Dec. 16, 2019

What Makes a Home Safe?

Several features can improve the safety of a home to make it more desirable. As a bonus, these devices can also reduce the cost to insure a home. If you want to modernize your home with innovative safety measures or are looking for a new home with the latest safety features, consider these list toppers.

  • Smart Devices: The internet of things has taken home security and convenience to a new level. Homeowners are empowered with a host of tools and systems to keep their homes safe. In fact, technology has become so prevalent that few items aren’t equipped with smart features. Appliances offer improved safety and efficiency. Garage doors offer additional security. High-tech lawn systems prevent overwatering and flooding. A few devices are particularly desirable for homeowners interested in boosting the safety of their surroundings. These include:
  • Water alerts: Did you know one of the most common homeowners insurance claims is water damage? Smart leak-detection sensors can now prevent these calamities. They alert homeowners of leaks so they can take immediate action to prevent damage.
  • Fire detection: What happens if no one is home to hear the smoke detector? A smart fire detector will alert a homeowner via a Wi-Fi-connected device anywhere in the world. This can improve emergency response times and minimize damage.
  • Burglar deterrents: Smart technology has enhanced security on many fronts. Homeowners can deter thieves with timed lighting, access smart door locks to maintain tighter security, and monitor video surveillance from anywhere.

Wondering what features make the most sense for your market? Contact our office. We can review current trends and determine what safety features to look for in your next home.

Posted in Tips and Tricks
May 15, 2019

Our Town Turns 250!

This weekend is the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Charles. The "Sestercentennial" celebration this weekend has something for everyone: a parade, living history, a children's festival and tons more. With great weather on the horizon, you won't want to miss joining the festivities Saturday & Sunday. Here's a handy reference guide to the various components of the event.

  1. Seaman is Everywhere! Statues of Lewis & Clark's faithful dog are festively painted and can be found all over town. Find the map here and take advantage of the great photo opportunities everywhere.
  2. Stroll Down Memory Lane. Large scale photo back drops featuring people, places and moments in time will be displayed on Main Street and in Frontier Park. Photos bring the nostalgia back to life!
  3. Who Doesn't Love a Parade? The festivities will be set in motion in grand old parade style at 10 am on Saturday. Take a look at the parade route and plan to get there early for a great view.
  4. History Comes Alive with Demonstrations and Speaker Series. Multiple historic vignettes will be recreated throughout the weekend showcasing St. Charles' role in everything from abolition to the first interstate and even anti-dueling legislation. There will even be vintage baseball games played! And the OPO will have a speaker series that includes the history of our cemeteries to the archeology of Main Street. 
  5. Get Kids Hands On at the Children's Festival. The back yard of the First Missouri State Capitol will transform into a hands on experience for kids of all ages. Live and play as children of the 1800s and grab a passport to get stamps and win prizes. 


Posted in For The Community
April 2, 2019

Save Money AND Be Eco-Friendly? Try these 5 April Fresh Ideas!

It's been said that the people that make the biggest impact are those that do the little things consistently. In honor of Earth Day this April 22nd, consider these small changes that will actually save you money while making a difference for nature. 

  1. Go paperless - If you have an email address and a computer or table at home, there's really no need for paper bills being sent to you each month. Opt for paperless billing and take advantage of your bank's online bill pay to save money on stamps and put a little dent in the 35 million trees cut down each year in the US for paper
  2. Wash with Cold Water & Line Dry - Did you know your washing machine uses the most of its energy on getting water hot? Washing with cold water and line drying your clothes reduces your carbon footprint by over 2500 lbs a year!
  3. Library Love - E-readers and pretty cheap nowadays and your local library has a massive selection of content for them. Think of the library as the Spotify of Reading and you'll save a tree (or millions of them) in the process!
  4. LED Lighting - The next time a CFL or halogen light in your house burns out, consider replacing it with an LED bulb. Not only will you save big bucks on your power consumption, you'll only need to replace it every 10 years or so! Even with a slightly larger up front cost, LED lighting makes perfect money sense over the long run.
  5. Reusable Water Bottles - When you replace plastic water bottles with reusable glass or steel bottles, you'll save over $260 a year in bottled water costs, contribute less to plastic waste ending up in the oceans and food chain and reduce the amount of petroleum used in the manufacture of the bottle. It's a win-win-win!
Posted in Tips and Tricks
March 12, 2019

Embrace Your Inner Irish With These Delightful Dishes

St. Patrick's Day celebrations range from wearing green to attending parades and drinking Guinness. However you choose to salute Irish traditions or heritage, be sure to also enjoy a hearty Irish meal. Here are a few recipes to make some of our favorite Irish dishes. 

  1. Irish Stew - While Spring takes its sweet time arriving, this stew is sure to warm you up! The BEST Irish Stew Recipe is here.
  2. Boxty - Don't worry if you've never heard this word, it's really just a potato pancake...only it's the best potato pancake you've ever tried! We love this boxty recipe the most.
  3. Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage - Probably the most well-known Irish dish, this corned beef & cabbage recipe is easy and so, so yummy!
  4. Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce - What's that? Whiskey caramel sauce? Sign us up! Use this recipe to transform a loaf of bread into a magical dessert. 
  5. Dublin Coddle - Onions and sausages and pepper, oh my! This savory Irish classic is easy to make, inexpensive and filling. Our favorite coddle recipe can be found here.
Posted in Tips and Tricks
Feb. 10, 2019

Love Your Home Today & Everyday!

Give your home a little TLC this Valentine's Day with these easy and inexpensive ideas to help transform your space for the holiday or anytime.

  1. Brighten Up a Room with Flowers or Greenery - It may be cliché to suggest flowers for Valentine's Day, but what is stopping you from adding splashes of color any time of the year with fresh or silk flower arrangements? And consider trying a living plant or two to help improve your indoor air quality. Spider plants are great options because they require very little upkeep and have an outsized impact on cleaning the air.
  2. Go Big with Art - You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on paintings or oversized photos to create drama and eye-catching walls when you expand your definition of art. Refurbished windows, wrought iron gates or fence parts can all be hung creatively on a wall to really liven up a room.
  3. Update Worn or Tired Rugs & Curtains - Pack up the old and unwrap the new for any space with updated curtain panels or a new throw rug. You'll be surprised how much impact these often overlooked accessories can have.
  4. Organize a Cluttered Spot - Everyone has a junk drawer or a closet that has gotten out of hand, don't they? Take 15 minutes a day to work on decluttering and organizing that space until the job is complete and from then on, every time you open that drawer or closet, a smile will light up your face at how much easier it is to find things.
  5. Enlighten a Room with a New Lamp - If your main lighting looks like it's circa 1980, you are going to be thrilled with how much updated lighting can transform a room. And don't forget to upgrade to LED bulbs for better energy efficiency.
Posted in Design Ideas
Jan. 9, 2019

Refresh & Reboot: Quality Reads for 2019

New year, new you? You’re already fabulous, but everyone could use a little self-care and personal enrichment, right? Here are just a few titles that might be of interest as you kick-start your new year no matter what business you're in.

  1. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is the top-rated personal enrichment book on Goodreads. The 396,346 people that rated it a 4.08 out of 5 are probably onto something with this book. It suggests simple changes to get your life on the track you want it to be on. 
  2. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by veteran coach David Allen, promises to show us how clear minds and organized thinking allows us to get more done. Who couldn't use more stress-free productivity?!
  3. You Are a Bada**: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life has a pretty amazing title and that gets it a mention on this list. But it's also a funny and charming guide to overcoming self-sabotage and blasting past your fears. 
  4. How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 15 million copies since it's release in 1936. It's easy to see why it's a timeless bestseller with the mountain of sage advice it contains for how to get people to like you and more importantly, how to get them to see things your way.
  5. Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time provides 21 effective methods for conquering procrastination and how to keep technology from dominating our time. It does not encourage frog eating, however.


Dec. 10, 2018

6 Holiday Activities In & Around St. Charles

Bundle up the family and friends and head out to one of these great holiday offerings in and around St. Charles!

  1. Christmas Traditions - The hands-down best fun for free in St. Charles during the holidays is to take a stroll along Historic Main Street and see all of the characters dressed up in period garb and fanciful costumes celebrating the season. Make it extra special and go at night to enjoy the lights!
  2. Celebration of Lights  - If you are a big fan of lights, O'Fallon's Celebration of Lights is sure to engage your sense of awe. Options for enjoying the mile long light display include walking, trains, carriage rides and drive through.
  3. Dan's Emerald Forest - This hidden gem in Overland is one man's epic holiday display that includes lights, trains, characters and more. Support the little guy who just wants to spread Christmas cheer!
  4. Polar Express Train Ride - Put on your pajamas and bring your family to this very special chance to to ride a real train to the “North Pole.” Christmas comes to life on a journey to see Santa Claus who is waiting with a keepsake present for every good boy and girl.
  5. Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park - Slowly meander among a million twinkling holiday lights fashioned into over 100 displays of holiday characters and festive scenes. Walk this display on Mondays, buy carriage ride tickets in advance or just drive through at $10/car.
  6. And a whole lot more! - This handy guide lists a TON of free holiday activities in St. Charles County. From an ugly sweater party to train displays to meeting Santa and his reindeer, this list is comprehensive and shows just how much our town loves to celebrate the holidays! Merry Christmas!


Oct. 8, 2018

Buying or Selling in the Fall? It's More Likely Than You Think!


Unless you have access to a crystal ball, waiting for the "right" time to buy or sell your home could end up costing you money. While traditional thinking might say spring and summer are the best seasons to jump into the real estate market, there are plenty of great reasons why fall is the sleeper season for home buying and selling. Here are four reasons to get off the fence about fall's real estate market!

  • Major Motivation: Where there are motivated buyers OR sellers, there are savings to be found. Since inventory is typically lower in the fall, buyers are motivated to act fast when they find something they like. On the other hand, sellers are often motivated by mitigating circumstances to list in the fall so pricing may be favorable to buyers.
  • Competition Calms: Because of that historical idea that fall is less appealing, competition can be a bit calmer for both buyers and sellers - and it can be a great thing. With fewer homes on the market, sellers' homes stand out more. With fewer buyers crowding the market, you might have a better chance winning a bidding war.
  • Colorful Curb Appeal: Autumn's colorful leaves, mums, pumpkins and wreath choices make for stunning curb appeal. 
  • Money Matters: From motivated sellers accepting a wider range of offers to end of year appliance sales, the fall housing market offers a lot of opportunities for saving money. Get in touch with your SRE Agent to pursue listing your home and/or finding you a new place to call HOME!


Posted in Tips and Tricks
Sept. 13, 2018

September Celebrations: Pepperoni Pizza, Pecan Cookies & Oktoberfest!

Did you know there's a National Pecan cookie day? Neither did we! September has a bunch of fun national days to celebrate and ushers in Oktoberfest. We've compiled a list of some of the fun national days and information for local Oktoberfests below. 

September 20th is National Pepperoni Pizza Day. The hands-down most popular pizza topping has it's own special day. Any day is great for pizza but be sure to "celebrate" the original pepperoni slice next Thursday!

September 21st is National Pecan Cookie Day. As if we needed a reason to enjoy pecan cookies! Missouri is having a bumper crop of pecans this year so be sure to have the ingredients on hand to make this yummy Butter Pecan Cookies on Friday.

September 25th is National Comic Book Day. Anything that encourages reading is a good thing and kids have been inspired to read by comic books for decades. Pick up a graphic novel and share the joy of reading with someone on the 25th.

Oktoberfest in St. Charles is September 28th - 30th. The last weekend in September is marked with giant steins of beer, lederhosen and oompa bands on the St. Charles riverfront. Our local German heritage is on full display and with the crisp fall weather, it's a great festival for the whole family. Kids rides, beer tents, live music, weiner dog races and of course, all the sausage (and other fair food) you can eat!

If you're in St. Louis, Illinois or just want to hit every Oktoberfest in the area, check out TripSavvy's list of the 7 Best Oktoberfest Celebrations here

Posted in For The Community
Aug. 9, 2018

"Treat" Your Dog on National Dog Day!

Ever since early humans domesticated wild dogs, these steady companions have proven themselves valuable beyond measure. Since 2004, August 26th has been celebrated as National Dog Day and to honor our canine comrades, we created this list of ways to take your love for the pooches to the next level on their dedicated day. 

  • Can You Say "Dog Party"?! - Most dogs love interaction with other dogs. It's great exercise and develops/maintains social skills. Invite your friends with dogs over and let them run run run! If you don't have a fenced yard or other suitable location to let the dogs roam free, take your dog to a dog park for the same effect.
  • Donate to a No Kill Shelter - Next time you're at the store, pick up an extra bag of dog food and drop it off at Five Acres Animal Shelter for their Animeals Pet Food Pantry. Collect older blankets and towels from home and donate those. Shop Stray Rescue of St. Louis' Amazon Wish List and help them with supplies for their trauma center. No matter what, make sure you rescue your next pet and not buy from suspect breeders or pet stores!
  • Car Ride! - Don't you love seeing a dog with their head hanging out the window of a car? Most dogs love car rides and with all the Great River's Greenways and the Katy Trail, there are great places to take your dog for a walk nearby. Just remember to take the scenic route so the hünd gets plenty of car time. And always remember, if it's over 70º F, never leave a dog in the car, even with the windows down.
  • Doggy Makeover - Get your furry friend a new collar and leash or get them a doggy spa treatment (yes, these exist!). Invest in training at your local vet and teach an old dog a new trick. 
  • Frame a Photo - Take your favorite photo of your pet, print it and frame it. And take video of them rolling in the grass or frolicking in the yard...dogs are gone too soon from our lives so these moments captured on your phone will be cherished!
Posted in Tips and Tricks