Whether you’re married or not, buying a house together can feel like the biggest commitment of your relationship
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.
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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.A.Key@gmail.com www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hf7vgVU_IGs&w=420&h=315] Did you know most people choose a Realtor by spinning the wheel of fortune? When you are buying a home, you really should take the time to interview agents to help your buying experience the most enjoyable as it can be.
Did you know not all agents work the same? Some don't work weekends, some don't want to work with buyers, some only work certain hours of the day, some are part time, etc. But how will this benefit you when you are working hard to find the home of your dreams.
Interviewing agents is a extremely important part of successfully buying a home.
Enjoy the above Periscope broadcast to learn a few things when choosing a Realtor! (recorded March 19, 2016)
Please note I have a correction: If an agent tells you they will not let you out of a buyer's agency, please think long and hard before signing.
The “KEY” to your real estate dreams!
Lots of Los Angeles Real Estate Agents want to be stars as big as the celebrities they cater to. Me? I just want to help people find the homes that make them happy and help them to create a sanctuary for future dreams and lasting memories.
Laura Key 310-866-8422 Laura.A.Key@gmail.com Cal BRE #01908085
Homeownership is not out of reach. FHA limits in California are one of the highest in the country. I have great lenders that can help you reach your real estate goals! Call me to get started on your home ownership goals!!! Laura Key 310.866.8422
Here are the current limits for Los Angeles (as of Nov 13, 2014) FHA allows 3.5% downpayment over a 15 to 30 year term!
Single Family $625,500
Start your home search today!
Tree Falls Over Property Line: Who Pays? Who Picks Up the Pieces?
Published: March 23, 2011
If a neighbor’s tree falls over your property line, file an insurance claim for repairs and cleanup. No house damage? Check if chopping and hauling debris is covered.
When a neighbor’s tree falls over your property line, yell TIMBER, then call your insurance company. Home owners policies cover tree damage caused by perils like wind and winter storms. Most policies cover hauling away tree debris if the mess is associated with house damage; some will cover cleanup even if no structures were harmed.
When a Tree Falls
Your neighbor is responsible when a tree falls over your shared property line only if you can prove he was aware that his tree was a hazard and refused to remedy the problem. Regardless, your insurance company restores your property first, and later decides whether or not to pursue reimbursement from the neighbor or his insurer if the neighbor was negligent in maintaining the tree.
Before a Tree Falls
Write a letter to your neighbor before his dead, diseased or listing tree falls through your roof or over your property line.
The letter should include:
- Description of the problem
- Request for action
- Attorney letterhead--not necessary but indicates you mean business.
Trim Their Trees
If the limbs of a tree hang over your property line, you may trim the branches up to the property line, but not cut down the entire tree. If a tree dies after your little pruning, the neighbor can pursue a claim against you in civil or small claims court. Depending on the laws of your state, your neighbor may have to prove the damage was deliberate or caused by negligence, but may also be able to recover up to three times the value of the tree.
Before you cut, tell your neighbors what you intend to do to protect your property. They may offer to trim the whole tree instead of risking your half-oaked job.
Your Tree Falls
It’s always a good idea to take care of your big and beautiful trees, and keep receipts for trimmings and other care.
But if your tree falls over a neighbor’s property line, do nothing until their insurance company contacts you. You may not be liable unless you knew or should have known the tree was in a dangerous condition. If you pruned a tree or shored up trunks to prevent problems, gather your receipts to prove your diligence.
Lots of Los Angeles Real Estate Agents want to be stars as big as the celebrities they cater to. Me? I just want to help people find the homes that make them happy and help them to create a sanctuary for future dreams and lasting memories. Contact me today!
How to Replace a Toilet Handle
Published: December 14, 2012
Replacing a toilet handle is one of the easiest — and most-common — DIY projects. Here’s what you need to know.
Is your toilet flush handle broken, rusted, pocked, or just plain and old-fashioned looking? Maybe it’s always loose, no matter how many times you tighten that nut on the inside of the tank?
Replacing it with a new flush handle updates the look of the toilet -- and therefore, the whole bathroom — and takes care of annoying wiggles.
It’s an affordable, easy, do-it-yourself job, says Mt Pleasant, S.C., handyman Tim Shaw, who specializes in low-cost bathroom makeovers.
1) Open the tank. Remove the tank lid and set it on a spread-out towel in an out-of-the-way spot (be careful — porcelain is brittle). Look for a model name or number printed inside the tank (as well as the brand name on the outside), and write that information down. It may come in handy when you buy a replacement handle.
2) Unhook the lift chain. You’ll see that the handle is attached to a long arm inside the tank, and that the arm is linked to a chain that lifts the flush valve. Note which hole the chain is hooked to (there are usually three or more holes on the arm) and then unhook the clasp that holds the chain to the arm.
3) Remove the old handle. Use a crescent wrench to remove the nut inside the tank that holds the handle in place. Be careful: For the vast majority of toilets, the nut has left-handed threads, which means they turn in the reverse direction of a normal nut. If you were to face the nut directly, you’d turn it clockwise to loosen it.
Don’t force it, because if you turn it hard the wrong way (or the wrench slips and slams into the tank wall), you could crack the porcelain. If the nut is rusted in place, give it a shot of lubricant, such as WD-40, and try again. Once you loosen the nut, remove it by hand, and slide the arm through the hole.
4) Purchase a replacement. The replacement part you need is called a “toilet trip lever” and it includes the handle and swing arm. They retail for under $20, but models for high-end toilets may cost $50 to $100. Though some trip levers are labeled as universal replacements, there really is no such thing. There are differences between the length and angles of the arms, the placement on the tank (left or right, front or side), and the style and finish of the handle.
Go to a plumbing supply or home center that sells your toilet brand, and ask your retailer for help choosing the right fit. Show them the model number and brand name of your toilet.
“Bring the old handle to the store with you to help select a matching new one,” advises Shaw. “That way you can compare the old piece to the new products being sold.”
5) Attach the new handle. Use a soapy scrub sponge to clean any mildew or rust stains off the porcelain around the handle hole. Remove the nut from the new handle, and insert the arm into the hole. Slide the nut back over the arm and hand-turn it onto the handle base — again, remembering that it’s likely a left-handed thread.
Use a crescent wrench to firm it up, but don’t over-tighten or you could crack the porcelain.
6) Attach the chain. Clip it to the same hole as on the old arm. Then do some test flushes. You want the flush mechanism to open and close fully. If the chain is too loose, the tank won’t drain fully. If too tight, the chain may prevent the flush valve from seating properly, causing it to leak continually.
Adjust by switching which hole the chain is clipped to, or by adjusting the chain up or down a link or two. Keep testing until the flush works just right. Once you’re satisfied, replace the tank lid and you’re done.
Find your next home with me! Text LKHOMES to 87778 or visit http://87778.mobi/LKHOMES for your FREE search. Laura Key, CalBRELic #0198085 www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com
15-Minute Home Makeovers
Published: January 2, 2013
Here are 7 house pick-me-ups that take about as much time as brewing a pot of coffee and fit your schedule whenever you have a few extra minutes.
1. Switch the plates. Upgrade your drab, plastic switch plates with snazzy covers that match or accent your décor. Even the most expensive brass switch plates cost less than $20 each.
Or, spend a buck for a plastic plate and decorate it yourself. Use craft paint, or cover the plate with decorative paper.
You also can switch outlet covers, but don’t get too fancy. Outlet covers should blend with the wall.
2. Touch-up boo-boos. A bit of new paint gives any room a fresh face, which is why you should keep extra color-matched paint after you remodel. Touch up banged-up baseboards, door and window trim, and wall marks that won’t wash away. Even spot painting requires care; use a drop cloth to protect other surfaces.
3. Change out drawer and door hardware. Upgrade your kitchen or bathroom by installing new pulls and knobs. Be sure to measure drawer pulls so you won’t have to drill new holes. Check out these cute and economical ($4.95 for 8) zoo dresser drawer knobs on Esty. Home improvement centers have a large selection of inexpensive pulls and knobs.
4. Update your mailbox. Bump up curb appeal by spray-painting your old mailbox. You can freshen the same color, or go wild with bright hues. Don’t forget to scrub off dirt and rust before painting with rust-proof paint ($6-$12 for a 10-oz. can; lots of decorative textures and colors).
5. Play the numbers game. Decorative house numbers and plates give your home a custom and classy look. Some numbers are quick peel-and-stick affairs; others you’ll have to screw in. They’re made of wood, plastic, brass, stainless steel, and other materials; $6 to $30 each.
6. Embellish your throne. A new toilet seat gives you a regal bearing. Plastic and enameled seats ($12-$25) in a rainbow of colors add a dash of panache; a solid wood mahogany or walnut seat ($45-$60) makes an executive statement; cushioned seats ($15-$20) won’t make a lasting impression — and that’s a good thing.
7. Declutter. You’ll be amazed how a 15-minute daily declutter can make a room look like new. First, get rid of stuff from your fridge door: that large, blank canvas will immediately brighten your kitchen. Corral mail and papers in decorative boxes with tops that can close and hide the mess. Organize school supplies in caddies. Every day, tame a new spot.
Find your next home with me! Text LKHOMES to 87778 or visit http://87778.mobi/LKHOMES for your FREE search.
Laura Key, CalBRELic #0198085
The recovery in home prices this year is prompting banks to sell off their REO inventory at a brisker pace. Sales of bank-owned homes made up 10 percent of residential sales in November, the third consecutive month for increases in REO sales, RealtyTrac reports.
"Lenders are taking advantage of this environment to unload more of their bank-owned inventory and in-foreclosure inventory at the foreclosure auction," says RealtyTrac's Daren Blomquist. "But as the backlog of distressed inventory available dries up in many of the markets with the most efficient foreclosure processes — namely California, Arizona, and Nevada, with Georgia not far behind — overall sales volume is declining and will continue to do so until more nondistressed sellers enter the market."
Rick Sharga, executive vice president at Auction.com, says his company is “seeing more properties sold at trustee sales, and we are seeing more properties that are coming from servicers priced to sell at trustee sales.”
Previously, mortgage servicers would put foreclosed homes up for sale at the full value of the loan, CNBC reports. However, those homes would often land back at the bank as investors sought larger discounts. “Ironically, as prices are rising, servicers are discounting the homes more,” CNBC reports.
Start your home search out RIGHT! Access homes from a direct source! Text LKHOMES to 87778 today or go to http://87778.mobi/LKHOMES Available on iPad/Tablet/Smartphones
Source: “Sales of bank-owned homes surge,” CNBC (Dec. 20, 2013)
This weekend I had a wonderful time previewing homes in Hancock Park. You would think that since I see so many homes with clients the last thing I would want to do on a rare off Sunday is go see more homes! Sometimes you find treasures worth more than gold. Such is the finding of this fabulous tree. This great maze of branches and leaves still lives behind a multi-million fixer upper.
The minute you see this fallen beauty you know it has stories to tell. Children climbing it's branches, picnics under it's once upright limbs. You just don't see things like this everyday. And even though this old tree has fallen, it will still have many stories to tell. I do hope that the new owners leave it right where it is, so it can create future stories for all to wonder at.
There is something so rare, so beautiful and so peaceful about standing beside it. I could not fit the whole tree in a single photo. Look at the first photo, you will see the base and some of it's exposed roots.
Now, look in your left hand corner at the person standing beside the tree. You can clearly see just how majestic this beautiful tree actually is! In fact it reminds me of the trees that come to life in "Lord of the Rings" the ones who can hold you tight in their grasp while traveling great distances.
Memories, precious memories this tree holds! I feel all the more wiser just for seeing this classic beauty!
Ready to start making memories of your own? Find your new home today! Text LKHOMES to 87778 for your FREE. Or call me today and let's get started on your personal journey! 310.866.8422
Hancock Park, Memories, California Homes, Holiday Joy, Childhood Dreams, Trees, Old Trees, Wisdom, Peace, Peaceful, Joy, Majestic, Realty Goddess, Realtor Goddess, Real Estate Agent, #1 Agent, Windsor Square, Mid-Wilshire