Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Snow...Schmo.... Spring IS coming to Indiana!!!

Get all the details HERE

Snow....Schmo.... Spring IS coming to Indiana
#Indiana #FlowerandPatio #Landscaping #Lawnandgarden

Monday, March 2, 2015

Indiana Legislative Mid Season Update from Chamber of Commerce

Indiana Legislative Mid Season Update
#Indiana #Economy #Legislation

Monday, February 23, 2015

Boat, Sport, Travel and More in Indiana!

It may be bitter cold - but there are still things to do and see inside!  Not in this list - but probably the biggest event it the Annual Boat Sport and Travel show going on right now at the Indiana State Fairgrounds through March 2st.  Campers, fishing gear, boats and endless places to visit!  You can get all the details HERE .

NameDateDaysStart DayCity
Indiana Art Fair
2FriIndianapolis, IN
Shipshewana On The Road
2SatSouth Bend, IN
Maple Syrup Fair
9SatRockville, IN
Maple Syrup Festival
9SatSalem, IN
Women's Club Of Newburgh Arts & Crafts Festival2/28/151SatNewburgh, IN

Enjoy - and take heart, spring is around the corner....buried under all the snow.

Boat, Sport, Travel and More in Indiana!

#boat #sport #travel #Indiana

Plan 2020 - Bicentennial Plan for Indianapolis

Plan 2020 - Bicentennial Plan for Indianapolis

Indianapolis was built on a legacy of visionary planning.  Plan 2020 is the next chapter in that story.  Meshing community vision, values and strategy has created a multi-faceted, long-term vision that has five themes to develop a compelling future for Indy.

1.  Choose Indy - charged with creating the most livable community in the Midwest that will compete regionally for residents.

2.  Connect Indy - charged with creating a community that has access to places and information.

3.  Love Indy - charged with creating a city that welcomes, engages and inspires.

4.  Serve Indy - charged with creating a civically engaged and committed community

5.  Work Indy - charged with creating a community of economic opportunity

Plan 2020 will respond to these themes by identifying how Indy/Marion County can ensure their success.  These plans will be strategic, honest and transparent.  The core city plans include:

1.  Marion County Comprehensive Land Use Plan - policies about use, preservation, development and redevelopment of all land in Marion County.

2.  Marion County Thoroughfare Plan - policies regarding development of multi-modal transportation network for all major streets and corridors in Marion County.

3.  Marion County Parks, Recreation, Open Space Plan -  guides development of community park system.

4.  Indianapolis Regional Center Plan - promotes sustained growth of Indiana's economic engine, the downtown core.

5.  HUD Consolidated Plan - community development strategies that promote prosperous neighborhoods.

6.  Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy - positions a competitive Central Indiana in the global economy.

Stay in the know, get updates and give input  HERE or at their website plan2020.com

#Indy #Indianapolis #Plan2020 #Bicentennial

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Home Staging on a Budget

Home Staging on a Budget

"Staging" is the not so new buzz word in the world of marketing and selling your home.
How you present your house to potential buyers could make a difference in their offer amount. Studies are showing that sellers are receiving $2 for ever $1 they spend on staging.  That sounds like a worthwhile investment.  So...... where are some economical places to spend on staging?

1.  Closets - clear out and organize your closets so they look like there is plenty of room. Getting matching hangers can create a modern and visual impact.

2. Bedrooms - use gender neutral colors when painting.  You never know whether the next buyer is a male or female, or if they have a son or daughter.  This way they can picture themselves in the home. You can add pops of color through window treatments, pillows and other accessories.  Bedrooms should have a relaxed feel to them, so consider moving tv's, work desks, power cords, etc.

3. Bathrooms - sparkling clean is essential.  Toilet seats down. Clean walls with bleach/water mixture and fresh paint will be fresh and appealing. Clear countertops of clutter. White towels give a more open, spa like feel. Shower doors can be cleaned with muriatic acid.   You can get a 66% return on investment in bathrooms.

4.  Kitchens - sparking clean again.  No dirty dishes, clean the floors, walls, baseboards, windows. Dated cabinets can be updated with new hardware, new stain or paint.  Clean the inside of your refrigerator and all cabinets and drawers.  Buyers will open them all!!!  Be sure they are organized and look roomy.  They say you should remove rugs in the kitchen when staging because it will make the space look larger.  You can update appliances with stainless stick on coverings or appliance paint.

4. Dining rooms - set your table, but don't go crazy using every piece of that china you got for your wedding.  Having a vase with fresh flower.  If it is a table with leaves - make the table small to give the room more space.

5.  Living room - have drapes and shades open for light. Light colored furniture will make a space look larger. If your home is vacant, a large plant strategically placed can be a focal point. Keep walls neutral and add color through pillows, throws, pictures, accessories.

6. De-personalizing  - buyers want to picture themselves in the home, not you and your kids.  This means packing up your family photos (which you are going to do eventually anyway). They can be distracting. You can replace them with a variety of staging art.

7. Cleaning - particularly if you have pets.  Don't forget the baseboards, ceiling fans and windows.  You may not notice it - but buyers will!

8.  Low ceilings or small rooms - you can make them appear larger by hanging curtains all the way up to the ceiling. Neutral colors and thin rods will make the window seem larger and ceilings appear higher.

Home Staging on a Budget

#staging #homeselling #realestate

Monday, February 2, 2015

New Regulations for Homeowners in 2015

New Regulations for Homeowners in 2015

Attention!  It's all about energy efficiency.  The Department of Energy has 2 new regulations that involve air conditioning and water heaters.  So, if you are going to be replacing either of these items from this point forward, be aware of the new guidelines.

Air Conditioning:

The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) standard is being increased from 13 to 14.  This is calculated by dividing how much a unit cools by how much energy it uses during a typical cooling season.  The higher the SEER, the more efficient.

This changes means that in almost all cases, a full system replacement will be necessary to make everything compatible.  The new indoor coil might not fit the existing space and structural modifications will be needed to accommodate the larger unit.

They are estimating the price increase will range from 55-65%.  The energy savings will vary based on geography, how often it runs and what SEER rating the previous condenser had.

There is a 16 month grace period (through July of 2016) to be able to continue to install SEER 13 for the south and southwest regions (which is NOT Indiana).

Water Heaters:

This one will not go into effect until April 16, 2015 (right after you file your taxes!).  Higher energy factor ratings on virtually all residential gas, electric and tankless water heaters. It will impace how water heaters are designed, manufactured, tested and installed.

There might not be the pace for a taller, wider or heavier water heater. It might trigger higher costs for structural modifications and well as the higher equipment cost.

The Department of Energy says these new regulations will help the country become more energy efficient and decrease the impact on the environment.

As Realtors, we need to be aware of these issues if we are listing a home with units at the end of their life expectancy, or representing buyers buying such a home.  Inspections are key and also need to be sure any home warranty will cover the required upgrades.

New Regulations for Homeowners in 2015
#aircondition #conservation #SEER #waterheaters #efficiency

Monday, January 26, 2015

Top 10 Metro Indy Announcements in 2014

Top 10 Metro Indy Announcements in 2014

1 - IPS (Indianapolis Public Schools) Reform Candidates win big.  3 reform minded candidates were elected to the 7 member board.  The Mind Trust, a local education reform group stated early in the year that it was time for IPS to reinvent itself and laid out some sweeping reform ideas. This election result could bring some actual change to the table.

2 - HJR (House join resolution)-3 is defeated.   This proposed amendment would have altered the current Indiana Constitution defining marriage.  It will NOT be on the ballot this year.

3 - Indy Chamber Microloan program booms - small business loans through this program saw a lot of useage this year helping to launch and/or improve local businesses.

4 - Angie's List announces expansion.  Angie's List, a nationwide "consumer recommendation" company will be expanding its headquarters here in Indianapolis.

5 - MSA (remember Market Square Arena?) Development takes center stage.  A developer with a solid plan is finally awarded to move forward.  The plan includes parking, apartments and retail.

6 - IndyGo Downtown Transit Center breaks ground - a beautiful HUB for public transportation. Large indoor waiting area, canopy covered bus stops, central location.

7 - Cummins releases plans to transform Market East District - plans were released for their proposed distribution headquarters in a vacant downtown area.

8 - Fishers elects its first Mayor.  Fishers, a NE suburb of Indianapolis is all grown up (and out) and has taken the first step toward new governing infrastructure.

9 - Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center Opens - The Indianapolis Zoo now has Orangutans that do a tightrope walk.  Along with interactive center, it's the latest expansion of the Zoo.

10 - Westfield Grand Park Sports Complex - a Northern suburb of Indianapolis opened and is home to every sport imaginable. Where are families with young children in Westfield on Saturday morning - first place to look would be here!

Top 10 Metro Indy Announcements in 2014

#IPS #HJR-3 #AngiesList #Orangutan #PublicTransit #Westfield #Fishers #Cummins

Monday, January 19, 2015

Baby It's Cold Outside - Indoor Play for kids in Indiana

This is a "re-publishing" of sorts of a list I put out in December of 2013.....

So - do you have youngsters at home with cabin fever and don't want to risk frost bite?
They have already grown tired of their Christmas presents...so now what?

Try out some of these Indoor Playgrounds in Indiana !
Here are some ideas to help spend some of that energy:

Greater Indianapolis Area:

Recreation Unlimited - located in Noblesville (North of Indy).  I highly recommend this place.  I took my 3 year old grandson who is ALL boy and can run you ragged.  He LOVED it.  He made friends, was totally occupied and busy for hours!  It's a huge indoor playground with a variety of sets, trampolines, basketball, Thomas the Train, etc.   They even have a party room for birthdays.  Weekdays are cheaper.  Weekends are pricier. There is an age limit of 8.
More details HERE

Indy Island - if you have guppies, this is a nice smaller venue indoor water park on the SE side of Indy. Very cheap and well guarded - so you can sit on the sidelines if desired. 
More details HERE

St Francis Play Area - Greenwood Park Mall - free!

That Fun Place - located in Greenfield (East of Indy) and there's a location in Greenwood (south of Indy). A very reasonably priced playground area for youngsters and areas with games/activities for older children also.  The kids playground entry is only $4.
More details HERE

The Tree House - Indoor playground at Plainfield Christian Church. Free admission. Tue & Thurs from 9-11 and 1-3.

Sky Zone- Fishers and Plainfield.  Indoor trampoline playgrounds.  All my grandkids got gift cards to this place one year. 
More details HERE for Plainfield and HERE for Fishers


Tropicanoe Cove - located in Columbian Park. Great indoor water park
More details HERE


The Commons - a highly recommended indoor playground area with segmented areas for various ages.
Open from 7am - 9pm
More details HERE


Pop In Play - for the younger kids; a plethera of indoor inflatable play equipment
Open play time available Monday morning, Tuesday afternoon and Friday mid day.
Ages 1-12, $6
More details HERE

Take a book, kindle or take a nap while the little ones explore these Indoor Playgrounds in Indiana!

If you have some additional suggestions - please send them to me, and I will add!

#indoorplayground #indiana #kidsplay #inside #indianaplaypark

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Governor Pence "State of the State" Address 2015

13 WTHR Indianapolis

#Indiana #Economy

Monday, January 12, 2015

Compare Indiana Hospitals

Compare Indiana Hospitals

Now there is a great website available to compare the cost and quality of hospitals in Indiana


The site was created by the Indiana Hospital Association to answer the question:
"Why is it so hard to know how much I will pay for good, affordable hospital care?"

You can search by zip code, region, even categories such as Mental Health, Lungs, Heat, etc.

It shows patient rating in comparison to other area hospitals.  There is a LOT of great information on this website!

Be informed!

Compare Indiana Hospitals

#Healthcare #Indiana #hospitals

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Laws for 2015 in Indiana

New Laws for 2015 in Indiana

Here's a highlight of some new legislation that goes into effect on January 1, 2015

1.  SCOOTERS - now MUST be registered.  You have to be at least 15 years old, register for plates and have a state ID.  The cost will be $10 and there will be a statewide speed limit of 35mph. They hope it will cut down on theft.

2.  SUSPENDED DRIVERS - Judges may determine if suspended drivers will be given special privileges to drive. The aim is to reduce the burden on the court system and create fair punishments.  The privileges must be in place for 6 months and there will be specific restrictions such as getting to work, medical care, child care. They hope it will cut back on driving without a license and insurance. Not all will be eligible and will have to carry judges order when driving.

3.  MARION COUNTY TAXES - You'll be paying a little more in taxes in exchange for more plice protection.  Public Safety incomet tax is going up 15%. It will cost the typical household earning $42K about $5.25 per month.

4.  INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR ABORTIONS - this will no longer be automatically included on private plans.  It can be purchased as a separate rider.

5.  ADOPTION TAX CREDIT - Any new adoptions will be given a $1,000 per child tax credit.

6.  STATE TAX RATES - be sure to check with your employer that the new rate is being charged on your check.  There was a tax cut passed in 2013 and lowered the rate to 3.3%.  Some counties will not see a decrease because of increased in local income taxes.

7.  STATE TAX RETURN EXTENSION - extensions will now be 7 months instead of 4 months

8.  TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS - As long as no one is injured, drivers can exchange insurance and license info without having to call police.

9.  SCHOOL BUSES - no longer required to open doors at RR crossings

These are just a sampling of the laws you might actually notice!

New Laws for 2015 in Indiana
#law #indiana #countytax #mopeds #adoption #tax

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Getting Ahead of the Game When Selling Your Home

Thinking about selling your home?  Are there some cosmetic "issues" you have put off that would improve curb appeal or interior updates?

Many times a seller doesn't want to spend the time or money on "cosmetics" and instead wants to offer an allowance or market it "as is",.... thinking "the buyer can buy it and pick their own paint, carpet, etc".

Here is something to consider from a financial aspect.  A buyer comes into your home and sees some very personalized paint colors or maybe the paint is just old and worn.  In their mind they are thinking that they will have to repaint the whole house and I GUARANTEE YOU that the $$$ they think it will cost will be almost double what it would actually have cost.  You could have painted for $4000.00, but the buyer will discount their offer by $10,000.00.  Easy math.  Same with carpeting, etc.  Your Realtor will be able to recommend reputable contractors that can do a great job for a reasonable cost.  It will get you better marketing pictures, a quicker offer and a higher price.

Something else you might consider, particularly if you have an older home or have lived in the home for 5+ years is to have pre-listing inspection.  Knowledge is power.  Once you have a buyer and a purchase agreement - they will do their own independent inspection - but why not avoid any potential surprises?  There is nothing worse than having everything come to a screeching halt during a sale because you have to get estimates and make some repairs to get to the closing table. Your Realtor can suggest reputable inspection companies and then go over the report and determine what items should be addressed.  You will have the power of knowing the ins and outs of your home and can market and sell with confidence knowing it will be smooth sailing to the closing table.

#sellingahome #pre-listinginspection #homemarketing #realestate