buying a home

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! www.CaliOnTheMove.com 

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

Types of Real Estate Sales - Coffee Time with the Realty Goddess

https://youtu.be/swxL643JKYw  

When you are purchasing a home you will come across many different "types" of sales. Short-Sales, Stand, HUD, Trust, REO...it can be confusing. This broadcast will look into the terms and untangle the mystery.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, I would love the opportunity to earn your business.

Laura Key, REALTOR Cal BRE 01908085 Laura.A.Key@gmail.com www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

Follow me on: Periscope & Twitter: @RealtyGoddess Snapchat: @RealtyGoddess Instagram: @realtygoddess1 Facebook: www.Facebook.com/RealtyGoddess

How To Find A Realtor (Buyer)

[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.

Follow me...

Snapchat: @realtygoddess Periscope & Twitter: @realtygoddess Instagram: realtygoddess1 Facebook: www.Facebook.com/RealtyGoddess Website: www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

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

Los Angeles FHA Loan Limits

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

Duplex                        $800,775

Tri-Plex                      $967,950

Four-Plex                   $1,202,925

Start your home search today!

www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

**Source: https://entp.hud.gov

Tips on How To Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests

snowflake-1152.jpg__800x600_q85_crop 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.

Prioritize

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.

Safety

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.

Entryway upgrades

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.

Kitchen prep

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.

Sleeping arrangements

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.

Bathroom storage

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

Larchmont Living - My Favorite Pizza - Village Pizzeria

Village Pizza
Village Pizza

One of my very favorite things to do is to go to Larchmont Village and enjoy people watching. While I am there I have my spots I love to hit. Of course I love grabbing a coffee at one of many little shops up and down the strip, but every so often, when my diet permits I must simply have my slice of Clam & Garlic pizza! HEAVEN, HEAVEN, HEAVEN!

Village Pizzeria is a simple little place, yet it is always busy! They have seating inside and outside. The menu is simple with a splash of uniqueness. I am always treated nicely and enjoy the atmosphere.

The no-nonsense way of ordering is perfect. If you are in a rush, simply don't come because they are not a microwave place. You get fresh food for a very decent price.

I love taking my friends and family here when they come to town. It has won my heart for pizza!

Although the Clam & Garlic pizza is my favorite splurge, I have not had a bad item on the menu!

Village Pizzeria is located at 131 N. Larchmont Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90004. They also offer delivery with a $20 minimum however I just love going and eating outside so I can people watch!

Visit their website: www.villagepizzeria.net

For more fun things to do in LA: https://www.groupon.com/local/los-angeles/things-to-do

 

Are you looking for a neighborhood like this one that feels more like a village?  Start your search today at www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

Tree Falls Over Property Line: Who Pays? Who Picks Up the Pieces?

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Tree Falls Over Property Line: Who Pays? Who Picks Up the Pieces?

By: Ann Cochran

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
  • Photographs
  • 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

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How to Replace a Toilet Handle

By: Oliver Marks

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

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What Home Projects Should You Do Yourself?

 DIY

What Home Projects Should You Do Yourself?

By: Oliver Marks

Published: March 8, 2011

Doing maintenance jobs yourself can be a smart way to save money, but choose the right DIY projects or you'll end up paying dearly.

Why pay someone to do something you can do yourself? Because sometimes doing it yourself costs more than it saves.

More than 100,000 people injure themselves each year doing home improvement jobs. So add medical bills to your DIY budget, and you ending up spending the same, or more, than if you hired a pro.

We’re not suggesting that you call a plumber each time you need to plunge a toilet. But think twice about what DIY might really cost you. Here’s how to decide.

Stick to routine maintenance for savings and safety

Seasonal home maintenance is ideal work for the weekend warrior because you can tackle these jobs when your schedule permits. Because these are routine maintenance projects, your savings will add up. Mowing your own lawn, for example, saves $55 to $65 a week for a half-acre lawn. The bigger the lot, the bigger the savings: with two acres, you’ll pocket around $150 per week.

When it pays:

  • Snow removal
  • Pruning shrubs
  • Washing windows (be careful on that ladder)
  • Sealing decks
  • Painting fences
  • Fertilizing lawns
  • Replacing air conditioner filters
  • Cleaning gutters

When it costs: Unless you have skill and experience on your side, stay off any ladder taller than six feet; according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency rooms are filled with people with ladder injuries. The same goes for operating power saws or attempting any major electrical work—it’s simply too risky if you don’t have the experience.

Become your own general contractor

If you’re more comfortable operating an iPhone than a circular saw, you could act as your own general contractor on some home improvement projects. That means you hire, schedule, and pay the carpenters, plumbers, and other tradesmen yourself. You’ll save 10% to 20% of the job cost, which is the contractor’s typical fee.

When it pays: If it’s a small job that requires only two or three subcontractors, and you have good relationships with top-quality professionals in those fields, consider DIY contracting.

When it costs: When you don’t have an established network of reliable workers, time to supervise, construction experience to spot problems, and the skill to negotiate disputes between subcontractors, your project and budget are at risk.

Invest sweat equity on big jobs

Contribute your own labor to big jobs being handled by a professional crew and cut hundreds, even thousands, off construction costs. For instance, tear out kitchen cabinets and appliances before the contractor gets started, and you might knock $800 off the cost of your remodel. Make sure you negotiate cost savings with your contractor before pitching in.

When it pays: Jobs that are labor-intensive but require relatively little skill make perfect sweat equity jobs. Perform minor interior demolition, such as pulling up old flooring, daily job site cleanup, product assembly, and simple landscaping.

When it costs: If you get in the crew’s way, you may slow them down far more than you help. Make your contributions when the workers aren’t around; mornings before they arrive, or nights and weekends after they’ve left.

Add finishing touches

Unlike the early phases of a construction job--which require skilled labor to frame walls, install plumbing pipes, and run wires--many finishing touches are comparatively simple and DIY-friendly. If you paint a basement remodel yourself, for instance, you can save up to $1,800.

When it pays: If you have skill, patience, or an experienced friend to teach you, setting tile, laying flooring, painting walls, and installing trim are good DIY jobs.

When it costs: The downside to attempting your own finish work is that the results are very visible. Hammer dents in woodwork, or sander ruts in hardwood floors will annoy you every time you see them. So unless you have a sure eye and a steady hand, don’t perform the tasks that only a skilled tradesperson will get right.

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

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Edible Landscaping!

Herbs are at home in a mixed border and glamorous enough for the front street-side border. The sculptural collards anchor this colorful border. Prostrate and upright rosemary nestle up to the collards. Directly behind them is a purple basil, and behind it is a golden sage, some bronze fennel, and a yellow rose. Among the edible herbs are the non-edible yellow and red lantanas and geraniums. Laura Key www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

Find your next home with me! Text LKHOMES to 87778 or visit http://87778.mobi/LKHOMES for your FREE search.

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