Real Estate Information Archive


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Painting Walls and Ceilings Yourself

by Masha Halpern

Previously, we’ve talked about how a new coat of a paint is vital when you’re planning to sell your home. But, you may decide that the expense of hiring a professional painter is too much when you can do most, if not all, of the work  yourself.  In the first part of this series, we looked at the steps you need to take before you dip a brush into a can of paint. Today, we’re going to get to work painting.

The first stage of paint is treating the surface with a coat of primer. The primer protects the surface, gives the paint something to adhere to and helps prevent stains. The guidelines below work for both the primer and paint.

Wait! Put the brush down for a second. You’ve moved the furniture out of the room, or pulled it away from the walls. You need to use drop cloths or tarps to cover the flooring and any furniture still in the room. Murphy’s law says if you leave something unprotected, it will wind up with paint drops on it. Anywhere on the walls and along the edges of a ceiling where you don’t want paint splatters needs to be covered with strips of painters tape. Also, go ahead and make sure you have cleaning supplies on-hand just in case.

Okay, let’s get to work. If you’re going to paint the ceiling, and that’s usually a good idea, do that first.  Again, these guidelines work for both the ceilings and the walls. The first steps here is to use a trim brush to outline the edges of the ceiling. You’ll want a border about three inches wide. When that’s done, move on to the roller and the rest of the surface.

You’re going to pour the out the paint into a roller pan. Make sure you don’t overfill the pan: Fill it so they paint just touches the grated part of the pan.  Depending on where you’re painting, you may need to work on a ladder or with an extension pole. Dampen the roller with water for latex paint or paint thinner for oil paints. Coat the brush completely with paint, and then roll it against the grate to distribute it and squeeze out and excess.

Using a zig-zag motion, cover an area three to four feet square. Then roll over the same area in straight lines. Make sure to overlay the edges of previously painted areas to reduce visible lines when the paint is dry.  Once you’ve completely covered the surface you’re working on, move to another area and let the first dry.

You’ll want to let the painted surfaces dry before you apply a second coat, which will ensure the paint isn’t too thin or missing in places. Don’t remove your drop cloths or tape until you’re sure there aren’t any spots that need touch-ups.

The next part of your painting project is to tackle the door frames, window frames and molding. We’ll talk about that and cleaning up in an upcoming blog post. So for now, get to work on your walls. That way, when you call me to help you sell your home, we’ll already be ahead of the competition!

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy theunquietlibrarian/

Preparing to Paint-It-Yourself

by Masha Halpern

Many people know that painting is one of the easier home improvement efforts you can make yourself. If you have the time, and doing it right does take time, then you can save a lot of money if you can do at least the basics yourself. And that's what we're talking about today, giving your rooms a face-lift without the expense of painting contractors.

What are you painting and how do you want it to look when you're finished? Color is beyond the scope of this discussion, so let's wrap up that point by saying that unless you're going to live with the color for a good, long time, don't get  too crazy: You'll wind up having to tone it down when you decide to sell.  

You probably know there are a variety of interior paint types you can work with, but in general, you're going to use a flat, non-reflective finish on the main walls and semi-gloss or gloss finish on trim, moulding, baseboards, and door and window frames. You'll get great advice for your particular situation from the folks at your local paint store or in the painting section of Lowes or Home Depot.

How much paint to you need? You'll need to determine how many square feet you'll need to cover. Simply measure the height and width of each wall (in feet) and multiple those numbers together. If you have a lot of windows or doors along the wall, you'll want to subtract the square feet they take up from the total square feet. The paint can itself should tell you how many square feet it will cover.  Remember, paint left over is great for when you need to do repairs or touch-ups later!

You'll also need the tools to do the job: Brushes, rollers, roller tray, painter's tape and drop clothes. Don't skimp on these items - the quality will make a difference! Make sure you have a sturdy ladder. And grab some  face masks, because breathing those fumes isn't good for anyone! For more on the tools you'll need, here's expert painter Grady Johnson:

Before you start painting, you'll need to ensure your walls are ready. You're going to have big problems if you don't take care here. You need the painting surface to be in great shape, and that means fixing holes or other damage, and make sure the wall is free of dust and debris. You're going to also need to make sure you have plenty of space to work in and that the floor and any items in the room are properly protected with drop cloths.

For more details, let me suggest these articles on, or the TLC network's articles on And stay tuned here for the next step, actually putting the paint on the walls!

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy Wuertele/

Rethinking Your Garage

by Masha Halpern

Somewhere, there's a book with a rule that says a garage must be white with bare walls and a dull grey concrete pad. No one is ever confused when they go through a door into the garage. But, is that always a good thing?  The answer to that question is no, of course. 

While keeping our cars safe from the environment is the stated purpose of the garage, that's very seldom all we do with the space. A peek inside a random, representative garage shows a variety of lawn and garden tools and supplies, a garbage can, household and car tools, shelves with sports equipment and an old tent, and the singing fish birthday gift from 1997. And, as you can guess, it's an amazing mess most of the time.

With a weekend of work and some creativity, you can give your garage a makeover and turn it into an extension of your living space instead of just an afterthought.

The first step is to take a hard look at what you store in your garage. Is there a better way to organize that stuff so it takes up less space? Shelves, either free-standing or on the wall, are an obvious way. Look to the walls! Where shelves aren't an option, hardware to hang yard tools, power cords and hoses can get things up off the ground and out of the way. While some of that will go with you if you move, the rest, if done well, can be a great selling point.

After you get things cleaned up and organized, why not start to look at ways to brighten and color the space? There's no reason you can't add a touch of decorative styling to the garage. Or to put the space you may have gained by organizing to use in other wise. You'll find some great tips on and (with before and after pictures!) And take a look at the fantastic ideas in the Lowe's Ultimate Garage Makeover video below.

Have you found unique ways to utilize your garage for something more than auto storage? What's hanging on your garage walls? Have you decorated the space to give it a little style? Hey, if you did, share some pictures and ideas in the comments below or email me. Meanwhile, I'm going to plan my own garage makeover!

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy Rubber Maid Products/

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3




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Photo of Masha Halpern - Boutique Real Estate Real Estate
Masha Halpern - Boutique Real Estate
Keller Williams Realty
101 Cosgrove Avenue, Suite 200
Chapel Hill NC 27514
Direct 919-951-1780
Toll Free 877-478-4669
Fax: 919-928-9030

Masha Halpern of Keller Williams Realty provides real estate services in the Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area including real estate services for buyer, sellers and those relocating to the surrounding areas of Apex, Bahama,Cary, Efland, Hillsborough, Holly Springs, Mebane, Raleigh, and Wake Forest. Search for homes in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham or the surrounding communities.  Request a market analysis for your North Carolina property.  I list and sell residential real estate, investment property, vacant land, lots for sale in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area.

Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina real estate and homes for sale in North Carolina - Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team