Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fabulous low-cost bathroom update!

A great way to update on older bathroom without gutting the room and spending at least $8,000-$18,000 is to do the "shortcut".  If your bathroom floor is currently linoleum, this job is a breeze.  If your bathroom floor is currently an older tile, its a bit more tricky....

If the current floor is linoleum:

A contractor can easily:

lift up the existing toilet and set to the side


take out the current vanity  or leave current vanity in place
install backer board (purchased from local hardware store)
Install new tile with your choice of grout

reinstall toilet or replace toilet
install new vanity (your choice-- I have seen beautiful ones at Costco with granite tops for $199--this is a steal! I have also happened upon custom "oops" vanities at Lowe's and Home Depot just ripe for the taking at a very much reduced price).  A pedestal sink is a nice update as well.



labor: $300-$400 for backer board installation and tile installation and toilet removal and install
materials: tile (50 square feet times $2 per square foot) $100


grout: $ 30-80


backer board: $50-150


new toilet water hose: $15

If your current floor is older tile:

A contractor will have to quote a price to remove old tile.  Many older bathrooms were built with tile installed directly onto a concrete medium.  These floors are rock sold.  It is sometimes better to install new tile over these floors.

If the floor is not set in concrete, then chances are it is set on a material used years ago that doesn't give.   The older materials that didn't give were not enough support for the ceramic tiles.  Very often, the tiles cracked and/or came loose from the foundation.  If your floor was set on a poor quality medium, you will have to take up the floor tile and install the DuraRock just the same as if the floor was finished in linoleum.

Additional tips:

Replacing aging light fixtures and mirror will complete the updated look.



Adding a crisp shower curtain (or drape) will conceal any distraction from an older shower and/or tub.






The tub shower combo is being phased out in favor of a bigger shower with sitting bench.  It is always nice to have at least one tub in the house.  Its possible to use dead hall space or a small closet to put a shower and keep the tub.  The old cast iron tubs are pieces of "art".  They are difficult to remove and can be resurfaced for about $450-$500 with a guarantee.  The new tubs are fiberglass and they easily crack.  Why swap out an old cast iron for a new fiberglass that could crack?



A bathroom update is always recommended if your bathroom is aging and a new bathroom is not in the budget.

Call me today for specific information on what contractors to call and materials to use.   I can assure you that many of my clients have done the above "short cut" with incredible results and for a fraction of the cost of a complete bathroom "redo"!

Thank you for visiting the Silver Lyne,

                                                           Carla Brooks
                                                       brkslong@aol.com
                                                          703-577-4960

Monday, April 21, 2014

Improvements that add the most value to the home

To make the most of the homeowner's budget, I recommend improvements that will always add value to a home.  Not all projects will add value.

A new kitchen will always add value to a home.  Quality cabinetry with durable countertops and energy efficient appliances are the ticket to winning the hearts of buyers.  The kitchen is the most used room in the house, make it special:)



Finish the basement!  An unfinished basement will hold back a homes value since it is a whole level that will, for the most part, not be usable.




Professional landscaping will give your home that finished look.  The yard is the "first impression" a buyer will have of your property.  Curb appeal can add 10-20% on to the value of a home.




Your roof is important.  It provides protection for the inside of a home and the outside drainage (gutters).  A new roof adds measurable value to a home.




An enclosed garage is a great feature in cold weather areas of the country.  It provides protection for cars, lawnmowers and such.  If you have an open carport, enclose the garage.  If you have no garage, check with your local authorities to see about a building permit for a garage.



If you would like to discuss upcoming projects, call me today, I am here to help!

Thank you for visiting the The Silver Lyne!



                                                                Carla Brooks
                                                           brkslong@aol.com
                                                               703-577-4960

PS photos are a courtesy of free digital photos

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Preparing for Home Inspection day....

As a seller what is required of you on Home Inspection day?



The ultimate goal of the home inspection is to provide the buyers with enough information to proceed to closing on the house under contract.



Here are some useful tips:

 *Sellers should vacate the home for the duration of the inspection (if possible).



*The Northern Virginia Sales Contract requires the sellers to have the utilities turned on for contract inspections.



*Change the furnace filter or make sure it is fairly clean

*repair all leaking plumbing items before the home inspection (preferably before the home goes on the market)



*replace all burned out light bulbs.



*Make sure your windows open and close.  Make sure all doors open and close and do not stick.



*Check the batteries in all heat and smoke detectors and make sure they are running.

*Clear the way for the home inspector to take a look in attics, crawlspaces, garages, closets and so forth.



*Make sure the house is clean and that the dishwasher and clothes washer & dryer are empty.



If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, call me today.  I can provide useful tip and suggestions to ease the process for you.



Thank you visiting the Silver Lyne blog.

                                                            Carla Brooks
                                                           703-577-4960
                                                        brkslong@aol.com

PS all photos are a courtesy of free digital photos


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Best Neutral Paint Colors

So you have decided to move.   Deciding what paint colors to use on the walls can be a lengthy and tedious process.

If you want to take the guesswork out of the process go with a known color.

The following paint colors are the top recommended colors for staging properties for sale:

Benjamin Moore: Linen White--has yellow undertones--Looks nice with Antique White Trim (also Benjamin Moore)  a very sophisticated paint color

Benjamin Moore: Vanilla Ice Cream--by far the happiest paint color imaginable. looks great with kelly green accessories, oranges, purples, blues and blue-greens

Pratt & Lambert--Ceylon Ivory--Coordinates well with organic colors, light olive and other earthy greens

Sherwin Williams--Interactive Cream--a light capturing neutral that never seems to yellow or too gray--love the name!

Benjamin Moore: Ancient Ivory-- has yellow undertones--looks nice with any bright white trim paint--photographs very well

Benjamin Moore: Seashell-less yellow undertones-- I have read that this shade less yellow than Ancient Ivory and it provides a perfect backdrop for almost any decor

Sherwin Williams: Aria Ivory--very neutral, not too yellow and not too grey, looks great with blues and ironstone & seagrass rugs.

Now remember, if you have a color sample,  have your local hardware store prepare the same color  paint for less money than you would spend at a boutique paint store.   While you are at it, why not order the paint with the primer in it?   This is a very budget friendly & efficient way to get the job done and it eliminates the two-step process of priming first and then painting.

A freshly painted home is the one "must do" if your walls are looking tired and/or the paint color clashes with the carpeting.  The smell of fresh paint  says "we took care of our home" to the buyers.  Even if the buyers' plan on redecorating, they appreciate a freshly painted home.

Each homeowner should work within their own budget to prepare for a sale.  If your funds are tight then do the "musts" and nothing else.  Remember, the goal is to have a reasonably quick sale for a great price.

If you are planning on selling your home, call me today.  I have lots of great ideas to expedite the process of preparing your home for sale.

Thank you for visiting the Silver Lyne!

                                                         Carla Brooks
                                                    brkslong@aol.com
                                                         703-577-4960




Monday, April 14, 2014

Before you call the plumber....

So your water bill is higher than usual?  And the water authority says its not their problem?

Before you call the plumber and pay for a service call here are two things to check on first.

1. Add a couple of drops of blue or red dye into the water tank of each toilet.  Do not flush the toilet.  If you see the dye enter the toilet bowl, then you have a leaking toilet and will need to plug the tank.  If you are not able to plug the tank, then  by all means call the plumber to change out the parts that need to be fixed.



2.  If the dye test is negative, turn off the main water valve to the home.  Wait 30 minutes, then see if the water meter is still turning.  If the water meter is still turning, then there a water leak outside the house.  The leak may be in the water line that runs between the house and the street.

 If so, the homeowner is responsible for fixing the leaks between the house and the street.  Dominion Power offers insurance  ($4.95 per month last time I checked) for this water line replacement. ( Its well worth the monthly cost to sign up for this insurance yet if you already have a leak its too late.)  If you missed the post on water line replacement and want to read it, go here

Thank you for visiting the Silver Lyne Blog.

 As always, call me today if you would like to buy or sell a home.  The spring market is starting to heat up!

                                                        Carla Brooks
                                                    brkslong@aol.com
                                                        703-577-4960

PS Photo is a courtesy of free digital photos


Sunday, April 13, 2014

The one "must" improvement in the kitchen if you are selling your home this year

Suppose you are planning on selling your home this year.  Your home is updated is some areas but not in all important areas.  As its often been said "kitchens" and "baths" sell the home.

If your kitchen is an older kitchen (with original cabinetry and countertops) and a new kitchen is not in the budget moneywise or timewise, what is the one improvement that you should do?  Experience has shown me that a new refrigerator ( with all the bells and whistles) is your best bet.


  Number 0ne, the refrigerator is the largest appliance and the most expensive one.  It is a very important appliance since all members of the household use it.

 It is one less item that the new owners will have to spend money on.  If you can only do one thing in your kitchen, let it be a new refrigerator.  That new, sparkling refrigerator will speak volumes when your home goes on the market.


Thank you for visiting the Silver Lyne blog.

If would like to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own!

                                                                Carla Brooks
                                                              703-577-4960
                                                           brkslong@aol.com

PS photos are a courtesy of Free Digital Photos

Open House Today in McLean Hamlet from 1-4

This lovely home is up for sale:

The address is : 8021 Agin Court McLean Va 22102

The list price is $978,900

This home features 4 bedrooms with 3 full bathrooms and a two car garage around back.  The garage is an add on, with a family room up above.  This spacious home has been updated inside, with new windows, a vinyl wrap on the outside, updated bathrooms and kitchen.  8021 Agin Court is located in the sought after McLean Hamlet neighborhood.  


Another gorgeous day is upon us, I had time to update the flower arrangement posted yesterday.


Here is a close up view, I added in yellow daffodils and forsythia...



and a few pieces of my fave ironstone:)

I appreciate you stopping by the Silver Lyne.  If you would like to buy or sell a home, call me at your earliest convenience.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own.

Thank you,

Carla Brooks
703-577-4960
brkslong@aol.com