LA Westside BlogPOINT Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 23

7 Low-Cost Ways To Add Storage To A Cluttered Home

by Julian Lane

 

Moving to a bigger house isn’t the only solution to a lack of space at home. If you need more storage, you can add it without increasing your square footage, paying monthly fees for a storage unit, or throwing out all your stuff. You can even save money while doing it! Here are seven low-cost ways you can add storage to any home.

Get Things Off the Floor

Nothing shrinks your home’s usable space more than storing items on the floor. When you move stuff off of the floors and onto the walls, you instantly increase your square footage and make your home look tidier. If you’re looking for some low-cost wall storage solutions, check out retailers like The Container Store, which specializes in helping you stay organized.

Mount Pegboard in Closets

If all your stuff is stacked on shelves and hung on hangers, you’re not making the most of your closet space. Install pegboard inside of closet doors to store accessories, cleaning products, craft and office supplies, and other small items. Don’t assume you’re limited to things that can hang on hooks: You can use pegboard as a base for baskets, shelves, and a variety of other storage solutions. Learn more and find DIY instructions at Family Handyman, and take advantage of savings and deals at stores like Lowe’s to save some money.

Stick Caddies Inside Cabinet Doors

When you like to cook, your kitchen cabinets quickly become a black hole of spices and baking goods. Add space and make it easy to find what you need by adding caddies to the inside of cabinet doors. Adhesive caddies by 3M Command are a great budget option, but they’re not the most stylish solution. For a more attractive alternative, look for over-the-door organizers at a retailer like Bed, Bath & Beyond. You’ll spend a little more, but with online coupons and some cashback rewards, you can still get a great price.

Color-Coordinate Storage Bins

Stylish storage boxes and baskets take clutter and turn it into décor. And since the contents are concealed within the container, you can use storage bins to stash anything from spare blankets to the contents of your junk drawer. Crate & Barrel is a good place to stock up on chic storage solutions, and they frequently offer discounts or you can find additional savings through promotions so you never have to pay full price.

Make DIY Hanger Chains

Is your closet bulging with hangers full of clothes? Add more hanger space to an undersized closet by using chains and S-hooks to create a vertical hanging system for clothing. Brit + Co demonstrates how you can do it on your own.

Store Dry Goods in Jars

Organize a cluttered pantry by storing dry goods like beans, grains, and pastas in jars, rather than the boxes and bags they came in. When your pantry staples are organized in matching containers, it only takes a glance to see what you have in stock. You don’t have to buy new jars for storage! You can save money by reusing glass jars from pasta sauces, pickles, and other jarred foods. If you’re set on classic mason jars, search for coupons online before you buy.

Build Floating Shelves

If you’re handy with power tools and have wall space to spare, floating shelves are a stylish storage solution that suits a wide variety of interior design themes. Learn how to construct floating shelves using these instructions, then find ways to save on materials.

Whether you’re living in a small apartment or simply have more stuff than your home can handle, there’s a budget-friendly solution for increasing your storage space without moving house. If these tips don’t solve your storage shortage, try one of House Beautiful’s space-savvy organization ideas. Better yet, come up with a DIY solution of your own!

Image via Unsplash

Article courtesy of Julian Lane @TheFixitChamp.com

Best Ways To Protect Yourself During A Move

by Jaymi Naciri

"I can't wait to move!"

How often do you hear someone say that? What they mean is they can't wait to be in their new place, all unpacked and organized and enjoying their new surroundings.

What they don't mean is, "I can't wait to spend a month packing up everything I own and hauling it into a truck we're going to drive across country when I've never driven anything larger than a mid-sized sedan, only to have to haul it all out, and into that new house. The new house that has two flights of stairs and narrow hallways. Don't get me started on unpacking boxes."

And what they REALLY don't mean is, "I can't wait for the movers to break a bunch of my things and lose a bunch of stuff." Pretty sure they also don't mean, "I can't wait for dishonest movers to delay my delivery and charge me quadruple my quote and then hold all my stuff hostage while I sit here helpless."

Think that could never happen to you?

"Last year, Massachusetts officials sued one moving company and New Jersey officials sued two for providing low-ball estimates and then grossly inflating fees after loading the trucks," said Consumer Reports. "One of the companies had threatened to auction the possessions of customers who didn't pay."

Added MarketWatch about the possibility of mover fraud: "Typically, a mover gives you an extremely low estimate over the phone or Internet without ever actually seeing what needs to be moved. You agree, they show up, load the truck with all your worldly possessions and then tell you it will actually cost a lot more. Then, they hold everything you own hostage on their truck until you cough up the extra cash."

Yes, moving can be fraught with challenge and frustration and even heartache. So how do you protect yourself? Here are some tips for a safe and fraud-free move.

 

 

Do your research

Proper preparation can help you ward off many of the issues that can turn a move into a nightmare, and that's starts with a healthy dose of research. You always want to ask for a referral rather than using an unknown. And not just anyone is qualified to give a referral, according to MSN.

"Ask your real-estate agent. The general consensus among moving professionals is that word of mouth is the best way to find a good mover," they said. "Real-estate agents know the ins and outs of the housing industry and are the most reliable sources. Realtors want to make sure that your (moving) transaction is a good one."

There are also websites dedicated to moving scams. "MovingScam.com maintains a ‘black list,'" they said, as well as a "message board filled with consumer experiences, bad and good."

Verify licensing and look for complaints

MSN recommends people who are moving investigate the companies they are looking at using. Interstate movers must be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

"Check with your area's Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed and whether there are reliable," they said.

ProtectYourMove.gov also provides info on whether a mover's license is current "and if the company has ever had a federal complaint."

Watch out for the lowball bid

"You get what you paid for" is often a dangerous reality when it comes to moving. To protect yourself against unethical movers, get several estimates and make sure to weed out any that seem too low. Yes, the desire to save money is strong. But an unusually low bid is often a red flag.

"When shopping for movers, it's best to get at least three estimates, " said MSN. "If you've got one that's really, really low compared to the other two, you're going to know something's up."

Have a contingency plan

No matter how well you prepare, the unexpected can still happen. What if the truck doesn't show up on time? Are you prepared to live without your things for a few days, or longer? Make sure you pack a bag of essentials you can have with you while the rest of your stuff is stuck on the truck.

Protect yourself

The Better Business Bureau suggests paying a little extra for peace of mind.

"Consider accepting full value protection. It may cost a few dollars more up front, but it can eliminate headaches after your move," they said. "Purchasing full (replacement) value protection from your mover means any lost or damaged articles will be repaired or replaced, or a cash settlement will be made to repair the item or to replace it at its current market value, regardless of age. The cost of full value protection must be included in the initial estimate you receive for an interstate move."

For more information, visit: https://www.protectyourmove.gov

How To Improve Indoor Air Quality

by Craig Whitlock

More efficient, tightly built homes than those constructed in previous generations are generally well-regarded, for the most part with good reason. However, when you consider people spend 90 percent of their time indoors on average, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), such airtight environments raise some concerns.

All that efficiency cuts down on airflow, effectively trapping allergens and toxins inside. According to estimates from the EPA, the air inside the average home may be as much as five times more polluted than the air outdoors, even in a bustling city.

"We know instinctively that spending so many hours in stuffy places isn't good for us," says Peter Foldbjerg, head of daylight energy and indoor climate at Velux. "According to research, living in damp and moldy homes increases our risk of asthma by 40 percent and leaves us vulnerable to developing other ailments."

Limited fresh air and light during the day can negatively impact mood, sleep and performance. Air pollution can also pose a health risk through irritation to the eyes, nose and throat; headaches, dizziness and fatigue; and respiratory conditions, heart disease and cancer. To help alleviate some of these concerns, consider these tips.

Bring the outside in.
Even a small step like adding some potted plants, which are known to purify air, can improve your indoor environment. In addition, think of how you could create a better view to the outside through smart use of windows, skylights and doors that bring in fresh air and daylight.

Rely on natural air flow.
Open your windows 3-4 times a day, at least 10 minutes at a time, to allow fresh air in. To complement natural light and fresh air from vertical windows, consider adding skylights to rooms you use most often. Skylights that can be opened contribute to greater indoor comfort and ventilation by removing excess heat, moisture, odors and other indoor pollutants. They can also help reduce the need for air-conditioning due to the chimney effect, which occurs when skylights and vertical windows are both opened, allowing warm, stale air to rise and escape through the roof, replaced by fresh air drawn in through traditional windows.

Eliminate potential obstacles.
Avoid blocking fresh air with drapes, blinds and other hindrances, like heavy furniture placed too close to windows. Also consider other aspects of your home that could be thwarting your efforts to improve air circulation and quality, such as dust, dirt and mold. Regular and thorough cleaning can help keep those irritants at bay and make your quest for cleaner air easier.

Source: Family Features Editorial Syndicate

How Do Property Taxes Work?

by Craig Whitlock

If you’re a new or soon-to-be homeowner, you may be wondering about how property taxes work. Unlike the income tax and the sales tax you pay, the property tax is not based on how much money you earn or how much you spend. Instead, it is based solely on how much the property you own is worth. This is based on a comparison of the properties around you, as well as market factors.      

The real property tax is an ad valorem tax, or a tax based on the value of property. Ideally, the owners of property of equal value pay the same amount of property taxes, and the owners of more valuable property pay more in taxes than the owners of less valuable property.

The tax is calculated using a variety of formulas and is based on a property’s assessed value – its full market value or a percentage thereof – and the tax rate of the taxing jurisdiction, minus any property tax exemptions, such as those offered for the elderly or veterans.

Property taxes are assessed by city and county governments to generate the bulk of their operating revenues. The taxes help pay for such public services as schools, libraries, roads, and police protection.

Re-valuations of the tax are often done periodically, although the time interval varies from state to state or, in some states, from town to town, and can range from annual reassessments to periods of ten years or more.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.

What Not To Do As A New Homeowner

by Craig Whitlock

https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/New-Homeowner-Remodeling-Plans.jpg

You’ve finally settled into your new home.  You’re hanging pictures and pinning ideas for your favorite bath.

But in all your excitement, are you missing something? Now that you’re a bonafide homeowner are there things you should know that you don’t?

Probably so. Here are six mistakes new homeowners often make, and why they’re critically important to avoid.

#1 Not Knowing Where the Main Water Shutoff Valve Is
Water from a burst or broken plumbing pipe can spew dozens of gallons into your home’s interior in a matter of minutes, soaking everything in sight — including drywall, flooring, and valuables. In fact, water damage is one of the most common of all household insurance claims.

Quick-twitch reaction is needed to stave off a major bummer. Before disaster hits, find your water shutoff valve, which will be located where a water main enters your house. Make sure everyone knows where it’s located and how to close the valve. A little penetrating oil on the valve stem makes sure it’ll work when you need it to.

Modern kitchen with wood floors Spend Oh-So-Wisely on a Kitchen Remodel 6 Materials to Never Use in Your Kitchen How to Shop for a Retro Kitchen — and Not Get Stuck with Junk Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets: The Options and Costs

#2 Not Calling 811 Before Digging a Hole
Ah, spring! You’re so ready to dig into your new yard and plant bushes and build that fence. But don’t — not until you’ve dialed 811, the national dig-safely hotline. The hotline will contact all your local utilities who will then come to your property — often within a day — to mark the location of underground pipes, cables, and wires.

This free service keeps you safe and helps avoid costly repairs. In many states, calling 811 is the law, so you’ll also avoid fines.

#3 Not Checking the Slope of Foundation Soil
The ground around your foundation should slope away from your house at least 6 inches over 10 feet. Why? To make sure that water from rain and melting snow doesn’t soak the soil around your foundation walls, building up pressure that can cause leaks and crack your foundation, leading to mega-expensive repairs.

This kind of water damage doesn’t happen overnight — it’s accumulative — so the sooner you get after it, the better (and smarter) you’ll be. While you’re at it, make sure downspouts extend at least 5 feet away from your house.

#4 Not Knowing the Depth of Attic Insulation
This goes hand-in-hand with not knowing where your attic access is located, so let’s start there. Find the ceiling hatch, typically a square area framed with molding in a hallway or closet ceiling. Push the hatch cover straight up. Get a ladder and check out the depth of the insulation. If you can see the tops of joists, you definitely don’t have enough.

The recommended insulation for most attics is about R-38 or 10 to 14 inches deep, depending on the type of insulation you choose. BTW, is your hatch insulated, too? Use 4-inch-thick foam board glued to the top.

#5 Carelessly Drilling into Walls
Hanging shelves, closet systems, and artwork means drilling into your walls — but do you know what’s back there? Hidden inside your walls are plumbing pipes, ductwork, wires, and cables.

You can check for some stuff with a stud sensor — a $25 battery-operated tool that detects changes in density to sniff out studs, cables, and ducts.

But stud sensors aren’t foolproof. Protect yourself by drilling only 1¼ inches deep max — enough to clear drywall and plaster but not deep enough to reach most wires and pipes.

Household wiring runs horizontally from outlet to outlet about 8 inches to 2 feet from the floor, so that’s a no-drill zone. Stay clear of vertical locations above and below wall switches — wiring runs along studs to reach switches.

#6 Cutting Down a Tree
The risk isn’t worth it. Even small trees can fall awkwardly, damaging your house, property, or your neighbor’s property. In some locales, you have to obtain a permit first. Cutting down a tree is an art that’s best left to a professional tree service.

Plus, trees help preserve property values and provide shade that cuts energy bills. So think twice before chopping them down.

The 5 Best Things To Do Once You've Moved In

by Craig Whitlock

https://www.hometownrealtyservices.com/shared/fs/0209/company/Hometown_Blog/2016/couple-moving-in-together.jpg

Moving into your dream home can be a daunting task. Between unpacking, cleaning, and trying to find that stray roll of toilet paper, it may feel like you’ve lost your mind in a sea of Bubble Wrap.

Here are five simple things that you should do during the first month in your new home. These may feel like back-burner tasks, but really, they’ll help you sleep better at night and make your new place feel less like a house and more like your home.

After cleaning and unpacking, what‘s next?

This handful of to-dos walks you through each of those tasks and why you should tackle them first and foremost:

#1 Lock It Up

Security is the No. 1 concern for most people in a new environment. You can easily switch out your locks and deadbolts to your new home to protect your valuables and your family.

Now’s the time to consider the lockset finish and the options are endless. When it comes to exterior locks, make sure you choose something that looks timeless and can be cleaned easily.

A new security system is also a good idea. The options for this are endless as well. Systems with online monitoring, smartphone compatibility, thermostat control, and even video monitors for the interior including the baby nursery are super helpful. Even if that room is empty now, it might not be in the future – so go ahead and secure it!

#2 Remove Toilet Seats

Some folks may think it’s unnecessary to replace toilet seats, but my point here is to simply remove them. By removing your toilet seats, you can really deep clean under the bolts and hinges. Your goal is to make sure your royal throne is YOU-worthy.

You can reinstall your existing seat or opt to shop for a new one. New versions with night-lights, padding, or even child-sized attachments are available. Either way, you’ll know your favorite seat in the house is ready for your entire family.

#3 Improve Your Home's Air

Changing an air filter is a three-minute task, and it should be done right after moving into a new home – even if the previous owners swear the chore was just done. Changing out a filter can help improve the performance of your air conditioning and furnace and help with any allergens in the home.

This inexpensive fix can also save you money! The U.S. Department of Energy says that replacing your dirty air filter with a new one can lower your A/C’s energy consumption by 5 percent to 10 percent.

It’s a good idea to write the replacement date directly on the filter when you put it in so you can be sure you know how long it’s been since the last change.

Also, take the time to test and change out batteries in all your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. These are often tested during inspections, but the batteries can die and tampered-with units aren’t uncommon, especially if a house was left vacant.

#4 Paint Your Front Door

Painting your front door (or freshening it up with a coat of oil if it’s wood) can show your new neighbors that you’ve arrived on the block and are investing in your home. This simple task is so easy!

After you do proper prep work, which includes sanding the surface, make sure you pick an exterior-grade paint and use a high-quality bristle brush to give it multiple thin coats for the best coverage. It’s a great time to show off your personal style, and these days any color goes!

Every day you walk in through your newly made-over door, you’ll feel welcomed into your new home and inspired to keep creating a space you love.

#5 Choose Your Signature Scent

Every house has a smell. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that “other people smell” that’s definitely not your own particular brand of aroma. Even if the smell isn’t bad, it just isn’t yours, and that makes you feel like an intruder in someone else’s space. Make your dream home even more dreamy by filling it with your signature scent.

Don’t have a signature scent? Check out a candle store or the air-freshener aisle to peruse the options, and then regularly use your favorite in your new home.

In homes that have particularly distressing odors, try getting the carpets cleaned before moving in the furniture. It can eliminate the smell as well as remove allergens, dirt, and stains.

8 Costly Mistakes Homeowners Make in their First Year

by Craig Whitlock

http://capitalautoinsurance.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/NewHome.jpg

The negotiations are over. Your mortgage is settled. The keys to your first home are in hand.

Finally, you can install your dream patio.

You can paint the walls without losing your security deposit.

You could even knock out a wall. You’re soooo ready to be a homeowner.

So ready in fact, you’re about to make some costly mistakes.

“You have to rein it in and be smart,” says Daniel Kanter, a homeowner with five years under his belt. Especially in your first year, when your happiness, eagerness (and sometimes ignorance) might convince you to make one of these eight mistakes:

#1 Going With the Lowest Bid
The sounds your HVAC system is making clearly require the knowledge of a professional (or perhaps an exorcist?).

But you’ve been smart and gotten three contractor bids, so why not go with the lowest price?

You might want to check out this story from a Michigan couple. Rather than going with a remodeler who’d delivered good work in the past, they hired a contractor offering to complete the work for less than half the cost, in less time.

A year later, their house was still a construction zone. You don’t want to be in the same spot.

What to do: Double-check that all bids include the same project scope — sometimes one is cheaper because it doesn’t include all the actual costs and details of the project. The contractor may lack the experience to know of additional steps and costs.

#2 Submitting Small Insurance Claims
Insurance is there to cover damage to your property, so why not use it?

Because the maddening reality is that filing a claim or two, especially in a relatively short period, can trigger an increase in your premium. “As a consumer advocate, I hate telling people not to use something they paid for,” says Amy Bach, executive director of nonprofit United Policyholders, which works to empower consumers. But, it’s better to pay out of pocket than submit claims that are less than your deductible.

Save your insurance for the catastrophic stuff. “You want the cleanest record possible,” Bach says. “You want to be seen as the lowest risk. It’s like a driving record — the more tickets you have, the more your insurance.”

Some insurance groups, like the Insurance Information Institute and National Association of Insurance Commissioners, say it’s hard to generalize about premium increases because states’ and providers’ rules differ. But this stat from a report by UP and the Rutgers Center for Risk and Responsibility at Rutgers Law School is pretty sobering: Only two states — Rhode Island and Texas — got top marks for protecting consumers “from improper rate increases and non-renewals” just for making:

• An inquiry about a claim
• A claim that isn’t paid because it was less than the deductible
• A single claim

Your best protection? Maintaining your home so small claims don’t even materialize.

#3 Making Improvements Without Checking the ROI
Brandon Hedges, a REALTOR® in Minneapolis-St. Paul, recalls a couple who, though only planning to stay in their home for a few years, quickly replaced all their windows. When the time came to sell, he had to deliver the crushing news that they wouldn’t get back their full investment — more than $30,000.

New windows can be a great investment if you’re sticking around for awhile, especially if windows are beyond repair, and you want to save on energy bills.

Just because you might personally value an upgrade doesn’t mean the market will. “It’s easy to build yourself out of your neighborhood” and invest more than you can recoup at resale, says Linda Sowell, a REALTOR® in Memphis, Tenn.

What to do: Before you pick up a sledgehammer, check with an agent or appraiser, who usually are happy to share their knowledge about how much moola an improvement will eventually deliver.

#4 Going on a Furnishing Spree
When you enter homeownership with an apartment’s worth of furnishings, entire rooms in your new home are depressingly sparse. You want to feel settled. You want guests at your housewarming party to be able to sit on real furniture.

But try to exercise some retailing willpower. Investing in high-quality furniture over time is just smarter than blowing your budget on a whole house worth of particleboard discount items all at once.

What to do: Live in your home for a while, and you’ll get to know your space. Your living room may really need two full couches, not the love seat and a recliner you pictured there.

#5 Throwing Away Receipts and Paperwork
Shortly after moving in, your sump pump dies. You begrudgingly pay for a new one and try to forget about the cash you just dropped. But don’t! When it comes time to sell, improvements as small as this are like a resume-builder for your home that can boost its price. And, if problems arise down the road, warranty information for something like a new furnace could save you hundreds.

What to do: Stow paperwork like receipts, contracts, and manuals in a three-ring binder with clear plastic sleeves, or photograph your documents and upload them to cloud storage.

#6 Ignoring Small Items on Your Inspection Report
Use your inspection report as your very first home to-do list — even before you start perusing paint colors. Minor issues that helped take a chunk of change off the sale price can cause cumulative (and sometimes hazardous) damage. Over time, loose gutters could yield thousands in foundation damage. Uninsulated pipes? You could pay hundreds to a plumber when they crack in freezing temperatures. And a single faulty electric outlet could indicate dangerous ungrounded electricity.

What to do: Get the opinion and estimate of a contractor (usually at no charge), and then you can make an informed decision. But remember #1 above.

#7 Remodeling Without Doing the Research
No one wants to be a Negative Nancy, but there’s a benefit to knowing the worst-case scenario.

Homeowner Kanter tells the time he hired roofers to remove box gutters from his 1880s home. Little did he know, more often than not aged box gutters come with more extensive rot damage, which his roofers weren’t qualified to handle.

“We had to have four different contractors come in and close stuff up for the winter,” he says. Had he researched the problem, he could have saved money and anxiety by hiring a specialist from the start, he says.

What to do: Before beginning a project, thoroughly research it. Ask neighbors. Ask detailed questions of contractors so you can get your timing, budget, and expectations in line.

#8 Buying Cheap Tools
You need some basic tools for your first home — a hammer, screwdriver set, a ladder, maybe a mower.

But if you pick up a “novelty” kit (like those cute pink ones) or inexpensive off-brand items, don’t be surprised if they break right away, or if components like batteries have to be replaced frequently.

What to do: For a budget-friendly start, buy used tools from known quality brands (check online auctions or local estate sales) that the pros themselves use.

Create Your Own Outdoor Kitchen

by Craig Whitlock

An outdoor kitchen sounds like hours of warm-weather culinary fun. But while most of us would love a sleek, state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen, the price tag may not be doable for all. But that doesn’t mean we can’t cook and eat al fresco! Below are 5 tips for a makeshift version.

Grill upgrade. Skip the outdoor oven or stove for a nice grill. To up the versatility of your grill, consider getting a skillet top or griddle. Pancakes, anyone?

Prep space. To make it possible to prepare food in your outdoor kitchen, set up a prep station with an outdoor butcher’s block or table. If you can, place this station near your grill for ease of use.

Consider installing a sink. If you already have a hose hooked up near your outdoor eating area, it may not cost that much to have a sink installed so you can wash up easy. Hire a professional to get a quote.

Add seating. A large outdoor dining table or small cafe table will turn your DIY kitchen into an eat-in space. Looking for a space to hang? A loveseat and a few comfortable chairs will do the trick. Add an umbrella overhead for sunny days.

 Aesthetics matter. To have an outdoor kitchen that looks, well, like an outdoor kitchen, it’s important to tie your aesthetics together. Installing that outdoor butcher’s block? Choose a wood stain that matches your outdoor eating table. Section off the space with potted plants or slate patio floor so the area is clearly defined. String lights overhead for a magical vibe once the sun sets.

Patio Panic: From Frustrating to Fab in One Hour

by Craig Whitlock

Whether it’s an intimate al fresco dinner date or a backyard bash, there’s nothing quite like outdoor entertaining. But if your patio is in sore shape, you might be tempted to relegate guests to the inside. Don’t be intimidated by your patio’s disarray and miss the opportunity to take the party outside. With these quick tips, your outdoor space can be entertainment-worthy in less than an hour.

  1. Task the trimmers. Give the branches, grasses and shrubs surrounding your patio a nice, neat haircut before guests arrive. Not only will this make the area look manicured and orderly, it will make your patio feel more spacious.
  2. Fire up the leaf blower. Who said these wonderful tools are just for leaves? A quick trip around your patio with the leaf blower will remove the trimmings you just cut, along with other dirt and debris, in seconds.
  3. Freshen up the furniture. After you’ve gotten dust and leaves off the furniture with the leaf blower, use a big sponge or mop to wash down your tables and chairs with a quick solution of liquid dish detergent and water, then hose it all down. Flip cushions to the reverse side.
  4. Work some magic. Nothing turns your outdoor space from ordinary to spectacular faster than a little outdoor lighting. Think tiki torches, large candles in hurricane lamps, string lights and solar lanterns.
  5. Finagle some florals. You don’t have to find time to run to the florist. Quickly clip an assortment of flowers, grasses, pine boughs and even bare branches from around your yard to make stunning and natural arrangements. Gather them in mason jars, tin cans (labels peeled off, please) or painted buckets for a homey look, or raise the bar by bringing some of your indoor crystal vases outside.
  6. Rearrange the furniture. Help the flow of the party by strategically placing chairs and tables in spots where you want people to gather. Set up the bar in its own area and place nibbles on a variety of resting spots so everyone doesn’t clutter around one food area. This will not only add visual appeal, but help steer the flow, encourage conversation and show off your patio’s best features. 

For more real estate tips, contact me today.

Should An Older Homeowner Tap Into Home Equity?

by Craig Whitlock

If you're an older homeowner looking to loosen up a little extra cash, you may wonder if tapping into your home equity is a good idea. According to experts, it is indeed a good idea, but not by the traditional refinance route.

A reverse mortgage is a better, and increasingly popular, option for older Americans to convert home equity into cash. Money can then be used to cover home repairs, everyday living expenses, and medical bills.

So how does this work? Instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the lender makes payments to the homeowner, who continues to own the home and hold title to it.

According to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, the money given by the lender is tax-free and does not affect Social Security or Medicare benefits, although it may affect the homeowners’ eligibility for certain kinds of government assistance, including Medicaid.

Do you qualify? Let's find out. Homeowners must be at least 62 years of age and own their own homes to get a reverse mortgage. No income or medical requirements are necessary to qualify, and you may be eligible even if you still owe money on a first or second mortgage. In fact, many seniors get reverse mortgages to pay off the original loan.

Repaying a reverse mortgage is not necessary until the property is sold or the owner moves.  Should the owner die before the property is sold, the estate repays the loan, plus any interest that has accrued.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 23

Syndication

Categories

Archives

Contact Information

Photo of Craig Whitlock Real Estate
Craig Whitlock
COLDWELL BANKER BRENTWOOD
11661 San Vicente Blvd., 10th Floor
Los Angeles CA 90049
Mobile: (310) 488-4399
Fax: (310) 820-1457

Broker/Agent does not guarantee the accuracy of the square footage, lot size or other information concerning the conditions or features of properties provided by the seller or obtained from Public Records or other sources as presented in this website.  Interested parties are advised to independently verify the accuracy of all information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.  Information herein deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

CalBRE LIC 01827537