Friday, March 27, 2015

The Long Blue Line Returns Home To Columbus, Mississippi

The end of March draw is nearly here. In Columbus, Mississippi the activities begin to take a upswing this weekend. That’s important for anyone considering Columbus as their new home. Quality of life is a very important aspect when buying a house. Let’s see what is happening this weekend.

This is weekend for the annual Homecoming activities at Mississippi University for Women. Unlike many colleges and universities that celebrate homecoming during the fall semester, MUW celebrates it in the spring time, when the campus is aglow with budding dogwoods and azaleas.

The highlight of this Homecoming is to honor the graduates of the Class of 1965 and induct each as a “Golden Girl” on the 50th anniversary of the graduation.

This year is the silver anniversary of the W’s AKA Pi Zeta Chapter, which merits a special homecoming celebration. Many departments on campus are organizing the “Spring Fling” picnic. Enjoy great food, music, dancing and student performances. More importantly, the picnic offers alumni the opportunity to interact with the students and learn more about all the incredible things they are doing at the W today. In turn, students have the opportunity to meet and interact with the alumni who left such a rich heritage on campus.

There are two Friday evening events that appear to be polar opposites. One is a Wine and Dessert tasting on the Poindexter Hall lawn at 7:30 p.m.  Come early to participate in silent auction while renewing acquaintances.  Following that the musical faculty performs a recital inside Poindexter.  There is nothing unusual about that. What is the opposite?

How about literally lighting up the night?  Plan on an evening of fun and excitement with the 2015 Homecoming Glow 5K Run! Come decked out in your favorite glow gear. Make your way through the historic campus of MUW. Music will be blaring from the speakers as you make strides to finish strong! You don't want to miss this event. Each registered participant will receive a t-shirt, race bib, and neon glow accessories. Race registration is at the Stark Recreation Center on 5th Avenue and 11th Streets beginning at 7:00 p.m.

The Homecoming Convocation is Saturday in Whitfield Hall at 10:00 a.m. The MUW Alumni Association will present its annual alumni awards and faculty grants.  There will also be a student panel present where the alumni learn about our current students. Saturday afternoon has numerous reunions for social clubs, sororities and fraternities.

There is a special event Saturday evening in Whitfield Hall on the corner of College and 11th Streets. It is not an official part of Homecoming but it is something that no one would want to miss. 

The Columbus Choral Society together with the Starkville Symphony and performers from as far away as Florida join area choirs to present “Chronicles of Blue and Gray.”

To commemorate the first anniversary of the end of the Civil War in April 1866, women from Columbus met at Twelve Gables and walked to what is now Friendship Cemetery. There they decorated the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers.  The national news reported this act of kindness.  It inspired Francis Miles Finch to write the poem “The Blue and The Gray.”  John Purifoy put the poem to music for Saturday’s performance.

Purifoy weaved numerous American folk songs, spirituals, rallying and battle cries with tunes and lyrics from the time of American Civil War.  In some cases, lyrics to the same tune reflect the differing perspectives of the North and South and are juxtaposed within double choir statements and orchestral motifs.

The performance includes texts from Lincoln’s two Inaugurals, the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation, secession proclamations, chronicles of battle casualties, and recollections of Grant’s and Lee’s meeting at the Appomattox Courthouse.  Purifoy turned these into musical choral statements.

The Columbus Choral Society participated in the Carnegie Hall premiere of this work on June 8, 2014. John Purifoy, as well as participants from several states including New York, will attend Saturday’s performance.  

“Chronicles of Blue and Gray” actually has a dual purpose. The performance is a prelude to the 75th Spring Pilgrimage, which begins in ten days.  It also honors of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War’s end.

There is only performance at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. It’s free but requires tickets. Obtain those free tickets at the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center on the corner of Main and Third Streets downtown.  It’s an evening you won’t soon forget, regardless of race, national origin or political beliefs.

The winter weather appears over. That is good news for racing fans. There is racing this weekend at the “Baddest Bullring in the South” better known as the Columbus Speedway. The Speedway is two miles north of US-82 near the Alabama state line. There is a full slate of racing for Street Stocks, Limited Late Models, Crates, Mini Stocks and 602 Late Models. Racing begins at 7:00 p.m. Saturday.

Does anyone have a housing need this weekend? Make a private preview appointment at least 24-hours in advance by contacting your REALTOR®.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com. He is also available for web video chat.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Low-Maintenance Lawn Alternatives: Ground Cover

If you want a yard that demands less time, money, and water, consider ground cover rather than a traditional lawn.

Americans have long had a soft spot for lawns. Turf grass covers nearly 47 million acres in the U.S., according to the Lawn Institute. But there’s plenty that’s not green about all that green.

For starters, the average household dumps 60 gallons of water a day on conventional lawns. Toxic lawn herbicides and pesticides run off into lakes and streams. Gas-powered mowers spew pollution into the air. And then there’s all that time spent watering, weeding, seeding, sodding, thatching, and mulching.

If you’re looking for an alternative, consider replacing some or all of your high-maintenance turf with ground covers that form walkable “carpets,” and innovative grasses that require little or no water or mowing once established.

In turn, you’ll reduce the need for irrigation, stop washing harmful chemicals into the watershed, add depth and texture to your landscape, and spend your spare time enjoying your yard instead of manicuring it.

Creeping Perennials, Clover, and Other Ground CoversThere’s a ground cover to meet most needs, whether you’re planting a pathway, a hedge, or a broad swath of green. They run the gamut of foliage textures and colors, and many have wonderful flowers. Some varieties are ground-hugging and feel delicious under bare feet. Others grow up to two feet tall, making them ideal as barriers or landscape punctuation.

Look for attributes that meet your needs: child-durable, deer-resistant, drought-tolerant, shade-loving. Mixing them up is not only aesthetically pleasing, it’s also good for the landscape: Diversity increases resistance to pests and disease and reduces the need for fertilizer and pesticides. Here are some popular choices.

Creeping perennials: Tight to the ground, these plants are especially good for cushy green carpets. They keep out weeds and allow air, water, and nutrients to get to plant roots. Many work equally well in rock gardens or in crevices between stepping stones, in full or partial sun. These include mat-forming New Zealand Brass Buttons (Cotula squalida) and Scotch or Irish Moss (Sagina subulata), which isn’t a moss at all but a perennial that forms a cushiony blooming carpet.

Some, like Blue Star Creeper (Laurentia fluviatilis), which has tiny green foliage, bear up to heavy foot traffic. Creeping Jenny (Convolvulus arvensis) has an extensive root system that makes it quick to spread and tough to kill. That’s a good thing if you’re looking for a tough turf alternative but a problem if it creeps into beds where you don’t want it.

Besides being good creepers, many ground-hugging perennial herbs are often nicely scented, hardy under foot traffic, and even edible. These include chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), which has fern-like foliage and white flowers with yellow centers; Corsican mint (Mentha requienii), which thrives in shade, exudes a minty smell when trod upon, and is edible; and various thymes (Woolly, Red, Prostrate), which feature dainty flowers and work well between pavers or as a low mounding carpet.

Creeping perennials cost $6 to $10 per plant. A 15-foot-by-20-foot area with plants two inches apart (for instant density) requires 300 plants. But if you’re patient enough to wait a year or so for them to spread, you can buy fewer plants and space them 12 inches apart.

Clover: Although clover has gotten a bad rap as a weed, it’s actually not a weed at all. In fact, a clover lawn (or, for high-traffic areas, a clover-grass mix) has many advantages. Sweet-scented, inexpensive, and quite durable, white clover (Trifolium repens) grows in any kind of soil, stays green even during low-water periods, and feels lovely underfoot.

Low-growing clover doesn’t need regular cutting, nor does it need fertilizer, but an occasional mow will encourage new growth and discourage bees. If you don’t mind the bees, consider letting your clover bloom, which benefits the bees and the environment. Clover is one of the least expensive groundcover options, costing about $4 to seed 4,000 square feet.

Related:
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Laura Fisher Kaiser wrote this article appeared on National Association of Realtors® web site and is used with permission. She is a contributing editor to Interior Design magazine, a former editor at This Old House Magazine, and co-author of The Official eBay Guide. She cut her water bill in half by replacing all her water-guzzling toilets with HETs.

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.


Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Documents Does A Mortgage Originator Need

Most homebuyers need a mortgage. Getting a mortgage (or a loan) sounds like an overwhelming process right from the beginning. It’s not. It is very detailed however. The prospective borrower provides the lender with a set of documents. The lender reviews these documents to determine the amount of financial capability. Bringing these documents to the lender during that initial meeting helps reduce the pre-approval time.

Identification – This may be the easiest document to provide.  Bring a pictured identification card issued by a government agency. Most borrowers provided their driver’s license or a military identification card.

Asset Verification – Provide the most recent two or three months of statements from all financial accounts. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and individual retirement accounts. Include statements from any other type of liquid asset as well.

Income Verification – The mortgage lender needs to see pay stubs covering the most recent 30-60 day period. If the borrower has an irregular income due to self-employment, receiving at least one-fourth of compensation via commission then the originator needs even more documents, such as the K-1 forms.

All borrowers must provide the 2013 and 2014 federal and state income tax returns that include all schedules and attachments. A primary example of an attachment is the W-2 form or 1099 form.

Debt Verification – If there is someone what does not want a borrower to go into foreclosure it is the lender. They hate the foreclosure process. To prevent foreclosures, the lender must establish the amount of monthly recurring debt and compare that amount against monthly income.

Bring statements from all credit and charge accounts covering the most recent 60-90 days. These statements should show the current unpaid balance, the amount of available credit and minimum monthly payment.

Mortgage lenders want to know about automobile loans, student loans and major medical bills also. Bring those statements also. If the borrower owns a house already, bring the current mortgage account information, even if the sale of the current house must happen before getting a new mortgage. Don’t forget to bring documents if there is a second mortgage, most often called a home equity line of credit.

Credit Disputes – It seems that everyone has something wrong on their credit report. Provide documentation about any past or on-going credit disputes. This includes any correspondence for current unresolved issues.

Court Documents – Bring a copy of any document issued by a court of law. This could include a divorce decree, child support order, judgement or even bankruptcy.

Personal Information – The lender needs information covering the last two years of residence. Be ready to provide the name, address and telephone number of the landlord. For homeowners, this includes the name, address and account number of any financial institution holding a mortgage.

Honorably discharged military veterans applying for a Veterans Administration mortgage must bring a copy of the DD214 and a certificate of eligibility. Local lenders can help a veteran obtain both documents.

Credit Report – The lender requests a current credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Upon receipt, the lender carefully reviews each line of each credit report with the borrower for accuracy.

As stated above, it is a very common occurrence for a credit report to contain mistakes that catch a borrower completely by surprise.  There is good news and bad news. The good news is a correction can result in a higher credit score. The bad news is costs time to correct the record. It’s a good trade-off.

Lenders want accuracy. The word to the wise is to start the pre-approval process early so it does not impact the project move-in date to the new house.

What’s Missing – A mortgage lender has the ability to write a pre-approval letter upon presentation and review of all the above documents. Now there are only pieces of information missing.

To make a formal request for a mortgage the lender needs to know purchase price and the address. There is only one acceptable document. That document is a real estate purchase contract signed by the buyer and also the seller. Both the buyer and seller must agree to every word. This includes items such as purchase price, amount of earnest money, inspections, closing dates, seller concessions and so forth. A standard real estate contract allows a buyer to apply for a mortgage within a specific time period after the initial agreement.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What Is Mortgage Pre-Approval And What It Is Not

Unless a person has the financial capability to pay cash for a house, it is very likely they need a mortgage. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the major first step to take. Then decide on a specific house to buy. Why do it that way? Let’s examine the term mortgage pre-approval. Let’s define what it is and also explain what it is not.

Mortgage Pre-Approval – Mortgage pre-approval is nothing more than a written commitment from a financial institution that they are ready to lend a specific amount of money if the borrower decides to buy a house. It’s a promise to lend up to a certain amount of money.

The financial institution reviewed the borrower’s financial history (credit scores). They examined the borrower’s current financial status (debt versus income ratio). They determined that the future should not change much (steady employment).

That is all mortgage pre-approval really is. The potential borrower has no obligation to buy a house. Even if they do buy a house, the buyer can get a mortgage with a different lender.

A pre-approval letter is a badge of honor. It states that the money will be there if the borrower wants it.

What Is On A Pre-Approval Letter – When the financial institution writes a pre-approval letter, there are some critical pieces of information missing. One is an amount. That amount sets the upper limit of the purchase, not the upper limit of the mortgage. That is why pre-approval is not a loan. It’s only a promise to authorize a loan.

Suppose a pre-approval letter contains a $150,000 limit. In this example, the borrower can write a purchase offer on any house costing $150,000 or less. The actual loan amount is irrelevant. It’s the purchase amount that is important.

Let’s make one more supposition. We still have a $150,000 pre-approval limit. The buyer finds a great house for $100,000. What happens to the other $50,000?

The answer is nothing. The buyer chose not to use the full pre-approval amount. Holding down the total purchase cost shows great fiscal restraint.

What Else Is On A Pre-Approval Letter – In addition to the maximum amount of purchase, the pre-approval letter also has a termination date. If the potential borrower decides to buy a house, they need to do so within the next 60-90 days. That is because financial conditions change.

What Pre-Approval Is Not – As stated above, the pre-approval letter is not a loan. The potential borrower incurs no debt. That is because the pre-approval letter is really a promise to loan money.

Here is the proof that a pre-approval letter is not a loan. The mortgage pre-approval letter lacks three very important elements, and with good reason. The pre-approval letter does not have a specific address, a specific purchase price or a final date of sale.

Again, let’s use that $150,000 example from above. Assume the home buyer found a great home with a list price of $144,900 located at the fictitious address of 12345 Main Street. The buyer and seller agreed in writing to a purchase price of $140,000 providing the property legally changed ownership (closed) in 30 days.

Now the buyer has all the information to make a formal mortgage application. He has the address. He has the actual purchase price. He has a closing date. More than that, the borrower now has an important document for the mortgage originator. It’s the written purchase contract, fully signed and legally binding.

Without a pre-approval letter, the seller might have remained very firm with his pricing because of having no assurance that the buyer could get the money for the purchase.

Why Do Things Like This – I’ve Never Done Anything Like That Before – This is a very common question, especially from a first time homebuyer. The truth is that buying a home is the largest single financial transaction most people make in a lifetime. So yes, things are a bit different.

But real estate is a very different type of purchase than any other good or service. That is because there is no such thing as two identical pieces of real estate. Every piece of real estate is unique. There is another piece of information to consider as a reassurance that everything is perfectly legal and above board.

To make a mortgage, the originator needs a state-issued license. Any license requires education, passing a written exam and supervision. That license must be in plain view to customers. That’s a great reason to use a local lender.

The real estate scam horror stories come when buyers take short cuts that seem right. Don’t make that mistake. Stick with reputable lenders and REALTORS®
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and  Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Monday, March 23, 2015

What Is On Your Credit Report

Having an acceptable credit score is one of the primary hurdles that a borrower must achieve. What factors determine the credit score? Let’s take an in-depth look at those factors.

Credit Report – The credit report is a running historical summary of all financial transactions. Financial transactions include repayment history on credit cards. This includes the account balance, minimum payment, actual payment, the due date of the payment, the receipt date of the payment, and the amount of available credit.

The credit report gives a full account of any collections as the result of a non-payment of the account. Legal matters to include judgments such as child support, alimony or a civil finding, bankruptcy, foreclosure or other type of legal action find their way onto a credit report also.

Correcting The Report – With the tremendous amount of financial information on the credit report, it is highly probable that even a person with stellar credit might have some small mistakes on their credit report. When a person is the victim of identity theft, it is extremely important to notify all creditors of that tragic event.

An annual review of this information helps to insure accuracy. In most cases, there is no negative effect for mistakes corrected on the credit report, providing the corrections happen within the first 90 days after the mistake occurs. That is the reason to stagger the annual review of each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Correcting a mistake on one normally corrects the same mistake on the other credit reports.

Positive Credit History – There are a number of factors that help raise a credit score. One of the main factors that mortgage lenders like seeing is that a borrower has a long credit history with one company. That signifies loyalty to the lender. There is even more. A borrower who has a five-year old account has five years of active credit history. Close that account and that history disappears, because the account is closed.

Another way to build a positive credit history is to pay all debt on time or even a few days early. Make more than the minimum payment. As an example, add $5 or $10 to the minimum payment. Be sure to mail the monthly payment a few days early. That will help build positive credit history.

Negative Credit History – When a mortgage lender reviews a credit report and sees the potential borrower has several new credit card accounts, the natural assumption is the likelihood of a spending spree. That is because the borrower has no history with that account. It’s a new account. And if the new account replaced a closed account, suddenly all the credit history is lost forever. There is no record of fiscal responsibility. That is the key. There is no record.

Making consistently late payments for less than the minimum amount or just paying the interest only and not reducing the principal is another way to build negative credit history.

Credit Repair Companies – Be cautious when working with a credit repair company. Most are very reputable and help assist their clients. The key word is “most.” Not all credit repair companies are honest. Some simply make a bad situation worse.

Be certain that the credit counselor is either a certified financial planner, certified public accountant, or has a long list of references. Check references to determine if the credit counselor did the job of first correcting mistakes on the record and then providing the motivation needed to change spending habits and repayment habits.

Find out about how the credit repair agency helped educate the consumer to readily identify and avoid future problems like paying an exorbitant interest rate on a loan. Did the credit repair agency help the consumer establish a weekly or monthly budget that included a savings plan?

Equating Credit History To A Credit Score – Each of the three major credit reporting agencies computes the same credit history slightly differently. That is the reason for the three different scores. Here is the key point to remember. The better the credit history the higher the credit score. Some lenders reward potential borrowers who have a high credit score with very favorable terms when it comes to making a mortgage.

Prospective home buyers need to first visit a mortgage originator for a face-to-face meeting. Find out the exact credit history and how it equates to a credit score.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He is a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The First Weekend Of Spring In Columbus, Mississippi

It feels like spring time in Columbus, Mississippi.  It’s even beginning to look like spring time as some trees are starting to bud. There are several events in Columbus this weekend. For the benefit of those thinking of coming here or who already live here, let’s talk about the quality of life events this weekend.

This weekend marks a major milestone in the Friendly City. The Columbus Arts Council celebrates 50 years of enhancing and improving the culture of the community. The festivities begin with a silent auction during cocktail and hors d’oeuvres time at 6:00 p.m.  Dinner and live music follow followed by the live auction.  The gala takes place inside the Rosenzweig Arts Center on the corner of Main and Market Streets in the middle of downtown Columbus.

Six blocks from the downtown area is the Mississippi University for Women Campus. At 6:00 p.m. Friday in the Rent Auditorium on the corner of College and 11th Streets is the Lowndes County School District annual spring dance concert. This concert features the dance classes from each of the three schools in the district. The Theme this year is Step up into 2015.

Featured dances include a West African Dance celebration in full West African Costume by the Caledonia High School Dance Classes. The CHS classes are studying West African Dance in preparation for their field trip to the Africa in April Festival in Memphis, Tennessee. Poster presentations on the history of West African Dance, Latin and Salsa Dance Forms and other dancers and choreographers will be presented in the lobby of the Whitfield-Rent auditorium to celebrate the cultural diffusion of dance in America.

Get your heart pounding Saturday morning with the Dash for Down’s 5K and 1 mile fun run. The Golden Triangle Down Syndrome Association hosts this event at Riverwalk Park on the west end of Main Street. Registration begins at 7:00 a.m. or one hour before the races begin,

It’s the third Saturday of the month. That means your friends and neighbors are heading to the Community Center on Stadium Road in New Hope for the Country-Western dance jamboree. The Echo’s begin entertaining at 7:00 p.m. in a family-oriented atmosphere. Come join the fun.

It’s also the start of the dirt track racing season at the Magnolia Motor Speedway just south of the intersection of US-82 West and US-45 South. The first Weekly Racing Series race of the season is Saturday, plus the Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series race.

The Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series is a battle for a $2,500 winning prize in the Super Late Model class.  NeSmith Late Models, NeSmith Street Stocks, and the all-new Factory Stock division also compete for honors before the feature race. The Driver’s meeting is at 5:30 with racing at 7:00 p.m.  

Does anyone have a housing need this weekend? Make a private preview appointment at least 24-hours in advance by contacting your REALTOR®.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com. He is also available for web video chat.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

7 Home Hacks That Make Maintenance Easier

Home upkeep can be challenging. From basic maintenance to quick repairs, these hacks and tricks make tackling prickly household issues easier.

1. Tuck Chalk in Your Toolbox to Stop RustYou can keep the metal tools and hardware in your toolbox rust-free with blackboard chalk. How so? Chalk is a moisture sucking material that traps dampness. When you place several pieces throughout your toolbox, its porous nature will protect items prone to rusting.

Bonus tip: Got a musty closet? Fill up a small muslin or cheesecloth bag with chalk and then hang it inside. It will absorb the dampness and stinky odor.

2.  Spray Your Mower’s Blades to Keep Clippings From StickingIf you have a lawn, mowing is one of those must-do drudgeries. Fortunately, cooking spray can make the chore problem-free. When applied to a mower’s undercarriage and blades, it can help prevent grass clippings from sticking.

Bonus tip: You can prevent ice from building up in your freezer with cooking spray. Just spray a thick layer over spots prone to icing, and let it sit for five minutes. Afterwards, use a towel to wipe up the oil.

3.  Toss in a Tennis Ball to Clean Your Pool WaterSuntan lotions, moisturizers, and body oils will leave a greasy slick on pool water. To clean, toss in a fresh tennis ball. Its fuzzy surface will soak up the oils your guests left behind.

Bonus tip: A tennis ball will buff scuff marks off floors. To avoid stooping while cleaning, cut an X into the ball and place on the end of a mop or broom handle.

4.  Use Painter’s Tape for a Perfect Caulk JobTo many DIYers (myself included), applying caulk in clean, straight lines seems like an impossible task. But it’s actually very easy if you use painter’s tape. You’ll need to thoroughly clean the area you’re caulking first. When it’s dry, apply medium adhesion painter’s tape, such as Frog Tape, above and below the area you’ll be caulking and then caulk. Be sure to peel off the tape while the caulk is still wet.

5.  Grab a Makeup Sponge to Repair Drywall HolesTypically mesh or paper tape is used to fill small holes in drywall. But a cosmetic sponge will get the job done, too. Just stuff it into the hole (you may need to cut it down to size) and spackle. You’ll find the entire tutorial here.

Bonus tip: A little baking soda added to a dollop of strong, fast-acting glue, such as Krazy Glue, will fix a small wall crack. When the mixture is dry, it forms a hard plastic that can easily be sanded down to a smooth surface.

6.  Use Your Drill to Clean a Grimy TubIt takes a lot of elbow grease to deep clean a dirty bathtub — unless you use a cordless drill with a foam ball polishing attachment (found in the automotive section of most big box stores). Attachments like these were designed to be tough on grime without scratching surfaces.

Bonus tip: Another automotive store item that saves cleaning time is rain repellent windshield sealant. Apply it to clean glass shower doors to reduce soap scum buildup.

7.  Apply Nail Polish to Fill a Hole in Your WindowFound a tiny hole in your glass window? Repair it with clear nail polish. Apply a coat then wait for it dry. Repeat those steps until the layers of clear nail polish are flush with the glass surface.

Bonus tip: Clear nail polish can also fix torn window screens. You’ll need to apply multiple layers until you create a substantial barrier. You’ll find the tutorial here.
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Deirdre Sullivan wrote this article appeared on National Association of Realtors® web site and is used with permission. She is an NYC-based writer who’s obsessed with maximizing every inch of her urban dwelling. She’s a former fashionista who has worked for Lucky Magazine and InStyle. She recently traded her high heels and Fashion Week pass for a drill and bandsaw. Follow Deirdre on Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.


Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.