Saturday, February 20, 2010

How To Clean A Filthy Bathroom in 20 Minutes or Less

Let's face it, some Landlords end up cleaning a lot of bathrooms. Some don't. If you're one of the Landlords who wants your property to have a minimal amount of cleanliness before a showing or leasing, try some of these ideas.

Prepare a "Cleaning Bucket." I like a good wide 2 gallon bucket, the kind that Kilz paint comes in. I put in: 1. Mr. Clean diluted into a spray bottle; 2. Toilet cleaning liquid; 3. Windex; 4. Softscrub or powdered Ajax; a toilet brush; a scrub brush; and for really ugly applications, both bleach & vinegar alongside. You'll also want rags (cloth baby diapers work really well), sponges or paper towels. I prefer a sponge and cloth combo. A broom and mop are also indispensable. Gloves too.

Start at one end of the room. Todays bathroom started with the toilet. Put the toilet cleaning liquid in the bowl, then spray the rest of the toilet with the Mr. Clean solution. Wipe down the outside of the toilet, then hit the inside with the toilet scrubber. Those little flushable toilet wipes on a stick? Don't waste your money. Usually a fast scrub around the bowl and rim with a brush will take care of all of the problems. If you still have streaks, usually a vinegar soak will take care of the worst of them. Just don't mix your chemicals unless you want to shuffle off this mortal coil.

Next the tub. They can be difficult to get the grime out of, especially if they haven't been cleaned in a year or two. With very hard water, sometimes it helps to fill the tub with water the night before if possible, and add a half gallon of vinegar. Otherwise, it will just take more scrubbing power, and you won't always get a good clean look out of it.

Barring the vinegar trick, I like to use soft scrub with a brush on surfaces that can handle it. Surfaces that can't? Mr. Clean & a brush. Start at the top, and do one wall at a time. Empty your cleaning bucket, fill it with water, and rinse between walls. This way the soap doesn't dry while you have to take a call on your cell, making a worse mess to clean.

Vinyl tubs, I would use the Mr. Clean on. Porcelain, I would use the soft scrub or Ajax. Vinegar works best with a long soak, and you can use it on all the surfaces. If you think to, when you go to soak the tub, take off the shower head and soak it as well. The sink aerator can be soaked in a separate dish of pure vinegar. Just don't soak the rubber gasket.

Then there's the mirror, vent fan and light fixtures. Usually a squirt of Windex will take care of the mirror and light fixtures, while a quick swipe with a damp rag will clear the vent fan. Sometimes at this point it's a good time to give the trim and baseboards a quick wipe down with that same cloth.

Next the sink. Make sure your rags are rinsed first, then spray it down with one hand, wipe with the other. On all of these surfaces, waste no motion. Use both hands - one to spray, one to scrub, then the other again to wipe dry. Reassemble the sink aerator and shower head if you soaked them, and reassemble your cleaning/rinsing bucket. Once the fixtures are clean, spray the floor with your Mr. Clean solution, then mop yourself out of the room. Done!

The thing that will save you the most time for all of this is to have the tools to hand ahead of time. If it's possible to soak a disgusting bathtub first, that will save a lot of scrubbing time and energy as well. This is also a good time to asses the caulk, floor around the toilet, and other basic maintenance items that tend to occur regularly.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Busy Busy Busy! Gardens and Rentals!

It's been a busy week here at the Real Estate Realm. We've had lots of interest in the properties we have up for rent, and lots and lots of calls, especially about 2137 Lesley. Hopefully we can get that one turned and re-rented very quickly.

It's almost time to start the seeds for gardens! While we don't do much landscaping with the rental houses, mainly because we've found most residents don't know how to care for something as simple as a ditch lily, we have done some landscaping around our own house. Some roses, some veggies, a couple of bayberries and some herbs make up our little gardens. Even some ditch lilies!

Gardening is fairly simple, but requires some time and a little work. The benefits are that you can grow veggies for your family, get some sun and exercise, and maybe even meet your neighbors.
Some simple plants that we would encourage anyone to grow are oregano, thyme, mint, and, of all things, collards. Thyme and mint can be used easily in many dishes, and mints can be used in drinks as well. Oregano can be used in canned spaghetti sauces to flavor them a little, or used on the bar-b-que. Collards are large leaf veggies that can be grown in most rich soils. They need about two feet of soil per plant, and 4-6 plants can feed a family for most of a season. Harvest a few leaves, cut the stalks off and chop. Drop the stalks in boiling water for a minute or two, then add in the tops. Boil for 2 minutes, maybe 3, then serve with salt & pepper. They have an extremely high vitamin count, which makes up for their slightly bland taste.

So, landlords and residents, do you garden or allow gardening? What are the pros/cons in your eyes, and what are your 4 simplest recommended plants for anyone?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Indy Home Show Recap

"What's a Green Zone?"
Apparently, this year's Indy Home Show features a "Green Zone" located at the end of one of the aisles. The carpet is
a slightly greener shade of green than the green carpet used in the rest of the aisle, and the area features a couple of signs to denote that it is, in fact, the Green Zone. Here the discerning home improver will find, tucked neatly away from the beaten path to the featured house (created by Davis Homes, a local builder who had some money troubles for a while, and whose contributions to the local home inventory were great enough to leave Central Indiana with a glut of homes for hmmm, let's say some years...), a short aisle full of businesses touting Green products.
Shouldn't we be pushing Green products a little more? They can save us money on utilities when used properly, they can save our bodies from the effects of harmful chemicals. They can even save the world that we live on from getting all cluttered up from petrochemical products so it ends up looking like a teenagers closet. Whew! That's quite a feat! Should we really be tucking them into a back corner
of the home show? C'mon Indy Home Show Organizers!
Nevertheless, Greenway Supply was there with a beautiful display of alternative energy sources and solar panels. Other featured items in the Green Zone were patio composters (they're wonderful!), a group that does organic recycling for compost and mulch, and a group touting LED's as the lightbulb of the future.
One custom home builder (Frank Redavide of Castalia homes) we spoke with at the beginning of the show told us that Indiana ranks "49 out of 50" in Green prac
tices. Apparently W. Virginia is 50th. He does all Green homes, and is very proud of his work and LEED certifications. He recommended that anyone looking to make their home or investment property more Green should start simple.
One of the greatest things we saw at the show, however, was in the model home. Designers from The Inside Job inc. went wild with the idea of reuse-recycle. The home featured antiques of all kinds as decoration, as usable objects, as reused objects. One of my favorites was an old door converted into a chic dining table, and another was the valances on the upstairs windows that featured collages of different antique house and door bits. Every time we do a renovation, it always breaks my heart to have to let go of doors, lumber and other cool house parts. Now there's a way to reuse them with style!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Apartments and Houses

Just got done with a weekend full of showings, an open house at 10th St., and my part-time job. Now, on to more work! We have plans for finishing up the 10th St. garage today and tomorrow, then a look at the home show on Wednesday.
Currently we have 3 apartments, 2 townhomes and one house up for rent. You can find them all on Rentalhouses.
Of the apartments, two are one-bedrooms downtown near Sacred Heart Church in the area of Arizona and Union St. Both of them are available for $499.

The other apartment is a nice two-bedroom in Downtown Noblesville. All have wood laminate floors and tiled baths.

The townhomes are on 10th St in Noblesville, and are available for sale, rent, or lease option. They are 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2500 square foot lovelies, and are situated right across the street from a park.

The house is a 3 bedroom, 1 bath ranch in a fairly quiet neighborhood near 21st and Ritter. The yards are a little larger in this area,
which seems to attract fewer problem tenants. (Is there a correlation between lawn-mowing and problem tenants? Where is the research??) The house is currently occupied, and we require a two-day notification before showings, so if you know someone who is interested, let them know to plan ahead!
As always, if you are interested in any of these rentals, or would like to purchase one of these buildings from us, please don't hesitate to call us at 317-410-3977. If you don't get us, leave a message. We do call back!

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