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STEVE:  Hi, this is Steve Westmark of Counselor Realty.  Thanks for watching my video blog this week.  This week, I’m bringing in a vendor to talk about painting, and his name is Paul Hodge, who has been painting for 45 years.  You don’t even look 45 years old.

PAUL:  Well, thank you.  I appreciate that.

STEVE:  Well, through my years of real estate, it used to be when we were going to put a house on the market, we just neutralize and went with equity beige.  How has the marketplace changed today as we meet with sellers in getting their house prepared for sale, Paul?

PAUL:  Well, really the most popular color today is a color called latte that’s a Sherwin-Williams color, and all of the different paint companies have one similar to that.  And it’s a little bit darker than the beige, and yet, it is very popular.  And it still gives you the neutralized effect.  And people like to see that when they come into a house.  They can visualize their furniture easier when they see something that tends to not bring out certain colors that they might not be able to live with.

STEVE:  Now in past years, wallpapers have been really popular, and we’re finding today in the marketplace that wallpaper is almost a no-no.  What do you do to help people in eliminating their wallpaper and some that are not even sized or the different things that are going on out there?

PAUL:  Well, the wallpaper can really be a problem if it isn’t sized, and it can tear up the walls.  And so it’s a lot of extra work to take it off, and you sometimes have to do some patching with sheetrock ____ [01:28] and then reprime it before you paint.  But some wallpapers can be painted over, and it’s just a little bit easier to seal them with an alcohol-based sealer so that they don’t bleed through and then go ahead and paint over them.  And if you’re careful around the corners and the edges, it appears to be just painted walls and it’s not even a problem.

But if you do have a wall where the wallpaper comes off hard and you have to do patching, in some cases, we’ve done what we call a knock-down finish where you splatter it with a drywall mud and then trowel it out.  And you give it just a little bit of a texture that covers the glue and the bad spots in the wall, and you can end up with a really nice effect that can again be painted with one of the neutral colors.

STEVE:  Another thing I find in houses when I’m getting a seller prepared to put their home on the market is either faded walls, chipped or peeling paint, or just a lot of different things that are going on.  What do you do to get those kinds of things prepared and done?

PAUL:  Well, you have to obviously patch cracks and chips in the wall.  It’s good to just patch those with some fast-drying dry wall mud, sand them down a little bit, and go ahead and paint over them and they disappear.  And if you leave cracks or that type of thing, you tend to give the seller the idea that maybe the property hasn’t had maintenance, and you want to avoid that.  So it is better to go ahead and take care of those issues and then put a fresh coat of paint over them.

STEVE:  Many times I have people looking at woodwork.  Sometimes the woodwork is really dark or it’s blond or whatever, but they think well, maybe I’ll just enamel.  What are the things that they have to look for if they’re going to have woodwork enameled?

PAUL:  Well, one of the things is the finish has to be smooth enough so that when you put the enamel over it you get a really nice finish.  So you want to do some sanding, make sure that any cracks are caught because whenever you do an enamel finish, any of the cracks in the joints where the wood comes together will show, versus a finish that’s stained and varnished those cracks don’t tend to show. 

So you want to just make sure that you take care of all those things and give it a heavy enough coat that the wood appears to be smooth and you get a really nice finish.

STEVE:  So Paul, what has been your experience with people who put off painting their house and then they’ve gone ahead, refreshed the house, really painted it up, and what happened in the sale process?


PAUL:  Well, that’s a really interesting question.  I’ve worked on a number of properties that were on the market for quite a length of time and the people had opted not to do any painting or any kind of cleanup on it at the beginning.  And after a number of months, they decided maybe they should go ahead with it. We went ahead.  We did the neutral colors, maybe in some cases did some of the enameling, and the property sold almost immediately following that.


STEVE:  Well, Paul, you’ve answered a lot of questions today, and I know that even our audience may have other questions for you.  What’s the best way to get a hold of you and have you come and do work for them?


PAUL:  Well, I’d be glad to come out and give people a free estimate on whatever work they’re interested in having done.  They can reach me on my cell phone.  That’s really the best way to reach me, 952-220-1909.



Mike Mulvaney from Custom Pools discusses pool ownership

by Steve Westmark

STEVE:  Hi, this is Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty.  Thanks for watching my video blog this week.  The vendor I brought in this week is Mike Mulvaney of Custom Pools who are on the west side of town in Hopkins and have been building pools for what?

MIKE:  Forty-some years, 1968.

STEVE:  Nineteen sixty-eight.  Welcome, Mike.

MiKE:  My pleasure, Steve.  Thanks for having me. 

STEVE:  Well, Mike, I walk into the back yard with buyers many times, and they look at a pool and they go, “Okay, so how much is this going to cost me and how much time is this going to take?”

MIKE:  Well, Steve, it takes probably somewhere around 30 to 45 minutes a week I would say to take care of a pool, and it depends a lot on the year and the automation, how much you cover it, things like that.  As far as cost goes, you’re probably going to be looking at anywhere from $2,000 to $4,500 to maintain a pool for the course of a year.  That includes chemicals, opening, closing, heat, electricity, and all those things.

STEVE:  So Mike, what are the kinds of pools that are out there, and what are some of the things that can go along with the pool that they can have?

MIKE:  Pretty much out there there are two types of pools.  There’s the vinyl-lined pool, which probably consists of 95 to 99% of back yard pools.  And there’s also concrete pools.  Concrete pools over the course of years have somewhat lost some of their luster because of their costs, but what goes along with a pool?  Boy, anything you really want.  We can do slides.  We can do automatic covers.  We can do automatic salt generators.  We can do automatic cleaners.

All this stuff is available to you and can be put on virtually any pool that’s on the market and in the back yard right now.

STEVE:  You know, Mike, you put a pool in my back yard and I loved it.  It was great.  We had it for 20 years before I sold it.  But as you look at pools, what do you tell people they can expect as a return as they put money in in purchasing a pool?

MIKE:  Well, a lot of that depends, Steve, on where in the marketplace the home falls.  On the lower-end homes, you probably aren’t going to get quite as much out of it as you will on the upper-end homes.  On the upper-end homes, people are expecting to see more of the good amenities: the pools, the tennis courts, the spas, and all of that.  So when you get up to the upper-end homes, you’re probably looking at 30 to 50% return on a pool, and I think that would be a good thing.

The part that you also have to look at is the enjoyment that you get out of a pool and add that into it.  And you will find that at the end of the day, you will be money ahead.

STEVE:  Through the years with our pool, Jenny was the person that was the contact we talked with.  What should people expect as they contact a pool company to help in the running of their swimming pool?

MIKE:  Well, I think one of the big things a person should do is go and see their store, talk to the people that are there.  Make sure that they have computerized water testing, that they have a service company and everything so that they can take care of the pool and any issues that you have: heater problems, filter problems, if there be any. 

Everybody has a tendency to lose their water every now and then.  You have a big graduation party and you have a hundred kids go through the pool, the pool might cloud up a little bit.  You want to have somebody there that’s knowledgeable at the end and can give you a good water test and straighten that pool out for you in a day or two.

That’s really what you want to get is make sure that you’re comfortable with the company that you’re dealing with and that you’re going to get along with them and that they have a knowledgeable staff.

STEVE:  Well, I’ve enjoyed through the years working with Mike and Jenny and the staff at Custom Pools, and what’s the best way for people to get a hold of you, Mike, to have a pool put in or have work done on their pool?

MIKE:  You can just get a hold of us at 952-933-2255, and we’ll help you any way we possibly can.  Thanks for having me, Steve.

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The Steve Westmark Team
RE/MAX Advantage Plus
14451 Highway 7 Suite 100
Minnetonka MN 55345
Fax: 952-241-1600