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Grout Cleaning: The Secrets to Success

The solution to dirty grout may be in your pantry. Grout lines are magnets for dirt and grime, and dingy grout can detract from the good looks of pretty tile.

Eliminate dirty grout for good with these tips and tricks.

If your grout looks dull and dingy, a good cleaning will have it looking fresh and new.

Cleaning options range from the commercial, to the completely natural.

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Before beginning to clean with any product, prep the area by wiping it down with a wet cloth.

One natural cleaning solution is simple paste of two parts baking soda and one water. Use a grout brush or an old toothbrush to apply the paste to the grout lines. To get twice the scrubbing power, use an old electric toothbrush. Clean all of the grout lines then rinse the area with water.

If your stain is stained or discolored replace the water with vinegar in the baking soda paste. Careful it doesn’t bubble over. Apply the paste to the grout and allow it to set a few minutes before scrubbing. Then rinse well.

If you have coarse tiles, such as marble test this method in an inconspicuous area since the acidic vinegar could stain the tile.

Hydrogen peroxide is a less acidic option than vinegar. Mix one part peroxide with two parts baking soda. Apply this paste to the grout, scrub and rinse.

There are also plenty of commercial grout cleaners designed to do the job. Just follow the manufacturer’s directions to clean your group when using these products.

No matter which cleaning option you choose, all the grout to dry for 24-hours then use a sealer to preserve all of your hard work.  Whether you use store-bought cleaners, or go with a natural option, clean grout improves the look and extends the life of your tile.

 

All my best,

 

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

Pros and Cons of Pet Friendly Rentals

Rental owners and property managers have to make some hard decisions to make when it comes to what is allowable in their rentals and what is not.

Deciding to allow or prohibit pets might be one of those tough decisions.

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We thought we would help by outlining the pros and cons of running a pet-friendly rental property.

 

Properties that allow pets should expect to attract a wider range of applicants. Most pet owners tent to be more responsible because they are assuming responsibility for their animal. Similar to parents, they ten to lease longer. This might be because there are less places to choose from.

 

Property owners and managers should know the laws of their local state regarding service animals so as to avoid any legal issues.

 

Cons of Allowing Pets

 

Normally people don’t have any problem with the pet owner themselves but it is the pet thay can/may cause problems. Some problems to consider:

  • Dogs may bite, threaten or annoy other residents.
  • Other renters could have serious allergies to pets.
  • Pets can cause odors and make messes.
  • Some insurance companies may raise premiums for some kinds of pets.

 

Pros of Having a Pet Friendly Rental

 

One thing to consider when allowing pets in is that you can offset risk and costs because you have the opportunity to earn more money.

  • Charge extra fees or even non-refundable cleaning deposits to pet owners.
  • Potentially charge higher rent.
  • Increased occupancy rates in some properties that have been difficult to rent.

 

The first thing rental owner and property managers should check on is their insurance premiums. Some insurers will allow most breeds of dogs, cats, fish and birds with minimal or even no additional charge.  You don’t have to allow all kinds of pets. It is also a good idea to require renters to purchase renters insurance to cover their own liability, keep dogs on leashes when they are outside, clean up waste on a timely manner, etc.

 

It is only natural to consider charging an additional pet fee or deposit for cats and gods.

 

Ultimately it is up you as the person in charge of your renters.

 

All my best,

 

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

8 Natural Ways To Make Your Home Smell Amazing

After last week’s post on evictions, I chose to lighten up the mood this week. You are in your home or rental trying to make it your own, now let’s make it yours by making it smell good. 

Your house can be cleaned fresh smelling all day when you use a DIY- all natural room smell. All you need for this first one is a mason jar, rosemary, vanilla extract and lemon. You’ll be amazed at how deliciously clean your home smells. (House of Hawthornes Tutorial)

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It may be cold out but that doesn’t mean you can’t have your home smelling like a fresh, spring breeze. What do you need for this? Some kind or spray bottle or jar, water, vodka (yes I said vodka) and lilac oil. Enjoy! (At the Picket Fence Tutoral)

 

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If you have carpets or rugs, you can freshen them with this homemade carpet powder. Sprinkle a mixture of this on your carpets, let sit for 5-30 minutes, vacuum and enjoy the scent about the house.  Ingredients: Baking soda, dried rosemary, lavender oil (you only need a little bit) (By Brittany Goldwyn Tutoral)

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Pre-made simmering pot recipes. You need:

  1. Mint and grapefruit, mason jar, lid and tag of some sort,
  2. Rosemary and lemon (see above), mason jar, lid and tag
  3. Lime, mint and ginger, mason jar, lid and tag

Note: these are great gifts to have premade for any ole occasion. (Two Purple Couches Tutorial)

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Don’t throw away empty plug in air fresheners. Just add your favorite essential oil and water to it. Reuse the glass container.  (Mom 4 Real Tutorial)

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This one is my favorite! If you re not a fan of smoky candles, you’ll love this. Made up of water-absorbing polymer, cinnamon oil, orange oil, and water. Delicious. (Shaken Together Life Tutorial)

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Cranberry Orange Potpourri

This just makes me hungry thinking about it. All you need for this is cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, rosemary and cranberry and oranges.  Bring to a boil on the stove, then simmer. (Liz Marie Blog Tutorial)

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DIY Reed Diffuser

Glass container, rattan reeds, alcohol, almond oil and essential oil.  (Mom 4 Real Tutorial)

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Enjoy. We love helping you make your house a home.

 

All my best,

 

Teresa

 


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

2 Random Facts You Didn’t Know

Random Fact #1.

 

This random fact can be found in your garage.

As we look into your garage, you’re probably worried that I am critically taking in the space, but in reality, I’m probably just looking at the color of your car. Did you know that the color of your car shapes others opinions about you and your personality?

 

What color is your car?

  1. Blue: You are chill and laid back.
  2. Black: You like to lead in a quiet kind of way.
  3. White: Honest comes from every part of you.
  4. Silver: You like adventure and fun.
  5. Green: You are other focused and love to give back.
  6. Gray: You are distinguished and refined.
  7. Red: Go getter who has purpose and passion.

 

Random Fact #2:

OK, so that is one random fact you might have known, but this next one might surprise you.

Shaving cream has 4 remarkable uses around your home.

  1. Remove mildew from grout. Mix it with bleach, leave it overnight and watch the magic.
  2. Degrease your carpet. Let stand for 5 minutes and vacuum.
  3. Fix a squeaky hinge. Now your door will move with ease and completely noise free.
  4. Fog free mirrors. Wipe it on a mirror, buff off and see yourself through the fog.

What other random things do you know that would help others in their home sweet home?

 

We want to help you keep your house a home.

Cheers,

Teresa

Washing Up The Laundry Facts

laundry

Laundry is a never ending job.

 

So let’s take a moment to check out your laundry room. Take a moment to assess your washer and dryer health? Did you buy them in the last 10 years? Front loading? Energy efficient?  If they are, great. Your laundry room is in good order. If they are not, you might consider the a trip to Sears.

 

The more advanced your equipment is (more moving parts) the shorter it’s life span will tend to be.

 

Consumer reports dictate that if your repair costs more than ½ of the cost to replace it, you should buy a new one so that repair bills don’t get out of hand.

 

Front loading washers and dryers look cooler and generally save thousands of gallons of water every year. Your water bill will thank you.

 

Did you know new dryers have a sensor that detects moisture and will stop the dryer when clothes are dry? Your electric bill just lowered. I know I used to turn on my machine and let it run endlessly, and then I fluffed the clothes – wasting loads of precious energy.

 

Sometime your local utility company will have rebates for newer washer and dryers. Check into it to see if you can save even more. There may also be a tax credit for energy efficient washers and dryers.

 

Speaking of appliances, we’d love to have you guess the live expectancy of the following:

  1. Air conditioner?  10, 14 or 18 year?
  2. Dishwasher? 8, 10 or 12 years?
  3. Dryer? 10, 12 or 14 years?
  4. Washing machine? 10, 13 or 15 years
  5. Electric Range? 10, 15 or 17 years?
  6. Gas Range? 14, 16 or 19 years?
  7. Garbage Disposal? 10, 12 or 14 years?
  8. Microwave? 10, 11 or 12 years?
  9. Refrigerator? 10, 12 or 14 years?

 

The answers may surprise you: AC? 10 years. Dishwasher? 10 years. Dryer? 14 years. Washing machine? 13 years. Electric range? 17 years. Gas range? 19 years. Garbage disposal? 10 years. Microwave? 11 years. Refrigerator? 14 years (based on quality, usage and operating conditions).

 

Taking care of business keeps your house a home.

Cheers,

Teresa

Guests Are Coming: The House Is A Mess!

guest

Guests?

You know the phone call…the one where guests asks to stay at your home with little to no notice. If you do what I do, I go into panic mode first and then I go into action mode to get things done.

 

Where to start? As soon as you know the date they are coming, check your calendar for other things that may need to be moved or rearranged. Start a list of action items that need to be done in order to not lose all sanity.

 

Ask your guests if they have food allergies or dislikes you should know about. This is vital today when being a good host. If you have time, shop before they arrive and make sure you have clean, organic food and room for them to feel at home in your eating space. Ask them if they drink coffee, tea, etc.?

 

Tidy up your home. As you walk in, put yourself in your guest’s shoes. How will they feel in your home? What I find makes my guest relax is having enough space for them. Rid clutter and piles that can be a distraction to your quality time. After all, it is about being together when you come visit another.

 

Make sure the guest preparations are done. Towels. Tissue. Toilet Paper. Extra toothbrushes. Sample size shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and soap. Make the bed fresh just for them. There is nothing like a clean set of sheets. Sometimes, I envision how I’d want to be pampered in a fine hotel and that is the mood I want to create for my guests.

 

In my house, I enroll others to help. If you don’t live alone, use your housemates to help prep the home and if you do live alone, call a friend and ask for help; use it as an excuse to hang out while getting work done, tidying up and preparing.

 

Now to beautify. I do this through candles, flowers and just the little touches that make your guest feel welcome and loved. Your house is a home after all.

 

Cheers,

Teresa

 

Are The Closets In Your Home Causing You Undue Stress?

closet

I bet you can relate to this. You have a nice relaxing weekend and you rest well on Sunday night but then come Monday morning, you have to decide what to wear and it just starts your week off wrong because a) nothing fits b)you don’t like what you see c)you couldn’t find what you wanted, stress!

I have been there and done that. Part of my job as a Property Manager is to educate you about ways to love your home.

Simplifying your closet is a great place to start. Perhaps you spend too much in there, you have bad purchasing decisions staring at you or you have clothes that don’t fit your current body. These are all indications that something has to go.  

Here are a few things to ensure you love your living space (yes, even your closet in your home).

  1. Place everything on your bed from your closet including clothing, accessories, jewelry, shoes, etc. The reason you put it here is if you want to go to bed, you have to do this by the end of the day.
  2. Take a look at your belongings when it is all in one place. This alone can be shocking!
  3. However if you need more shock, make a list of each item and the dollar amount you paid for it, or estimate it. Add up the list for a grand total.  Then divide the total cost of your closet by your net income. For example: If you have $2500 worth of items in your closet and you take home $10.00 an hour, divide 2500 by 10 and you’ll find out you worked 250 hours to buy the clothes and other items sitting on your bed. That’s a little more than six 40-hour work weeks. It took a month and a half to earn the items on your bed and that doesn’t count the hours and weekends lost at the mall or online shopping for everything.
  4. Using this example, assess if you would buy the stuff back or make different decisions with your money. Perhaps you could have done some home improvements or paid off some bills you intended to.
  5. Put ONLY your favorite pieces back in the closet. If you have to think about it, don’t put them back it. Take a picture of your new closet. Look at it often so you can think of how it feels to see more space and make getting ready in the morning easier.
  6. Box up the rest. Either store it or donate it. If you store it, come back to it in a few months and if you haven’t missed anything you boxed up, give it away.
  7. Celebrate wearing your favorites everyday.

My hope is that you love your home, whether you own it, rent it, live with someone else, etc.

Enjoy,

Teresa

Declutter or Clutter?

I always think it is interesting to look at people’s garages and patios. Why? Well that is where their “declutter” or “clutter” usually lives if they have it.

Cluttered? There are people who keep stuff for no reason, perhaps they are filling their home with “stuff” to fill a need they have in their life. I think this is a common trend for people. We keep things because we are emotionally attached to them.

 

When people move, I hear it all the time, “It is so hard to let go of my stuff!” or “I need to have a garage sale but I just can’t part with XXX”! So how do you declutter?

 

A friend gave me some great suggestions I’ll pass on to you.

 

If you have too many clothes…here is a tip. Hang up each piece of clothing on their own hangar. Then hang all your clothes with the hook backwards on the bar. As you wear things, wash and hang back up put them on the hangar and hand them as normal (hook to the back). Every 30 days, evaluate what you have worn and what you have not worn. After 90 days, get rid of everything you haven’t worn. If you have something that is seasonal or for a special occasion, great but if after a year, you haven’t used it, get rid of it.

 

For shoes, get clear shoe boxes from a Target, WalMart, etc. Then take a picture of the shoes and tape it to the smaller end of the box. This way you know which shoes you wear and which ones you don’t. Again, set a time and after that rid.

 

Paper! Have a rule to scan it, shred it or file it. Don’t be a hoarder with papers you’ll never need again. If you don’t need it for taxes or some other important reason, rid it. Then every year shred or recyle old taxes and clean out filing drawers.

 

Declutter is all about having a system make your home beautiful. Plug in the system and rid as you can and you’ll see great things open up in your life. When you rid, you open new space for new and right things to show up – not necessarily more stuff!

5 Steps to Decluttering Your Patio!

balcony

Have you ever passed an apartment complex on the way to work in the morning and noticed a bit of clutter on a patio? I have. I’ve noticed a lot of times that while a complex itself appeared to be neat and clean, the resident balconies were filled with clutter.  I took a quick detour through the complex and saw more balconies than not that were full of items. Most of them you could not even tell what they were cluttered with. I even saw a few bicycles leaning up against the unit walls, and even one just sprawled across the lawn in front of the resident patio.

Aside from the balcony and patio clutter, the complex was tidy. The trees trimmed and the leaves were raked, the units were recently painted, and there were flowers planted by the leasing office. I give management props for keeping the complex and surrounding areas neat and tidy, however for an audience eye, the patios being so cluttered would not be a great look.

Though balcony/patio restrictions are typically included in any multi-unit lease, this is one area that some tenants can abuse. It’s also a major area that is hard to enforce. While it’s easy to drive through a complex and notice clutter, staff usually chooses to enforce other matters.

Here are a few ideas to enforce a cleanly patio or balcony:

  1. Address the balcony/patio restrictions with all potential tenants. With new tenants, have them sign a form stating that they have been notified about those restrictions. This way, if balcony or patio clutter becomes an issue down the road, you have a written and signed paperwork stating the tenant was notified about any restrictions.
  2. Be very clear about what is and what is not able to be on a resident’s balcony or patio. This may vary per community, but will give a tenant the acknowledgement of what is allowed and what is not.
  3. If possible, offer alternative storage solutions. Perhaps strike a deal with a neighborhood storage facility that will offer your tenants a discount.
  4. Actively enforce the policy. While many managers may be reluctant to potentially anger a good tenant over this issue, remember that messy balconies and patios can have a direct effect on leasing rates. Create a system, where you can easily track violators – perhaps approaching them informally the first time. Like any other lease violation, the penalties should become progressively more severe if the issue is not resolved.
  5. Offer a ‘Prettiest Balcony’ contest, allowing residents to have a little bit of fun and utilize their creativity. If residents take pride in their balcony, they’re much less likely to fill it with clutter.

 

Start enforcing your balcony or patio restrictions today, and by summer time, you’ll have the prettiest balconies in the neighborhood.

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Spring Cleaning for Property Managers

spring clean

Spring has finally arrived! If you are ready to tackle some much-needed spring cleaning, here are some suggestions to spring into Spring and get rid of those last signs of winter. While we are all excited about the warmer weather, the rain and snow of the last few months has taken its toll on our rental properties. If you are ready to tackle some much-needed spring cleaning, here are some suggestions to spring into Spring and get rid of those last signs of winter.

  • Remove any dead branches that have fallen due to wind and snowfall.
  • Trim trees and bushes.
  • Plant a tree or two. Adding trees in strategic areas can dramatically improve curb appeal. They can also help provide more shade for your residents.
  • Add a pop of color. Plant some flowers to help signify that it is Spring! Flowers can be very eye-catching around property signage. Flowers that require minimal upkeep are the most desirable.
  • Assess and replace your signs. After the cold winter months, it may be time to update your signage through your properties. A new sign with some springs blooms can often be the best kind of advertising.
  • Add an outdoor area. A barbecue area or a gazebo can encourage your residents to enjoy the property.
  • Spring clean your buildings. Nice landscaping will serve little purpose if your building look neglected. Add some fresh paint or power-wash away the grey, to help the buildings look fresh.
  • Tidy up the leasing office. Clean the carpets, polish the floor, add some fresh paint. New artwork or signs can help you bring Spring indoors.

Even just a few of these things can have a major impact on your properties in no time.

 

Best Regards,

Teresa

 

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