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Jim Drader
2005 Valparaiso St
Valparaiso, IN 46383

Thinking of Buying a Home? Get My Free Guide

Buying a home is a complex decision with many factors to consider.

Make the process easier for yourself by asking for my free guide, "10 Easy Steps to Buying a Home."

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Bread and Butter Pudding


•   10 thick slices of bread
•   3 eggs
•   3 cups full-cream milk
•   cup extra-fine granulated sugar
•   1 tsp vanilla extract
•    butter


Preheat oven to 320F and grease an ovenproof baking dish. Spread both sides of your bread with butter and arrange them in the baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla extract until well combined and a little frothy. Pour this over the bread in the baking dish and allow it to stand for three minutes.

Place the baking dish in a deep baking tray, and sprinkle the dish generously with sugar. Pour hot water into the tray so it comes up to about halfway up the sides of the baking dish, and bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes. The pudding is done when the top is golden brown and crispy, but it gives a little wobble when you shake the dish. Let it stand for 5 minutes, and then serve warm with vanilla custard.

Recipe by Lynn Enchante

Ask the Agent

I think my house needs a fresh coat of paint before I put it up for sale. Where should I apply the brush to make my home look attractive to buyers?

Repair blemishes: If you've got cracked or peeling paint, you'll certainly want to repaint before you put your house on the market. Tired paint makes buyers think the house hasn't been well maintained.

Tone down your color scheme: While the colors in your home might appeal to you personally, it's important if you are selling your home that they appeal to the widest market possible. So that means avoiding bright, unusual colors and changing colors that were fashionable a few years ago but now look dated.

Types of paint: If you have imperfections in your walls, choose a paint with a flat finish, as this will conceal them. Make sure you use washable paints in bathrooms and kitchens - an interior flat enamel is good for this.



Is Condo Life for You?

Condo living often elicits images of carefree weekends sitting beside the pool, but there are some pros and cons to consider before making a purchase.

1. The Lifestyle Itself: One of the biggest advantages of condo living can also become a disadvantage. The sense of community, amenities and other features that originally attracted you to a community may change as your needs and desires change. Make sure you select a condo that truly reflects a lifestyle you will love.

2. Shared Responsibility: A condo association establishes many rules and regulations - typically by majority vote. Likewise, maintenance and repair costs are also shared by members. Things can get dicey when individual members are at odds with the majority. Examine your willingness to abide by rules, regulations and associated expenses to be adopted by the community.

3. Privacy and Autonomy: In some instances, condo living can resemble apartment living with less space and individual autonomy. To make the most of condo living it's essential for residents to remain involved in the decisions and activities of the community. Those with a need for privacy and autonomy may feel more comfortable with single-family homes or other housing alternatives.

4. Still a Need for Repairs: Many major repairs and maintenance items are taken care of by condo associations, but not all, so condo owners aren't completely off the hook. Condo owners should set aside a little time to take care of routine repairs and interior maintenance on their units.

Simple Steps for Spring Cleaning Without the Stress

Spring is the perfect time to clean up your home and lighten the load of everyday maintenance. But with so much to do, the task can seem overwhelming. Try these simple tips to spruce up your home and brighten your outlook:

Clear the Clutter

Put a box or two in the center of every room and then clear the clutter from closets, cabinets, the garage, garden shed and other storage areas both inside and outside the home.

Wash the Doors and Windows

Doors and windows take a lot of abuse, so it's no surprise they tend to build up dirt, grime and unsightly stains. Begin by removing curtains and blinds for a deep clean, and then tackle tracks, screens and sills with a gentle solution. Tough stains around doorknobs may require a quick touch-up of paint, but the results are worth it.

Floors and More

Rent a commercial-quality carpet-cleaning machine or consider having a professional do the job for you. Either way, it's important to clean the carpets and upholstery in preparation for spring. Research shows that humans lose an average of seven pounds of dead skin each year, and most of it ends up in carpets, the couch or other fabrics.

Breathe Easy

For the ultimate spring clean, be sure to include the air vents, ceiling fans and central air filters. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, homes that have been sealed tight over a long winter are prone to air quality problems that can make asthma, headaches and allergies even worse.

Picture credit.

The Story of Daylight Saving Time

Spring ahead and fall back. It’s a little ditty that’s been used for nearly 100 years to remind people which way to turn their clocks twice a year. But daylight saving time (DST) is often misunderstood. Benjamin Franklin is usually given credit for creating DST, but the idea was actually presented by William Willet, a house builder in London, England. The concept never gained acceptance during his lifetime, but it was finally implemented during the First World War to save coal. The United States and other nations soon followed suit but only on an optional schedule, which led to some confusion. In 1966, Congress ended the confusion by requiring that DST be implemented uniformly, although Arizona, Hawaii and Indiana still opted for their own systems. Today, more than 70 nations recognize DST, including most industrialized nations except for Japan. In most states, DST begins this year on Sunday, March 14. Critics argue the additional hour of daylight results only in confusion, people being late for work and missed appointments, while advocates cite the positives to be derived from energy savings, as well as health benefits from increased exposure to sunlight.


Seniors: The Latest on Reverse Mortgages

Seniors who are at least 62 years of age and want to buy a new home can obtain a reverse mortgage and purchase a residence at the same time.

However, because of depressed home prices, since Oct. 1, 2009, borrowers who obtain reverse mortgages get 10% less than they would have before that date.

That change compensated for an estimated $800 million deficit in home prices. And now there are rumbles of even more reductions.

Reverse mortgages enable people 62 or older to use the equity in their homes and receive lump-sum payments, periodic checks, a line of credit or a combination of the three.

Lenders are repaid from the sale of the home when the borrower dies or moves. The maximum reverse mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration has been raised to $625,000 from $417,000. Origination fees are capped at $6,000.

The lender can never force senior homeowners out of their residences as long as the property taxes and the homeowners insurance are kept current and the property is maintained.

Recorded like any first mortgage, reverse mortgages mean that the residence cannot secure any other financing.

But if there is a small mortgage balance, such as less than 25% of the home's market value, the borrower can still probably qualify by using a reverse-mortgage lump sum to pay off the old mortgage.

Because most senior citizens own their residences free and clear or with a small mortgage balance, this is usually not a problem. However, a mortgage balance over 40% of the home's appraised value usually makes a reverse mortgage unavailable.

Greedy prospective heirs often discourage reverse mortgages because they feel their inheritance is being spent. Others encourage their senior citizen parents to obtain a reverse mortgage to enjoy their "golden years" in financial comfort.

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.