Real EstateNews

Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2019

Upcycling: If Its broken, It Can Be Fixed

Yoursquo;ve seen the commercial ntilde; the forlorn lamp sits sadly by the curb in the rain. A man says, ldquo;Many of you feel bad for this lamp. That is because yoursquo;re crazy. It has no feelings and the new one is much better.rdquo;

But to many, the old lamp is a treasure waiting to be upcycled into something special. Ditto for the old furniture and other discarded items in the trash, or at the local thrift shop. One manrsquo;s trash and all that.

Treasures-to-be can also be found in your own home. ldquo;Learn to look at things differently before going out and buying something newrdquo; or throwing something away, says Adam Fullerton, Toronto fabricator and upcycler extraordinaire.

Adam Fullerton

Think outside the box. Can it be reused for another purpose? If itrsquo;s broken, can it be fixed or configured into something spectacular?

ldquo;Reusing is better than recycling,rdquo; he says. ldquo;It can also save you pennies along the way.rdquo;

Upcycling is a fun way to freshen up your space, create a conversation piece, exercise your creativity and help the environment at the same time. Just be careful not to hoard, Fullerton says.

Itrsquo;s also a great way to spend time with the kids, with a variety of projects from beginner to pro.

Fullertonrsquo;s upcycling career started with lighting. He would rescue lamps from the side of the road, flea markets or charity shops and reconfigure them, sometimes adding scraps to turn them into unique light fixtures or other decorative pieces.

One of his early lighting projects was a wall sconce, made from chandelier parts, the base of a table lamp and interestingly shaped old jam jars.

He bought a glass bottle cutter and began to upcycle colourful bottles into planters, glasses, bowls and dishes. ldquo;Itrsquo;s a great project for beginners,rdquo; he says. He collected corks and turned them into cork boards.

He used his welding skills to create more elaborate pieces, and also began crafting furniture with found materials. When he lived in England, solid wood doors, discards of renovations of old houses, were scavenged and transformed into frames for mirrors. ldquo;I collected as many as I could carry to repurpose. The middle panels were removed and replaced with mirrors and sometimes lighting was added around the door,rdquo; he says.

ldquo;I started upcycling in 2012, making stuff to sell but Irsquo;ve always been making something, taking things apart, and fixing them or taking the parts out to make something else.rdquo;

He says various past jobs, from car painting and restoration to construction, gave him experience working with different materials.

Fullerton grew up in a small village in the south of England and sold his light fixtures in London. In 2015 he moved across the pond. ldquo;I met a Canadian, now my wife,rdquo; he says. At first he worked in the garage, but most recently he moved up to a 1,200-square-foot studio of his own.

He creates products for use in residential and commercial settings. One shelf design, which can be used in either setting, has radiators as the ends with shelves made from found hemlock lumber.

His favourite go-to upcycling parts are from second-hand bicycles, where everything from gears to chains to handlebars are given new life. One of his first commercial projects was a bike rack made with racing handle bars to hold bike frames. ldquo;Inspiration comes from the piece that I find,rdquo; he says.

His ldquo;bike and fall lightrdquo; includes bicycle parts and replicates the >

The ldquo;bike and fall lightrdquo; can be raised and lowered by pulleys.

Upcycling has also turned into a full-time business for Denis and Martine Chercuitte of My Old Cher on Wolfe Island, Ont.

After 36 years in the military, Denis retired and went back to school to learn the basics of building furniture. ldquo;Denis and I learned together refinishing oil, paint and wax techniques and upholstery modern techniques,rdquo; Martine says.

Five years ago, they displayed their wares at the Wolfe Island Christmas sale. As soon as people realized they could have their furniture repaired and redone, demand began to grow. Two people at one sale wanted the same chair, upholstered in a whimsical fabric pattern with faces one bearing a mustache and looking a lot like Denis, Martine says. Neither ended up buying it.

Martine and Denis Chercuittte

The couple now gives a second life to other peoplersquo;s cast offs and brings new life to pieces people want to keep. Many summer homes on the island are filled with furniture bought generations ago and now the owners want to upgrade the pieces.

Although it may seem more expensive to reupholster than buy new, compared to a modern chair of the same quality, it is still less to have a piece redone, they say. ldquo;If the frame is good, it can be rebuilt and look good for a long time.rdquo;

An upcycled chair by Denis and Martine Chercuitte

Some people on the island donate items to the couple rather than paying to put them in the dump. One day after returning from grocery shopping, they found a cabinet sitting in front of a garage. Another time a man dropped off a chair he no longer had use for. After it was repaired and refinished, he was a little sorry he had given it up.

In the summer, the Chercuittes sell from their small boutique. They have also sold pieces in nearby Kingston.

For those contemplating an upcycling project, the Chercuittes suggest starting with a table or a chair that has an upholstered seat. As long as they are strong and steady, theyrsquo;re a good place to start. Denis suggests taking a half-day or day-long upholstery course.

Never assume something is too old to be upcycled, Martine says. Ask before you scrap or dump it into a fire pit.

Full Story >

How to Buy the Right Ceiling Fan

Size matters

A 36-inch fan isnrsquo;t likely going to do a great job of cooling your giant great room, and a 72-inch fan might look out of place in a tiny bedroom not to mention the fact that it might feel like a wind tunnel in there. Getting the lookmdash;and functionmdash;right has a lot to do with buying the right size fan for your space.

Consider the lighting

Does your space have decent lighting elsewhere or are you depending on the ceiling fan to provide good lighting for the room? Before you spend many aggravating hours searching online for the ldquo;brightest LED ceiling fan,rdquo; followed by an equally aggravating trip to a big box store that shall go unnamed, let us give you a little insight: Most fans without multiple exposed lights now have integrated LEDs, which means the light is built in to the fan and is not changeable.

While this may be cost-effective and convenientmdash;especially if yoursquo;d have to climb a ladder to change the light bulbmdash;itrsquo;s not great if yoursquo;re looking for a brighter light than what is included in the box. If you want one of those snazzy modern-looking fans nbsp;and you need a super bright light, yoursquo;ll probably need to MacGyver it or buy a fan without a light and then get a separate light kit without an integrated bulb. Good times ahead

Match your >

Ceiling fans with integrated lights come in a variety of >

Do the blades go in reverse?

One of the coolest pardon the pun features of many of todayrsquo;s fans is the fact that you can run them in reverse, which forces rising hot air down and helps keep the room comfortable in winter. If this feature is important to you, make sure the fan yoursquo;re looking at has it, because not all do.

Do you need a downrod?

Downrods are necessary if you have tall ceilings. has a great graphic that shows you how long or short your downrod should be depending on your room, but donrsquo;t forget to take your personal preferences into account. If yoursquo;re in a room that tends to run hot or faces west, maybe you want the fan installed a little lower so you can feel the air flow.

Read the reviews

While this was not so helpful in determining whether or not a light was bright enough People have opinions, and, wow can they contradict each other, it was helpful in weeding out some options that were wobbly when installed, didnrsquo;t come with a decent remote or any remote at all, or didnrsquo;t look like their picture in real life. Yoursquo;re never going to find any product with a 100 percent approval rating nor will you agree with everything you read, but a ldquo;majority rulesrdquo; type of deal is usually a pretty safe bet.

Full Story >

Condo Property Assessment

Question: I read your column faithfully and was hoping you could address a small issue/question I have. Recently, I received from my association a bill for property tax assessment challenges. It appears the association took it upon themselves to hire a property tax attorney, without notice to the homeowners or at least, I never received any notice via certified or any other mail that they would be assessed any amounts incurred in making the challenge. I was unaware it was legal for someone to protest your property taxes/property assessment without your consent.

Can you please give me your opinion as to the legality of the action of thenbsp;Board? Did they have the authority to incur these expenses without my consent?

Did they have the legal right to initiate this protest on my behalf without my consent? I did not provide them with any power of attorney. Paul.

Answer: Paul. In a follow-up email, you told me that the attorney did, in fact, get your tax assessment reduced, and that you will pay the new assessment but are concerned about the process.

I had never heard this was being done, so I checked with several colleagues who practice community association law. Apparently, some large associations ndash; as an accommodation to all owners ndash; retain an attorney versed in real estate tax assessments, and that attorney files appeals for everyone.

However, I was advised that the attorney can only file an appeal for a homeowner who has authorized the appeal. Such authorization can be in a specific power of attorney that each homeowner signs, but apparently in some associations, the Bylaws specifically cover this by creating an automatic power of attorney.

Paul, you advised me that you are absolutely certain that you never provided the power of attorney, but have you reviewed your association legal documents?

If, in fact, you never formally authorized the attorney to appeal your real estate tax assessment, I am not sure what your next steps should be? Clearly, you canrsquo;t complain that your assessment was reduced as a result of the attorneyrsquo;s involvement. Should you pay the assessment? I suggest that you send a letter to the board of directors requesting them to provide you proof that you did, in fact, directly or indirectly authorize the attorney to file the assessment on your behalf. If there is no such proof, then you have to decide whether to pay the assessment.

And, you may also consider sending a letter to the attorney asking for proof that you formally retained or authorized him to act on you behalf.

If the attorney cannot provide such proof, you may want to consider filing a grievance against the attorney before your state bar association. Attorneys are required to have a retainer or other agreement with a client before proceeding on behalf of that client.

Full Story >

Ask the HOA Expert: Board Meetings and Members

Answer: To address the complaints of this member, the board president should discuss the concerns in person with him. If he refuses to discuss specifics and continues to deliver unreasonable demands, a written response should state that his demands are not reasonable and the board will not respond to unreasonable demands. If he doesnrsquo;t like the decisions the board makes, he is free to run for election and get elected if he can drum up the support.

However, members are entitled to view HOA records that do not violate other membersrsquo; privacy or compromise ongoing litigation, attorney-client privilege or contract negotiations. Arranging a reasonable time to review other records in the office along with charging him for someonersquo;s time to facilitate it and costs of copies is appropriate.

And if your board has been holding closed meetings, that should change. The board should perform HOA business transparently. While there may be an occasional need for executive session behind closed door meeting to discuss topics like litigation, collections or contract negotiations, board meetings should otherwise be open to the members and held in venues that permit such. Those meetings should be noticed to all members well in advance along with the proposed agenda which allows members to request being part of the agenda. Draft minutes to the meetings should be distributed to the members within two weeks of the meeting.

Question: Our board recently approved a plan to remove hundreds of mature and healthy trees with no input from the residents. No clear explanation has been provided about the need to do this. Many members are up in arms.

Answer: There are good reasons to remove trees but before doing so, the board should be sensitive to the feelings of the members and provide clear and compelling evidence from experts that such is necessary. It is highly advisable to hire a licensed arborist who can provide credibility to a removal plan. If removal is being done for view purposes, it may be possible to achieve satisfactory results with ldquo;viewrdquo;pruning without having to remove the trees.

Question: Our homeowner association failed to hold an annual meeting or elections for several years. This wasnrsquo;t done intentionally. The HOA was involved in a complex and time consuming renovation project and simply couldnrsquo;t arrange the meeting schedule Because of this, some directors are currently serving passed their terms. A couple of members have started to complain. What should we do?

Answer: Not holding the annual meeting is a serious breach of the boardrsquo;s fiduciary duty and directors whose terms have expired are acting without the legal authority to do so. The board should schedule a annual meeting at the earliest possible date to hold elections which will either re-elect current directors or elect others to replace them. Tarry no longer

Question: If a proposal for enclosing unit decks into sunrooms is voted down by the board, can the proposal be brought up again and again at the future board meetings? It seems like this is simply a strategy to wear the board down until it caves in.

Answer: It depends what the repeated proposals entail. If the board initially voted down the sunroom concept in its entirety, it need not entertain the same concept again. If the board voted down the design and material details and not the concept, it is reasonable to revisit the issue although the board should not keep the applicants guessing what might be acceptable.

In a case like this, it is reasonable to hire an architect to provide a standardized design and materials for the boardrsquo;s approval which can be replicated by other unit owners that have the same desire.

The board controls the meeting agenda and is not obligated to discuss anything that a member has a mind to discuss. If a member persists in beating a dead horse, the board is not obligated to participate.

For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, subscribe to

Full Story >

Realtors Need to Establish Preferred Builder Networks Part 1

nbsp;Demand for new-construction homes should continue strengthening the next five years if the last five years are any indication.nbsp; Competition for saleable listings will remain extremely tight. More resalenbsp; prospects will consider new homes or at least become indifferent."nbsp;

According to two studies, one >


What the above pie charts mean:

Existing means of the market is going to purchase an existing home, not going to consider a new home.

New means market is going to purchase a new home and not consider a resale

Indifferent is the home shoppers that will consider a resale or a new home.nbsp;

What this chart means to homebuilders is clear: They need to continue targetingnbsp;the indifferent shopper to convince them to buy "new".nbsp;nbsp;

What this chart means to Realtors is that competition among your association members for resale listings and sales will remain strong, and the time to start adding new homes inventory and prospects to your resale initiatives now could be perfect.

The following recommendation is directed to broker/owners and those responsible within your offices to build your new homes presence.nbsp;

We need to take a page from the builders book when they market to their preferred Realtor network and develop what we may refer to as a Preferred Builder network. Keep it simple, informal and fun. Use it as both a recruiting and retention tool, while building a reputation among your builder community that you and your office are in the new homes sales business for real.nbsp; New home shoppers would soon hear about your office and start calling.nbsp;

Heres is how it could work:

Establish a new homes team or division within your office.: The purpose of this team is to serve the members of your Preferred Home Builder network.nbsp;

Members of your Preferred Builder network would be your sole discretion based on the criteria you establish, such as:

1 The builder should attempt to keep buy now inventory in the pipeline

2. Pay market rate commissions

3. Allow a licensed home inspector to accompany your buyers on walkthroughs if buyers so desire

4. Provide internet/concierge services smaller builders may not offer this service, but could still qualify

5. Keep your office advised of builder eventsnbsp;

6. Have a reputation for fair dealing.

7, Feature his homes in MLSnbsp;

You as the broker would provide an in house structure of those agents who want to be on your office new homes team: To be a member of your new homes sales team, your agents would be willing to:

1. Make the comitment to add new homes to their resale business

2.nbsp; Attend sales meetings or lunch and learns at preferred builder events

3. Add the builder internet consultant or builders name to phone contacts

4.nbsp; Research targetednbsp; builders to recommend network membership

5.nbsp; Take new homes training required by the brokernbsp;

6. Offer something special after first new homes sale, like add agents name to a list of Preferred New Home Agents in a company directory.

You get the idea. Make it what you want, but add a statement that would disqualify agents from being members of this team. There is no membership form, and builders may or may not know they have been selected. Although it would be obviously beneficial for their selection to be made public. While it helps the builder, you are also letting the public know that your office is involved at a high level with new homes.nbsp;

What does the builder need? He needs qualified, motivated prospects.and he needs to know that he is getting Realtor support at the important brand level, which helps build his most important asset. His reputation.nbsp;

What do REALTORS need? They need saleable inventory,nbsp; And the Preferred Home Builder gives them a compass of builders who are not only constructing quality homes but will treat them and their prospects with respect, with mutual trust between the two growing with every prospect and sale.nbsp;

According to NAR, Realtors control 90 of all home shoppers. "Builders understand that their real competition is not the builder across the street. It is the resale. And who controls this buyer? Realtors.." BHI CEO Tim Costello said in a speech at the 2013 International Builders Show.nbsp;

Once home shoppers learn that you are offering a preferred builder network and home builders understand the new homes production your office is generating, both the builder and home shopper will be contacting your office and agents. Guaranteed.nbsp;

Authors note: We have had great feedback from the few broker/owners we shared this idea with before writing this piece. What has become apparent to the author is if the builder/realtor >


Full Story >

10 Tips For a More Modern Living Room

1. Paint

We say it so much because its true: nothing transforms a room easier, more completely, and more affordably than a fresh new paint color. In a small space, use an airy modern color like Revere Pewter from Benjamin Moore. See more hot paint colors here.

2. Swap out those accessories

A simple update of a few knickknacks around the room can breathe new life into a space. Its also a good place to try out new trends, since accessories tend to be some of the least expensive items in your space and are easy to move around - and move out when you tire of them.

3. Go seasonal

Its easy to keep your home up to date all year long by going with seasonal deacute;cor. In your living room, introduce some beach chic for summer with a bowl full of shells and a sand-colored rug or a unique DIY vignette.

In the fall, bring in autumnal colors with candles and throw pillows; for winter, a ruddy throw and some holiday-inspired deacute;cor can grace your mantle. In the spring, citrus colors reign.

4. Dont sweep it under the rug

Whether your rug is dingy and dirty, super outdated, or just plain blah, a new one can liven up a space with little effort and little cost.

For as little as 100-200 try IKEA, Target, World Market, or Costco, you can transform the look of the room, introduce a new color, and take a boring room and make it more colorful and interesting.

5. Ditch the dusty frames

If your sofa table looks like a picture frame display at a home goods store, its time to pare it down. Pick a few key faves or create a gallery wall to free up space on flat surfaces for more updated arrangements of cherished treasures, accessories, and fresh flowers.

6. Paper it

It wasnt all that long ago that we were covering every surface in wallpaper we still have nightmares of a velvet flocked hallway. Over the last few years, its seen an insurgence, and todays patterns and textures offer a great opportunity to make an impact. If youre afraid of taking the leap, do one key wall or a small space.

Still timid? Try a product like Targets Devine Wallpaper, which is repositional, so when youre over it, you just peel it off and toss it.

7. Hang some drapes

Not only will they inject some >

8. Throw a pillow at it

Pillows are the other easy fix we like to harp on. Theyre easy to find and easy on the budget, they allow you to layer multiple colors, patterns, and textures, and you can change them out on a whim. Plus, the right pillows can help a nice couch like nicer or deflect attention away from a tired one were lookin at you, big brown sectional in a certain living room.

9. Light it up

A dim room can be romantic, yes, but for those times when you actually want to see, good lighting is key. If you already have an overhead fixture, you can bounce light around the room with table lamps and wall sconces.

Not keen to deal with wiring to hang something on the wall? Try a battery-operated sconce like this LED version from Home Depot.

10. Rearrange it

Sometimes, freshening up your space is as easy as moving stuff around. You may be surprised how much better your room can look with a new furniture arrangement. The keys are creating balance in the space and setting up areas for conversation. Get some more tips here.

Full Story >

Many Home Builders Make an Exception to the First-Time Registration Policy

Realtors lose thousands of dollars every day because they donrsquo;t know what to do or say when confronted with this policy.

There is a common but little-known exception to this policy under one condition. Call first.

A simple phone call to the builderrsquo;s sales office can result in thousands of dollars in your pocket.

Case study:

Prospect Watson tells Realtor Smith that he has visited a new home and liked it. ldquo;While we are looking at resales today, may we stop by the buildersrsquo; subdivision? I would like to take another look at one of their models, which i really liked.

Realtor Smith took Watson back to see the builder but did not call first. They walked in unexpectedly.nbsp;

When the onsite agent saw Watson, he called him by name; then privately reminded Realtor Smith that he would not be paid a commission if Watson purchases, because Realtor Smith did not register Watson before Watson visited the first time.

Watson bought the builders home, and as promised according to the builderrsquo;s policy, Realtor Smith did not get paid. Smith was livid and swore he would never take another prospect back to that builderrsquo;s homes. However, Smith was wrong. Unfortunately, he did not know or forgot to call first.

Remember this: If you walk unannounced, you lose control.

If you call first, you are in control of a hot prospect for that builderrsquo;s home. Builders know this.nbsp; What is the one thing that builders do not want you to do? Show this prospect another home, especially another new home.

Had Realtor Smith called first, and asked the onsite consultant about the commission, he would have heard ldquo;Bring your prospect back. We will protect your commission.rdquo;

Knowing what to do and doing it, in this case, would have put about 12,000 in Realtor Smiths pocket.nbsp;

Here is a suggested script when you are working with a prospect who has already visited a builder and wants to return for a second look.

ldquo;Hi Builder Jones, this is Realtor Smith. I have a prospect sitting in my office, who visited your sales office yesterday and liked the Palm model. His name is Watson. He really likes that model and wants to see it again today. .I was wondering what your commission policy is regarding a second visit.

ldquo;My problem is this: I know you have a ldquo;first-time registrationrsquo; policy. Im sure you run into this situation before. What is your commission policy in a case like this.rdquo;

Here is what the builder or onsite consultant will say,95 of the time.

ldquo;Bring Watson back today. We will protect your commission.rdquo;

Try it. Thousands of dollars are there for the asking.

Full Story >

Support Animals for the Disabled - Dos and Donts for Landlords

A Broad Definition

In order to qualify to have a support animal, the person requesting it must fit within the definition of "disabled." In California, the definition is quite broad. It includes physical or mental impairments or medical conditions which limit a major life activity or a record of disability or being regarded as being disabled. Although one qualifies as disabled, there are still some restrictions on the use of a support animal. The use of the animal must be >

Residential Property

Request. A housing provider may not inquire as to whether a person is disabled and needs special assistance such as the use of a support animal unless the housing provider is operating under a federally-subsidized housing program specifically for the disabled, which requires proof of disability to qualify for the program. After qualification, the procedure does not vary between subsidized and non-subsidized properties. All rentals are subject to HUD/DOJ guidelines.

Those guidelines changed on May 17, 2004. Now, although the preference is to have the resident put the request in writing, the new guidelines indicate that the landlord may not refuse a request if the resident does not wish to put it in writing. In that event, we recommend that the landlord document the request and attempt to get the resident to sign or initial that the writing is a correct statement of what they want. If the resident refuses to sign or initial, it would be wise to make a notation to that effect on the request.

Verification. Under the new HUD/DOJ guidelines, no verification is necessary if:

bull; the disability;

bull; the >

bull; the need for the request is apparent.

For instance, if a person is obviously blind and wants to have a seeing-eye dog, in violation of a no-pet policy, the landlord would not need documentation to prove that it was reasonable to allow the animal. If any of the three issues above are not apparent, the landlord can, and should, ask for written verification. If an accommodation is allowed without sufficient verification for some and not others, the landlord could be accused of differential treatment.

Verifiers. The new guidelines also expanded the acceptable sources of verification. A resident may now verify from:

bull; a doctor or health care professional;

bull; a peer support group there is no definition, but we think it is reasonable to think that it may mean Alcoholics Anonymous or similar organizations;

bull; a non-medical service agency perhaps a group like the M.S. Society;

bull; a >

"self-verification" it is likely that providing something such as written proof of receipt of Social Security Disability Income would suffice.

Reasonableness. Once the verification is accomplished, the landlord should determine if the request constitutes a "reasonable accommodation." Reasonableness is determined by balancing the interests of the parties. How would denial of the request affect the resident v. how would approval of request affect the landlord? The landlord is not required to allow something that would create an undue burden or interfere with the nature of the operation of the business. Most requests for animals are deemed to be reasonable, notwithstanding a "no-pet" policy. Even if a landlord allows pets, the policies established for regulating pets do not apply to support animals:

bull; Dont require that the animal is trained. Although Californias Unruh Act requires that business owners allow only animals which are trained, case law has included animals that provide emotional support as "companion animals" based on mental disability.

bull; Dont charge a pet deposit or any additional deposit because of the animal. If the animal damages the premises, the damage costs can be deducted from the ordinary deposit, as with any other damage expenses.

bull; Dont apply size, breed or quantity restrictions as you do with pets. Approval or denial should be based on whether having the animals on-site is reasonable. A support elephant or rattlesnake would not be reasonable, but many unusual animals could be. Monkeys have been trained to perform tasks for the physically disabled. Pit bulls or Rottweilers who are statistically more likely to bite are often used as companion animals.

bull; Dont require compliance with pet rules, because a support animal is not a pet. However, landlords should be able to establish reasonable rules of conduct for support animals which should not be more stringent than the propertys pet rules.

bull; Note that certified trainers of service animals for the physically disabled are entitled to the same rights about the animal they are training as disabled persons would be.

Have written policies in place, and document interactions with residents to reduce the chance of a lawsuit based on failure to accommodate. Our firm has drafted forms for disability accommodation policies and procedures, including a lease addendum for animals, which sets out rules of conduct and requires the resident to warrant that their animal is not dangerous.

Guests may bring support animals when they visit residents. If the disability, >

Commercial Property

Commercial properties have fewer specific regulations on the issue of animals. The Americans with Disabilities Act ADA addresses areas to which the public is invited, and Californias Unruh Act Civil Code section 51 and following addresses places that conduct "business" in the state. If you wish to read the text of the >

In spite of the fact that there is not as much detail available in the codes, it is clear that tenants of commercial property and members of the public who visit the properties are allowed to be accompanied by support animals. Just as with guests in residential property, the landlord does not have much ability to control visitors to the commercial property who claim that the animal they bring on-site is allowed as a support animal. The issues that would be worth addressing would likely >

With regard to tenants or employees of tenants, however, the landlord may reasonably exert some control. If a landlord wishes to establish rules which may be enforceable about the presence of animals, the rules should be in writing and should be part of the lease or addendum. If tenants or employees indicate that they are entitled to an exception to the rules based on disability, it is not clear that the procedure used in fair housing laws applies. Nevertheless, a landlord may be able to make a logical argument that to qualify for an exception, the tenant or employee should verify the right to the exception and, if that is so, the procedure used could resemble the one used for residents in rental housing.


Disability is the most common basis for discrimination complaints in California housing. ADA and Unruh Act violations are common claims made by visitors or tenants in commercial properties. These lawsuits are very time-consuming and expensive. If management personnel encounter a fact situation that could raise such issues, it would be wise to seek the advice of a supervisor and/or an attorney before taking action or failing to take action

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Top 8 Estate Planning Mistakes

Perhaps you have heard the expression: ldquo;If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.rdquo; This statement was never truer than for estate planning. By some accounts, 70 of adult Americans have no will or trust in place for their loved ones. Furthermore, others who initially did prepare an estate plan have failed to update it in light of changing circumstances in their lives.

With this backdrop, I wanted to summarize what I have seen over the years as the most common estate planning mistakes that people make.


You need to take steps in drafting your estate plan to assure that your assets are distributed to your grandchildren should your son/daughter die and not left to your daughter-in-law/son-in-law who could eventually remarry and end up using your inheritance with the new wife/husband and his/her step kids ndash; all of home have no familial >


If you have children, have you considered who would raise them if for some reason you or their other parent couldnrsquo;t. While this is not an easy subject to contemplate, having a guardian arrangement spelled out as part of your estate plan will ensure they will be properly cared for by someone you trust and have chosen. A legal guardian is a person who is given the legal authority and responsibility to take care of your childrenrsquo;s needs, such as providing food, education, medical care, dental care and shelter. If you have minor children it is imperative to have a plan in place to protect them in the event you cannot.


Did you know that most home refinancings require that your home be transferred out of a living trust back to your own names, at least until after the new lender has recorded its new mortgage or deed of trust on the property? The problem is that is most cases, no one ever thinks to transfer your real property back into the trust. This failure can result in an unforeseen probate of your home at the death of the second spouse.


Everyone has an estate plan. It is either the one we have created or the default so-called Plan B of the state in which we live. In our experience, it is very unlikely that a statersquo;s default plan is what clients would really want. State laws vary, but generally they have it set for the assets go outright to the closest family members. Whom a state considers to be ldquo;closestrdquo; can be complicated in nonnuclear families. Nonfamily members, like an unmarried partner, will not receive any of the assets. This failure to act could cause family member fights over their inheritance.


Having only a will is a just ticket to participate in the dreaded probate process costing your family time and money. Additionally, for those who donrsquo;t have a will, their assets will probably have to go through the intestate ldquo;no willrdquo; proceeding. Either of these scenarios will require that your assets go through probate before they can be fully distributed to the heirs. Probate proceedings vary from state to state, but many view the time, cost, and loss of privacy and control that come with probate as unnecessary evils which can ndash; and should be ndash; avoided.


Many older people add an adult child or grandchild to the title of their assets especially their home as a joint owner in order to avoid probate. However, this type of property can create all kinds of problems, including:

When a joint owner is added, the original owner loses control:

Jointly owned assets are exposed to the joint ownerrsquo;s possible misuse of them;

Part of these assets could be lost to the joint ownerrsquo;s creditors;

The assets could become part of a joint ownerrsquo;s divorce proceedings.


Many parents with a trust fear that an inheritance left to a child may be lost because of poor money handling skills or a drug, alcohol or gambling addiction of their children. With a living trust, you can instruct the successor trustee to retain personrsquo;s inheritance in trust and instruct the trustee to make payments, as needed, directly to third parties for rent, insurance, car payments, etc. to keep it out of their hands.


Letrsquo;s say you have a college student or a young adult over 18 who is unmarried. Theyare no longer minors that you have the legal authority to make decisions for. The law now >

1. Driverrsquo;s license or vehicle registration renewals

2. Registration/admission for college

3. Tax return filing

4. Banking transactions

5. Ongoing legal matters e.g., pending lawsuit from that fender-bender a few months back or speaking with childrsquo;s landlord

6. Jury duty summons

7. Passport renewal

Many estate planners urge clients to prod their adult children to draft POA on or around their 18th birthdays. So donrsquo;t forget a POA and make it one of the most important things on your to-do list.


A will or trust is not a static instrument. To serve its purposes, it must keep current with life changes, including an individualrsquo;s financial circumstances, and with some external factors, such as tax laws. With the help of a professional, you should periodically review your will, staying alert to new or different circumstances that might call for updates. Let us help you have the peace of mind you deserve

Contact our office for a free analysis of your situation and receive a FREE estate planning session valued at 750.00 consultation or a trust review if you already have a trust to make sure it is current. Contact Mark Klein at or 949 453-7979 call to schedule an appointment.

Full Story >

3 Signs Your Agent Deserves to be Trusted

Natural fear in taking action or making a decision is meant to preserve our health, property, and way of life, but it can do the opposite. For some real estate buyers and sellers, any change or decision is seen as risk to be avoided. Even those less afraid of risk or more confident about decision making usually >

Since it is the person delivering information who usually imparts "trust-ability" to facts and choices, your ability to read the "trust-worthiness" of real estate professionals you intend to >

In this column, were not discussing cheats or crooks who are out to deliberately commit fraud or worse. Thats a discussion Ive had with you many times before including this earlier column: "Silent Crime Against Homeowners: Mortgage Fraud." That said, remember that professionals with the best of intentions but without up-to-date knowledge or skills can pose risks for sellers and buyers.

Without trusted input, individuals and couples can second guess themselves when buying or selling, vacillating on whether to stick with their decision or not. For instance, "buyers remorse" is a risk-averse response attached to purchases of anything linked to dramatic or expensive change like real estate. Trust grounded in the value of the purchase and the soundness of the buying decision reduces risk aversion, and lessens or eliminates second guessing. This trust usually arises out of the >

How can I be sure my real estate professional deserves to be trusted? Here are three signs to look for:

1. Encouragement: The correct answer to the question above is, "you cant always be sure about others." Instead, its yourself who you must trust. A real estate professional who is intent on increasing your knowledge of how the sales process influences outcomes is also determined to build your confidence in your decision making. At the same time, your skepticism will be encouraged by welcoming your questions and contributions. As you gain confidence in your understanding of buying or selling real estate, youll realize how and when to trust yourself and the real estate professional and brokerage youve chosen to >

2. Clarification: Trust in the face of certainty is an achievement, however, trust in the face of uncertainty is an art. When a knowledgeable real estate professional delivers services, or explains properties or advice, they also clarify what they expect to receive from buyers or sellers who give their trust to the professional. In other words, during the uncertainty of the adventure into real estate, buyers and sellers are told how they can act in their own best interest to facilitate good outcomes from their real estate transaction. Trust takes the form of clarifying wants and needs, confirming budget limitations, and finalizing key decision criteria like location and price range. When a real estate professional is unclear or unspecific about what buyers and sellers can expect during the transaction, trust can be replaced by confusion and frustration. If you find these are common reactions when dealing with your real estate professional, why would they deserve to be trusted? Search out that real estate professional who is clear how to make real estates inherent uncertainty manageable from your point of view.

3. >: What is said, written, texted, postedhellip;matters, but how professionals act on what they communicate matters more. When a professionals interest in you is genuine, this concern is visible in every facet of the work carried out for and with you. Your interests should always be transparently and prominently placed above the professionals according to the Agency Law and fiduciary agreements that rule real estate. This commitment materializes as services that are >

Perception is the reality in earning trust and loyalty. Your definition of trust, and the professionals, need to be aligned.

  • Should trusting include you questioning the professional, or is unquestioning acceptance demanded by the professional?
  • Is their reaction defensive or offensive if their knowledge or skill is challenged?
  • Do you understand exactly what the professional expects from you and from themselves as your >

From the start, you deserve to understand what "trust" will mean to both of you, and to your real estate outcome. Trust yourself to be sure about this.

Source: "Whats Your Point?"

Full Story >

You Can Keep Your KonMari Method: Why Tidying Up with Marie Kondo Is Not for Me

If you havenrsquo;t caught the show and you arenrsquo;t familiar with its namesake star or her famed KonMari Method, let me give you a quickie overview, courtesy of Netflix: ldquo;In a series of inspiring home makeovers, world-renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo helps clients clear out the cluttermdash;and choose joy.rdquo;

Yes, ldquo;choose joy.rdquo; Kondorsquo;s shtickmdash;and I only use shtick for lack of a better word because joy does, actually, seem to emanate from hermdash;is that having too much stuff can steal that joy. And each item you keep in your home should spark joy, not take away from it.

Bring on the joyous decluttering. But not exactly the joyous watching.

Yes, America is having quite a love affair with Marie Kondo, and I guess I sorta get it. I see how her tips could be transformative, if youre open to them. Frankly, Irsquo;m not. A few minutes into episode No. 1, I had to fight the urge to go throw some [more] clothes on the floor instead of thanking each item individually as I was choosing to get rid of it, as is her recommended process.

But herersquo;s my bigger concern: These families on her show have issues. Not any more or bigger issues than other typical American families, but issues that definitely peek through the cracks of a crammed closet. I mean, Irsquo;m a believer that a pretty house can solve a lot of lifersquo;s problems, but to think that tidying up can fix your family is a little much, no?

Letrsquo;s take Kevin and Rachel Friend and their two uber-adorable kids, the family from the first episode. Hersquo;s busy and overworked and craves/expects a perfectly kept home. Shersquo;s admittedly sloppy and overwhelmed and home with the two kids most of the day plus working part-time. Clutter is clearly affecting their >

When it was all wrapped up in a Marie Kondo-approved bow at the end of the episode, I wasnrsquo;t even a little convinced that the family had permanently changed, or that they had healed, just because the bottles and plastic wear were nicely tucked away and the t-shirts were all folded in Kondo fashion in a drawer a process Irsquo;m finding super irritating since it will clearly only work for those who are painting the rainbow with their tees and not housing 75 similar shirts in shades of gray and black, BTW.

Please, Netflix. Commission a follow-up show ASAP. I need to see these people in one, three, and six months. And they need to be surprise visits. There, season two is all planned out.

Even better, make season some kind of collab between Kondo and a marriage counselor.

In the beginning of episode two, Wendy Akiyama basically explains how, now that she and husband Ron are empty nesters, itrsquo;s a great time to tackle the house since therersquo;s no pressure to actually participate in their >

She later announced, after going through the tidying up process, that her ldquo;retail therapyrdquo; was a way to hit her husband ldquo;where it hurts.rdquo; Ouch, but points for the self-realization. I really hope Netflix left them with a resource to talk through some of their issuesmdash;together. Perhaps Ron will tell the truth about how he really feels about paring his baseball card collection down, because no one who watched that believes he loves 10 cards just as much as he loved 1,000.

I have to admit this show stressed me out, and not just because the Akiyama house was closing in on some Hoarders-level stuff. I mean, they got rid of 150 BAGS OF TRASH. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY It was all just starting to feel like The Biggest Loser, Dysfunctional Family with Household Clutter Edition. Sure, you can lose the weight/clear the clutter, but what happens if you donrsquo;t get to the reasons behind it?

Two and one-half episodes in, Irsquo;m done. And, Irsquo;m still more comfortable with my everyday mess than the idea of militant tidying. Plus, I feel like clutter-clearing should exist on some kind of a sliding scale according to the size of your space. I have a huge master closet and, frankly, it sparks panic for me to think about having to clean it out.

Plus, I saw something recently that said that messy people are smarter, and, you know what: That definitely sparks joy.

Full Story >

3 Percent Down?

Government-backed mortgage loans, VA, FHA and USDA, require little to no down payment. FHA loans ask for a down payment of at least 3.5 percent of the sales price while the other two donrsquo;t require any down payment whatsoever. But did you know there are conventional loans that also accept a down payment of just 3.0 percent? There are three such programs, Fannie Maersquo;s Home Ready, Freddie Macrsquo;s Home Possible and the Conventional 97, another Fannie entry. But the Conventional 97 comes with fewer strings attached.

Home Ready is a program designed for first time buyers and asks for a 3 percent down payment. The program was designed to help underserved areas and geared toward low to moderate income buyers. The property must be owner occupied and there are income limitations for the borrowers. Borrowers cannot make more than 100 percent of the median income for the area.

In certain areas designated as high-minority, there is also an income limit at 100 percent of median income. Home Possible is Freddie Macrsquo;s entry and has similar restrictions regarding income and location. Because of the income limitations and areas served, there will be limits regarding the final loan amount. Buyers must not have owned a home within the previous three years.

For both programs, borrowers must take a Home Buyer Education Course from an approved provider. The lender has a list of such agencies that help consumers get into their first home.

The other player in this mortgage world is the Conventional 97. This program also requires just a 3 percent down payment but there are no restrictions regarding loan limits. Instead, the only limit is the one all conforming loans have which is 484,350 in most parts of the country. Like the others, the property must be for a primary residence and the Conventional 97 cannot be used to finance a rental or investment property.

This program has been around for several years but appears to be catching on. The Conventional 97 can be compared to an FHA loan, the primary difference being the 3 percent needed for the conventional loan and 3.5 for the FHA. FHA loans also have a county-by-county loan limit as well, but theyrsquo;re going to be higher compared to Home Ready and Home Possible. For most parts of the country, the maximum FHA loan for 2019 is 389,350.

All of these low down payment options will require some form of mortgage insurance and some premiums are higher than others. But if you or someone you know is looking for a low down payment loan program, take a look at the Conventional 97 while comparing options.

Full Story >

What You Dont Know About Real Estate Could Cost You

Itrsquo;s what you donrsquo;t know about real estate that could cost younbsp;when buying or selling.

bull; First-time buyers usually havenrsquo;t seen enough houses or condominium units to fully understand where real estate value lies.

They may not have been caretaker of a house and, therefore, donrsquo;t notice subtle signs of damage, sloppy construction, poor maintenance, or worn-out elements. Those who have visited friendsrsquo; houses will ra>

bull; First-time-in-a-longtime buyers may not realize that they are out of touch with advances in materials, modern design approaches, or evolving life>

This can lead them to under- or over-value new houses or condominium units.nbsp;For example, quartz kitchen countersnbsp;have gained popularity over marble and granite for several reasons. Open-concept design is preferred by those with small children or those who live to entertain, but not by those who are untidy, >

bull; First-time sellers who base resale value on their total costnbsp;of acquiring and maintaining real estate ownership, plus expectednbsp;profit, have missed the point.

Emotions, including pride of ownership, can get in the way and prove expensive. Sellers may believe that their cost of buying and transforming the property into their home, plus money spent on maintenance and upgrades, plus profit and the cost of selling, including commission, add up to their actual ldquo;bottom linerdquo; for resale value. Problems arise for sellers when this must-have sale price is not in line with market value, which is value determined by the real estate market - current buyers and previous sales. When the seller expects more than market value, this ldquo;over-priced listingrdquo; may take longer to sell, may eventually sell for less, or may fail to find a buyer. First-time sellers may lack experience evaluating how their property compares with local property values and appraising their property from the perspective of current active buyers.

Value determination and marketing - or communicating action-enticing value to potential buyers - represent two different professional real estate selling-skill sets, neither of which are usually possessed by sellers.

bull; Empty-nester and downsizing sellers may decide, in theory, that smaller and cheaper are the characteristics they desire in their next property, but some discover itrsquo;s a different story in practice.

When faced with the actual move to a smaller house in a cheaper location, they may find the mental leap too great. Downsizing is often wrongly considered me>

Many faced with wanting a change find they lack the real estate knowledge and planning expertise to make the shift gracefully acceptable and financially successfully.

bull; Newbie real estate investors may believe that crunching numbers to determine how much profit they want and what it will cost to achieve this profit is all it takes.

Creating an offer to purchase, which entices a property owner to sell for the buyerrsquo;s desired price, requires special professional expertise. Then, offering the property for profit-generating rent that will attract qualified prospective renters involves a different set of professional skills. Many new investors possess neither skill set, which are both common in real estate professionals.

The emotional element regarding what sellers will sell for and what renters will pay to live in the resulting investment property can influence financial gain and bottom-line projections. Skill and experience is essential to investors taking all this into account to create profit.

What you donrsquo;t know about property ownership and real estate transactions can cost you when buying or selling, wherever you fit in on the list of buyers and sellers above. Do you have experience with contracts, financing, interior design, renovation, conflict resolutionhellip;? Then, therersquo;s marketing - both using it to persuade others and personally fending off its effects when yoursquo;re making decisions.

What you donrsquo;t know about real estate, real estate professionals do. They are committed to studying and keeping up to date on what matters. Most have spent years on the job perfecting their expertise and learning local markets.

Would you surgically operate on yourself or drill your own teeth? Itrsquo;s that extreme an issue when you donrsquo;t engage available professional skill and knowledge to work for and with you.

Concentrate on learning what the right real estate professional cannbsp;help you achieve.

Not the least of which is discovering what you donrsquo;t know about buying and selling. When you think, my goal is ldquo;buy my dream homerdquo; or ldquo;sell at my dream price,rdquo; understand what will have to happen and what you must do to achieve the desired outcome.

If you donrsquo;t know where to start, no problem.

Real estate professionals are trained to know what needs to be done for prospects and clients every day, every offer, every transactionhellip;. Do you know what yoursquo;ll gain with professional help? How determined are you to achieve real estate goals and exceed your expectations, as quickly and hassle-free as possible?

To continue learning about buying and selling real estate, checkout more Realty Times articles by PJ Wadenbsp;The Catalyst:

bull; 4 "Big Regrets" to Avoid When Buying a Homenbsp;
bull; Trends Cost Sellers Money
bull; Ready to Talk About Real Estate?

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5 Reasons to Buy a Fixer-Upper Instead of a Perfect Place

.It costs less

ldquo;Fixer-uppers list for an average of 8 below market value,rdquo; said LearnVest. If yoursquo;re on a budget or are being priced out in your market, this is a way to get a literal foot in the door. How much depends greatly on the location. ldquo;Fixer-uppers in Phoenix have the smallest cash discount, saving buyers just 1,000 off list price. But you can save a lot of money in expensive markets like San Francisco, where fixer-uppers are discounted an average of 10mdash;giving homebuyers 54,000 in upfront savings for renovations on the median home.rdquo;

You may be able to finance your renovation

One of the major drawbacks of buying a home that needs to be fixed up is having to come up with the cashmdash;especially after yoursquo;ve just put so much money into your down payment and closing costs. There are a few different types of loans that package the mortgage with funds for renovations, and they often come as a surprise to buyers who have only focused on FHA and 30-year conventional loans.

ldquo;Whether you need a new roof or your kitchen is outdated, there is a mortgage thatrsquo;s right for your fixer-upper,rdquo; said Bankrate. Fannie Maersquo;s Home>

It gives you the opportunity to build value

With an already-updated home, ldquo;If a seller has redecorated or improved the whole place, that seller is reaping the benefit,rdquo; said Forbes. ldquo;If the homes value has been raised, the buyer is paying for it. Also, consider this reality: A seller who re-does a whole house in order to sell is not likely putting in the highest-quality materials. Theyre cutting costs to maximize profit. But if you buy a fixer-upper, you might be able to secure an undervalued property, improve it and get the benefit of the extra equity. Its a core real estate concept. If you can find the right property, this could mean thousands of dollars almost immediately.rdquo;

You can do renovations over time

There may be a few things you canrsquo;t live with in a fixer-upper, like the grungy carpet and cruddy plumbing fixtures, but no one other than design shows says your place has to be perfect the day you move in. Taking your time to make updates as yoursquo;re able gives you the opportunity to save money and recover from all the expenses of buying the home and moving in.

It allows you to put your stamp on it

When you buy a home that was lived in and fixed up by someone else, it reflects their taste and >

ldquo;One of the primary reasons people buy fixer-upper properties is for the opportunity to make the space their own,rdquo; said Green Residential. ldquo;Instead of purchasing a home in which someone else designed the layout, chose the materials, and dictated where different elements were placed, you can buy a basic structure and then take charge. Itrsquo;s like building your own home without having to go through the lengthy process of drawing plans and constructing it from the ground up.rdquo;

Full Story >

Whats the Real Impact of the Government Shutdown on Real Estate?

ldquo;An NAR survey of 2,211 members found 75 percent had no impact to their contract signings or closings. However, 11 percent did report an impact on current clients and 11 percent on potential clients,rdquo; said the National Association of Realtors. Among those impacted by the shutdown, 17 percent had a closing delay because of a USDA loan.rdquo;

The most impacted areas of the market surround:

Buyer uncertainty

Consumer confidence is always a topic of conversation when it comes to real estate, and with rising interest rates and a roller coaster stock market, a government shutdown only makes the issues that much stickier. According to the NAR study, ldquo;The most common impact, at 25 percent, was the buyer decided not to buy due to general economic uncertainty, though they were not a federal government employee.rdquo;

Loan approvals/Closing delays

Whether or not your loan and/or closing is impacted by the government shutdown largely depends on the type of loan you are getting. ldquo;If youre getting a Federal Housing Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs loan, its likely you can expect delays in the underwriting process, and its possible your closing date will be pushed back as well,rdquo; said the Dallas Morning News.

HUD has said that while new FHA loans will be endorsed during the shutdown, ldquo;Some delays with FHA processing may occur due to short staffing.rdquo; In addition, new Home Equity Conversion Mortgages HECM, more commonly referred to as reverse mortgages, are on hold for now.

While the White House has insisted that the Internal Revenue Service IRS process tax refunds during the shutdown, itrsquo;s made no such mandate in regards to helping consumers who need info because theyrsquo;re buying a home. That means that buyers wonrsquo;t be able to requests tax return transcripts, which may be required by lenders, thereby delaying the purchasing process.

Full Story >

Housing Counsel Public Condo Law vs. Private Condo Law

Question: I am the President of a mid-size condominium in Washington.

Our Bylaws specifically prohibit short-term rentals of any kind. The board ndash; and most of our members ndash; agree that cutting out short term rentals and subleases of less than a year helps cut down on the move in and out traffic that creates maintenance distress, having renters that donrsquo;t care about the building and administrative tracking of who resides in the building.

One of our board members called to my attention that the Council of the District of Columbia recently enacted legislation that will allow ndash; under certain conditions ndash; using an ownerrsquo;s primary residence for such short term rentals as AirBnb.

Our question: are our current Bylaws, rules and regs unlawful in DC? We donrsquo;t really want to change this for reasons above, but we certainly want to be compliant with DC law.

Answer: First, assuming that the Mayor does not veto the Act, and assuming Congress stays out of the Districtrsquo;s business ndash; the law will take effect October 1, 2019.

The simple answer to your question is no, your Bylaws ndash; assuming they are recorded among the District land records ndash; are perfectly legal and enforceable. The community association attorneys here in Washington arrange to have the following language included in the new law: ldquo;if the short-term rental is on property within a condominium, cooperative, or homeowner association, the host shall provide proof that the ...association permits the operation of a short-term rental..rdquo;

If the host ndash; the owner who wants to use the unit for short term rentals ndash; finds language in the associationrsquo;s governing documents prohibiting such rentals ndash; but nevertheless proceeds with such rentals, there are strict civil penalties. For the first violation, 500; 2000 for the second, and 6,000 for the third and revocation of the business license. These are fined levied by the City.

Let us assume, however, that such additional language was not included in the new law. If the associationrsquo;s Bylaws prohibited short-term rentals, that would still be enforceable by the condo board. There is what I call ldquo;private zoning vs. public zoningrdquo;. Example: DC zoning is commercial, including medical clinics but the condo bylaws specifically disallows such clinics

Since the condo bylaws are more restrictive than the public law, it is valid. However, if the zoning is residential, the condo cannot allow commercial use unless the owner obtains a ldquo;home occupancy permitrdquo; from the District.

The condo board can also fine the owner who is violating the By-laws. However, District of Columbia law requires that the owner must first be provided a notice and an opportunity to be heard, before any fine can be imposed. This is not a formal court hearing; it is a meeting between the alleged violator and either the board or a committee appointed by the board. It gives the owner due process rights to try to explain why there was no violation.

This same due process opportunity for a hearing is also in the Maryland and Virginia condominium acts.

As you can see, it all depends on the zoning laws, the condo law in your jurisdiction, and your governing documents.

Full Story >

Clever Tips to Make Painting Your Home Easier

Wrap it up

One of the most painful tasks associated with the painting is having to clean up at the end of the day. If you hate cleaning your brushes, this tip is for you. The best way to preserve your brush if youre done for the day or the time being but not done with the job, is to wrap it in plastic wrap and throw it in the freezer overnight. But, it does require about 15 minutes of thawing out the following day before you can begin again. We found that putting the brush in a Ziploc bag and making it as airtight as possible does a fine job of keeping the brush pliable for the next day, and you can just pick it up and go without the wait.

Line it

Paint tray liners are helpful in extending the life of your paint tray and minimizing clean up, but if you dont want to spend the money, head to your kitchen, instead. Aluminum foil or plastic wrap wrapped around your paint tray will keep it clean.

Keep that foil handy

Readers Digest notes that aluminum foil is also great when painting a door. "When youre painting a door, aluminum foil is great for wrapping doorknobs to keep paint off them. Overlap the foil onto the door when you wrap the knob, then run a sharp utility knife around the base of the knob to trim the foil. That way you can paint right up to the edge of the knob. In addition to wrapping knobs on the doors that youll paint, wrap all the doorknobs that are along the route to where you will clean your hands and brushes."

Dust those walls

Prepping is key to a successful paint job, but if youre doing a quick cleanup of your walls before painting, you may not want to spray cleaner on them for fear that the paint wont adhere well. Use a Swiffer duster instead. Dust will cling to it and youll have a clean surface to paint on. nbsp;A dryer sheet is another good option for getting the dust off your surfaces - especially baseboards - before you begin.

Take out the smell

If youre using a VOC paint, any odor should be minor. But if you want to ensure the smell is pleasant, add some vanilla. "To neutralize the strong smell of any type of paint, add one tablespoon of vanilla extract a natural deodorizer per gallon. It wont affect the color of the paint," said HGTV.


Use a quality paintbrush

You can spend about 1 on a paint brush or you can spend the equivalent of a good lunch, and the difference will be obvious when the cheaper version leaves brush marks and bristles on your wall. Get a decent brush for a better finish, and choose an angled version for cutting in. The better the brush and paint, the better the chance you can do without all that pesky taping.

Buy the right amount of paint from the start

"Oh, I just need one gallon," said everyone, everywhere. But how much do you really need? Knowing ahead of time will keep you from having to make a return trip to the store, and help ensure your color is consistent. Color matching is better than ever at paint stores and places like Home Depot and Lowes. But there still might be a slight variation in the color if you have to go back to purchase more paint. Measure your space and you wont have to worry about it.

"The general rule is one gallon for every 350 square feet of surface area," said Real Simple. "All you have to do is measure walls roughly, then go tonbsp;Sherwin-Williams.comnbsp;and type the dimensions into the easy online paint calculator. This tool will also ask for measurements of windows, doors, and trim so it can come up with a more precise total. Whatever the number, buy an extra quart for touch-ups."

Wipe it up

Have a few drips to clean up on tile or wood floors? An alcohol wipe or wet rag will do the trick. Or, grab a cleansing facial wipe that contains alcohol. Youd be surprised how well these work.

Add a rubber band

Wrap one around your paint can so you have an easy way to wipe your paint brush and avoid drips.

Combat humidity

"Humidity means drips and slow drying, so avoid painting on a rainy day," said DIY Network. "If you must paint when its humid, take your time - and take advantage of slow-drying paint to correct your errors before moving on to the next coat."

You can reduce the amount of humidity in your home by flipping on your air-conditioning as well as any vent and exhaust fans you have in the home, in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas.

Put some holes in it

"When you pour the paint, it can go everywhere," said The Bold Abode.nbsp;"It drips all over the sides and then dries hard as a rock on the edges. Whennbsp;that happens, not even King Kong himself could pound that lid down hard enough to close it secu>

Get creative with plastic bags

For awkward spaces where a drop cloth might not be the right choice, heed this tip from Family Handyman and raid your plastic bag stash. Itll keep your stuff drip-free and wont cost a thing.

Full Story >

Making Your Home More Energy-Efficient

Replace or Weatherize All Windows

Windows are one of the biggest sources of heat gain and heat loss in a home. Both heat gain and heat loss rob you of comfort and keep your energy bills higher than they have to be, whether during the summer or winter months.

Windows rank high on the list because of air leakage around the frame and the heat that transfers through windowpanes. Old single-pane windows provide little protection against heat transference. If you replace these windows with energy-efficient windows you should see immediate savings and improved climate control in your home.

When choosing windows, consider the frame and not just glass. Frame material and frame design matters. Hinged windows allow less air leakage than sliding, single-hung or double-hung do. Avoid metal because these conduct heat. Choose insulated vinyl frames or insulated fiberglass frames for the most efficiency and durability.

Pay attention to glass efficiency ratings such as the U-factor and the solar heat gain coefficient. The right windows to choose depend largely upon regional climate. If you live in an area with hot summers and mild winters, you want glass that blocks out as much solar heat gain as possible.

Low-emissivity coatings on windowpanes reduce heat conduction through the glass, which benefits you by keeping hot air inside in winter and hot air outside in summer. There are other coatings and tints available, but you should still look for the Energy Star label. Only products that have met strict requirements by the EPA qualify for this special certification.

Seal the Homes Thermal Envelope

Air leakage through your homes exterior is another source of energy waste. Air infiltration makes your heating and cooling system work harder to maintain climate control. In order to find all of the hidden leaks, schedule an energy audit with an HVAC company. Until you do, seal the noticeable leaks. These can usually be found in the following areas:

  • bull; Around window frames and doors
  • bull; Beneath baseboards
  • bull; Around flues and chimneys

When sealing leaks in most areas, you can use caulk, weather-stripping or expandable spray foam insulation. Another method to control air leaks is to replace poorly fitting doors or other features and to use hardware with a type that creates a better seal. One example is barn door hardware. This kind of hardware can create a better air seal in some cases because the door slides into place instead of swinging open. This creates fewer opportunities for gaps between the door and the frame.

Upgrade Your Home HVAC System

If your homes HVAC system is older than ten years, consider replacing it with a new energy-efficient system that is Energy Star certified. Improvements in design make these systems far more energy-efficient than any in the past. If they are sized correctly and installed correctly, you should see lower bills and improved comfort and improved air quality.

Upgrade Insulation

Most homes have only the minimum required insulation. Older homes might even fall far short of the minimum simply because the insulation has become too wet, or it has become compressed or it has shifted.

Adding insulation to the attic will have the largest effects. It doesnt matter which kind of insulation you use as much as it matters that it is properly installed, with no gaps, and that you use the recommended quantity for your region.

Adding insulation to exterior walls doesnt have to be a big remodeling project. Much of the time, it can be blown into walls by a contractor.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

These thermostats make a home more energy efficient in the following ways:

  • You wont have to remember to set the temperature lower or higher before you run out of the house each the morning, because you can program the thermostat to do it for you each day.
  • You can program different energy-saving temperature settings for special occasions, such as vacations, and you can still come home to a comfortable house.
  • Some new thermostats even allow you to check them remotely, sparing you from worrying about whether the home is getting too hot or cold while you are away.

By implementing these ideas, you have little to lose and a lot to gain in terms of comfort and savings. If it feels overwhelming or it is hard on your budget to make all of these changes at once, try to do them in steps. Each time you take even one step towards more energy efficiency, you will start saving money on energy bills.

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The Atlantic Condominium Hotel The Atlantic Condominium HotelThe fifteen story Atlantic Condominium Hotel Fort Lauderdale is a regal project ...
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Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2019

Upcycling: If Its broken, It C...
Yoursquo;ve seen the commercial ntilde; the forlorn lamp sits sadly by the curb in the rain....

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Size mattersA 36-inch fan isnrsquo;t likely going to do a great job of cooling your...

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