2015 – the 5 worst home decor trends

I enjoyed reading this article on the 2015 design trends that can safely be retired! 

 

 

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/12/18/years-5-worst-home-decor-trends


Posted on December 23, 2015 at 9:41 pm
Mary Kay Robinson | Posted in Uncategorized |

How to care for pointsettias

http://members.houselogic.com/articles/how-to-care-for-poinsettias/preview/


Posted on December 17, 2015 at 10:11 pm
Mary Kay Robinson | Posted in Caring for Poinsettias, Uncategorized |

6 Reasons For Rentals

Rental homes have several distinct advantages compared to alternative investments. These advantages coupled with the opportunity for a higher yield make it a clear choice for some investors.

Income Property.png

  1. Most investments must be paid for in cash. Stocks can be purchased with 50% cash but if the value goes down, more cash has to be used to keep the margin at 50%. Rentals can readily be financed with only 20-25% down payment.
  2. Most loans made for business or investment purposes are at a floating interest rate compared to the prevalent fixed-rate mortgage on non-owner occupied real estate.
  3. Terms for investment loans if possible are generally six months to a year with a possible renewal but real estate commonly has long term loans up to 30 years.
  4. Real estate has a long-term history of appreciation.
  5. Real estate enjoys tax advantages like long-term capital gains treatment, cost recovery and tax deferred exchanges that are not available to many other types of investments.
  6. Single family homes and similar properties give the investor a reasonable amount of control to make improvements and manage the property which are limited to simply determining when to buy and sell for other investments.

The ins and outs of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, commodities and other investments are unfamiliar with most people. It is obviously possible for anyone to invest in them but the lack of knowledge about how they work could make it more difficult to have a successful outcome. On the other hand, homeowners can use their experiences to select, manage and sell with much more confidence using a single family home for rental purposes.


Posted on October 20, 2015 at 10:50 pm
Mary Kay Robinson | Posted in Uncategorized |

Renter Growth to Explode by 2030


Posted on June 19, 2015 at 12:21 am
Mary Kay Robinson | Posted in Rental Investments |

Fix Wood Floor Scratches

Why is it that prospective buyers zero in on the few flaws in a home?  It's because they stand out so much comnpared to everything else.  Learn how to fix those annoying scratches so potential buyers see the beauty of your home and not get distracted by the scratches in your floors.

Mary Kay Robinson

 

Erase Ugly Scratches from Your Wood Floors

By: Jane Hoback

Repair wood floors and scratches that make rooms look worn out. We’ll show you easy ways to put the luster back into your floors.

Dogs chase kids, pans drop, chairs scrape, and soon you must repair wood floors and erase scratches that make a mess of your red oak or Brazilian cherry. A professional floor refinisher will charge $1 to $4 per square foot to apply a new coat of finish. No worries. We’ve got inexpensive ways to remove wood scratches and repair deep gouges in a few easy steps.

Camouflage Scratches

Take some artistic license to hide minor scratches in wood floors by rubbing on stain-matching crayons and Sharpie pens. Wax sticks, such as Minwax Stain Markers, are great scratch busters because they include stain and urethane, which protects the floor’s finish.

Don’t be afraid to mix a couple of colors together to get a good match. And don’t sweat if the color is a little off. Real hardwoods mix several hues and tones. So long as you cover the contrasting “white” scratches, color imperfections will match perfectly.

Homemade Polish

Mix equal parts olive oil and vinegar, which work together to remove dirt, moisturize, and shine wood. Pour a little directly onto the scratch. Let the polish soak in for 24 hours, then wipe off. Repeat until the scratch disappears.

Spot-Sand Deep Scratches

It takes time to repair wood gouges: Sand, fill, sand again, stain, and seal. Here are some tips to make the job go faster.

  • Sand with fine-gauge steel wool or lightweight sandpaper.
  • Always sand with the grain.
  • Use wood filler, which takes stain better than wood putty.
  • Use a plastic putty knife to avoid more scratches.
  • Seal the area with polyurethane, or whatever product was used on the floor originally.
  • Apply the polyurethane coat with a lambs wool applicator, which avoids air bubbles in the finish.

Fix Gaps in the Floor

Old floorboards can separate over time. Fill the gaps with colored wood putty. Or, if you have some leftover planks, rip a narrow band and glue it into the gap.

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/repair-wood-floors-and-erase-ugly-scratches/preview/#ixzz3dSkJc4sL
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on Facebook


Posted on June 19, 2015 at 12:19 am
Mary Kay Robinson | Posted in Home Repair |

Wall preparation before painting

 

A fresh coat of paint can make can do wonders for your home.  Prepping the surface correctly though is critical to getting the best results.  Read below to get ideas on how to fix probelm areas and find a less toxic was other than TWP to wash the walls.

Mary Kay Robinson

 

Remove Stains From Walls Before You Paint

By: Pat Curry

Remove stains from walls before you slap on another coat: It's the first commandment of painting. Here’s how to wash seven common stains off your walls.

Painting instructions often warn: Remove stains from walls before painting. But they never say how. Any cleaning rookie can wipe off dust and cobwebs. But it takes a cleaning pro to scour grease stains, watermarks, and kids’ crayon and ink wall art.

Dirt and Grime

Dirt and grime are part of everyday life. The oil from your hands gets onto walls, cabinets, doors, and door frames. A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ($3 for 4 pads) easily cuts through these stains. Wet the sponge and rub gently to avoid taking bits of paint off with the stain.

Or try this: Mix 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup white distilled or apple cider vinegar, and 1/4 cup baking soda with one gallon of warm water. Wipe the solution over walls with a sponge or cloth, and rinse with clear water. The solution won’t dull the painted finish or leave streaks. 

Grease

Grease is an occupational hazard of cooking; it covers cabinets and walls and attracts dirt and dust. Any good dish soap can remove grease stains on walls. For small stains, mix 1/4 teaspoon of soap in a cup of warm water, and wipe. Rinse with clean water, and blot until dry. Clean stubborn grease stains with solution of 1/3 cup of white household vinegar with 2/3 cup of water.

Crayons

Wall erasers work like a charm on crayon marks. If they don’t do the trick:

  • Rub marks with toothpaste (not gel).
  • Erase marks with an art gum or a pencil eraser; use a circular motion.
  • Swipe marks with baby wipes.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub marks.

Permanent Marker

Permanent markers are tough to remove from walls. Soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and dab the stain. Or spray marks with hairspray, then wipe drips.

Ink

Ballpoint ink, which is oil-based, often succumbs to foaming shaving cream, dry-cleaning solvents such as Carbona, or nail polish remover. Make sure you open windows when using cleaning solvents and polish remover.

Mildew

Mildew is a fungus that eats soap scum and body oil. To remove from walls, spray with vinegar water: 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 quart water. Also, try an enzyme laundry detergent; follow the pre-treating directions on the label. Blot it on the stain, and then rinse thoroughly with water.

Water Stains

After you’ve solved the problem that caused the water stains, rinse with a solution of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water to prevent mold and mildew from growing. Thoroughly dry with a hairdryer or fans. If bleaching doesn’t remove water stains, you’ll have to repaint. Prime the walls with a stain-killing primer, such as Kilz Paint.

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/wall-stain-removal/preview/#ixzz3dSjEA0Oh
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on Facebook

 


Posted on June 19, 2015 at 12:16 am
Mary Kay Robinson | Posted in Home Repair |

Kitchen Countertop Triage

You may not have to replace those kitchen countertops in sell your home.  Read below for different repair ideas.

Mary Kay Robinson

 

Kitchen Countertop Triage: First Aid for Scratches

By: Jane Hoback

You can repair kitchen counter mishaps with only a little time and money. Big boo-boos, however, will need professional help.

Repair kitchen counters that show a history of wine spills, dropped pans, and unidentified sharp objects, and you’ll maintain the value of your kitchen and home. You can easily hide some counter mishaps, while only professional contractors can solve other surface problems. Here’s a look at counter cures and lost causes.

Granite

Even granite counters suffer kitchen wear and tear. But you can make them shine with a little time and know-how. After you fix them, don’t forget to reseal them.

Cracks, chips, scratches: Fill nicks in granite by building up layers of epoxy resin colored to match the stone. Clean the area first with acetone, which breaks down grease. Be sure to open a window for ventilation.

Stains: The type of stain — wine or ink, oil or bleach — determines the type of poultice you’ll need to suck it out. A paste of flour and hydrogen peroxide pulls out grease, oil, bleach, and ink stains; a mix of flour and bleach cleans wine stains. If you want to go commercial, check out Alpha, Aqua Mix, and StoneTech stone cleaners. Cost: $6 to $20.

Related: Can Granite Film Fool the Eye?

Solid-Surface Counters

Solid-surface countertops, such as Corian, are man-made from resin, acrylic, and other materials. They’re tough but not impervious to scratches and stains. To repair minor scratches, rub a white polishing compound on the area with a wool pad, then apply a countertop wax.

For deeper scratches or cuts, call a professional. Figure labor costs at about $15 to $35 an hour. If you need to replace portions of the counter, figure at least $35 to $65 per square foot.

Laminate

Fixing gouges or covering burns in laminate is tough for mortals, though repairing minor problems is doable.

  • Fix small chips with laminate repair paste that matches the color of the countertop.
  • Cover scratches with countertop polish or car wax.
  • Fix peeling laminate with contact cement applied to both surfaces and pressed back into place.
  • Remove coffee and tea stains with vinegar or a paste of baking soda and household cleaner.

Bigger problems will require replacing the damaged stretch. Laminate comes in a billion colors, but finding an exact match for an old counter could be difficult.

To get the look you want, replace the counter. Labor will cost $15 to $35 per hour; countertops range from $3 per linear foot for Plain Jane straight-edged laminates to $100 per linear foot for laminates with a beveled edge that look like granite.

Related: Why Laminate Countertops Deserve a Second Look

Tile

If you’ve planned ahead and stockpiled old tiles, then grab a few and replace cracked or scratched areas. If you don’t have extra tile, then attempt the following first aid:

  • Wipe away scratches with a dab of toothpaste on a clean cloth.
  • Work epoxy glue into cracks with a toothpick, then color with matching oil-based artist paint.
  • Remove old grout with a utility knife, then replace with a rubber trowel.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel countertops become scratched, stained, and dull over time. Although you’ll never completely remove scratches, you can buff them into a warm patina by massaging with vegetable oil.

Remove stains with a paste of baking soda and dish soap. A sprinkle of Barkeeper’s Friend will remove stains without scratching.

Related: 99-Cent Store Solution for Scuffed Countertops

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/repair-and-replace-kitchen-counters-stay-top-scratches/preview/#ixzz3dShqioQu
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on Facebook


Posted on June 19, 2015 at 12:10 am
Mary Kay Robinson | Posted in Home Repair |

Budget Kitchen Remodeling: 5 Money-Saving Steps

Millenials today want updated kitchens and baths.  If you want to sell your home quickly and have an outdated kitchen, check out these options to update your kitchen on a budget.

 

Mary Kay

 

Budget Kitchen Remodeling: 5 Money-Saving Steps

By:  Gretchen Roberts

Can't afford an entire kitchen remodel in one fell swoop? You can complete the work in 5 budget-saving stages (and still cook dinner during the down time).

Major kitchen remodels are among the most popular home improvements, but a revamped cooking and gathering space can set you back a pretty penny. According to "Remodeling" magazine's 2015 "Cost vs. Value Report," a major, 200-square-foot kitchen remodel costs $56,768, with a 67.8% return on investment come selling time.

If you can’t come up with all that cash or take out a loan to do the remodel in one shot, a good strategy is to proceed in stages. By breaking down the kitchen remodeling process, you’ll be able to proceed at your own pace, as time and money allow.

Related: Stress Less! 6 Things You Can Do for an Anxiety-Free Remodel

Stage One: Start with a Complete Design Plan

Your plan should be comprehensive and detailed — everything from the location of the refrigerator to which direction the cabinet doors will open to whether you need a spice drawer.

To save time (and money) during tear-out and construction, plan on using your existing walls and kitchen configuration. That’ll keep plumbing and electrical systems mostly intact, and you won’t have the added expense — and mess — of tearing out walls.

Joseph Feinberg, vice president of Allied Kitchen and Bath in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recommends hiring a professional designer, such as an architect or a certified kitchen designer, who can make sure the details of your plans are complete. You’ll pay about 10% of the total project for a pro designer, but you’ll save a whole bunch of headaches that would likely cost as much — or more — to fix. Plus, a pro is likely to offer smart solutions you hadn’t thought of.

For a nominal fee, you also can get design help from a major home improvement store. However, you’ll be expected to purchase some of your cabinets and appliances from that store.
Cost: professional designer: $5,800 (10% of total)
Key strategies: Once your plans are set, you can hold onto them until you’re ready to remodel.
Time frame: 3 to 6 months

Read on to learn more budget kitchen remodeling tips:

Stage Two: Order the Cabinets, Appliances, and Lighting Fixtures
Stage Three: Gut the Kitchen and Do the Electrical and Plumbing Work
Stage Four: Install Cabinets, Countertops, Appliances, Flooring, and Fixtures
Final Phases: Upgrade if Necessary

Stage Two: Order the Cabinets, Appliances, and Lighting Fixtures

Cabinets and appliances are the biggest investments in your kitchen remodeling project. If you're remodeling in stages, you can order them any time after the plans are complete and store them in a garage (away from moisture) or in a spare room until you're ready to pull the trigger on the installation.

Remember that it may take four to six weeks from the day you order them for your cabinets to be delivered.

Related: How to Choose Stock Cabinets for Your Kitchen

If you can't afford all new appliances, keep your old ones for now — but plan to buy either the same sizes, or choose larger sizes and design your cabinets around those larger measurements. You can replace appliances as budget permits later on.

Related: Appliance Buying Guides

The same goes for your lighting fixtures: If you can live with your old ones for now, you’ll save money by reusing them.

You’ll have to decide about flooring, too — one of the trickier decisions to make because it also affects how and when you install cabinets.

You’ll need to know if your old flooring runs underneath your cabinets, or if the flooring butts up against the cabinet sides and toe kicks. If the flooring runs underneath, you’ll have some leeway for new cabinet configurations — just be sure the old flooring will cover any newly exposed floor areas. Here are points to remember:
Keep old flooring for cost savings. This works if your new cabinets match your old layout, so that the new cabinets fit exactly into the old flooring configuration. If the existing flooring runs underneath your cabinets and covers all flooring area, then any new cabinet configuration will be fine.
Keep your old flooring for now and cover it or replace it later. Again, this works if your cabinet configuration is identical to the old layout.

However, if you plan to cover your old flooring or tear it out and replace it at some point in the future, remember that your new flooring might raise the height of your floor, effectively lowering your cabinet height.

For thin new floor coverings, such as vinyl and linoleum, the change is imperceptible. For thicker floorings, such as wood and tile, you might want to take into account the change in floor height by installing your new cabinets on shims.
Cost: cabinets: $16,000 (27% of total); appliances and lighting fixtures: $8,500 (15% of total); vinyl flooring: $1,000 (2% of total)
Key strategy: Keep old appliances, lighting fixtures, and flooring and use them until you can afford new ones.
Time frame: 2 to 3 weeks

Stage Three: Gut the Kitchen and Do the Electrical and Plumbing Work

Here's where the remodel gets messy. Old cabinetry and appliances are removed, and walls may have to be opened up for new electrical circuits. Keep in close contact with your contractor during this stage so you can answer questions and clear up any problems quickly. A major kitchen remodel can take six to 10 weeks, depending on how extensive the project is.

During this stage, haul your refrigerator, microwave, and toaster oven to another room — near the laundry or the garage, for example — so you've got the means to cook meals. Feinberg suggests tackling this stage in the summer, when you can easily grill and eat outside. That’ll reduce the temptation to eat at restaurants, and will help keep your day-to-day costs under control.
Cost: $14,500 for tear-out and installation of new plumbing and electrical (25% of total)
Key strategies: Encourage your contractor to expedite the tear-out and installation of new systems. Plan a makeshift kitchen while the work is progressing. Schedule this work for summer when you can grill and eat outside.
Time frame: 6 to 10 weeks

Stage Four: Install Cabinets, Countertops, Appliances, Flooring, and Fixtures

 

If you’ve done your homework and bought key components in advance, you should roll through this phase. You've now got a (mostly) finished kitchen.

A high-end countertop and backsplash can be a sizable sum of money. If you can't quite swing it, put down a temporary top, such as painted marine plywood or inexpensive laminate. Later, you can upgrade to granite, tile, solid surface, or marble.
Cost: $12,000 (21% of total)
Key strategy: Install an inexpensive countertop; upgrade when you’re able.
Time frame: 1 to 2 weeks

Final Phases: Upgrade if Necessary

Replace the inexpensive countertop, pull up the laminate flooring, and put in tile or hardwood, or buy that new refrigerator you wanted but couldn't afford during the remodel. (Just make sure it fits in the space!)

Related: Why White Kitchens Stand the Test of Time

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/budget-kitchen-remodeling-advice/preview/#ixzz3cmzQ3C00
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on Facebook


Posted on June 11, 2015 at 8:55 pm
Mary Kay Robinson | Posted in Remodeling Ideas |

How to Kill and Prevent Bathroom Mold

This is a very common issue in the Pacific Northwest.  I thought this was great advice for prevention of mold.

Mary Kay

 

How to Kill and Prevent Bathroom Mold

By:  Deborah R. Huso

Got bathroom mold on your ceiling? Here’s how to get rid of it and prevent future infestations, too.

If you’ve never experienced bathroom mold, perhaps you aren’t looking deep enough into the corners of your bathroom.

It’s one of the most common problems in any house; it’s also one of the easiest to prevent and cure — as long as you haven’t let it get out of hand.

“Bathroom mold occurs primarily because mold loves damp, dark, isolated spaces,” says Larry Vetter of Vetter Environmental Services in Smithtown, N.Y. “Typically, a bathtub, shower, or entire bathroom remains damp enough for mold growth just from showering or bathing.”

Common Causes of Bathroom Mold
Lingering moisture caused by lack of ventilation
Leaky toilets, sinks, and plumbing pipes
Damp cellulose materials such as rugs, paper products, wood, wallpaper, grout, drywall, and fabric

So how do you know if you have a mold problem? Matt Cinelli, owner/operator of AERC Removals in North Attleboro, Mass., says, “If you can see it or smell it, you’ve got it.”

Finding the Mold in Your Bathroom

Bathroom mold isn’t always obvious. Check out hidden areas, such as under sinks, access doors to shower and bath fixtures, around exhaust fans, even in crawl spaces and basements underneath bathrooms.

“It could be starting in the bathroom but actually forming in another room,” says Cinelli, adding that lack of proper ventilation is the biggest culprit for mold growth.

Preventing Mold

The best defense is preventing mold from occurring in the first place. Yashira Feliciano, director of housekeeping for Conrad Conado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, offers the following tips for keeping mold out of your bathroom:
Use your bathroom ventilation fan when you shower or bathe, and leave it on for 30 minutes following the end of your bath; if you don’t have an exhaust fan, install one.
Keep household humidity levels below 50%; an air conditioner or dehumidifier can help.
Use a mildew-resistant shower curtain, and wash or replace it frequently.
Don’t keep bottles of shampoo or shower gel, toys, or loofahs in the shower, as they provide places for mold to grow and hide.
Wash your bathroom rugs frequently.

Getting Rid of Mold

What do you do if mold growth is already a problem? As long as the infestation isn’t large, you can take remedial measures yourself:
Strip away and replace any caulking or sealant that has mold growth.
Clean your bathroom with mold-killing products, such as bleach, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide.
Open windows and doors while cleaning to provide fresh air and help dry out the mold.

If you have a problem area bigger than 10 square feet, refer to guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or call in a professional.

“When you see it creeping into walls and insulation, you need a professional,” says Cinelli, who notes that tearing out walls (which may be necessary for a big problem) can release mold spores into the rest of the house and create an even bigger issue.

“The idea is to kill it and then remove it,” he says. “And the most important thing is to figure out why you have it before you clean it up.”

Related:
6 Unexpected Places Mold Can Hide in Your Home
What’s the No. 1 Thing People Want in Their Bathroom?

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/bathroom-mold/preview/#ixzz3cmyvHuz6
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on Facebook


Posted on June 11, 2015 at 8:53 pm
Mary Kay Robinson | Posted in Home Repair |

The Top 10 Features for New Homes

 

      |

 

The Top 10 Features for New Homes

The outdoor kitchen and two-story foyers are starting to lose favor among new home shoppers, while energy efficiency and bigger closets are gaining in popularity, according to a new survey from the National Association of Home Builders. NAHB asked builders to rank home features from 1 to 5 on how likely they were to include them this year in single-family homes they build this year.

An increased interest in energy efficiency is decreasing interest in two-story foyers and rooms, Rose Quint, NAHB’s assistant vice president for survey research, told MarketWatch. "Consumers consider those spaces to be energy inefficient," she says.

Here are some of the least likely features that builders say they will include in new homes this year:

  1. Outdoor kitchen (cooking, refrigeration, and sink)
  2. Laminate countertops in kitchen
  3. Outdoor fireplace
  4. Sunroom
  5. Two-story family room
  6. Media room
  7. Two-story foyer
  8. Walking/jogging trails in community
  9. Whirlpool in master bathroom
  10. Carpeting as flooring on main level

On the other hand, these home features, builders say, are most likely to be included in a new home this year:

  1. Walk-in closet in master bedroom
  2. Laundry room
  3. Low-e windows
  4. Guest room (kitchen-family-room-living room)
  5. Energy-star rated appliances
  6. 9-foot ceiling or more on first floor
  7. Energy-star rated windows
  8. Programmable thermostat
  9. Two-car garage
  10. Granite countertop in kitchen

Source: "Whirlpool Bathtubs are Losing Out in New Homes," MarketWatch (April 2, 2015)

 

Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online, April 16, 2015, with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

 

 

 


Posted on April 21, 2015 at 10:43 pm
Mary Kay Robinson | Posted in Decorating Trends |