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Kurt Spoerle - Realtor®
Office: (317) 566-2399
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Fishers, Greenwood among 10 most affordable suburbs

Living in the comfy suburbs doesn't have to break the bank- at least not in central Indiana.  In a list of the top 10 most affordable suburbs in the U.S. released by real estate research blog Movoto, two central Indiana nooks made the cut- Greenwood ranked 5th and Fishers ranked 9th.
 
A third Indiana suburb, Clarksville (though technically considered a suburb of Louisville, KY) ranked 6th in the U.S.
 
The study considered these factors when compiling the top 10: Cost of living, food and utilities, housing affordability, property tax rate percentage, state income tax rate, and sales tax rate.
 
In describing the two central Indiana suburbs, Movoto praised Greenwood for being more affordable than its central Indiana counterpart on the list.  The city south of Indianapolis "has a lower overall cost of living at six points below the national average, and lower utility costs at five points below average," the study said.
 
Meanwhile in Fishers, it was the food and utility costs that pushed it to the top of the nation, with food falling eight points below the national average and utilities four points below.
 
Movoto surveyed 139 suburbs, which comprise the largest suburbs of the 50 largest cities in the country.  The list was as follows:
1) Midwest City, Okla
2) Moore, Okla
3) Cimarrow Hills, CO
4) Pearland, TX
5) Greenwood, IN
6) Clarksville, IN
7) Universal City, TX
8) Schertz, TX
9) Fishers, IN
10) Cibolo, TX

Weekend Events!

Don't let the cold, wet weather put a damper on your weekend fun!  Check out these exciting activities around the city.

Wine Tasting at The Library Restaurant and Pub - Friday, Nov. 22nd, 6:30pm

Featuring German wines from Leonard Kreusch and Chef John McKenzie's pairings to go with each of these five wines.  $45 plus tax and gratuity.  Reservations required.  Call 317-243-0299 to reserve your spot. 

Public Ice Skating at the Indiana State Fairgrounds - Mon-Fri 3-5pm, Fri/Sat 7:30-9:30pm, Sat/Sun 2:30-4:30pm

In the newly-built Youth Arena adjacent to the Coliseum.  Figure skates rental $4, hockey skates $5.  Call 317-927-7622 for more information.

Indoor Holiday Market at Binford Farmers Market - Saturday, Nov 23rd, 9am-1pm

More than 40 vendors are scheduled to take part in the Holiday Markets on Nov. 23, Dec. 7, 14, and 21, with a variety of local meats, baked goods, winter produce, unique artisan goods, and more.  317-417-8449 for more info.

37th Annual Indianapolis International Festival at the State Fairgrounds - Saturday, Nov 23, 10am-9pm

Central Indiana's largest and oldest pan-ethnic celebration showcases ethnic diversity, unique ethnic traditions, and encourages cultural exchange. 

Jolly Days Winter Wonderland at the Children's Museum - Saturday, Nov 23 thru Jan. 5, Tues-Sun 10am-5pm

 The museum's annual holiday celebration with Yule Slide, Jingles the Jolly Bear, visits with Santa, the Snow Castle, ice fishing in a pretend pond, and more. 317-334-3322 for additional information.

10 Ways to Winterize your Home

1.)  Check the furnace:  First, turn your furnace on now, to make sure it's even working before the coldest weather hits.  A strong, odd, short-lasting odor is natural when firing up the furnace in the fall; simply open windows to dissipate it.  But if the smell lasts a long time, shut down the unit and call a professional.

2.)  Reverse fans:  By reversing the direction of the blades from the summer operation, the fan will push warm air downward and force it to recirculate, keeping you more comfortable.  How will you know when the fan is ready for winter?  As you look up, the blades should be turning clockwise. 

3.)  Insulate yourself:  Regardless of the climate conditions you live in, in the U.S. you need a minimum of 12 inches of insulation in your attic.  Use this rule of thumb on whether you need to add insulation:  if you go into the attic and you can see the ceiling joists you know you don't have enough, because a ceiling joist is at most 10-11".  Also, if you're layering insulation atop other insulation, don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (ie: paper backing).  It acts as a vapor barrier and can lead to moisture & mold problems in the insulation. 

4.)  Get your ducts in a row:  A home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces.  That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly home.  Ducts aren't always easy to see, but you can often find them exposed in the attic, basement, and crawlspaces.  Repair places where pipes are pinched, and fix gaps with a metal-backed tape. 

5.)  Chimney:  Call a professional chimney sweep, and ask for a Level 1 inspection.  During a Level 1 inspection, the professional examines the readily accessible portions of the chimney.  A chimney doesn't necessarily need to be swept every year, but it should at least be examined once a year.  Another tip:  buy a protective cap for your chimney, with a screen.  This is the single easiest protection against foreign objects, animals, and rain. 

6.)  Clean your gutters:  Once the leaves fall, remove them and other debris from your home's gutters so that winter's rain and melting snow can drain.  Clogged drains can form ice dams, in which water backs up, freezes and causes water to seep into the house.  Also make sure the downspouts are carrying water away from the home's foundation where it could cause flooding or other water damage.

7.)  Wrap pipes:  A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare.  Before freezing nights hit, make sure the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your home via a turnoff valve, and that the lines are drained.  Next, look for pipes that aren't insulated, or that pass through unheated spaces.  Wrap them with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation, available at hardware stores. 

8.)  Check alarms:  This is a great time to check the operation, and change your batteries, on your home's smoke detectors.  Detectors should be replaced every 10 years.  Test them with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. 

9.)  Block leaks:  One of the best ways to winterize your home is to simply block obvious leaks around your house, both inside and out.  On a breezy day, walk around inside holding a lit incense stick to the most common drafty areas: recessed lighting, window and door frames, electrical outlets.  Caulk or apply tacky rope caulk to those drafty spots.  Outside, seal leaks with weather-resistant caulk.  For brick areas, use masonry sealer, which will better stand up to freezing and thawing. 

10.)  Face your windows:  Now is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home.  Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows.  If you need new windows, budget to update them a few at a time.  In the meantime, buy a window insulator kit to imrpove efficiency. 

Halloween weekend events

pumpkins  

Don't let a rainy Halloween ruin your celebrations!  Here are a some indoor alternatives for the kiddos, as well as a few fun weekend activities for the whole family! 

Thursday, October 31, 10am - 3pm

'Time Warp' Light-On Haunted House at the Children's Museum -- The 50th anniversary of the oldest continually operating haunted house in the nation, recommended for children who scare easily. 

Location:  Children's Museum of Indpls, 3000 N. Meridian St., Indpls

Thursday, October 31, 7 pm - 10pm

Trick-or-treat at eight of the very best houses in the Old Northside.  Halloween refreshments and entertainment at the Indiana Landmarks campus.  $45, rain or shine event. 

Location:  Old Northside neighborhood, Indiana Landmark's Center, 1201 Central Ave.,  Indpls

Friday, November 1, 5pm - 7pm

Safe Night Halloween Trunk or Treat at the State Fairgrounds

Located at Dow AgroSciences Celebration Park at the fair grounds.  Free admission for children under 13, must be accompanied by an adult. 

Location:  1202 E. 38th St., Indpls

Saturday, November 2, 7pm - 10pm

Hanna Haunted Acres Open in Indianapolis

Scarecrow's Revenge, Carnevil, Hide and Seek, Medical Malpractice, 7000 square foot maze, and the Hanna Haunted Hayride.  Not for the faint of heart!

Location:  7323 E. Hanna Ave.,  Indpls

Mortgage foreclosure rate falls 36% in Indianapolis area

There's more good news about the mortgage foreclosure rate in the Indianapolis area, which was 36% lower in August than it was a year ago. 

The drop to 2.14% from 3.36% a year ago continues a gradual slide in the area's foreclosure rate that began in April 2012, according to CoreLogic, who tracks mortgage data nationally.

The delinquency rate on mortgages- measuring loans on which payments are overdue by 90 days or more- also fell in August, to 4.94%, said CoreLogic.  That compares with 6.31% a year earlier.

The delinquency rate is a good predictor of coming foreclosures, so its decline suggests even further decreases in the foreclosure rate may be coming. 

Mortgage health in the Indianapolis area continues to look better than the national average.  Nationally in August, the foreclosure rate was 2.36% and the delinquency rate was 5.3%. 

The foreclosure rate has fallen since the aftermath of the recession of 2007-09, in part because unemployment statistics have brightened, throwing fewer homeowners into economic distress.  Indiana's jobless rate has improved from 9.1% in January 2011 to 8.1% this August.

Realtors also are selling fewer foreclosed homes.  In the metro area, foreclosed homes made up 15% of all home sales last month, with 24.1% in the second quarter of 2011. 

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