Don’t Forget to File your Exemptions by 12/31/12

by Diane Brooks on December 6, 2012

Don’t forget to file your exemptions by 12/31/12 if you purchased or refinanced a home. Check your property’s information on your County Tax and Assessment data website.  For a comprehensive list of deductions, visit


New on the Market in Indianapolis – Tanglewood Estates

by Diane Brooks on December 4, 2012

MLS #21206442


5029 East 69th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46220

Popular Tanglewood! Gorgeous .59 acre lot with mature trees & in ground pool. Spacious all brick ranch with gleaming hdwds. 3 bedrooms + a small study. Large great room is 31 x 13 & overlooks shady backyard. Abundance of natural light. Home includes all appliances, a newer dishwasher & sink. Master bedroom offers 2 closets.  Attractive slate entry. Home is well maintained. Large barn has a workshop with electrical outlets. Great for storage or woodworking. Fenced backyard. Come enjoy this friendly neighborhood. Contact Diane Brooks, F.C. Tucker, 317-590-1048


Awesome New Listing in Noblesville

by Diane Brooks on November 28, 2012

21490 Candlewick Dirve, Noblesville, IN 46062

Diane Brooks, F.C. Tucker Company, 317-590-1048

MLS# 21206073


Relax, the work has been done!  Beautiful and Stylish home on a lovely pond lot. Gorgeous fireplace with new tile surround & custom shelving, new carpet, new laminate, and bamboo flooring. New bronze light fixtures, fresh paint, newer furnace, water heater, and 30 year roofUpdated Master Bath. Large walkin closet. Stainless appliances. Attractive paver patio. Great fenced yard that backs to the pond. Extra Large storage shed. This home won’t be available long. We promise!


by Diane Brooks on November 8, 2012

10 ways to winterize your home — now

You’ll get a season’s worth of savings and peace of mind by taking a few steps in the fall to get your home ready for cold weather.

By Christopher Solomon of MSN Real Estate


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So you’ve pulled your sweaters out of mothballs and found your mittens at the bottom of the coat closet. But what about your house — is it prepared for the cold months ahead?

You’ll be a lot less comfortable in the coming months if you haven’t girded Home Sweet Home for Old Man Winter.

With the help of several experts, we’ve boiled down your autumn to-do list to 10 easy tips:

1. Clean those gutters
Once the leaves fall, remove them and other debris from your home’s gutters — by hand, by scraper or spatula, and finally by a good hose rinse — so that winter’s rain and melting snow can drain. Clogged drains can form ice dams, in which water backs up, freezes and causes water to seep into the house, the Insurance Information Institute says.
As you’re hosing out your gutters, look for leaks and misaligned pipes. Also, make sure the downspouts are carrying water away from the house’s foundation, where it could cause flooding or other water damage.

“The rule of thumb is that water should be at least 10 feet away from the house,” says Michael Broili, the director of the Well Home Program for the Phinney Neighborhood Association, a nationally recognized neighborhood group in Seattle.

2. Block those leaks
One of the best ways to winterize your home is to simply block obvious leaks around your house, both inside and out, experts say. The average American home has leaks that amount to a nine-square-foot hole in the wall, according to EarthWorks Group.

Professional Services

First, find the leaks: On a breezy day, walk around inside holding a lit incense stick to the most common drafty areas: recessed lighting, window and door frames, electrical outlets.

Then, buy door sweeps to close spaces under exterior doors, and caulk or apply tacky rope caulk to those drafty spots, says Danny Lipford, host of the nationally syndicated TV show “Today’s Homeowner.” Outlet gaskets can easily be installed in electrical outlets that share a home’s outer walls, where cold air often enters.

Outside, seal leaks with weather-resistant caulk. For brick areas, use masonry sealer, which will better stand up to freezing and thawing. “Even if it’s a small crack, it’s worth sealing up,” Lipford says. “It also discourages any insects from entering your home.”

3. Insulate yourself
“Another thing that does cost a little money — but boy, you do get the money back quick — is adding insulation to the existing insulation in the attic,” says Lipford. “Regardless of the climate conditions you live in, in the (U.S.) you need a minimum of 12 inches of insulation in your attic.”

Don’t clutter your brain with R-values or measuring tape, though. Here’s Lipford’s rule of thumb on whether you need to add insulation: “If you go into the attic and you can see the ceiling joists you know you don’t have enough, because a ceiling joist is at most 10 or 11 inches.”

A related tip: If you’re layering insulation atop other insulation, don’t use the kind that has “kraft face” finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier, Lipford explains, and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.

4. Check the furnace
First, turn your furnace on now, to make sure it’s even working, before the coldest weather descends. A strong, odd, short-lasting smell is natural when firing up the furnace in the autumn; simply open windows to dissipate it. But if the smell lasts a long time, shut down the furnace and call a professional.

It’s a good idea to have furnaces cleaned and tuned annually. Costs will often run about $100-$125. An inspector should do the following, among other things:

Throughout the winter you should change the furnace filters regularly (check them monthly). A dirty filter impedes air flow, reduces efficiency and could even cause a fire in an extreme case. Toss out the dirty fiberglass filters; reusable electrostatic or electronic filters can be washed.

5. Get your ducts in a row
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. That’s a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house. (Check out this audit tool for other ideas on how to save on your energy bills this winter.

Ducts aren’t always easy to see, but you can often find them exposed in the attic, the basement and crawlspaces. Repair places where pipes are pinched, which impedes flow of heated air to the house, and fix gaps with a metal-backed tape (duct tape actually doesn’t stand up to the job over time).

Ducts also should be vacuumed once every few years, to clean out the abundant dust, animal hair and other gunk that can gather in them and cause respiratory problems.

6. Face your windows
Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don’t have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, “They need to be updated to a more efficient window,” says Lipford.

Of course, windows are pricey. Budget to replace them a few at a time, and in the meantime, buy a window insulator kit, Lipford and Broili recommend. Basically, the kit is plastic sheeting that’s affixed to a window’s interior with double-stick tape. A hair dryer is then used to shrink-wrap the sheeting onto the window. (It can be removed in the spring.) “It’s temporary and it’s not pretty, but it’s inexpensive (about $4 a window) and it’s extremely effective,” says Lipford.

7. Don’t forget the chimney
Ideally, spring is the time to think about your chimney, because “chimney sweeps are going crazy right now, as you might have guessed,” says Ashley Eldridge, director of education for the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

That said, don’t put off your chimney needs before using your fireplace, Eldridge advises. “A common myth is that a chimney needs to be swept every year,” says Eldridge. Not true. But a chimney should at least be inspected before use each year, he adds. “I’ve seen tennis balls and ducks in chimneys,” he says.

Ask for a Level 1 inspection, in which the professional examines the readily accessible portions of the chimney, Eldridge says. “Most certified chimney sweeps include a Level 1 service with a sweep,” he adds.

Woodstoves are a different beast, however, cautions Eldridge. They should be swept more than once a year. A general rule of thumb is that a cleaning should be performed for every ¼ inch of creosote, “anywhere that it’s found.” Why? “If it’s ash, then it’s primarily lye — the same stuff that was once used to make soap, and it’s very acidic.” It can cause mortar and the metal damper to rot, Eldridge says.

Another tip: Buy a protective cap for your chimney, with a screen, advises Eldridge. “It’s probably the single easiest protection” because it keeps out foreign objects (birds, tennis balls) as well as rain that can mix with the ash and eat away at the fireplace’s walls. He advises buying based on durability, not appearance.

One other reminder: To keep out cold air, fireplace owners should keep their chimney’s damper closed when the fireplace isn’t in use. And for the same reason, woodstove owners should have glass doors on their stoves, and keep them closed when the stove isn’t in use.

Check out CSIA’S Web site for a list of certified chimney sweeps in your area.

8. Reverse that fan
“Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don’t often think of,” says Lipford. By reversing its direction from the summer operation, the fan will push warm air downward and force it to recirculate, keeping you more comfortable. (Here’s how you know the fan is ready for winter: As you look up, the blades should be turning clockwise, says Lipford.)

9. Wrap those pipes
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained, says Broili. In climes such as Portland, Ore., or Seattle, where freezing nights aren’t commonplace, you can install Styrofoam cups with a screw attachment to help insulate spigots, says Broili.

Next, go looking for other pipes that aren’t insulated, or that pass through unheated spaces — pipes that run through crawlspaces, basements or garages. Wrap them with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation, available at hardware stores. If you’re really worried about a pipe freezing, you can first wrap it with heating tape, which is basically an electrical cord that emits heat.

10. Finally, check those alarms
This is a great time to check the operation — and change the batteries — on your home’s smoke detectors. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them — older ones in particular — with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the “test” button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.

Also, invest in a carbon-monoxide detector; every home should have at least one.


House beautiful!  Stylish, bright and open, this home is a haven.  14 foot cathedral ceilings create an airy great room with views of the wooded lot behind.  An inviting sun room is the perfect spot for morning coffee.  The master is large and private, separated from the other bedrooms. The bath has a garden tub and separate shower. The dining room is large and defined by architectural columns.  Over 2100 square feet and a prime cul de sac setting.  It won’t last long!

MLS # 21202685 – Diane Brooks, F.C. Tucker Company – 317-590-1048


It’s Time to Fall Back

by Diane Brooks on October 29, 2012

Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour this weekend, November 4th. This is also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke alarms.


Electrical 101

by Phil Thornberry

We all know electrical defects show up on almost all inspection reports. Two things can help you deal with them more effectively: one, knowing when a particular rule went into effect, and two, the easiest resolution to a particular issue. Below are dates and resolutions to eight of the most common defects.

Non-grounded three prong receptacles:

Grounded receptacles were first installed in 1960. Any three-prong receptacle installed since that time should be grounded. If a three-prong receptacle was installed in place of a pre-1960 two-prong receptacle, there are three options. One is to change back to a two-prong receptacle. Two is to ground the receptacle (typically most difficult). Three is to install a GFCI receptacle at a reasonable cost if there is no ground available or if wiring was installed prior to 1960.

GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter): These are the receptacles with a test and reset button. They also come in breaker form.

Requirements are as follows:

1. Baths—1975

2. Outside—1975

3. Garage—1978

4. Kitchen—1987 (Within six feet of the sink)

5. Whirlpool tubs—1987

6. Basement—1987 (At least one)

7. Basement—1990 (All unfinished areas)

8. Kitchen—1996(All counters)
If any replacement or adding of receptacles is performed in these areas, the new receptacle should be GFCI protected. The fix for failed units or unprotected receptacles is simply to add or replace with a new GFCI receptacle or breaker.

Reverse polarity:

A polarized receptacle has one long prong opening and one short. They can be two or three pronged. The short prong should always be the hot side and the long, the neutral. If the receptacle is the polarized type, it should be wired as such regardless of age (non-polarized receptacles are no longer available). Correction is fairly simple.

The wire(s) on the left side of the receptacle should be moved to the right side and vice-versa.
Open junction box:

Junction boxes have required covers since they became available. If it’s there and open, it needs a cover.
Open splice:

Not since the 1920s and 1930s has any form of an open splice been approved. If an open splice exists, it should be enclosed in an approved electrical box with a cover.


Un-terminated wire:

An open-ended live wire was never approved (even if taped or wire nutted). All unterminated wires should be installed in an approved electrical box with a cover.

Oversized breaker to air conditioner or heat pump:

All manufacturers of cooling equipment install a rating plate on all units. This rating plate will have specific values for minimum and maximum sizes of breakers feeding the unit. Breakers should be properly sized so they can run without tripping the breaker and not damage itself if it starts pulling too many amps. In some cases the breaker rating is an odd size and may not be available over the counter. In such cases, an electrical supply house can order it. In Central Indiana, there is a specialty breaker distributor and most sizes and brands can be available the next day.


Aluminum wiring:

There are two categories of aluminum wiring; the 10- and 12-gauge wiring used between 1964 and 1975 and the larger gauges which are not a concern. If a house was built (or remodeled) from 1964 to 1975, it could contain the 10- and 12-gauge aluminumwires. This can be checked at the main panel and throughout the house at switches and receptacles. The problems that occur are typically at the connections. Overheating results from a reaction between the dissimilar metals and in some cases, improper installations. Proper installation requires that aluminum wire be one size larger than copper and the wire be wrapped around screws of devices (switches and receptacles). Connecting aluminum directly to copper wiring is also not allowed. If it’s determined that improper installation procedures were used or if overheating is occurring, steps should be taken to alleviate the problem.

There are three ways to rectify improperly installed or problem connections. One, replace aluminum wiring. This is expensive and typically not needed.

Remember most problems occur at connections. Two, install copper pigtails at all connections with an approved crimp connector (this is recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission). Three, replace devices (switches and receptacles) with aluminum approved devices. These devices are available through electrical supply houses. A qualified electrician should perform all electrical work.

Phil Thornberry is the president of Security Home Inspections, Inc. and is a licensed electrician. His office is located at

13277 N. Illinois

Street, Carmel, IN 46032.


Beautiful Home in Noblesville, 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath

by Diane Brooks on October 11, 2012


A Refreshing Change! A beautiful neighborhood & a freshly updated home. Spacious living areas including large bedrooms offer lots of natural light. New 16 inch tile flooring, granite counters & Blanco sink update the main level while a remodeled master bath creates a welcome retreat. Newly finished basement has a large flexible space for exercise, pool or for watching the big game. A sprinkler system & tankless water heater make life easier. The lovely large lot is bordered by evergreens. Come take a look!  To see more, click on this link.

Diane Brooks, F.C. Tucker, 317-590-1048


Discover Downtown with the New Indy Downtown App

by Diane Brooks on October 10, 2012

Indy Downtown App


If you’re headed to Downtown Indianapolis, this app is your one-stop-shop for all there is to do and see!

Indy Downtown, powered by Indianapolis Downtown, Inc., is  the official guide to Downtown at your fingertips.

A Nightlife category was recently added, making it easy to find things to do day and night.

The App has unique features including:
Hot Now: check out Downtown’s newest and best events and  promotions.

Find: you name it and we’ll find it for you Downtown!  See what’s nearby on a real-time map using  your phone’s GPS.  Looking for a place to  eat or park now?! You’ll find numerous options in seconds!  You can also search all Downtown destinations  including entertainment, performing arts, restaurants, shops, hotels, museums  and more.

Events: wondering what to do this weekend or even next  month? Indy Downtown has everything that’s happening, from sporting events and  concerts to festivals and  nightlife.

Latest: get up-to-date Twitter news about Downtown’s latest  trends.

Indy Downtown is Amazingly Always New; there’s always  something new around every corner.  This  app is your insider’s guide to all that’s happening in our vibrant, clean and  FUN Downtown!


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Moving can be Stressful!!!

by Diane Brooks on October 4, 2012


Learn how to create your entire moving budget, schedule your timelines, scope out locations, and how to work effectively with REALTORS®, moving companies and installers. View the Tips