It may seem like there’s always something going on as a homeowner, from silencing a squeaky hinge to unclogging a temperamental toilet. But many household problems can be easily fixed without calling a repair service.
A can of WD-40, a toilet plunger and a bottle of vinegar are great basics to keep on hand for easing sticky fittings, clearing the toilet and making short work of common stains. Here are some simple fixes for common home problems that even the non-handy can handle:
Banish that annoying squeak by sprinkling a little talcum powder over the noisy area and brushing it into the cracks.
Removed stubborn stains by combining equal amounts of cream of tartar and baking soda with enough lemon juice to make a paste. Rub the mixture into the stain with your fingers or a soft cloth. Let sit for a half hour, then rinse well with water.
Stuck Sliding Windows
Loosen stuck windows by spraying a little silicon spray lubricant (found at hardware stores) onto a rag, then wiping along the tracks, whether metal, wood or plastic.
Dry and Worn Cutting Board
Revive a worn board by warming a bottle of mineral oil (available at drugstores) in a bowl of hot water, then wiping the oil onto the surface with a soft cloth. Wipe off the excess four to six hours later.
Take care of scuff marks by rubbing the spot with white toothpaste and a dry cloth, or spraying WD-40 on a towel and rubbing lightly. Later, degrease the area with liquid dishwashing soap and water.
Poor Toilet Flush
Before you call a plumber, look for the water valve behind the toilet, on the wall or the floor. Turn it counter-clockwise as far as you can. Once it’s fully open, the tank will get its optimal water fill and power up your flush.
Torn Window Screen
If tiny tears are letting bugs in, apply clear nail polish to any tiny holes. For larger rips or tears, look for new and effective screen repair patches at the hardware store.
While world peace is a great idea, if you want to add a touch of calm to your life, begin with your bedroom. Your room isn’t merely the place to rest your head, it’s where you wake, and the vibe of your room can set the tone for the rest of your day. Below are five tips for bringing a peaceful vibe to your bedroom.
Choose calming colors. While red or orange may be your favorite fiery hue, when picking shades for your room, choose soothing, calm colors like light blue or a gentle gray.
Pick minimal patterns. Keep the fun, funky patterns for the living room throw pillows. Busy patterns can make us feel crowded and overwhelmed, so minimize zany patterns in your sleep space.
Clear the room of clutter. Create a sanctuary in your bedroom by keeping it clear of clutter, from laundry to oversized furniture. Spend a few minutes before bed each day storing any items you pulled out, close the closet doors, put the books back on the shelves and dive into bed with a clear head and space.
Bring in nature. Houseplants can boost mood and pump more oxygen into the room. Choose a few easy-to-care for plants, like a fern or a ficus, and place them where you can see them when you wake.
Select the right lighting. While blackout shades can be great for blocking disruptive light, it can also negatively impact your sleep patterns by keeping your body from waking at its natural time. Find a set of blackout curtains that filter light but allow you to wake in the morning naturally.
Like the generation it’s named for, millennial pink is all around us. It’s a fun, daring, sophisticated hue that isn’t exactly new, but lately seems to have caught the eye of legions of clothing and décor designers.
Not quite salmon, not quite rose and a far cry from traditional Barbie pink—millennial pink can best be described as a soft, subtle pink with some gray tones and a slight hint of peach. It’s hard to miss if you’re browsing the racks for trendy clothes or checking out the newest paint colors.
At your hardware or home maintenance store, check out Victoriana or Precocious by Benjamin Moore or Everything’s Rosy by Behr. If the hues appeal, and you’re ready to add their subtle vibe to your home décor, here’s few fun tips to maximize the color’s sunshine-like qualities:
Mix it up. Paint the whole living room or bedroom pink, or paint just one wall pink and accent with white or other pale neutrals and a touch of black. Framing neutral artworks with simple black frames are a good way to help a pink wall sing.
Add bolder pinks. Accenting millennial pink walls with deeper pink vases, lamps, bed linens, furniture and/or pillows can make the overall look of the room both relaxing and cohesive.
Try it on a door. Want just a dash of millennial pink? Paint a door this color to create an eye-catching architectural statement without overwhelming the room. Switching out the hardware to something with a black or bronze finish can be a perfect punctuation mark.
Use it as an accent color in your guest bathroom. You can add personality to a white bathroom with rosy pink towels, soap trays and other fun accessories. Try a blush pink for small accents, then top off the look with a few fresh pink blossoms in a pink vase to make the small space stand out.
DON'T GET TRIPPED UP BY THESE COMMON MISTAKES!
1. HIGHER THAN EXPECTED "CARRY COSTS"
A "carry cost" is the cost to "carry" the property, such as the mortgage payment, property taxes, utilities, maintenance, and other expenses. For example, if you buy a house with the intention of selling it within a year, what are the total costs you will incur during that time to "carry" the property? It's important to accurately estimate those costs so that you don't get tripped up by them later on.
2. HIGHER THAN EXPECTED "COSTS OF SALE"
In most cases, you’d need to sell the house for at least 8% - 10% more than what you paid for it just to break even and cover the real estate commissions and transfer taxes. It's important to take that into account when you run your numbers so that you can accurately forecast your potential rate of return on investment.
3. VACANCY RISK AND EVICTION COSTS
What if the tenant defaults on the rent and you have to hire a lawyer or go through a costly eviction process? Or, what if you can’t find a tenant? That's why it's important to consider risk reduction techniques like non-refundable deposits, sale/leasebacks and/or rent-to-own strategies.
4. LACK OF LIQUIDITY
What if you need access to your capital and you can’t sell the house? That's why you should never be 100% invested in real estate. This means that if your budget for real estate investments is $500,000, you should keep part of that cash in the bank, sitting on the sidelines. This way you won’t get into trouble if the property sits vacant for a few months. Also, a cash cushion allows you to quickly take advantage of other investment opportunities when they arise.
HERE ARE 3 IMPORTANT THINGS TO CONSIDER ABOUT FLIPPING HOUSES IN TODAY'S MARKET.
1. THE ROI ON FLIPPING HOUSES REMAINS FAR BELOW ITS PEAK.
Approx. 8.2% of all residential real estate transactions were house-flips in Q2 2022 according to Attom Data Solutions, a leading real estate data provider. That's down from 9.7% in Q1 2022 but still up from 5.3% in Q2 2021. Meanwhile, average house-flipping profits remain far below their peak due to increased competition, rising mortgage rates, and a slowdown in house price appreciation.
2. RENOVATION COSTS AND TIMELINES ARE SOARING.
The costs to renovate and repair a home have soared in the wake of a labor shortage, supply chain disruptions, and rising inflation. This means that it may take you longer than expected to fix and flip the home. Also, be sure to budget for higher costs, which of course, will eat into your profit margins.
3. THE HOUSING MARKET HAS STARTED TO SLOW DOWN.
It's highly unlikely that house prices will crash because we have an ongoing shortage of housing inventory in the US. Even so, annual house price appreciation is expected to slow to its long-term average of 3%-4% during the next 12 months. We've already seen month-over-month price declines in some extra-frothy markets. This means that you may not get as much as you initially anticipated when you go to sell the house.
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