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4 Things to Do This Weekend in the Metro

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

4 Things to Do This Weekend in the Metro

 

The weather forecast for this weekend has continuously changed, and the closer the weekend gets, the more it looks like we will have some significant dry time.  This is great news, because there are some really wonderful events happening this weekend in St. Louis and the Metro East.

 

 

Art on the Square

Downtown Belleville, Illinois

May 19-21

Friday 5 - 10 p.m.

Saturday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Sunday 11a.m. - 5 p.m.

 

Head on over to downtown Belleville to experience one of the top ten art shows in America!  Enjoy the view and take in some of the beautiful art as you sit on one of the outdoor patios while enjoying food and drink from local restaurants!  This event isn’t just for adults- kids are certainly welcome!  Kids that attend can participate in the children’s entertainment and attractions, as well as the Children’s Art Garden.  For the art lovers, there is so much to see.  Art on the Square is a juried show featuring over 100 artists from around the world, and you can also catch fantastic musical and stage performances!

 

Visit the website here.  

 

 

St. Louis Antique Festival

Belle Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center

May 20

10:00 a.m. – 5 p.m.

May 21

10:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 

While you’re in the Belleville area for Art on the Square, be sure to stop by this awesome event!  This festival is held twice a year at the Belle Clair Fairgrounds, and it features 90+ antique dealers from 32 states.  With a wide variety of specializations, these dealers offer high quality antiques all in one place.  Many of the dealers at this show are members of the Associated Antiques Dealers of America, so they not only offer a variety of products at a variety of prices, but you can also be assured that their products are of a high quality.  The show is indoors in a climate-controlled Building with free parking, so it not only costs very little (admission is $6), but this event will be held comfortably, rain or shine.

 

 

Ticket to The Beatles Concert

Metter Park, Columbia, Illinois

May 20

3 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

 

This fun event is held at outdoors at Columbia’s Metter Park.  Attendees can listen to the classic tunes of The Beatles performed by this wonderful cover band while relaxing in the grass, shopping at any of the local small business vendor booths, or enjoying food and drink provided by local restaurants and organizations.  This event is not only a great time; it also supports Columbia’s Historic Main Street Association, a group of local business owners who are committed to hosting community events, boosting community involvement, and working toward giving Columbia a stronger small business district!  Did we mention this event is FREE?!

 

 

Musicans’ Music Festival: A Benefit Concert for Elsa

Monroe County Fairgrounds

May 21

11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

 

This event is sure to be nothing but pure entertainment, and all for a great cause!  The music starts at 11, and the concert features a variety of local musicians all day.  In addition to the music, there will be a faire act, 50/50 raffle, food vendors, face painting, ice cream truck, and a barrel of booze raffle.  This event is BYOBeverages & lawn chairs.  Show your support for this local family and their lovely young daughter as she fights cancer. 

 

If you can’t make it to the event but would still like to donate to her family’s expenses, click here.

8 Tips for Restoring an Old Home

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

8 Tips for Restoring an Old Home

 

 

It’s hard to argue that old homes seem to be loaded with a unique character, and each one is different.  Older homes have a charm about them that is almost impossible to mimic with a newer home.  The draw to restore old homes comes from these principles, and they are well-founded.  Even those who prefer newer homes to live in can’t seem to resist the “Before and After” looks of an old home restoration.  That being said, the task of restoring an old home isn’t for everyone.  However, if it is something to which you would like to commit (after much careful and realistic consideration), these tips may prove themselves helpful.

 

 

Remember: Restore, not Replace

 

An older home is given its character by its unique features.  The high ceilings, the crown molding of the cabinetry, the old brass door handles, the windows that stretch almost to the floor.  Your goal is to update the necessities but maintain the integrity of the old home.  Rather than replace those old windows with newer, more energy-efficient ones, consider resealing the panes or installing efficient storm windows to the exterior of the window frame.  Rather than buying new, more tightly-fitting and tidy wood flooring, consider sanding and refinishing the original wood floors.  The goal of restoring an old home should be to honor the home’s structure and character, while modernizing it through decorating, appliances, and energy efficiency.  Additionally, original doors and windows mean a lot to an old home’s value. 

 

Don’t Give in to Fads

 

Open floor plans are wonderful.  It’s no wonder that they came into the scene with a wave of popularity and have maintained that status for a long time.  When buying an old home, it can be tempting to knock down walls to give that old home an open floor plan… However, despite their seemingly never-ending reign at the moment, their time, too, will pass.  Open floor plans didn’t exist in most older homes, and, therefore, they don’t really do a whole lot to maintain the integrity of the old home. A great alternative to completely changing the floor plan is widening doorways between rooms.  Here, you can utilize almost all of your home’s original framing while giving the flow of the home a lot more flexibility. 

 

Save the Flooring!

 

If at all possible, save the original hardwood flooring that you found under the carpet in the living room.  Yes, it’s old, discolored, and possibly damaged, but it can turn out beautifully.  Regardless of whether or not you plan on hiring a professional to restore the floors for you, you should still have one come for a consultation.  Old carpet backing often contained asbestos, and you want to be sure that you don’t have any on your floors before you begin sanding. 

 

Clean the Tile

 

Before you go all-out on tearing out that old tile, give it a really, really good scrubbing.  It can be easy to look at old tile and think:  A. WOW- Outdated, and B. GROSS- Very dirty.  However, with the right cleaning supplies,  you can get that old tile to shine again, and after looking at the refreshed tile for a week or so, you may be struck with an amazing idea for a beautiful restored room!

 

Keep the Cabinets

 

It can be tempting for those buying an older home to want to rip down the old cabinets in the kitchen and replace them with tidy, clean, and fresh newly-made substitutes.  However, the melamine and MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) cabinets that are readily available are not made to last in the long-term.  Your cabinets, however rough they may look now, were made to last for many years. Strip them, sand them, and refinish them.  The work put in will pay off exponentially. 

 

Keep Counters Authentic

 

If you plan on updating the counters in your kitchen or bathroom, stick to a material that was available in the period your home was built.  A Formica kitchen top will not have been in a home that was built in 1902.  By using materials that were available in the time your home was built, even if the material wasn’t originally used in the home, you are keeping the time frame cohesive throughout the home. 

 

Refinish Sinks and Tubs

 

Just like with everything mentioned on this list, these things lend an awful lot to the character of your old home.  There are many ways that you can modernize a bathroom while maintaining an original restored sink and tub. A new coat on porcelain might cost a few hundred dollars, but it will cost less than gutting your entire bathroom and having a new bath/shower installed.

 

Don’t Bite off More Than You Can Chew

 

The thought of restoring an old home can be enticing to many individuals, but before you jump in to that task, be sure to do your research and due diligence.  A home with a good solid structure and that requires mostly cosmetic updates, though still very time-consuming and difficult, is worth restoring much more than a home with foundation or pest issues.  Before signing the paperwork, it’s a good idea to consult some professionals to discuss what exactly would need to happen for the changes you are wanting to make.  From there, you can better assess whether or not that particular home is right for you.


Overall, the main thing that a Buyer should be concerned with when considering whether or not to Buy an old home is honesty to one's self.  A buyer needs to be aware enough to realize that a project rarely gets completed without hiccups, and that there is a lot of work and time invested when re-doing an old home.  If it is something that you decide you are capable of, just remember to have fun while doing it!

 

 

 

How to Hire the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage


How to Hire the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home


Selling a home is an overwhelming task, and one thing any seller shouldn't worry about is whether or not their agent is qualified to sell their home.




Use the Internet!


Narrow the list of potential agents in your area by simply doing a bit of online research into their online marketing.  In today's digital world, in which most people are using their phones to look at homes, it's of the utmost importance that the agent you hire focuses on quality photography and social media marketing.  You will be able to significantly narrow your list of potential agents just by dismissing all of them who don't utilize professional photography and social media marketing, making your search for an agent that much easier.


Ask to See Their Credentials


There are plenty of designations and credentials beyond the required education that a person must acquire to become a real estate agent.  An agent who has these credentials, such as Realtor® (member of The National Association of Realtors®) or ABR (Accredited Buyer's Representative), has displayed a genuine committment to their industry and education.  You should strive to hire an agent who has at least a few of these designations, because their having acquired those titles indicates a level of commitment and professionalism within their industry.


Work with a Full-Time Agent


When individuals are first breaking into the real estate industry, they often can only work part-time as an agent to still have a steady source of income as they establish themselves in their new career.  Hiring a full-time agent usually means that you are working with a committed and experienced agent who has only one career to focus on.  This allows them to dedicate more of their time to their career, meaning that they are dedicated to achieving success (which includes selling your home)!


Even if you have found who you consider to be the perfect agent, it's always encouraged that you meet with a few of the other front-runners, because you never know how you will click with someone.  Even if you meet the best agent in the area, you might end up not liking his or her personality.  In case that happens, make appointments with a few agents and see who you like the most, and weigh that with the different professional practices they use to maximize your listing's chances of selling quickly and for the most money.


9 Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

9 Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

 

Buying a home is a complicated process, as it should be.  After all, the biggest purchase of your life should probably require necessary measures, time, and “getting all your ducks in a row.”  While it may be understandable that the process of buying a home is intensive, this certainly doesn’t help homebuyers navigate the housing or lending markets.  There are many mistakes that can potentially be made by home buyers, and some, in particular, tend to be made by first-time homebuyers.  Between the stress, misinformation or lack of information, and excitement of buying a first home, there are a lot of errors that can be made along the way.  Assembled here are a number of such examples, in hopes that they may get first-time homebuyers to think about these issues and how they may avoid them.

 

 


Not Attempting to Gain a Better Understanding of the Process

 

No one expects a first-time homebuyer to know the ins and outs of the housing and lending markets and processes.  The first thing a first-time homebuyer should realize is that it is okay that they not know everything; in fact, it’s okay to know nothing at all.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions.  Many first-time homebuyers make the mistake of not asking enough questions during the process of buying  home, for a number of reasons.  Being sure about the processes involved in buying a home help to ensure that a Buyer is truly happy with their purchase in the long run.  Actually, one of the best ways for first-time homebuyers to begin the process of buying a home is assembling a list of questions they have for both the real estate agent and the lender. 


Thinking You Can Do It Alone

 

When in doubt of how to complete a certain task, the best thing to do is consult a professional.  The same is true when someone is looking to Buy a home.  Meet with a few real estate agents and see how they suit you.  If one doesn’t quite click with you, there is nothing wrong with moving on to a different agent.  You should feel comfortable and confident in your real estate agent, because they will be helping you through the process.  It will be a lot more enjoyable if you are paired up with someone with whom you feel comfortable.   Your real estate agent can recommend a few lenders for you to contact, so that you can begin determining which of those individuals you will choose to work with.   It is important that you feel confident in your lender and his or her professionalism, trustworthiness, and abilities.  After all, he or she will be helping you finance your biggest investment.

 

Not Making Your Goals Clear

 

When speaking with both your real estate agent and your lender, it is important that you make your goals clear.  While your real estate agent can help you decide which characteristics of a home are most important to you, you need to be honest and open during these conversations.  Your agent will know the right questions to ask you to help you decide what you are looking for, but only if you make it clear that you need help and don’t know where to start.  Your lender needs to know what your financial goals are to help you decide what kind of loan you should be getting, as well as what price range of home you should be looking for.  It’s not just about what you can afford with your income; it’s about what you can afford with your income and other financial goals, such as saving.

 

Failing to Take Saving into Account when Budgeting

 

What you can afford doesn’t simply boil down to what you are comfortable paying each month when considering other expenses.  You should also be considering planning for your future and saving money when determining what you can afford.  Too often, this aspect of a budget is overlooked by first-time homebuyers.


Not Knowing (or Ignoring) What You Can Afford


The excitement of owning a home often overtakes first-time buyers, leading them to neglect assessing what they can afford, as well as what their budget means to what kind of home they will find.  While it’d be nice if our first homes were all our final homes, and we could afford our dream house right off the bat, that’s just not realistic.  Too often first-time buyers get mixed up in their ideas of their “perfect home” and their “perfect for right now” home.


This concept is also important for first-time buyers to consider for a different reason.  Often, buyers who have never owned a home before realize that their budgets are limited and decide that they will purchase a home that needs a lot of work, a “fixer-upper” and make it their own on the cheap.  Assuming that a fixer-upper is cheaper than buying a move-in ready home is naïve and, often, inaccurate.  Even professionals who know what they’re doing can end up sinking a lot of money into a home that needs work.  If you are considering purchasing a fixer-upper as your first home, make a list of all the projects that will need to be done for you to update the home, do a little research, and start weighing the actual costs.  Don’t forget, also, that most of the time, any single project ends up costing more than expected, because projects usually hit snags along the way.


Failing to Acknowledge that Needs/Wants will Change over Time

 

While it is important that buyers consider that their first home will probably not be their forever home, it is also important to realistically analyze how long they think they will be in their house.  A third-floor condo may be great for right now, but if a Buyer is planning on getting a dog in the near future (while they are still planning on being at that residence), they should be considering the two flights of stairs for every trip outside with their dog. 


Becoming Distracted by Over-the-Top Features

 

It may be extremely cool that a house you looked at has a wine cellar or pool in the backyard.  However, if you don’t have the money to ever have the ability to stock that wine cellar, or if you don’t have the money or means to maintain that pool, neither of those features will retain their “cool” factor.  First-time homebuyers often make the mistake of becoming enamored with special features of a home, even if they are impractical or out of the range of what can be afforded.

 

Not Hiring an Inspector


Even if an inspection is not required by your mortgage lender, get one.  Even if the home is being sold as is, get one.  Even if the cost will come our of your pocket, get one.  Regardless of the circumstances, you should make an effort to know what exact home you are purchasing.

 

Changing Finances During the Home Search

 

Your pre-approval or pre-qualification is considered from the current financial situation you were in when you sought it out from your lender.  The numbers will change if your financial situation changes.  Change jobs, and your qualifications change.  Get a car loan, and your qualifications change.  Take out a line of credit to furnish your new house, and your qualifications change.  Make a late payment, and your qualifications change.  It is so very important, during your Home Search and especially during the period of time between signing a contract and closing on a house, that none of your financial situations change. 


Overall, there are so many things that can be done wrong when buying a house.  Without experience in the process, it’s very difficult to know what to do and what not to do.  That’s why it’s so important to learn all you can and be honest with the professionals you are dealing with. 

 

Did we forget something?  Let us know in the comments!

Home-Buying Dictionary: Words and Definitions to Know for Anyone Buying a Home

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Home-Buying Dictionary

 

Words & Definitions to Know for Anyone Buying a Home

 

Buying a home is a complicated process, and first-time homebuyers, in particular, can find the process overwhelming.  Anyone who has bought a home can attest to the fact that there are many steps to buying a home, and that there is a lot of room for mistakes to be made during the process.  This prospect is daunting enough to a first-time homebuyer, and to make things more complicated, they often are faced with a feeling of ignorance due to not being familiar with the common phrases and definitions that are associated with real estate transactions.  This is a beginner’s guide to real estate terms that are important to know.

 


Acceptance

Acceptance happens when the party who received an offer accepts its terms and thereby creates a contract between the two parties.  If a Buyer puts forth an offer to purchase real estate and receives acceptance from the seller, the contract is begun.  Likewise, if a seller counteroffers the buyers’ original offer, and the buyer accepts the terms of the counteroffer, acceptance has been reached and the contract is binding.

 

Appraisal

An appraisal is an estimation of a home or property’s market value.  Appraisals are completed by licensed appraisers, and they look at comparable homes that recently sold near the home in question.  Appraisals are typically ordered by lenders during the home financing process to ensure that the investment the lender is considering is a worthy one.  If the appraisal results indicate that the home’s value is less than the loan amount, the lender may refuse to finance the loan.

 

Closing

The closing date is when the ownership of the home is transferred from the seller to the Buyer.  A closing takes place at a title company, where both buyer and seller will settle all credits and debits before signing the paperwork to transfer ownership of the home.  The certificate of title, abstract, and deed are prepared by an attorney, and the buyer signs the lender's mortgage paperwork.  The closing date is typically established during the negotiation stage of buying a home, but it is subject to certain criteria that could cause the date to change.  The closing essentially finalizes the original contract entered into by the buyer and seller.

 

Closing Costs

Closing costs are expenses other than the cost of the property in the transaction, and they are paid during the closing.  Closing costs can be incurred by either the Buyer or seller.  Closing costs typically include such expenses as the escrow fees, the real estate agent commission, the attorney fee, the appraisal, the inspection, the attorney’s fee, and more.  Some closing costs are tax-deductible, so be sure to save your closing statement and have it handy, come tax-time.

 

Commission

The commission is the money typically paid by the seller to a real estate agent as compensation for finding a Buyer and completing the sale.  The commission can be a flat fee or a percentage of the sale price, depending on the agency agreement.

 

Contingency

Contingency is a word that means that a certain condition must be met before a contract is legally binding.  When a contract is contingent on something, a provision in the contract clearly states that some or all of the terms of the contract will be altered or voided by the occurrence of a specific event, usually by specific dates leading up to the closing.  For instance, a contingency clause in a contract can state that if the Buyer doesn’t approve the inspection report for the property, the buyer can back out of the contract.  The two most common contingencies in the home buying process are that the home must pass the inspection and the borrower must be approved for the loan.

 

Counteroffer

A counteroffer occurs when a seller has made an offer on a property that rendered a response of a different offer from the seller.  When a counteroffer is made on real property, it essentially nullifies the original offer, giving the Buyer a chance to refuse and not be accountable for their initial offer in any way.  A counteroffer is intended to begin negotiations for a transaction to occur, depending on the amount and terms agreed upon by both the buyer and the seller.

 

Disclosure

A disclosure is a legal document that a seller is required to sign when listing their home for the purpose of disclosing any major physical defects in the house that they are aware of, as well as the presence of lead-based paint, radon, or other potentially hazardous materials, conditions, or contaminants.  A Buyer, before asking their agent to prepare an offer for a home, should ask to see the disclosures to make sure that there are no major hazards within the home that would prompt them to not move forward with the purchase.  When putting in an offer, a buyer will be required to sign the disclosures to acknowledge that they have read and understood them. 

 

Downpayment

The downpayment is the amount of money to be paid by the Buyer to the seller upon signing the closing paperwork.  The buyers’ loan amount is the downpayment subtracted from the purchase price from the home.

 

Earnest Money

Earnest money is a deposit made to the seller from the Buyer.  An earnest money deposit is intended to show the sellers the buyers’ good faith in their offer and intent to proceed with the transaction.  If the sale goes through, the earnest money deposit counts toward the downpayment of the home.  Unless the offer to purchase expressly states that the earnest money will be refundable if the sale does not go through, the buyer typically forfeits the earnest money in the event that the contract is not executed.  It is important to note that an earnest money deposit is not necessary to offer; it is simply to imply good faith to the seller.  Furthermore, it is not necessary that earnest money be money at all; it can be in any form that is deemed acceptable by both buyer and seller.

 

Escrow

Escrow typically refers to the escrow account, in which funds are held until the occurrence of a sale, afterwhich the funds are released to a designated individual.  Typically the escrow account holds money from the Buyer for the lender; the escrow account will store the mortgage payments, which can consist of the principal, interest, and insurance. 

 

Home Inspection

A home inspection is usually ordered by the Buyer in a real estate transaction for the purpose of obtaining a report on the home’s condition.  A home inspection is carried out by a licensed inspector, who, after completion of inspection, provides both buyer and seller with a report detailing any concerns, repairs, maintenance, or potential issues that exist within the home. 

 

Home Warranty

Sometimes offered by a seller to give their home a competitive edge in the marketplace, a home warranty covered the costs of repairs to specified parts of the home over a specified period of time.  The home warranty, if offered, is provided by the seller as a condition of the sale.  However, a Buyer can request a home warranty and write it into their offer on the home.

 

Homeowners' Association

A homeowners’ association is an organization made up of residents in a neighborhood who are concerned with managing and maintaining common areas of a subdivision or condominium complex.  Many homeowners’ associations require a monthly or annual fee from residents of the neighborhood that contributes to the maintenance of those common areas.  The association is also responsible for enforcing any covenants and restrictions that apply to homes in the neighborhood.

 

Homeowners’ Insurance

Homeowners’ insurance is a form of insurance specifically to protect a home and its possessions from damage.  A lender will require some documentation of homeowners’ insurance while processing your loan, because the lender also wishes to protect his investment in your home.

 

Mortgage

A mortgage is a lien on real property given by the Buyer to a lender as security for money borrowed.  The loan term, interest rate, and type of loan within the mortgage is typically decided upon by an in-depth assessment of a client's finances and current situation with the help of a lender.  

 

Multiple Listing Service

The Multiple Listing Service is a computer-based service commonly referred to as the MLS.  It provides real estate agents a number of services and benefits.  Agents use the MLS to disburse their listings to other agents, so that any agents working with buyers can easily see if the property is something that their client would be interested in.  An agent can also look to the MLS to get comparable properties to help the seller decide on a fair and reasonable asking price for their home.  The MLS isn’t just a tool for agents, however.  The MLS also serves as an exporter of listings and their information to other websites that the public has access to, such as REALTOR.COM or Zillow.

 

Offer

When you find the home that you would like to purchase, your real estate agent will prepare an offer to be submitted to the seller.  This offer contains the date of your offer, a description of the property, the amount of your earnest money deposit, the amount of money you are wanting to pay for the property, financing details, your name and address as well as the seller’s name and address, the closing date, and any other special requirements or contingencies you’d want to ask for.

 

Pre-Approval

Pre-Approval takes place after pre-qualification, and it tends to be a much more complicated and involved process than pre-qualification.  For pre-approval, potential borrowers will complete a mortgage application and supply the lender with all the documentation necessary for them to complete an extensive examination of your credit and finances.  After this analyzation, the lender can tell you the specific mortgage amount for which you are approved, meaning that you will have a more concrete idea of what homes you can look for.  With pre-approval, potential borrowers then receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, even if the potential Buyer hasn’t yet found a property they’re interested in.  Pre-approval usually happens after finding a home on which to make an offer, but it can be done during the Home Search.  Doing this step earlier can actually give potential buyers an advantage with a potential seller, because it’s one less step that must be completed for the contract to continue.  Once a buyer has found the home they are wanting to purchase, they only need to fill in the property information and they are ready to proceed with funding.

 

Pre-Qualification

Pre-qualification is the initial step in the mortgage process, and it should be done prior to beginning the Home Search.  The process of getting pre-qualified allows you to discuss any goals or needs you may have with your lender, and your lender can explain your various options and give his or her recommendations.  The pre-qualification process begins by supplying your lender with your overall financial situation, including debt, income, and assets.  The lender then analyzes your situation and can give you an idea of the mortgage amount you will likely qualify for.  Often, the pre-qualification process can be done simply, quickly, and over the phone or online.  The reason that this step should be done before the home search begins is because it allows buyers to look only at homes in their price range.  Often, without prequalification, a Buyer will fall in love with a home outside of their price range, and will subsequently be let down by every home that comes on the market, no matter how perfect or lovely the home may be. 

 

Restrictive Covenants

Private restrictions limiting the use of real property. Restrictive covenants are created by deed and may "run with the land," binding all subsequent purchasers of the land, or may be "personal" and binding only between the original seller and Buyer. The determination whether a covenant runs with the land or is personal is governed by the language of the covenant, the intent of the parties, and the law in the State where the land is situated. Restrictive covenants that run with the land are encumbrances and may affect the value and marketability of title. Restrictive covenants may limit the density of buildings per acre, regulate size, style or price range of buildings to be erected, or prevent particular businesses from operating or minority groups from owning or occupying homes in a given area. (This latter discriminatory covenant is unconstitutional and has been declared unenforceable by the U.S. Supreme Court.)

 

Survey

A map or plat made by a licensed surveyor showing the results of measuring the land with its elevations, improvements, boundaries, and its relationship to surrounding tracts of land. A survey is often required by the lender to assure him that a Building is actually sited on the land according to its legal description.

 

Underwriting

The process by which a lender decides whether to make a loan to a potential home Buyer based on an in-depth analysis of credit, employment, assets, and other factors and the weighing of this risk to an appropriate rate, term, and loan amount.

 

Zoning Ordinances

Zoning ordinances are the regulations set forth by local government that dictate what kind of property use can be utilized within a certain property.  For instance, some zoning restrictions will prevent property being utilized as farm land.  Zoning ordinances also are regulatory forces regarding Building permits and what kind of improvements can be made to property.

 

While this isn't a complete list of every term that a Buyer will be exposed to during the Home Search and purchase process, it provides a basic knowledge of terms, at the least.  It is important for homebuyers to ask questions during the process, if ever they feel confused about what is happening or like things are too moving too fast.  Choose an agent that you are comfortable with and who suits your personality.  During the lending process, too, it is important that you choose a lender with whom you feel comfortable with and who gave you the best options for your situation.  Never be afraid to ask questions, because professionals in the industry know that there is a lot to know.  They have no problem helping you along the way.

What to Do After You Buy a House

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

You Bought a House!  …Now What?

 

There are some things that you can do when you move into a new house to improve the life of your appliances and fixtures and improve security, among other things.  Some of these things are common sense ideas, and some of them probably wouldn’t be brought to mind unless specifically identified.  For those who haven’t moved in many years, as well as those who are first-time homebuyers, remembering to take all these important measures when you move into a new place can be overwhelming, so we compiled this list of things that new homeowners should be doing when they move into a new house.

 

 


Change the Locks

 


 

The first and most important thing you should do when you move into a new place is change the locks on all the exterior doors.  You may know and trust the previous owners of the home, but you can never know how many other people may have a spare key.  It’s always best to have a locksmith scheduled for day one in the new house.

 

Transfer Utilities

 

 

After your closing, you will want to transfer all the utilities into your name.  If you are wanting to have cable or internet in your home, you will want to schedule the installation as soon as possible, so that you will have those services when you move in. 

 

Home Insurance

 

 

You will want to be sure to have your home insured as soon as possible, because no one plans that their home should catch fire or be hit by a bad storm.  Talk to your insurance agent about what coverage plans work best for you and your needs, and it’d be a good idea to talk to a few other agents to see what they would recommend and what their rates would be, comparatively.

 

File Important Documents

 

 

When you get your closing statement, make two copies of it, and file the original in a fireproof safe or at your safety deposit box.  The copies can be kept in a home binder to help you keep track of all the documents with your new home.  In this binder, you can keep copies of any important paperwork, as well as things like paint swatches and receipts. 

 

Contact Your Accountant

 

 

There are many costs that come along with buying a home, and some of those are deductible on your next year’s taxes.  Take one of the copies of your closing statement to your accountant, and he or she should be able to tell you what expenses you can use to your advantage when filing taxes next year. 

 

Photograph It

 

 

Before you begin moving things into your new home, photograph each room, fixture, and appliance.  You probably also want to photograph your possessions; at the very least, you should photograph your most expensive possessions.  No one likes to think about the worst-case scenario, especially on an exciting day like the first day in your new home, but the fact of the matter is that accidents do happen, and you should be aware of what was in your home, so keep those photos in a safety deposit box or store the files in the cloud.  To be sure that you are photographing the right things, call your insurance agent to ask his or her advice on what to focus on.

 

Get Familiar with Your New Home

 

 

Take a good walk around your home and familiarize yourself to all the important places and things.  For instance, it’s important that you locate your home’s main water shut-off valve so that you will be able to minimize damage in the event that a pipe bursts.  Label all the breakers on your breaker box.  Check that there are no leaks in your plumbing and under your sinks.  Check your attic to see if you need to add more insulation to save on heating and cooling costs.  Make sure that all home maintenance projects that need addressing sooner, rather than later, are close to being addressed.  As you are doing this, make a list of everything in your new home that needs updated or repaired, and then rearrange the items on that list in order of importance.  To go one step further, add dates for when you would like those tasks completed to the list to keep yourself on track and make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything.

 

Pest Control

Before you move into your new home, you should consult a pest control specialist to have him or her come to your house to inspect for any possible infestations or pest issues.  They can also do a preemptive spray for common bugs.  Especially if the previous owners of the home you are moving into had pets, you should ask a pest control specialist about having your home sprayed for fleas.

 

Deep Clean

 

 

You want to walk into your new home and feel excited; you certainly don’t want to walk inside and wonder how many germs are hanging around from the previous owner.  This is why it is important to deep clean your home before you move in.  If you wish to do the deep cleaning yourself, that’s fine, but if you wish to focus on other things during the move, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional to come clean for you.  Here is a list of what you should be focusing on while cleaning:

-  Carpets

 Steam clean any and all carpeting in your new home… After running over the floors with a vacuum a few times, of course.

-  Floors

Even if you don’t have carpets, be sure to do a deep clean on all your flooring surfaces, even behind the refrigerator.  A newly scrubbed floor will make your new home truly feel like yours.

-  Kitchen

Everyone knows how quickly a kitchen can get dirty… and not just cluttered or messy, but downright gross.  That’s a great reason why you should do an extreme deep clean of your kitchen when you move in.  You don’t want to be thinking of someone else’s germs as you’re cooking your first meal in your new home.

-  Bathrooms

Similarly to kitchens, bathrooms tend to be havens for germs and all things unsanitary.  Give your bathroom a complete scrub-down, including wiping the walls down with a damp cloth.  You will feel so much better knowing that the bathroom of your new home is fresh.

 

Air Conditioning and Furnace

 

 

When you move into your new place, one of the first things you should do is change your air filters.  This can save a lot of money on heating and cooling, as well as giving you a definite time of when it was most recently replaced so you can get set up on a regular maintenance schedule.

To ensure that your furnace and air conditioner have a long life, it is important to have them routinely serviced.  As a new homeowner, you never know for sure how often and how recently the heating or air conditioning systems have been serviced.  It’s also a worthwhile endeavor, because it can mean saving on your energy bills, as well!

 

Change Address

 

 

Before you move in, you will want to submit a forward request to your post office, so that the mail addressed to you at your old address will be re-routed to your new address.  It’s also important that you let other service providers, friends, and family know of your new address, as forward requests are only good for so long.  Once they expire, mail addressed to you at your old address will be sent back to the sender.  Most importantly, you should let your bank, credit card company, employer, service providers, and friends and family know of your change of address.

 

Smoke Detectors & CO Monitors

 

 

When you first move in, you will want to change the batteries in all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.  Even if the batteries inside them are still good, it’s recommended that you use those batteries elsewhere and put new ones in your detectors.  This way, you will easily be able to keep track of the schedule to change their batteries, since they will all have been changed on the same day.  

 

Get Moving!

 

 

No one, I repeat, no one, enjoys moving.  It may be exciting to get a new home, but the task of packing and unpacking all of one’s possessions is not exactly a walk in the park.  We have put forth some resources to help those looking to move in the near future.  To see our tips on moving, click here.

 

Enjoy Your New Home

 

 

The most important thing you can do when you move into your new home is enjoy the excitement that comes along with it.  Don’t get overwhelmed with the home buying process or the moving process.  These lists serve as a tool to help home buyers be more proactive and feel that they are more organized and in control of the mania that can come along with a home purchase.  At one point during closing day and the days that follow, allow yourself to just enjoy the excitement!

 

 

 

 

While this list is helpful, it is not meant to be comprehensive, as with all of our posts.   Hopefully it helped you think of a few things you should do when closing day comes around.

Your Guide to Winter Weather Preparedness

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Your Guide to Winter Weather Preparedness

 

Winter weather can strike quickly and fiercely, and it can create an array of issues for homeowners.  When a winter storm causes a power outage, however, things can turn costly and dangerous very quickly.  The most important thing one can do to keep safe during a winter storm and/or power outage is to be prepared.  Here are some things you can do to make sure that you will stay safe and warm.

 

 


Keep these things on hand… And if you don’t have any, get some!

 

Prescriptions and Common Medications

 

If any member of your home takes medication daily, you will want to be sure, first and foremost, that you will not run out of the medications, should inclement weather strike.  It’s also a good idea to keep common over-the-counter medications on hand, just in case you should need them while you are stuck at home.

 

Stock Up on Food

 

It’s important that you have enough food at home to last you at least three days, should a storm leave you stranded at home or cause a power outage.  If the power goes out, make sure that you have a sufficient supply of food that doesn’t need to be cooked before it is consumed. 

If you want to cook while your power is out, and you want to do so with a camping stove or other appliance outside of your kitchen, it is imperative that you take the camping stove outside to cook your meal. 

 

Stock Up on Water

 

To plan for how much water to have on hand in the case of a power outage, account for one gallon per person per day, not including cooking or hygiene purposes.

 

Back-Up Power

Should a storm knock out your power, you should have a back-up source of electricity, if it is financially feasible for you to do so.  If you use a generator, however, keep it outside, and NEVER bring it inside your house or garage.  If you are planning on using a generator, be sure that you have the proper length of outdoor extension cord to bring the power into your house. 

 

Flashlights, Batteries, & Candles

 

Make sure that you have a surplus of batteries, and that you have enough flashlights and battery-operated lamps to get you through.  Flashlights and battery-operated lamps are a lot safer than candles, so be sure that you have enough of them.  Also, gather them and store them in a handy place before the bad weather hits.  Should you run out of batteries, use candles as a last resort.  Exercise all safety precautions when burning candles.  Never leave them unattended, keep them away from anything flammable, keep them out of reach of pets and children, and never leave them burning overnight.

 

Keep a Weather Radio on Hand & Know the Terms

 

If you constantly are checking the weather on your cell phone during a power outage, you will quickly drain your power and have no way to restore it.  To monitor the weather without draining your cell phone battery, purchase a weather radio and check it occasionally for any updates to the forecast.  Here are the weather terms often used during a winter storm and what they mean, for those of you who might not know:

Winter Storm Outlook – Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.

Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.

Winter Storm Watch – Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.

Winter Storm Warning – Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

 

Buy De-Icer and Salt Ahead of Time

 

Keep a stock of salt and de-icer spray on hand in case of icy or snowy conditions.  Even the slightest bit of ice can lead to injury, so it’s better to keep it on hand than to be caught without it.

 

Fire Extinguisher

 

Be sure that your home has a fire extinguisher on hand (that is not past its expiration date).  If the power outage should lead to a fire, for whatever reason, you will be happy that you have it.

 

Heat packs

 

Buy yourself a large pack of heat packs before the storm, in case you lose power and heat.  They can keep the blood flow going, keep you comfortable, and they’re great to stick in your socks or mittens!

 

 

Prepare!

 

Ease of Access

 

Before a storm hits, you should gather all the supplies you may need, as well as the ones you just purchased, and store them in an easily-accessible location.  This way, you won’t be fumbling around in the dark looking for flashlights and batteries before you take the precautions necessary in a winter power outage.

 

Make Sure Carbon Monoxide Detectors Are Working

 

The risk for carbon monoxide poisoning increases drastically in the bitter cold and during winter power outages.  NEVER turn to alternative forms of heating; their use often results in carbon monoxide poisoning or house fires.  If you are without power and your home is cold, contact your local emergency services to find a local community center that is offering warm lodging, rather than trying to heat your home in an unsafe way.

 

Fully Charge Your Electronics

 

Devices like your cell phone or tablets should be fully charged before a winter storm hits, so that if the power goes out, you are ahead of the game.  If at all possible, purchase a portable charger and be sure that it is fully charged, as well, so that you can extend the life of your cell phone’s charge.  Your cell phone can be a great tool to have in a winter storm, so that you can keep an eye on conditions, keep up on when power will be restored, and call for help should an emergency situation arise. 

 

Cozy Up!

 

Have a supply of warm blankets and sleeping bags set aside in case you lose heat to your home.  Having these handy, layer them, and stay under them for as long as possible to keep yourself warm.

Sleep together!  The more body heat under a blanket, the better!

Dress in layers to preserve your own body heat.

 

Garage Door

 

Find out how to manually open your garage door before the winter weather hits, especially if that is the primary way that you get in and out of your house.

 

Turn Off Electronics

 

As a precaution, you should turn off and unplug any electronics that do not need to be on before a winter storm hits.  This will help protect your devices in case the power surges.  If your power is already out, and your devices are still plugged in, unplug them.  It’s very common for the power to surge before it is restored fully and back to normal. 


Clean & Inspect Chimney

 

If your home has a chimney, clean and inspect it fully before a winter storm hits, especially if you plan on using it to help heat your home.  An improperly-kept chimney can lead to fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you burn wood to either heat your home or burn in your fireplace, cover your wood pile well before a winter storm hits, so that it can remain dry but accessible.

 

 

Winter Weather/Power Outage Hacks

 

Trap the Heat

 

Even if you are using a generator to heat your home, shut the vents for rooms you don’t use, shut the doors, and lay a towel against the crack at the bottom.  This will help you conserve fuel by heating your house quicker, thus allowing you to turn off the generator faster. 

 

Avoid Frozen Pipes

 

Here is a list of ways to prevent your pipes from freezing in the winter.  Should you lose heat, turn your faucets on a slow drip.

 

Perishable Items

 

After 24 hours, the food in your refrigerator may be compromised.  After 48, the food in your freezer may be compromised.  However, given that this is a winter storm, you have some options to save that food.  Packing refrigerated and frozen foods in ice can help you keep them cooler, longer, so keep a cooler and a few bags of ice on hand.  Pack your food in the cooler with ice, and store the cooler outside.  If the temperatures are below freezing, your ice should last quite a long time.  If the temperatures rise above freezing, your ice will last a long time, as well, but it is a good idea that you occasionally check to see if it needs more, in that case.

 

Drink Coffee! …Or tea! …Or hot chocolate!

 

The important thing is that you occasionally drink a hot beverage.  Drinking a hot beverage raises your body’s core temperature, which helps keep your extremities, especially your fingers and toes, warm. 

 

Cardio to Fight the Chill

 

When you feel yourself becoming very chilled, try doing five minutes’ worth of jumping jacks or high knees.  This increased blood flow helps warm your body’s core temperature.  Be sure not to do so much that you sweat, thus dampening your clothes, as that will lead to you being even colder when your heart rate normalizes again.

 

Know When to Close the Curtains

 

Opening your curtains on a sunny day can bring natural heat into your home.  Even during the winter months, open your curtains when the sun is shining and shut them as it begins to go down, trapping the heat inside.

To really help trap that heat, consider hanging quilts or blankets over your curtain rods during a power outage.  This will help keep the heat in your home.

 

Park Facing East

 

Before a snow or ice storm hits, park your car with your windshield facing east, if at all possible.  This will allow the morning sun to hit your windshield, and it may make your car-clearing project a little easier after the snow or ice hits.

 

Gas Up Your Car

 

You always want to make sure that your car has a full tank of gas before a winter storm, for a number of reasons.  For instance, if you are driving, and you get stuck in a winter storm or in traffic, you will want enough gas to get you home and keep you warm through the ordeal.  Also, a full tank of gas adds some weight to your vehicle, which, in the case of a snow storm, can make your vehicle a lot easier to manage. 

You should also be carrying a winter weather emergency kit in your car.  For some guidance in regards to what is best to keep in these kits, click here.

 

 

As with all of the tips and lists that we post, this is not a completely comprehensive instruction manual, but rather a guide to give you an idea of what to do.  If you experience an emergency, do not hesitate to contact your local emergency services immediately.  Always exercise every safety precaution, and thoroughly read through any instruction manual that came along with any of your equipment.

2017 St. Louis Housing Forecast

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

2017 St. Louis Real Estate Forecast

 

2016 was a great year for real estate, and, as we look ahead to 2017, there are general predictions that can be made, both nationally and locally.  While national trends always have an effect on local markets, that doesn’t mean that what happens nationally will apply to anyone’s local market across the board.  However, to better understand and expect what’s to come in your local market, it’s important to keep in mind what’s happening nationally.

 

 

Realtor.com® has presented a comprehensive list of expectations for the 2017 national housing market.  In this forecast, they have indicated some important trends.  Over the last few years, the real estate market has been growing rapidly.  This trend is expected to slow in 2017, but, although that seems alarming to the state of the housing market, it actually indicates that the market is finally stabilizing.  The national real estate market is expected to slow in 2017, but it is also expected to maintain moderate growth.  Nationally, home prices are expected to increase 3.9%, and existing home sales are expected to increase 1.9%.  These are both great announcements for sellers, because it translates to the fact that sellers will be, generally, getting more money for their homes in the coming year.  For buyers, there may be indications that the time to Buy in the US is earlier in the year, because interest rates are expected to reach 4.5% this year.  Realtor.com® is also forecasting that home ownership rates will stabilize at 63.5% after bottoming out at 63.9% in 2016.  They are also forecasting that new home sales are expected to grow 10%

 

There are certain trends that are driving the 2017 market predictions.  For instance, there will be a surge in buyers, leading to a seller’s market, due to the fact that many people will be looking to Buy homes this year.  There are two major demographics expecting to drive the market, Millennials and Baby Boomers.  Millennials have reached an age where they are thinking about marriage and children, leading them to desire home ownership over rental.  Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are thinking about downsizing, now that they are looking toward retirement and their kids have grown and left their homes.  These two huge groups will comprise the majority of the market this year.  Also predicted by Realtor.com® is that there are expected to be fewer homes on the market, leading to fast-moving markets.

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by Realtor.com® (http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/top-real-estate-trends-2017/)

 

Looking forward to 2017 on a local level is best done by looking back to the numbers for the end of 2016 by St. Louis REALTORS®.  Anyone close to the housing market can tell you that November is historically a slower month in home sales, but that was far from the truth for November 2016, when home sales jumped an incredible 31%.  Comparatively, 1,438 homes sold in November 2016, while in 2015, 1,094 homes sold.  Even with strong sales, home prices remained affordable at $164,500, despite a slight increase from the previous November, when the median sales price was $150,000.  The amount of time that homes were on the market also decreased from 172 to 117 in November 2016 from November 2015.

 

According to John Gormley, St. Louis REALTORS® CEO, there are two trends that drove this jump in sales for November 2016.  St. Louis is maintaining a level of affordable housing, and buyers are also concerned about rising interest rates, driving them to take the plunge and enter the market.  “Those two drivers served as the underpinnings of our whopping double-digit home sales growth in November.  We’ve discussed the remarkable housing affordability in St. Louis throughout 2016.  Obviously, buyers have been listening and paying attention to the Federal Reserve’s public comments about raising interest rates,” says Gormley. (http://www.stlrealtors.com/wp-content/uploads/November2016HousingReportpressrelease.pdf).  As indicated by the national predictions, it is likely that these circumstances will continue driving trends for 2017, as well.

 

As for the 2017 outlook, it looks strong, but if there’s anything that November 2017 taught us, it’s that sometimes the best predictions can be wrong.  “It’s true no one knows exactly what interest rates will do in the coming year, but there’s a good bet they won’t be going down.  So, if you’ve been waiting to Buy a home, it’s time to jump off the fence as mortgage rates are expected to increase at least two or three times next year,” Gormley continues.  “What that means for buyers in St. Louis is that it’s time to engage a St. Louis REALTOR® to find your home and lock in the best rate now, so you can Buy the home you want at a price you can afford.” (http://www.stlrealtors.com/wp-content/uploads/November2016HousingReportpressrelease.pdf).

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by St. Louis REALTORS® (http://www.stlrealtors.com/wp-content/uploads/November2016HousingReportpressrelease.pdf)

 

 

Southern Illinois' 2017 Housing Forecast

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Southern Illinois Housing Market Forecasts for 2017

 

2016 was a good year for real estate, and the trends tracked in that year are giving housing market and financial forecasters a lot of good information regarding the trends that will come with this new year.

 

By looking at the trends that were happening in 2016, we can get a better idea of what will happen in 2017.

 

 

Buyers in Illinois were extremely motivated in November, and because of that, sellers benefitted.  To start out 2017, the trend seems to be indicating an increase in Illinois home sales.  Home sales in Illinois during November 2016 gained momentum, as indicated by double-digit increases in annual home sales.  Statewide home sales are up 14.8% in November 2016 in comparison to November 2015.  Also rising are the gains in median home prices, meaning that there aren’t just more homes selling as of lately, but that the price at which those homes are selling is increasing, as well.  Statewide, median home sale prices are up 7.9% from November 2015 to November 2016.

 

Also trending in an exciting way is the time that a home spends on the market.  In November of 2015,  the average amount of time that a home spent on the market before selling was 68 days in Illinois.  In November of 2016, however, homes only spent an average of 62 days on the market before selling. 

 

From 2015 to 2016, available housing decreased 14.7% in Southern Illinois.  While at a glance, this number may seem like a bad thing for the housing industry, all that it means is that the market is great for sellers.  There are a number of reasons for this, from the demand increasing due to an increased amount of Millennials purchasing homes, an increased number of Baby Boomers buying smaller homes, the largest wage increase going to people ages 35-34, and an infinite number of other reasons.  This trend, in particular, is a driving force of the other trends happening in the market.  Where there is a discrepancy in supply and demand, there is always a group benefitting from that difference. 

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by Illinois Realtor® (http://www.illinoisrealtor.org/node/4142) and Realtor.com® (http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/top-real-estate-trends-2017/)

 

On an extremely local level, it’s worth noting that St. Clair and Randolph counties are reporting record numbers of year-to-date home sales in November.  In fact, these two counties have seen more homes sold in November 2016 than the total of the previous five Novembers

 

As far as the amount of time that a home is on the market before it sells, St. Clair County saw a 26% decrease during November 2016 from November 2015.  As for Monroe County, there was an incredible 53.8% decrease in the days on market!

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by the Realtor® Association of Southwestern Illinois (http://www.618realtor.com/local-news-and-resources/metro-east-housing-stats/)

 

Although this information may seem frightening for those looking to Buy a home this year, this information should be taken with consideration.  The market may be benefitting the sellers a bit more than the buyers, but that doesn’t mean that buyers are seeing negative consequences of the market.  It simply means that currently, there’s a seller’s market in local real estate.  As the President of the REALTOR® Association of Southwestern Illinois, Mike Gross puts it, “Now is a great time to take advantage of the unique opportunities of the Metro-East Housing Market… Interest rates are anticipated to inch higher, median home prices are stable, and homes are selling at a faster pace than years past, and sellers are seeing the benefits.  At the same time, buyers are still able to purchase homes at affordable and stable prices.  The Metro-East offers so many great opportunities to build a future.” (Realtor® Association of Southwestern Illinois, “Metro East Housing Stats” http://www.618realtor.com/local-news-and-resources/metro-east-housing-stats/)

 

According to Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois, the median price of homes sold in Illinois is expected to increase any level from 2.1 to 6.9 percent this year.  The National Association of Realtors® expects home sales in the US to grow modestly in 2017, which would be indicative of the market stabilizing, a great sign for the housing industry.  Although local market trends are so much more important than national ones in regards to what home buyers or sellers should be worried about, there is often a slight correlation, if not with all trends, then with some.  From the way sales nationally and locally went in the real estate industry for 2016, 2017 seems like it’s on the right track.

The above information, predictions, and statistics all provided by the Realtor® Association of Southwestern Illinois (http://www.618realtor.com/local-news-and-resources/metro-east-housing-stats/)

 

2017 really does seem like the right time to Buy or sell in Southern Illinois!

Contact The Linda Frierdich Group of Century 21 Advantage today to discuss your real estate needs!

618.719.3134 IL | 314.649.0221 MO

YOURHOMERESOURCE.COM

goteamlinda@gmail.com

Car Winter Safety Kit

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Car Winter Safety Kit 

 

As the winter season settles in, so does the deep cold weather.  The frigid chill that comes along with winter is more than just uncomfortable to endure; it can be deadly.  Every year, tragic stories of stranded motorists facing the challenges of frostbite and exposure to the cold, or sometimes, even death, because they found themselves stranded in a ditch or snow bank with no way out of their vehicle and no cold weather provisions with them. 

 

Maintaining a “Cold Weather Emergency Kit” in your vehicle is not only a good idea, it can be a life-saver.  Winter weather brings foul weather that can lead to slick roads, which can lead to your car finding its way into a ditch or embankment.  In the unfortunate event that this happens, you will be extremely thankful that you’re equipped with survival provisions.  Here is a list of some items that you should include in your car safety kit, should you decide to assemble one.

 


Water in small bottles

 


Water is essential for survival, and even in the dead of winter, no one would like to find themselves stranded with no water available.  To account for the colder temperatures, you should be storing water in small bottles, because the smaller the bottle, the quicker the water will thaw.

 

Spare cell phone charger

 


Most people carry spare cell phone chargers in their car normally, but during the winter, it is imperative that you don’t remove that charger from your car.  In the event that you do get stranded in your vehicle, a dead phone will give no assistance in alerting emergency crews that you are there.

 

Jumper cables or a portable battery charger

 


To ensure that you don’t have to endure the cold, no matter if you’re stranded in a ditch or stranded in a parking lot, it’s important that you prepare for a dead car battery by keeping a spare set of jumper cables in your car, or, better yet, a portable battery charger.  A portable battery charger eliminates the need to have another vehicle with a charged battery present for you to jump your car’s battery.

 

Energy-boosting snacks

 


Keep a handful of nutritious snacks in your car, such as energy or protein bars.  Should you find yourself in a scary winter predicament, you will be fighting hunger as well as exhaustion in the cold weather.  Prepare for that with non-perishable healthy snacks.

 

Tire pressure gauge and sealant

 


Changes in temperature lead to changes in pressure, whether that is in regards to the weather system moving across the country or the air in your vehicle’s tires.  Should you develop a flat, you will want to have a tire pressure gauge to fill your tire up to the proper pressure again.  Should you find yourself with a hole in your tire, you will want to be equipped with a sealant that will enable you to hold enough air in your tire until you can make it somewhere safe.

 

Tire jack and lug wrench

 


Everyone should know how to change a tire, because you never can tell what situation you will find yourself in.  Keep a tire jack and lug wrench in your vehicle, because if you should need to change your tire, you will need both of those tools.  Even if someone else pulls over to help you, they, still, will need those tools to do so.

 

Hand warmers

 


Hand warmers are cheap and sold in large packages.  It is an excellent idea to purchase a large package of these items to keep in your vehicle to help you maintain temperature and blood flow to your extremities, especially your fingers and toes, which become very vulnerable in extreme cold.

 

First-aid kit

 


In the event of a car accident, one would hardly think that a first-aid kit would suffice for caring for any injuries incurred.  However, if someone was injured in a car accident and was stranded from immediate help, they likely would be happy to have the first aid kit in comparison to no medical items. 

 

Tow strap

 


If you find your vehicle stuck in the snow or ice, you may call someone to help you, or you find that a nice citizen has stopped to help you.  Sometimes, to get a car out of the snow, all it takes is a little push.  However, sometimes, it can take a bit more.  Buy tow straps and keep them in your trunk, because that’s the only fool-proof way to be sure that you will be getting your vehicle un-stuck.

 

Head lamp or hand crank flashlight

 


A flashlight should be kept in your vehicle during all months of the year, because car accidents and/or malfunctions do not only happen during the daylight hours.  A hand-crank flashlight is a great vehicle accessory, due to the fact that it will never run out of power, as long as the operator can crank it.

 

Snow shovel and ice scraper

 


A snow shovel can be extremely helpful, should your vehicle become stuck in the snow.  An ice scraper is important to keep in your vehicle at all times, simply because winter weather can happen at any time.

 

Multi-tool

 


A multi-tool pocket knife is also extremely helpful to keep in your car.  Not only can it help you escape your seatbelt, should you not be able to unbuckle, it can also help you with virtually any need you may have in an emergency situation.

 

Warm blanket or sleeping bag

 


A heavy blanket should remain in your vehicle all winter long, but if you want to be especially prepared for a disaster, you should consider purchasing a cold weather sleeping bag.  A sleeping bag built for cold weather can help prevent frostbite and will be more waterproof than a blanket, making it a great survival tool.

 

Winter garb

 


Keep a winter coat, a warm hat, and gloves in your vehicle.  Sometimes we run out of the house iwhtout a coat on.  However, if you found yourself in a car in the bitter cold, with no heater, you would be longing for a winter coat in little time, at all.

 

Road flares/Hazard triangles

 


This may seem excessive, but when discussing the bitter cold weather, it is certainly better to be prepared than to find yourself in an unfortunate situation without the emergency tools needed.  A road flare can help you be seen, even when your vehicle isn’t easily spotted from the road.  Road hazard triangles can help alert other drivers that your vehicle is ahead, especially helpful on a curvy road.

 

 

While this list, like all of ours, is not comprehensive, it certainly is a great tool to begin compiling a winter safety kit for your vehicle.


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The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group
Century 21 Advantage
103 S Main St
Columbia IL 62236
IL: 618.281.7621

138 Concord Plaza Dr
Saint Louis MO 63128
MO: 314.649.0221
Fax: 618.281.4311

Linda Frierdich is the area's premier real estate professional, offering services in St Louis, Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Crestwood, Ballwin, Arnold, Fenton, Oakville, Columbia, Waterloo, Millstadt, Valmeyer, Dupo, Belleville, O'Fallon, Mascoutah, Fairview Heights, Smithton, Ruma, Hecker, New Athens, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Caseyville, Shiloh, Swansea, Monroe County, Madison County, St Clair County, and Randolph County.  Her team focuses on resale homes, new construction, first time home buyers, condos, farms, land sales, subdivisions, lot sales, single family, multi-family, commercial, foreclosures, bank owned property, military relocation, and building. This site offers options to search real estate in Columbia Illinois and other areas. We offer buyer and sellers services second to none!

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Our office is located at:
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