Skip to content

Preparation Key to Interior Painting Success

April 23, 2015

 

interior paint home

 

By Keith Loria, Rismedia.com

One of the easiest ways to give a room a quick makeover before putting your home on the market is by adding a fresh coat of paint. While picking the right color is typically an exciting part of the process, it’s crucial that you prepare well ahead of time by formulating a plan of action for your interior painting project.

If you’re tackling the paint job yourself, one trip to the local paint store or hardware supply store should be enough to find everything you’ll need for the job. In addition to the paint itself, you’ll need rollers, brushes (of various sizes), a trim edger, paint sticks, protective cloth and a paint pan. Additional items that may come in handy along the way include a tape measure, screwdriver, sandpaper, sponges, household cleaner and drop cloths.

To properly prepare the room, set aside some time to clean it first. This includes removing any small items or furniture that can easily be cleared from the space. For larger items that are too much trouble to move, bring them to the center of the room and cover them with plastic cloths to keep them from getting covered with paint. Next, use blue masking tape to protect light fixtures, switch panels, hinges and knobs, and a drop cloth to protect the floor. It’s also a good idea to keep a window open for ventilation.

Any surfaces that aren’t being painted will have to be masked off with tape as well. This includes the trim on doors and windows, bookshelves and baseboards. The corners between walls and ceilings may also need to be masked off.

As for the walls that are being painted, examine the drywall to see if there are any holes, as these must be repaired before painting. Once drywall repairs are made, the area must be sanded and primed before the paint is applied. If the plaster has any cracks, they’ll need to be fixed with a paste that can be made from Plaster of Paris and water. Be sure to remove any nails from the wall as well.

If the walls have never been painted before—or they were previously painted a dark color/stain—priming is an essential part of the process that can’t be ignored. The primer will help conceal the old color and any unsightly stains that may otherwise show through the new paint.

Once all this is done, it’s time to paint. Bring in some friends and family members and make it fun. Blast some good music, order some pizza for lunch and make it a painting party no one will ever forget.

For more painting preparation tips, contact our office today.

Copyright© 2015 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission.

I am a Realtor®. Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House

April 16, 2015

 

calulator

 

 

When you buy a fixer-upper house, you can save a ton of money, or get yourself in a financial fix.

Trying to decide whether to buy a fixer-upper house? Follow these seven steps, and you’ll know how much you can afford, how much to offer, and whether a fixer-upper house is right for you.

1. Decide what you can do yourself.

TV remodeling shows make home improvement work look like a snap. In the real world, attempting a difficult remodeling job that you don’t know how to do will take longer than you think and can lead to less-than-professional results that won’t increase the value of your fixer-upper house.

Do you really have the skills to do it? Some tasks, like stripping wallpaper and painting, are relatively easy. Others, like electrical work, can be dangerous when done by amateurs.

Do you really have the time and desire to do it? Can you take time off work to renovate your fixer-upper house? If not, will you be stressed out by living in a work zone for months while you complete projects on the weekends?

2. Price the cost of repairs and remodeling before you make an offer.

Get your contractor into the house to do a walk-through, so he can give you a written cost estimate on the tasks he’s going to do.

If you’re doing the work yourself, price the supplies.

Either way, tack on 10% to 20% to cover unforeseen problems that often arise with a fixer-upper house.

3. Check permit costs.

Ask local officials if the work you’re going to do requires a permit and how much that permit costs. Doing work without a permit may save money, but it’ll cause problems when you resell your home.

Decide if you want to get the permits yourself or have the contractor arrange for them. Getting permits can be time-consuming and frustrating. Inspectors may force you to do additional work, or change the way you want to do a project, before they give you the permit.

Factor the time and aggravation of permits into your plans.

4. Doublecheck pricing on structural work.

If your fixer-upper home needs major structural work, hire a structural engineer for $500 to $700 to inspect the home before you put in an offer so you can be confident you’ve uncovered and conservatively budgeted for the full extent of the problems.

Get written estimates for repairs before you commit to buying a home with structural issues.

Don’t purchase a home that needs major structural work unless:

You’re getting it at a steep discount

You’re sure you’ve uncovered the extent of the problem

You know the problem can be fixed

You have a binding written estimate for the repairs

5. Check the cost of financing.

Be sure you have enough money for a downpayment, closing costs, and repairs without draining your savings.

If you’re planning to fund the repairs with a home equity or home improvement loan:

Get yourself pre-approved for both loans before you make an offer.

Make the deal contingent on getting both the purchase money loan and the renovation money loan, so you’re not forced to close the sale when you have no loan to fix the house.

Consider the Federal Housing Administration’s Section 203(k) program, which is designed to help home owners who are purchasing or refinancing a home that needs rehabilitation. The program wraps the purchase/refinance and rehabilitation costs into a single mortgage. To qualify for the loan, the total value of the property must fall within the FHA mortgage limit for your area, as with other FHA loans. A streamlined 203(k) program provides an additional amount for rehabilitation, up to $35,000, on top of an existing mortgage. It’s a simpler process than obtaining the standard 203(k).

6. Calculate your fair purchase offer.

Take the fair market value of the property (what it would be worth if it were in good condition and remodeled to current tastes) and subtract the upgrade and repair costs.

For example: Your target fixer-upper house has a 1960s kitchen, metallic wallpaper, shag carpet, and high levels of radon in the basement.

Your comparison house, in the same subdivision, sold last month for $200,000. That house had a newer kitchen, no wallpaper, was recently recarpeted, and has a radon mitigation system in its basement.

The cost to remodel the kitchen, remove the wallpaper, carpet the house, and put in a radon mitigation system is $40,000. Your bid for the house should be $160,000.

Ask your real estate agent if it’s a good idea to share your cost estimates with the sellers, to prove your offer is fair.

7. Include inspection contingencies in your offer.

Don’t rely on your friends or your contractor to eyeball your fixer-upper house. Hire pros to do common inspections like:

Home inspection. This is key in a fixer-upper assessment. The home inspector will uncover hidden issues in need of replacement or repair. You may know you want to replace those 1970s kitchen cabinets, but the home inspector has a meter that will detect the water leak behind them.

Radon, mold, lead-based paint

Septic and well

Pest

Most home inspection contingencies let you go back to the sellers and ask them to do the repairs, or give you cash at closing to pay for the repairs. The seller can also opt to simply back out of the deal, as can you, if the inspection turns up something you don’t want to deal with.

If that happens, this isn’t the right fixer-upper house for you. Go back to the top of this list and start again.

(G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer whose parents bought and renovated a fixer-upper when she was a teen. A regular contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.)

 

I am a Realtor®. Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

Real Estate @ a Glance: April 2015 Edition

April 7, 2015

Better RE glance

Here is the most recent information on the San Diego housing market. For specific information on your neighborhood or a market analysis on your home, please send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

Reportable Period :: March 2015 :: SAN DIEGO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

 

All expectations in 2015 are for a healthy and energetic selling season. National stories have been highlighting an increase in new construction sales and pending sales, but national stories are not always readily applied to the local scene. All the same, if ever there was a year to list or purchase a home, wider economic factors seem to indicate that this is the one.

 

Closed Sales increased 3.4 percent for Detached homes and 4.4 percent for Attached homes. Pending Sales increased 27.8 percent for Detached homes and 22.2 percent for Attached homes. Inventory decreased 15.6 percent for Detached homes and 17.9 percent for Attached homes.

 

The Median Sales Price was up 6.0 percent to $519,540 for Detached homes and 15.4 percent to $348,825 for Attached homes. Days on Market decreased 6.4 percent for Detached homes and 8.7 percent for Attached homes. Supply decreased 13.8 percent for Detached homes and 15.4 percent for Attached homes.

 

On average, more people are employed and making more money than they were at this time last year. The jobs picture, as a whole, looks promising. Employment drives home-buying activity, so it is ever critical to watch labor statistics as a key indicator for the residential real estate market. Coupled with the mostly positive jobs picture, it is widely expected that mortgage rates will remain as they are for at least the first six months of the year.

 

Median Sales Price: $460.250
Days on the Market Until Sale:  43
Housing Affordability Index: 31%
Months Supply: 2.4

 

 

Total Market Oveview

 

 

To view larger image, click here.

Buyers Offer More for a Staged Home

April 3, 2015

I am a Realtor®. Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.





BuyersOfferMoreForAStagedHome

The Green Moving Movement: Q and A with Spencer Brown

March 27, 2015

GreenMoving

Realtor.com Move | By: Erik Gunther

These days, it’s easy to be green in many aspects of your everyday life. However, there’s one industry that’s a bit of a straggler when it comes to going green—the moving biz. Yet the green moving movement is picking up momentum.

Obviously, it’s tough to be easy on the environment when boxes and packing materials are essential and wind up accounting for the bulk of moving waste. However, there are solutions on the horizon for green moving.

We spoke with Spencer Brown, CEO—and self-proclaimed Chief Treehugger—at rentagreenbox.com for his perspective on green moving and how moving can evolve to become environmentally friendly.

Hi Spencer. What are the advantages of a green move?

Moving green is cheaper, faster, and easier than a traditional cardboard move. For consumers, it will cost them half as much. For movers, they save hours of expensive labor because they can pack, load and unload our Green Boxes faster. Our boxes are designed to be crush and tear proof, preventing breakage and damage. In most cases, they eliminate insurance liability claims for the mover.

Why should a consumer consider green moving?

Moving green makes sense—you can save up to 50% of the cost of your move by using green boxes. Instead of wasting time building cardboard boxes that usually end up in the landfill after a few uses, you can order the exact amount for your move and when you’re done there’s no waste or added disposal costs. When your move is over, the boxes are removed, cleaned, sanitized, and then rented to the next client.

Other than renting green boxes, what are other ways consumers can do the green moving thing?

One of the best ways to green a move is to purge and donate household goods to a local charity. Instead of these products going into a landfill, their product life cycle can be extended. Another great way to go green on a move without doing much work is use old bedding and towels to wrap breakables. Old linens serve a double purpose—they protect high value items and reduce the need for additional packing materials.

Why do we still rely on cardboard for so many moving tasks?

Americans have been using cardboard to move for the last 100 years without understanding the total economic and environmental impact. No one brought this issue to light until we started our company a decade ago.

At that time, movers made money selling boxes to consumers, and they were motivated to protect this huge profit and revenue stream. Movers laughed at us when we introduced a green moving box to the marketplace. When consumers saw that they had a cheaper, faster, and easier green choice, they supported our products. If consumers are given a choice, they will do the right thing and go green.

What will be the tipping point to get us away from cardboard?

We saw a massive exodus away from cardboard in 2011 when moving companies lined up to buy our packing and moving products. Supermarkets also started using our boxes to cycle their products between distribution centers, which eliminated piles of free cardboard boxes. Based on the increase in our product sales, we think cardboard is on the way out across America.

What are the environmental savings of using green boxes over cardboard?

The average move that uses 50 of our boxes can save 20 trees, 40 gallons of fuel, 150 gallons of drinkable water. More importantly, it removes over 150 pounds of hard to recycle plastic from the landfill and prevents cardboard and packing materials from entering landfills. When you think about all of the moves across America, just having 3% of the moves go green is a massive reduction in trash.

What will it take for the moving industry to adopt more green policies?

This one is easy. Consumers will continue to demand green and will vote with their pocket books every day and on every move. Every customer that buys our products becomes an unofficial eco agent and promotes our products to their friends and family.

At this point, it’s a just a matter of time. We’ve been at this for 10 years and created, built, and led this moving industry green and we also know consumers are doing the right thing—buying green and buying American

I am a Realtor®. Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

9 Easy Mistakes Homeowners Make on Their Taxes

March 20, 2015

Tax-Real-Estate

 

 

Disclaimer:  This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice.

By: G. M. Filisko, ClientDirect

 

Don’t rouse the IRS or pay more taxes than necessary — know the score on each home tax deduction and credit. As you calculate your tax returns, be careful not to commit any of these nine home-related tax mistakes, which tax pros say are especially common and can cost you money or draw the IRS to your doorstep.

1. Deducting the wrong year for property taxes
You take a tax deduction for property taxes in the year you (or the holder of your escrow account) actually paid them. Some taxing authorities work a year behind — that is, you’re not billed for 2013 property taxes until 2014. But that’s irrelevant to the feds. Enter on your federal forms whatever amount you actually paid in that tax year, no matter what the date is on your tax bill. Dave Hampton, CPA, a tax department manager at the Cincinnati accounting firm of Burke & Schindler, has seen homeowners confuse payments for different years and claim the incorrect amount.

2. Confusing escrow amount for actual taxes paid
If your lender escrows funds to pay your property taxes, don’t just deduct the amount escrowed. The regular amount you pay into your escrow account each month to cover property taxes is probably a little more or a little less than your property tax bill. Your lender will adjust the amount every year or so to realign the two. For example, your tax bill might be $1,200, but your lender may have collected $1,100 or $1,300 in escrow over the year. Deduct only $1,200 or the amount of property taxes noted on the Form 1098 that your lender sends. If you don’t receive Form 1098, contact the agency that collects property tax to find out how much you paid.

3. Deducting points paid to refinance
Deduct points you paid your lender to secure your mortgage in full for the year you bought your home. However, when you refinance, you must deduct points over the life of your new loan. For example, if you paid $2,000 in points to refinance into a 15-year mortgage, your tax deduction is $2,000 divided by 15 years, or $133 per year.

4. Misjudging the home office tax deduction
The deduction is complicated, often doesn’t amount to much of a deduction, has to be recaptured if you turn a profit when you sell your home, and can pique the IRS’s interest in your return. But there’s good news. There’s a new simplified home office deduction option if you don’t want to claim actual costs. If you’re eligible, you can deduct $5 per square foot up to 300 feet of office space, or up to $1,500 per year.

5. Failing to repay the first-time homebuyer tax credit
If you used the original homebuyer tax credit in 2008, you must repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years.
If you used the tax credit in 2009 or 2010 and then within 36 months you sold your house or stopped using it as your primary residence, you also have to pay back the credit. The IRS has a tool you can use to help figure out what you owe.

6. Failing to track home-related expenses
If the IRS comes a-knockin’, don’t be scrambling to compile your records. File or scan and store home office and home improvement expense receipts and other home-related documents as you go.

7. Forgetting to keep track of capital gains
If you sold your main home last year, don’t forget to pay capital gains taxes on any profit. You can typically exclude $250,000 of any profits from taxes (or $500,000 if you’re married filing jointly).So if your cost basis for your home is $100,000 (what you paid for it plus any improvements) and you sold it for $400,000, your capital gains are $300,000. If you’re single, you owe taxes on $50,000 of gains. However, there are minimum time limits for holding property to take advantage of the exclusions, and other details. Consult IRS Publication 523. And high-income earners could get hit with an additional tax.

8. Filing incorrectly for energy tax credits
If you made any eligible improvements in 2014, such as installing energy-efficient windows and doors, you may be able to take a 10% tax credit (up to $500; with some systems your cap is even lower than $500). But keep in mind, it’s a lifetime credit. If you claimed the credit in any recent years, you’re done. Installing a solar electric, solar water heater, geothermal, or small wind energy system can also make you eligible to take the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit. To claim the deduction, you have to use the complicated Form 5695, which can mean cross-checking with half a dozen other IRS forms. Read the instructions carefully.

9. Claiming too much for the mortgage interest tax deduction
Taxpayers are allowed to deduct mortgage interest on home acquisition debt up to $1 million, plus they can also deduct up to $100,000 in home equity debt.

I am a Realtor®. Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

The Mortgage Challenge

March 13, 2015

I am a Realtor®. Consider me your resource for all things real estate!  Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

 

The Mortgage Challenge

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 869 other followers

%d bloggers like this: