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
310-866-8422
Laura.A.Key@gmail.com
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!

www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

**Source: https://entp.hud.gov

Unexpected Benefits of Repainting Your Home

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paint

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! 

Cleanliness

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

310-866-8422

Laura.A.Key@gmail.com

 

Auto Insurance Shopping

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I bet you are wondering why a real estate agent would post about auto insurance, but the fact is, most people bundle home and auto. So here are some interesting tips about auto insurance for your reading pleasure….

Auto Insurance. Shopping for it is not enjoyable. Trying to figure out which policy is best for you is confusing. Typically we just like to choose the cheapest, however, depending on where you live geographically that may not be the choice as those of us located near or adjacent to our Southern Border must take into account the high percentage of uninsured drivers. Not only does this typically raise our annual premium, but usually it will require us to buy additional coverage. There are ultimately 7 primary factors that have the most significant impact on your insurance premium.

  • Aesthetics
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Usability
  • Comfort
  • Drivability
  • Engine Horsepower
  • Crash Test Ratings

Now it will not take a rocket scientist to figure out that driving a high performance sports car will yield significantly higher rates than say a small sedan. This infographic lists among the 10 most popular vehicles to drive as well as the upper and lower limits for what people pay for insurance. Thus, if you drive one of the vehicles described in the above infographic and are paying significantly more, perhaps you have a strong case to change carriers, or perhaps you are buying too much coverage. Regardless it’s always a good idea to do a bit of research to see what else is out there. Luckily with the digital age there are numerous ways to save time by comparing numerous carriers’ quotes at one time. One such company compare.com does this for Auto Insurance. So even if your car is not one of the 10 vehicles, it’s still worth a shot to give compare.com a visit and Compare Auto Insurance now to see if you could be saving money on your policy!

auto insurance

Written by Matt Lawler www.MattJLawler.com

The Balance Between Packing and Staging When Trying to Sell a Home

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Staging your home is basically decorating it for showings. The idea is to make your house look like a house other people would like to live in, and make the house appeal to as many people as possible. While this seems easy enough for most people, it does make packing your home up for a big move complicated. Of course, a full-service moving company such as these full service movers could come and pack everything for you after your house sells, but if hiring a mover isn’t in the budget then there is a complicated issue.

The balance seems impossible. If you pack up your stuff there will be boxes everywhere and your house will look like a mess while it’s for sale. If you leave it as is until the day before you move you will be rushed, stressed, and less careful. So how do you find the sweet spot? Hopefully the following tips will provide you with some valuable insight.

De-clutter Your Space

De-cluttering will be the most helpful thing in achieving this balance without a doubt. Not only will less junk make your house appear larger and more open, but less messy without unused furniture. Gather up everything that wont have a place in your new home and donate what you can, otherwise call these furniture removal specialists.

Repaint the Interior

This is something you will likely have to do for the next owners anyway. Putting a fresh layer of paint over every room will make the room seem much cleaner and brighter. You will want to stick to neutral colors to really chase mass appeal. This is a great home staging idea that can be done easily (and quickly with the help of these one day painters).

Use Packing to Help Stage

Pack each room individually and put away anything not necessary for staging. Pack up all your family pictures, souvenirs and mementos and place them in the closet. Basically half-packing each room will actually make your home feel more organized and clean while also removing remnants of the past owner. Taking your personal style out of the house will make sure that more people can visualize themselves making it their own home. Once the extra things are packed (or thrown) away you should have more space available inside the house. Take advantage of this to show a room’s full potential rather then just leaving all your furniture where it is.

Continue Minimizing 

There are still ways to continue minimizing. Take all of your child’s wall decorations down and pack them up. I recommend putting all of the extra boxes neatly in the garage to maximize space inside the house. Continue purging the house for items that show the previous owner, as these must be packed prior to showing the house. Extra mirrors, wall decorations and small appliances are also great things to pack away ahead of time. People viewing your house may open up some cabinets in the kitchen so if they are partially packed they will look extra spacious.

Written by Matt Lawler www.zogdigital.com

Laura Key, Realty Goddess

310-866-8422

www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

HOW MUCH IS YOUR HOME WORTH?

www.CaliOnTheMove.com

Laura.A.Key@gmail.com

 

Tips on How To Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests

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snowflake-1152.jpg__800x600_q85_crop

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon *Published: November 14, 2011

Is your home ready for holiday visits from friends and family? Here’s how to prepare for the invasion.

I’m lucky and have a guest suite always ready for holiday guests. But even with a dedicated space, preparing my home for the annual onslaught of friends and family takes time and forethought.

Some preparations for holiday guests take only a few minutes; some take a lot longer. My advice: Start preparing your home for the holidays now.

Prioritize

The day before guests arrive is no time to pull apart junk drawers and clean out linen closets. Declutter guest rooms and public areas — foyer, kitchen, living room, den, and dining room. Remove anything unnecessary from countertops, coffee tables, and ottomans; if it’s out of sight, keep it out of mind, for now.

If you run short of time, bag up the clutter and store it in car trunks, basements, and out-of-the-way closets. Sort and arrange after your guests depart.

Safety

Light the way: Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can’t. Make sure outside lights are working so they don’t trip on the way to your door. Put motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage after the sun sets.

Child proofing: Ask parents to bring hardware that keeps their small ones safe, such as baby gates and cabinet locks. Transfer toxic cleaners and medicines from base to wall cabinets. Hide matches and lighters.

Fire prevention: If you didn’t freshen smoke detector batteries when you switched the clocks to Daylight Savings Time, change them now. After your guests arrive, run a quick fire drill: Make sure they can locate exits and fire extinguishers, and that they know how to open windows and doors.

Entryway upgrades

Your home’s foyer is the first place guests see, so make a good first impression.

  • Upgrade exterior entry doors or give old doors a new coat of paint. Polish and tighten door hardware, and oil hinges to prevent squeaks.
  • Remove scratches from hardwood floors, stairs, and wood railings. Place a small rug or welcome mat at the entrance to protect floors from mud and snow. 
  • Clear out shoes, umbrellas, and other clutter.
  • Add extra hooks to walls so guests can hang coats and hats.
  • Add a storage bench where guests can remove boots and shoes.

Kitchen prep

Your kitchen is command central during the holidays, so make sure it’s ready for guests and extra helpers.

  • To increase storage, install a pot rack to clear cooking items off countertops and ranges.
  • Move your coffee station into a family room so guests don’t crowd the kitchen when you’re trying to fix meals.
  • If you like to visit while you’re cooking, place extra stools and chairs around the perimeter of your kitchen so guests can set a spell.

Sleeping arrangements

If you’ve got a guest room, replace the ceiling fixture with a ceiling fan and light combo, which helps guests customize their room temperature without fiddling with the thermostat for the entire house. 

To carve sleeping space out of public areas, buy a folding screen or rolling bookcase, which will provide privacy for sleepers. Fold or roll it away in the morning.

Bathroom storage

Bring toilet paper, towels, and toiletries out of hiding, and place them on open shelves so guests can find them easily.

If you don’t have enough wall space for shelves, place these items in open baskets around the bathroom.

Also, outfit each tub with a bath mat (to avoid falls) and each toilet with a plunger (to avoid embarrassment).

What tips do you have for getting ready for guests this holiday season?

Find your next home with me! I’d love to hand you a set of new keys! www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

Beautiful Patio Tile Work

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I can just see myself sitting on the patio

with a nice cup of tea with a warm blanket!

patio designwww.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com

 

Larchmont Living – My Favorite Pizza – Village Pizzeria

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Village Pizza

One of my very favorite things to do is to go to Larchmont Village and enjoy people watching. While I am there I have my spots I love to hit. Of course I love grabbing a coffee at one of many little shops up and down the strip, but every so often, when my diet permits I must simply have my slice of Clam & Garlic pizza! HEAVEN, HEAVEN, HEAVEN!

Village Pizzeria is a simple little place, yet it is always busy! They have seating inside and outside. The menu is simple with a splash of uniqueness. I am always treated nicely and enjoy the atmosphere.

The no-nonsense way of ordering is perfect. If you are in a rush, simply don’t come because they are not a microwave place. You get fresh food for a very decent price.

I love taking my friends and family here when they come to town. It has won my heart for pizza!

Although the Clam & Garlic pizza is my favorite splurge, I have not had a bad item on the menu!

Village Pizzeria is located at 131 N. Larchmont Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90004. They also offer delivery with a $20 minimum however I just love going and eating outside so I can people watch!

Visit their website: www.villagepizzeria.net

For more fun things to do in LA: https://www.groupon.com/local/los-angeles/things-to-do

Are you looking for a neighborhood like this one that feels more like a village?  Start your search today at www.KeyCaliforniaHomes.com