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New Year's Resolutions For Your Fox Valley IL Home

by The Rullo Team

New Year’s Resolutions for your home!  We all know that sticking to our resolutions is harder than we expect, but don’t let your home suffer.  Here are the most popular Home related resolutions and how to get them done!  Make this year the year you stick to and achieve all of your home resolutions. Best of all, these improvements will add great value to your Home.    

 

1. Rebuild the Deck

Are your decks looking old and grey?  Even more so than looking bad, old decks can be unsafe.  Even FEMA has warned about these dangers; especially poorly flashed decks, which can fall off of homes and cause bodily injury to you, your family or guests. Make needed repairs now.  

We recommend an annual 6-point deck check to identify problems you should address so that accidents don't occur. 


2. Seal Drafts

Homes get cold in the winter, especially if you have an older home, but newer ones have drafty area's as well.  However, there are simple ways to reduce these chilly home temps.  Cold air is very likely leaking in from several recognizable areas around your house (windows, walls, outlets).

Give yourself an energy audit. It’ll cost around $400 to have a professional come in, or you can do it yourself (see the video below).  The pros will provide you with a report detailing your home's draft problems, but will also include a cost-effective solution.

If your windows are in rough shape, but the frames are sound, then you can replace your windows (install high-efficiency replacement windows) for around $500-$600/piece. You’ll most likely want a professional to install these.

  

Lastly, consider Blown-in Insulation for your walls, which fills the stud bays of exterior walls with heat-retaining cellulose material.

 

3. Update Your Kitchen Cabinets

Tired, outdated kitchen cabinets?  Kitchen renovations are the most expensive home-improvement projects. But you can add value to your home with these simple budget kitchen-cabinet upgrades. Instead of spending a minimal $5,000 on new cabinets, you can save big and reface the ones you have for under $1,000. Other money-saving options include painting your cabinets and, swapping out your cabinet pulls and hinges for new ones.

 


4. Add Curb Appeal

Curb appeal can add 10%-30% more value to your home!! Bet you weren't counting on that!  Here are some of the projects to look at to add curb appeal: 

Install Storm Windows

Paint Your Exterior

Privacy in the yard

Motions Detecting Lighting

Lamp Posts

 

5. Upgrade the Walkway

If you are thinking of re-routing your walkway, there are several options.  Brick & Gravel can be done in a single weekend, whereas concrete is a little more involved but offers a longer lifespan. You can also add special features like a pond at the end of a walk-way or small flower garden. 

 


6. Go Green On Top

Green Roofs aren't that prevalent here in the Fox Valley, but many area's have gone more to the eco-friendliness of them. Here are the reason some people are trending toward the "Green Roof" Movement:   

They reduce storm runoff

Absorb pollutants, 

give plants more room to grow, 

Best of all… They lower heating and cooling bills by providing insulation. 

If your dream green roof is too complex to install, check out development kits.  Green roofing is getting easier every day.  


7. Basement Makeover

Just do it!  Whatever your dream basement is, do it!  This is the year.  Whether you want to make it into a chic Mom's relaxing area, man cave for Dad & the guys, a game room for the kids, or an Exercise Room to accomplish your New Year's Resolutions....This is the year to Finish your Basment and Add Value to your Home!  

 

8. Paint Your Interior

This is one of the easiest on the list.  Start with one room and build momentum until every room is freshly painted.  It will do wonders for your home. 

1. First, select the proper hues with the help of a color wheel. 

2. Then, get the right equipment for the job.

3. Brush up on the best painting techniques from the pros…hem hem, YouTube!

4. Finally, paint the rooms!

 

9. Get The Little Things Done

There are always a handful of small repairs and the list grows throughout the year, becoming more and more frustrating.  Just fix this stuff.  Now, do these first.  They are simple things and you will feel a lot better when you check these things off your list.  Then, let this momentum continue through the rest of your changes. 

1. Fixing your outlets, or changing over to new ones.

2. Patching holes in walls where pictures, shelves or other wall hangings used to be.

 3. Recaulking Bathroom & Kitchen Sinks and Showers.

Good luck to you and all of your New Year’s projects.  If you are fixing up your home to put it on the market in The Fox Valley, give the Rullo Team a call!  We’d be happy to assist you in getting your home ready to sell.

New Year's Resolutions Tips!

by The Rullo Team

HAPPY NEW YEAR FOX VALLEY!

 

Let's say you want to lose weight this year…or maybe you chose a simpler goal…say, eating healthy.  Maybe you want to spend less money on material things or spend more time with loved ones.  All very admirable goals.  Self-improvement, or at least the desire for self-improvement, is a shared goal amongst most Americans.  It’s why so many of us (an estimated 45% of Americans) make New Year’s resolutions.

***(Note that only one-third of Americans watch the Super Bowl)***

The good intentions are there, but only a small fraction of us actually achieve our intended resolution.  The University of Scranton research suggests that a small 8% of people attain their New Year’s goals.  So, why do so many people fail? Better yet....What are the secrets behind those who succeed? 

 

There are no shortage of studies on how the brain works, so many experts are attempting to explain the science behind why we make resolutions and more importantly, why we can never seem to keep them.   

 

One word: Simplicity 

Many people use the New Year to attempt extreme makeovers, both personally and/or professionally.

It’s a nice aspiration, but most of us have so many competing priorities in our day to day lives that this approach is destined to fail.Shooting for the moon can be daunting, so much in fact, most people fail to even launch! 

 

This year, try a different approach.  Simplify your resolutions, make your goals smaller and keep your list shorter.  When you accomplish one of these goals, you will feel satisfied, proud and in a far better position to accomplish your other goals now...and throughout the year! 

Setting simple attainable goals throughout the year is a much better approach than one huge, overwhelming goal. 

It’s not even the extent of the change that matters, but the courageous act of recognizing change is important and then working toward making it happen.  

Make it Tangible

Setting huge-ambitious goals is fun and can be really exciting…but they are much more difficult to attain, and when you see yourself coming up short, many times we get discouraged, frustrated …and then we give up. Keep your goals simple, rational, and most importantly attainable. Be honest with yourself…kind to yourself…and make this the year the year you finally achieve a New Years resolution.

The way in which we state our goals is important too. Many people have a resolution to lose weight…which is actually pretty broad and not as easy as it sounds. Instead of making your goal that broad, break it down into smaller goals; No potato chips, No fried foods, Eliminate Ice Cream. If you want to add a kicker, add in a short time frame for each of them in which you can measure your success; No fries for 6 weeks or Cut out Ice Cream for 4 Weeks. Once you find you can accomplish this… set another; No fried foods for 8 weeks. Simple attainable goals are the key to initial & ongoing success- regardless of the resolution itself.


Set goals you can really measure.  Strong, Clear Goals ensure Strong, Clear Results! 

We hope your New Years celebrations are fantastic and safe and best of luck with all your resolutions!  If your resolution is to find your dream home in The Fox Valley,  give the Rullo Team a call at 630.513.1771.  We'd be happy to put our expertise to work and help make your New Year's resolution come true!

Costly Home Selling Mistakes

by The Rullo Team

The Ten Most Costly Home Selling Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

Want to get the most money for your home?

Then avoid these costly mistakes.  

The past few years the American Real Estate Market has been marked with bad news, but it seems like most markets are have turned that around; Prices are increasing, there are historically low interest rates for buyers, and the approaching selling season seems promising.  

BUT

Before you list…do a little research first.  Knowledge is power!  To help you along, we have a list of the 10 most common sellers mistakes—avoiding these, can save you thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars!

1. Selling your home on your own

Attempting to sell your home by yourself is absolutely insane! You really do need the expertise of a professional. Don’t believe us?… Check the numbers, those won’t lie.  For instance, homes without representation remain on the market longer and end up selling at a lower price than those with a pro at the helm. Duh.  

2. Not Pricing Your Home Properly

Overpricing is bad! Under-pricing is bad.  These are costly errors on both ends.  It is absolutely critical to understand your market (another instance where professional expertise helps a lot) Rely on your Realtor, this is what they do!  Ask questions, let them guide you and always remember your success is their success.  They want you to do well and be happy! 

3. Neglecting Repairs

This is simple, you will lose money if you don’t remedy repairs before you list your house. It’s less costly to fix things ahead of time.  You don’t want potential buyers to see these faults during the open house!  They will obviously and rightly so, offer less or ask for credit back for the work that needs to be done.  

4. Refusing Tidy Up

Clutter kills deals. Declutter!  Everywhere!  It will help your home feel more spacious. Declutter the kitchen countertops! Declutter the overstuffed closets!  Declutter ALL of your shelves!  Literally, declutter EVERYTHING! It wont’t cost a thing and will have BIG benefits when it comes time to sell.  


5. Listing a vacant house

Nobody wants to see an empty house.  It makes buyers feel, well, empty.  Most real estate professionals agree that a home should be dressed or “staged.” 

Don’t worry, you don’t have to go out and buy new furniture. Use what you have.  If your furniture is being used in your new house, it might be worth making a small investment in a local staging company, it will pay off huge in the end.

6. Letting your ego get in the way

Don’t take negotiating personally.  This is a business transaction, one of the biggest of your life.  Escort your ego out of the room and let your head make the deal! 

7. Failing to complete a full set of disclosures

There are many sellers who lose a lot of money, simply because they were afraid to disclose their home’s imperfectionsBe upfront and forthcoming about all of your home’s issues. It will save you money and time, especially if the buyers end up uncovering problems themselves, AND THEY WILL.  Don’t hide anything!

8. Mistiming the sale

Even a sale that misses its schedule by one day can cost you tens of thousands in extra taxes. Don’t let this happen. Talk to your accountant in advance to determine if any long-term capital gains tax breaks apply, and then time your sale accordingly.

9. Overlooking extra expenses at closing

Home sellers burn thousands of dollars by not requesting and confirming a list of fees and expenses prior to closing. Review the estimated closing cost statements with your real estate agent before it’s time to hand over the keys. Then, request these fees in advance of closing day.

10. Using lousy photos

This is a big pet peeve of mine. Don’t expect to sell for top dollar if you’re using amateur iPhone photos in your listings.   More than 90% of all buyers start their home search online, so, make sure your home looks good online…This means A LOT OF GREAT PICTURES! First impressions are important, especially when selling a home.  You won’t get a second chance, so don’t skimp on your photos.  

Considering selling your home in The Fox Valley?  Want more tips on how to sell your home fast and for top dollar?  Give the Rullo Team a call at 630.513.1771.  Selling homes is our passion and we're really good at it; staying at the forefront of the Real Estate Industry.  Find out how our friendly agents, unique proactive marketing strategies, and one of a kind referral network can help sell your home FAST

Fox Valley: The Best Place To Raise A Family

by The Rullo Team

BEST PLACES TO RAISE A FAMILY IN ILLINOIS


The Fox Valley—also commonly known as the Fox River Valley—is a region centered on the Fox River of Northern Illinois, along the western edges of the Chicago metropolitan area and it is known for being a cultural hub in the region and being one of the best places in the world to raise a family.  The neighborhoods are safe.  The Schools are great and the community atmosphere can’t be matched. People take pride in their communities here and feel a responsibility to keep it a nice place to live, so it's no wonder why so many of the cities in the Fox Valley have made the list of 100 best places in Illinois to raise a family.  

Niche does lists!  It's just what they do... and we are used to making lists of one sort or another, but this one we are particularly proud of!  Niche named 6 Fox Valley Neighborhoods on their list of 100 Best Places to Raise a Family In Illinois!  Check em out below.  The complete Niche List can be found here.

 

#22 Campton Hills

Campton Hills is a small suburb in Illinois with 10,857 residents, it’s the 205th largest community in Illinois.  Home values here are very high in this decidedly white collar village.  We say decidedly white collar because 87.5% of the residents here are employed in white collar jobs, a community of managers, sales and office workers and other professionals.  A large number of residents also telecommute to their jobs; around 14.81% work from home, which is the highest rate in the country.   Campton Hills is a great place for families.  First of all, many families with children live here, making Campton Hills a place where both parents and children are more likely to develop social ties with other families, as well as find family-oriented services and community. There are good public schools here and a large population of college-educated adults, which provides an environment conducive to academic values. 

With regard to real estate, Campton Hills has a high rate of owner-occupied single family homes, which tends to reflect stability in local communities. 

Lastly, Campton Hills’ overall crime rate ranks among the lowest in the country, so it is one of the safest places to raise a family.

  

#26 Geneva 

Geneva is a medium-sized city with a population of 21,694 people and four constituent neighborhoods, Geneva is the 117th largest community in Illinois.

Geneva is another white-collar city, with 89.21% of the workforce employed in white-collar jobs, well above the national average. There are especially a lot of people living in Geneva who work in management occupations (16.49%), sales jobs (16.16%) and office and administrative support (12.41%).

Also of interest is that Geneva has more people living here who work in computers and math than 95% of the places in the US.

Geneva is one of the more educated communities in America, with a full 57.64% of its adults having a college degree or even advanced degree, compared to a national average across all communities of 21.84%.

The per capita income in Geneva in 2010 was $43,862, which is wealthy relative to Illinois and the nation. This equates to an annual income of $175,448 for a family of four.

Geneva is a great place for families with children because,well there are a lot of families with children here.  With regard to real estate, Geneva has a high rate of owner-occupied single family homes, which tends to reflect stability in the local community. Finally, Geneva’s overall crime rate is lower than average for the country.

Although the majority of commuting trips in the city are by private automobile, Geneva is somewhat unusual for a city of its size for having a substantial number of people who use public transportation. For a lot of people, the train helps to get to and from their jobs every morning, which benefits everyone in the Geneva area by reducing traffic and air pollution.  Go Geneva!

 

#41 St. Charles

St. Charles is very similar to Geneva, providing all of the same benefits and amenities.  St. Charles is also a medium-sized city located in the state of Illinois. With a population of 33,264 people and six constituent neighborhoods, St. Charles is the 58th largest community in Illinois.

Again, a white-collar city, with 87.60% of the workforce employed in white-collar jobs. A similar breakdown as Geneva’s popular jobs, there are a lot of people working in management occupations (15.41%), sales jobs (15.12%) and office and administrative support (14.11%).

Of the 25-and-older adult population in St. Charles, 46.09% have at least a bachelor's degree. The typical US community has just 21.84% of its adults holding a bachelor's degree or graduate degree.

The per capita income in St. Charles in 2010 was $44,322, which is wealthy relative to Illinois and the nation. This equates to an annual income of $177,288 for a family of four. However, St. Charles contains both very wealthy and the other side of that spectrum.

 

#43 Oswego

Oswego, also on the Fox River, is a medium-sized village with a population of 32,174 people and four constituent neighborhoods, and is the 64th largest community in Illinois. This city has become an own economic entity with a tenfold population growth in recent decades from 3,875 in 1990 to 31,036. The boom shows no signs of slowing: Oswego’s population is expected to reach 69,000 by 2040. 

Much of the housing stock in Oswego was built relatively recently, another indicator that the local Oswego economy is robust, and that jobs or other amenities are attracting an influx of new residents. The median household income is $95,032.

Oswego is neither predominantly blue-collar nor white-collar, instead having a mixed workforce of both blue-collar and white-collar jobs. 

The village’s good public school district and large population of college-educated adults is conducive to good academic values.  

 Finally, Oswego’s overall crime rate is lower than average for the country.

 

#56 Batavia

Batavia is another medium-sized city with a population of 26,394 people and five constituent neighborhoods, Batavia is the 83rd largest community in Illinois.

Batavia Home values are high, which makes sense for this predominantly white collar city.  Like the other’s on the list, Batavia is great for families.  There are a lot of families already there, so there is a strong community centered around the well being of children.  The schools are great and with college-educated neighbors, everyone tends to support education, because they understand the benefits it’s given them.  Batavia has some of the key features that families look for when choosing a good community to raise children.

 

#85 Elburn 

Elburn is a somewhat small village with a population of 5,661 people and just one neighborhood, Elburn is the 312th largest community in Illinois. Elburn has seen a significant amount of newer housing growth in recent years, which means that Elburn is attracting a healthy middle class and more jobs. For instance, the median household income is $81,667.

Elburn is another place with a mix of blue-collar and white-collar jobs. 

In addition, Elburn is home to many people who could be described as "urban sophisticates". Urban sophisticates are educated, wealthy, executives and professionals, who have urbane tastes in books, food, and travel, whether they actually live in a big city, or choose to reside in a small town. In big or medium-sized cities, urban sophisticates tend to frequent art institutions such as opera, symphonies, ballet, live theatre, and museums.

The Rullo Team is dedicated to serving your needs and to building strong, trusting, and lifelong relationships, one person at a time. If you are considering moving to the Fox Valley, call The Rullo Team at 630.513.1771 or Send an email, we'd be happy to share our passion for The Fox Valley with you, and help you and your family find the perfect home! 

 

The 12 Tips Of Christmas

by The Rullo Team

So, the only thing you really want for Christmas is a new Home!  Well, homes can’t really fit down your chimney, so forget about asking Santa, we’re here instead.  Here's a list of tips to help you whip your credit score into shape by Christmas, so you don’t have to rely on the big guy to make your Christmas dreams come true!  

Ok, you’ve been saving and scraped together a down payment, you’ve got a line on the areas top realtor (The Rullo Team for instance), but… have you checked your credit score lately?  If your score isn’t 620 or higher you may not even land the mortgage pre-approval, a crucial step in the home buying process.  So, before you go touring homes with your babe, consider these small gifts, which will no doubt have your credit score in tip top shape by Christmas. 

Credit Tip #1…

Check my credit score for FREE.  Here's a link to 

Ok, first, check your three credit reports.  You can do this free once a year.  This will help you spot and correct any problems you are currently unaware of.  

Credit Tip #2

Pay early!

Early payments cut down on the amount of interest on your debt.  They also reduce the chances you’ll overspend while Christmas shopping.  The last thing you want is to hurt your credit score by over shopping.  

Credit Tip #3

Freeze your credit reports.

ExperianTransUnion, and Equinox all offer consumers the option to prevent the release of your credit report without your consent.  This gives you control over who accesses your personal and financial information…BUT know that this may also interfere with or delay timely approval of mortgage applications.  

Credit Tip #4

Work with a credit counselor.

Even the best budgeters need some help sometimes,  especially if your credit reports hold a little less than satisfactory information.  A credit counselor can get you on the path to correcting these things… ensuring you don’t lose your dream home!

Credit Tip #5

Know the 5 golden factors that determine credit scores.

Kind of like a humble Kanye West, the perfect 850 credit score is extremely rare.  However, understanding these five factors and the way they are measured to determine your score can help you score better in your financial future.  

The 5 golden factors:

Payment History (35%)

Debt and Credit utilization (30%)

Length of credit history (15%)

New accounts and Inquiries (10%)

Diversification (10%)

Credit Tip #6...

Keep an emergency fund...of 6 months (or more)!

Savings equals security…living without an emergency fund is risky business.  Before taking on the responsibility of a mortgage, you should really have at least 6 months of income saved, which will shelter you from credit burning events like unemployment, increased cost of living, medical emergencies, and home or auto damage.  

Credit Tip #7

Review your budget weekly.

Google calendar, iPhone apps, or just an old fashioned calendar will help you keep track of bills, ensuring timely payment.  Remember, bills paid late, even just one, can lower your score several meaningful points. 

Credit Tip #8

Use technology...here are apps to help track your spending and budgeting.

Even better than a system to help pay your bills on time, is one that gives you the bigger picture of all your income and expenditures.  This will help fine tune your budget.  A few we are quite fond of: SpendbookMvelopesWallyYNABDollarbirdBillGuard, and Mint.

Credit Tip #9

Sell the stuff you don't need or use anymore...Hello Ebay!

A great way to get extra cash!  Sell the stuff that clutters your home and you no longer use.  This is a good way to pay off debt and/or start an emergency savings account.  

Credit Tip #10

Clip, Clip, Clip your coupons.  It's a start.  

Sure, it sounds old school and it is!  I remember my grandmother sitting at the kitchen table clipping away…but there is something to it.  You can save some serious dollars on simple things like toilet paper, soap and other life essentials.  Free money?!  Why not?  If you are buying these products anyway, who not spend a little less for it.  All of the nickels and dimes will add up, just try it.

Credit Tip #11

Use calculators to help get out of debt… here is a link to 11 of the best!

It’s a good idea to know exactly how long it will take to pay off credit cards and get out of debt.  Debt calculators can provide essential information and perspective to help you understand if you’re on track or need to tweak your plans again.  

Credit Tip #12

Protect yourself from identity theft.

When someone steals your identity, they can open accounts and amass debt in your name, which obviously hurts your credit score.  

These service alert you instantly, when a new account is opened in your name…or if there is suspicious activity.  In some cases, it will even alert users to positive or negative changes in their score.  

CreditKarma.com offers FREE monitoring, however, the pay services offer a lot more preventative features and more assistance if you identity is actually stolen.  

Hopefully these tips will help bring your Christmas Wish to life!  What better gift is there than moving into your dream home?!  If you are interested in any homes in the Fox Valley area please give the Rullo Team a call at 630.513.1771 We'd be happy to help make these Holidays special and help you through the process of finding and moving into the perfect home.  


*A special thank you to Gina Roberts-Grey of Realtor.com for the great advice!

Happy Howladays

by The Rullo Team

 Happy Howladays from me, Spike Rullo!

 

 Christmas is a very busy and fun time of year, and it's finally here! I love Christmas just as much as the next pup, but there are dangers for us little guys that you parents should know about while preparing and enjoying the season.

 

Did you know that most Christmas plants are very poisonous to us? They can even cause death! Particularly Holly, Mistletoe, Christmas cactus, Poinsettias and even the Christmas Tree. Did you know that pine sap mixed with water makes a very poisonous drink for us? We don't always know this, so make sure to keep the water stand securely covered.

 

Boy, we really do enjoy all the fun Christmas treats we get around the holidays! Make sure we do not get into any people treats though. People food, like chocolate, onions, raisins and alcohol can be fatal to us. Just one ounce of a 20-40 proof beverage can cause alcohol poisoning or coma in small dogs like me! So be careful and make sure not to spill or drop anything while preparing festive meals and celebrating.


Also, remember to move any wrapped food gifts out of our reach if under the tree. Our noses can smell right through those beautiful Gift bags and wrapping papers!

 

As cute as our little faces may be, please remember not to share your dinner bones with us after your yummy Christmas dinner. We may love them, but they can cause some serious health problems such as choking, internal punctures ,bleeding and in some cases even death! We will enjoy our own treats just as much, so give us one of ours when you sit down to eat. It will help eliminate the chances of you giving into our precious little faces.

 

It is also important to think about us when decorating. Tinsel is quite intriguing to us to play with, but it can be very harmful. It can cause strangulation, obstruction, internal cuts and abrasions. Be sure to vacuum after you decorate and make sure to watch us while you are putting everything up. Christmas lights are fabulous to look at, but can be harmful if chewed. We like the tree to be lit up, not ourselves. To avoid us chewing on the wires and getting burned or shocked, make sure to hide the cords under a covering or behind furniture.

 

We sure look adorable in our fabulous Christmas outfits! Be sure that we are not left unsupervised in them. Sometimes our playing can get us tangled up in our clothes and we can trip down stairs or we can even be strangled. Just make sure to keep an eye on us and never leave us home alone while dressed in our best.

 

Lastly, make sure that when you are celebrating, gifts are opened and the little ones are playing with their amazing new toys full of little parts, to pick up and keep track of those little pieces. We like to play too, but those pieces may be too small for us and we can easily swallow them by accident. That can give us a nasty intestinal blockage, gastric distress, or can even choke us. Not fun! We sure don't want that to happen.

 

Now that you all know everything there is to know about our safety this year, I am sure it will be a wonderful and safe Christmas for us and you parents. But,  just in case we get into trouble, here is the number to the ASPCA National Poison Control Center. 888-426-4435. It would be a good idea to have your local poison control or emergency vet number on hand as well, just in case.

 

Wishing you all a safe and Merry Christmas from Spike Rullo and The Rullo Team.

Top 10 Christmas Gifts For Fox Valley Dogs

by The Rullo Team


Are you looking for the pawfect gift for your furry friend this Christmas? For most of us, our pups aren't just our buddies, they are truly members of our families, and we want to pamper them at Christmas time just like we do the rest of our loved ones! So the Rullo team has sniffed out some bark-worthy deals and spectacular gifts that your dog will absolutely LOVE. Take a look:

Dog Cookies

Everyone else is eating cookies at Christmas, so why can't your dogs?  Well they can, just not our cookies.  Dogs really shouldn't have sugar, but there are many places offering homemade doggie cookies that are scrumticious (according to Spike).  Gifts like this pack from Exclusively Dogs offer treats with four different cookies in it, made especially for our perfect pooches! This one includes 1 package of peanut butter wafer cookies, 1 package of beef and liver bits, 1 package of vanilla sandwich cremes, and 1 package of cheese-flavored bones AND it even comes in festive packaging!

Browse more Exclusively Dog Items Here.

WXQ Winter Reflective Dog Jacket


Winter can be dangerous for our dogs. Sure, they have more hair than us (well most of us) but they are still susceptible to the dangers of freezing temperatures. It also gets darker earlier, making it harder to see them on the sidewalks, roads and even in our yards & parks.  Glare can be especially bad on wet nets, so this reflective fleece lined dog jacket is just what your pup needs.  It's waterproof, warm for snowy and rainy days, and it helps drivers see your pooch.  It's also available in a variety of sizes.  

Paw Protection

If your dog loves romping around in the snow, or if you live in a colder climate where snow is prevalent, chances are your dog comes in contact with a lot of sand and salt.  This does a number on your dog’s paws and can be very painful, sometimes leading to cracking and bleeding.  So here’s a tip from the Mushers.  Apply this cream to the bottom of their paws before a walk.  It forms a protective barrier over the paw, making each walk more enjoyable and protects paws from bleeding.   This method is often more tolerated by dogs than those protective booties.


Kurgo Loft Hammock-Style Car Seat Cover

Dogs who ride in the back seat make a mess, obviously.  It’s not their fault.  They shed, their paws get dirty, leaving trails of prints all over the seat.  But this doesn’t have to be the case.  No, the answer is not a crate carrier, that’s cruel.  Instead, try the Kurgo Loft seat cover. It’s really a gift for both of you.  It protects your seats and secures your dog safely in the back.  This one is reversible AND waterproof AND machine washable.

1 Foot Long Dingo Rawhide Candy Cane 


Everyone loves Candy Canes at Christmas…now your Dog can enjoy them too!  A foot long Rawhide candy cane.  This will definitely keep your pooch busy while everyone is opening presents.  

ChuckIt! Ultra Grip Ball Launcher


Playing fetch gets a little slobbery, or ALOT slobbery. If you know a dog who loves fetch, this ball launcher is a must. It saves your hands from slobber and gives you extra launching ability, sure to tire your dog out. 

Prima Pet Collapsible Silicone Food & Water Travel Bowl


It can be difficult to get your dog to drink adequate water. Especially while hiking and traveling. There are a number of travel bowls out there, but this one is our favorite. Perfect for hikes!  It’s collapsable, so it’s really easy to transport; throw it in a backpack or purse.  It also comes with a carabiner, so you can attach it to a leash.  Make sure your pet never goes thirsty, no matter where you are.

Find other Travel Bowls Here.

4-Legger Certified Organic All Natural Dog Shampoo


A good dog shampoo is hard to find. The pet store formulations are meh, okay, I guess…and human shampoo isn’t made for dogs. This organic shampoo uses rosemary and lemongrass essential oils, which will help deter fleas and ticks while leaving behind a fresh lemon scent. This is formulated as a mild cleanser, so it should be good for even the most sensitive dogs.

GoughNuts - Indestructible Dog Toys


One of the toughest dog toys available.  They guarantee it!  It's made from two solid pieces of rubber. Their goal is to provide the safest fun and most durable product possible.  In the case of the Tug Toy design, there are two rings to protect human hands and dog snouts. Perfect blend of function and play for your pet! There is a large selection of shapes and sizes, perfect for every dog.  

Petmate Water Bowl


If you come home to an empty water bowl, chances are your pup isn't getting enough water. This water bowl is convenient for you and healthy for your pet.  It'll take a 60 lb pit about 3 days to empty one of these.  If you're life is super busy this is an absolute must.  They come in a variety of sizes and will ensure your pet stays hydrated.   

 

You can also find some great food & gift options right here in The Fox Valley Pet Stores and online!

Have a wonderful holiday with your pets! Look for more holiday tips on our Blog and Facebook Page.

Christmas Tree Safety in the Fox Valley

by The Rullo Team

Christmas Tree Safety for Families in The Fox Valley

For many people it just doesn’t feel like Christmas until there is a tree in the house.  However, Christmas trees often present a few safety issues; around 200 home fires are caused by Christmas trees each year, some even resulting in serious injury or death.  If you think you’re off the hook because you have a fake tree…think again.  Even the fire resistant fake trees can catch fire if the temperatures are right.  

Below are some tips to help ensure your Holidays are burning bright....but in a good way, not with flames!

Choose your tree wisely: If you decide, like many people do, to with a lovely fresh pine tree, there are certain things need to look for;  The tree should be flexible and fragrant NOT dry and brittle. 

*Shake the tree and make sure it doesn’t lose too many needles, this is a good indicator that the tree is fresh.  Examine the bark and make sure there are no insects crawling around.  Lastly, and often an after thought, bring a tape measure and make sure this tree will fit in your home.  

Set it up right: Sounds simple, but there are things people overlook.  First of all, your tree should be at least three feet from any heat source, including fireplaces, vents, radiators, and even light fixtures! Make sure it is secured well and not in the traffic pattern of the house. Before putting your tree in it's stand, saw at least an inch off of the bottom, just like you would fresh cut flowers.  This will ensure maximum hydration, lowering the chances of your tree drying out. Most places who sell trees provide this service for you, but you have to ask.   

Light safely: Faulty wires from Christmas lights is one of the main causes of Christmas tree fires. Although our Christmas lights are much safer now than they have ever been, caution and common sense should still be demonstrated. Make sure your lights are working properly and meant for indoor use. You also want to check that there aren't any broken bulbs, because if the shunt is broken or cracked, your tree may be exposed to the heat from the filament. Also, a big "no-no"....don't overload your outlets, and NEVER, EVER USE REAL CANDLES in your tree! If you like the old fashioned look of candles in the tree, use the electronic version!  

Your Tree Gets Thirsty....Water Often: Sure the tree is going to come down soon, it may not seem all that important to keep it watered, but having a well hydrated tree makes all the difference in preventing  a fire. If you’re planning to keep your tree up for a while, don't forget to water in the New Year - almost as many Christmas tree fires occur in January as in December.  


Faux vs. Real  Christmas Trees

Most people have already answered this question  themselves, but for those of you still on the fence, here are some pros and cons of each to consider.

If your priority is minimum cost and maximum convenience, Faux Christmas trees may be the best way to go, especially since faux trees don't look all that "fake" anymore. You just purchase a quality artificial Christmas tree once and you will be set for years.

Most environmentally-minded groups advocate real over faux trees because they benefit local farmers (the great majority of trees currently come from farms and not forests), they are also 100 percent recyclable, and don't contain potentially harmful plastics or chemicals…all good things.

The whole faux trees are safer, hasn’t been proved, especially since most holiday fires are started by overloaded electrical outlets…in these cases, both types of trees are equally likely to catch fire. Even "flame resistant" artificial trees have been known to ignite if the temperature is high enough, and unlike real trees, they emit harmful toxins while burning.

Our Conclusion: Unless your wallet prevents you from buying a new tree every year, a fresh Christmas tree may be the best option, just make sure you take care when setting up and maintaining your tree and you will have a happy and safe Holiday.  

HAVE A HAPPY & SAFE HOLIDAY SEASON FROM ALL OF US AT The Rullo Team!

If you are interested in looking for a home in the lovely Fox Valley area, please give one of our experienced Team Members a call! We'd love to show you around this spectacular community. 630-513-1771.

 

Live Like You're On Vacation! Everyday!

by The Rullo Team

It’s true!

Quality restaurants, Quality schools, a historic riverfront and downtown, Award-winning parks and of course, friendly residents. St. Charles, Illinois, is one of a kind, thus it’s nickname “The Pride Of The Fox”, and all the residents here agree.  
 

We’re just an hour west of Chicago, tucked into the scenic Fox Valley. The Fox River runs right through our beautiful downtown and as such is one of the main focal points of the city, and our residents definitely know how to enjoy the water.  With award winning parks provided by the city, visitors can get in on the action too, enjoying many biking/hiking trails,  Paddlewheel riverboat cruises or one of the many city festivals. 

When you tire of the water, you can head right to our vibrant downtown area for some great local shopping and some of the best food around.  BUT  St. Charles is more than just pure indulgent enjoyment, we know how to work too, and so do our kids.  The school district is rated highly and makes "Best Of" lists every year, in fact St. Charles High Schools are ranked among the best in the state! ...and best of all, all these things are close enough to each other that daily commutes aren’t a hassle.  However, the best quality of St. Charles is the people.  A true community of friendly people with big hearts, as proven by the $10,000 recently raised for local families who need assistance…and this was raised in a single day!!!

Sound like the perfect place to live?...It is!

 

No matter what you’re looking for, St. Charles has it.  There is a large variety of homes here. Everything from $100,000 homes to giant mansions and condos in the millions.  There are town homes, senior communities, historic homes, and even farms, if that’s your thing, and many working farms that also provide fun family activities throughout the year.  


People come to St. Charles for the same reasons: Great Schools, Safe Neighborhoods, Great Neighbors, and a Great Lifestyle!

St. Charles is simply a Great Place To Live!

For more information on our wonderful city, give The 5-Star Rated Rullo Team a call 630.272.4310 or Visit our website. We're passionate about our City and would love to help you experience the joys of living in the the Pride Of The Fox Valley.

Geneva Christmas Walk

by The Rullo Team

GENEVA

CHRISTMAS WALK

DECEMBER 4 & 5

 

Tis the season to be jolly... especially in downtown Geneva! The festivities begin Friday, December 4th at 6 pm with the arrival of Santa Lucia, the first candy cane of the season, and Santa lighting the great tree – and continue with roasted chestnuts, strolling carolers, a live nativity and free carriage rides on Saturday and Sunday.

 

Santa's Hours

December 4
Friday: 6:30 – 9:30 pm

December 5 – 22
Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays: 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Saturdays & Sundays: 1:00 - 4:00 pm

Christmas House Tour

December 4 & 5

Local designers have decked the halls of five spectacular Geneva homes with boughs of holly and other innovative holiday decorations. Tour them December 4th and 5th and come away with ideas for your own home. It’s a festive way to kick-off your holiday. Not all homes are within walking distance of each other, so click on the link to the right for the map of this year’s homes.

Tickets are $30 each and may be purchased in person at the Geneva Visitor Center at 8 S. Third Street or at select shops in Geneva. Or, you can order them via phone at 630.232.6060 or by mail with our downloadable order form.

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