The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois on March 9, 2008 · Page 70
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The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois · Page 70

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Arlington Heights, Illinois
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Sunday, March 9, 2008
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Page 70
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SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2008 DailyHerald Home repair Home inspector dallyherald.com Homes SECTION 8 Talking real estate Anne Hazen Koenig & Strey GMAC Real Estate, Gurnee How long In the business: 10 years. Customer service: "When my clients call me, it's important that they hear back from me on the same day, not three days later. I take pride in offering old-fashioned customer service that will give my clients a positive experience." Think spring: "Add fresh flowers and a new houseplant to create the illusion of the outdoors inside. Investing in new granite countertops can bring life to a tired-looking kitchen." The going rate: 6,09% •7.C 5.5 162328 6 132027 3 101724 2 9 DEC. JAN. FEB. MAR. Average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage in the Midwest. • 12-month high: 6.88% in July 2007 • 12-month low: 5.51 % in Jan. 2008 Source: Freddie Mac Quick read "Easy Container Gardening" (Color Garden Publishing, $19.95) Beautiful container gardens look easy, but they're not. For tips on how to do it, check out Pamela Crawford's easy-to-follow, photo-filled new book. Crawford is one of the best container gardeners in the country. So if she can't help you, no one can. CONTAINER GARDENS European flowers • Home & Garden, Section 4 GKORGK U«: LAI RK/glec la irefrf daily herald, torn Mark Stefani, construction manager for King's Court Builders Inc., shows Joanne Swanson how to change the furnace filter in her new Elgin home. Avoiding household headaches A little routine maintenance around the house can avoid problems in the long run BY DEBORAH DONOVAN DAII.V HKKAI.D llo.\u-:s WKITKR ddonmiun Oilailylirmlil. aim D id you hear about the guy who called a furnace repairman, only to learn the appliance would work fine if he had known he should change the filter every month? And how about the man who called the builder and said he had been given the wrong grass because he wanted the type of sod that was attached to the ground? Despite his education and sophistication in many areas, the new homeowner apparently didn't realize that sod extends roots into the soil. Hearing stories like this — and learning from builders and handymen that these homeowners are far from rare — we wondered how many simple little chores we should be doing to keep our home running smoothly. It turns out not changing filters is a rather common homeowner maintenance issue. For example, some people who report their water has started tasting funny didn't even know they owned filter systems. Your house has several niters and similar materials that need routine changing, said Wayne Pierce of Handyman 4 Hire in Schaumburg. These include the humidifier connected to the furnace, the re- TANIT |ARllSAN/t.jaru.saii(!'dailyhiMald.ii>in Chad Bailey, construction manager for Bigelow Homes, explains to Janet Velez why it is important to clean the clothes dryer vent in her new house at HomeTown Aurora. frigerator if it dispenses water and possibly the sink. If you have central air conditioning, that filter on your furnace should be changed once a month year-round, not just during the heating season. Filters designed for drinking water — whether on the refrigerator or under the sink — should be See CHORES on PAGE 3 Converted home gyms get a real workout BY MARGARET SLABV The /'tt'iiio Hee Four evenings a week for almost two hours, power lifter Bob Packer puts his body through a rigorous routine of strength training. There are no lines to use equipment, no monthly membership fees and no commute time. Packer, 59, is one of a growing number of Americans choosing to work out at home. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Bob Packer converted his garage into a home gym. Association, between 2000 and 2006 there was about a 30 percent increase in the number of people who exercised at home, primarily due to aging baby boomers concerned about their health. Packer converted a two- car garage into a hard-core strength-training gym when he moved to his Clovis, Calif., home a year-and-a-half ago. His $20,000 worth of equipment includes an eight-station machine with two weight stacks, 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of free weights, an assisted chin dip, bench press, squat rack and power cage. There also is carpet and a few wall mirrors. Packer trains in his gym with fellow power lifters. "I like it because there are no distractions," says Packer, who is co-owner of a fitness equipment shop in Fresno, Calif. According to Kevin Mulligan, a partner and president of Image Homes, which builds homes in central California, rooms designed specifically for fitness have become a trend in the last five years. Image Homes offers a 15-by-15-foot bonus room See GYMS on PAGE 5 On homes and real estate Fixtures with house have to stay put Q. We are selling our home. We have shelves on our wall in our children's rooms. Can we take them with us or are we required to keep them with die house? A. If you've already signed a sales agreement with buyers who saw the shelves up there, they stay. In general, something that is permanently attached becomes a fixture and goes with the real estate. But if you're just putting your house on the market, you can always state in the listing contract mat the seller reserves the right to remove (he rosebushes, the dining room chandelier, what""""~~^^~" ever. (For some reason, it's almost always the dining room chandelier.) A much better idea is to replace the light fixture or take down the shelves before ever showing the property. What they don't see, they won't want. Q. Why does an agent advertise his property, which is for sale, as owner agent? A. Potential buyers are entitled to know that the property is owned by a real estate agent. In the same way, the licensed broker who is buying property must let sellers know they're negotiating with a professional. License law, and Realtor ethics, require disclosure of the fact that a seller — or a buyer — holds a real estate license. Q. My wife and I are thinking about an RV lifestyle. How would we turn our primary residence into rental real estate? A. You investigate how much similar property in the neighborhood is renting for; talk with your lawyer about what form of lease agreement to use, and with your accountant about setting up bookkeeping. You put an ad in the paper, and read up in the library about how to judge a good tenant. But if you're going to take off and leave town, you'd better have someone close by who's willing to take on the job of "landlording." When the water heater goes in the middle of the night, who's going to take the phone call, arrange for delivery of a new one, make sure the house is open, get a plumber in right away and dispose of the old heater? Who's going to keep after the tenants if they're late with the rent? Get that lawn mowed if it's neglected? Deal with the neighbors about loud parties? "RV-ing" is supposed to be carefree. Better think twice about becoming absentee landlords. Q. My father-in-law heard that the ownership and use provisions regarding the sale of a primary home have recently changed, that you now must live in a home as your principal residence for five years (rather than two) in order to be able to exclude any capital gain on the sale. Is this true? A. Two years' ownership and occupancy are enough for the home sellers' tax exclusion, if See LANK on PAGE 5

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