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Painting Your Own Home: Tips to Make the Process Painless

Young family painting the wall

Painting Your Own Home: Tips to Make the Process Painless

While it’s might seem easier to hire professionals to paint the house, but with a little research you can find the job is not as intimidating as it seems. With a few free days set aside and some preparation, painting one room (or multiple) is easily doable for anyone. Here are a few things to consider before you start.

Apply a Primer Coat

Preparation entails most of the painting process. It’s easy to become frustrated during the preparation stage, because prepping to paint can take longer than the actual painting component of the project.

Interior walls aren’t always perfect, and painting the walls is a perfect opportunity to fix those imperfections. If you’re using a putty or a filler to patch holes, the paint will react differently to those substances than it will the wall itself. The solution here is to prime your walls, so the new paint color has a uniform surface to adhere to. It’s one simple step that doesn’t seem like much, but could end up saving you a whole lot of work at the end of the process.

Factor in taping time

Taping up the room is tedious work, but will be worth it when you don’t have to waste time being ultra-careful or nervous when getting close to edges. Instead of trying to take the tape off while the paint is still dry, wait at least 24 hours for the paint to dry, and use a knife to slice the tape off at the edge. If the paint is still even a little wet or gummy, don’t continue. Make sure the knife is sharp enough and pull the tape away at a 45-degree angle, making sure not to rip the paint.

Set up with clean-up in mind

To protect floors, a drop cloth is a necessity. In some cases, cotton or canvas drop clothes can work better than plastic. Plastic drop cloths can be slippery and don’t easily stay in place, especially when ladders are involved. Any splatters or drips of paint that fall onto a plastic drop cloth won’t dry or absorb right away and can be easily tracked throughout the rest of your house. A canvas or cotton drop cloth will be more stable and will protect the floors better. Tape the edges of the drop cloth to the tops of the trim to protect both the floor and the trims from any splattering or dripping paint.

Work top down

Not only does it prevent drips from ruining anything you’ve already painted, but it keeps the walls and baseboards free of any dust or debris from sticking to wet trim. Paint the ceiling first, move to the walls and possible crown moldings. Only then should you move to any trims around windows or doors and finish with the baseboards. Not only will this keep a system in place to ensure there’s no questioning what’s been painted and what hasn’t, but it’ll keep things clean.

Check thickness of previous paint layers

Cracks on an exterior paint job don’t reflect the owner’s best intentions and should be fixed before the damage is too much to fix. Too thick of a layer of paint means that the paint might just be too heavy to stay, and will start to crack and to peel off. It loses its grip and can’t attach to the other layers of paint. In older homes, it’s likely that some of those layers of paint have lead in them, in which case you’ll need to look into how to remove it safely. The EPA has guidelines here. This could be the one step that requires you to outsource, if the layer of paint is extremely thick, because removing it completely (and correctly) will ensure the next coat of paint will attach correctly. Hiring a home washing company can help you identify these cracks in exterior paint as well. If anything, have the exterior of your home professionally power washed, so the paint will have a clean surface to adhere to.

Using these tips, ideally the house-painting process will be doable for anyone. Prepare yourself to set aside time for set-up, knowing that it will help when you’re done painting and ready to clean up. Instead of hiring painting professionals, save some money for decorating and tackle the job yourself.

Curious to know how much your Southern California home is worth! Get an instant report now! 

Bio: Matt Lawler is an Internet marketing specialist from Tempe, Arizona where he attended Arizona State University. Whenever he can step away from the computer, Matt enjoys playing sports, traveling and exploring the great outdoors. Follow him on Twitter.

Laura Key, REALTOR® Cal BRE 01908085 310-866-8422

Laura Key - the Ultimate Answer to All Real Estate Needs (Press Release)

Laura Key - the Ultimate Answer to All Real Estate Needs

In the world of cut throat competition and greed where every penny is considered precious, Laura Key uses her heart while doing business. The real estate specialist has decided to donate $100 in her client’s name after the closing of every deal.

Los Angeles, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/13/2013 -- Everybody has heard of real estate agents who brag about finding homes for celebrities, later using that as a tool to promote themselves and increase business. But, Laura Key is a REALTOR® with a difference, she is not only one of the most competent realtors that one can find around the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills area, but one of the very few realtors who has an inclination towards social service. 

She has decided to donate $100 to one of the five non profitable organizations in the area, every time she closes an escrow- that too in the client’s name! Inspired by the popular quote- “Charity begins at home, but should not end there.” By Thomas Fuller, she makes sure that she is fulfilling her social responsibilities and returning a percentage of what she takes from it. 

Making a business deal with Laura Key is one of the most convenient things to do. Unlike her competition, she is a professional who will provide her personal touch to understand every requirement that her client has. Her mobile application enables the users to find homes without having to compromise much on their busy lifestyles. They can find new homes or homes for sale from wherever at any given point in time. Her objective is to make sure that her clients have found their dream home where they can make memories at an affordable price. Her prices are genuine and the services that she provides are worth much more.

About Laura Key A prominent name in business for over seven years, Laura Key is a prominent name in the real estate business. She is a compassionate, enthusiastic and dedicated woman who will happily go the extra mile to make sure that her clients are satisfied with the outcomes of the deal that they strike with her. She understands that a home has a lot of sentimental value to the inhabitants and look at it as a place for solace, peace and comfort.

Media Contact:  Name: Laura A. Key e-mail id:  Ph. No.: (310) 866-8422 Website:

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Does HUD Offer Financing On Their Homes?

Buying a HUD Home is not as difficult as you may think! I have helped many people purchase their 1st Home from HUD! Call me today for more details about the process! or Visit my website to sign up for FREE HUD Listings!

HUD Home

HUD does not provide direct financing to buyers of HUD Homes. Buyers must obtain financing through either their own cash reserves or a mortgage lender. If you have the necessary available cash or can qualify for a loan (subject to certain restrictions) you may buy a HUD Home. While HUD does not provide direct financing for the purchase of a HUD Home, it may be possible for you to qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage to finance the purchase.

Los Angeles HUD homes, Buying A Hud Home, North Hollywood HUD homes, Westchester HUD Homes, Gardena HUD Homes, Northridge HUD Homes, Santa Clarita HUD Homes, Simi Valley HUD homes, Lemert HUD Homes, Compton HUD Homes, Lynwood HUD Homes, Hawthorne HUD Homes, Inglewood HUD Homes, Baldwin Hills HUD Homes, Playa del rey HUD homes, Marina del Rey HUD Homes, Santa Monica HUD homes, Lakewood HUD homes, Buying A HUD Home, Buying a Los Angeles HUD Home, HUD Trained Agent, HUD NAID agent

Are First-Time Buyers Being Shut Out?

Speaking from the trenches, I can honestly say it's hard to find buyers home right now.  There are multiple offers and investors who offer in cash! Yet, it's not impossible! Call me today for more info and insight on what you may be facing as a buyer! Laura Key 310.866.8422


Across the country, first-time home buyers have been putting in offers on homes, but many of them keep losing out.

One working mother says she’s put in 30 offers on homes in the $100,000 range in the Atlanta area, bidding $2,500 to $3,000 above the asking price, but each time she’s been outbid. “We have to be on top of the game and be able to drop everything and check out a house or it will be gone,” says another couple in Alexandria, Va. 

Tight housing inventories are playing a role. For example, in Boston home listings are down 57 percent and in Atlanta area home listings have dropped nearly 40 percent in the past year. 

Also, “investors have been pushing home prices higher faster than expected,” Diana Olick reports for NBC. “But the higher prices get, the more investors may get out, because they won’t be able to find such great bargains any more. That in turn will let regular buyers back in, even if they do have to pay a little more to own.” 

Source: “First-time Buyers Struggle as Home Prices Rise,” NBC (March 26, 2013)

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'Scarface' House On The Rental Market For $30,000/Month

"In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women." - Tony Montana, "Scarface" (1983)

And then you get the real estate.

Welcome to Tony Montana's American dream -- an almost 10,000 square foot"Roman Revival" mansion surrounded by palm trees and mediterranean gardens. The exterior of the home stood in for the "Scarface" gangster's mansion in Miami, Fla., but is actually located in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The 10-acre property boasts two fountains (indoor and outdoor), a swimming pool, tiled murals, a guest house and amazing views of the Pacific ocean. It also has four bedrooms, two full bathrooms and two partial bathrooms, according to the listing details.

The home hit the rental market at $30,000 a month, according to real estate blog Trulia. While it may seem like a jaw-dropping price, Trulia notes that the home's monthly rent had once been listed for a jaw-dropping $150,000, or $35,000,000 to just buy the whole thing. Compared to those prices, this deal is a steal.

Known as "El Fureidis" locally, the estate was designed by American architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and finished in 1906, reports Curbed LA. It unfortunately does not contain a sunken bathtub in the master suite, nor a living room mini-pool perfect for a dramatic death, but a gangster can still get comfortable here.

All they have to do is make the money first.

scarfaceLos Angeles Real Estate can be really interesting!  If you are ready to make your own history, give me a call and let's start the journey!



Unique Homes of the Word - Mexico City

The Nautilus

Unique Homes

Background: This seashell-shaped home was completed in 2006. The stone steps running along the shrubs lead to the front door, which blends into the mosaic façade.

Why It’s Unique: Architect Javier Sensonian practices what he calls “bio-architecture," a style that has led him to design buildings shaped like snakes, whales and several other creatures. The Nautilus was created to imitate a crustacean’s shell, and its cavernous interior is filled with vegetation and small trees. “It’s not common that you would see a home of this design ascetic," Koliopoulos says. “However, it’s very enlightening and something that we can all learn from.

A house is not a HOME until you make it yours!  Ready to create your masterpiece today? Call Laura Key at 310.866.8422 for a free homebuying consultation!

"Read more: Source: Popular Mechanics

Is Your Home in a Buyer's or Seller's Market

As the overall housing recovery gains steam, local market divergences are growing wider. That is because one overriding factor —faulty and fraudulent mortgage lending — brought the market down; it will take varied local and national market drivers — jobs, income growth, consumer confidence, increased lending — to bring it back.

And that is why certain markets remain buyers' markets and certain ones have fast become sellers' markets.

Online real estate marketplace Zillow, defines a sellers' market as not necessarily one where prices are rising, but one in which homes sell faster, price cuts occur less frequently and final sale prices are close to or greater than list price.

Zillow ranked the top 30 markets and found that the formerly hard hit markets in California, Arizona and Nevada now rank as the top sellers' markets, which may seem counterintuitive, until you consider who the buyers there are now.

"Much of that strength is driven by investor interest, as many distressed and non-distressed homes are purchased and transformed into rentals," says Stan Humphries, Zillow's chief economist, in the report. "This investor activity is contributing to very low inventory levels, which increases demand and helps drive up prices, particularly for less expensive homes in these markets."

Seller Market

The best buyers' markets are equally surprising, with Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia topping the list.

These markets are still plagued by distress, despite the fact that their foreclosure numbers were lower during the worst of the housing crash. Investors are a far smaller share of buyers, as these markets don't offer the sun and leisure opportunities that the sand states do. Home prices are still suffering in these markets under still-tough local employment conditions. All that makes them less desirable for buyers. Stricter mortgage lending standards are also likely playing an outsized role, since most buyers in these markets would be owner-occupants.

Buyer Market

The housing crash was the first fully national housing downturn in U.S. history. Usually housing downturns are local, spurred by some local phenomenon. Now that the overall economy is on the upswing, housing return to its roots and rises and falls on local factors again.

Source: CNBC —By CNBC's Diana Olick

Need to know how much your home is worth? Contact Laura Key today for a free Comparative Market Analysis!


Top 10 Legal Mistakes Homebuyer Make

Top 10 Legal Mistakes Homebuyer Make

  1. Not realizing that if you don't write a strong offer to purchase, the seller may reject or not respond to your offer.
  2. Not realizing that if you don't write a strong offer to purchase, you may lose the property to another more highly motivated buyer.
  3. Not realizing that, without a confidentiality agreement,  a seller need not treat your offer as confidential.
  4. Not understanding when a contract becomes legally binding.
  5. Entering into an agreemetn before checking title records, liens, and other thigns to ascertain whether the seller will be able to close escrow as scheduled.
  6. Not understanding the legal implications of loan and inspection contingencies, and other contractual provisions.
  7. Not obtaining a seller's disclosure.
  8. Not conducting your own inspections and investigations as the buyer.
  9. Not fully considering the legal, tax, credit and other ramifications of homeownership, especially co-ownership.
  10. Not properly handling a claim for property defects discovered after close of escrow.

Source: C.A.R. Legal Department (California Association of Realtors)

A good buyers agent will help guide you through this list and help you understand each and every one of them.  Contact Laura Key for more info: 310.866.8422 or

Remodeling’s ‘Value’ on the Upswing

Now that the housing market is back, home improvements are, too. And they’re paying off better than in years past. 2013 is shaping up pretty sweetly for home owners.

First, there were the home owner-centric tax benefits (energy tax credits, PMI deduction,mortgage debt forgiveness) that Congress and the President extended through 2013; and now, we’re seeing that our home improvement dollars are working harder.

After several bruising years, spending on remodeling projects is up and so too is your return on your remodeling dollars. The national average percentage recoup on all 35 projects in Remodeling Magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Report rose since last year. 

What a different story from 2012, when the ROI dropped in all but three categories.

The annual report is based on a survey that asks REALTORS® around the country to estimate what specific projects, from adding an attic bedroom to installing new windows, would recoup in their market at resale under current conditions.

Of course, what you recoup depends on the specifics of your project, your market, and when you sell. But the report offers a great bird's-eye view of project costs and returns.

So which projects offer the best value for the money?

Exterior projects like siding, window, and garage door replacements took seven of the top 10 spots in this year’s list.

Makes sense since REALTORS® always say curb appeal is half the battle when you’re trying to sell.

Although it’s not in the top 10, I was gratified to see that the backup generator project is up about 5 percentage points since 2012. One of our bloggers, Lisa Kaplan Gordon, invested in a portable generator last year after one too many storms and power outages, and despite the learning curve, she was glad she did. She had power when a lot of her neighbors didn’t; she even shared power.

Indoors, the top-10 projects include a minor kitchen remodel (involving cabinet refacingand new countertops and appliances), which recouped 75.4% nationally.

Kitchen redo aside, replacement projects, such as installing an entry door or new siding,tend to have a higher cost-to-value ratio than remodeling projects. But now that housing has turned a corner, home owners are stepping up their remodeling plans.

Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies saw 9% growth in remodeling in 2012 and predicts that trend will continue as more and more distressed properties are bought and rehabbed.

The housing group says interest in energy-efficiency updates will keep on trucking, too. It’s the one area where spending on remodeling projects rose during the recession. 

I’m betting the revived energy tax credit will add fuel to that trend.

By: Christina Hoffmann Published: January 24, 2013 •

Are Your Neighbors Friend or Foe?

Neighbors wage war every day over blocked views, loud noise, big and small annoyances. Do you have a good neighbor policy? How’s it working out? File this under No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: A Buffalo home owner sued her neighbors for cleaning up her littered patio without her permission. She said they trespassed and discriminated against her. A federal judge disagreed, and forced her to pay $107,000 in attorney fees. 

Think I’ll skip that neighborhood’s next block party.

I’ve been a home owner for 27 years and can think of no greater hell than waging war with neighbors. The idea of scurrying to collect my mail so I’ll avoid an angry couple next door makes me want to down a Xanax. 

So what do I do? I usually bend over backwards to keep the peace. 

Once, I hacked off the tops of my sunflowers because my neighbor complained they blocked the sun from shining on her tomatoes. 

For the past two summers, I’ve allowed a twangy lute to drown out summer crickets because another neighbor adds a mid-eastern soundtrack to his nightly pool parties. 

And I let it go when the couple across the street snuck into my yard and pruned my willow because they thought it blocked traffic sight lines around the corner. 

But I may be in the minority. These days, it seems like neighbor feuds are the rule, not the exception.

  • Former Seattle Mariners first basemen John Olerud finally won a long, unhappy battle with the minister next door to remove a Chinese pine that obstructed Olerud’s lake and mountain views. The neighbors had been great friends, and it seems a crying shame they let a pine tree rip them apart.
  • Sick of escalating fights over loud reggae music, a Tampa judge sentenced two feuding neighbors to monthly potluck dinners together. Maybe breaking bread will stop the fights: If it were me, I’d bring a taste tester before I bit into the tuna casserole.
  • Neighbors complained when a “starving artist” in East Hampton, N.Y., invited any and all tothrow a pint of paint on his house. The artist wanted a free paint job: What he got was angry neighbors worried about property values.

Can’t we all just get along, or at least get some perspective?

I’m not saying hack off sunflowers to avoid a fight — that just worked for me, and my flower-loving neighbor felt guilty for years. But some honest communication, or perhaps a little mediation, could keep your front yard from becoming a battleground.

Have you ever confronted a neighbor? How’d it turn out?

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon  Published: January 8, 2013