I am planning a series of posts about stupid photos taken by real estate agents and actually posted to their local MLS, supposedly in furtherance of their intention to sell a home. I know they were taken by agents because professional photographers certainly wouldn’t allow such trash to sully their equipment.

I’m not the only one to post the photos – some call them Bad Real Estate Photos or Bad MLS Photos. I am trying to be original and coin the term “Badvertising.” ( I haven’t Googled it yet, so it’s at least original to me.)

What won’t be original to me in some cases are the snarky captions. While the photos come from a variety of sources (submissions from you are gladly acknowledged!), one of the best is terriblerealestateagentphotographs, which is anonymous, and his/her captions are understated but hilarious and hard to improve on.

Today’s examples are all potty humor, a topic to which I am sure we will return over and over:

Never miss a delivery because you were on the toilet again.

Never miss a delivery because you were on the toilet again! 

Potential buyers have a choice: erect a divider, or own the largest and most inconveniently arranged bathroom on the planet.

 Potential buyers have a choice: erect a divider, or own the most inconveniently arranged bathroom on the planet.

The judges prepare to take their places for one of the more unusual events at this year’s Winter Olympics.

 The judges prepare to take their places for one of the more unusual events at this year’s Winter Olympics.

I hope you weren’t drinking coffee or something. Clean up your device and next time be prepared.

Removing Wallpaper

I don’t know about you, but as Harry Homeowner* I have hung – and removed – all the wallpaper I ever will. I’m over it. I don’t care if it’s “coming back” in style or not – it’s never coming back in my house. That said, there is still wallpaper in my house to be removed. But I’m not doing it.

However . . . for those of you still young or poor enough, with an urge to do it yourself, it’s pretty simple.

Here is the process:

1. Cover surrounding surfaces — floors, baseboards, countertops and any other exposed areas.

DIF2. Get a wallpaper removal solution (such as Zinsser DIF gel) from your local hardware store. Follow the instructions on the label and mix the solution with warm water into a pump-up sprayer or bucket.

3. Apply the mixture generously with a sprayer or a sponge on the wallpaper.

4. Give the solution about five minutes to set. Then, apply a second coat. When it comes to the wallpaper being saturated, the wetter, the better!

5. Wait 25 minutes for the second coat to soak into the wallpaper. This will allow the solution-water mixture to loosen the glue holding the paper to the wall.


6. Start from the top of the wall and slowly peel off the wallpaper in a downward motion. Wallpaper comes in two layers, a decorative layer and a backing layer. Simply repeat steps 3 through 6 for the backing layer. If a layer of wallpaper does not come off, add some more water to it, wait a little while and try again.

7. Excess glue can usually be taken off with more solution-water mixture and a sponge, hand towel or stiff brush.

If you find that there are sections where the wallpaper is not peeling off, use a perforator such as a Paper Tiger to aerate the section. Then, reapply a good coat of solution-water mixture, let it soak and attempt to peel it off again. If needed, use a flexible putty knife to scrape off difficult areas, but only as a last resort.

*Harry Homeowner was a trademark of Hechinger Company, back in the day. Now it’s used as a term for perpetrators of really bad do-it-yourself projects.

Fun in Ocean City

KitchenSaverSo, a whole week in Ocean City! Sun, sand, surf . . . uh, no.

I’m helping Ken from KitchenSaver reface the cabinets. Actually, rebuild them, considering all the extra work being done. And I’m not really helping, just being here to answer questions and sort through the inevitable problems as they arise.

For instance, what to do with the pipes that weren’t supposed to be where they are? We closed off one cabinet that was unreachable from the kitchen and planned to open the back of it from the other side of the counter, only to find that the pipes to the sink come in from the OUTSIDE wall through the counter space behind the cabinet. Thus we have, in the middle of the new opening, a set of PVC pipes just itchin’ for a nickin’.

HoleThis photo was taken AFTER he carefully cut out the 2×6 the pipes ran through, which would have also inhibited the cabinet access.

Then, the under cabinet lighting the electrician was planning to install was not the under cabinet lighting everyone else was expecting. Thus we had to figure a workaround to incorporate the new lighting. Fortunately, Ken has seen just about everything and can figure out what to do.

Yesterday, after Ken finished his workday, I got to do the “fun” stuff! If you’ve ever removed a “popcorn” ceiling – yeah, you know what I’m talking about – you know how much “fun” it can be. It’s easy. Just wet the ceiling with a water sprayer, then take a large drywall knife (6-8” putty knife) and scrape it down to the drywall! Comes right off . . . all over everything, including you. Or in this case, me. And the new floor. And the new kitchen counter.

Now, I’m no dummy. I covered everything with plastic before I started, and I held up a trashcan with one hand while I scraped with the other. Even so, it fell on me, and of course I walked in whatever missed the trashcan. I left white marks everywhere I walked. Even though it doesn’t stain, I hope we can clean it all off the new floor before Janet sees it.

After that, I got to install two corbels under the new counter. We (meaning I) had not expected to need these, but my recollection of the counter width I had ordered was not exactly in accord with reality. Thus instead of a 5” overhang on a 16” counter, I have a 9” overhang on an 18” counter. It’s all good – except if one intends to lean on said overhang, one better dang sight have something underneath it.


So with Loctite Power Grab Construction Adhesive, my trusty drill and some 3½ inch screws, I set forth on my next adventure. The Power Grab was for the underside of the counter. Ordinarily when one installs corbels, they go on before the counter and use keyhole screws in the back. But these had to be screwed in from the front, so the Power Grab was insurance. I predrilled holes in the corbels, attached them to the bar and underside of the counter with Power Grab, then started screwing them in . . . when the phone rang. Naturally it was a client. Always at a critical moment. I decided it would be best to let it go to voicemail.

I finished screwing them in (to studs of course) and they look pretty good. I have to fill in the screwheads with some caulk and do a little touchup, but they look great and not too obtrusive. More importantly, the counter won’t fall into anyone’s lap.



Kingstowne Wegmans Delayed To 2015


According to a report from Washington Business Journal, the planned Alexandria-area Wegmans will not open in 2014, store officials say. They will open as the anchor to the new Hilltop Village Center in 2015, perhaps as soon as the first quarter.

They had originally hoped to open by November 2014, but apparently the permitting process took longer than they expected. Because shopping between Thanksgiving and New Years can be so extremely heavy, Wegmans does not open stores from mid-November through the end of the year. Thus the opening was postponed until after New Year’s Day 2015.

Hilltop Village Center will be located at the intersection of Beulah Street and Telegraph Road, near the north gate of Fort Belvoir. The project is planned to include 250,000 square feet of retail, including the 143,000-square-foot Wegmans, and another 100,000 square feet of office space.

HilltopvillagecenterAside from Wegmans, here are the stores, restaurants and other services that are so far lined up for Hilltop:

  • Moe’s Southwest Grill
  • Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grille
  • Panda Express
  • LA Fitness
  • Elevation Burger
  • Verizon, AT&T and Sprint stores
  • Peet’s Coffee & Tea
  • Zinga Frozen Yogurt
  • GNC
  • Hilltop Dental
  • Vichelle’s Hair Styling
  • Day Spa
  • European Wax Center
  • Kim Wet Cleaners
  • Mattress Warehouse
  • Massage Envy
  • Sport Clips
  • BB&T, PNC and Navy Federal Credit Union

More Springfield Town Center Shops/Restaurants On Tap


The Washington Business Journal reported today that they have pieced together from permit applications a number of tenants who will be populating the renovated Springfield Town Center when it finally reopens sometime later this year (or early 2015, my personal guess).

They include Maggiano’s Little Italy, H&M, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Vans, LA Fitness (also coming to the nearby Wegmans-anchored Hilltop Village Center), Regal Cinemas (how will they compete with their 16 screens already in Kingstowne?), Yard House, Chuy’s, Sarku Japan, Bento Box, Michael Kors, Banana Republic, Williams-Sonoma and of course Starbucks (how many?).

Check out the article here.

And The Winner Is . . .

BigJohnsonMichael Kagan of New York, NY was the big winner of the Kindle Fire HDX in this year’s Big Johnson College Bowl Mania sponsored by KimSellsNova!

Second prize, the tin of Mrs Hanes Moravian Sugar Cookies, went to Carson Saldivar of Austin, TX.

And FIFTY others kicked my butt to win a $5 Amazon gift certificate.

See you all in March for Kim’s Big Johnson Co-ed College Basketball Extravaganza! SigFirstBlue

Big Johnson College Bowl Mania – Win A Kindle Fire HDX!

Sure, maybe your favorite college team won’t quite make it to a bowl game this year. But you still can enter (and WIN) Kim’s


Big Johnson College Bowl Mania

This free contest involves choosing the winning team for each of the 35 upcoming college football bowl games, to be played between Saturday, December 21 and Monday, January 6. All you have to do to win some crappy little prize is pick more winners than Kim, and judging from recent results that shouldn’t be very tough! For the tiebreaker, you have to guess the score of the BCS Championship game. (And wish a final good riddance to the BCS!)

To win First Prize – a Kindle Fire HDX (that’s right, HDX this year!) – you have to pick more winners than anyone in the Big Johnson group. Second Prize is a tin of Mrs. Hanes Moravian Sugar Crisp Cookies. Mmmmmmm . . . 

Did I mention that it’s FREE ?!

You enter the contest by going to the ESPN website

 ESPN College Bowl Mania

and following the instructions. Choose the “straight” mode, not the “confidence” mode. There is no cost – it’s free. You are welcome to invite your friends – any friend of yours is a friend of mine. If you don’t make your picks when you sign up, I suggest you also allow ESPN to send you a reminder about your picks.

To join the Big Johnson group – after you submit your entry settings, click on the link Create Or Join A Group. (It might be under the rightmost tab next to the Facebook friends tab.) Search for the group named Big Johnson, and join the group using the password, “kimsentme“. You can join the group as soon as you create your entry – you don’t have to make any picks first. Let me know if you have any problems getting into the group. Only one entry allowed per person in the Big Johnson!

Register and submit your entry no later than the first kickoff of the first games of the college football bowl season (Saturday, December 21, 2:00 PM EST) at which point the game will lock and no additional picks can be made. If you change your mind about a game, you can go back and change your picks until the first game starts.