Angela Sells DFW

Journey with me through my real estate, motherhood and Texas adventures

Archive for the tag “mansfield real estate”

How to Eliminate Smoke Odor

Hydrogen Peroxide

While it is getting more and more rare, we do still see homes that homeowners or tenants have smoked indoors for a period of time.  As much as some home buyers may love the home, they are concerned about whether or not to take on such a lofty project.  I can guarantee you that if they choose to do so, they will not pay full price for the home for the risk involved.

Whether you’re a home owner getting your home ready to sell or a home buyer contemplating the risk of purchasing a “smoky” home, here are some great tips for getting rid of the odor.  I have used some of these on a listing that I had once and I will tell you that my favorite are the charcoal, citrus peels and ammonia based cleaners.  Luckily in my case, there was minimal carpet in the house so that wasn’t as big of an issue.  If you have a lot of carpet in a “smoky” house then your best bet is to replace both the padding and the carpet.  Please note that you cannot just paint over nicotine stained walls.  Your paint will yellow and the contaminants still leech through.  You must clean the wall with an ammonia based cleaner and get an odor locking primer to put on prior to painting.

Of course, one of the best ways to remove odors – especially if there are associated nicotine stains – from carpets, furniture and walls is by using hydrogen peroxide. Just put some 3% hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Spray it on and wipe it off as you would with other household cleaners. Hydrogen peroxide is generally anti-bacterial and anti-viral, so it makes sense to use it as a household cleaner. However, it does take time to work, so the short amount of contact time in cleaning counters and windows probably won’t kill all the tiny pathogens in your house. On the other hand, it’s a step in that direction, and if you want to really sanitize something, you can leave the hydrogen peroxide for a longer time.

In any case, cigarette smoke removal isn’t impossible…but it does take some effort to get rid of the smell.

  1. Launder whatever you can. If an entire room smells like last year’s bachelor party, removing cigarette smoke smell from home will require washing or dry-cleaning everything possible in order to maximize cigarette odor removal.
  2. Vacuum. Before you use any chemicals or resort to desperate measures, vacuum up as much of that cigarette odor as possible. Use vacuum attachments to suck the smoke out of furniture and upholstery in your house or car. Beat out and vacuum car foot mats.
  3. Vinegar. A bowl of white vinegar, left out overnight, can do a surprisingly good job removing foul cigarette odor.
  4. Citrus. Some swear by citrus peels when they need to get rid of foul odors. Leave a liberal amount of citrus peels in your car or home for several days (until the peels are completely desiccated). When you remove them, you will also remove cigarette smell – or at least some of it.
  5. Baking soda – one of the tried-and-true methods of odor removal. Whether cleaning your carpet, smelly used couch or dingy car seats, baking soda is your friend. Sprinkle it over the smoke-infused area and let it sit for a few hours. Then whip out your trusty vacuum cleaner to suck up the soda, finishing the job.

One word of advice: before sprinkling at will, test the baking soda out on a concealed part of the surface to make sure the surface or fabric doesn’t interact unfavorably with the baking soda

      6. Coffee. When my old high school friend and I used to fantasize about a coffee-grounds-enhanced laundry        detergent, who  would’ve guessed that there might have actually been odor-fighting merit to that seemingly absurd concept? Utilize the odor-absorbent quality of coffee grounds to get rid of your cigarette odors. Don’t sprinkle them all over the place like baking soda, though, since coffee can stain. Instead, pour coffee grounds into several individual coffee filters and tie them closed. Place the coffee bags on whatever is harboring the cigarette odar.

    7.  Air out the room or car. Requiring less effort than peeling an orange or going to the store for white vinegar, you should definitely open all your windows and doors for several hours to encourage cigarette odors to lift from their cushions, carpets and other surfaces. If a particular piece of furniture reeks of stale cigarette smoke, bring it outdoors for a few hours on a dry day.

     8.  Charcoal. There’s nothing fancy or particularly aesthetically pleasing about charcoal in a bowl, but when you scatter some bowls of charcoal around your room or car (as long as you’re not planning to drive), you’ll find that it has absorbed the cigarette odor after about a week. It’s one of the unexpectedly effective forms of cigarette odor removal.

    9.  Smoke residue on surfaces. Don’t neglect linoleum floors, glass and wood surfaces either; in a room or car that has witnessed heavy smoking, you can often see the residue! Use glass-cleaners, diluted ammonia and wood-cleaning solutions to scrub the stinky residue off of these surfaces.

    10.  Light bulbs. Light bulbs are a double-whammy when it comes to cigarette odor. First of all, they attract smoke. Secondly, each time you turn them on afterward, the heat releases odors from the smoke’s residue. Replace those light bulbs.

As a side note, at least one company (Technical Consumer Products, Inc.) has decided to capitalize on a light bulb’s heat to actually combat odor. “Fresh2 Odor Eliminating Light Bulbs” claim to neutralize odors, thanks to a coating of Titanium Dioxide activated as the light bulb heats up.

I hope this helps put your situation in perspective for you.  As a seller, you should expect to receive at least $10,000 less for your home due to a “smoky” interior than market value for your home.  The hard work really comes into play on whether or not that $10,000 is worth updating the carpet and having the home cleaned.  There are some local companies that we work with that will replace flooring on your home and get paid at closing if cash out of pocket is an issue.  Remember, a knowledgeable and experienced agent may make you uncomfortable by being honest with you on what may cause your home to sell for less than top dollar but remember, that’s why you’re hiring them.  You’re hiring an agent who knows how to get you top dollar if that’s your number one priority.

Tips for Building Credit

Tips for Building Credit

Knowledge is Power. -Francis Bacon

Credit cards

I get a lot of calls from potential home buyers who would really love to purchase a home and thought that they would be good to go but unfortunately, they were misinformed about credit issues or not informed at all.  I have compiled some helpful information that will help align your credit with your home purchasing goals.

  1. Open a Checking AND Savings account- Try to make sure you get it for FREE!  Most banks are competing hard for your business so negotiate fees (if any) with them.
  1. Get at least 2-3 Major Credit Cards- I recommend the following companies based on their approval rate.  Please bear in mind that you are essentially “paying for your credit” by getting your first credit cards.  These cards will come fees and that should be expected because right now you are considered a “high risk” case. Don’t over do it though.  If you’re denied by the first 3 companies below, don’t try the 4th.  Too many “hard inquiries” on your report will drop your score lower.

http://www.OrchardBank.com

http://www.CreditOne.com

http://www.MyPremierCreditCard.com

http://www.Discover.com

  1. Use your credit cards- The key to building your credit is using it and using it correctly.  Buy something small on your credit card each month.  Pay that bill off completely each month.  This will help boost your credit worthiness.  Keep your monthly balances at $0 or as low as possible.  The amount of available credit vs. total credit you have affects your credit score.  The more available credit you have, the better off you are…yet you still need to use the credit cards to help boost your scores so don’t let them sit unused.
  1. Monitor Your Credit Report- Yes, this too will cost you a fee.  I recommend http://www.FreeCreditReport.com ($14.95/ month) because it is extremely user friendly and offers helpful tools to understanding what affects your score.  You will receive monthly credit score reports on how your score changed and what caused it.  You can also see all of your open credit accounts, past and present.  Sometimes you may find that a company may have mistakenly identified you as someone else.  The credit monitoring websites make it easy to dispute claims online.  If you have items on your credit report that are incorrect or are old, try disputing them and having them from being seen on your report.
  1. If you are Renting an apartment or home, ask your Landlord to report your good paying habits.  Websites like http://www.tenantverification.com allow Landlords to do so for free.  You can suggest this to them as a great way to attract responsible adults as tenants because renting their home helps the tenant build credit.

I recommend using your credit cards responsibly as mentioned above for 6 months.  Within 3-6 months it should help boost your score.  If you’re watching your score on a credit monitoring website, notify your real estate agent when you’re at or near 640.  This is a great number and you can often secure prime interest rates with this score!

These tips are based on personal experience and tools that have helped prior real estate clients.  They are not guaranteed and each person’s credit report varies because of everyone’s unique financial history.

 

 

Please feel free to ask if you have any questions or concerns regarding this information!

Upside Down

Upside Down

 

My world got turned upside down last night.  Completely upside down.

I like to say that I run a tight ship at home.  My kids are well behaved and clean (most of the time).  My house is clean (most of the time).  Dinner is cooked (almost) every night.  I read the daily news both of-interest and not-of-interest articles, mostly on things I feel should be known for my well-being and the well-being of my family.

Last night, I read an article that turned my world upside down.  How did I not know these things?  It wasn’t a “Breaking News” story so the information had obviously been out there for some time.  I felt dumbstruck after reading it.

Did you know antibacterial is a known carcinogenic?  Did you know my awesome smelling air-fresheners are a known carcinogenic?  Lavendar Fabuloso? Carcinogenic. My faux flawless skin AKA makeup?  Carcinogenic.  The revolutionary non-stick pans that I have become quite the chef with? Carcinogenic.

Here I am trying to be “Mom of the Year” by having antibacterial gel strapped onto my purse, the kids’ lunchboxes, backpacks, several in the car….I even contemplated getting some made with my work label on them to give out.  I’m sure that would have went over big! “Here’s some cancer gel, I’d also love to sell your house!”.  Oh. my. goodness.  Panic has started to ensue in me at this point.  The cool Spiderman and Avengers antibacterial soap I just bought the boys has carcinogens in it?! What have I done?

So, I’m thinking, okay, let’s rid the house of these things right? That’s easy.  “Don’t panic, Angela, let’s think this through” my brain says.  “You can’t undo what you’ve done but you can start tomorrow” (It’s 10 p.m. by this point and while I was reading this article I was also watching Liam Neeson’s ‘Unknown’ movie so I was emotionally drained by now. Stopping carcinogens in the house would clearly have to wait until tomorrow).

Remove antibacterial handsoap and gels? Sure, I can do that. But then what? What will we wash our hands with? Bar soap? What about when we’re in public and need a quick rinse? I guess we will be making more public bathroom visits.  My budget is going to sigh a happy-sigh of relief that I will no longer feel the need to purchase Bath and Body Works’ expensive antibacterial soaps. YAY! One positive here.

Air fresheners, I count these as a simple pleasure/ luxury in my busy life.  When I don’t have time to clean my house like crazy, I vacuum and turn on the Scentsy….now I see that I’m breathing in an amazingly scented carcinogenic chemical. Excellent. Now I’m starting to freak out again because here we are at the cleaners.

I tried the “green” cleaners before, when they first came out and they smelled like…um…I don’t even know what, but it wasn’t a pleasant smell.  I specifically remember thinking to myself that I work hard all day and I work hard to clean my house so I want it to smell fresh.  Back to the regular cleaners I went! Ugh.  That was well over 8 years ago, I am so hoping that when I go to Walmart today they will have better options.

And do I wear makeup to Walmart? Yikes! This is what most freaks me out, personally and on a totally vain level.  The stuff I’ve been putting on my skin religiously for several (I don’t want to age myself here) years has carcinogens in them? Is there even a makeup that doesn’t?  I am so confused by all of this. Why is everyone not up-in-arms about all of this?!

I’m not going to lie.  My husband and I have mocked people for spending more than double the price of ordinary food for “organic”.  I have a feeling that I’m about to regret that when I look at the “green” items’ prices.  I am just floored that these every day things are so harmful.  I have a girlfriend who has two boys about my boys’ age.  She is finishing her second bout with cancer in her short life.  This time requiring a double mastectomy and a long treatment of chemotherapy.  I know first hand that cancer doesn’t discriminate on age.  The 16-year old me that made the poor decision to smoke cigarettes never imagined the 28-year old me that would have an amazing family and career to live for.  I felt invincible then, I feel vulnerable now.  Vulnerable to succumb to all of these things I’ve done my whole life that I never knew were harmful to me or my family in addition to the ones I did know where harmful but was “too cool to care”.  Because cancer doesn’t discriminate, I definitely don’t want to put my family in any danger or higher-risk because of every-day items at home.

Today, I will start by purchasing “green” cleaners and a stainless steel cooking pan or two. (I’m really kicking myself for literally throwing away an entire set of stainless steel pans because they were difficult to clean prior to moving back to Texas.)  I will also package up my newly bought Scentsy packs to put into gift baskets for people.  That’s the trick though, so… “Here you go! Have my wonderfully scented cancer chemical blocks!” Yikes. I might re-think re-gifting those bad boys. Dang. But they smell soooo good.

I will also look into alternatives for hand soaps, makeup and the medicine cabinet and hope that the prices don’t give me a coronary.  And of course, I am sharing this information with you.  Do with it what you will. Here I thought I was on my “A-game” and I didn’t even know this stuff.

Here is the article to read with your own eyes that I have referenced this post off of:

http://causes.msn.com/get_smart_about_cancer/#section=gallery_3

“Play Like Your Mama’s Watchin’ Every Transaction”

“Play Like Your Mama’s Watchin’ Every Transaction”

June 1, 2012 I officially became a licensed Texas REALTOR!  It felt like it took forever to get my license here but now that I’ve had it, the time has flown by!  I found myself realizing that I haven’t made a single blog post since I started! Please forgive me for I have sinned in the blogosphere…

After much procrastination (and after receiving a 2nd and final notice) I attended the mandatory orientation for REALTORS today at my local Association of REALTORS.  It was quite the seven hour refresher course of ethics.  In Florida, I could always throw in that not all licensed sales associates were created equal because as a REALTOR we had to abide by a very specific code of conduct that set us a part morally and ethically from others but here in Texas, their state law is pretty much the REALTOR Code of Ethics so I guess I’ll have to cross that one off my marketing presentation!

None the less, I did find the presentation interesting.  Interesting in that the difference of demographics here and moral aptitude that Southerners are raised with correlates so noticeably in every day life.  Perhaps being away from Texas for 10 years made me forget?  Perhaps being in the real estate industry in a “bubble” that will forever go down in the history books with greedy and unethical associates made me forget?  I don’t know what clouded my memory exactly but I noticed today how refreshing it is.

The whole idea of the Code of Ethics always seemed second nature to me but by being in the industry with people quickly persuaded with money, it became very clear, very quickly that there was a reason for this Code.  Today, the speaker didn’t stress aspects of it like I thought he would, like so many before had always done in Florida.

His words were simple: “Play like Mama’s watching every transaction”.  To me, that says it all.  My Mom raised me well and by well, I mean with a healthy fear of her catching me making a bad decision!  I knew I would always have to answer to God and I was okay with that because I knew he would forgive me.  But my Mom? That’s a different story.  Forgive? Sure. Punishment? Always.

He went on to tell the class that ‘most people have integrity but beleive it or not, some do not’.  How refreshing of a point of view!  In a world where people are shooting up movie theatres, places of worship and elected public officials, it’s refreshing (albeit a little naive in a certain sense) to hear a public speaker have this point of view.  Granted we’re talking about a professional trade organization and state licensed livlihoods here but it was really refreshing.  Just another reason that I’m excited to be back in the great state of Texas!

Here’s to a refreshing Monday and a kick-start to the week!

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