Team McClintock Tips

7 Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Home Cleaner Longer



Use humidity, a car product, and more wow ideas to save cleaning time. When cleaning your home, why not do it in such a way that’ll keep your home cleaner with less effort?

Here are 7 ways to keep your spring-clean fresh all year long:

#1 Use Humidity to Defy Dust

Low humidity levels cause static electricity. Not only does static attract dust, it makes it stick, so it’s difficult to remove. High humidity causes problems, too — it’s an ideal environment for dust mites. These microscopic critters are a double threat: They’re a common allergen, and they contribute to dust production. There are as many as 19,000 dust mites in half a teaspoon of house dust, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Yuck!

What to do: Keep your home’s humidity level between 40% and 50%. That’ll eliminate static while decreasing dust mite growth. 

Tip: About 80% of dirt in homes walks in from the outside. Stop dirt with a bristly doormat before it’s tracked inside.

#2 Apply a Car Product to Keep Shower Doors Scum-Free

You can eliminate soap scum build-up by coating your glass shower doors with a rain-repellent product made for car windshields. When applied to glass, products like these create an invisible barrier that causes water, oils, and debris (like soap suds) to bead and roll off.

What to do: Find this product anywhere that sells basic auto supplies. You’ll know it’s time to reapply when water stops beading on shower...

8 Ways to Get Rid of Awful Pet Smells That Turn Off Buyers

You probably only think you’ve eliminated pet odors. If your agent holds her nose, here’s how to get rid of the smell:

#1 Air Out Your House

While you’re cleaning, throw open all the windows in your home to allow fresh air to circulate and sweep out unpleasant scents.

Once your house is free of pet odors, do what you can to keep the smells from returning. Crate your dog when you’re out or keep it outdoors. Limit the cat to one floor or room, if possible. Remove or replace pet bedding.

#2 Scrub Thoroughly

Scrub bare floors and walls soiled by pets with vinegar, wood floor cleaner, or an odor-neutralizing product, which you can purchase at a pet supply store for $10 to $25. 

Try a 1:9 bleach-to-water solution on surfaces it won’t damage, like cement floors or walls. 

Got a stubborn pet odors covering a large area?...

Ask The Expert - July 6, 2018 - Summer Energy Saving Tips For Your Home

Southwest Indiana's #1 Real Estate Agent, Carol McClintock joins WFIE Channel 14 News' Midday with Mike host, Mike Blake to discuss home energy saving tips to try during the hot summer months on the Real Estate Ask The Expert segment. 

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Summer Energy Saving Tips

Conserving energy and saving money on utility bills during summer months may be easier than you think. In fact, some of these tips are so simple that you may be tempted to use them all year long. Here are some summer energy saving tips for you and your clients:

  • Serve refreshing no-cook suppers several nights a week instead of hot meals. In addition to conserving energy use, your kitchen will stay cooler without added heat from cooking appliances. Some menu ideas that don’t require a stove, oven or microwave include salads, fruit plates, sandwiches and cold summer soups such as gazpacho.
  • Take advantage of warm, dry weather and save electricity by line drying your clothes outside. Your dryer will get a break and your clothes and linens will smell fresh and wonderful.
  • Install solar powered exterior lighting. These lights harness their power from sunlight and don’t require electricity.   
  • Do some research and find out how much water your grass type and landscape plants actually need to avoid overwatering. You’ll conserve water, save money and avoid harming your turf and landscaping with too much moisture. To see how much water your grass and plants are actually getting from rain or from an automatic irrigation system, set small, shallow dishes around your lawn. During hot weather, it’s best to water early in the morning when evaporation rates are lowest. It’s also a good idea to mulch around plants to help minimize evaporation and lock moisture in.
  • Plant trees that provide shade to your home. Talk to your local nursery for advice on fast-growing trees that will thrive in your area.
  • Ceiling fans can help you stay cool and reduce air conditioning expenses.  You can...

7 Bits & Parts of a House Most New Homeowners Can’t Identify

If only homes were as user-friendly as a smart phone when you’ve got a problem. Need a ride? There’s an app for that. Food? That, too.

Need to stop your toilet from overflowing? Oops, there’s no app for that.

When it comes to your home, you’re your own best app. And if you want be a top-rated app, uh, homeowner, you’ll need to be able to identify these not-so-pretty (gross in some cases) bits and parts of your home.

(Truth: Even seasoned homeowners don’t have a clue about some of these.)

#1 Sewer Cleanout Vent

Sewer cleanout in a home yardImage: Lara Edge for HouseLogic 

OK, this doesn’t look so bad.

Well, gird your loins. This is the thing you need to find and open if your sewage pipe is clogged (often the case if you’ve got toilets and sinks overflowing or refusing to drain).

Use a pipe wrench to get the lid off, but prepare yourself because buildup can cause the sewage to spew out at you.

The sewer cleanout valve is typically outside the house, usually a few feet away from the foundation. It can be either above ground like in the picture above, or in a box below ground.

You’ll need this next item to undo the clog (or a plumber if...

The Heat Is On: 5 Sizzling Reasons to Buy a Home During Housing's Hottest Season

The days are getting longer. Ice cream truck jingles echo up and down the block. But the surest sign that summer is here? It just might be those "For Sale" signs popping up like dandelions in your neighborhood.

Yep, we're smack dab in the middle of the most popular time of the year to buy and sell a home. If you're thinking of starting your home search, your first instinct as a savvy shopper might be to stay away and wait for the weather—and the market—to cool down. Why battle the crowds and bidding wars if you're in no rush to move?

But there's no reason to sweat the idea of buying in the summer. In fact, there are some distinct advantages to making your way into the marketplace during housing's hottest season—as long as you can stand the heat of a little competition.

1. Prices aren't necessarily higher

"A huge myth about the real estate market is that homes sell for more in the summer and less in the winter. This is simply not true," says Dippy Chhina of Dippy Real Estate.

Let's be clear: Home prices do usually peak in June–August. And it's a seller's market in most areas. But other forces beyond the summer sun play a major role in a home's asking price, Chhina notes. They include the number of similar homes...

Staging Kids' Rooms To Sell Your Home

Getting your home ready to sell can be a source of anxiety, and understandably so. The idea of staging and cleaning an entire home and keeping it presentable for showings is daunting. But the hardest room to keep in pristine showing shape is, without a doubt, a child’s room. Your sweet little ones don’t really understand the process or why it’s important (or necessary) to put toys away immediately after use, and you can’t really blame them. Nonetheless, a properly staged child’s room can make or break a sale. 

Here are the best ways to make sure the messiest room in the house is seen in the best light, no matter what time of day it is.

No themes

If your children have a room that’s themed with Frozen, Transformers, or sports team decor, I recommend clearing the slate. A room without lots of distractions will help the new buyers (and their children) see themselves in the space. On top of that, it’s highly unlikely that the next occupant of the space will want exactly the same theme your child has chosen. You may get some kickback from your little ones on this, but focusing on what they want their new room to look like can help ease their irritation.  

Neutral paint and space

It’s not unusual for children’s spaces to be dripping in cheerful, bright-colored paint. Unfortunately these types of colors can be off-putting in photos and create a distraction. A coat of paint in a neutral color will do wonders to ensure prospective buyers can envision the space in a way that suits their lifestyle, not yours. 

Similarly, having a room that’s clearly staged for...

Ask the Expert - April 13, 2018

Southwestern Indiana's Top Real Estate Agent Carol McClintock joins Mike Blake on Midday with Mike on WFIE Channel 14. Carol is the Tri-State's Real Estate Expert and frequently appears on the Ask The Expert segment. Watch as Carol provides viewers some tips and tricks for cleaning your home this spring. 

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Spring Cleaning Guide: To-Do’s for Every Homeowner

Get a fresh start on the new season by giving your home a much-needed cleaning. From reorganizing to scrubbing surfaces, our guide will walk you through what you need to do to get your home clean this spring.

Ready to tackle your home’s springtime projects? Our handy guide breaks them down: Spring Cleaning & To-Dos (once-a-year tasks perfectly suited for spring), Exterior To-Dos (fix-ups and repairs for the outside of your home), and Room-by-Room Tasks (decluttering and cleaning tips for specific rooms).

Wash Your Windows
Be sure to pick a cloudy day to wash windows. "If it's too sunny, the cleaning solution will dry too fast and you'll have streaks," says Donna Smallin, author of Cleaning Plain & Simple (Storey Publishing). For a window-washing solution, Smallin combines 1/2 cup of sudsy ammonia (which is a specific type of ammonia), 1 pint of rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and 1 gallon of water.

Clean Sliding Door Tracks
Sliding glass door tracks probably aren't the first spots you'd think to clean, but you'll appreciate having done it before the outdoor entertaining season gets into full swing. Smallin suggests scrubbing the tracks with an old, dry toothbrush to loosen debris, then using your vacuum hose to remove it. Finish with a wet sponge.

Scrub-Down Sometimes Overlooked Surfaces
You may overlook these surfaces on a daily basis, but once a year, give your baseboards, door frames, and walls a good scrub-down. Wash them with a sponge and a squirt of dishwashing liquid mixed in a bucket of warm water.

Deep-Clean Your Home’s Carpets
To maintain a new carpet's warranty, you may need to have it cleaned professionally every 12-18 months, Smallin says. Otherwise, you can do it yourself by renting a deep...

6 Spring-Cleaning Secrets for Allergy Sufferers: Reducing Allergens at Home

Spring-cleaning season and allergy season coincide for many folks—call it a crazy coincidence, but it actually works out. Those spring-cleaning chores you already had on your list will help reduce allergens at home, too.
So if that springtime burst of pollen leaves you sneezing, wheezing, and wiping your nose well into summer, know that you can help ease your suffering. In addition to dosing yourself with weapons-grade antihistamines, there are things you can do around the house to lower your indoor pollen count. Here are six spring-cleaning tips to alleviate allergies, too.
1. Get an air purifier
"One way to reduce allergies indoors is with a HEPA air purifier. These will eliminate 99% of allergens in the air inside your home," says Dr. Christopher Thompson, a surgeon specializing in allergies at the Texan Allergy & Sinus Center.
Already have an air purifier? Remember to change or clean the filters regularly—most lifetime HEPA filters need to be cleaned every three to six months, and the charcoal prefilter needs to be changed every six. During peak pollen times, it doesn't hurt to err on the side of more frequent cleaning. And be sure to clean the filter outside rather than inside your home.
And once you get all that clean air in your house, you want to keep it that way. Keep doors and windows closed and everything else sealed up tight. There will be plenty of time to enjoy the balmy breezes after the trees are done spewing pollen.
2. Dust, vacuum, and mop oft-overlooked places
"Regular cleaning like vacuuming and mopping is a must to get rid of pollen, but don't forget to clean curtains and blinds," says Thompson. "Dust and...

4 Tax Deductions to Take Right Now Before They Disappear for Good

As you've no doubt heard, the U.S. tax code got an overhaul—so what does that mean for the 2017 return you're filing right about now? It means that this is your last chance to take advantage of tax deductions from the old tax code. Yikes!

So, if you aren't sure if you've milked every last drop of tax break goodness out of your returns, it's time to squeeze, hard.

To help you out, here's a rundown of four major tax breaks that are disappearing after this filing year, and how to take full advantage of them before they go bye-bye.

1. Home office

With the increasing popularity of telecommuting and working from home, the home office tax deduction is one that many people opt to take. If you're full-time self-employed, this deduction will continue in 2018. But for all you office workers who work in your "home office" on the occasional Friday? The gig is up.

"In 2018, for non-self-employed people, the home office deduction is going away entirely," says Eric Bronnenkant, CPA, CFP, and Betterment's head of tax.

So if you're a W-2 employee, start saying your tearful goodbyes to your home office deduction—but not after you've had one last hurrah filing your 2017 return. The home office deduction falls under what's called "miscellaneous deductions," and includes business expenses that are not reimbursed by your employer. Miscellaneous deductions can't exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income, but if you meet the requirements, you can take the deduction in 2017.

Here's more info on ...

5 Doable DIY Projects To Send Your Home Equity Soaring

A new front door has the highest ROI, not to mention the boost in curb appeal. You’re going to save money with DIY home improvement projects. Sure, everybody knows that.

But did you know how much? Cut professionals out of the equation and you can save half the cost of a project — or more.

What’s more, you get a great return on your investment. Meaning, the financial value you get out of a DIY project is much more than what you put in.

Here’s a rundown of some top money-saving projects, using cost and recovered costs data from the “Remodeling Impact Report” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

#1 NEW STEEL FRONT DOOR
Few replacement projects have as much upside as a new steel entry door. Not only will you recover about 75% of the cost of having an entry door professionally installed, but you’ll spruce up your curb appeal big time. Want proof? Ninety-six percent of homeowners responding to the “Remodeling Impact Report” say they are happy or satisfied with their new front door.

Of course, you’ll save even more if you tackle this project yourself. Know your door parts (jambs, threshold, stops) before digging in. You’ll be putting in a pre-hung door that includes jambs, so the old stuff has to come out. If you can, preserve the old casing (trim) that goes around the door. Otherwise, plan to buy new casing.

Read More: 5 Doable DIY Projects To Send Your Home Equity Soaring

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Fall Curb Appeal

It's going to be a beautiful weekend - take advantage of it and get your home in tip top condition!

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April Showers Bring May Flowers... It's Time to Check Your Crawlspace!

Carol says it's time to check your crawl space! With all of the recent rain, our Southwestern Indiana area has received in the last few weeks it's time for you to double check that your home is not being affected in an area you don't see all the time... YOUR CRAWLSPACE. Remember... April showers bring May flowers and wet crawl spaces...and mold and termites! If you need help remedying any of these issues, give us a call today and we will get you in touch with one of our trusted experts. Ask The Expert at 812-426-9020.

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8 Cleaning Tips and Tricks to Keep Things Cleaner Longer

Giving your home that fresh feeling takes some elbow grease, but these ideas make it easier to fight those dirty jobs faster and less often.

1.  Defy Dust

Trick: You can combat dust by adjusting your home’s humidity level.

The facts: Low humidity levels cause static electricity. Not only does static attract dust, it makes it stick, so it’s difficult to remove. High humidity causes problems, too — it’s an ideal environment for dust mites. These microscopic critters are a double threat: They’re a common allergen, and they contribute to dust production. There are as many as 19,000 dust mites in half a teaspoon of house dust, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Yuck!

Next steps: Keep your home’s humidity level between 40% to 50%. That’ll eliminate static while decreasing dust mite growth.

Tip: Make it easy to keep your household vents dust free. Remove and wash them once a year with mild soap and water. After they’re clean and completely dry, apply a liberal coat of car wax; then buff. 

2.  Keep Glass Shower Doors Crystal Clear

Trick: You can eliminate soap scum build-up by coating your glass shower doors with a rain-repellent product made for car windshields.

The facts: When applied to glass, products like these create an invisible barrier that causes water, oils, and debris (like soap suds) to bead and roll off.

Next steps:
 Find this product anywhere that sells basic auto supplies. You’ll know it’s time to reapply when water stops beading on shower doors. Keep in mind, windshield rain repellants were made to treat...

9 Easy Mistakes Homeowners Make on Their Taxes

Don’t rouse the IRS or pay more taxes than necessary — know the score on each home tax deduction and credit.

As you calculate your tax returns, be careful not to commit any of these nine home-related tax mistakes, which tax pros say are especially common and can cost you money or draw the IRS to your doorstep.

Sin #1: Deducting the wrong year for property taxes

You take a tax deduction for property taxes in the year you (or the holder of your escrow account) actually paid them. Some taxing authorities work a year behind — that is, you’re not billed for 2013 property taxes until 2014. But that’s irrelevant to the feds. 

Enter on your federal forms whatever amount you actually paid in that tax year, no matter what the date is on your tax bill. Dave Hampton, CPA, a tax department manager at the Cincinnati accounting firm of Burke & Schindler, has seen homeowners confuse payments for different years and claim the incorrect amount.

Sin #2: Confusing escrow amount for actual taxes paid

If your lender escrows funds to pay your property taxes, don’t just deduct the amount escrowed. The regular amount you pay into your escrow account each month to cover property taxes is probably a little more or a little less than your property tax bill. Your lender will adjust the amount every year or so to realign the two.

For example, your tax bill might be $1,200, but your lender may have collected $1,100 or $1,300 in escrow over the year. Deduct only $1,200 or the amount of property taxes...

12 Simple Home Repair Jobs to Lift You Out of Winter’s Funk

Winter’s doldrums got you down? Grab a screwdriver and a hammer and fight back with easy home repairs that’ll raise spirits and get your house ready for spring.


Accomplishments — even little ones — go a long way toward a sunny outlook. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy, quick home repair chores you can do when you’re mired in the thick of winter. For max efficiency, make a to-do list ahead of time and shop for all the tools and supplies in one trip. On your work days, put the basics in a caddy and carry it from room to room, checking off completed tasks as you speed through them.

1.  Sagging towel rack or wobbly toilet tissue holder. Unscrew the fixture and look for the culprit. It’s probably a wimpy, push-in type plastic drywall anchor. Pull that out (or just poke it through the wall) and replace it with something more substantial. Toggle bolts are strongest, and threaded types such as E-Z Ancor are easy to install. 

2.  Squeaky door hinges. Eliminate squeaks by squirting a puff of powdered graphite ($2.50 for a 3-gram tube) alongside the pin where the hinge turns. If the door sticks, plane off a bit of the wood, then touch up the paint so the surgery isn’t noticeable.

3.  Creaky floor boards. They’ll shush if you fasten them down better. Anti-squeak repair...

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