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Some people like the gym for the bustle and activity, the burst of motivation, and the cutting edge equipment. You're probably paying more for the pumped-up atmosphere than you realize, though. Over time, that low monthly payment adds up.

A home gym offers safety, convenience, and one less bill each month. Think you don't have the money to put together a home gym? Think again! Our real estate agents have seen some pretty sweet setups, and many of them have been installed on a budget. Here are a few tips for designing a home gym you'll love to work out in — while keeping the cost down.

  1. Work with the space you have available.
    The garage is a frequent choice for a home gym because it's out of the way and doesn't take away from limited square footage inside the home. Garages also have higher ceilings to accommodate taller equipment. If you have money to install some nice mirrors and flooring, you could consider converting an unused room, part of the basement, or third-floor space into your home gym. But if you're on a budget, look for spaces that can be easily converted into what you want and save your money for the equipment.

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Holiday Traditions - Homeowners - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Even though COVID-19 means a lot of in-person holiday gatherings won't be happening, you can still take part in meaningful holiday traditions. Our real estate agents know the perfect home provides the ideal gathering spot for all of your holiday fun. Here are some new holiday traditions to start this year. 

  1. Go for a Holiday Tour of Your Town
    Snuggle up in your favorite Christmas PJs and hop in the car for a holiday tour of your town. Drive through the neighborhoods that are known for having the best Christmas lights. As you drive past South Bend homes for sale, have your family members pick out their favorite decorations.

    Take a drive through the downtown area to see how the streets are adorned for the holidays. Play your favorite Christmas carols as you take in the sights of the season. Make sure to pack a mug of hot cocoa and some delicious seasonal snacks!

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Budget Home Upgrades - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

If you're staying home to oversee online learning or to work remotely, your mood may be sagging from looking at the same, tired surroundings day after day. But maybe right now is not the time for a big home renovation or for buying a whole houseful of furniture. Still, no need to fret. Who said bigger is always better? There are some pretty cool projects you can do on a budget that will enliven your mood while giving your home the upgrade you've been longing for.

Who knows? Some of these little upgrades are bound to catch a potential buyer's eye if your home's listed among South Bend homes for sale.  Our real estate agents have plenty of tips to get you started. 

Let's start outside and work our way indoors.

  1. Copper mailbox.
    There's just something about copper. Warm and rich in hue, copper manages to be classy and understated at the same time. You're certainly welcome to go online and find the real deal, but if you're watching your bank balance these days, then go for a can of copper-colored Rustoleum (under $5) and spray paint your box. Then spiff up the post with a coat or two of shiny black. Follow up with some fall flowers planted around it to boost your curb appeal.

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Staycation Ideas - Homeowners - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Raise your hand if you need a vacation! These days, we could all use a little R&R, but unfortunately, many of our travel plans for summer vacation have been canceled. Not to worry, there are plenty of ways you can have a memorable summer without ever leaving your home. Instead of jet setting around the globe, our real estate agents encourage you to grab your family and enjoy an all-inclusive staycation right in your own back yard. With a few supplies and a little creativity, you can make staycation memories that will last a lifetime.

Staycations for Families

  • Movie Night
    Who doesn't love a movie under the stars? All you'll need to create a theatre in your back yard is a sheet, projector, and some comfy outdoor furniture. Pop some popcorn, grab the candy, and fill up your soda cups for a movie night with the kids. You can even make it a double-feature and screen a movie for the parents when the kids go to sleep.

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Herb Garden - Homeowners - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Herbs, revered in the ancient world for their healing powers, receded in importance in the 20th century as we began to rely more on pharmaceuticals and technology. As a result, we encountered them less often—usually dried in a jar on a supermarket shelf. But over the last couple of decades, herbs have enjoyed a resurgence in their freshest, most potent forms, as homeowners turn to them not only for cooking, but also for enjoyment.

If you've ever thought about growing your own herbs, take heart, because it's not hard to get started. Mark off a small garden plot with good morning sun and dappled shade in the afternoon, or create a container garden on your patio. Plant kitchen herbs, or choose another theme—medicinals, medieval, fragrance—and get going. 

A pretty or aromatic herb garden will also be a pleasing element when it comes to selling your home, helping it to stand out from other South Bend homes for sale. Get additional tips from our REALTORS® on how to make your home special.

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Backyard Fire Pit Safety - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Fire pits are the hottest thing in outdoor entertaining. They're simple to construct, provide light for summer evenings, and the chance to perfect your smores-making technique. As the evenings draw in and take on the crispness of fall, fire pits provide the warmth you'll want when enjoying a cup of cider.

Part of the beauty of fire pits is their flexibility. They can be as petite as a salad bowl or large enough for the whole family to roast marshmallows. You can have them professionally installed, assemble them yourself from a kit, or even design and build one on your own. Our real estate agents enjoy seeing how a DIY contribution to a home reflects the tastes of the homeowner and celebrates the style of the home itself. If you'd like your own custom fire pit, keep the following tips in mind.

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Easy Kitchen Reno - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

If you're preparing to put your house on the market among other St. Joseph homes for sale, you know the kitchen is a vital part of daily living. From preparing meals, entertaining, or helping with homework, your kitchen sees a lot of traffic. If your kitchen cabinets desperately need a makeover, but your budget is tight, renovate to provide an instant lift.  

Easy Ways to Renovate Your Outdated Kitchen

Every homeowner has a personal vision for every room in the house. New kitchen cabinets, upgraded appliances, and a complete makeover can cost thousands of dollars. When you cannot afford your dream kitchen, implement easy, low-cost changes to refresh and upgrade the area. Small changes can make a significant impact on your kitchen's overall appearance.

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Resolving Common House Noises - Cressy & Everett

There's nothing like a persistent noise in your house to drive you to distraction with the repetitiveness of it, but also with worrying how much a fix will cost. Fortunately, most common household noises can be remedied without too much concern or expense.

If you're thinking of adding your house to South Bend homes for sale, you'll want to fix those noises before you put it on the market. As our real estate agents will advise you, these minor fixes can add up and too many of them may discourage buyers.

Are you hearing any of these annoying noises right now?

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Family Time Capsule - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented response around the world, including right here in the Michiana area. Someday, though, this will be a memory—we'll look back at this time as a short, odd interlude. Our real estate agents suggest capturing this momentous, historic time by preserving your memories, thoughts, experiences, and mementos in a time capsule. Years from now, you'll have a discovery to help your family remember the significance of this time.

What to Put in a Time Capsule

Your time capsule should be filled with items that symbolize this time.

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Home WiFi Improvement- Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Your home's wireless internet connection may be working harder than it used to, and it's not alone. More people are working from home than ever before. And with the expansion of online education offerings, meeting software, and other ways to virtually connect with the world, a family can go to school, work, and then shop for groceries or catch a movie without ever leaving home. But most home connections aren't built for heavy use by multiple members of a household. Internet service providers are working hard to step up speed and improve connectivity, but there are things you can do at home to boost your home's WiFi coverage that our real estate agents would like you to consider.  

  • Spot Checking 
    Do you have an overall weak signal, or do you have one or two dead spots? Your mobile phone will give you a rough idea of the signal strength around your home. Check near your modem and router first, and move further away from them, checking every few feet. Note that your bathroom may have a weakened signal due to the copper pipes in the walls.

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Landscaping Prep - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

When it comes to landscaping a yard, preparation is important to make sure everything is done efficiently and effectively. It helps you determine the project's budget, creates an ideal environment for introducing additional or new features, and lessens chances of delays when the project commences. Here's a guide from our real estate agents on things you can do to plan, organize and prepare for landscaping:

  • Evaluate Your Yard
    Start with an evaluation of your yard and make an inventory of the permanent structure it and their placement. This helps you to focus on areas that will be most affected by the project and understand their preparation needs. For example, if you want to add a water feature, you need to know the proximity to an electrical power source or locations of hidden hazards. Also, mark hardscape and softscape features that do not fit into your landscaping plan.

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Deep Cleaning - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Whether you're spring cleaning or you're just fed up with how your house looks, deep cleaning is a great way to freshen up your home and enjoy the clean air that comes with it. It may not be an exciting thing to do, but it's easier than you might think and the payoff is huge. Just follow our real estate agents' top 7 tips for deep cleaning your entire house.

  1. Make a Schedule
    Approaching your home room-by-room is the best way to ensure you effectively deep clean your house at any time of the year. Scope out your home and start with areas that need extra attention or those that you skip during routine cleaning. Regardless, of which room your start with, having a plan and a checklist will keep you focused on the task at hand.

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Home Office - Homeownership - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

With so many people choosing to work from home, it's no surprise that a home office is becoming one of the most desirable upgrades found among South Bend homes for sale. The good news is, you can create a home office of your own, even if you don't have a spare room. 

In fact, our real estate agents have seen many super-creative solutions when it comes to creating a home office space. Here are a few of our favorites. 

  1. Convert a Closet
    A walk-in closet is the perfect spot to create a quiet home office. Consider storing your clothes in a free-standing wardrobe in your bedroom. Then, you should easily be able to fit a desk, shelving, and whatever else you need in the former closet space. The walls will likely already be bare, so you can get really creative with your paint colors and other decor.

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Indiana Home Winter Warm
No matter how cold it gets outside, our real estate agents are here to help you find the perfect Indiana home for you. Our team works in rain, shine, or even the Indiana snow.

That said, it's important to recognize that Indiana winters can be fierce. Especially if you're new to the state, it's vital to prepare your home well in advance.

Of course, our winters in Indiana aren't the worst. No matter where you're from, you'll soon get the hang of things. All you need to do is get the right information in front of you early on.

Yes, some parts of Indiana can have major winter storms. Most trouble in the cold season isn't caused by heavy snow; however, it comes about as a result of putting off preparations.

Here's how you can get your home ready and keep it comfortable all winter long.

  1. Use Natural Light to Get a Head Start on Heating
    The sun remains the most energy efficient heater around. Even in the dead of winter, most days will have some sun. Part the curtains, raise the blinds and open the shutters to let heat in during the day. Then, close windows up tight and cover them to keep the heat from escaping overnight.

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Fireplace Safety Tips
If you're like many homeowners, you light up your fireplace to chase away the chills. Your fireplace does double duty this time of year: As glowing embers warm your living spaces, they also add the perfect cozy atmosphere. As you ignite the flames for the first time, remember to keep fireplace safety in mind.

Our real estate agents believe a fireplace adds warmth and beauty to your home, but we also recognize the inherent danger one can cause. To help you keep your home safe this winter, we researched fireplace safety so we could share these tips with you.

  1. Maintain and clean your fireplace and chimney
    Before you ignite your fireplace, remember to inspect it and clean away the soot and creosote buildup from last year's flames. Your chimney provides an exit for the smoke, gases, hydrocarbon, and other substances your fireplace produces, and while this minimizes the direct harm to you and your family, the creosote they produce causes fires that burn out of control. DIY Network offers tips for cleaning and maintaining a fireplace. If you'd prefer to have a professional perform this annual task, you can locate certified chimney sweeps and learn more fireplace safety facts at the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

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