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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!

 

 

 

Century 21 Advantage Gives Back for the Holidays

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Giving Is Better Than Receiving

 

Century 21 Advantage Office Adopts Local Family for the Holidays 

 


This holiday season, the office of Century 21 Advantage donated time, money, and gifts to a needy family for Christmas.  This time of year tends to make us all feel grateful for the people, things, and circumstances in our lives, but it’s often easy to get caught up in that and forget that there are many others out there who aren’t having the same holiday experience.  When a mother struggles to pay her bills to keep a roof over her children’s heads, it’s difficult for her to give them the Christmas she feels they deserve. 

 

Partnering with a variety of local organizations and the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the United Way compiles a list every year that details the “Neediest Cases” around the St. Louis metro area, on both sides of the river.  It was through this program that the office of Century 21 Advantage learned about a local single mother who was struggling to financially provide for her family of five children, despite working three jobs.  The office decided to adopt this large case, because Century 21 is a fairly large office, and it resonated with all involved that the kids were facing the prospect of having no gifts on Christmas morning.  So, the office got into contact with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois, the organization that was handling the family’s case, and began collecting donations.  The office is proud to announce that they were able to raise enough money to get all the kids a variety of gifts, a stocking filled with goodies and toys, a TV, a laptop (so the kids could do homework), and one of our office mates even donated their WII and a variety of games.  There was even enough left over to give the family in hopes that it could put a dent in their debt and perhaps stop the eviction in progress. 

 

These events that encourage us at the office to give back are so important, because it is so easy to get caught up in our own busy lives and forget about all the people in our own community that are struggling.  It is not only humbling and inspiring to participate in programs like these, it’s also so important that we support our neighbors, because that’s what being a member of a community is all about.  The office of Century 21 Advantage is so happy to get the privilege of helping others, especially during the holiday season, to keep us grounded and involved.  We all feel very lucky to be able to give back to others, because that means that we have a lot to be thankful for in our own lives.

 

We’d like to thank all of the agents in our office who participated in this program, as well as the family and friends that also donated money and goods to help this family have a wonderful Christmas.  Also, we’d like to thank The United Way, The St. Louis Post Dispatch, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois (in particular, Nancy Rivera, who was our contact through the adoption process and was beyond helpful), and the Century 21 Advantage office that allows us to put working hours into events and programs like this.

 

If you would like to learn more about the 100 Neediest Cases program, click here

If you would like to learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters & what you can do to help, click here.

 

Tips for Preventing Water Damage to Your Home's Foundation

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage


Tips for Preventing Water Damage to Your Home’s Foundation

 

Winter is coming, bringing with it many dangers to your home and property.  The cold temperatures, fallen leaves, and dreaded winter precipitation can become a combination to wreak havoc on your property. 

 

It’s so important to make sure that your home is equipped with a proper drainage system.  Keeping up on your home’s drainage systems can help you avoid major damage to your home’s foundation.  Here are some tasks you can complete to help make sure that water is properly draining from your home and prevent any future damage.



 

Locate your water shut-off valve

 

The least you can do to avoid any potential water damage that may be happening to your home is to know where your water shut-off valve is, so that if something catastrophic happens, such as a pipe bursting, you can quickly prevent any further damage.  It’s important for all members of your household to know where the shut-off valve is and how to use it.  It’s always better to be prepared for the worst than to have to deal with the consequences of your unpreparedness.


Clear and clean your gutters

 

Clogged gutters can mean a lot of water is making its way to parts of your yard and home that should not be exposed to very much water at all.  It is so important that you don’t wait until spring to clean out your gutters, because winter brings snow, ice, and rain, which mean a lot of water around your home.  The best way to make sure that your gutters are functioning optimally is to first clear dirt and debris from the gutters, then rinse them with a hose, and finally spray the hose through all the downspouts to make sure that they’re clear.  You also should be checking for any damage to your gutters or leaks that are evident, so that you can get those issues fixed before the winter weather arrives.  Ensure that your splashpans divert water at least three feet away from your home and that the water is on a slope such that it will flow away from your house.

 

Check the soil around your home

 

Keep an eye out around your home for signs of soil erosion or areas that remain wet for extended periods of time.  Finding an area like that near your house can mean that your gutters aren’t functioning properly or that your yard is not draining properly.  If this water is near your foundation, your home is becoming increasingly more vulnerable to water damage. 

 

Vegetation

 

Vegetation around your home is a bit like a double-edged sword.  For one thing, the vegetation can do a lot of good for preventing excess water around your home, sucking up any excess moisture that may otherwise find its way into your foundation.  On the flip side of that, however, having any plant too close to your home can lead to extra pressure on your foundation from the roots of that plant wanting to spread.  A good rule of thumb is to plant the vegetation the same distance away from your home as the plant will grow tall.  For instance, if you are planting a shrub that can grow up to three feet tall, plant the shrub no closer than three feet from your home. 

 

Check your roof for signs of damage

 

It is important that, before the snow starts Building up on top of your home, you check your roof for signs of damage.  If you see any damaged or missing shingles, it is imperative that you get them fixed as soon as possible, especially when they are located in the valleys that connect the different slopes of the roof.  Water can seep into your home through those damaged shingles, and, although the damage it will cause will not be to your foundation, it will still do damage.  Also, be sure to check the metal flashing around chimneys, vent pipes, and roof joints for any signs of damage or evidence that the flashing is beginning to pull away from the house. 

 

Check wood siding for signs of damage and rot

 

The minimum amount of space you should have between wood siding and the ground is 8 inches.  This is because any less space can risk moisture from the ground reaching the wood, leading to mold, mildew, and rot.  If damage occurs to the wood siding, you now have openings where water can penetrate, which can drip down toward your foundation and grow mold inside your home.  It’s also important to clear the leaves and sticks that fell before the winter arrives, because that debris will hold moisture and inch closer and closer to the siding on your home, risking water penetration.  Be sure to also check to make sure that your home’s siding and vulnerable areas are properly painted or sealed, since that can be your best defense for prevention.

 

 

Questions Buyers Should Ask Themselves Before Searching for Homes

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

Questions Buyers Should Ask Themselves Before Searching for Homes

So, you're pre-qualified... Now what?

 

You're ready to start the journey of home ownership, and you've begun to prepare for the search for your perfect home.   You've spoken to a lender, and you've gotten a pre-qualification that will guide you via price range during your search.  Whether you've owned before or are a first-time homebuyer, this next step can be overwhelming.  There are so many resources and beautiful homes at your fingertips... Where should you begin?  It may seem boring, but there's a lot to be said for good, old-fashioned list-making.  Take the time to sit down and go over the things that are important to you in your next home.  If you are buying a home with another individual, it is also important that you both go through this process together.  The list-making can help everyone get on the same page, and then the Home Search can begin!  In case the task of making a list of home requirements and desires seems like a big task, here are some suggestions for criteria.

 

  • Minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Overall square footage
    • If you have no idea about square footage, start with where you're at now.  What is the square footage of the place you're currently living?  Maybe ask some friends and family what the square footage of their homes are to help you get a better idea of what range of square footage is right for you.
  • Open or closed floor plan
    • Do you like the idea of each room being its own closed-up space, or do you like the idea of one large room that allows for spaces to flow into one another?
  • New or Re-Sale
  • House, Condo, Townhouse?
    • Consider what option would be best for you.  Often, first-time buyers don't consider the condominium or townhouse, but they can be a viable option.
  • Space for Office or Bonus Room
    • You know that you'll need two bedrooms, but perhaps you'd also like a space that could work for a studio or office as well.  This is something to consider when looking for a home.  An extra bedroom or space could be used for different purposes.  How important is it to you that you have that space?
  • One or Two Stories
    • Some people LOVE having all living space on one floor, and some people like having it split.  What kind of person are you?
  • Garage, Carport, Off-Street Parking
    • What's your ideal parking situation, and where does it rank in importance?
  • Lot Size
    • Do you really only care about your yard being big enough to fit a barbecue grill, or is it important to you to have room for your kids or pets to run around?
  • Proximity to Places
    • Whether you're looking for a rural home or a suburban home, this can be a vital part of a Home Search.  What places would you like to be close to?  How far is too far away from those places?  What is your cost for mileage driving to work every day?  How much money is too much money to spend on mileage to and from work every day?
Hopefully this list gave you some thinking points to consider when searching for your next home.  Buying a home is a process, and we'd just like to make this process as easy as possible for everyone.
Don't forget- If you ever find yourself needing answers to questions regarding buying or selling, we are here to help you! Visit yourhomeresource.com or call 618.719.3134

Real Estate Report

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

Moving in the right direction, Gain seen in pending home sales, housing affordability sets new record.

Pending home sales have edged up, hinting at a possible pickup of sales activity in coming months, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The Pending home sales index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts sighned in February, rose 2.1 percent to 82.1 from a reading of 80.4 in January, but is 1.4 percent below February 2008 when it was 83.3.

 

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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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