So you are planning your upcoming spring cleaning blitz? Great! How hard could it be?
You head to the store to purchase a few cleaning supplies, but quickly become overwhelmed.
How many products could there possibly be? A bunch! Many of them rely on perfumes and harsh chemicals to clean and cover odors. Some are “green,” some are “all natural,” some say they are safe for babies, some emphasize the ingredients they do NOT contain.
On the other hand, the internet (and Pinterest, in particular) is overflowing with DIY cleaning supplies and recipes. Some work, some don’t. And some mixtures can be dangerous or deadly!
Cleaning shouldn’t be so complicated. Here are a few basic supplies and recipes to keep on hand, using natural ingredients that work!
First, when making your own cleaning products, here are a few general need-to-knows:
- Home cleaning recipes rely on components that are either acids or bases. When combined, acids and bases cancel each other out. Pick one or the other, but don’t mix them.
- Mixing bleach with vinegar or ammonia creates highly toxic chlorine gases.
- Mixing bleach with hydrogen peroxide can cause an explosion!
- Borax is an excellent cleaner, but it’s also toxic. Keep it away from children, pets, and absent-minded adults.
- Any acid can etch the surface of any kind of stone (marble, granite, etc.).
If you want to start making your own cleaning products, stock up on these basic supplies:
White vinegar (acetic acid) – If you can handle the smell (which won’t last too long), this is a great all-purpose cleaner! Do not, however, use apple cider vinegar for cleaning purposes.
Lemon juice (citric acid) – If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, substitute lemon juice.
Baking soda – More often used in kitchen recipes, baking soda is a relatively safe and gentle alkaline base.
Borax – Remember, this is a toxic substance.
Bleach – Does not play well with others. Mix it with nothing other than water to avoid toxic gasses and explosions.
How To Use Them
Dealing with Limescale
If you live in a hard-water area, you’re all too familiar with the white, alkaline crust that forms on anything exposed to hot water. Here are a few natural ways to eliminate limescale.
- Coffee makers. Mix 3 cups water and 1 cup white vinegar. Run this through your coffee maker, followed by a cycle of clean water. You may have to repeat these cycles a few times. Don’t leave vinegar-water sitting overnight in the water tank, as this might harm your device.
- Faucets and knobs. Soak cloths or paper towels with white vinegar, wrap them around the affected areas, and leave them in place for an hour. Then, remove the cloths and wipe clean. If you prefer, use lemon juice instead of vinegar. Another option is to mix a baking soda cleaning paste (1 part water to 3 parts soda). Apply the paste to the faucets, let it sit for an hour, then wipe clean.
- Toilets. Pour at least a cup of white vinegar into the bowl and let it soak for an hour. Spray vinegar-water under the rim too. (Equal parts vinegar and water.) Once the time is up, scrub with a toilet brush. Do not leave this mixture sit overnight, since any acid, including a mild one like vinegar, can etch porcelain. Note that you can prevent limescale buildup by spraying your toilet with vinegar-water every day or two. Vinegar is safe for septic systems too.
- Showerhead. To remove limescale from shower heads, pour white vinegar into a food storage bag and attach the bag to the showerhead with a rubber band. Let the showerhead soak for an hour. Rinse and scrub with a brush. Repeat if necessary.
Freshen a Stinky Dishwasher
- Remove any food debris from the trap.
- Pour a cup of white vinegar inside the tub and run it through a hot water cycle.
- If the door seals have mold or dirt, scrub them with a paste of borax and water using an old toothbrush to get down into the crevices. Rinse and wipe clean with a soft cloth.
De-Stink Your Washing Machine
- Using a vinegar-water solution, spray and wipe everything down.
- Clean the seals with soap and water and an old toothbrush or use a borax-water paste if you discover discoloration, mold, or mildew.
- Remove dispensers and wash them with soap and water or run them through your dishwasher with a cup of white vinegar.
- If you have an older top-loading machine, you’ll want to clean its lint trap. (Check your owner’s manual if you aren’t sure how to find it.)
- Add 2-3 cups of white vinegar to the drum and run it (with no clothes and no soap) on a hot water cycle.
- Prevent the stink by leaving the door open when not in use. This is especially important on front-loading machines with water-tight seals.
Remove Hard Water from Glass Shower Doors
- Spray vinegar or lemon juice on the glass, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub thoroughly. If the stain is stubborn, you can use eraser-type sponges to help get the glass clean. Remember: Don’t let any acid sit on glass surfaces for more than a few minutes and be sure to rinse thoroughly!
- Don’t be tempted to use abrasive powders on your glass. Initially, it may look great. However, you’re also creating small scratches that give future stains a foothold, making it harder and harder to clean.
- Preventing water stains is the best option. Use a squeegee or a microfiber cloth to dry the glass (and the tile) and reduce the hard work of removing spots later.
Mold on Grout
You can use any of the methods below, but DO NOT combine them. These products should not be used together.
- White grout and bleach. Full strength bleach is an effective cleaner on moldy grout that isn’t colored. Keep the room well ventilated and use gloves, a mask, and eye protection. Use a stiff bristle brush to apply the bleach and scrub the grout. Work in small sections and take breaks, leaving the bathroom. After scrubbing, let it sit for 30 minutes and rinse thoroughly.
- Colored grout and white vinegar. Spray full strength vinegar on the grout, let it sit for 30 minutes, then gently scrub with a bristle brush. Re-spray the grout, let it sit another 30 minutes, then rinse well with warm water. Repeat, if necessary.
- Any color grout and baking soda. A baking soda paste, using just enough water to make it spreadable, will help lift mold and mildew. Spread the paste on your grout, wait 10-15 minutes, then scrub the mold/mildew with a brush. Rinse with warm water and repeat, if needed.
|Brought to you by Carlos F. Camargo, Ph.D., REALTOR #01988431 @ BHGRE Reliance Partners|
SMARTMOVES – APRIL 2019 | VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 4 | #1
+ Patios to Pergolas: Give Your Backyard a Facelift
WHY I SHOULD BE YOUR LISTING AGENT? www.carlosfcamargo.net
When you have made the decision to sell your home an experienced Real Estate professional can save you both time and money. When listing your house for sale, your top goal will be to get the home sold for the best price possible! There are many small projects that you can do to ensure this happens!
I can help you:
– Navigate the whole ordeal with a smile & sense of humor
When you are ready to sell, contact me and we can begin the process. 510-798-5016
Making Sense of Conflicting Housing Market News
Inventory is rising – The market is still inventory constrained.
The Feds are raising interest rates – Rates are holding steady and edging down.
Sales are down – Home prices are up.
The market is softening – The IPO market will make a hot market hotter.
It seems that whatever “story” one wants to weave about the real estate market, there is plenty of evidence to support it regardless of the point of view. So are there any solid, reliable takeaways we can glean from all of this? Here’s my take on things:
Inventory is rising. Through the end of 2017 and into 2018, inventory was hitting consistent, low levels where we were barely teetering on 1 month inventory levels for stretches at a time. With consumer confidence on an upswing, we anticipated a burst of activity as Q1 2019 unfolded. There was a “burst” of activity in the first two months of 2019, where inventory creeped into the 2 month level – something we hadn’t seen for a long time, and only briefly midway through 2018. Thus, inventory was rising – a little. But inventory levels seem to be hanging on the edge of 2 months and threatening to drop back into the 1 month range so inventory is, in fact, still constrained.
Mortgage Interest Rates
The Feds were raising rates and Q3 2018 was on an upswing where rates consistently began with a 4 (percent) for 30-year fixed rate mortgages. But, as the inflation threat receded and the housing market momentum waned, predicted multiple rate hikes did not materialize. It’s more probable now that a single rate hike will be imposed versus several. Thus, while rates were rising, they began to hold. We saw a slight downward trend that stabilized in the lower 4% range, and lenders sometimes still surprise us with an occasional rate in the high 3’s.
Overall, market volume is down in comparison with previous years. That sometimes strikes fear in those following the housing market as it imparts a sense of home value instability. However, volume relates to the number of homes sold and at what prices. We are seeing consistent, multiple offers (and I mean multiple) in our more affordable home range prices. Depending upon which micro-locale you are in around the Bay Area, the affordability range for a single family runs from about $900-1.2M in certain neighborhoods in the East Bay, to $1.1 – $1.5M in the greater SF area and parts of the Peninsula, and $1.6M – $2M in other neighborhoods. With higher number of sales in the affordable ranges, our overall volume of sales dips but we can readily report that the market is abundant with ready, able and well-financed home buyers.
A Softening Market
Amidst all the chatter of a housing bubble, the housing market softening, and a slow-down in the market, the headlines are also awash with news of Bay Area IPOs. Lyft just hit the markets. Uber, Slack, Airbnb, Pinterest, and a host of other IPOs are also lined up for 2019 (approximately 12 when I last counted) and are anticipated to create an abundance of new, wealthy buyers. Thus, there is anticipation brewing about how this will affect affordability and home values in the next couple of years. We have already seen properties that not long ago sold for $700k now selling well above $800k, with associated anecdotes in the higher price ranges. What will the IPO market do for Bay Area housing in upcoming times?
As we can see, while market news does seem to straddle both sides of the fence on given housing topics, the rationales behind the storylines do seem to line up when examining the details. I hope I’ve been able to give you a little clarity behind what it all means.
Please feel free to reach out to me anytime to discuss your real estate needs, it will be my pleasure helping you and your family as always.
The worst thing any homeowner can do before selling their property is to just list the house on the market.
The worst thing any homeowner can do before selling their property is to just list the house on the market. Real estate agents won’t even list homes that haven’t gone through MRH: maintenance, renovations, and home staging. You’ll be in a much better position to sell your home for what it’s worth after going through MRH.
MRH: Maintenance, Renovations, and Home Staging
MRH starts with maintenance. Nothing matters unless your house is up to code. You’re just wasting money renovating and home staging if you haven’t taken care of the 4 most important maintenance aspects:
- HVAC Air Condition and Heating Systems
All four must be in top shape before you can move on to renovations. Don’t skip on maintenance. It’s not worth it. Soon, you’ll understand why.
After maintenance, it’s time for renovations. The big thing about renovations is that they aren’t cheap, and they take time.
- Renovation costs – Ensure that you over budget for renovations. You want some breathing room because the renovations you need are likely much greater than the renovations you want.
- Time costs – Remember, the goal is to sell your home for the highest possible price. Take time doing the necessary renovations to reach that goal.
The final part of MRH is home staging. Expect to spend at least $2,000. You could spend from $5,000 to $10,000 depending on your home staging goals. Hiring a home staging expert might be worth it.
There you have it, MRH: maintenance, renovations, and home staging. The bottom line is that you want to ensure you sell your home for the highest possible price. Skipping any MRH step can lead to buyers passing purchasing all together. Some buyers take off double the cost of renovations.
Follow MRH and sell your home for what it’s worth!
Before selling a house:
Assessing your house’s condition
- The big four (we call them the big four because they cost the most money to fix) These must be fixed or the property may not qualify for a loan
- HVAC- Air conditioning and heating systems
- Make necessary cosmetic improvements – compare your house to other houses in the neighborhood
- Have the other houses in your neighborhood upgraded?
- Spaces to consider
- Master bathroom
- Living room
- Prepare your house for the market
- Once the house is mechanically sound and upgraded it must be completely cleaned and decluttered
- Removing items stored in the garage and emptying closets and other rooms to make them appear larger
- A home inspection can cost between $500 and $1000
- The condition of the house directly affects the
- Repairs and improvements
- Money and time
- If your house is not in good condition, expect to spend more money, time, and resources.
- The National Association of Realtors suggest that buyers will automatically subtract double the cost of any repairs and unfinished issues.
Average costs for deferred home maintenance repairs
- Electricity $500 – $3,509
- Average cost of electric repairs go from $500 to $3,509 depending on the electrical project.
- Heating & Cooling $750 – $15,552
- Heating and cooling repairs cost from $750 to $15,552 depending on the project.
- Plumbing $204 – $5,145
- Plumbing repair services go from $204 to $5,145 depending on the services.
- The average cost per hour of a plumber ranges from $45 – $150.
- Water damage $1,043 – $30,852
- Repairing water damage costs between $1,043 to $30,852, depending on the severity of the damage.
- Gas $150 – $7,000
- The average costs of repairing a gas leakage range from $150 to $7,000 depending on the type of repair.
- Termites $500 – $2,500
- The average costs of termite control go from $500 to $2,500 depending on the method of extermination (DIY up to chemical extermination).
- Mold $500 – $60,000
- On average, professional mold remediation and repair can cost from $500 – $60,000/; and depending on the severity of the mold, it can soar into tens of thousands.
Total average cost of deferred home maintenance repairs is $20,760
- Newly renovated homes will receive a higher market price.
- Renovation costs often run higher than what you might have originally budgeted.
- Renovations are recommended for sellers who do not need to move out quickly, as these take time and money.
Average costs for renovations
- Lighting fixture = $499
- Door = $860
- Garage door = x $1,061
- Interior paint = $1,656
- Exterior paint = $2,647
- Windows = $4,745
- Deck = $6,919
- Bathroom = $11,365
- Kitchen = $19,920
- Master bedroom addition = $21,500
- Living room = $23,042
Total average cost of renovating main living spaces of a home: $8,565
- When you home stage, you prepare your house for the marketplace.
- Home staging makes your house more appealing to potential buyers.
- Staging won’t make your home sell for more.
When budgeting for home staging, budget 1% to 3% of your asking price for staging.
Costs for home staging can range from a couple hundred dollars up to $5,000 or more.
The average home seller spends an average of $1,800 on home staging.
- Services (power washers, lawn care, deep cleaning)
- Professional stagers
Staging services average $400 to $600 but this depends on the market and square footage.
Total average cost for basic DIY home staging: $1,800
Total average cost for fixing up your house before a sale can go up to: $21,153
- All costs are averages and they may vary depending on location, sizes, and condition.
- Your house may not need all the services and renovations mentioned here, this is a global average cost in case your whole house would need fixing.
Falling purchasing power takes a toll on home prices
Monthly Statistical Update (March 2019 • Vol. 8 • Issue 3)
Falling purchasing power takes a toll on home prices
+ Buyer purchasing power’s pull on prices
+ Rising mortgage rates decrease purchasing power
+ Home prices fall from their peak
LOOKING TO BUY OR SELL A HOME? I can help!
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2019 Winter Market Outlook – Sales Soften, Prices Flatline
Monthly Statistical Update (February 2019): www.carlosfcamargo.net
California home prices anchored to incomes:
+ Mean price trendline pulls home prices down+ Rising SoCal income can’t keep up with home prices+ Norcal incomes rising quickly, but still lag home prices
A famous salesman once said that selling is essentially a transfer of feelings.
Most people love and cherish their home. Homeowners want the next owner to fall in love with it, too—through photos, words, and the experience of walking in the front door. But, perhaps most, sellers want the right asking price.
This isn’t a small task. Selling a home requires work. It requires time. The journey isn’t always easy. There will be frustrations. But when a homeowner can seal the deal and move on to the next chapter — wow, what a blissful feeling that is.
Know exactly what is desired First things first:
Know what is wanted (and what your partner wants) in order to sell a home with minimum frustration. Why is the move necessary? What are the expectations from the process? When should the ‘For Sale’ sign be placed in the yard? Unless the home was purchase last week, the housing market changed since you became a homeowner. Mortgage rates fluctuate, inventory shifts over time— these are just a few of the factors that affect the state of the market, and every market is unique. Become educated on what to expect.
Interview and select an agent
This is the most important relationship on the home-selling journey. Pick the right agent and there’s a good chance of receiving the better sales price for the house.
Pricing the home
How much is the home worth? That’s the…$300,000 question. Whatever the number, you need to know it. This is how an agent will help pinpoint the price.
Prep and market the home for selling
The best-marketed homes have beautiful photos and compelling property descriptions, so they can receive likes — which can amount to buyer interest on social media. Some agents even use videos, virtual tours, texts, and audio messages.
Showcase the home
One of the best ways to get buyers in the door is to have an open house. This is the chance to show off a home’s best assets, and help buyers envision themselves living there. Know how your agent will organize, advertise and host the event to ensure it’s a success.
Negotiate home inspection repairs
Most purchase agreements are contingent on a home inspection (plus an appraisal, which will be managed by the buyer’s lender). This gives the buyer the ability to inspect the home from top to bottom and request repairs — some even could be required per building codes. The upshot: You have some room to negotiate, including about certain repairs.
Close the Sale
Settlement, or closing, is the last step in the home-selling process. This is where the final paperwork is signed, the whole process becomes official and the seller collects their check. Before that can happen though, you’ll have to prepare your home for the buyer’s final walk-through and troubleshoot any last-minute issues.
Market Turning to Buyers – www.carlosfcamargo.net
The market is transitioning towards buyers.