Living Lake Norman

Hot new real estate deals, community news, housing market trends, home buying and selling tips and everything else you need to know about life and living on Lake Norman, North Carolina!

June 20, 2018

Five House Painting Hacks

I am so busy getting painting vendors for my clients that I often say I might need to sell one of my kids in order to actually hire a painter myself for my house. But as I read through, it's just one step at a time that I know I can handle!

Owning a house can be a mixed blessing. On one hand, you have a place to sleep and eat and collect weird knick-knacks you bought off of eBay. On the other, you sometimes have to take on projects that are simple, but overwhelming. Repainting your house, for example, is a big, messy job, though the techniques don’t necessarily require years to master.

House Painting Hacks

The word “hack” is kind of loaded. To some, it means cheating your way to success, to others it can be code for “low quality work or unadvisable actions.” Since you don’t really need either of those things to have really good results from your paint job, replace the word “hack” in your head with “tip.” After all, you should listen to tips, they’re helpful.

Without further ado, five tips for your big paint job this summer:

Prepwork: The Biggest Hack of All

“But wait, prepping isn’t painting,” you just shouted at the screen. It’s true that your prep isn’t actual painting, but the fact is that prep work is everything. Without good prep, you might as well not bother with the painting because the lack of prep work will show. Depending on which area of your house you’re painting, here are a few prep items to get you started:

Outside
* Go over all the painted areas, even on windows, with a metal putty knife or 5-in-1 tool to get rid of all loose paint chips. If you’re dealing with lots of layers and they’re flaking randomly, use a pressure washer set around 2,500 PSI to blast the paint away.
* Remove and repair any rotted window sills or siding now, before you paint. Make sure to apply a coat of primer to them once they’ve been put in place.
* Paint stripper can be useful to get paint off of finely detailed trim pieces that you risk damaging by power washing.

Inside
* Paint a test area on popcorn ceilings before doing a whole room. Sometimes, they’ll slough off, leaving you with a mess–better to know before you’re in elbow deep.
* It’s not enough to just patch holes, you also must sand them. If drywall seams are bothering you, the same rule applies after you’ve skim coated them with additional joint compound.
* Clean walls thoroughly. A once-over with a broom followed up by a pass with an electrostatic cloth mop will grab all the dirt, helping you create the perfect paint job.

Painting on the Dark Side

Painting your house is important maintenance, but it can also be a difficult one in the summertime. When you’re ready to paint, really ready, start on the dark side of the house. As the sun shifts, so should you. This will give you the most time to work with wet paint, helping you to avoid dried-on drips and visible brush strokes. Treat your primer just like your paint and circle the house with the sun when applying.

Improve Trim Appearance By Reducing Strokes

Painting trim should be a challenge to see just how little you can touch it. The end result will be a smoother finish with fewer brush strokes. Work in small sections, no more than about 18 inches long. Start your paint work by loading the brush on the heavy side, then wipe as much paint onto the trim as possible. Level the blob with just one or two strokes that fill into the previously painted section.

Paint Brush Storage

Whether you’re going to lunch or just taking a break to heed Nature’s call, there are going to be times that you really don’t want to bother to clean your brush just to stick it back in the same color paint again. Desperate times call for desperate measures. There are various tricks for this, these are our favorites:

* When you paint, wear disposable gloves. If you need to pause, just grab the brush bristles with one hand and turn the glove inside out until it covers. A quick knot will keep that brush ready to go again.
* Ziptop bags are great for taking a lunch, but they can also be used to keep brushes wet. Just snip one corner open to the width of the handle, slip the brush in, burp the bag and zip it up. Problem solved.
* Between coats, you can drop brushes into water that reaches to the handles or higher (don’t mix colors, that’ll make a mess). When you’re ready for the next round of painting, swish the brush around in the water to get most of the thin, wet paint out and then use a paint brush and roller spinner to spin out the water. Do the spinning outside or deep in a tall bucket to avoid getting paint water everywhere.

Catalog Those Paints!

Hey, this may not sound like a useful thing, but will you really remember the color you used on the trim work on your house in five years? Be honest here. Cataloging the paint you’re using, including manufacturer, formula, name and a photo of what the finished result looked like fresh will help you immensely should you need to touch the paint up before the next big repainting job. If you used the paint in more than one place, note what areas were painted, as well.

Some pro painters make custom labels for the can they leave behind for touch-ups that contains excess paint. These labels includes detailed information about the paint color, sheen and so forth. You have a computer, you could do the same if you really want to keep it organized.

Ready To Paint?

When you’re ready to get on that painting project, be safe and have fun. Even a bad paint job is better than a day at work, isn’t that how the saying goes? If you find that the prospect of painting your house on your own is just too much to handle, set that stress aside and log in to HomeKeepr. The marriage of tools, tech and the best pros in their field make it easy to get the painter you need on the job fast.

Posted in House Upkeep
May 7, 2018

What to do around town!

So many things happen in Lake Norman and surrounding cities in Charlotte that it's hard to keep up with them all. However; there are many sites you can go to and sign up for alerts. Get out of the house! Then get back to buying or selling. Either way there is time for it all.

Posted in Fun Times
April 17, 2018

Is Your Insurance Ready for Storm Damage?

Wind Wind Wind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s little worse than waking up in the morning after a big storm, only to discover that your house (and probably a few trees) aren’t exactly in the same condition you left them when you went to bed. You probably even let out an audible groan, since you just know it’s going to be a whole day of making calls and explaining over and over again what’s happened in order to get the right help out to your house. 

If you’ve never handled a storm damage claim (or other homeowner claim), you know it can be incredibly intimidating. There are things you can do to help yourself and other things that will seriously hinder you. But, armed with the right information, your claim and clean up will be a (relative) breeze.

What to do Immediately After a Storm

Your first instinct after a storm is probably to start cleaning up and making repairs. It’s a natural next step, there’s no doubt about it. But, the problem with this is that if you start to clear the problem away, it’s going to be very difficult for your insurance adjuster to figure out what actually happened in the night. Here are some dos and don’ts for the hours to days after a storm:

Do take lots of photos of the damage as soon as possible. Anything can happen between the time when you realize you have damage and when the adjuster shows up. So document, document, document. Get lots of photos from lots of angles so they can put together a complete picture of the situation. Every detail helps.

Don’t remove anything that isn’t going to contribute more damage to the house. If there’s a tree on your roof and it’s poking through the attic, you’re going to have to clear some of that away. If there’s a tree on your roof, but it’s small and just sort of lying there, it’s probably not hurting anything. The same goes for any sort of debris that might be hanging around. Don’t touch anything you don’t have to.

Do stabilize serious problems like leaking roofs. The tree that’s punched into the attic is a big deal. You’re going to have to act on this to prevent further damage. Either call one of your HomeKeepr home pros or grab the chainsaw and clear it carefully from the roof. Then cover the hole with a tarp or take other temporary measures. The key here is temporary. You should not attempt to fix this permanently now. Again, the insurance adjuster needs to look at it first.

Don’t hire any roofers or other repair companies that are canvassing your neighborhood. If your whole neighborhood was hit by high winds or other severe weather, expect to be almost immediately mobbed by canvassing roofers and handymen. It’s not that they’re terrible people, but you need to know what your insurance is prepared to cover before you hire anyone. You generally have the option to choose your own repair people, within a reasonable price range, so do collect all the cards they bring by.

Once the Insurance Adjuster Arrives

When the adjuster lands at your house, be kind. Remember that they’re probably severely overworked at the moment, since your whole town was ravaged by the same storm. They do want you to get back to normal as soon as possible, but they’re just not physically able to help everyone at once. It’s no fun to suffer a storm gladly, but patience is a virtue.

They’ll take a look at the damage, possibly bring in a home pro to do a more detailed evaluation and then you’ll wait some more. Make sure that you show them everything you have while they’re at your doorstep, from the photos you took right after the storm to the measures you had to take to stabilize the damage. The more complete the details, the easier it is for them to figure out how much it’s going to cost to fix your house.

Get their phone number, just in case you have anything else to send them. An email might also be appropriate. Staying in touch at this point is going to be vital, since there could be things you’ll need to do to keep the process moving along. This might include meeting home repair experts at your home to provide quotes, sending those quotes over to the adjuster and so forth.

A Few Things That Can Go Wrong

Dealing with storm damage is stressful. There’s just something intrinsically awful about being so inconvenienced by random acts of nature, but chances are good that you’ll have to go through it once or twice. Depending on where you live, however, it can become a much bigger problem than just a basic hassle. Your insurance may not cover your damage because you weren’t carrying the right type of coverage. This is a good place for a dramatic gasp.

If you’ve not had a storm yet, you’re going to want to check your policies to see if the following items are included or if you have a separate policy or rider to cover them:

Sewage backups. Yes, it’s true that your basic homeowner’s policy probably won’t cover a sewage backup, even if it’s caused by surging storm drain water. Not only is this about the worst thing to clean up ever, it can be costly if you have a finished basement or other area that would need to be completely gutted in order to repair.

Flooding. Most flood insurance policies are issued through FEMA via the National Flood Insurance Program. The cost is relatively minimal, but because so many people assume they’re covered against floods under their homeowner’s, they don’t bother to look into this at all. The odds are good that your basic homeowner’s policy is not going to cover any water that seeps in from outside, though. You should call your agent to verify this information, but certainly don’t blindly trust you’re good to go.

Wind damage. In states where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plains (or where hurricanes are common), you may not have enough wind coverage with just a basic insurance policy. Often, there are serious restrictions on how much your policy will pay (usually as a percentage of the policy, not the actual cost of damage) and on what kind of damage it’ll pay it. Make sure you’ve got wind damage coverage that will pay out enough if you ever had to use it.

Vehicle damage. If a tree falls on your car during a windstorm and no one is around to see it, is it covered by your homeowner’s insurance? No. Not usually, anyway. That would be a job for your car insurance, so make sure it’s ample if you’re in a storm-heavy area. The only cases where you could pretty much count on the car being covered by your homeowner’s is if the car were inside the garage and then the garage fell on it. Even then there may be some limits.

Making Sure You’re Totally Covered

Being a homeowner means having to navigate some complicated waters, especially when it comes to the financials of it all. But you don’t have to worry about your insurance coverage or who will help you put your home back together after a storm if you’ve found a great team. Just drop in on your HomeKeepr community for the best insurance agents, roofers and general handymen in your area. Your Realtor trusts them, so you know they have to be good!

Posted in House Upkeep
April 5, 2018

Remodeling Surprises

Remodel Surprises

Congrats! Your fixer-upper is well on its way to be a fixed-upper now that you have a remodeling plan in place and a way to pay for it. You’re almost certainly imagining how lovely a soak in that new bathroom will be after a long day at work or how many family members you’ll be able to pack into your newly opened-up kitchen and dining area. The one thing you’re not thinking about right now is what could possibly go wrong.

Posted in House Upkeep
March 14, 2018

Ready to Buy?

Factors Beyond Financial

Ready to Buy

When that rent check leaves your hand every month (or, more likely, you click the button on the website), you feel a little lighter in the wallet and a bit more empty inside. Every month, that money goes into your landlord’s pocket, pays down their principal, helps them increase their net worth and you get what? A roof over your head that hasn’t been updated since the Reagan administration and neighbors that seem to not realize that while their band is lovely, 2 am is not the time to crank it up to 11.

Posted in Community
March 14, 2018

Which Updates?

Investing in your Home

Posted in Community