The ultimate guide to hiring a contractor

Sadly, most people who hire Elegant Painting, admit to having had a negative experience with their previous painters.  The majority of our clients are long-time homeowners.  Since 2004, we have been asking our client why they are looking for a new house painter, instead of hiring the last painter they worked with.  The following is a collection of dos and donts of hiring a painting contractor.

 

Contractor directories

These are websites that advertise phrases such as “top 90 painters in Bellevue” or ” Top 60 plumbers in Redmond”.  It’s a simple business model.  You set up a website and claim to put homeowners in touch with local pros.  Then you advertise the website using google ads.  When the calls come in, you sell those clients to local companies.  This service is free to home owners but the cost for this service is added to your bid.

Subcontracting firms

A subcontracting firm is a registered contractor who does not actually perform any home improvement work.  Another simple business model.  You register yourself as a contractor, which surprisingly easy to do in WA state.  Set up a website and advertise it using Google ads.  Once the calls come in, simply contact local businesses and sell them the client.  A large subcontracting firm can have dozens of companies who buy clients from them and they usually collect about 1/2 of the total for this service.l

The right primer for every job

Best Exterior Wood Primer

As of 2020, the longest lasting exterior primer is the Sherwin Williams® slow-dry oil-based primer.  The slow-dry action of this primer increases adhesion through extended bonding time.  This primer can be either rolled or sprayed and back-rolled.

Pros: Highly adhesive.  Block stains and tanning.

Cons:  Slow drying.  Requires pressure from a roller or brush to penetrate.  Not homeowner grade. Difficult to apply.  Not water clean-up

oil-based wood primer
primer bare siding

Best interior primer: millwork

Millwork that is stained/varnished requires oil-based primer.  While it still requires the varnished to be etched using very fine sand paper, Cover Stain Classic Oil 100 is our #1 choice.  This product adheres extremely well to sanded doors, baseboards, cabinets, and other previously unpainted interior surfaces.

Pros: Highly adhesive.  Block stains and tanning. Fast drying.  Once dry, it sands smooth.

Cons:  Toxic formula. Very thick and difficult to apply.  Requires high-pressure paint sprayers  Not water clean-up

interior primer
Redmond, WA

Sealing New texture or new sheetrock

We lean away from the standard sheetrock sealer, also known as PVA.  PVA is basically the cheapest form of sealant - absolute minimum required.  As standard interior water-based primer does a much better job of sealing new texture/sheetrock.  Our favorite right now is the Zinsser® SmartPrime®.

Pros: Excellent hide (it blocks and seals virtually anything).  Water-based.  Low odor.

Cons:  Best suitable for walls and ceilings.  May not adhere to surfaces previously painted with semigloss or gloss sheen.

primer woodinville 98077

Sealing rusty pipes

Rust tends to bleed through most primer and paints.  For rusty pipes, after sanding and cleaning,  we use the mother of primers - Shellac-based BIN spray can.

Pros:  Adhesion 10/10.  Blocks all stains guaranteed.

Cons: Highly toxic and flammable.  Foul smell.  Toxic fumes.  Use only in extreme situations where other primers have failed.

bin primer 98077

When painting over walls & ceilings previously painted with high-sheen paints

If your walls and ceilings are currently painted with semi-gloss, gloss, or high-gloss sheen, you must prime before changing color.  For this application, we like any fast drying oil based primer.  KILZ Premium 3 is an excellent choice for most situations. .

Pros:  Adhesion 10/10.  Blocks all stains guaranteed.  Sticks to high-sheen previous coats perfectly.

Cons: Toxic fumes.  Paint-thinner smell.

kilz interior

17 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your House

Originally published on Redfin

Selling your house can be both exciting and stressful, especially if it’s your first time. Regardless of why you decided to sell your home, there are a number of pitfalls you can easily fall into, making your home selling experience less than ideal. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of the most common home selling mistakes people make so you can sell your home knowing you have your bases covered. 

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Underestimating the cost of selling your house

While you should ultimately profit from the sale of your home, many home sellers forget about the costs associated with selling a house. For starters, you should expect to use five to six percent of the total sale price of your home to cover the commissions of both the seller and buyer agents. For example, if you sell your home for $300,000 you could wind up paying upwards of $18,000 in commission. 

Furthermore, this hefty cost doesn’t include possible concessions homebuyers might want you to make during the negotiation phase, such as making repairs suggested by a home inspector.

Not budgeting for your move

When you consider the moving process, you have two options: hiring a moving company or borrow your buddy’s truck and doing it yourself. 

By hiring a moving company, rather than doing it yourself, you’re getting someone who will pack, move, and then unpack your belongings. This means that a full-service mover can be well worth the investment when you’re preoccupied with all of the other tasks associated with selling your home. Not to mention, when you hire movers your belongings are insured so you’re covered if anything breaks.

Selling a house you owe more on than what it’s worth

If you still have a remaining balance on your mortgage, you’ll most likely use a portion of the sale proceeds of your home to pay off the existing mortgage. Make sure you don’t owe more on your mortgage than what your house is actually worth or you won’t make enough money on the sale to pay off your mortgage. The best option is almost always to wait on selling your home so that it can build more equity. This way you can sell your home and buy a new one without having two mortgages at the same

You may also be interested in : 2019 Paint Tips and Trends for Homeowners

Pricing your home incorrectly

If you price your home too high, your home may fall into seller’s limbo, sitting on the market for what feels like an eternity. On the other hand, if you price too low then you will likely sell your home quickly but you risk missing out on a significant amount of money. 

The first step to understanding how much your home is worth is utilizing an online calculator. Afterward, meet with your real estate agent to discuss a good pricing strategy for your home. They will look at other comparable properties in your neighborhood that sold recently as well as bring keen insights into what the housing market is currently doing. Together, you’ll determine a good starting price as well as a pricing strategy that will incentivize buyers if your house begins to sit on the market for too long.

Skipping a pre-listing home inspection

Selling a house is stressful enough, even when everything goes right. But if a homebuyer hires an inspector who catches an issue like mold, pests, or a cracked foundation, then your stress levels will multiply as you risk losing a potential sale entirely.

Given the affordability of home inspections, there’s not much reason to avoid them. Getting a pre-listing home inspection will put your mind at ease as you’ll either know that your home is in sound condition or you’ll be able to tackle problems before homebuyers have the chance to bring them up during the negotiation phase. If an issue does arise, you can either fix it or you can let buyers know and then make a concession during the negotiation phase by reducing the price of your home accordingly. 

Not refinishing hardwood floors or cleaning your carpet

If you’re reading this at home, look down. How do your floors look? Even if they don’t look terrible, there’s a pretty good chance they’re starting to show their age. Since potential buyers are going to be inspecting every aspect of your home, you should start thinking of refinishing your hardwood floors and cleaning your carpet.

The best time to have your carpet cleaned or hardwood floors refinished is right before you stage your home. Since you’ll already be moving most (or all) of your furniture to either a new home or a storage unit, this is a great time to get your floors done and make them a selling point to potential homebuyers.

Not staging your home for a quick sale

The main point of staging your home is to allow potential homebuyers the chance to picture themselves living in your space. They get to see a home with furniture and art that’s arranged in a way that highlights key features of your home, rather than an empty house that echoes every sound. Staging your home pays off too as 21 percent of agents told the National Association of Realtors that staging a home increased its’ sale price by as much as 10 percent, making it a worthwhile investment. 

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Forgoing professional real estate photos

With the advent of cameras on smartphones, everyone likes to think of themselves as a photographer these days. Even though that picture you took of your dinner last week looked like it could be featured in advertisements, you’re still probably not ready to take your own real estate photos. A real estate photographer will make sure that your home looks great when you list it because not only do they have the equipment, they understand the angles that best sell a home. 

If you have a large home, a stunning view you want to show off, or a large amount of land, you may also want to consider having aerial photos taken of your home. The views that drones are able to capture are impressive and can help show off your home in a way that will make sure it stands out from other houses in your area that are on the market. Even better, drone technology makes this option more affordable than ever before, allowing you to get a lot more bang for your buck.

Trying to sell a poorly lit home

You want to show your home in the best light, so take the time to really gauge the quality of your lighting by closing your curtains/blinds and looking at each room as though you’re a potential homebuyer. Make a note of any rooms that are poorly lit or just seem dark and then call an electrician so that you can have some additional lighting installed. 

Even worse than a poorly lit room, however, is when the lights don’t work at all. Sometimes the light bulb is just burnt out, while other times the socket itself is in need of repair. Consider calling an electrician before you begin showing your home to make sure it’s shining its brightest. Potential buyers (and your bank account) will thank you for the investment.

Not making your home energy efficient

If you’d like to spend less on your utility bills, you aren’t alone. A study by the National Association of Realtors found that 33 percent of homebuyers see high-efficiency HVAC systems as an important factor when looking at a new home. If you have an older home, you should look into either retrofitting or replacing your HVAC unit altogether as your current system might be using a lot more energy than it needs to be. This will ensure that you have a system that is meeting your home’s needs, while also lowering your utility bill.

If you’re committed to energy-efficiency then there are a few extra things you can do. These options include making sure your home is properly insulated, ensuring that you don’t have any leaky air ducts, and buying a smart thermostat. Whichever route you pursue, having an energy-efficient HVAC system will make your house stand out from the competition. 

Not cleaning your house before trying to sell it

Most of us would probably be lying if we said our homes weren’t overdue for a good cleaning, so don’t forget to check this box before listing your home for sale. There’s nothing more off-putting during a home tour than realizing the house is dirty, and potential homebuyers may wonder what else you’ve been neglecting. By hiring a professional cleaning company, you’ll guarantee that not only is your home spotless but that you’re going to make a great impression on homebuyers when they tour your house. 

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Not addressing the exterior of your house

Over the years, your home’s exterior has taken a beating from the elements. With everything mother nature throws at it every year, the paint on your home’s exterior and the stain on your deck have likely lost a bit of their luster. So before listing, be sure to pressure wash your house first. In addition to making sure your house looks its best in the listing photos, you will also enhance the overall curb appeal when buyers eventually show up for a tour. 

In addition to pressure washing your house and deck, you can also take the time to pressure wash your garage door, fence, patio, driveway, and any walkways you may have. 

You never got around to repainting

One of the first things a potential buyer will notice when they pull up to your home is the paint. If you want to make a good first impression, then you’ll need to ensure that your home is painted an inviting color and that the quality of your paint job is top-notch. While the job of repainting your house might take a few days, the value of painting your house before selling will be well worth the effort.  A recent study found that painting the exterior of your home has a 51 percent return on investment. 

painters redmond WA

Don’t stop with the exterior though! We’ve all seen some pretty questionable color choices on the walls of homes. If you happen to have a lime green or bright purple wall, you’ll want to repaint them to be a more buyer-friendly neutral color. Doing so will make it easier for buyers to be able to picture themselves living in your home as it makes them think of your walls as a blank canvas.

Selling a home with a yard in need of some TLC

The other way to make a great first impression is by wowing potential buyers with your yard. Start by cleaning up anything that may be cluttering your yard, porch, or pathways (things like gardening equipment or a child’s bicycle). Then you can move onto mowing the lawn, weeding your garden, and planting some new flowers. If your yard has a damaged pathway, you may also want to think about fixing or even replacing it as well. 

If these touch-ups seem like a lot to tackle while you’re trying to sell your home, don’t be afraid to hire a landscaper as the cost is well worth it. A study by Turf Magazine found that a home’s value tended to increase by as much as 10 to 12 percent after making upgrades to the landscaping.

You have mismatched appliances

Maybe your black stove died a couple of years ago and you replaced it with a brand new stainless steel one. Or maybe you swapped out that white kitchen faucet you always hated with a copper one that caught your eye. Either way, the result is mismatched appliances. While it won’t necessarily impact the overall sale price of your home, many homebuyers are going to find the mismatched color scheme off-putting, so consider making some changes before you sell. 

The best way to proceed is to decide which kitchen appliances are your favorite and base the color scheme off of them. So if that fancy new stove you bought last year is stainless steel, then make sure your other appliances are too. Luckily, many appliance manufacturers offer discounts if you purchase multiple appliances with them at once.

Lingering during a home tour

Nobody likes a lingerer, especially when they also happen to be the owner of the home you’re currently touring. If you don’t leave the home during a showing, then potential buyers feel awkward as they attempt to discuss what they like and dislike about the house. You also prevent your listing agent from being able to do their job to the best of their abilities as you’re naturally going to want to answer any questions the buyers have rather than leaving those questions to your agent. So instead of staying in your home during a showing, try taking the opportunity to go shopping, run errands, or visit some friends instead. Your agent will thank you.

Taking a Lowball Offer Personally

Regardless of your reasons for moving, the fact that you’ve probably lived in your home for years means that you have a lot of strong feelings attached to it. So when you receive a lowball offer, it’s natural to be offended. 

Instead of walking away, send them back a counteroffer that you and your real estate agent think is fair. If they really are interested, then you’ll be glad you didn’t let your emotions get the better of you.

2019 Paint Tips and Trends for Homeowners

7 DIY Ways To Improve Your Home Before Selling

7 DIY Ways To Improve Your Home Before Selling

If you are looking to sell your house fast and get the best value for it then you should probably start improving it early. There are some simple do it yourself home improvements you can make that will uplift the look of your house and make it stand out in order to attract potential buyers. Whereas remodeling sounds expensive and you may be on a budget the following pocket-friendly tips will leave your house looking classy and new.

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Woodinville painters

1. Keep it clean

Selling your home is all about first impressions. You want buyers to fall in love from the first viewing. The path leading to your house should be clean. If you have a yard or a garden make sure they are trimmed and the lawn recently manicured. The house should be sparkly clean as well. Clean everywhere in the house and consider hiring professional help for all your carpets. Remember to buff all the wooden surfaces as well.

2. Lighting

It is important for you to let natural light take over your house whenever you schedule a viewing. Dark spaces should be eliminated. Clean all your windows and blinds and leave them wide open for some fresh air to enter all the rooms. Check that all your bulbs are working and replace dim lights with new bright ones. You can spruce up the living room by adding a chandelier if you have the money for it.

3. A fresh coat of paint

New paint gives your home an improved image. Paint all your interior and exterior walls. If you want to appeal to a large number of people then consider neutral colors.

4. Home staging to sell

This helps potential clients envision themselves living the kind of lifestyle that you have staged your house to depict. It helps if you declutter the house and rid it from personal items. Keep it simple with bright furniture and unique accessories. Spice it up with good wall art or a mirror. Mirrors are especially helpful as their reflective nature opens up a room making it seem spacious and less cramped up.

5. Change all your fittings

Replace your door knobs and light fittings to encompass a modern design for modern homes. Replace all loose light fittings and broken taps. Check if your floor has broken skirtings and replace them. Fittings include having a good electrical system. Check that your doorbell is working and that your sprinklers are not blocked. Ensure that your house can pass a standard home safety inspection test.

6. Kitchen

These are very sensitive areas. Replace all broken kitchen appliances. Restore your kitchen with a modern version of common kitchen appliances like microwaves and dishwashers. Keep all kitchen surfaces sparkly clean.

7. House plants

Most people appreciate nature and plants give life to any home. Improve your home by going green. Place a few houseplants in the living room.

Even though you can do most of these home improvements on your own, consider having a second opinion from a professional. A professional eye will guide you on the areas that you need to improve on to get the best value for your house.

stihl power washer br800

Review STIHL Pressure washer

STIHL Pressure washer BR800

The claim

According to STIHL, the BR800 is a professional grade pressure washer built for daily commercial use.

Pressure washer stihl

Test of time

2-month update: We have pressure washed roughly 20 single family residntial homes. All homes between 2800 and 6000 square feet. Our new machine has been perfect. It has started on the first pull every single time!! (with pressure released)

6-month update:

1-year update:

What we love about our Stihl washer

Vibration dampers

A first notable feature is vibration dampers. With all of our other pressure washers, the body begins to fall apart within the first 20 jobs. STIHL attempts to solve this issue by adding engine vibration dampers between the motor and the pressure washer body. The pump and the motor vibrate, but the body of the power washer remains very steady!

Stihl pressure washer rubber vibration damper

This pressure washer starts easy!

This is the easiest starting pressure washer we have ever owned. Assuming you have released pressure and kept the trigger pulled while pulling the rope, a gentle pull on the rope is all that is need! We have washed about 20 homes with our new Stihl machine, and not once has is not started with the first pull!

Pump oil view window

Unlike most other washers, the Stihl washer has a large and easy to see pump oil viewing window

Pump oil window view stihl

Tip holders that actually hold the tips

These tip holders actually hold the tips snugly.  Combined with the fact that this machine does not vibrate, your tips are sure to never be lost.

See this pressure washer on Stihl website

You might also be interested in How to change motor oil on a Dewalt Pressure washer

2019 Paint Tips and Trends for Homeowners

elegant painting

Read this article on Redfin

Whether you’re planning on painting the interior or exterior of your home, adding a fresh coat of paint is one of the simplest ways to update your space.

We’ve worked with paint experts to answer homeowner’s most frequent questions – ensuring that your summer paint projects go off without a hitch.

1. Should I Pick Interior Paint Color or Furniture First?

When designing a room, New Look Painting recommends always deciding on your furniture first. Then use your furniture for inspiration in choosing your wall colors. Subtleties and undertones in paint colors are more easily matched to the furniture than the other way around. By opting to paint your walls first and then purchasing the furniture, you may find yourself repainting the walls to match your new decor.

2. Can I Paint Over Wallpaper? Or Should I Remove It?

Supreme Painting explains that short answer is yes, but if possible the wallpaper should be removed prior to adding a texture or painting. If the water in the paint gets to the glue, it might release the paper from the wall causing bubbles in the wallpaper which would be noticeable after painting. If you just have to paint over wallpaper, it is a good idea to prime it with an oil-based primer to seal and protect from water.

3. What Type of Paint Should I use to Make a Room Look Bigger?

Elegant Painting recommends four steps for making a room look bigger with paint:

  1. Choose similar shades of the same color for walls, ceilings, and trim. In other words, minimize the contrast between surfaces. Choosing contrasting colors will divide up your space and make it appear smaller.
  2. Stick to lighter colors. Stay with whites and off-whites. Light grays and taupe are great choices as well.
  3. Choose Sherwin William’s® high reflective white for the ceiling. High reflective white is a very bright white that will make your ceilings appear higher.
  4. Order lighter shades of your favorite colors. Most paint stores can mix your colors at 50% or 25%.

4. What About if I’m Trying to Avoid Toxins While Painting my Home Interior?

Paint Green has found that choosing your type of paint has the biggest impact on exposure to toxins. It’s easy to avoid the harmful chemicals of past times by using non-toxic paint and materials. In the rare occasion that you need to use toxic paint indoors, keeping your windows open and fans on for 24-48 hours after painting will help.

Better yet, take a vacation while the project is going on for the best (and most fun) way to avoid the vapors and off-gassing.

House painters Redmond, WA

House painters Redmond, WA – Elegant Painting®.

  • No subcontractors

    masking cabinet

    When you enter into an agreement with many painters, they then hire a cheaper contractor willing to do the job for half of the cost. Result; a questionable service for which you paid 200%

    We ensure consistency; our team members are directly employed, trained, and insured through Elegant Painting®.  We follow our specific process precisely as it is promised in your free estimate document.

  • We make sure you love your colors!

    Your free estimate includes our expert color consultation; formulated to achieve a look and feel you are guaranteed to love. Read more

    clyde hill color consultation house painters

  • We want you to be comfortable doing business with us

    Every one of our free estimates comes with a list of references, a copy of our current WA state contractor’s license, proof of insurance, and a copy of our certificate of bond.  Exterior estimates include maps of homes we have painted in your immediate area.

    remond painting companies

  • We have painted over 100 houses in every city on the Eastside

    All exterior projects include maps of model homes in your immediate area! We encourage our new clients to take a drive and see our work in person! There are multiple neighborhoods on the Eastside where you could go for a short walk around the block and view dozens of homes painted by ELEGANT PAINTING®.house painters redmond

  • Our focus is on precision and durability, rather than speed and volume.

    Our average exterior or partial interior project usually requires 3-5 days to complete.  We follow the paint manufacturer’s preparation and application methods to produce the most durable coating possible. Check out more on our interior painting and exterior painting.

  • We live and work on the Eastside

    Elegant Painting®

    11717 NE 144TH PL
    KIRKLAND, WA98034

    Phone: (425) 242-4646
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    Phone: (425) 242-4646

  • Our quote is guaranteed not to change

    Once your project begins, our price is guaranteed not to increase for any reason.

  • We follow manufacturer’s application instructions

    No “quick-spray”.  We back-roll the siding.  This method forces the paint into the grain and rubs any trapped air out of the texture. Read more on the importance of back-rolling.


  • Southside exposure treatment

    We know exactly what to do about peeling paint.  This process focuses on removing any existing failed coats, applying one solid coat of penetrating oil-based primer, and back-rolling 2 coats of premium grade Sherwin Williams® exterior paint. Read more.

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  • Wall & ceiling paints with no carcinogens!

    Paints and finishes release low-level toxic emissions into the air for years after application. The source of these toxins is a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which, until recently, were essential to the performance of the paint.

    New environmental regulations and consumer demand have led to the development of low-VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes. These new paints are durable, cost-effective and less harmful to human and environmental health.

  • We offer you, in writing, a guarantee on workmanship precision

    We offer you a piece of mind with our technically correct comprehensive precision guarantee.

    Exterior precision guarantee

    Interior precision guarantee

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