Sunday, November 30, 2014


Create a quick entryway by lining a wall with a long bench and wall hooks. Use baskets underneath for storing shoes, scarves or sports equipment.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sweet dreams

Turn your master bedroom into a cozy retreat by supplementing overhead lighting with bedside lamps. 

Soften the glow with warm -- spectrum bulbs.

Friday, November 28, 2014

You did what to that fireplace?

Brighten up a brick fireplace with several coats of crisp white paint.  Balance the look with a rustic wooded mantel topped with colorful art and trinkets.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

This is our next project

For a splash of vintage charm, transform an old dresser into a custom vanity for your bathroom. Repaint it and replace hardware for an updates look.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pine Cones to decorate?

Decorating with nature is fun ---- and free!  

Drop a few pine cones in a hurricane vase, or artfully arrange pebbles or seashells on a ceramic tray.

Monday, November 24, 2014

How to Chose a Basement Repair Contractor

How to Chose a Basement Repair Contractor

Choosing a basement repair contractor is different than choosing almost any other kind of contractor because both the underlying causes and the real repairs are hidden by the ground, walls and floor. In most cases it will take some time before the quality of the repairs are tested. Therefore, this is very much a faith and trust business. You should check carefully on the experience, integrity and ability of the contractor.

  1.  Visit the contractor's office. Sometimes it is no more than an answering service. For references, take names of previous customers at random from his file.
  2.  Ask to see a job in progress to evaluate the competence of the workmen and their equipment.
  3. Resist all scare tactics. Repairs are seldom of an emergency nature.

Reliable contractors welcome careful investigations.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How To Prevent Basement Problems - Outside

How To Prevent Basement Problems - Outside

Many homeowners are not aware that basements require a certain amount of maintenance if they are to remain trouble free. Here is a list of items for outside and inside your basement that you should check twice a year - preferably in spring and again in fall.

Outside the basement maintenance checklist

Grading: If water runs towards your walls rather than away, it can wear out the original waterproofing, or create more pressure than the walls can take; causing cracks. So, in the spring and fall check around the entire perimeter of your home (especially behind the shrubbery) and fill in low spots with soil. Concrete pitched toward the walls should be re-leveled or replaced.
Gutters and Downspouts: Clean leaves out of the gutters and downspouts. Seal leaking joints. Extensions and splash blocks should carry water at least four feet away from the walls. Downspouts that empty into the underground cast iron receivers should be tested with a water hose to make sure they are not plugged or broken.
Window Wells: Clean all debris out of window wells. There should be 18" of #1 washed stone in the bottom of each window well for drainage. If the original stone packed with dirt, dig it out and replace it. The edges of the wells should be tightly fitted to the walls and the ground around them raised so the rain and melting snow run away.
Sump Pump Discharge: If you have a sump pump pipe discharging on the ground make sure it carries the water far enough away from the walls. If it discharges below the ground, make sure connections don't leak and are not in danger of freezing in cold weather.
Trees: Roots from nearby trees can creep through the ground in search of water and grow right in to drain tile or create undue pressure on the walls. Willow tree roots for instance can travel in the ground four times the width of it's canopy. Consult an experienced landscaper or the County Agricultural agent when in doubt about the danger posed by trees or shrubs in your yard.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

How to prevent basement problems - inside

How To Prevent Basement Problems - Inside

Many homeowners are not aware that basements require a certain amount of maintenance if they are to remain trouble free. Here is a list of items for outside and inside your basement that you should check twice a year - preferably in spring and again in fall.

Inside the basement maintenance checklist

Sump Pump: Make sure it pumps. Also, make sure that the water level is at least 8 inches below the top of the basement floor so the drain tiles drain properly. Poor drainage from the drain tile can result in plugged tile and leaks.

Palmer Valve: In some homes where the drain tiles meet the floor drain you will find a Palmer Valve. This is a valve -like door that only opens one way. It allows water from the drain tile in to the floor drain. Sometimes it can stick, causing water to back up through floor cracks and around the edges. Check to see that it is working freely or have your plumber do it.

Wall Cracks: All residential basements have some cracks which are perfectly normal and are a result of original settlement and/or shrinkage of construction materials. These cracks may have a tendency to open and close slightly with the changes in temperature and are no cause for alarm. However, any horizontal crack in a concrete block wall is a result of a wall's inability to withstand external forces. Many of these walls require reinforcement that should be done by a professional.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How to Save Energy in Your Home

How to Save Energy in Your Home

Fall is upon us and in the months generally known for colder weather, keeping our homes warm is a top priority. Even in those geographic regions where the mercury doesn't drop below 50, knowing your home is not losing energy is a relief when you spend your hard earned dollars keeping your home warm or cool.
Saving energy in your home is not a difficult process. There are many easy free and low-cost ways to save energy and money on your heating and cooling bills. Listed below are some steps you can take in your home to help conserve energy and save yourself some money in the process:

Install A Programmable Thermostat:

Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and costs you more money than any other area or system in your home. Heating and cooling makes up almost half of your utility bill, so knowing how to eliminate energy waste when it comes to heating and cooling will save you money each month. By installing a programmable thermostat you help to automatically adjust your home's temperature to when you've programmed, which helps it stay warm (or cool) when you need it to be.

Seal Air Leaks:

A home is rarely air tight, and checking for air leaks is a great way of determining where warm or cool air could be escaping and adding money on to your energy bill. There are a number of areas where air escapes: windows, doors, electrical boxes, ceiling fixtures, attics and more. You can help reduce or eliminate leaks by caulking and/or weather-stripping doors and windows, installing foam gaskets behind outlets and switch plates, or using foam sealant on larger gaps around windows and baseboards. Taking the time to find air leaks and fix them will help save you money and keep your home warm or cool.

Improve Insulation:

Heating and cooling make up the majority of your energy bill, over 50 percent, so knowing your home is insulated properly can help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Checking the insulation in your home's attic, walls, floors, and ceilings will tell you how much air is flowing between the inside and outside of your home and help you determine the best way of controlling the temperature inside. One important place to look for insulation is your attic – a well-insulated attic can help slash your heating and cooling bills in both the winter and summer months by helping to maintain indoor temperatures and seal air leaks through your roof.

Install Efficient Windows:

Window glass is not known for being very thick, and single-pane windows are notorious energy loss culprits. One option is to replace current windows with storm windows. Storm windows "reduce temperature loss by sealing leaks and creating a dead airspace between window panes" ( Storm windows can be expensive, but their return on investment is about 10 years, which is relatively short. Another option, if installing new windows is not feasible, is to cover windows with transparent material to help improve insulation. This site has great techniques on conserving energy in your home by implementing winter window treatments.

Conserve Water:

Using less water benefits you, your water bill and the environment. When you use less water, you also use less energy needed to heat the water. The Department of Energy lists water heating as the third most energy consuming function in a home. To help conserve water, you can take shorter showers and be conscious of the water used when washing dishes, food and clothes. When running the dishwasher or the washing machine, make sure the machine is filled to capacity to save water and energy on extra washes. You can also save energy by lowering the temperature on your hot water heater. The Department of Energy says 120 degrees is sufficient for most household uses. You can also save water and money by installing water-efficient fixtures and appliances throughout your home.

Turn Off Electronic Devices:

Do you leave your coffee maker plugged in when not using it? According to the US Department of Energy, "In an average home, 75 perfect of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off." This is called a "phantom load," or the energy appliances or electronics use when not turned on. You can minimize phantom loads and save on your energy bill by unplugging appliances and electronics when not in use, or plugging them into a power strip and turning the strip off when not using the appliances or electronics

Change Out Light Bulbs:

One cost-effective technique for saving energy and money is replacing the traditional incandescent light bulbs in your home. There are a number of options available that will help you save energy, and some offer longer life and greater savings than others. From halogen incandescent bulbs, to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), to light-emitting diodes (LEDs), each bulb has its benefits. Halogen incandescent bulbs are energy-efficient incandescent bulbs and can last up to three times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. CFLs last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and are extremely affordable. LEDs are becoming more and more popular and their prices have significantly dropped in recent years. LEDs use 20%-25% of the energy traditional incandescent bulbs use, and LEDS can last up to 25 times longer, some even being touted to last up to 25 years.
You also have the option of performing a home energy audit. An energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment, assesses how much energy your home consumes and helps you evaluate the best measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient. There are a number of options for home energy audits, from Do-It-Yourself audits, to professional audits that include blower door tests, thermographic inspections and PFT air infiltration measurements. Find an option that best suits your needs, wants and wallet and discover how you can make your home more energy efficient and save yourself some money.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

veteran : dog tags on flag font

Veterans Day 2014

Never forget the sacrifice that was and is made on our behalf.  Never!!!

Freedom is not really free.  There was a price to pay and those who continue to put their lives on hold for the safety and beliefs of others is beyond the call of duty.

To all of you who have served.  Past, present and still to serve tomorrow, 
We Salute You!

And for all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, 
You Are Not Forgotten.

Thank you each and every one of you.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Home for sale in Oconomowoc Wi - 1318 Christopher Ct

Just went into MLS today --- $219,000 in City of Oconomowoc

Approximate monthly payment w/taxes is $1335.35 with an FHA loan

This home is warm and charming. A 3 bedroom ranch,1.5 bath,2.5 car garage home is beautifully remodeled and loaded with amenities. Spanish tiled natural fireplace in main level family room, large open living room and dining room, many built in's, hwf in bedrooms, professionally remodeled lower level. Have your own theatre room!

Spacious and private backyard and patio with beautiful landscaping. Kitchen appliances and home warranty included.
Washer and dryer negotiable with good offer. Water softener rented. Built in desk with above cabinets included. 

Roof 2006, soffit and facia 2013, windows 2100, furnance/ac 2010, stove 2012, dishwasher 2008, garage door 2008, lights 2007

Wanna see it tomorrow? I have a feeling this one won't last long either!

Call us for a showing

Wisconsin Living and Real Estate in Waukesha County Wisconsin, Lisa Bear 262-893-5555: I feel like I want to do this........

Wisconsin Living and Real Estate in Waukesha County Wisconsin, Lisa Bear 262-893-5555: I feel like I want to do this........: The One Red Paperclip Project On July 12, 2005 I posted a picture of a red paperclip on my blog and in the barter section of craigslis...

What you need to know about well water

Property Transfer Well Inspections

What every REALTOR® needs to know about new DNR well water testing regulations.

By: Liesa Lehmann
A fourth of Wisconsin’s citizens drink water drawn from private wells. Wells can be safe, dependable sources of drinking water if sited properly and built correctly. Since protection and maintenance of a private well is the responsibility of the well owner, buyers may want to know the well’s condition or the drinking water quality when a property is for sale. State law does not require a well inspection or any water testing for a property transfer. However, if a well and pressure system inspection is part of the real estate transaction, several regulations do apply.

What’s required for the well inspection?

NR 812, the state’s well code, provides the regulations that apply to property transfer well and pressure system inspections effective October 1, 2014. If a well inspection is done as part of a property transfer, it must be done by an individual who is a licensed well driller or a licensed pump installer. The inspector will visit the property to conduct a visual inspection of the well and pressure system, looking for features that do not comply with state well code. The inspector will not remove the cap or otherwise enter the well, so the results will be based on what is observed. The inspector is required to take samples of the well water and have them analyzed for bacteria, nitrates and arsenic by a certified laboratory. The inspector is also required to search the property for any unused wells that may not be properly filled and sealed.

Inspection results

The inspector is required to provide results on a DNR form that clearly indicates whether the well and pressure system are in compliance with state well construction standards. If the inspector notes on the form that a well or pressure system has one or more known noncomplying features, this means the inspector believes there is a component of the system that does not comply with standards. Since the DNR does not have a role in the property transfer transaction, any decision on whether to bring the system in compliance is between the buyer and the seller.
The inspector can provide advice on how to bring the system into compliance. An inspector may also attach inspection notes, well construction reports or other documents to provide additional information to their client, such as the well performance or pump yield.

Sampling results

The certified laboratory will send the water sample test results to the person requesting the inspection. If a lab reports a well water sample as bacteriologically unsafe or at-risk, or reports nitrates levels above greater than 10 parts per million (ppm), or arsenic levels above 10 parts per billion (ppb), the well owner is encouraged to consider not drinking the water until they assess the health risks. A licensed well driller or pump installer can provide advice on options to treat the water, or determine whether a new well could provide safer water for the long term. DNR brochures provide more detail on contamination sources, health risks and options for well owners:
  • Bacterial Contamination of Drinking Water Wells. 
  • Nitrate in Drinking Water. 
  • Arsenic in Drinking Water. 
To view these publications, visit

Why is testing for nitrates and arsenic now required?

Nitrate, along with bacteria, is considered an acute health risk. Testing for bacteria and nitrates are the most commonly required drinking water tests for public and private systems nationally. Nitrates are a growing groundwater contamination issue in Wisconsin.
Arsenic is considered a chronic health risk. Once thought to only be in eastern Wisconsin, arsenic has recently been found in groundwater in other counties throughout the state. The Education Subcommittee of Wisconsin’s Groundwater Coordinating Council (GCC) — a group with representatives from state agencies, the UW System, and the Governor’s office — identified the importance of more widespread arsenic testing several years ago, and forwarded this information to the GCC for consideration. Requirements for both nitrates and arsenic sampling were recommended and added through the formal rule revision process, to provide buyers and sellers with more information about the quality of private well water.

Additional tips

If a well inspection contingency is part of your transaction, here are a few tips to help with the property transfer:
  • Schedule the well inspection early to allow time for inspection and sample analysis in advance of closing.
  • Make sure the inspector is a licensed well driller or licensed pump installer and reports results on the required DNR form. 
  • If the inspected well has a noncomplying feature, ask the inspector for recommendations on how to bring the well into compliance with state code.
  • Find out if the lender has requirements that go beyond DNR regulations.
  • Share information about private well ownership and drinking water quality with buyers and sellers.

For more information

Other records such as well construction reports and groundwater quality data are available using search tools on the DNR’s website. If a buyer requests a well inspection as a condition of purchase, the WRA has resources available to help you ensure the inspection meets requirements.
Visit the DNR’s Web pages for more details on the following topics:
Liesa Lehmann is the Private Water Supply Section Chief for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater. She can be reached at 608-267-7649 or
Published: November 05, 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Are you running to or from?

Life is a marathon... not a sprint.

I was in Chicago the other day and met a young man who was telling a story about his travels to the windy city from Boston.  He was trying to tell everyone that they too could take a long weekend and experience some of the thrills life has to offer. 
During our conversation I found out that he not only travels domestically in the States but also in other countries.  He does this while being a full time student.  When I asked how he was able to fit all of this in he simply replied, "Because I wanted to."  When you dissect that phrase it can only mean one thing.  You can do anything you feel is important to you.  Nothing is out of reach. You simply need to plan and do.  Sounds easy, doesn't it?  Well, it is.  We stop ourselves from doing most things in life.

Life is long time until there is no more time.  We need to spend as many of those moments making memories as we can.  I once read a list of items an old woman put on paper while reflecting her life. All of them were items that she wished she would have done.  Many of them were very simple, such as:  eating more ice cream, walking barefoot in the grass, laughing more and the list goes on.  She listed over 20 of those, "Wish I would have done" items.  It was too late for her.  

Don't let time work against you.  You can do just about anything that you want to do.  If you feel that you cannot afford a hotel in a new city, try youth or elder hostels.  They are scattered all over the country and they afford you to take those weekend trips and enjoy the moment.   Plan for your flight and you can save hundreds of dollars on that ticket.  Or, drive if the destination is close at hand.

The important thing to remember is that we cannot blame any thing or any one later in life if we did not fulfill our dreams.

Don't find yourself writing a list of I WISH I WOULD HAVE'S when you are older.

Go make a memory.

I am.

Larry Stanul

Residential and Commercial Real Estate Consultant
Associate Broker
                       Re/Max Realty Center in Wisconsin 
                                    357 Wisconsin Ave.
                                Oconomowoc, WI 53066

Can you reach new heights in 2015?

It is sometimes very evident that while we think we are achieving our goals, we are merely going through the motions that have gotten us through life to this point.  We never really stretch for that star.  The stars are limitless... so why isn't our achievement? 

In order for any one, including myself, to achieve more than they think they can one must push the envelope.  Stretch to point of breaking.  Success is measured in so many ways and for each of us it is something different.  No matter what makes you feel successful you can reach for that star and achieve so much more than you ever thought possible.

In order for this to happen, you need to think BIG.  Think differently.  Change your paradigm.  Several large corporations put together a goal for their company and decided to hire individuals who were not experienced in the product of service they were trying to market.  They did this so that someone who did not have the blinders of experience restrict their vision.  In other words, lets think about this from an entirely different point of view.  What better way to do this than to hire individuals who did not really know the product or the market the product was trying to reach.  Now, I am not saying that we need to place all of our emphasis on non-experienced people.  Just some of them.  When they add their ideas to the mix, so much more happens with the outcome.  

As an individual once said, if we didn't have new ideas, we would still be driving the Model A Ford.  No need to change it.  It works just fine.  Your watch is another example.  Until the space program, we had 21 jewel watches that were cumbersome, heavy and also needed annual cleaning in order for them to run efficiently.  Now, we never even give our watch a second thought and it is more accurate and more attractive than ever before.

Just how high are you willing to go this coming year.  2015 can be another year just like 2014, or, if you set your mind to it, could be a year that you soar to new heights. 

Trust me... you will be very please with the results.

See you at the top.

Commercial and Residential Real Estate Consultant
Associate Broker
Re/Max Realty Center in Wisconsin
357 W Wisconsin Ave.
Oconomowoc, WI 53066