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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Defend Your Home Against Its Worst Enemy: Water

Water is essential for your home’s landscaping, but is also your home’s worst enemy. Water damage can hit at the core strength of your house, eventually causing serious structural damage. As years go by a house's foundation wears down and water can seep into the walls and cause mold or dampness. If your basement has a water problem, or if it hasn't but you intend to finish the basement and you don't want your work ruined, it is well worth the effort to ensure the basement stays dry.

Preventing water damage is a whole lot cheaper than paying for repairs. Here are some ways to ensure that your home is defended from water.


Make sure your gutters are in working condition and not clogged. One downspout should not drain more than 35 feet of gutter. The downspout should drain water at least 3 to 5 feet away from your home’s foundation. Adding an extension on the bottom of gutter downspouts is another way to direct water away from the foundation.


The ground should slope away from the foundation of your home at least 6 inches over a distance of 10 feet. You can build up the grade around your home by adding a soil and rock (or sand) mixture. But make sure that you leave at least 6 inches of your foundation exposed for inspection, to get air and for any repairs.

Proper Grade

Flower Bed Design:

Make sure borders on flower beds have openings to allow rainwater to drain away from the house. Are you using wood in your landscaping? Stone or brick options are better for landscaping borders than wood. Damp wood invites termites and carpenter ants; plus, it causes mold and mildew.

Plant Choice:

Azalea Bush
Certain plants, shrubs, trees, and ground covers that grow very slowly will soak up more water than other species. Rhododendrons, azaleas, ornamental holly trees, and certain types of boxwood work best. If you know the foundation of your structure has moisture present, these types of plantings can help you control it naturally.

Landscaping Maintenance:

Trim them back trees, bushes, and shrubs: so there’s at least a body’s distance between the plant and your house, to promote airflow. Also, hard soil or mulch won’t let water drain slowly, so turn soil or mulch near the house yearly.


Install footer drain, French drain or a sump pump and check that it is functioning properly on a regular basis. Another option is to use a rain barrel to collect the surge of water when it rains and then slowly drain the barrel over the next day by having it hooked to a hose leading to a garden or flower bed. Air-conditioning units can also create unwanted water-logged areas. Consider extending your unit's drain pipe to direct extra water away from the foundation


Try to waterproof your foundation walls with a product such as Drylok or Xypex if you have minor, intermittent leaks. Drylok is a waterproofer not a water sealer. It expands as it dries to become part of the wall.

Check for Leaks:

Check for dark spots under pipes inside sink cabinets, stains on ceilings, toilets that rock, and of course drips. At least once a year, inspect your roof. Repair missing, loose, and damaged shingles. Repair any cracked caulking and check for leaks around flashing.

Don’t Depend on Insurance:

Did you know that regular insurance doesn’t cover flooding? Doing the above should help keep your home safe from water damage. If you live near any flood prone areas speak with your insurance representative about your options.

The Boehmer Team understands how important your home investment is. Do you have more home repairs and updates needed than you have time and money for? Maybe it is time to look for a new home. Visit to find great homes on the market today.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Buy Versus Renting a Home

The choice between buying a home and renting is often dependent on the marketplace in which you live as well as your current circumstances. Here is a list of factors that will help you determine what is best for you.

Do you plan on staying very long?

Those who plan on putting down some roots in a location for a while will fare better to buy, as any upfront fees will be spread out over many years. But if you’re not ready to commit to an area, think you might need to move in the near future, are considering a job change, or expect a pay hike or pay cut, renting may be a better choice.

What is the Economy Like?

The price of homes, rents and stocks can impact the outcome of when you decide to sell a home. Unfortunately, these are some of the hardest things to predict. But in general, even in down markets, a home is a good investment if you plan to stay for a while.

What is the Price of Rent?

What is the price of rent each month versus the cost of monthly mortgage payments? If you live in a city where making mortgage payments is less than rent, it is better to buy.  Currently in the St. Louis, MO area it is less expensive to make mortgage payments than to rent.


You can deduct mortgage interest as well as property taxes on your home at tax time. The higher your marginal tax rate is, the bigger the deduction. In addition, if you work from home you may be eligible to take deductions home office and a portion of utilities. Renters do not get this privilege.

Maintenance and Decor

If you live in a house, you can decide how to approach maintenance, either doing it yourself or picking your own contractor. Also you have creative control. Paint things how you like and hang as many pictures as you want.


Renters are paying their landlord’s mortgage and adding equity to their property.  When you buy a home you increase your degree of ownership with every payment. A general rule is that if you intend to stay in your property for at least five to seven years, the costs of purchasing the home are more likely to be offset by accrued equity and increased housing value. Enough equity in a home can be used as capital to make major purchases like funding a second home or your child's education.

Credit Repair

If you have bad credit it can be difficult to obtain a mortgage loan to purchase a home. However renting and making consistent on-time payments will help rebuild your credit.

Find a Home to Buy or Lease

We hope this article helps you make an informed decision on whether renting or buying a home is right for you. Search homes for sale and for lease in the St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri areas at our website,  

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Boehmer Team Welcomes Pat Bastunas To Their Award Winning Team

The Boehmer Team, the number one real estate team in St. Charles County and the number three team in the country for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, welcomes REALTOR Pat Bastunas to their team.

Bastunas, a previous Rookie of the Year for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties, will assist The Boehmer Team with residential transactions and client communication for smooth closings.

Top row: Kelly Boehmer, Linda Boehmer, Jacob Gould, Nancy Hitt, Pat Bastunas 
Bottom row: Joan DeSplinter, Sharon Henthorp
“I couldn’t be happier to have Pat join our team,” said Kelly Boehmer. “She is an excellent communicator and has extensive industry knowledge, both are of upmost importance when assisting people with one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives.” 

Linda Boehmer said, “Pat’s abundant industry knowledge and kind professionalism make her a great fit for The Boehmer Team.  It is a privilege and an honor to have someone of Pat’s caliber join our team!”

Bastunas will be joining award winning team founders Linda and Kelly Boehmer along with Jacob Gould, Nancy Hitt, Joan DeSplinter and Sharon Henthorn on The Boehmer Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties St. Charles County Office.

Pat Bastunas, REALTOR
“Being able to give my past and present clients the opportunity to work with some of the top agents in the country is a great honor, said Bastunas. “Having a strong partnership with the Boehmer Team, I look forward to building continued success in real estate as a team in a way that will serve my clients better than ever.”

Like Linda and Kelly Boehmer, Bastunas is a long-time supporter of The Sunshine Kids, a charity that assists children with cancer. Together they will continue their support for this great charity.

Bastunas, originally from Hazelwood, Missouri, currently lives in Lake St. Louis with her husband, Jason, their fourteen-year-old son, Tyler, and dog, Buddy. When not working in real estate you can find Bastunas cheering on Tyler at his select team baseball games or working in the garden.

Learn more about the team at:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Radon in Missouri Homes

What is radon and how does it affect my home? 

Radon is a chemical element (Rn). It is produced via the natural breakdown of thorium and uranium, their decay product radium, which creates its decay product radon. It is a colorless, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas that is considered a health hazard due to its radioactivity. 
Studies have shown a clear link between breathing high concentrations of radon and incidence of lung cancer. Thus, radon is considered a significant contaminant that affects indoor home air quality worldwide. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking.

How do you find out if you have radon in your home?

For Missourians there is a FREE RADON TESTING KIT you can order. Click the following link and fill out the quick form to receive your testing kit in 8-10 business days:

What if you find radon in your home?

If you have performed only a single test, the US EPA recommends a follow-up test before fixing your home. Radon levels fluctuate naturally and it is important to know if the initial test was an accurate assessment of your home's average radon level or whether the high levels could have been caused by unusual weather.

What if you discover radon and plan on selling your home?

If you are involved in a real estate transaction, the EPA recommends fixing the house prior to sale if the average of your original and follow-up tests are 4.0 pCi/L or higher.

How to mitigate radon in your home:

  1. Hire a qualified licensed residential radon mitigation contractor.
    You can find a list of qualified licensed residential radon mitigation contractors for Missouri at:
  2. Do it yourself:
    To install a DIY radon system requires a variety of skills and some very special knowledge. Yes a radon mitigation system is really quite simple by design, but a poorly installed system could actually make your level worse. Here are a list of books to help you install a home radon mitigation system correctly:    

Find more information on radon in Missouri at This site contains county levels, inspectors, mitigators and more. Or talk to The Boehmer Team about their preferred radon inspectors for your area.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How To Get The Best Price For Your Home

Determining how to correctly price a home for sale is one of the most important factors in selling a home. Statistics show that setting the correct market-determined price the first time will ultimately achieve the best sale price. To find the best price for a market an impartial evaluation of recent market an experienced REALTOR should perform activity.

Why shouldn’t I price my home high at the start then go lower if no bids come in?

Putting a home on the market at a price that is over market value in hopes that a buyer will fall in love with your home and be willing to pay anything is a strategy that rarely works. This type of buyer is extremely rare. Buyers generally want the most home they can get for as little money possible.

Pricing a home correctly the first time captures the momentum a new listing has in the marketplace.

New listings are exciting to homebuyers who have been looking and know what is on the market. If they see your property and find that it is overpriced for the market, they may mark it off their list and move on. Incorrectly priced properties will lose this new-listing excitement among buyers as time goes on.  Marketing time for your home will become prolonged as the initial marketing momentum is lost.

Pricing a home correctly will bring in more potential buyers.

If a home is overpriced compared to the market, fewer buyers will be attracted and fewer offers received. The property will attracts lookersand will help competing houses look better by comparison. If a property does sell above true market value, it may not appraise, and the buyers may not be able to secure a loan. Or, the property may eventually sell below market value due to market stagnation and price reductions. 

So how do you correctly price a home for sale?

An impartial evaluation of market activity is the most effective way to estimate a propertys potential selling price. Experienced REALTORs use a Comparative Market Analysis that takes the following into consideration:
·      Properties that have sold in the recent past show what buyers in the market have actually paid for properties similar to yours.
·      Properties currently on the market that will be competing with yours for the attention of available buyers.
·      Properties that failed to sell should be studied to understand why they did not sell as to avoid similar disappointment.

Pick a real estate agent based on reviews and experience, not how much they will initially price your home.

When trying to win your listing some agents may be tempted to offer an unrealistic initial sales price to get your business. These agents know full well they will have to reduce, reduce, reduce – the wrong strategy.   Speak with The Boehmer Team before listing your home. They are highly reviewed, awarded and experienced agents that know the market well. Even if they need to recommend repairs or staging services, the Boehmer Team knows how to get the most for your home sale. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

3 Natural Ways to Rid 3 Common Midwest Insects From Your Home

With the emergence of warmer weather come the bugs. They are climbing out of their hibernating spaces and looking for a summer home – in your house! But don’t fret; there are several easy and natural ways to keep common Midwestern insects out of your home.

Three Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ants

  1. Cleanliness. Food dropped on floors or dripped down the side of an appliance will attract ants. Wipe down spills and sweep the floors. Avoid leaving out uncovered food or dirty dishes.
  2. Salt. According to James Mouyassar of 2 Nice Guys Pest Control, “use the same rock salt you use to de-ice your sidewalks in the wintertime and make a perimeter around your home along the foundation to keep ants away.” Note: this method will kill any plants the salt comes into contact with. Use a cup with a pour spout or something similar to help spread the salt with more control and less strain than maneuvering a heavy bag.
  3. Orange oil. 1.Citrus oils like orange, lemon and grapefruit contain d-limonene, which is toxic to ants. Spray a mixture of the essential oil and water along their entry points to mask their scent trails or add the citrus oil to a cotton ball and wipe windowsills and doorsteps. Note: Be sure to test any areas you don’t want stained as some orange oil sprays have an orange tint.

Three Natural Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

  1. Do not leave molded fruit out.  2.According to Todd Schlenke, assistant professor of biology at Emory University, "Fruit flies spend their whole lives searching for the smell of rotting fruit, then get in through cracks in the door or however the smell is getting out of your house." A brown banana peel won’t cause fruit flies by itself but fuzzy or molding fruit will. If you notice any fruit that is molding dispose of it immediately.
  2. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Create a trap by covering a jar with a tablespoon or two of vinegar with plastic wrap. Hold the plastic wrap down with a rubber band. Punch a few small holes in it. The flies will go in and not be able to come out. Dump when gross.
  3. Red wine. A potential cause is also a potential solution. Fruit flies love the smell of wine. So leave an open bottle of red wine out with a little wine in the bottom and the insects will fly into the bottle and not be able to fly out.

Three Natural Ways to Get Rid of Spiders

  1. Peppermint. Spiders despise the smell of peppermint. 3.Spray your area with a mixture of peppermint oil and water to keep spiders at bay. Your home will smell great too! 
  2. Vinegar. Already seen a spider in your home? Similar to peppermint, you can make a mixture of vinegar and water and spray your area, particularly in the cracks and corners. Note: This also works for ants as it destroys the smell of their trail and will help eliminate stragglers. 
  3. Dusting. Literally dusting away the cobwebs and cleaning in the corners is needed to keep spiders from settling into your home. Go over the corners of the ceiling and floors with the hose attachment on your vacuum at least once a month.