Catherine Albiani's Blog
You love your tiles. But they don't seem to do your bathroom justice anymore. Ask yourself, is it the tiles themselves, or what's in between that makes you cringe? Is the grout cracked, faded, yellowish or gray?
Breathe new life into a dirty-looking bathroom tile floor, kitchen backsplash or tile shower by simply re-grouting the tiles and polishing them. Here's how to do it.
What you'll need
- Margin float
- Earplugs (if you're using a rotary. It's loud!)
- Two sponges
- Safety glasses
- Two buckets
- Manual grout removal tool with a carbide blade
- Rotary tool or reciprocating saw (not needed for small jobs)
- One cup vinegar (for polishing)
Step 1: choose the right tool for the job
A rotary tool or reciprocating saw is faster. But you'll have to be extra careful not to damage a tile. And if you don't have a rotary tool, you'll need to buy or borrow. For these reasons, generally, you'll only want to go to this option if you have a larger space to re-grout like a master bathroom.
On the other hand, removing grout manually can be tedious and slow at times. *Pro tip* For smaller jobs, start with a manual tool. You can always switch to a power tool if you find you don't have the patience.
Step 2: remove the existing grout
Start by putting on your safety glasses and ear protection if using a power tool. Whether using a manual tool or electric, slowly guide your instrument through the in-between, cutting out the grout. *Pro tip* Start in a less seen area of the room like behind the door or toilet. That way, if you do make a mistake (break a tile) when learning how to use the tool, it's less of a deal-breaker, and you won't feel you must replace the tile.
Step 3: mix & apply the grout
Once you have found the home that you want to live in, put in the offer, and start the process of closing on a home, you may feel like you’re “home free.” The hard part may technically be over, but there’s one more important thing that you need to think about before you get the keys to your place: Closing costs.
A few days before you head to sign all of your paperwork to close on the home, your lender will send you a detailed report of different closing costs that you need to pay upon the settlement of the property.
Closing Costs Defined
Closing costs are what you pay to the lender and third parties. These are due at the time of closing on the property and must be paid up front. You should estimate that your closing costs will be between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price of the home.
Everything Included In Closing Costs
Closing costs cover both one-time and recurring fees that are a part of your home purchase. The one-time fees are things that are generally associated with buying the home. These would include attorneys fees, lender fees, home inspection fees, document prep fees, underwriting fees, credit report fees, and realtor fees. You’ll also need a bank issued check for your down payment at this time.
At closing, an escrow account will be set up. This is like a forced savings account that will be drawn from to cover things like taxes, insurance, loan interest, and title insurance. These are all very important costs that are a part of buying a home.
Do Your Homework Ahead Of Time
The best way to deal with closing costs is to be prepared ahead of time. Talk to your lender in order to get an estimate of the closing costs. From there, you’ll need to decide if you need to finance your closing costs or simply pay them up front. There are advantages to both approaches. Sometimes, lenders will look at you as less favorable if you need to finance all of your closing costs. It all depends on the terms of your loan. This is why research is vital.
Compare Rates And Lenders
It’s important not to go with the first lender you talk to. Get some recommendations from your realtor and friends to see who might be a good fit for you. Every lender specializes in something different, so you want to be sure that who you chose is a good fit for you.
The most important thing that you can do with closing costs and the financing of your home is to get educated!
For generations, people have been saying that "the kitchen is the heart of the home." The meaning of that expression is open to interpretation, but just about everyone would agree that kitchens are generally a relaxing place where family and friends congregate.
Although there are a lot of things to consider when searching for just the right house that meets your needs, the size of your next kitchen and its practicality are important things to keep in mind. If you enjoy hosting dinner parties and family gatherings, a large kitchen with plenty of seating room and counter space is highly desirable.
In addition to the fact that you need space to prepare and serve food, you may also need room to put out snacks, hors d'oeuvres, and beverages. If your objective is to serve meals "buffet style" or "family style," then you'll also want to line up the necessary supplies, such as plates, napkins, utensils, cups, and condiments.
While a large, open kitchen is not absolutely essential to the success of a dinner party or holiday gathering, it does provide convenience, food serving options, and more mingling space. If you end up buying a home with a narrow galley kitchen, then you'll have to rely more on adjoining rooms for entertaining guests and serving food.
On a day-to-day basis, spacious eat-in kitchens are usually much more practical for busy families, too. Otherwise, space is at a premium and family members may find themselves bumping into each other as they prepare meals, wash cookware, or put away dishes. As you can imagine (or have experienced first-hand), a claustrophobic kitchen does not lend itself to family harmony! On the other hand, having a place where family members can comfortably sit across from each other at meal time lends itself to open communication and, hopefully, better family relations.
Other characteristics of an "ideal kitchen" might include energy-efficient appliances, a floor that's both attractive and spill resistant, and sufficient lighting in food preparation and eating areas. If homes you're considering don't have dimmer switches, that's a relatively simple and inexpensive feature to install -- preferably with the help of an electrician. Having the ability to soften the intensity of light will enable you to decrease the room's brightness and transition to a "relaxation mode" at the end of the day. Being able to turn the brightness back up will come in handy for paying bills at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper (if you don't access it online), helping your kids with their homework, or playing cards or board games.
Whether your kitchen requirements include stainless steel appliances, a quartz or granite island with a gas stove, or just plenty of room for a large kitchen table and chairs, your real estate agent will work with you to find the home that best matches your needs, lifestyle, and budget.
38 Bear Hill Rd, Reading, MA 01867
Moving across town should be a little less stressful than moving from one state to another, but it does require some thinking ahead and careful planning. If you’re tackling a cross-town move, the better you plan, the easier the move will go. Here are some tips to make your move as easy as possible.
1. Purge Before Moving Day
Sure, you may not be paying professional movers for their help, but why pay to move items you really don’t need in your new home? Before moving day, take time to declutter your home and get rid of those items you just don’t need or use anymore. This will make moving day easier on everyone.
2. Decide Who Will Help
Moving cross-town can mean eliminating the moving company, but it doesn’t have to. Sometimes you can find enough friends and family who are willing to help you haul boxes and furniture to your new place, but you may find that professional movers can do the job more quickly and safely.
If you opt to have friends or family help, line up extra help in case someone has a conflict when moving day arrives. If you opt for local moving services, be prepared to pay by the hour for the help. Decide who is going to help with your move, and start setting up your help early so you can be certain it’s ready on moving day.
3. Overlap Time Frames
If you can, try to schedule the closing on your new house a few weeks before you have to move out of your current house or apartment. This will give you the freedom to tackle some of your moving tasks before your big move day. It will also give you the chance to paint, renovate, or clean before you move in.
4. Move in Stages
If you are able to close on your new place before your move-out date at your existing place, then you can begin moving items over slowly in the few weeks leading up to your big move. By doing so, you can limit the amount of work on moving day to just your large pieces of furniture and your most important household items.
5. Use the Containers You Have
When you aren’t moving across the country, you don’t have to pack everything into a moving box. Use your laundry baskets and other containers you already have to transport some items to your new home. Unload these containers, and return for another load. This can help cut down on the cost of your moving supplies.
There is a measure of freedom that comes from moving across town instead of across the country. Use these tips to make your cross-town move as affordable and as minimally stressful as possible.