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Updated: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

8 Reasons To Divorce Your House

Youve been loyal. Youve been true. Youve given it all you have. But now, the house you have committed yourself to just isnt doing it for you anymore. Perhaps its time to throw in the towel. Give it the old heave-ho. Call it quits.

How do you know when its really over?

"A home must be elastic. It must give, expand and contract, while helping you hold it all together. And when it no longer does, it may need to go," said the News amp; Observer. "A homes job is to support those who live there, not enslave them. When where you live weighs you down like a boulder, its time to roll that stone."

Here are 8 reasons to divorce your house right now.

1. It doesnt help with the housework.

How are you supposed to keep the yard looking nice when the massive shade trees are starving the lawn? Or the two-story stone fireplace that used to be white is now more of a yellowy-beige?

Your house should be helping you out instead of making it more difficult.

2. Its in need of a makeover.

Broken down, randomly working dishwasher. Sticking doors. Warping floors. Sometimes it seems like the walls are actually rejecting paint. Is that even possible?

3. No matter how much you do for it, its never enough.

As soon as you fix one thing, another one breaks. Its like its trying to tell you something It is; its telling you to move.

4. It doesnt make you feel sexy.

The shower water smells like dirt and it gets so humid in the bathroom it takes 30 minutes to clear the mirror. Even if you were feeling flirty, you couldnt get a good glance at yourself to make sure everything looks like it should.

Plus, you smell like mud, and thats a definite mood-killer.

5. It talks back.

If pipes that are way overdue to be replaced make embarrassing noises any time you flush or wash, youve got a back talker. And thats no good.

6. Its disrespectful.

The light in the living room flickers for no reason, no matter how many new bulbs you give it. Has it occurred to you its just trying to get a look up your skirt?

7. All it does is sit around.

Those other houses do stuff. They turn on and off lights. They help you set the air conditioning. Considering it takes four hard slaps on the wall and a good stomp on the floor by the air conditioning unit just to make it pop on, this kind of upgrade may be out of the question. Or at least out of your budget.

8. Youre drawn to another.

Youre not a cheater. But you find yourself, well, looking at others lately. Driving down other streets and maybe lingering a little too long. Thinking about what life would be like if you lived there.

Maybe the grass really is greener.

And maybe your house would appreciate someone who appreciates it. Maybe its just not that into you.

So cut it loose. Set it free. Set yourself free. Divorce that house. Your castle awaits.


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Revitalize Your Home Office

Feeling overwhelmed as you try to get office work done at home? In as little as a few hours, your cluttered home office space can become an efficient machine, capable of maximizing your productivity, and ensuring better time management.

Prioritize

Its all within easy reach. In fact, reach is one of the first concepts to consider when reorganizing your work space. At your fingertips should be items you need often throughout the day -- your tablet, phone, and something to drink. That may seem obvious, but how often do you waste time searching for a pen or notepad?

A little further away but within reach should be items you use a few times a week -- reference items, files, or receipt storage. Items you need only monthly, quarterly or annually such as last years tax returns can be shelved or stored out of reach. Minimize wasted time by having plenty of the supplies you need and keep them handy.

Organize

You may pay your bills online or through direct deposit, but you still have to know where your moneys going. And you may need records for tax purposes, which means you have to have a place to put the paper trail.

If you dont want to miss a payment on a bill, or miss a tax deduction, start a filing system to keep items like receivables, bills, and receipts in order and prevent lost time searching through stacks of paper when you need something.

Ideally, you want to be able to file documents without having to get up from your desk and walk across the room. A filing drawer should house your files and be kept >

And as you introduce new categories of files, keep them together alphabetically or by subject, for example - car expenses, home insurance, then mortgage. Some topics may need to be broken down three or more times into smaller groupings like Receipts A-K, L-S, and T-Z. If youre not a filer, keep categories simple -- house, car, taxes, etc.

Start each day with a master to-do list, suggests BusinessKnowHow.com. Establishing a three-tier system for mail is useful. A good template to follow is to-read, to-file, and to-contact call, text or write. Try to handle each piece of paper only once so it doesnt pile up. A three-tier letter tray is the perfect solution.

Sanitize

You want to keep your workspace clean and clutter-free. If you have a piece of paper or mail that hasnt been attended, throw it away. This can include magazines, brochures, old coupons, or anything else that you dont need anymore. Also, if you have papers from old projects that are already on your computer and dont need filing, throw them away too

Showmomthemoney.com says that tangled cords can be a liability if you have small children around, so group computer cables together with zip-ties to minimize clutter and to make your home-office safe.

Try to go as paper-free as possible. If you have a calendar on your phone or computer, thats a great place to plan your week, keep notes, and store important dates. If you prefer to see it all the time, attach a calendar to your wall as part of your dcor.

If space is still limited, add shelves above or around your desk to increase surface area, so you can minimize clutter on your desk.

Make it a goal to clean your desk off weekly. Youd be surprised how much you can accumulate in dust, coffee stains, and clutter in a week. If something gets lost, its easier to find after a week than a month.

Creating a functioning office space is easy, but keeping it that way takes some dedication. As long as you are motivated to keep your office space clean, clutter-free and efficient, youll save time and energy, and possibly some money, too.


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Hacking The RAST: 35 And a Million Ways To Make It Your Own

Everyone loves a bargain. And at a mere 35, IKEAs famous RAST three-drawer chest is most certainly that. Its also practical, functional, great for storage in practically any space, made of actual wood, and, best of all, easy to transform to match nearly any >

In fact, hacking the RAST is so popular among DIYers, interior designers, and everyone in between, its become a sort of sport with Pinterest boards and websites offering countless images, options, and tutorials.

In honor of cooler fall weather that makes us want to get outside and sand stuff, stain stuff, stud stuff and sexify stuff - without the dripping sweat - we present a few of our favorite things to do with the RAST. Wed rank them from most fave to least fave of all the fave faves, but, truth is, we just cant. Theres no Sophies Choice-ing the RAST.

We love the masculine, equestrian feel the medium stain and leather straps give this version from IKEA Hackers.

If you can stain, sand, stencil, and find the right shade of chalk paint, you can create this fun industrial version from IKEA Hackers. Youll also need to be able to use a jigsaw to create the hand pulls.

Stained black and prettied up with some stainless hardware, the RAST takes on a whole new feel in this creation from Oh Everything Handmade. Push two together, and you have a handsome sideboard.

Dont spend a grand on a modern nightstand. Create your own grand version for a fraction of a fraction using this tutorial from For Me For You.

This glamorous version demonstrated by The Abundant Abode uses yards of nailhead trim, glass pulls, and a slab of marble for the top. If the diamond pattern isnt your thing, go curvy and pull in a deco vibe.

Want a few more ideas for making the RAST your own? Check out IKEA Hackers, Apartment Therapy, and Addicted 2 Decorating.


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Going Exotic: Countertops With Personality

Granite, quartz, marble, concrete - there are so many >

Go exotic, and youll never be worried about someone coming over and pointing out that they have the exact same countertop in their bathroom. Make a smart choice, and even though your upfront cost may be greater, you just might get paid back in the end.

"Indeed, unique kitchen countertops add a wow factor to your home, and just might help increase its value," said HGTV.

Gemstones and geodes imbedded in your countertop are a growing trend and one of the hottest looks in high-end kitchen design.

"If you want to turn your cooking area into something spectacular and full of color, gemstone countertops are a good place to start," said Scottsdale Design Center. "Gemstone countertops are made from semiprecious stones like Hematite, Tigers-eye, and Amethyst embedded in a resin base."

You can choose a material that can be backlit like this onyx countertop from Houzz.

Semi-precious gemstones in earth tones like this agate geode countertop.

Or in a bolder hue that reflects your >

You can go super exotic with granite, but be prepared to pay exotic prices.

Speaking of exotic prices, neither gemstones nor granite nor any other material compares to the priciest one out there.

Pyrolave is a volcanic stone "that is extracted from a volcanic crater in central France," said This Old House. Its said to be both lightweight and durable and coated with a with a tough glass coating. Available in 32 colors, it is a whopping 370 per square foot.

Perhaps metal is a better option. Stainless steel counters have long been a favorite in the kitchen - especially for professional chefs. But today the trend is moving toward other metals, like this copper countertop that patinas naturally over time.

Or, choose recycled metal, a new trend among eco-friendly homeowners. A growing segment of the countertop market, recycled and earth-friendly materials can help create a unique and beautiful kitchen that is also respectful of the environment. These countertops are made from recycled glass.

And this stunning option from Freshome is reclaimed wood.

You can also stay eco-friendly with paper countertops.

"Paper countertops are often 100 post-consumer recycled cardboard and, as one of the biggest manufacturers, PaperStone, states, "[is] a petroleum-free resin that contains natural ingredients like cashew nut shell liquid," said Home Renovations. "Paper is the greenest of the green countertop materials."

You can get more information about exotic countertops here and more examples of semi-precious stone countertops here.


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Landlords Need To Take Measures Against Foreseeable Harm

Landlords have duties to tenants beyond that of providing habitable premises with working heating and plumbing systems, roofs that dont leak, etc. They also must take reasonable measures to protect tenants from foreseeable harm that might result from conditions on the premises. Such harm includes possible criminal acts.

A decision by Californias Fourth Appellate District Court of Appeal includes an instructive discussion of these matters. The case Vasquez v. Residential Investments from which the discussion arises has facts that range from mundane to tragic.

Abigail Ramirez and her infant daughter lived with Abigails parents in an apartment building owned by Residential Investments, Inc. When the family moved in, a glass pane was missing from an arrangement of glass panes on the top half of the door. A piece of cardboard covered the opening. The tenants made a number of requests that the pane be replaced. They felt that its absence created a security risk. After some length of time, Abigails brother replaced the cardboard with a piece of plywood that he affixed using finishing nails.

Some time later, Abigail, who had recently been living with her boyfriend the father of her daughter moved back into the apartment of her parents. Her boyfriend, Jesus Vasquez, who had heard that Abigail had been seeing someone else, came to the apartment armed with a knife. When he was refused entry, he pushed out the plywood piece, reached through the opening and opened the door from the inside. He then killed Abigail.

The lawsuit against Residential Investments was brought on behalf of the infant daughter. It alleged that the owners were negligent by not replacing the missing pane, and that the negligence was a direct and proximate cause of Abigails death. In defense, the apartment owners argued that property owners have no duty to take precautions against criminal activity that they had no reason to anticipate. The trial court ruled in favor of the defense and granted summary judgment, holding that the incident was not sufficiently foreseeable so as to give the owners a duty to prevent Vasquez from gaining entry to the apartment.

The appellate court reversed the trial courts decision, and sent the case back for trial. The appellate court did not say that the owners were, in fact, negligent; but it did say that it was a triable issue, one that a jury should decide on the basis of the facts of the case.

In its discussion the court noted that the law is clear on the point that there is "a duty by landowners to maintain property in their possession and control in a reasonably safe condition." But then the court went on to acknowledge that this is, at best, a general principle that gives no specific direction. The discussion points out that the determination of duty requires a balancing act in each particular case. A landlord has a duty to exercise reasonable care, but what is reasonable depends on the circumstances, "considering the foreseeability of the risk of harm balanced against the extent of the burden of eliminating or mitigating that risk."

The courts discussion reviewed a long list of landlord liability cases the legal landscape is, of course, littered with them. Of particular note was one in which a landlord had failed to fix a lock to a common hallway, thus making it possible for an intruder to enter and rape one of the tenants. Although rape had never before occurred on those premises, robbery had. The court held that, even though the foreseeability of a rape occurring might have been slight, the foreseeability of criminal activity was stronger. Moreover, the burden of repairing the lock was minimal. Hence, the landlord had a duty to do so; and the failure to do so constituted negligence. He did not have a duty to guarantee the safety of his tenants, but he certainly had a duty to maintain a "first line of defense."

In this decision a ruling from a Georgia court was approvingly quoted: "The landlord is no insurer of his or her tenants safety, but is certainly no bystander." The moral here for landlords -- fix the locks. And take care of other matters that constitute risks of foreseeable harm.

Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors. He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.


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9 Success Tips For Your Statement Door Make-over

Which change to the street face of your home can dramatically up its value while expressing your delight as a homeowner?

Make a statement with a new front entry door.

Take advantage of developments in materials and technology to redesign or restate your main entry and you can benefit on many levels: add value, decrease energy costs, increase security, make a unique creative statement, and more

Increase buyer traffic to increase the potential for a sale. When youre preparing your home for sale, your real estate professional may offer cost-effective advice on which specific front entry >

Buyers who realize that listings with a no-statement front entry may be overlooked by other purchasers can gain an edge in even competitive markets.

If selling is not an immediate concern, set a practical budget compatible with expected value appreciation. A few quotations may help pin down what makes financial sense.

Once youve decided on new door specifics, attend a home or design show where door sellers offer special show prices and you may save hundreds or even thousands.

Take time to explore all your options before you dive in. For practical statement ideas, check out new homes and slightly more up-scale areas than yours if "door make-overs" have not hit your neighborhood yet. Decide which features of your home to accentuate and which entry >

Youll be dealing with buyer-beware salespeople who want your business, but are often not connected to those who will actually install your door, so ask a lot of questions and get details in writing. To be sure that creating your statement entry door is a dream project and not a nightmare reno, keep the following 9 Success Tips for a Statement Entry Door in mind:

1. Location matters here, too.

South- and west-facing doors suffer sun and weather challenges which must be considered when selecting materials and finishes. For instance, storm doors can amplify heat and damage steel and fiberglass doors.

2. Size matters

Single or double doors? Will you need one or two sidelites? Details matter when enlarging the door opening for a taller door or to add sidelites. Check carefully before demolishing anything, so youre not stuck with an opening too large or too small for existing standard options like single doors at 36 or 38 inches wide and 80 inches or 8 feet tall. If you start with a particular idea in mind, verify which sizes and finishes are available from local suppliers to avoid expensive customization. Replacement options for older homes, with 30-inch widths or heights under 80 inches, may be more limited as door industry product lines shift to accommodate new high ceilinged homes with tall doors.

3. Door system, not just door.

The door known as the slab is an vital component, but there is more to consider. The door requires a frame to support it and a threshold for you to step across, plus hinges, hardware, and trim on the outside called brickmould and on the inside called casing. Every element may involve color, >

4. Whats it made of?

Wood, steel, or fiberglass? Cost, appearance, size availability, and your maintenance tolerance are a few key factors in this choice. Ask for details about quality of construction, i.e. gauge of steel, density of interior insulation foam, worse-case problems. Low-maintenance steel doors are the least costly and come in a huge range of colors. Wood doors can be expensive and require regular refinishing maintenance. Fiberglass doors are less expensive than wood, require lower maintenance, and are available in smooth and woodgrain finishes. Technology advances have made increasingly-realistic woodgrain fiberglass a popular durable alternative for high-maintenance wood doors in many upscale installations.

5. Let there be lite

Glass in doors, referred to as lites or lights, can represent the no or low insulation area, so keep lites smaller when energy saving is a prime objective. Door catalogues concentrate on the >

6. Measurements matter

Many door companies cut or shim the opening in your home to fit their door system, then patch gouges and cuts with brick molding and caulking. Ideally, the reverse should happen: the opening should be carefully measured and a door system created to fit with little or no damage to the door or your home on installation. Discuss details on how your "custom" door will be created. For instance, energy-saving sweeps are factory-installed in the bottom of a door for maximum efficiency. When openings are not standard sizes and/or budget is an issue, the result is cut-down slabs with surface-mounted sweeps bucket sweeps attached at the bottom, leaving a plastic ridge instead of the smooth door edge. This may lead to problems. Some door companies exclusively provide cut-down doors with the latter >

7. What matches what?

Do you want both sides of the door the same color? Should the frame an brickmould match the door or contrast? Do you want lite frames white, or painted or stained to match door color? Factory-applied paint finishes for steel and smooth or textured fiberglass are more durable than paint you apply. Do you want hinges and sill to match door hardware? Make no assumptions; confirm the color of every element; check colors outdoors in all light levels. Ask questions about how durable paint or stain finishes are, and how easy and effective surface repairs are to make.

8. Who are you dealing with?

My door disaster began when I signed on with an internationally-regarded door company, chosen because I was attracted by their >

9. Document for protection

Read contracts carefully before you sign. Dont be shy about asking questions. Dont pay the entire amount in advance or youll have no leveraging power if things go wrong. Take pictures as insurance: "before" interior and exterior photos of your door and walls, key shots during installation, and, if problems arise a season or year or so later, document the issue. If everything goes smoothly and stays that way til the warranty runs out, great. If not, you can post photos to back up your concerns regarding the door and the door company.

Understand what statement you want to make and what you are paying for.


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Updated: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Going Exotic: Countertops With...
Granite, quartz, marble, concrete - there are so many >Go exotic, and youll never be worr...

Landlords Need To Take Measure...
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Copyright ©2014Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved

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