4 Ways to Increase Your Curb Appeal

Who says it’s just the inside that counts? At least when it comes to your home, it doesn’t hurt to have a pretty face. When you’re looking to put your best foot forward in the neighborhood, there’s no better way than a little sprucing. And let’s face it, you might have a little house-envy for your neighbors’ well-manicured homes. Never fear, however. There’s plenty of ways to spruce up your house, either to increase its value–or just to give it a little extra eye-catching appeal. Here are our four tips to make neighbors, potential homebuyers, and maybe even a few passersby stop to admire your home.


Raise the Roof

Or, really, make a few repairs. If you’re a homeowner looking to sell, there’s very few things more noticeable to homebuyers than a roof that’s in need of serious maintenance. If you’re seeing more than a few black streaks on your roof’s shingles, you’ll almost certainly want to take action. Consider having your roof cleaned, or cleaning your roof yourself. If you have more than a few shingles missing, then you’ll likely want to pay to have it re-shingled or replaced. You’d be surprised at what just a few new shingles can do.


Wash, Dry and Repaint

While you’re looking up to your roof, you’ll want to move your gaze down a little lower, too. The most common advice for most homeowners looking to spruce up their house’s exterior is simply to give your house a fresh coat of paint. A well-needed wash of your home’s face and a touch-up, or even an overhaul with a brand-new color, will not only increase your curb appeal, but even make a splash. If you plan on a touch-up, scrape a little of your house’s paint off to match at the hardware store. And if your house’s exterior has seen better days, you might consider re-siding it entirely.


Budget Buys

Even small changes can make a big difference to your curb appeal. Consider small additions such as a decorative bird bath, decorative lighting or wind chimes, or small changes like repainting your mailbox or replacing your house numbers. Place a decorative wreath on your door, or repaint your door an eye-popping new color to attract a little attention. You’ll find that even replacing house numbers with fresh brass numbers, or replacing your front doorknob, will help your home’s aesthetics greatly. If you’re looking for a bigger buy, and a bigger “wow,” you’d do well to think over a picket fence or gate.


Keep Up Appearances

There’s nothing better than the smell of a freshly-cut lawn. It may be small, but even keeping up with minor maintenance such as cleaning and refastening your gutters can help your house’s appearance. Keep up with mowing and maintaining your lawn, flower boxes and garden, and be sure to stay on top of regular maintenance of your front sidewalk, driveway and windows. A cracked window or driveway, or mossy (or missing) bricks in your front walk can give the impression of a cluttered or otherwise unkempt space. Stay on top of maintenance, and you’ll have a clean and inviting exterior.


Clean Out the House

One of the easiest and most commonly overlooked ways to make your home more appealing is to get rid of all the clutter! As you have spent years living in your house, a variety of things have accumulated within (and probably started spilling out of) all of your storage areas. Clean out the garage, closets, cabinets and everything else to make your house feel far more spacious. Of course, it would be easiest to let a white-glove junk removal company do it for you!

8 Tips for First Time Painters

For first-time painters, applying a fresh coat of paint onto a surface may seem like a walk in the park; however, many people don’t realize that there is a huge difference between painting a room and painting on a canvas. For starters, if you approach a project with the intentions of haphazardly slapping on layer after layer of paint like you would a middle school art project, you will get an uneven, sloppy mess to deal with and you’ll have to hire a painting company to redo the job for you. Rest assured, the art of interior painting can be easily mastered if you remember these eight simple tips.


Conduct a thorough room inspection before painting
Before you start any sort of project involving paint, you need to make sure that the surfaces you are working on are void of any blemishes and imperfections. Preparation is key to ensuring that your selected coating system will not only be applied properly, but will also stay intact on its surface for as long as possible (or until you decide that you want a recoat.) This means you should be cleaning work surfaces thoroughly, smoothing down rough patches that could prove an issue, and making sure that there is no debris on your work surface.


Be wary of humidity when you paint
Regardless of where you are painting, you should always pay attention to weather conditions. When you’re painting, you should always be aware of humidity. Humid conditions mean that a coating is prone to collecting condensation, which will inevitably lead to poor adhesion, drips, and streaks.


Cover anything and everything that you don’t want painted
Fairly self-explanatory, but it’s still important to emphasize this. Remove furniture and other fixtures that could possibly get damaged or coated, cover your floors, and remember that painter’s tape is your friend.


Remove light switch and outlet covers

It might seem like a lot of extra work; however, it really pays off in the end. Removing these obstructions will greatly enhance the quality of your final product, giving it a clean and professional appearance.


High-quality rollers, brushes, painter’s tape, and paint is absolutely necessary

If you’re working on a project that will affect how you live (i.e., growing a garden, installing new windows, painting a bedroom), acquiring high-quality materials should always be the priority. Typically, if you attempt to cut corners and purchase cheap, low-quality materials, chances are the life-cycle costs of a coating will be much more expensive than what you had initially paid.


Priming is just as important as the actual paint

Though applying primer is just as much, if not more work, than applying the actual paint, remember that it’s crucial to having a properly-coated room. Some surfaces don’t require primer, but for the ones that do, painters should be diligent and thorough during application. Decreased quality in application towards the end is often expected (especially if it’s one’s first DIY job); however, negligence will definitely show in the final product.


Open the window
Paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOC) that, when inhaled, can leave you faint and lightheaded. It’s never a bad idea to crack open a few windows when you’re painting to help alleviate this health risk and reduce the fumes you are exposing yourself to.


Take your time

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your project probably won’t be finished in a day either and that is perfectly fine. Investing more time in your project typically produces the best results, as you are able to prep, paint, and correct mistakes more thoroughly.


Of course, if this sounds like too much work you can always just hire a local painter!

Painting Your Own Home: Tips to Make the Process Painless


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Young family painting the wall

Painless Painting Tips

Painting Your Own Home: Tips to Make the Process Painless

While it’s might seem easier to hire professionals to paint the house, but with a little research you can find the job is not as intimidating as it seems. With a few free days set aside and some preparation, painting one room (or multiple) is easily doable for anyone. Here are a few things to consider before you start.

Apply a Primer Coat

Preparation entails most of the painting process. It’s easy to become frustrated during the preparation stage, because prepping to paint can take longer than the actual painting component of the project.

Interior walls aren’t always perfect, and painting the walls is a perfect opportunity to fix those imperfections. If you’re using a putty or a filler to patch holes, the paint will react differently to those substances than it will the wall itself. The solution here is to prime your walls, so the new paint color has a uniform surface to adhere to. It’s one simple step that doesn’t seem like much, but could end up saving you a whole lot of work at the end of the process.

Factor in taping time

Taping up the room is tedious work, but will be worth it when you don’t have to waste time being ultra-careful or nervous when getting close to edges. Instead of trying to take the tape off while the paint is still dry, wait at least 24 hours for the paint to dry, and use a knife to slice the tape off at the edge. If the paint is still even a little wet or gummy, don’t continue. Make sure the knife is sharp enough and pull the tape away at a 45-degree angle, making sure not to rip the paint.

Set up with clean-up in mind

To protect floors, a drop cloth is a necessity. In some cases, cotton or canvas drop clothes can work better than plastic. Plastic drop cloths can be slippery and don’t easily stay in place, especially when ladders are involved. Any splatters or drips of paint that fall onto a plastic drop cloth won’t dry or absorb right away and can be easily tracked throughout the rest of your house. A canvas or cotton drop cloth will be more stable and will protect the floors better. Tape the edges of the drop cloth to the tops of the trim to protect both the floor and the trims from any splattering or dripping paint.

Work top down

Not only does it prevent drips from ruining anything you’ve already painted, but it keeps the walls and baseboards free of any dust or debris from sticking to wet trim. Paint the ceiling first, move to the walls and possible crown moldings. Only then should you move to any trims around windows or doors and finish with the baseboards. Not only will this keep a system in place to ensure there’s no questioning what’s been painted and what hasn’t, but it’ll keep things clean.

Check thickness of previous paint layers

Cracks on an exterior paint job don’t reflect the owner’s best intentions and should be fixed before the damage is too much to fix. Too thick of a layer of paint means that the paint might just be too heavy to stay, and will start to crack and to peel off. It loses its grip and can’t attach to the other layers of paint. In older homes, it’s likely that some of those layers of paint have lead in them, in which case you’ll need to look into how to remove it safely. The EPA has guidelines here. This could be the one step that requires you to outsource, if the layer of paint is extremely thick, because removing it completely (and correctly) will ensure the next coat of paint will attach correctly. Hiring a home washing company can help you identify these cracks in exterior paint as well. If anything, have the exterior of your home professionally power washed, so the paint will have a clean surface to adhere to.

Using these tips, ideally the house-painting process will be doable for anyone. Prepare yourself to set aside time for set-up, knowing that it will help when you’re done painting and ready to clean up. Instead of hiring painting professionals, save some money for decorating and tackle the job yourself.

Curious to know how much your Southern California home is worth! Get an instant report now! www.CaliOnTheMove.com 

Bio: Matt Lawler is an Internet marketing specialist from Tempe, Arizona where he attended Arizona State University. Whenever he can step away from the computer, Matt enjoys playing sports, traveling and exploring the great outdoors. Follow him on Twitter.

Laura Key, REALTOR®
Cal BRE 01908085

Types of Real Estate Sales – Coffee Time with the Realty Goddess


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When you are purchasing a home you will come across many different “types” of sales. Short-Sales, Stand, HUD, Trust, REO…it can be confusing. This broadcast will look into the terms and untangle the mystery.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, I would love the opportunity to earn your business.

Laura Key, REALTOR
Cal BRE 01908085

Follow me on:
Periscope & Twitter: @RealtyGoddess
Snapchat: @RealtyGoddess
Instagram: @realtygoddess1
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/RealtyGoddess

How To Find A Realtor (Buyer)


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Did you know most people choose a Realtor by spinning the wheel of fortune? When you are buying a home, you really should take the time to interview agents to help your buying experience the most enjoyable as it can be.

Did you know not all agents work the same? Some don’t work weekends, some don’t want to work with buyers, some only work certain hours of the day, some are part time, etc.  But how will this benefit you when you are working hard to find the home of your dreams.

Interviewing agents is a extremely important part of successfully buying a home.

Enjoy the above Periscope broadcast to learn a few things when choosing a Realtor! (recorded March 19, 2016)

Please note I have a correction: If an agent tells you they will not let you out of a buyer’s agency, please think long and hard before signing.

Follow me…

Snapchat: @realtygoddess
Periscope & Twitter: @realtygoddess
Instagram: realtygoddess1
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/RealtyGoddess
Website: www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

The “KEY” to your real estate dreams!

Lots of Los Angeles Real Estate Agents want to be stars as big as the celebrities they cater to. Me? I just want to help people find the homes that make them happy and help them to create a sanctuary for future dreams and lasting memories.

Laura Key
Cal BRE #01908085

Why It Is Important to Be Pre-Approved before Looking at Homes

One of the first things you have to do before buying a home is to find out how much you can afford! It is a critical step to home ownership.  Believe it or not, one of the I hear most is how “afraid” people are of this step.  Honestly, there is no need to fear.

Enjoy this post about the process and call me if you have questions!

Follow me on….
Perioscope & Twitter: @realtygoddess
Instagram: realtygoddess1
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/RealtyGoddess

10 Commandments When Buying A Home

  1. Thou Shall Not Change Jobs or become Self Employed or Quit Your Job
  2. Though Shall Not Buy a Car, Truck, or Van (this also includes boats)! You may be living in it.
  3. Thou Shall Not Use Credit Cards Excessively
  4. Thou Shall Not Spend Money Set Aside For Closing
  5. Thou Shall Not Omit Debts or Liabilities in your Loan Application
  6. Thou Shall Not Buy Furniture on Credit
  7. Thou Shall Not Originate ANY Inquires on your Credit
  8. Thou Shall Not Make Large Deposits without Checking With Your Loan Officer
  9. Thou Shall Not Change Bank Accounts
  10. Thou Shall Not C0-Sign for ANYONE

Find out more great tips and tidbits by following me on…

Twitter & Periscope: @realtygoddess
Instagram: realtygoddess1
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/RealtyGoddess

Happier Hardwood Floors


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Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors make for a beautiful, stunning addition to your home. However, they can bring new cleaning and maintenance challenges that aren’t present with carpet. Here are some tips for simple, efficient, and thorough hardwood floor cleaning.

Make the job easier
Place mats on either side of your exterior doors and always remove your shoes before entering your home—and make sure your guests do the same. Protect the floors by placing felt (or similar) protectors on the feet of your furniture, and use area rugs to designate play areas for the kids. This will reduce extra dirt, dust, and floor scratches.

Weekly cleaning
Sweeping with a standard broom will remove some dirt and dust, but not as much as a mop, wipe, or broom that’s been treated with a dusting agent such as a Swiffer. You could also invest in a vacuum that is designed for hardwood floors. Just be sure that the vacuum won’t leave scratches!

Deeper cleaning
Regular sweeping will remove most dirt and dust, but occasionally you’ll need to give the floors a deeper cleaning to remove the dirt and grime that builds up in your floors’ seams. Use a wood-cleaning soap to thoroughly mop your floors, but make sure the mop isn’t sopping wet—you don’t want to leave standing water.

Spots and scuffs
Most of the marks that occasionally show up on your floors, such as scuffs from rubber soles on boots and shoes—can be wiped away with a rag or very fine steel wool.

To find your next home: www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com
To find the value of your current home: www.CaliOnTheMove.com

The “KEY” to your real estate dreams!

Lots of Los Angeles Real Estate Agents want to be stars as big as the celebrities they cater to. Me? I just want to help people find the homes that make them happy and help them to create a sanctuary for future dreams and lasting memories.

Laura Key
Cal BRE #01908085

Los Angeles FHA Loan Limits


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Homeownership is not out of reach. FHA limits in California are one of the highest in the country.  I have great lenders that can help you reach your real estate goals! Call me to get started on your home ownership goals!!!  Laura Key 310.866.8422

Here are the current limits for Los Angeles (as of Nov 13, 2014) FHA allows 3.5% downpayment over a 15 to 30 year term!

Single Family             $625,500

Duplex                        $800,775

Tri-Plex                      $967,950

Four-Plex                   $1,202,925

Start your home search today!


**Source: https://entp.hud.gov

Unexpected Benefits of Repainting Your Home


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Unexpected Benefits of Repainting Your Home 

As a homeowner, you understand the importance of updating your property from time to time. Whether you plan on putting your house on the market or are ready to embark on a home improvement project, repainting your home both inside and out is a great way to personalize your living space while also adding value to your home. Read on to discover 5 unexpected benefits that accompany a fresh paint job! 


The first benefit that comes along with a newly painted interior is a dramatically cleaner house. Over time, interior walls get scuffed, scraped and smudged and often times we don’t even notice. Highly trafficked walkways receive the majority of this damage, but doorways and walls near furniture often find themselves in danger as well. Recently painted walls also take some of the age out of the appearance of your home, and anyone who visits will take notice of how new your home feels. 

Cost Effectiveness

When considering potential home improvement projects, there are few options that provide as much benefit as a new paint job in the same price range. Other common ventures such as remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can cost thousands of dollars between the work, materials, and appliances necessary to complete them. Renewing interior wall paint can be done by the homeowner with the only cost being painting materials, and hiring a local house painter would still be cheaper then other home renovation undertakings.

Air Quality 

Thinking about the cleanliness of the air within your home should be a top priority, and recently painters have become more aware of the effect that their paint has on home environments. This had led to an increase of paints that contain little or no amounts of ‘Volatile Organic Compounds,’ which are carbon-based chemicals that can easily evaporate at room temperature. These compounds, known as VOC’s, are known by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cause eye, nose and throat irritation, frequent headaches, nausea, and can also damage the liver, kidney and central nervous system. If you live in an older home or you are not sure about the level of these compounds in your current paint, it is imperative that you repaint your interior for your own health.

Environmental Protection 

Having a fresh coat of paint on the exterior of your abode is nearly as beneficial as updating the paint on your interior. The first and most obvious reason that exterior house painting is advantageous is the boost in curb appeal. Whether your house will be listed for sale or not, visitors and passerby will notice the improved aesthetic of your external walls. Beyond just impressing the people who see your home, refreshing the paint on the outside of your house will also protect your building materials. High-quality paint on the exterior of your home will decrease the risks imposed by inclement weather conditions. Repainting the exterior of your home will simultaneously improve the look of your house and save you money by preventing expensive repairs! 

Increased Home Value 

The final, and most obvious, improvement that comes from repainting your home is the bump that your property receives in value. I have already discussed the boost in curb appeal and that fresh paint makes a home feel newer, which are both reasons why your home’s worth will increase. Most realtors advise against starting large renovation projects prior to listing your house for sale out of fear that you will not see a return on your investment, but the low cost associated with a repainted home makes this a safe bet to provide tremendous return on investment. 

Curious to know how much your Southern California home is worth! Get an instant report now! www.CaliOnTheMove.com 

Bio: Matt Lawler is an Internet marketing specialist from Tempe, Arizona where he attended Arizona State University. Whenever he can step away from the computer, Matt enjoys playing sports, traveling and exploring the great outdoors. Follow him on Twitter.

Laura Key, REALTOR®

Cal BRE 01908085