All posts by Gene

Light Switches and Outlet Covers

Light Switches and Outlet Covers

“Clap on, clap off” Remember that tune 🙂

In one of our previous blogs we discussed the importance of great lighting in a home/property for sale/rent and one feature most everyone misses in that equation is the “Light Switch or Outlet Cover”.

As with all small details this one is easily missed by most people, yet it plays an important role on creating a lasting impression of your property. Say for example you are about to turn on the lights in a room/closet or bathroom and you look at the switch and it is dated, yellow and possible cracked…EW. You think to yourself when be the last time these people did any repairs to this house?

old light switch

Changing outlet covers is very inexpensive and can be done by most anyone with some home repair experience; yes you can probably do it yourself. This gives you an opportunity not only beautifies the outlet/switch but also update it to current requirements.

The following is to be considered when buying/installing new switches:

Color/shape: White always works, but if you have a more unique look in your property choose one that suits the decor. Modern rectangular shape with most common and is very inexpensive, although just like with the color you can choose a shape that best suits the decor of the room.

antique light switch

modern light switch 1

modern light switch

Safety: all outlets near sinks/water should be GFI (also known as a ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI) that help protect against electrical shock.  Optional: Tamper-resistant receptacles, have internal shutters that make it difficult for children to insert objects, a feature of this type maybe of importance to families with children looking at your property.


Functionality: One other feature to consider is dimmers on the light switches, if you have a very limited budget you may want to place these only in common area such as living, family or dining room.

light switch and dimmer

Remember, it’s all in the details.



Happy Selling$$$$

Home Sales

As current and future home owners watch the real estate market in California we see a positive trend. According to this article on home sales in August are the highest August sales since 2006.

Sellers looking to capitalize on the growing demand for properties know that to get the most for your house you must stand out, you must offer something more than the house down the street. Offering more does not have involve a large remodeling project or expensive undertakings. A few touch ups in the right places can do the trick.

Detach yourself from your home and view at simply as a property. I know your child’s room may contain markings on the wall as they grew up and those memories are important. Take some photos of that wall and consider painting it and the rest of the house to give it a fresh appeal.Knowing that your porcelain tub has a few scratched, rust spots or maybe even minor cracks you may want to re-glaze it. During the re-glazing process the crew will caulk and minor leaks which if left untouched will most defiantly be noticed by the home inspector later. As a fairly in expensive service this kind of attention to detail will appeal to your buyers and present them with a sense of comfort about the way you have cared for this home.


Good Luck and Happy Selling $$$


Kitchen Floors

Sitting in the family room watching a movie you hear: Step, squeak, step, squeak, the cabinets or fridge open and your  favorite snack is gone. You turn on the light and catch the thief in action, ha I caught you. So even though your squeaky floors provide an alarm system to alert you of the  midnight munchers, your potential buyers may not appreciate the squeaking floors  all that much at first,  and thereby perceiving your lose 10 lbs. a week preemptive alarm system to be more of a deterrent then a good thing. I guess they just don’t know – huh.

Having painted, refinished or updated your kitchen cabinets you might wonder: “Will changing the floors be that important?” The answer is yes!  Although you may think that people can look past the floors to marvel at the beautiful kitchen with the dark cherry maple cabinets, you must remember that the floors like walls and ceilings cover a large surface that will not escape the buyer’s eye or ears J.

kitchen floors 3

The material of your floors can determine the amount of work you will need.

Slate, stone or hardwood:  You’re in luck, these natural materials, can be easily and rather quickly refinished, polished, re-stained and will look like new or better for a fraction of the price of a new install.  Experience is key, this is one of those things that knowing what to do is extremely important and therefore you should hire professional – don’t penny pinch here – it could be the difference between getting it done right or doing it all over again.


Porcelain Tile:   If it’s in good condition and doesn’t appear to be right out of a scene in  Little Hours on the Prairie your good – usually a bucket of water, or one of those wet swiffers will do the job.  However if your tile is cracked, dated or just doesn’t shout to the observer wow or at least hi, it’s gotta go.

Well you have several options, non are great, but focus on the end result – you’ll have a kitchen that you will be proud to show and potential buyers will be wowed by your opulent taste in flooring material.

Option 1:  Replacement of flooring:

  1. You may opt to replace the tile with new tile, or stone, either way you will need to remove the old tile, and install new flooring material.  This will be a bit pricy and messy, however the outcome will be perfect if working with the right contractor.

kitchen floors 5

  1. If your floor height permits you can go ahead and install new flooring material right on top of the tile.  This will not only be much more cost effective but faster and much, much less messy.  In this situation you must measure all floor heights,  door heights ( from floor ),  and connection with other floor material such as carpet. This will give you an idea of what type of flooring material and thickness you could install.  Hardwood could be anywhere from ¼ “ to 1” thick, floor tile could be ¼” – ¾ “ thick, linoleum or vinyl will most likely be the best bet if the height is minimal since most linoleum is 1/16th “ thick or less.

Choosing the material for the flooring is very important; you may want to use something similar to the adjacent room. For example if you have wood or laminate you can continue that into the  kitchen. The floor will seem larger and the living space more open. Adding an area rug is not a bad idea, it will create dimension and comfort.

Remember that although no one is really going to look behind the fridge or stove it is still important to make sure that the flooring comes right up to the wall.  Many contractors will skimp out and cut corners buy not moving appliances and putting new flooring in front of them but not under them.  Why is this important, well because you never know if a pesky home inspector may just pull out the fridge and say, hey your  flooring material doesn’t match or is missing  and now your left saying, ahhh, yeh, I’ll take care of that, don’t worry, or something like that.  The problem is now the potential buyer has created a perception of you and your house and will be much more diligent in checking all the nooks and  crannies, wondering  what else was not done right.  Well  the moral of the story is,  don’t be that guy and hire the right contractor, not the cheapest contractor  to do the job.

kitchen floors 2kitchen floors 1


Giving your Place more Space

Anytime you walk into a room with high ceilings you feel like you are in spacious place full of possibilities.

Even a small condominium has a chance to create that feeling by taking the right steps.

Step 1 Paint your ceilings a semi-gloss color to reflect light. Light reflection creates more light and therefore creates the illusion of more space.

Step 2 Choose a light color for your semi-gloss paint. The lighter the color the more light it will reflect, you don’t have to choose white after all it should match the rest of your décor.

Steps 3 Hang your curtain rod at the very top of the wall and have the drapes come down to the floor. This step will accomplish the following: make your walls look taller; add height to your ceilings and make your windows look larger (increasing the perception of more light).

These steps combined with a neat and clean home are sure to increase the buyer’s attraction for you home.

IMG_0003 shiny-ceiling-1


Pantry and Closets

Pantry and Closet Organization

It’s always a good idea to keep your closets and pantry neat and organized, you never know when a guest may open that closet or go to your pantry to grab a quick snack. This is especially important for potential buyers viewing your home.

Start by organizing and labeling your pantry. If you have a walk-in pantry try not to crowd the shelves, leave space and label the jars. In a smaller cabinet like pantry it may be difficult to organize things and keep them visible, consider installing drawers. A drawer can be pulled out and all the items can be labeled and found easily. This small detail can make a big difference to someone looking to buy your place, especially if they are in the market for a smaller condominium and have mostly seen one of the kitchen cabinets used as a pantry and everything is a mess.


Photo from :

Opening the fridge is a pretty natural occurrence during an open house or a viewing. Remember to keep the fridge like the pantry, not over filled. Place a few boxes of baking soda to eliminate the odors.


Thinking that no one will look inside your closet is a mistake some people make, remember that if you were buying this property you would want to see how your clothes and linens will fit here. One way to make a closet look larger and more appealing is to organize and color coordinate it. One suggestion would be to place all of your long suits and gowns together; all of your slacks together, all of your shirts and blouses. If you do not want to build shelves in your closet consider purchasing a few of the hanging closet organizers, some plastic pull-out drawer cabinets and an inexpensive shoe rack.


photos by Google images.

A clean and neat home always shows better and leaves a positive impression.

Good Luck and Happy Selling $$

Door Knobs

Door knobs:

Have you ever had this happen to you: you are visiting a friend and you ask to use the restroom, they point you in the right direction, you arrive at your destination and find that the door is stuck and the knob is loose?

You call out for your friend and ask them what to do and they say “just jiggle it back and forth it gets stuck sometimes”.

Now imagine you have just entered a property for sale and you run into the same situation, what is your impression of the home? Most likely the following thoughts come to mind: the house is flimsy, the owners don’t take good care of the home, or worse what if I get stuck inside the room with the jiggly, wiggly, sticky door knob.

loose door knob

All of these experiences are presented to make one point:  IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS.


Prior to placing your property on the market you should walk through your home as a potential buyer would and examine everything in detail right down to the door knobs. When considering what type of door knob is best, take the following approach: are your doors high end and custom sizes, made of solid wood or other material, then the door knobs should feel solid, strong and visually accentuate and compliment the look and feel of the door. high end door knobs


Are your doors standard, then a simple yet solid door knob, installed correctly is best.standard door set

Bottom line,  the more solid, clean and neat your home shows the better your potential buyers impression will be.

You don’t need to spend a lot to make a good first impression ( unless your home  is worth  $5 million dollars – then perhaps $35 door knobs may not make the grade :), but you do need to be detailed.


Good Luck and Happy Selling $$

Here is a step by step video from essortment on how to repair a loose doorknob:

repair guy



The market is changing and you might be thinking of selling your property consider the paint on your  interior walls. Although you may feel that the deep red walls in your bedroom spice up the night or the cool green shade you have the family room creates a relaxing atmosphere some people may not agree. A person viewing a home would like the canvas to be as clean as possible so that they may imagine their life in it. The potential buyer would like to see walls in nude colors (shades of beige, cream, off white). These colors represent the possibility of individuality and are open for creativity. You want the person viewing your home to imagine them-selves living in it. Leave your walls not crowded a few demure pictures placed throughout create a warm and clean appearance. If you decide to opt out of re painting becuse your wall are clean and were recently painted remember to make sure the base and crown moldings are clean, free of insects and dust, you would be surprised how once glance at the floor can change a person’s entire perception.

Below is a link to an article with more detail on the topic.

neutral paint 2 neutral paint 4