CherylShurtz’s Blog

ShurtzTales provides HouseTalk

HouseTalk – Rainy Season-Eliminate Leaks

In my HouseTalk series, I want to provide valuable tips that will improve the condition of your home.  Whether you are considering selling your home or not – it is important to maintain it’s condition and thus the value of your home.

Typically, we don’t think of Chicago as having a rainy season, but I think we can all agree that this spring could be categorized as that.  Because of the amount of rain we have had – I want to address leaks that can occur in a home.  Buyers love to look at homes during or immediately after a rain.  It’s is a perfect time to identify any problem areas.  As a homeowner, you should take advantage of that time also.  If you catch leaks in the early stages, they will not become “big” problems and you eliminate or decrease the damage they can cause if left unattended.

Let’s start at the top of your house!  I am not an “attic” person and you will never catch me going into an attic.  But, at least annually, you or someone you hire, should go into the attic and check the roof for leaks.  Most people do not know they have roof leaks until they see stains on the walls or ceiling in a living room or bedroom.  Then not only do you have a roof repair, you also have to repair and repaint the interior of one of your rooms.

Next, it is essential to  keep your gutters and down spouts clear of debris.  This is a major source of leaks, yet it is an easy task to schedule once or twice a year.  Spring and fall are ideal.  If you live in a very wooded area, you may want to consider installing leaf guards.  Make sure your down spouts are directed away from your home’s foundation.

Your windows and doors can also be a source of leaks.  Check them on a regular basis to make sure they are caulked.  This will also help you save on your utility bills.

The last thing I want to mention today, is you want to make sure your sump pump is in good working condition.  If you are in an area that has a lot of power failures, you may want to add a battery back – up for your sump pump. 

An annual check list of  “Home Maintenance Items” will help you stay on top of these tasks.  If you are unable to complete them yourself, contact a local handyman or carpenter.  The cost you pay to have the jobs completed will be far less than if you have to correct a leak.  For more home improvement ideas, check out and my web site at

 My wish for you is that you live in a “leak free” home!  Summer is here and hopefully we will all enjoy warm, sunny and “dry” days!





June 22, 2009 Posted by | Real Estate Tips | , , | 1 Comment


Homeowners Tax Credit!

All homeowners have an opportunity to take advantage of the 2009 Stimulus package.  One of the components that you do not hear much about is the “Home Improvement” credit. If you upgraded your appliances to “Energy Star” rated appliances or replaced windows or added insulation – one or all of these items may meet the requirements for a tax credit.  A homeowner may receive a credit up to $1500 for their home improvements.  Be sure to check with your accountant or CPA to see if your improvements qualify.  If you have already filed your 2008 taxes, you can take the deduction when you file 2009 returns, or you may choose to amend  your tax returns for 2008.

March 23, 2009 Posted by | 1st Time Buyers, Real Estate Tips | , , , , | Leave a comment