Jeremy McElwain's Blog
Take a tour through the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium or Holland, and you’ll see beautiful historic homes with painted brick exteriors. Wander down streets of hundreds-of-years-old houses, and the most memorable ones are those with painted brick exteriors. But if your brick is in perfect condition, why would you paint it?
Some eras produced color variations in brick that detract from the architectural details of a building. When overly pale or harsh bricks detract from a beautiful porch, craftsman detailing or outstanding woodwork, painting your brick can give your home instant curb appeal and new life. Paint your brick with a quality masonry paint for lasting European elegance. Spraying gives the most even coverage to brick surfaces.
The 70s gave us bell-bottoms, embroidered shirts and ugly brick. Adding texture to bricks, while popular at that time, gave some home exteriors the appearance of crawling worms and others a rough and stark industrial uniformity. If either of these is the case with your home, you can smooth out some of the texture by using elastomeric masonry paint. Up to ten times the thickness of regular exterior paints, this watertight substance fills in cracks and smooths out some of the roughness of excessive texture. That being said, for best results and to avoid lumps and bubbles, hire a professional painting contractor with experience applying elastomeric paints.
Uneven or Colored Mortar
Another reason to paint is when the mortar used on your brick home is distractingly uneven. To smooth out some of the unevenness and give your home Old World charm, consider the German Schmear method. Also referred to as German “smear,” this method mimics the centuries-old plaster and white-wash techniques of yesteryear. To achieve the look, wet mortar is smeared or scraped over the existing brick and mortar. You can cover all the brick and mortar, or just portions of it for a historic exposed brick and limewash look. However, a similar effect is achievable using a prepared limewash specifically developed for exterior applications from your home improvement or professional paint store.
Before You Paint Your Brick
Proper preparation is necessary to achieve superior results. Follow this all-important list or you may end up redoing the outside of your home sooner than you expect.
- Wash the brick. Use a stiff-bristled brush or pressure washer (set on low) to remove any dirt or grime buildup on the brick.
- Scrape off any moss or mold and treat the brick with undiluted distilled white vinegar or a mold removal preparation available from your DIY retailer.
- Repair any deep cracks, broken or chipped mortar or missing bricks.
Your paint store can advise you on what works best in your situation and your climate. Painting your home’s brick gives it appeal to a whole different segment of homebuyers, so talk to your real estate professional about plans to paint it before putting your house on the market.
Buying a house is never a simple decision. Aside from all of the financial aspects of purchasing a home, there are numerous life-related considerations you’ll need to think about. So, it comes as little surprise that diving head on into the house hunting process can be stressful and taxing to the home buyer.
With all of the different numbers to keep track of--a down payment, closing costs, credit scores, interest rates, and so on--it’s easy to get lost in the finer details of your budget. This can lead to even more stress as you try to navigate your way through getting approved for a mortgage and shopping for the perfect home.
In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on how to maintain your budget and reduce stress throughout the home buying process. That way, when you do finally find the house you’ve been waiting for, you’ll be able to move forward confidently.
Trust the process
Many first-time home buyers enter the real estate market with little knowledge or experience of how things work. Any newcomer to such a huge and complex industry is bound to be flustered with all of the different options available to them.
However, much of the home buying process is relatively standardized. Real estate agents all make roughly the same commission, lenders use similar algorithms to decide how much of a loan you’ll be approved for, and real estate contracts contain legal safeguards and contingencies to ensure that you and the seller’s interests are protected.
When shopping for a mortgage or getting pre-approved, it’s a good idea to ask friends, family, or read reviews online to find someone you know you can trust. From there, rely on the experts to lead you through the process.
Have a long-term plan
Much of the stress and anxiety around buying a home comes from the uncertainty of the future. Sitting down with your family and significant other and deciding your long-term goals for homeownership is a good way to build confidence and know that you’re making the right choice.
Determining things like location, the number of years you want to live in a home, and what priorities are the most important (school districts, neighborhood safety, etc.) will help you make that plan a reality.
Use the tools at your disposal
If you’re reading this article, you already have started to take advantage of one of the most important resources you have, the internet. Look up real estate terminology you’re unfamiliar with, read up on the different types of mortgages, and take advantage of free online calculators to create what-if scenarios to find out what you might end up paying in closing costs and interests.
It’s also a good idea to check your credit score for free online. You can check your official reports once per year, but for simple credit checks you can look it up each month for free.
Knowing that you’re in good hands with a lender and agent, that you have a basic understanding of industry terms, that you have a long-term plan, and that your finances are in order will all help set your mind at ease and give you confidence as you move forward toward homeownership.
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If you recently bought or sold a house, it may be only a matter of weeks before moving day arrives. As such, you may want to start planning ahead and contact a moving company to help you prepare for the big day.
Ultimately, not all moving companies are created equal. And if you make a poor selection, you risk encountering problems with your moving company as you try to take your belongings from one address to another.
Differentiating one moving company from another can be simple. In fact, there are several questions that you should consider before you hire a moving company, and these are:
1. What do I need from a moving company?
Moving from a big house to a small one is very different than relocating from an apartment to a home. Thus, you should consider your moving day needs and tailor your search for a moving company accordingly.
Don't forget to evaluate your moving day budget too. If you consider how much money is at your disposal, you can map out a search for a mover and discover a moving company that falls within your price range.
2. What services does a moving company offer?
Many moving companies will help you pack up your belongings, move them to your new address and help you unpack. Comparatively, some moving companies only offer limited support on moving day.
Think about which moving day services you'll need before you choose a moving company – you'll be glad you did. If you know what you want out of a moving company, you can narrow your search and quickly find a mover that will match or exceed your expectations.
3. What are past clients saying about a moving company?
Oftentimes, it helps to look at client reviews for moving companies. These insights can help you understand what it is like to work with a particular moving company before you make your final decision.
If customers frequently rave about a moving company, this is a positive sign. In this instance, you may want to move quickly to hire a moving company for your upcoming relocation.
On the other hand, a moving company that receives many negative reviews should raise red flags. If most customers are not satisfied with the support they receive from a particular moving company, you may want to consider other movers.
Finding the right moving company may seem difficult, particularly for individuals who have only a limited amount of time to relocate. But if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you may be able to discover the ideal moving company in no time at all.
In addition to helping you buy or sell a home, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to enjoy a seamless move. A real estate agent likely can put you in touch with the top moving companies in your area. As a result, a real estate agent can help you find a great moving company, regardless of when you need to relocate.