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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! 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

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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Beautiful Tile Work

This beautiful tile work was found in a bathroom located by the pool! Just Gorgeous! Its bright and detailed.  In my opinion you just can't go wrong with mermaids by a pool.image

Buyers: Ready to find your new home? Sellers: Want to see what homes are being listed at in your neighborhood?

It's easy! Text LKHOMES to 87778 for free MLS application.

 

Budget for Closing Costs – Home Inspection and Title Fees

Buying a home means you also have to budget for additional expenses! Make sure you put some money aside for the extras.

MoneyHouse

Purchasing a home is a euphoric event. Once escrow begins, the euphoria can change to frustration, particularly if you are not ready for the closing costs that quickly accumulate.

Closing costs simply refer to the fees associated with various things associated with the escrow process in a real estate transaction. In the excitement of having an offer accepted for your dream home, you can easily lose track of the fact you are going to need to have some serious cash on hand to pay them. Many people make the mistake of only assuming they need the down payment money, and have to rush around town trying to come up with money for the closing fees.

If you are buying a home, you need to get a professional home inspection. Doing so can reveal potential problems with the home that you wouldn’t otherwise notice. Problems can include things such as rot, termites, water leaks and a bevy of other issues. The time to do this is during escrow. Of course, that means you are also going to have to pay for the inspection. Depending on the size of the property, home inspections can run a few hundred dollars up to a few thousand. Make sure you have money set aside for the fees.

Title insurance is something you absolutely must purchase when you buy any real property, a home, building, land or whatever. Title insurance protects both you and your lender. Title insurance is just what it sounds like. A title company will research the title of the home and essentially guarantee that the title is good. This means the seller actually owns the title and has the right to sell it to you. The title company will also make sure there aren’t any liens on the homes or other things that will cause you problems. Depending on the price of the home, title insurance can run you a couple of hundred dollars or up into the thousands. Again, it is important to find out the cost and budget for it.

Title insurance and a home inspection are two things you should absolutely have when purchasing a home. Just make sure you budget for them.

Laura Key, BRE 01908085
310.866.8422
Laura.A.Key@gmail.com
www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

Do you work from home? Buy your next home with your office in mind!

 

If you work from home, and it is time to move to your next home, there are some factors you should consider carefully before making your decision.

working-from-home

The flexibility afforded by a “zero-commute” combined with the skyrocketing price of gasoline has strengthened the case for full time teleworking and telecommuting. According to an Environmental Protection Agency (2004) study:

“Americans spend an average of 46 hours per year stuck in traffic. Gridlock produces more than $63 billion in congestion costs per year”

The artist community has been well acquainted with the use of work/living spaces for years, but improvements in technology have made the benefits of teleworking and occasional telecommuting more attractive to general consumers. According to the key findings form the International Telework Association & Council (ITAC) Telework America (2000) study:

“Home-based teleworkers also have larger homes, on average, than non-teleworkers; the difference amounting to about 500 square feet. The most popular place for an office in these larger homes is a spare bedroom, with the living room a distant second. The primary home telework activity is computer work (55% of total activities), followed by telephoning, reading, and—averaging 7% of the time—face to face meetings.”

As you purchase your next home, there are certain factors to consider if you need to set up a new home office:

Make sure that your high-tech needs can be met. Have a qualified electrician inspect the wiring of the house to see if the system can handle the extra power load that your home office requires. Older homes may need significant upgrades to handle the extra power, while newer homes are built with more energy-efficient systems to handle the additional power along with heating/air conditioning requirements. If you use cable, DSL or satellite internet access, check with your local service provider to see if access is available in your new neighborhood. Shop around for your telephone provider—in some cases, business service bundles may be more cost effective than regular residential service.

Designate where your office space will be. Determine the amount of space you will need to accommodate your work style and space. In many cases a spare bedroom or living room space can be used, if a formal den option is not available. If your work requires heavy telephone usage or just heads-down concentration, you may want to consider utilizing a room with a door. Doors can be closed to reduce interruptions from other family and household noises.

Plan your office blueprint to include all required furniture, bookcases, computers, fax, and printers. Make sure to allow for filing and storage space for files and extra office supplies. Lighting is critical for computer or assembly work, so make sure to allow for direct sunlight along with any specific task lighting that may be necessary. Select flooring options that will allow you to work comfortably—you may wish to go with hardwood or laminate flooring to allow for your chair to move smoothly across the floor. Install enough phone lines to cover your home, business and fax machines needs.

Is the office easily accessible? If you will expect regular package deliveries, make sure that your designated office is easily accessible to the front door of the home. This is also necessary if you will need to meet clients or visitors in your office and would like to ensure a professional appearance for your business.

Find out about local business requirements. Some cities have zoning restrictions and guidelines for work/living spaces along with tax implications. Make sure to check with your local government to determine if special restrictions exist.

Are you ready to find a home that could allow you to work from home? Or...do you need more room in the current home you own? Give me a call - lets get you started!

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Appraised Value: The Ups & Downs Of How Much A House Is Worth

How is the fair market value of a real estate property actually determined?

Home Question

Determining Fair Market Value is an eternal struggle and major balancing act. That’s because buyers want a house to appraise on the low side—to keep the purchase price down. While sellers want the same house to appraise on the high side—to make the sale price higher. And then you’ve got the owners of the house—who also want the appraisal to be on the low side, in order to keep the property taxes down.

So with all these different agendas and points of view, how is the fair market value of a real estate property actually determined?

Once a year, your county sends all area homeowners official notices that put a dollar value on their property. And property taxes are based on those dollar values. But before those notices get sent out, a long, detailed process usually takes place. First, the land is valued as if it’s vacant—an empty lot, in other words. Then any improvements are described and measured. Improvements consist of the house and any other structures, pools, sheds, garages, and so forth. Next, most counties check the Marshall Valuation Service Cost Guide. It’s a standardized nationwide guide for determining the value of the cost per square foot to build a building that fits the description of the improved property. Next, if the house isn’t brand new, the replacement cost is considered, as well as depreciation; the year the house was constructed and the condition of the property are factors here. Appraisers then must take the critical step of comparing the value of the house with recent selling prices of similar homes in the neighborhood. At this point, the appraisal might stand “as is”—or it might be adjusted upward or downward.

Market Value is a theory, in other words—not an unchanging fact.

In a perfect world, you have to have willing buyer and a willing seller. Neither is under duress. Both are in a position to maximize gain and are trying to do this. But in the real world, things are rarely that simple and equally balanced. Which is why people feel differently about the appraisal value of a house. It really depends how strong their position is as a buyer or seller.

Does the local economy come into it at all? You bet it does.

Ask a successful Realtor about that! He or she will tell you they’ve noticed that the Rio Grande Valley’s fast-growing economy is attracting people from other areas who consider real estate here a bargain. That helps fuel increases in property values.

So—now you know where that Grand Total comes from.

You’re armed with the information you need to make a better house-buying decision. For instance, you can understand how two virtually identical houses that are in two different neighborhoods could be very far apart in price and appraised value. And why your choice of the right house in the right neighborhood could be worth a not-so-small fortune to you right now—and years down the road.

 Sellers! You can get a great idea of how  much  your home is worth! Call me for a FREE Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) Laura Key 310.866.8422

Does HUD Offer Special Programs for Homebuyers?

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! Laura.A.Key@gmail.com or Visit my website to sign up for FREE HUD Listings! http://www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

HUD Home

Yes, HUD offers a program called the GOOD NEIGHBOR NEXT DOOR PROGRAM for Police Officers, Firefighters, EMT and Teachers! Call for more details on this program! 310.866.8422. If foreclosures are not sold within six months, HUD will sell them for $1 each to approved nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Homes must then be used create housing for families in need or to benefit neighborhoods.

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, Good Neighbor Next Door

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! Laura.A.Key@gmail.com or Visit my website to sign up for FREE HUD Listings! http://www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

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

Do I Need An Appraisal On A HUD Home?

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! Laura.A.Key@gmail.com or Visit my website to sign up for FREE HUD Listings! http://www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

HUD Home

It is not necessary to have a HUD home independently appraised, HUD offers an appraisal every 6 months. Your Lender may require a more current appraisal than the one provided by HUD.  Ask your loan officer or HUD registered agent.

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

How Much Money Will I Have to Put Down on a HUD Home?

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! Laura.A.Key@gmail.com or Visit my website to sign up for FREE HUD Listings! http://www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

HUD Home

If the bid price is less than $50,000, you’re required to make an earnest money deposit of $500. HUD homes priced greater than $50,000 require a $1000 deposit.

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