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Kurt Spoerle - Realtor®
Office: (317) 566-2399
Cell: (317) 366-4000

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Make your old house look new again


If you own a pre-war home, it's probably full of charming period details-- and persistent headaches. 

Quirky old-house nuisances are just a fact of life when your home has served many generations, even if it's been well maintained.

The key to trimming the cost of fixing these annoyances is finding someone who can repair, rather than replace, antique parts.

"Only kitchens and bathrooms need gut remodeling," says Les Fossel, a contractor specializing in 18th-century homes.  "Most everything else is fixable."


Cracked plaster walls

Fissures and chips don't mean you have to replace the handmade plaster with prefab wallboard (at $500 or more a room).  That usually destroys the orignal wood trim.  Instead, a restoration-minded pro can reattach the old plaster using special washers and then apply a plaster-like skim coat over the top, saving up to $200 per room, and your trim work.

Drafty windows

Old windows rattle, are hard to operate, and let in icy drafts.  Sure, you could replace them for a few hundred dollars each, but for units that maintain the character and value of an older home, you'll pay $1,000 or more a pop.

Have problem windows overhauled instead, for around $100-$200 each.  A carpenter will remove built-up paint, replace hardware, wax the rails, and weather-strip gaps, making the windows easier to open and close, and about 80% as efficient as new ones.

Squeaky wood floors

Time, and multiple refinishings, take a toll on old floors, sometimes leaving them deafeningly creaky.  A good woodworker can stop floorboards from rubbing together for about $200-$500, usually by sinking micro-head screws through them and into the framing below.  The screws don't require putty.  When you wash your floor, the wood will expand and hide the holes.

Loose stair banister

Don't let a hack replace a rickety handrail.  Spindles can be tightened at each step, and there's often a hidden pocket in the newel post at the base of the stiars.  Inside is a nut that will firm up the post, strengthening the whole banister.  This is a simple $200 fix for someone who knows what they're doing. 

For contractor recommendations, contact the Spoerle Team today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Area home sales rise for 20th straight month

Home-sale agreements in the nine-county Indianapolis area jumped 12.2 percent in December, marking a 20th straight month of gains and capping off a strong year for residential real estate sales. 

According to F.C. Tucker Company, overall home-sale agreements rose 17.3 percent in 2012 compared with 2011.

Purchase agreements for existing homes totaled 1,490 in December, 162 more than reported in December, 2011.  Every county in the area except Hancock, Morgan, and Shelby reported an increase.

Madison County saw the largest increase in pended home sales in December on a percentage basis, gaining 50 percent.  Johnson County rose 45 percent, with 159 homes sold, and Marion rose about 12 percent, with 684 homes sold.

The homes-for-sale inventory fell 18.1 percent in December, with 10,116 homes on the market, more than 2,000 fewer than the same time in 2011.

The tight inventory helped support an uptick in prices.  The average sales price in 2012 was $155,879, an increase of 2.8 percent over 2011.  Morgan County led the way with a 14 percent increase in home sale prices, to an average of $145,193.  Marion County saw the average price rise 3.6 percent, to $118,469. 

Every county except for Hamilton recorded an increase in average selling prices for 2012.  Hamilton saw prices fall 2.7 percent, to $247,180, the highest priced average in the metro area. 



The Fashion Mall Upgrade

The Fashion Mall at Keystone is continuing its' major upgrades in 2013!  The mall has already seen a beautiful new food court and several new shops in the upper level, but there are even more additions to look forward to. 

--Kate Spade.  The Fashion powerhouse known for its handbags, plans to open a 1,500 square foot boutique, its first in the state.  The New York-based brand, now controlled by Liz Claiborn, has more than 80 stores in the U.S. and 100 internationally.

--Lucy.  The high-end women's athletic apparel retailer based in California plans to open a 2,222 square foot store this summer.  The chain, founded by former Nike execs in 1999 and originally an online-only retailer, is now part of the North Carolina-based VF Corp. and has 58 stores in 15 states.

--Microsoft.  Microsoft plans to add a permanent retail store at the Fashion Mall, after operating a pop-up store in one of the mall's hallways during the holiday season.  The store, the only one in Indiana, is set to take about 6,000 square feet. 

Meanwhile, work continues on build-outs for a pair of popular local restaurants planning Fashion Mall outposts: Napolese and Naked Tchopstix. 


Winter Maintenance Tips

winter home

We've been very lucky with warm winter temperatures so far, but we're not out of the woods yet!  Sometimes January and February can bring our most fridged temps of the season.  Here are some helpful hints for keeping your home in top shape this winter!

-- Check and clean or replace furnace air filters each month during heating season

-- After consulting your hot water tank owner's manual, drain off a dishpan full of water from the clean-out valve at the bottom of your hot water tank to control sediment and maintain efficiency

-- Vacuum bathroom fan grille(s)

-- Clean humidifier two or three times during the winter season

-- Vacuum smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, as dust or spider webs can prevent them from functioning properly.  Check and replace batteries as necessary.

-- Vacuum radiator grilles on back or front of refrigerators and freezers, and empty and clean drip trays

-- Check gauge on all fire extinguishers; recharge or replace if necessary

-- Check fire escape routes, door and window locks and hardware, and lighting around outside of house; ensure family has good security habits

-- Monitor your home for excessive moisture levels.  For example, condensation on your windows, pipes in basement or crawlspace.  Moisture is the number one culprit of damage to homes here in the midwest.  Your goal should always be to keep moisture away from your home.

-- Check all faucets for signs of dripping and change washers as needed

-- If you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently, such as a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, run some water briefly to keep water in the trap

-- Clean drains in dishwasher, sinks, bathtubs and shower stalls

-- Test plumbing shut-off valves to ensure they are working and to prevent them from seizing

-- Examine windows and doors for ice accumulation or cold air leaks.  If found, make note to repair or replace units or weather stripping in the spring

-- Examine attic for frost accumulation.  Check roof for ice dams or icicles.  If there is excessive frost or staining of the underside of the roof, or ice dams on the roof surface, consult a qualified roofing contractor immediately.

-- Check electrical cords, plugs and outlets for all indoor and outdoor seasonal lights to ensure fire safety: if worn, or if plugs or cords feel warm to the touch, replace immediately.


Important Reminder!

Property taxpayers have just under one month remaining to file the homestead verification form to continue receiving the benefit of the homestead deduction on their property tax bill.  The pink or rose-colored homestead verification form was mailed with property tax bills in 2010, 2011, and 2012 and must be completed at least once prior to the Jan. 1, 2013 deadline.  Completing the form confirms that the individual is using the property as his or her permanent home, an eligibility requirement of the deduction. 

For additional information, visit the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance's website at http://www.in.gov/dlgf/8455.htm


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