Real Estate contracts are legally binding! Make sure you are able to read and understand them BEFORE you sign or are ready to proceed with buying or selling!
Ask for a copy of the contracts ahead of time so you have plenty of time to sit and discuss them with your agent!
I give my clients copy of them before we begin, then we have a sit down and discuss them!
Real Estate is a huge transaction, isn't it worth your time to know what you are putting the pen to paper?
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
By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon *Published: November 14, 2011
Is your home ready for holiday visits from friends and family? Here’s how to prepare for the invasion.
I'm lucky and have a guest suite always ready for holiday guests. But even with a dedicated space, preparing my home for the annual onslaught of friends and family takes time and forethought.
Some preparations for holiday guests take only a few minutes; some take a lot longer. My advice: Start preparing your home for the holidays now.
The day before guests arrive is no time to pull apart junk drawers and clean out linen closets. Declutter guest rooms and public areas — foyer, kitchen, living room, den, and dining room. Remove anything unnecessary from countertops, coffee tables, and ottomans; if it’s out of sight, keep it out of mind, for now.
If you run short of time, bag up the clutter and store it in car trunks, basements, and out-of-the-way closets. Sort and arrange after your guests depart.
Light the way: Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can’t. Make sure outside lights are working so they don’t trip on the way to your door. Put motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage after the sun sets.
Child proofing: Ask parents to bring hardware that keeps their small ones safe, such as baby gates and cabinet locks. Transfer toxic cleaners and medicines from base to wall cabinets. Hide matches and lighters.
Fire prevention: If you didn’t freshen smoke detector batteries when you switched the clocks to Daylight Savings Time, change them now. After your guests arrive, run a quick fire drill: Make sure they can locate exits and fire extinguishers, and that they know how to open windows and doors.
Your home’s foyer is the first place guests see, so make a good first impression.
- Upgrade exterior entry doors or give old doors a new coat of paint. Polish and tighten door hardware, and oil hinges to prevent squeaks.
- Remove scratches from hardwood floors, stairs, and wood railings. Place a small rug or welcome mat at the entrance to protect floors from mud and snow.
- Clear out shoes, umbrellas, and other clutter.
- Add extra hooks to walls so guests can hang coats and hats.
- Add a storage bench where guests can remove boots and shoes.
Your kitchen is command central during the holidays, so make sure it’s ready for guests and extra helpers.
- To increase storage, install a pot rack to clear cooking items off countertops and ranges.
- Move your coffee station into a family room so guests don’t crowd the kitchen when you’re trying to fix meals.
- If you like to visit while you’re cooking, place extra stools and chairs around the perimeter of your kitchen so guests can set a spell.
If you’ve got a guest room, replace the ceiling fixture with a ceiling fan and light combo, which helps guests customize their room temperature without fiddling with the thermostat for the entire house.
To carve sleeping space out of public areas, buy a folding screen or rolling bookcase, which will provide privacy for sleepers. Fold or roll it away in the morning.
Bring toilet paper, towels, and toiletries out of hiding, and place them on open shelves so guests can find them easily.
If you don’t have enough wall space for shelves, place these items in open baskets around the bathroom.
Also, outfit each tub with a bath mat (to avoid falls) and each toilet with a plunger (to avoid embarrassment).
What tips do you have for getting ready for guests this holiday season?
Find your next home with me! I'd love to hand you a set of new keys! www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com
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
When you have a home you can save yourself a lot of money by growing a few items in your own backyard! Here is a great way to get started!
Find your next home with me! Text LKHOMES to 87778 to download the MLS on your mobile phone, or visit http://87778.mobi/lkhomes to download the FREE app on your iPad/Tablet
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The warmer weather has home owners looking to spruce up their home’s outdoor spaces. So when it comes to do-it-yourself outdoor projects, which projects are most home owners tackling?
A survey of more than 1,200 home owners by the Home Project Council identified the following DIY outdoor projects as most desirable:
1. Plant a garden
2. Use decorative pebbles, stones or rocks for landscaping
3. Build a deck
4. Create a fire pit or barbecue pit
5. Build a patio or walkway using concrete pavers or bricks
6. Install or build a shed or storage building
7. Stain or paint siding or windows
8. Build a privacy fence
9. Stain or paint exterior concrete surfaces (patio, pool deck, driveway, sidewalk, etc.)
10. Repair or seal concrete cracks in patios, steps, or driveways
Home owners identified the most difficult or intimidating DIY outdoor projects as being building an outdoor kitchen and pouring concrete slabs for patios, steps, or sidewalks, or building a deck, according to the survey.
Source: Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
Want to know what your home is worth in this market? Give me a call for a free CMA Laura Key 310.866.8422