What You Need To Know About Sinks And Faucets

Consumer Reports


  • Materials matter over brand or price: Tests have found that stainless steel is the toughest sink material and the more expensive thicker gauge stainless steel sinks aren’t necessarily better than thinner less expensive sinks. When looking at sound absorption, pads on the bottom of the sink’s exterior worked better than spray-on coatings. As far as scratches go, matte finishes do a better job at hiding the damage than polished surfaces do.
  • Go with an undermount sink: These are only appropriate for waterproof countertops; they create a clean look and also make for easy cleanup since spills and crumbs can be wiped right into the sink.
  • Don’t spend a lot on a faucet: Pick the style that you like since most faucets (except for the absolute cheapest) come with a lifetime warranty against leaks and stains. Ensure the faucet you choose is proportionate to the size of your sink.
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Time To Sell

Outstanding Agents

Are you ready to sell or just want more information about what your home is worth? You may be surprised at the equity in your home due to the improving housing market!  Call the Dawn Dause Group today! (815) 954-5050

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6 New Home Trends


modern kitchen



  • Super Kitchens: Kitchens are no longer just for cooking; they are an entertainment space and the center of the home. Kitchens are now being built open to other rooms and islands are being used as a divider between rooms instead of walls. As kitchens are becoming more open, pantries are getting bigger to provide more storage.
  • Outdoor/Indoor spaces merge: Indoor spaces are built to flow into outdoor areas so that homeowners can easily go between both spaces. Another note about outdoor areas; the once traditional public backyard is becoming less popular. Having a private backyard oasis is becoming more important to homeowners so builders are starting to position homes so that the backyard is more private.
  • Bigger garages: Not only do homeowners want more space for their cars, they also want to be able to use their garage for hobbies, work spaces, and more storage.
  • Home office: Home office spaces are increasingly in demand and they may not be placed off of the entry of the home like many have been. Many people want their office to be closer to both the kitchen and the family room.
  • Tech spaces: Technology use is widespread so builders are beginning to build small “server” rooms since many homes are now using smart technology.
  • Dual homes: More people are living under one roof due to adults living with their parents longer, older parents moving in, and cultural preferences. Multi-generational homes are emerging that offer features such as separate main entrances and attached suites that serve as private residences.
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4 Elements Of Moving Quotes

Moving boxes in empty house


  1. Non-binding VS. binding: Some companies offer rates that are based on a pre-estimated weight, also known as a non-binding estimate. You could end up paying less in the event that the move weighs less than the estimate stated. Other moving companies may offer a rate based on an estimate, however the estimate is firm and the price quoted is what you will pay no matter what the weight of the move turns out to be; this is a binding estimate.
  2. Weight: When comparing moving companies, find out what each one charges per pound. Although it’s important to know what a company charges per pound, that is not the only thing to factor into price. Some companies may charge more per pound, but they may include more services such as long distances. Look at the entire picture and find out cost per pound as well as what services may or may not be included in the price.
  3. Distance: Find out how much the mover charges per mile (linehaul charges) and keep in mind that this charge is in addition to the price per pound. Use a mapping tool such as Google Maps to determine the true distance of your move and make sure that the distance you calculate matches what the company calculates. If your move is local, such as moving neighborhoods, distance may not factor into your decision as much as price per pound does.
  4. Extra service fees: If your move is simple and you aren’t moving very far, you probably don’t need to worry about any extra service fees. If you have any items that require special care and handling, such as a piano, there may be extra fees applied. If your move requires additional insurance or if you are moving to a new home that can’t be moved into right away, check into what fees may apply. You may be charged for storage-in-transit, or other fees.
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DIY Or Professional?


  • Interior paint jobs: A room can get a makeover just by changing the color of the walls. Make sure you prep the room: Lay drop cloths on the floor and use painter’s tape to tape around baseboards and crown molding. 
  • Replace broken tiles: If you have a tile break in the kitchen, bathroom, etc you can hire someone to replace it, however, if you have extra tiles around you can do it yourself. 
  • Power washing your home’s exterior: The siding on your home can get dirty and start to look worn and dingy after being exposed to the elements. You can easily power wash the exterior of your home by either purchasing a power washer or renting one at your local home improvement store.
Hire A Professional
  • Removing trees: Hiring a local tree service to take down a tree on your property is best. Although it may seem like a good idea to take out a tree on your own, it’s not a simple process. The branches need to be culled and the stump should be removed as well. Also, the tree can harm you or someone else and can also unintentionally come down on homes, power lines, etc.
  • Roof repair: Getting up on a roof is dangerous and there can be many different roof issues present that a homeowner may not know how to deal with such as ice dams, insect damage, or leaks. It’s best to leave roof issues for a professional.
  • Siding installation: Siding is crucial as it is the first line of defense for your home against the elements and pests. While it’s not a bad idea to research which siding to invest in, it’s best to leave the installation portion of the project up to the pros.
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10 Best Home Improvement Projects For Your Dollar



Curious about ways to add value to your home or are you getting ready to sell? When thinking about home improvements, it’s crucial to think in terms of getting the most return from your investment. Here are ten projects you can do that will add to your home without taking  too much out of your pocket in the long run.

1. Replace your front door: Putting in a new steel front door goes a long way for the first impression your home makes. If you don’t want to invest in a new door, simply spruce up your old one with a new paint job and brand new hardware.
2. Add a deck or a patio: Buyers are always looking for outdoor living space so adding that patio or deck will make your home that much more appealing.
3. Add new living space: If your budget allows, adding extra bedrooms, bathrooms, or expanding a living space is a great return on your investment. For example, you can get 84% back on your investment by putting in an attic bedroom.
4. Add a new garage door: Manufacturers offer a wide range of styles and colors for garage doors. Adding a new garage door will give your home an instant face lift.
5. Remodel the kitchen: Kitchens are the center of a house so buyers look carefully at them. If you are looking to sell soon, don’t do a major remodel but instead do minor fixes to update the look and feel of your kitchen. When doing a minor remodel you can expect to get back 82% of your investment and when doing a major remodel you can see around 74% of your investment returned to you.
6. Replace your windows: Buyers care about how your windows look as well as whether or not they are energy efficient. If you do replace your windows and are selling your home, be sure to highlight your new windows as they are a highlight of your home.
7. Replace your siding: If the exterior of your home is worn and in need of updating/replacing, getting new vinyl or fiber-cement mix siding is a great idea. You can expect to receive 78% back on your investment for using vinyl siding or 87% back for fiber-cement siding!
8. Finish your basement: Nowadays many buyers are looking for space to entertain. A remodeled basement is a very attractive asset and you can potentially get back 78% of your investment when creating a basement to entertain.
9. Update your bathrooms: While a major bathroom remodel can cost upwards of $50,000 and only add about $32,000 worth of value to your home, you can make minor changes to the space and still achieve added value. Small changes such as replacing fixtures and faucets, painting the walls, re caulking the tub, or adding crown molding will go a long way.
10. Two-Story Addition: Adding an extension on to your family room or adding a new bedroom and bathroom upstairs will hugely increase the value of your home. No matter what project(s) you choose to do, here is a word of caution: be careful not to over-improve your home for the neighborhood.

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8 DIY Projects That Typically Require Permits


These projects usually require a permit, but be sure to check with your local jurisdiction to be sure!

  1. Putting in a gas stove
  2. Replacing windows or doors
  3. Building a deck
  4. Putting in a fence
  5. Creating a safe room or storm shelter
  6. Remodeling a bathroom or kitchen
  7. Installing new electrical wiring 
  8. Replacing a gas water heater
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4 Cheap Staging Tips


  • Freshen up paint, front door, and hardware: Painting a room is an inexpensive way to instantly update the space. Even if you don’t repaint your entire house, painting trim, especially around the front door and windows, will make a big difference. If your front door has seen better days, consider replacing it or giving it a fresh coat of paint. Pay attention to the doorknob as well; clean it so it shines or replace a brass doorknob with a more contemporary brushed nickel one. Replacing switch plates and outlet covers can also do wonders.
  • Let the light in: It’s important to let as much light as possible in to your home. Add lamps and make sure that they are on when your house is shown. Make sure that blinds are open and that your home is light and airy. If you have dated light fixtures or old fans, consider investing in new ones. Big box stores offer many well priced options that will have a huge visual impact in your home.
  • Invest in the kitchen and bathrooms: For many buyers, an updated or at least a very clean kitchen and bathrooms are important. If your bathrooms’ tile floors need replacing but you can’t afford to, consider digging out the old grout and replacing it with new grout. This can really transform a dated floor into something new. Caulk the shower and the tub; if your bathtub is scratched or chipped you can get it reglazed for under $500. Installing new faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms either yourself or by a professional can really update the room as well.
  • Curb appeal: No matter what season you are selling your home in, it’s important to pull weeds, mulch, and add colorful plants or flowers (bushes with berries are a good option for the winter). The exterior of your home is the first impression that a buyer gets so make it count!
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In The Market For A New Washer And Dryer? Read These Tips Before Buying!

Consumer Reports



  • Better efficiency can mean longer wash times: The most efficient washing machines save about $1,400 over a 10 year span and use approximately 110,000 fewer gallons of water than a 10 year old top loader with a center agitator. Another plus to these new machines is that they are better at extracting water so drying time is reduced as are electrical costs. Although these machines clean very well, they typically have longer wash cycles ranging from 65-115 minutes on average, with front-loaders taking longer than top loaders. Washers are increasingly offering ‘quick cycles’ for smaller loads or lightly soiled loads. Consumer Reports tests found that Kenmore’s Accela-Wash, LG’s TurboWash, and Samsung’s SuperSpeed shaved off about 15-20 minutes from a normal load while still cleaning well.
  • Washers are deeper and/or wider: Many manufacturers are making an effort to cut down on the amount of time consumers spend doing laundry by making the washers taller and deeper to increase capacity. This can be a problem for people on the shorter side because it may make getting loads out of the washer a difficult task. When shopping, be sure to reach into the washer; if you can’t reach the bottom consider investing in a different model. Also, many washers are now wider than before so if your laundry room is tight, be sure to measure before you buy.
  • Waterproof items can create problems: High efficiency top loaders spin quicker and extract more water than regular top loaders, however, water can become trapped in rain coats and other waterproof items, causing the load to become unbalanced. When this happens, the machine can shake too much which can cause damage to the washer and laundry area. Some brands (Maytag and Whirlpool) say their machines can safely handle waterproof items while others (LG) warn against washing these items. Be sure to check the owner’s manual before buying.
  • No high efficiency dryers yet: Dissimilar to washers, dryers have typically used similar amounts of energy, even the HE dryers, according to Energy Star. Although not here yet, Energy Star-qualified dryers may hit stores soon.
  • Maybe you don’t need a new dryer afterall… Although they look different, new dryers and old dryers pretty much still work the same way. They both use moisture sensors to determine how damp the laundry is and it adjusts the drying time accordingly. If your current dryer has a sensor and you don’t mind having a washer and dryer that don’t match, you can save money and keep your existing dryer until it breaks.Here’s a tip though: dryers with sensors are meant to handle full loads. When you dry just a few items at a time, the dryer may shut off before things are dry because the items didn’t touch the sensor frequently enough. To avoid this problem, use a timed cycle for smaller loads. Also, dryers with thermostats are not efficient since they dry for a set amount of time, even if the clothes are dry before the timer is up.
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