Thursday, September 26, 2013

Home Improvement Projects Perfect For Fall

Home improvement projects can add value to a home and do-it-yourselfers know the sweat-equity that goes into such projects can give homeowners a greater sense of pride in their homes. But no two home improvement projects are the same, and homeowners should know that certain projects are best tackled during certain times of the year.

Fall is a great season to work on your house, as the weather is often at its most agreeable once the summer heat has gone and before winter weather arrives. The following are a handful of fall-friendly home improvement projects for homeowners looking to improve their homes.

Whether you’re repairing or replacing the roof, fall is a great time of year to dust off the ladder and get some work done on your roof for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, fall is ideal for roof work because you won’t have to be up on the roof with the summer heat bearing down on you. This can make the project move along more quickly, which is especially beneficial if you are paying laborers to work on the roof. The fewer hours workers are fixing your roof, the less you will be paying in labor costs.
In addition, fixing up the roof in the fall ensures those winter storms, be it rain or snow, won’t find their way into your home via leaks. A leaky roof in winter is hard to fix, as the roof surface could be treacherous in the winter and winter winds can make it dangerous to be up on the roof at all. Addressing leaks in the fall can prevent damage to your home’s interior, which can mount up if a leaky roof is not addressed until the following spring.

When the weather outside gets frightful, poorly insulated windows can allow cold air into the home. That often has a trickle-down effect on finances, forcing you to turn up the thermostat in an attempt to offset the cold air pouring into the home. Whether you need your windows replaced or simply need to patch up any leaks, a proactive approach to leaky or older windows in the fall can save you from unnecessarily high heating bills come the winter. Addressing leaky windows also makes a home more comfortable for its inhabitants.
Fall is the ideal time to address a home’s windows because the temperature outside tends to be pleasant. This means you likely won’t have to make much of an effort to offset the elements, and open windows in the fall won’t make your home’s interior very hot or cold like they might if you were to tackle the project during the summer or winter.

Wood flooring is a hot commodity for many homeowners. But not all flooring can be added to a home at any time of year. That’s because certain types of flooring employ adhesives that need temperatures inside the home to be within a certain range, and that range is often within 70o to 80o F, which makes fall a great time to install such floors. Colder temperatures can make it difficult for the flooring to dry and bond, which will prove problematic down the road. What’s more, many people entertain friends and family come late fall and into the holiday season, and it can be difficult to do so if you are busy installing new flooring.

Fall is an ideal time of year to tackle home painting projects.
Painting is another home improvement project that seems tailor-made for fall. A fresh coat of paint or a new color scheme around the house can give a home an entirely new look and feel. But paint can be pungent and the aromas may last if it’s applied at a time of year when it can’t dry while the windows are wide open. Paint fumes inside a home can make the home uninhabitable, but painting at a time of year like the fall, when you can keep the windows open during and after the project, can help air the home out.
But interior painting isn’t the only painting project homeowners can tackle in the fall. Many exterior paints are temperature-sensitive and need the temperature outside to be above 40o F. Paint that freezes won’t dry properly, and homeowners might be left with a costly and unsightly mistake on their hands. Fall temperatures tend to be amenable to both interior and exterior painting projects, just be sure to check the weather forecast before making your first brush stroke.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

For Sale ~ Written by Michael Smith

Written by Michael Smith

I have decided to sell my three 60’s cars. They are expensive, and they always need something. It really is not a practical hobby.  I’m going to sell all three of them. I’m over it. They are just old cars, and I could put the money in the 401k. I don’t know why I got them in the first place. I guess they reminded me of something, not sure what.

I remember when I was 16 years old in 1968, and my first car was a 1963 Buick Wildcat 2-door hardtop with bucket seats and a 401 cubic inch engine.  It was big, fast, and had lots of chrome.  To me, it was the most beautiful material item in the world.  Saturday mornings were devoted to washing, vacuuming and shining this nineteen foot cruiser.  The old style lacquer paint made the light blue color look as deep as the sky.

Many of my adolescent dreams were tied up with that car.  It was galloping freedom; it was dating the prettiest girls.  It was a sign of future success and opulence.  Cruising through drive-ins, the Buick was noticeable but classy.  I thought it looked good parked with the front wheels turned slightly to the left as if crouching, ready to spring.

On the less glamorous side, this beautiful Buick also got my buddies and me to school and to work.  (Yeah, I had to have a job to have the car.  Duh?)  But even in class I dreamed about my car parked across the street ready to roar away as soon as the last bell rang. 

Some of this early love for cars came from my older brother who had already moved out of the house and lived in Florida.  When he was in high school, he had a 1952 Chevrolet Deluxe two-door sedan with a stovebolt six and a three-speed.  (And I have never forgotten how to manually shift as learned in that Chevy.)  Yes, it had fender skirts, dice hanging in the mirror, and the exhaust was a little louder than stock.  Somehow he traded up to a two-tone green 1954 Bel Air convertible.  Again, I remember fender skirts and dice.  I thought it felt swell cruising with the top down, but my brother didn’t like the car because the top leaked and it was a six cylinder with Powerglide.

Just before making his big move to Florida, he traded for a two-tone blue 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air two-door sedan with a 283 Power Pack, power steering and power brakes.  He even let me drive it some in the neighborhood.  I still remember my first taste of the smooth V8 power and the easy two-finger steering.  The smoothness and the magnitude of the power just under the right foot was not only felt, it was also seen; it was visible in the flares of the sheet metal and the glimmering chrome. 
And then there was the red 1957 Ford Thunderbird owned by my older sister’s boyfriend.  I never talked him into letting me drive it (since I was only twelve). But I sure was enthralled by the exhaust note of that 312 Y-block V8 and bedazzled by the engine-turned dash trim.  It had a bench seat, so they would take me for short rides, but they seemed to be in a hurry to drop me off and go on by themselves.

My best friend at that time was almost a year older than I was.  When he turned sixteen, his mom said she would buy him any car he wanted up to a certain amount.  Wow, did we find the car!  He acquired a 1965 Pontiac GTO hardtop with three deuces and a four speed.  That is when I learned about the almost out-of-body experience of torque being delivered massively to wheels just behind your seat, that incredible sensation of power so great it outpaces the traction from the weight of the vehicle.  Did I mention the smell of burning rubber?  Anyway, that car had very little chrome and looked great because of its crisp, angular styling and those stacked headlights.  The grab bar on the passenger side of the dash was a nice touch, too.

After I got my Wildcat, my friend and I were a tag team, double dating, cruising the drive-ins, taking road trips to the beach.  Sometimes we tore up the back roads testing speedometers on the well-known straightaways. 

So maybe I won’t sell those old cars.  They are in the garage.  At least I can still touch them.  They do remind me of something or some people or some times.  When I have one out late at night with the top down, once in a while I’ll step on it just to hear the tires chirp.

Check out Our Classic Cars & Hot Rods special publication.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Things to Consider When Buying a Classic Car

Written by Jordan Parker

It doesn't matter if you're an experienced Classic Car buyer or one just getting started, there are certain things you should look for in order to get the best bang for your buck. First things first, talk to as many people who own classic cars as you can! They will be able to point out the good, the bad, and the ugly of buying and owning a classic car. Here are several tips that will hopefully help you in looking for an original that's as unmodified as possible.

1. Know your price range and stick to it.
As you may well know, classic cars take a lot of care and can be quite expensive when buying and restoring. Recognize that this car will need to be taken care of properly, and well. Be careful not to be sucked in to the beauty of a car as it is. Keep in mind that the cost of owning a classic car is a whole lot more than owning a family car. Calculate the total amount of investment that you can make for the car and check with the reality. Parts and service costs are a lot higher than newer cars out there, but the enjoyment factor is higher too!

2. Prepare your lifestyle and environment for a classic car.
If you’re looking into buying a vintage automobile, then you are obviously one who will not be satisfied until that beauty is exactly how you want it. Knowing that, you will have to prepare your lifestyle and home beforehand. Otherwise, you could risk not having the sufficient space and/or time to devote to the car. It is also helpful to identify the purposes for which you are buying a vintage car. What will you use it for? Whether it is for car rallies and shows that you want to participate in or just to have something to drive during relaxed weekends, it is really up to you to find out all the ins and outs of your buying purpose, and then buy accordingly.

3. Know where to look.
Of course you could search online, but that sometimes takes away the thrill of the hunt! Check out vintage shows and fairs around your area. You may be surprised at how much is out there. These provide the biggest opportunities for learning and exchanging knowledge about the old beauties. The chrome bumper MPG would be the perfect advertisement to look for in newspapers when you are hunting down vintage cars. Going to auctions with high end vintage cars that come with authorization is also a best bet. Be patient, looking for “the one” takes time. Look at more than one car. Take your time. Do not buy anything until someone who has classic car experience has looked at it with you. Being there in person is an important element for vintage car lovers. These fairs are extremely delightful and provides tons of contacts and information.

4. Get the details.
Knowing as much as you can about the vehicle is essential when investing in buying one. Ask yourself these questions:
• Is the car registered?
• Where is the car from?
• What states has it been registered in?
• Has it been registered in a state where the roads are salted when it snows? (Salt causes corrosion and rust which eats metal like a cancer.)
• Do the numbers match? Is the engine code right for the engine that is in the car? The vehicle identification number, (VIN) is coded with engine size, transmission type, body style, and more.
• Is the engine and drive train the same as what came in it from the factory or has it been modified?
• Did someone take out a six cylinder and put in a 396 big block? If it did not come from the factory, it can take away from the value.

5. Take it for a ride.
If possible, take the desired classic on a ride that lasts about 20 minutes. This amount of time is usually sufficient in finding out if there are any performance problems.

6. Take a good inventory of the body and inside the car.
Make sure you carve out plenty of time to check out the body, the interior, underneath the car (where rust loves to lurk). Here are some reminders as to what to check:
• Look down the sides for any signs of damage.
• Check out the seam gaps between the doors and hood — are they straight or do they look uneven? If it’s even, you’ll be able to roll a marble smoothly down. This will determine if the car has had body damage repairs.
• Check for rust — most common places are underneath the car, inside the wheel wells, and in the trunk, where the rear window glass and package tray meet.
• Are the seats original and upholstery original?
• How does the dashboard look? What about the badges and emblems — are they intact?
• Do the floor pans look like they’re in good shape or do they have rust?

Buying a classic car is a large investment and should be treated as such. Get as much information as you possibly can — do lots of research, and you will thank yourself for it! You’ll also be better off when negotiating the purchase. Once you own a classic you will enter a whole new world. It’s a memorable experience that certainly doesn’t have a pricetag!

Friday, September 6, 2013

11 Tips for Hosting a Great Yard Sale

One time I held a yard sale where I made $8. Just to rub salt in my wounds, my friend had a yard sale the same weekend and brought in over $500. How did he do it? That's exactly what I wanted to find out. So I scoured the internet and asked all the experts for their best tips and put them together just for you.

1. Collect your items all throughout the year. Then do a final sweep of your home a few weeks prior to the sale to gather any remaining items.

2. Create a schedule to get it all done. Organizing a garage sale can be a lot of work, but if you do it right it is worth the effort.
  • A few weeks before - gather your items
  • The week before - prepare your price tags, label your items, figure out how your will display your items for sale, list your sale in the Iwanna and other newspapers.
  • The week of the sale - gather tables from friends and family for displaying items, post signs in your neighborhood
  • The day before - get cash for making change, a calculator for totaling sales, reusable bags for bagging items and newspaper for packing breakables
3. Team up with family or neighbors to have a bigger sale. More items for sale means more variety and more traffic. It also means you have more hands to help with the work.

4. Pick a good location. Not every house is in an ideal location to host a garage sale.
  • How difficult is it to get to your home? If you live way off the beaten path, you may want to hold the sale at a friend’s house or think about taking your things to the flea market.
  • Do you live in a neighborhood? If you are in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, make sure you check the rules about holding sales at your home. Also, consider whether you have enough parking for 4 or 5 additional cars near your home.
  • If you are planning to have the sale in your yard rather than your driveway or garage, make sure the lawn has been cut recently (but not so recent as to have grass clippings everywhere) and that you don’t have any tripping hazards (like ruts or holes).
5. Pick a good day and time. The best times of year are late spring and early fall when it is neither too hot or too cold. Do not pick a holiday or event weekend. Open by 7am and plan to be there until 3pm at least. And make sure to check the weather forecast and have a contingency plan in case of rain.

6. Make sure everything has a price. Many people will not ask the price if it is not marked and you will lose a sale. Placing the price tags on the top of the item makes them easy to find. Price lots of things under $1 and price most things under $5. If a price is not negotiable, put “firm” on the tag. Post a sign that says “All Sales Final” to avoid people making returns. Make sure that anything you don’t want to sell is put away out of sight.

7. Price things to sell. Prices should be about 25% of the original price or less. However, if you anticipate a lot of haggling, make your prices 20% higher than your rock-bottom price, so you will have room to negotiate. One exception is clothing, which needs to be marked down considerably. Adult clothes should be priced no more than a couple of dollars. If you have nicer clothes to sell, consider going to a consignment store to get more money. If you hold your sale for multiple days, make sure to discount leftover items on the last day.

8. Advertise your sale.
  • Make sure to post plenty of signs directing people to your location. You should have signs or arrows every couple of blocks along the route. Your sign should include the date, time and address for your sale. Signs must be on rigid material (like cardboard) and legible (use big black marker, not pencil). Keep all your signs the same color, so they will be recognizable and add some balloons to really catch people’s eye. Drive by your signs after posting them to make sure they can be read from the road.
  • Post ads in the newspaper and online. Iwanna is a great place to post garage sale ads and it’s free to post online at
  • Post notices on community bulletin boards (grocery store, community centers, church, coffee shops)
  • Tell all your friends and co-workers to spread the word.
  • Send an email to your network of friends and family to tell them about the sale.
  • Mention your garage sale on Facebook (you can even create a Facebook event and invite all of your friends).
  • Google “yard sale finder” and post your sale on the first 10 sites you find.

9. Stage your items. Make sure everything you’re selling is clean and in good condition. If you have something broken or missing pieces, maybe offer it free to a good home with a disclaimer about the condition. If you’re selling something that takes batteries, include the batteries (half used batteries will work great), so people can see it works properly. Have an electrical outlet or extension cord handy to test out items that need to be plugged in. Organize your wares in a pleasing manner, don’t just leave things piled in boxes. Group like items together. Place the things men like closer to the curb (tools, electronics) - this will entice more couples to stop.

10. Ambiance. Talk to your customers, but don’t talk their ears off. Offer free/sell refreshments - coffee, lemonade, bottled water, sodas, cookies, doughnuts, etc. Play some music at low volume to make people more comfortable (Heavy metal is not recommended).

11. Have fun.

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Some Movies About Cars!

Cars have captured the American imagination since they were invented. Many have ended up on the silver screen as the stars or supporting actors in famous films! How many of the following movies have you seen?  

American Graffiti George Lucas recreates the feel, landscape, and sounds of early 60s, small-town America.

Back to the Future Stars a time-traveling DeLorean.

Blues Brothers The title characters destroy dozens of '70s sedans.

Bullit Contains the most famous car chase scene in the movies. Stars Steve MacQueen, Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Duvall.

Cadillac Man Robin Williams as a sleazy car salesman.

Cannonball Run Based on an actual race across the country. Stars Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Fonda.

Car Wash Comedy based at an L.A. car wash.

Christine From a Stephen King novel about a possessed car.

Days of Thunder Top Gun meets stock cars.

Death Race 2000 A futuristic tale where drivers score points by running over people.

Detour One of those cross-country trips where the star picks up strangers along the way.

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry It's got Peter Fonda and fast driving.

Driven Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds (it wouldn’t be a car movie without Burt), CART, crashes and women.

Duel An early Spielberg film where Dennis Weaver is attacked by unmanned tractor-trailer rigs.
Fast and the Furious Turbochargers, gangs, crime, undercover cop, romance, special effects.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off Matthew Broderick borrows a Ferrari.

Gone in 60 Seconds A 40 minute chase scene that destroys 90 vehicles (in the original movie).

Grand Prix Lots of race track footage.

Greased Lightning Story of the first black racing champ, starring Richard Pryor.

The Great Race Long story about a 1908 NY to Paris race.

Heart Like a Wheel The story of drag racer Shirley Muldowney.
The Last American Hero Story of moonshiner turned stock car racer Junior Johnson.

Le Mans Plenty of good race footage.

Mad Max (and Road Warrior) Mel Gibson in futuristic hot rods driving around looking for gas.

Race for Life Good racing scenes.

The Racers European racing footage.

Smokey and the Bandit Burt Reynolds, a black TransAm, a pesky cop, a girl, beer and CB radios.

Thelma & Louise  A buddy highway movie, with female leads.

Thunder Road Robert Mitchum in a moonshine vs. Feds story.

Tucker, a Man and His Dream Nostalgic look at automobile entrepreneur and idealist Preston Tucker.

Used Cars More sleazy used car salesmen.

Vanishing Point Denver to S.F. in 15 hours in a muscle car. Will he make it?

White Lightning (and sequel Gator) Burt Reynolds, moonshine and chase scenes.

Winning Paul Newman does his own driving in trying to win at Indy.