Time to get Ready for Colder Months Ahead

Real Estate Corner

With Autumn almost here, homeowners should act now to make sure that their property is ready to “weather” the rain that (hopefully) lies soon ahead.

DEAR DAVE: I recently noticed that the paint is blistering on one of my home’s exterior walls. What causes this?

ANSWER: Blistering or bubbling is triggered when the paint’s adhesive qualities begin to deteriorate, causing the paint to separate from the wood or other type of construction material that it’s covering.

I’m glad that you found the blistering now rather than later. Your question is also a good reminder that all homeowners should inspect the outside of their home before autumn arrives this week and the colder, wetter weather begins.

Any number of factors may have contributed to your paint’s blistering problem, a spokesperson for Cleveland-based Sherman-Williams Co. (www.sherman-williams.com) said. Perhaps the coat was applied in direct sunlight on a wall that was too warm, or it’s an oil-based or alkyd paint that was applied over a damp or wet surface.

Maybe the blistering is being caused because there’s moisture on an interior wall that’s migrating to the outside, or there’s water that’s creeping directly into the exterior wall from, say, a missing shingle on the roof or a worn-out window seal.

Or perhaps the wall wasn’t properly “prepped” when the coat was originally applied, painting over mold or some other containment that negates the effectiveness of the paint’s adhesive qualities.

You can probably fix the problem on your own if you’re a skilled do-it-yourselfer. Otherwise, you’ll need to hire a professional to do the work.

That said, with the beginning of Autumn just a week away, this is a good time for homeowners to do a thorough inspection of the exterior of their home to make sure that it’s ready for the colder and damper months ahead.

Start by checking the foundation of your home for cracks. Repairing them now will be a lot easier and less-expensive than waiting to deal with the issue later. Don’t forget to check your driveway or the floor of your garage and fix any fissures there so they won’t soak-up water.

Caulk around windows, doors, and any other opening where wires or pipes enter the house in order to prevent heat from escaping from the inside and raising your utility bills.

Of course, you also need to make sure that your roof is in good shape. That’s usually a job that’s best left to roofing pros, who’ll look for any missing or faulty shingles or tiles and repair or replace them to help prevent water damage when the rain or snow arrives.

Also make sure that your rain gutters and downspouts are also clear of debris. Flush any remaining residue out with a garden hose, check the joints that hold the system together, and tighten any loose clamps or screws that keep it firmly attached to the roof and exterior walls.

If you have a chimney, make sure that it has been professionally swept in the past year or two. Built-up soot, fallen leaves or animal nests can pose fire or smoke risks.

Besides, if the chimney isn’t clean, Santa Claus will have a tough time coming down it a few months from now.

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REAL ESTATE TRIVIA: Sherwin-Williams has announced that its 2018 “color-of-the-year” is a blue-green mixture of paint called “Oceanside.” It looks great on front doors, the company says, and claims it “can also boost creative thinking and clarity of thought in a home office or invite meditation and introspection into a bedroom or reading nook.”

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DEAR DAVE: When I buy a house, would the furniture be included?

ANSWER: No, not unless you include it in your purchase-offer. Otherwise, the sellers are free to take their furniture and other personal possessions with them.

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DEAR DAVE: My brother lives in Santa Monica and is going through a long, nasty divorce. His attorney now wants to put a lien on his house to ensure that the lawyer is paid when the is divorce is finally settled. Isn’t this unusual? Is it even legal?

ANSWER: Yes, it’s unusual. But yes, it’s also legal.

California and some other states allow the participant in a divorce or other family-law case to voluntarily sign a “family law attorney’s real property lien,” commonly referred to as a FLARPL. It’s primarily used by equity-rich homeowners, one or both of whom don’t have enough hard cash to pay a lawyer for representation on a regular basis over the course of protracted divorce proceedings.

A FLARPL allows an attorney to have equity in only their client’s interest in the divorcing couple’s house or other real property.

To illustrate, let’s say that John and Jane Doe have a combined $100,000 equity in their house. John wants to sue for divorce, but he doesn’t have cash to pay for adequate legal representation regarding future ownership of the home, custody of the kids, child support and the like.

If John and an attorney sign a FLARPL and a judge approves it, John can pledge his $50,000 half-interest in the house to his divorce lawyer. The lawyer will then represent John with little or no pay throughout the proceedings.

John’s attorney only gets paid when the divorce decree is issued and the house is sold.

Most regular readers of this column know that I am not fond of attorneys. Lawyers don’t like me, either, but they like FLARPLs even less.

Such arrangements “’are not favored by attorneys,” said a spokesperson for Cage & Miles, a big law firm based in San Diego.

“They are considered to be the least-attractive means for securing that fees will be paid, mainly because they must wait until the end of the case and the end of the sale of the house to get paid.

“The positive side is that when they do get paid, they get paid in full.”

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Our booklet, “Straight Talk about Living Trusts,” explains how even low- and middle-income homeowners can now reap the same benefits that creating an inexpensive trust once provided only to the wealthiest families. For a copy, send $4 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to D. Myers/Trust, P.O. Box 4405, Culver City, CA 90231-4405. Net proceeds this month will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project to help disabled vets and their loved ones.


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