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Three Frustrating House Problems – Solved!

Posted in Home Improvement on Sep 21, 2012, tagged with buying and selling your home

Inconveniences like dark walls, odors, and ants can seem like major issues when you're preparing your house to sell or if you've just moved into a new house. After all, you want your home to sell quickly for the best price. If you're moving into a new house, you want to feel at home as soon as possible, and that lingering cat smell isn't doing you any favors. 

When you absolutely love a new house, minor problems like odors or obnoxious paint colors shouldn't deter you from making that house your home. These issues may look or smell major, and they are almost certainly annoying, but minor problems often have simple fixes. Let's take a look at three of the most common frustrating house problems—and how to solve them. 

Dark colored walls

You may love that dark red color you chose for your family room, but prospective buyers may not share your warm feelings. If you're in the process of getting your home ready to sell, painting over dark walls can go a long way to improving the resaleability of your home. If the previous owners left dark walls behind, the best time to repaint your new house is before you move in.

Painting can be especially frustrating when you're covering a dark wall. If you're dealing with a ill-thought-out statement wall or woefully "dramatic" space, always start with a coat of white primer. This may add time and expense to your repainting job, but it will work wonders for covering up a dark shade. 

Be prepared to paint multiple coats of your new, lighter shade over the primer. Roll the paint on in large "M" or "W" shapes to avoid roller lines, and don't worry about achieving perfect coverage on your first coat. 

PRO TIP: If you're painting over chalkboard paint, make sure you sand down the edges so they are flush with the wall.


Do you smell the old owner's dog or cat every time you walk into your new home? Your best bet may be to hire a professional to come in and get rid of the smell, but before you do, try these home remedies:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda over your carpets and let it stand for at least a few hours before vacuuming. If you can, leave it overnight. If you need to walk on the area in the meanwhile, cover it with a sheet or blanket, and tape it in place. For especially strong odors, brush the baking soda into the carpet pile using a broom. Sweep any remaining baking soda into a dustpan beofre vacuuming. 
  2. If the odor persists, fill a spray bottle with equal parts warm water and vinegar. Spray your carpets, and into your air ducts, and let sit for 15 minutes. Blot it with a clean cloth to remove, rinse with clean water, and allow to air dry completely. This should clear the smell throughout the house.

These remedies can work for pet odors, as well as smells from food spills. For odors resulting form liquid spills that have soaked into the carpet and arpet padding, you'll need a stronger cleaning solution such as a pet enzyme digester or isopropyl alcohol.

For stronger odors like smoke and nicotine, start by washing your walls and windows. If that doesn't work, you may need to repaint using an odor-blocking primer and sealant. Dry cleaning curtains and other upholstery can also help.


When you moved into your house, you most likely cleaned it from top to bottom really well. If they were already there, ants can still find their way inside your new home, even if there's nothing for them to eat. Yuck!

If you have ant hills, don't kill the ants right away with a shoe or tissue. Instead, feed the ants something that they will take back to their colony and slowly kill them all. There are natural options like a mixture of 50% icing sugar and 50% baking soda or cornmeal/grits. Both of these options will explode inside the ants. If you are looking for more of a commercial way to get rid of your ants, place ant traps next to their home so that they make it a part of their colony.


Whether you're preparing your home to sell or are just moving into your new home, issues like dark walls, persistent odors, and ants can add to your stress and even impact the resaleability of your home. These simple home remedies can help you resolve these minor issues, leaving you with more time and energy to pack your stuff or settle into your new house.