10 Tips for Painting Your Home’s Exterior

apartment, architecture, blue skyIf you know your home needs an update on paint but you would rather tackle the job yourself, here are some great tips to follow when painting your home’s exterior.

1. Think about the weather

It’s crucial when painting the exterior of your home to plan ahead for the weather. You want to pick a dry time of the year because just a little rain or low humidity can affect the drying of your paint. It needs time and won’t adhere to non-dry surfaces.

2. Quality and prices

When it comes to this project, you’ll want to spend the money on a better paint quality. It can help with fewer painting and updates over the years, as well as offer a better coverage. Paint technology has improved over the years and has been made to last longer. Don’t skimp out on the money for a better quality paint.

3. Sand and wash your home

Paint won’t adhere to dirty or rough surfaces. It’s important to clean the siding and trim thoroughly, allow it to dry, then sand and scrape any peeling paint before you start with your new coat.

4. Take care of rotting siding

Paint won’t stick to rotting siding, and it will only to continue to deteriorate if you try to cover it up. There are a few options when tackling rotting siding:

  • Replace siding/wood trim with new components
  • Use wood hardener and match with an exterior filler product (for small areas)

5. Use primer

Typically, you would apply a good coat of paint, sand it, then apply your choice of color. While this is still a good method, a lot of paints come with primer already mixed in, so it saves you the previous step.

6. Combine cans of paint

A good tip to follow is mixing multiple cans of the same color paint into one larger 5-gallon bucket, for example. It will help ensure a uniform color is applied to your home’s exterior. This is a general rule that professionals follow.

7. Start at the top and work down

When painting, work your way down from the top. It will help control streaking since you’ll be working with gravity. Drips will be inevitable, but at least this lets you feather out any mishaps.

8. Seal off the paint

When you’ve finished painting for the day, properly close your paint bucket to make sure it doesn’t dry out. The best method is by using a rubber mallet to lightly hammer the lid, and you can add plastic wrap film over the opening to really seal it.

9. Add grit

If you’re painting any porches, stairs or other flooring, add fine sand or other manufacturer additives to add traction to keep people from slipping.

10. Prepare your landscape

Paint can splatter and get messy, and we don’t want to start painting the shrubs. Cover the ground, bushes, and vegetation, and move/cover any furniture, hoses, grill, etc. to keep from getting paint splatter. You can use drop cloths and secure the furniture by wrapping or using weights.

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How to Turn a Profit from Spring Cleaning

blur, bookcase, booksSpring cleaning can be a stress-reliever if you decide to get rid of a lot of old tings you don’t use anymore, or you have grown out of. Instead of throwing it all away, you could make a profit from your old items.

Consignment Stores

If you have unwanted clothes and fashion accessories that are still in good shape, you can head over to a nearby consignment store and the will resell them for you. You will get a cut of the profits without having to worry about trying to sell it. If you aren’t near a consignment store, you can use services like thredUP to sell your clothes. Depending on the brand and value of the item, they’ll give you anywhere from 5% to 90% of the resale price (on average: 20%).

Pawn Shops

At pawn shops, they’ll take just about anything in exchange for a “loan”: jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, and more. You can either reclaim your items by paying back the loan within a certain time frame, or you can just walk away and let the pawn shop claim it. Note that with pawn shops, the “loan” will be a fraction of the item’s real value.

Electronic Recyclers

Instead of throwing out old phones, TVs, computers, and other electronics, you can sell them to stores who recycle the electronics. Best Buy and Target will give you store credit, while online shops like Gazelle and BuyBackWorld will offer you cash. You’ll be helping the environment and earning money.

Garage Sales

The age-old tradition, you can catch some bargain hunters by selling your items at your garage sale. You can sign up for the community garage sale or pick a weekend to do it on your own. Sort your clothes into categories and assign each item a fair price.

Charitable Donations

Whatever you don’t sell, you can donate. You can donate old clothes, furniture, and other items to local charities or organizations. Collect a receipt for the items you’ve donated, and you can use these receipts to tally up your itemized donations. During tax season, you can use these receipts to reduce your taxable income and get a bigger refund.

Online Listings

Using sites like eBay and Craigslist, you can sell bigger ticket items online. Old collector’s items, furniture, or even under-used items can get you a decent amount of money.

Trade-Ins

Different stores offer trade-ins for clothing, books, video games, phones, and more, and they will resell them at discounted prices. You may be offered store credit, or you could be offered cash. For example, many phone carriers will offer store credit towards a new phone for your old one.

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Open House on Cerro St!

This botanical paradise is the perfect home for those who like tropical and shopping! This home is 4 miles to the beach, 2.8 miles to Hwy 5, and 2 minute drive to the grocery store, shopping, and local restaurants. You should come visit me this weekend on Sunday, May 20th for an open house from 1-4PM. You’ll want to see this gorgeous home and all the fruit trees on this large lot at 309 Cerro St in Encinitas!

This home is a stunning, single story, 4 bedroom with 1 converted into a den. It is the largest plan in the development with 320 square feet of fully permitted add-on. Landscaped with a variety of colorful, California drought-resistant plants, succulents, fruit trees, and raised gardens, it comes with automatic sprinklers and drains. Another perk – there’s no grass to mow!

This home is newly remodeled from top to bottom with crisp, clean, and modern finishes. The new kitchen has new cabinets with easy to close drawers, granite countertops, a large granite-topped center island, and stainless steel appliances. The bathroom has also been remodeled with 36″ inch granite cabinets and under-mount sinks. New modern texture carpet is in both the living room and bedrooms with porcelain tile entry in the kitchen and family room, all set off by new high baseboards.

Another unique quality about this home is the fully paid-off solar! The current owner has not paid an electric bill since the installation in September of 2015! All the windows and doors are double pane vinyl, not to mention it’s freshly painted inside and out. The newly finished garage also features epoxy floor. The large lot includes a gazebo, pool, spa, and new variable speed pump and energy saving gas heater.

With no HOA and Mello-Roos financing, this house brings so many amazing qualities! View this listing or come visit me this weekend and experience this beautiful, open home for yourself!

309 Cerro Street
Encinitas, CA 92024

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Rent to Buy: Are You Ready to Own a Home?

advertising, blue, blurWhether you’re moving out of Mom and Dad’s or you’re ready for the next step in life, going from renting to owning a home is a big step in life. Buying a home is a great way to put down roots. Buying a home is also an investment since you could sell your home later down the road. Before you make the big decision, ask yourself these questions:

1. Can you afford to buy a home?

It’s no surprise that it costs a lot of money to buy a home – it could potentially be the largest purchase of your life. A down payment costs about 20% of the home’s purchase price and you need a steady income for mortgage. There are many other costs associated with a home like:

  • Closing costs (2%-5% of home’s purchase price)
  • Home insurance (varies by state)
  • Maintenance
  • Utilities
  • Budget for unseen repairs and emergencies
  • Property Taxes

Make sure you know your finances because owning a home might not be as economical as you may think. You can use a home affordability calculator or talk to a loan officer.

2. Are you settled in your job?

This is not only important for your income, but also because you’ll need to plan on staying. Buying a home narrows your career prospects to one area or how far you’re willing to travel. You might not want to go through the time, cost, and expense of selling a home if you take a job far away, so you’ll have to decline offers.

3. Do you know where you want to live?

Make sure to pick an area where you know you’ll be happy because you’ll be there for quite a few years. It’s not easy to sell and move constantly because the transaction cost to sell is about 8%-10% of the sale price for costs. Really learn about the area and you can even rent for a few months to “test” the area.

4. How much home maintenance are you willing to tackle?

Homes can bring leaky faucets, shrubbery, mowing a lawn, and messing with the HVAC. This either means you have to become a handy family or find and pay someone to do it for you. Apartments don’t include a lot of home-related responsibilities. If something breaks, you call the landlord. Most times, you don’t have to worry about utilities.

Or, you can buy a condo or co-op where lawn and public area are maintained by hired professionals.

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How You’re Destroying Your Lawn

estate, grass, meadowIf you’ve noticed that, regardless of how much you care for it, your lawn just seems to dead? There are common mistakes that people make when it comes to caring for their lawns. Here are some of the things you could be doing that kills the grass.

1. Improper watering

The number one mistake made is watering incorrectly. Home owners either don’t water at all or drown their grass. You should be watering approximately an inch a week if you live where there is good rainfall. If you don’t, you may need to adjust it based on where you live.

You could also invest in an irrigation system to help you monitor the watering level. Not only can it help maintain a schedule, but there are some systems that have rain or moisture sensors.

2. Planting one type of grass or the wrong kind

You may not have known, but the more variety in your lawn the healthier it is. When you’re planting seeds, you should choose a variety, so your long is more likely to last through bad weather conditions. You should also determine what type of grass will be better for your environment.

3. Not taking soil health seriously

The health of your lawn starts from below the surface. You should be aerating your lawn every one or two years, depending on the soil. Aerating is when you put small holes in the lawn, so water, air, and nutrients can reach the soil.

You should be soil testing every 3 years or so to determine what nutrients your lacking to purchase the right fertilizer. Then, make sure you’re applying the correct fertilizer during the right time of year, in proper amounts, and with the correct applicator.

4. Mowing the lawn at the wrong time

Lawn mowing isn’t exactly a fun chore. But, it’s important to mow your lawn under the right conditions. It should be trimmed 2 ½ to 3 inches based on the grass type, and no more than a third of the glass blade should be removed at one time. Cutting grass too short stresses the grass blades and they become more susceptible to disease.

Mowing wet grass is also a mistake because moisture weighs down the grass blades and makes it difficult to cut straight. Failing to keep your lawn mower blades sharp will also increase the chances of the grass from developing disease because of the ragged cut.

5. Not knowing environmental stressors

Environmental stressors are conditions that affect the ability of the grass to grow. These stressors can include precipitation, drought, temperature, extremes, construction, and foot traffic – all which can take a toll on your lawn.

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10 Gifts for Mom on Mother’s Day

Silhouette of Man Touching Woman Against Sunset SkyIf you’ve waited until the last minute to get Mom a gift, you’re probably not alone. Here are some easy, last minute gifts that you can throw together to make Mother’s Day special for your mom.

1. Thoughtful Tea Gift Set

If your mom is a tea drinker, then there is no better gift to encourage her to relax, reset, and enjoy a cup of tea. You can create your own with a cute box from a craft store and stopping at your local tea shop (Argo Tea, Teavana, David’s Tea).

2. Massage Gift

Further encourage relaxation for mom and gift her the gift of a massage. To make the gift a little more fun, you can make it into a gift set with some face masks, lotions, nail polish, and other pampering items.

3. DIY Mug Set

Give her a new set of personalized mugs this year to brighten her days in the morning. No doubt she’ll love the mugs and the personal touch. Using a Sharpie and some stencils (if your handwriting isn’t the best), create fun sayings that will make her smile like:

  • “I’m winging it”
  • “I love being a mom”
  • “Good enough mom”
  • “Resting mom face”

4. Bouquet of Flowers

You can’t go wrong with flowers! There are many different delivery services to choose from that will personalize the bouquet and add unique touches to make it more than just your standard bouquet. If she doesn’t like flowers, go for the bouquets of food like fruit, chocolate, cheese, and even bacon!

5. Subscription Boxes

For the best-dressed mother in your life, or the one who is always spoiling everyone else, opt for a service that sends her designer fashion, jewelry, or makeup samples. This gift can keep on giving anywhere from the next 3 months to a year.

6. Wine!

If your mom likes to enjoy a little bit of wine here and then, what harm is one more bottle? Select a unique wine she hasn’t tried before, or maybe even a bottle from a local winery. You could also sign her up for a subscription for a bottle of wine every month!

7. Yoga or Spin Class

For the more athletic or active mom’s, you can purchase her a membership for yoga, spin classes, aerobics, or other activities that she enjoys. Find a local gym that offers these classes to see what the rates are.

8. Robotic Vacuum

There are many different robotic vacuums on the market, and you’d just have to pick one. These vacuums take away the chore by cleaning the house and vacuuming up debris when everyone is away or at school/work. That means less chores for mom if she’s the one that always gets stuck vacuuming the house.

9. Bath and Body

Give her everything she needs to feel fresh and beautiful! Buy her favorite perfume, lotions, or sprays and combine them with body washes, bath salts, bath bombs, and maybe a candle to top off the at-home spa experience!

10. Family Portrait

It’s not too late to take a family picture for mom! Get you, your siblings, your children and spouse, or the whole big family together for a picture to give to mom for Mother’s Day. This will surely make her heart warm and give her a Mother’s Day to remember.

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The Shady Backyard: Why You Should Think Twice

Apple treeWhile you dream home might mean a big tree in the yard, you might want to think twice before you decide. Big trees can either be a plus or a negative. They can bring you money if it’s the right tree – whether you sell the home or the tree. But, you should be prepared for the problems it could also bring.

1. Big trees can be dangerous.

Having a big tree in the yard is a double-edged sword. Trees can offer an investment and raise the value of your home by $1,000 to $10,000, while also reducing your heat and cooling bills, creating clean air, improving your attitude, and helping curb appeal. On the other hand, they can be a huge liability the bigger they are. There could be rotting issues that lead to property damage and bodily harm.

2. It’ll need an extra inspection.

If you ever decide to sell a house with a tree or buy one, it’ll need an extra inspection by an arborist. They will spot any illness, determine if it needs trimming, and eye potential pitfalls. They’ll ultimately help determine if it’s an asset or liability. Arborists can charge anywhere from free to $75 for their services.

3. Prepare for a mess.

Wherever you live, be ready to dedicate a half-dozen fall afternoons to raking. Pine trees will leave needles behind, while branches can fall on houses and cars. If it causes damage, it could be a painful expense to repair. Trimming costs to maintain a tee can be about $200 and go up to $1,000 for larger trees.

4. Some trees have to go.

Keep an eye out for any trees that might need removal. Look for insect holes, and stay away from trees with vertical fractures, are uprooted, or have a prominent lean.

5. Root Problems

Big trees are usually old trees, who can come with wandering roots. Roots expand and grow as the tree looks for nutrients and water. They can grow three times farther than foliage and cause a problem if the roots pop through the ground or into structures, pavements, pipes, and utility service lines. Whatever the case, it could lead to a costly fix.

6. Big trees can attract mosquitos and pests

If you’re not quick about cleaning your gutters, piled up leaves can create pockets of water which attracts mosquitos. Also, if your branches are touching the siding on your home or roof, it can serve as a bridge for pests like ants and termites.

7. There’s such a thing as too much shade

Having too much shade over your gardens or grass can dramatically affect its success, With the lack of light, the plants can’t grow properly.

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Spring Deep Cleaning Part 2: Eco-Friendly Ways to clean Your Home

Close-up of Hand Holding Plant Against SkyWe’re all trying to be more environmentally conscious these days. But it can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. Here are some sustainable tips and tricks to make it easier for you to go green when it comes to spring cleaning!

  1. Use Natural Household Cleaning Products Natural products like lemons, white vinegar, and baking soda all contain strong antibacterial properties without the harsh chemicals found in conventional cleaning products, all while cleaning and disinfecting just as well. Even better, you already have many of these products at home.
  2. Use Natural Deodorizers Chemical aerosols can do more harm than good for your family’s health. Instead try some natural air fresheners. You can boil a cinnamon stick over your stove top, burn essential oils or incense, or even burn some sage and mugwort bundles that you can find in convenient packs at your local health foods store.
  3. Allow for Proper Ventilation A simple but important way to keep your home clean is to open some windows. This allows fresh air to circulate within your home and contributes to a clean environment.
  4. Filter Air with Plants Plants are awesome natural air conditioners. Add some low maintenance plants around your home for fresher air and an overall balanced environment.
  5. Avoid Antibacterial Products On top of not even cleaning your hands any better than their counterparts, antibacterial cleansers have been found by the FDA to produce chemically-resistant bacteria. So, definitely avoid any products that carry this label.
  6. Use Natural Mops, Sponges, and Accessories It’s not just your cleaning products, cleaning accessories can have harmful chemicals and use unsustainable ingredients that make them unrecyclable as well. Be sure to use reusable products when you can, and if you really need to use paper towels, make sure they’re made with unbleached and recycled paper.  
  7. Conserve Water This is especially important for those of us who live in areas of drought, as clean water is an important natural resource. Don’t let water run unless you need it, and only use as much as you need to for cleaning.
  8. Steer Clear of Conventional Dry Cleaners The chemicals used by conventional dry cleaners are extremely toxic to the environment and to people when we wear dry-cleaned clothes as well. Do your research and look for green dry cleaners, who employ methods like carbon dioxide cleaning and Green Earth.
  9. Dispose of Toxic Cleaners with Care If you’re dedicated to environmentally-safe cleaning methods and you want to ditch your old toxic cleaning products, be sure to dispose of them in a safe manner. You don’t want to spill them down the drain or throw them in the trash as they’ll just end up in our water supply and ecosystem. A lot of communities have places or certain events where you can dispose of you toxic cleaning products and electronics. The internet is a great resource for finding resources like this that are close to you. 
  10. Use a Green Cleaning Service We can lead some pretty busy lives, so it’s understandable that you just don’t have time to maintain green cleaning methods. For times like these, green cleaning services are a great resource. They can clean your home using safe and effective, environmentally-conscious cleaning methods. With a little bit of research you can find one that fits your budget and preferences.
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Rubenstein Listing on the American Dream!

On today’s airing of the American Dream TV Show, I had the opportunity to speak on the show about my listing in the Composer District – 1366 Rubenstein. The show airs today at 10:30 am PST on Cox Channel 4, or you can head over to YouTube andwatch the segment where I talk about the home on Rubenstein and all the amazing benefits it can offer its future residents.

About 1366 Rubenstein

Located in the Cardiff-by-the-sea composer district, it’s listed at $3,999,000 with 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and 5,600 square feet. It can function as one big home, or you can split it into two separate living areas with the east and west wings.

Some of the amazing benefits about this home is not only the proximity to the beach, but also:

  • A private gated .8-acre lot
  • Rear loggia
  • Outdoor fireplace
  • BBQ area
  • Two large upper decks
  • Wine cellar
  • And so much more!

This home has been completely renovated and updated, featuring the highest quality of design and custom finishes. Visit the listing and see just how beautiful this house is!

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Spring Deep Cleaning Ideas Part I: What to Clean

brush, cleaning, scrubberIt’s that time of year where you open your windows to let the congested air out and the fresh air in. It is also the perfect time to deep clean some of the furniture or appliances that you let slide during the winter time. Here are some spring-cleaning ideas to tackle for your home.

1. Dishwasher

To keep your dishwasher running smoothly, remove bits of food from the bottom of the dishwasher. Then, run a cycle with a specialty cleaner that you can find at your convenient store. This should be done at least once a month in the future.

2. Cabinets

Grease and dirt can build up and collect on your cabinets, especially if you don’t always use the exhaust hood when cooking. You can use a cabinet cream to cut through the dirt and leave the wood looking moisturized.

3. Windows

Not only should you clean the inside but take a trip outside and use a glass cleaner on all the spots and smudges. A quick tip: do it on a cloudy day so the sun won’t dry your cleanser before you’re done wiping it down.

4. Wood Flooring

Technically, you should only wet-clean your hardwood flooring once every 1-2 months with hardwood cleaner. You can spot cleaning in case of accidents as needed.

5. Refrigerator

Make sure you clean the outside and inside of the fridge. Pull out the shelving and wash it with warm, soapy water. Wipe down the surfaces that can’t be removed with a sponge before putting the shelves back. For the outside, if it’s stainless steel, make sure you’re using a specialty cleaner.

6. Bedding

While you should be cleaning your sheets every two weeks, your pillows and comforter need cleaning as well. Throw them into the washing machine about 2-3 times a year (or how the label advises).

7. Washing Machine

Washing machines can build dirt and grime, especially after the winter and flu weather. Disinfect the washing machine with distilled vinegar and baking soda. Run it with hot water, add the cleaning agents, then let it sit for about 30-60 minutes. Once it’s sat, restart the machine and let the water drain before wiping it dry.

8. Oven

If it smells like something is burning when you cook, it might be time to clean it. Spritzing ammonia on the burnt food, chip off all the loose pieces. Then, sprinkle baking soda and a few drops of vinegar on the bottom and let it bubble. Wipe away grime with a sponge.

9. Painted Walls

You’ll want your paint looking crisp. Spot clean the walls with a cloth or sponge and water. If it’s a tougher stain, use water with a little bit of dishwashing liquid to scrub.

10. Mattress

Using the vacuum crevice tool, clean the surfaces and sides. To spot clean any stains, use a pet stain and odor remover then sanitize with disinfectant spray.

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