the sale, purchase, exchange or lease of real property in Indiana. The term REALTOR® is a registered mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the world’s largest trade association, the National Association of REALTORS®, and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 02:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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Evansville, IN 47715
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