Safety Tips When Using The Grill Master

Summer is the season for grilling. Cooking out can be done anywhere outside the house: poolside, patio, and beyond. It is also worthy to note that using gas and charcoal grills leads to 16,900 emergency room visits and $96 million in property damage every year. Indeed, the safety of our family and home is of utmost importance. It is dependent whether we follow guidelines in grilling.

Here are a easy to remember tips on keeping your family and your home safe. Consider printing a list and posting near the cooking area to remind you or anyone grilling before getting started:

  • Maintain distance. Keep the grill well away from your home and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep the barbeque grill clean. Remove grease or fat buildup from the grill and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended, and keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill at all times.
  • Always make sure the lid of a gas grill is open before lighting.
  • Give the grill special attention.If using starter fluid for a charcoal grill, use only charcoal starter fluid, and never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquid to the fire. Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • If your charcoal grill has an electric starter, use an extension cord.
  • When finished grilling, let the coals cool completely, then dispose in a metal container.

Source: National Fire Protection Association, DTE, PA Insurance 

Home Sales in Champaign County Dips to 3.9% in May 2017

In Champaign County, sales of homes dipped in May this year compared with the same time last year. In May this year, 271 homes were sold, a decline of 3.9% from 282 last May 2016.

“I think they’re right around where they need to be,” said CCAR President Jim Waller. “Last year was a good year, and we’re not that far down from that.”

“We’re still lacking some inventory,” he said. “We’d love to see some more listings. There’s a lot of buyers, and they’re not all able to find what they want.”

Of the homes sold this May, 124 were in Champaign, 60 in Urbana, 23 in Mahomet and 14 in Savoy. Homes stayed listed for 61 days though as compared to 69 days last year.

The median price of homes currently listed is $155,00 in May, a 5.8% increase from $146,500 in May 2016.

“Low mortgage rates are still triggering more buyer demand in this market but some buyers are finding it taking a bit longer to find the right property that suits their prerequisites. The number of new listings and inventory of homes for sale continue to decrease in the Champaign market area,” said Jim Waller, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. “REALTORS report inventory sales and strong buyer demand is leading to more multiple offer situations in this hot spring/summer selling market and buyers have to proceed quickly on their offer if they find the home they wish to purchase.”

Sellers should note that buyers are eager to purchase and are searching the market right now. In fact, Waller expounds that Champaign County is a still a viable place to reside despite the dip in sales.

“It’s economically stronger than most of the state,” he said. “And we have some companies in town that are hiring.”

Home Upgrades that Work

An  upgrade is commendable when it can either serve to lower your average cost for basic items while you remain in the home or increase the value of the home’s sale price when you choose to make it available.

1. Barn Doors

The sliding entryway is an extraordinary approach to add a redesigned look to the room, and it’s a generally straightforward upgrade with little cost. If your closet doors have been overused, a barn door is a good replacement.

2. Paint

The fastest approach to make a room look new again is to include a new layer of paint. Homebuyers frequently observe the measure of work that would go into painting over a splendid red divider, and may even request that the seller paint over it themselves.

3. Working fireplace

Don’t remove that fireplace. 54 percent of agents polled by Angie’s list said a gas-burning fireplace builds the home’s estimation most, however, a review of 2,000 mortgage holders and homebuyers showed 58 percent want to have a fireplace that burns wood at home. It is clear that having a fireplace is a positive for your home value.

4. Landscaping 

Frequently underestimated by homeowners when they put their home available is the home’s curb appeal. As the first thing any buyer will see when they come to visit the house, it’s critical to seed dead grass, mow the lawn or garden regularly and add some blossoms or shrubberies without overpowering the yard.

5. Minor Bathroom Remodel

Expel dated wall covers and apply a crisp layer of paint. Spraying on the surface gives speedy scope. For that old tub,  re-caulk or re-caulk it for a like-new look

6. Minor Kitchen Remodel

Cover old vinyl with floor leveler.  Light up the kitchen by sanding and painting existing cupboards. It’s a great deal less costly than purchasing new ones. Change curtains and window molding.

7. Deck, Patio or Porch Addition 

Include planters on the front porch. Give a yard an amazing passage with a unique gate.  Ensure patio railings are safe and alluring. Cover cooling units with a wooden trellis.

8. Light Fixtures 

Outside lighting is a simple and practical approach to adding magnificence and security to your home. Consider adding lighting to the walkway, a hanging pendant light to the front entryway. Also, an extra light close to the garage works Discover styles that supplement your home.

9. Windows and Trim 

Replace broken glass. Sand, scrape and paint the trim. Clean within and outside of the windows until they sparkle. Include a few window boxes to offer a homey appeal.

Reasons Why You Should Not Do a For Sale By Owner

Some homeowners choose to sell their homes thinking they could save time and expenditures. The term For Sale by Owners is used in reference to properties put by the market by owners.

However, there are several reasons why deciding to do an FSBO might not be a good idea for many sellers:

1. Too Many People To Deal With

Sellers who want to sell their own homes have to prepare to meet and negotiate with different kinds of buyers, buyer’s agents, home inspections and appraisers as dictated by prospective buyers.

Scams may happen and FSBOs may even find hiring a representative which is an added expense.

2. It is Too Complicated and Difficult

The 2015 National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers  revealed that the paperwork  involved is just too much and can be daunting for owners wanting to sell their homes. Aside from the legal forms that has to be filled in, understanding them as well as customizing the contract to a one-size-fit-all can be difficult and time consuming.

3. Online Search Results More Common

Many FSBOs may not get the right selling price and get stuck in the market. Another reason for this is that more buyers find their homes in the internet:

44%  on the internet
33%  from a Real Estate Agent
9%    from a yard sign
1%    from newspaper

4. Dealing with Prospective Buyers

Most real estate agents have online marketing campaigns for their listings. FSBOs may simply rely  on their circle of friends and family and also social media. But these have setbacks and limitations as well.
With technology on their side, it won’t take long before a real estate agent sells a home in their listing. A homeowner may take longer to sell.

5. Earn More Net with an Agent

Homeowners decide to sell their homes with the purpose of saving money. Little do they know that they spend a considerable chunk of money for extras like flyers, home warranty, home inspection, contracts and so on.

Studies also have shown  that an FSBO in markets have lower price points.

So, before making any decisions whether to sell your home on your own or to work with an agent, contact a real estate professional, listen and see what they have to offer.

Chicagoscapes, Larry Kanfer

Chicagoscapes
Larry Kanfer’s new book “Chicagoscapes” will be the feature of a show at his gallery starting next week.

Larry Kanfer is one of Champaign Urbana’s great artists.  He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1979 and promptly opened his gallery which for many years was in Round Barn Center. The Larry Kanfer Gallery is now at  2503 S. Neil St.  in Champaign.

Larry’s photography comes from around the world, but in his six books, there are many that were shot in the Champaign Urbana area.

Now Kanfer has a new book, “Chicagoscapes” and it is the feature of an upcoming show at his gallery. According to 40 North, this new collection of photos carries the grit, sophistication, and friendliness of the Windy City.

The show runs September 17-27 with a launch and book signing at 5p on the 18th.

Top Places to Walk, Jog, or Run in Champaign Urbana

Running spot in Champaign Urbana
Colbert Park in Savoy has a great hill for training as well as gravel trails for conditioning for trail running–and there is a water source and restroom!

Chambanamoms recently published a very good list of walking trails around Champaign Urbana–great resource.

When it comes to running spots in CU, there are several and they vary a great deal.

Here is an overview of seven top running and jogging places in the Champaign Urbana area:

-Lake of the Woods near Mahomet- good asphalt trail, 6 miles, shaded for most, nice scenery.

-Meadowbrook Park, Urbana- more of a walking spot and it is cement, but nice prairie area. Near the U of I.

Colbert Park, Savoy– Great hill and gravel paths all around–and drinking water and bathrooms. A bit windswept and near the University of Illinois

-Centennial Track- open almost all the time just west of Centennial High Schoool

Illinois Marathon Route and Stone Creek Drive Trail- decent street route through the Champaign Urbana area. Part of the route goes along Stone Creek Drive which has a great bike run trail.

-U of I Cross Country Trail- Near the Japanese Garden—nice grass trail with a hill

-Kickapoo State Parkand Middle Fork near Oakwood- Good trails both at the park and at the natural area to the north

 

Carle Park Urbana

There are many fine parks dotted across the Champaign Urbana area. They offer great walking spots (Meadowbrook Urbana), swimming (Centennial Champaign), events (Westside Champaign with its Taste of Champaign Urbana this weekend) and many more.

But one of the grandest, best shaded, most tranquil, and oldest of them all is Carle Park in Urbana.

Carle Park features a tree walk guiding you to some of the areas grandest trees, sculpture- even a Laredo Taft, and lots of shade.

Here are some pics:

Lincoln statue at Carle Park
This Laredo Taft sculpture of Lincoln is a Champaign Urbana treasure.
Laredo Taft in Urbana.
Laredo Taft was one of the CU area artists years ago.
Urbana Park District.
The tranquility of Carle Park Urbana is unmatched.
M. M. Treewalk in Carle Park
The tree walk in Carle Park.
Trees in Carel Park Urbana
Sidewalks are few under the trees at Carle Park.

Rabbits Eating Your Champaign Garden?

U of i extension
This little critter ate my kale, lettuce and about anything he wanted until he met a Havahart trap.

We all love wildlife.

But when it comes to the little bunnies eating our Central Illinois gardens that we all slave over to produce some greenery for our tables, love becomes a non-issue. We want rid of those “silly wabbits”!

Recently one had some prize kale and young lettuce that disappeared over a period of a few days due to a growing young eastern cottontail in Champaign.

The University of Illinois Extension gives some passive approaches to the issue of these garden bandits. They suggest plants they don’t like and other forms of environmental modification. Usually the way we feel though is that we would like to take more direct means.

One of the best solutions is to use the time honored “Havahart” trap. These can be had for $40-50 and the off brands (pictured above) will run half of that–and they obviously work!

You may ask “What kind of bait did one use to catch the furry little guy?” Did I use his favorite lettuce? Or some rabbit food?

The best bait seems to be some apple juice, apple sauce, and a little carrot-gets them every time

 

Champaign County Fair

The Champaign County Fair opens today with a full schedule and some new features. The stage has been revamped and the ever popular “beer tent” has experienced a makeover.

Fair
The Champaign County Fair sprawls across the fairgrounds in Urbana–just behind Carle.

There will be the good ole demo derby, livestock shows, horse races, queens on display, Democrats and Republicans, and lots of cotton candy.

One highlight this year on the main stage is “Blackjack Billy”–Friday night.