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

Increase Home Value by Improving Curb Appeal – Exterior Spruce Up Tips

This week has been a glorious week with the spring weather!  After our long-hard winter, we are all ready for spring!  I wanted to share with you ways to Increase Your Home’s Value by Improving the Curb Appeal of your home.  I think you will agree that these Exterior Spruce Up Tips are easy to do and will make a tremendous difference in your “curb appeal”!

Whether you are staying in your home for 10 years or wanting to sell within the next few months – we can all benefit from some spring “spruce-up tips”. 

Most of us drive home everyday and click on the garage door opener and drive into the garage without really looking at the front of our house.  I want you to walk across the street and look at your home.  This is the 1st impression a “potential buyer” has of your home.  Buyers make a decision when they drive by either on the street or the web whether they want to see more. Take a photo!  This is going to be your “before” photo.  Now create a plan for what you want to spruce up to improve your curb appeal.

Here are some ideas to get you started.  They are easy for you or a family member to do.  Or if you wish, check out my web site for a list of service providers that can help.

Lets start with the front door, garage door and shutters.  Are they in good repair?  Do they need a fresh coat of paint?  A new garage door gives your home an entirely new look!  ( I replaced my garage door a few years ago and I couldn’t believe the difference – it’s also the first thing most people see when they pull in your drive.)

Next – look at your windows – again are repairs needed to the windows or the trim?  Does the trim need to be painted

Spring is the perfect time to fertilize the lawn.  Time it a day or two before they are forecasting rain.  You will enjoy a green and lush lawn all summer. 

Your sidewalks, porch and driveway will sparkle after being powerwashed. 

Winter came early and many people were unable to remove all the leaves.  Spend an afternoon raking your flower beds and around your trees.  It’s a perfect time to add some flower bulbs and “cool weather” flowers for a touch of color.

To enhance the appearance and for safety reasons – check out your house numbers, porch lights and mailbox.  Your house number should be large enough that it is visible from the street.  Does your mailbox need painting or replaced?  A new exterior light fixture can be relatively inexpensive and give you the the “punch” you want to spruce up the front.

Your entry should be welcoming!  If you are planning to sell – you will want to add flowers or home decor that will entice the visitor into your home.  And if you are not selling – the flowers will look great!

Your curb appeal should say to your visitors that you are proud of your home.  Whether selling or staying – you will be glad you took the time to spruce up the exterior!  Your home will look better!  The neighborhood will look better!  By taking care of your home on a regular basis – your home will maintain it’s value and hopefully increase the value and the curb appeal.

Don’t forget — walk across the street and take that “after” photo for comparison! 

Have a great spring and take time to enjoy your home everyday!

April 10, 2009 Posted by | Real Estate Tips, Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment