BBQ Maintenance that Can Save Your Life

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 160 people are injured each year in BBQ mishaps. That doesn’t sound like a lot considering the number of people who flip burgers on their backyard grills each year. But, you certainly don’t want to be one of those who get injured!

The best way to prevent fire and injury is maintenance. Remarkably, few people are even aware that BBQ maintenance is necessary. It is.

Every summer, experts say you should clean out the venturi tubes. Those are the little metal pipes that carry propane or natural gas. Pipe cleaners work well, although hardware stores also carry specialized tools for this purpose. The goal is to clean out any built-up dirt and debris. Don’t be surprised if you find spider webs inside a venturi tube!

Your BBQ grills should also be cleaned with soap and water each year. Just scraping them before barbequing isn’t enough. Fat and oils from cooking can build up on grills and harden. If you’re getting a lot of flare-ups, this may be the cause.

Finally, make sure nuts and bolts are tightened regularly, and replace any rusty hardware. Regular use, heat and weather can loosen or weaken bolts, particularly on the frame. Several fires each year are caused by BBQs tipping over or collapsing.

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group

SOLD! My Seller Received MULTIPLE Offers on this 1 Level Home In Lawrence!

Brown SOLD

This home took a bit of rehabbing to receive #topdollar.
My Seller took my advice on the updates needed and she received top dollar with MULTIPLE OVER list price offers! She’s THRILLED!

We had 18 Showings in less than 48 hours!

#PriceItRight #HomeForSale #RealEstate #Covid19 #Homeownership #TrustYourAgent #Homebuying #FirstTimeHomeBuyer #Invest #FCTucker #ClosingDay

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group

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Selling Your Home? Here Are Some Affordable Staging Ideas


Selling Your Home? Here Are Some Affordable Staging Ideas

“Staging” is all about making a home look as appealing as possible and highlighting its best features. Through the careful placement of furniture, decorative items and other efforts, you can have your home looking picture perfect in no time — and that’s essential if you’re prepping to sell.

Is Staging Really Worth It?

Absolutely. When you’re still living in a home, staging can help “erase” your presence so that buyers can better see themselves in the space. If you’ve already emptied out a home, staging can help buyers envision what it’s like to live there — and show off big spaces and dramatic touches so that buyers can better see the property’s potential. That can translate into more money for you. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, staged homes can bring in bids up to 5% higher than homes that aren’t staged.

Depending on the size of your property, professional staging can cost between $1,000 and $5,000, so a lot of homeowners look for ways to handle the job themselves. Fortunately, there are plenty of no-cost and low-cost steps you can take to stage your place before it goes on the market.

If staging has a cardinal rule, it would be “Decrease and Declutter.” Less really is more in this situation. Anything that you can define as clutter needs to be picked up and thrown out or put away — but that’s just part of what needs to happen.

Unless you embraced a minimalist philosophy and style years ago, the odds are good that there’s far too much stuff in your space. Everything from the tchotchkes on your mantle to the art on your walls has your personality and stamp on them, and that makes it harder for buyers to envision the place as their own. With that in mind:

• Pull down all of the family photos. You want buyers to see their family in the house, not yours.

• Pack away almost all knickknacks. A good rule of thumb is to have no more than one or two “objects of interest” in a given room.

• Clear off the countertops. The breadmaker, blender, and other things you normally keep out may be useful, but they detract from your kitchen’s beauty.

• Get rid of memorabilia and personal keepsakes. You want buyers to see your home, not showcase your personality or interests.

• Eliminate extra furniture. Too many end tables, footstools and plant stands can make a home feel crowded and uncomfortable to buyers.

• Invest in a few baskets for easy pick-up. If you’re still living in your home, it’s difficult not to have a little clutter. Baskets can be used to quickly gather up television and game remotes, kids’ toys and more when prospective buyers are coming.

The goal is to make your home as relentlessly neutral as possible. The more it resembles a nice, cozy hotel that’s just waiting on its next occupants to arrive, the better.

Half-Empty Your Storage Spaces

When you’re in the process of decluttering, don’t simply shove everything into the closets and storage spaces around your home. Trust us: Interested buyers are going to look inside every nook and cranny — and they don’t want your stored items falling out on their heads when they do.

Since buyers want to be able to see how much storage they’re going to have in a home, a half-empty closet or cupboard is ideal. That helps visually reinforce the idea that there’s plenty of storage space available. With that in mind:

• Organize your closets. Coordinate all your hanging clothes and line up the shoes.

• Clear out the kitchen cupboards. Get rid of all the extra cups and seldom-used plates or pans.

• Clean the pantries. Throw out any expired food items and donate a lot of the rest. Leave just enough in your pantry to make cooking practical.

• Scale-back the linen closet. Stack blankets, sheets and towels neatly and put anything you aren’t likely to use soon, including seasonal items, in storage.

Don’t forget to cull through any other storage areas in your house, like cubby holes, the spot beneath the kitchen sink and the bathroom cabinets. The more spacious your home seems to buyers, the better.

Focus on the Buyer’s First View

What’s the first thing potential buyers see when they enter your home? If their choices are walking through a claustrophobic foyer that’s lined with coats and shoes or a cluttered side-entrance through a dirty garage, you’ve got some work to do.

• Paint foyers and mudrooms a bright, neutral color to make them seem more open and inviting.

• Eliminate utility items like coat racks, shoe benches, umbrella stands and keyholders, or any other type of clutter.

• Consider adding a mirror on one wall to make the foyer or entrance seem larger.

Make sure that you carefully clean and declutter any area that your potential buyers will be walking through, including the attached garage. As always, you want buyers to feel like there’s plenty of room in a space for their needs.

If you do the work yourself, your biggest expenses might be a storage unit for your extra belongings and seasonal clothing or the paint you use on your walls. You may also want to spring for professional landscaping or a few flower pots to make the front of your home look especially welcoming. It might also be helpful to hire a professional cleaning crew to make your home sparkle once you’ve done all of the decluttering and sorting.

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group

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Does Your Home Insurance Cover Everything?

When you suffer damage to your home or its contents, you expect your insurance company to help you out. And, most do a good job of doing just that.

Still, it’s a good idea to review your policy with your insurance advisor and find out what’s covered and what isn’t. For example, you don’t want to discover that your policy will not cover the cost of repairing the damage caused by a flood in your laundry room.

Pay particular attention to coverage in the case of water damage. Some insurance policies don’t cover floods and sewer backup unless an additional rider is purchased.

Also, check liability limits. Ask your advisor to recommend an appropriate level. Finally, make sure you know exactly how much your home is insured for. Are you covered for the full replacement cost? Are you comfortable with that coverage or would you rather only insure for the actual cash value?

Having the right insurance policy gives you peace-of-mind and is an important part of enjoying your home.

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group

Using Neighborhood Data to Help Sell Your Home

Your neighborhood has a lot of features that can help you sell your home faster. Unfortunately, buyers don’t usually notice those features just by driving around. So, you need to make sure they get all the information they need about your neighborhood.

For example, say homes don’t go on the market often in your area. That’s an indication that the quality of life in the neighborhood is so good that no one wants to leave! In real estate, we measure the area’s “turnover rate”, and it’s a handy piece of data to have when listing your home.

Demographic data can also be helpful when selling your property. If your neighborhood has a lot of families, for example, that’s going to be appealing to buyers with kids.

Other types of data that can help sell your home include:

  • Planned local construction.
  • Proposals for neighborhood improvements, such as a new playground.
  • Rates at which local property values are increasing.

Any information that shows the advantages of living in your area is going to be useful when selling.

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group


Happy July! I hope you are enjoying the summer so far.

It’s still a unique climate but the real estate market is going strong! I’ve explained June’s activity as what we typically see in the spring. It’s like we had an extra long winter and now sellers and buyers are ready to make a move.

If you have questions such as: Are homes selling? Is the market stable? Is now a good time to list? What’s the selling process given the restrictions still in place? How are people shopping for new homes? What does it take to receive an accepted offer in this competitive market?

To understand the current activity in your area or desired area, take a look at new listings, median sales price, time on the market, pending v. active listings, and list price v. sales price.

If you would like me to elaborate on what each of the above tells us, I’m happy to assist you. If you’d like me to research your area or an area in which you are interested in purchasing, I’d be happy to assist you with that as well! I have the latest information and data and can provide you with the answers and advice you need.

On a personal note, I’ve been able to consistently list and sell homes this summer and I’m grateful for the referrals I’ve received and the amazing clients I’ve been able to help as we slowly emerge from quarantine while maintaining social distancing. Keep ‘em coming! 😊

Even more exciting, our son, Jack, will have a LIVE outdoor graduation from 8th grade at the end of this month. He is off to high school next year and our daughter Kelly will enter middle school.  Time really does go by quickly!

Wishing you safety and health!

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group

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NEW Greenfield Listing: 1146 Dogwood Way! Huge Established Yard & Charming, Spacious Front Porch




Established home among lush park like low maintenance landscaping & trees. Massive, welcoming front porch is one of many spaces to gather, entertain, & make memories. Homes don’t list often in this fabulous neighborhood close to shopping, parks, & schools.

Master on Main, en suite, walk in closet. Work From Home Office! Upstairs Bdrms 2 & 3 share a Jack & Jill bathroom; 4th bdrm large enough for separate living space, office, game rm, movies, gymnastics, dance & more! 5th rm perfect for exercise, meditation, yoga, playroom.

Open vaulted great room, home office, formal dining & kitchen w/eat in area & large, private back deck. Peaceful wooded lot w/ potential for In-Ground pool. New windows 2018 & new roof 2012.

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist Fishers
The Tumbarello Group