Sunday, November 01, 2020

Halloween 2020 - Pandemic Edition

(Mark M. Hancock / DFWmark.com)

We had a socially distant Halloween outside our home in Frisco, Texas on Oct. 31, 2020. While the pandemic continues, so does life. Kids have had a hard year and need something that resembles normal.
We prepared individual treat bags days in advance. Set them out on a 6-foot-long table that block visitors from going up to our house. Everything was held outside, and I wore a surgical mask as part of my costume.
On a separate day, we prepared toys-only treat bags for kiddos that have nut allergies or aren’t allowed sugar. Kids who pointed at our teal pumpkin got to pick from the separate bowl that contains the toys-only treat bags.
Our neighbors were equally responsible with an elaborate candy delivery system and scary home decorations.
While it wasn’t the 350 visitors that we had last year, 150 treat bags were handed out, and we hope there were as many or more smiles.

Happy Pandemic Halloween!

#DFWmark #Halloween #pandemic #treats #candy #inflatables #decorations #lights #Frisco #CollinCounty

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Hurricane Laura Evacuation Center Locations

 

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise
Port Arthur police S.W.A.T. teams prepare to secure
the city after Hurricane Rita hit on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005.

To my friends in Southeast Texas:

According to the Texas Hurricane Center, there are two evacuation centers in DFW. In theory, they will refer you to a hotel where you will get county-provided shelter in single-family rooms to control the possible spread of COVID-19.
The centers have no listed phone numbers, but are located at:

Mesquite
15515 E. IH-20 in Mesquite (near Belt Line Rd)Ennis

Knights of Columbus Hall, 850 IH-45 in Ennis (near Creechville Rd).

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Hopkins Welcome Home!

Photos © Mark M. Hancock / DFWmark.com
After selling their house on Friday, the Hopkins family went under contract on this beautiful new-built, upgraded HistoryMaker Homes property at ArrowBrooke in Aubrey on Saturday, April 25, 2020.








#MyClientsRock #NewBuilt #UnderContract #DFWmark #Realtor #Aubrey #DentonCounty #DFW #FineHomes #C21

Monday, August 17, 2020

Paint Your Cabinets

By Mark M. Hancock / DFWmark.com
© Mark M. Hancock / DFWmark.com

While busily social distancing, you probably noticed the kitchen cabinets. They’re dull. They’re dated. They aren’t having any fun.

It’s time for a party in the pantry!

Wood cabinets are easily painted and hold modern paint. 

Bright white and light gray are popular this year. Any light color is best for the peripheral cabinets to reflect more light and make a tight space appear roomier. Folks often use a darker color on the island. 

This Do It Yourself (DIY) project costs less than most kitchen projects. A relatively good job costs a little more than $100, or a pro can do it for $3,000 or more. If you choose to DIY, it’s important to follow all three steps: Prepare, Prime and Paint.

Prepare

Remove all doors, drawers and hardware. Separate hardware into boxes or bags for safe keeping.

Clean, degrease and remove dust from surfaces. Grease bleeds through the paint. Dust under the paint looks like sand. Run a vacuum over any areas you sand.

If the cabinets were previously painted, consider stripping the old paint off first. 

Fill any gouges or holes - not hardware holes - with wood putty before painting.

Put sheet plastic over counter surfaces, tape plastic over appliances and tuck some small pieces over cabinet contents. Use high-quality masking tape to avoid stray paint along edges.

(Above) It's recommended - but not required with modern primers - to sand the surface varnish of stained wood surfaces - scratch it up some. If you must correct for a damaged area, sand it a little deeper. Use sandpaper with a 150 to 200 grit. Take the doors outside to sand them. If you choose to sand the cabinet frames, drape plastic sheets around the room openings to contain the dust. Wear a respirator mask and eye protection.

(Right) Remove all doors and drawers from cabinets. Some items can remain to the rear of shelves if you aren't painting the interior. Just cover them with sheet plastic.
(Left) Separate hardware into separate bins or sandwich bags. If hardware is specific to individual places, label the bags with the location on a piece of painters' tape. 

When removing doors and drawer fronts, place a piece of painters' tape near where the door was removed. Write an identifying number on the tape. Place a piece of painters' tape on the door or drawer front with the matching number and location. 

When painting the door, place the tape on the bottom side of an unpainted door. If one side is painted, place the ID tape near the drying door. Until the paint has hardened, tape can pull the paint off. 

Paint the backs of doors first. You can fix those mistakes and few folks will notice the mistakes on the door backs after you paint the fronts. 
(Right) Remove the drawer fronts from the drawers. Sand the surface varnish if desired. You don't want to paint anywhere near the working mechanical portions of the drawers. 

When preparing to prime and paint, you'll want to use inexpensive painters' pyramids like these. They provide the smallest touch to the underside. This approach allows the primer or paint to dry and harden without sticking to plastic or larger risers.
(Left) Mask every area abutting a painted area with high-quality painters' tape (masking tape). Even professional painters ensure they don't overpaint onto other surfaces. Clean lines are vital when the work is done. This is how they happen. 

Use a razor knife and scissors to cut the painters' tape precisely. It's impossible to accurately place a 20-foot long section of tape on the first try. Instead, tape the corner and unroll a little at a time as you work your way across an edge. If it gets off line, there's less to fix. Back up to where it was on line and start again from there. If you must, cut the tape and start again from where you cut the tape. 

Use painters' tape with thin plastic sheeting attached over built-in appliances to protect against drips. 

Use a sponge sander - with or without grooves - to scuff up varnished surfaces as needed. 
(Right) The shelves only need to be masked where the paint might slop over. 

If the interior of the shelves won't be painted, push the contents to the back and cover with plastic sheeting.

If the interior needs paint, remove everything. Then, start from the back and work forward to avoid painted elbows and forearms. 

Cover all fixed appliances with plastic sheeting. Move mobile appliances such as the refrigerator out of the way to avoid paint splashes.
Prime

Modern primers can bond to varnish. It’s still a good idea to lightly sand varnished surfaces to allow primer to get a better grip. However, if you pick between sanding or primer, choose the primer.

Use the best primer available. It covers many mistakes and sets up the paint for success. It should be about as thick as a runny milkshake. 

If you have sawhorses, save your back some pain by painting cabinet doors up high. It makes it easier to see what you're doing and avoids some strain on your knees and back. If you plan to keep the sawhorses clean, drape a plastic sheet over them.

When a brush or roller is not in use, set or wrap it with aluminum foil to keep the paint from setting and hardening on the surface. 

(Right) If you choose not to sand the cabinet frames, high-quality primer bonds to the stained varnish. There was no noticeable difference between the sanded doors and the unsanded frame.

As stated on the new home construction post, the goal is for it to look correct from 6 feet away under normal light


(Left) Place painters' tape on every surface that must stay unpainted. Time spent masking the area will be rewarded in the end results. Tape is inside the island box, around the base, under the granite counter, and around the disconnected drawer slide. 

One drawer slide was removed and the other was only disconnected and covered in tape. Since this is a non-visible area, it's best to leave the slide back connected and cover the front with tape to avoid problems remounting the drawer slides.

Have plastic sheeting on the ground as you move around with primer or paint.
Paint

A normal kitchen requires one or two gallons of paint. Buy the best quality acrylic latex-based paint. It’s durable and easy to clean. You’ll want semi-gloss or satin. 

Push paint to the corners and into shapes with a foam or bristle brush. A 1.5” touch-up pad brush works extremely well. Then roll over the large surfaces in a tight “W” pattern with a foam roller in a small tray. 

This is a great multi-day project while on a budget. Let the paint completely dry and harden to avoid redoing the entire project. Cut masking tape with a razor knife to ensure clean edges.

(Above) Try to select the perfect color the first time. Purchase a sample bottle and paint a poster board or block of wood to test the color. 

Even after you paint it, if it's the wrong color, it's best to catch it quickly while the paint is setting. Then, find the right color before you reattach the doors and drawers. 

(Left) For cabinets, use a foam paintbrush or a 1.5" cover-up brush - like this one - to get paint into the corners and shapes first. Then use a 4" foam roller for the larger surface areas. The brush handles are reusable. Pull off the heads inside a trash bag. An inexpensive and disposable paint tray makes cleanup easy. 
(Right) After painting the cabinet frames, use a razor knife along the edge of the painters' tape to ensure a clean edge. 

Latex paint pulls out of shape and leaves a ragged edge if it isn't cut free. If something goes wrong, strip paint back onto the wood, apply new tape and repaint. Clean lines can be salvaged. 

(Left) Paint is likely to drip inside the cabinet hardware holes. While nobody sees it, paint drippings interfere with the proper function of recessed hinges. This paint must be removed. 

If you have a rotary tool, grab a sanding head out of the kit, attach it to a cordless drill and grind the stray paint out of the hinge hole. 

You can use the same rotary sander on other mistakes, but it's likely to cause more problems than it is worth. Keep this option for problems that need major repairs. 
Expect to miss spots. Once it dries, look carefully at all the surfaces and especially at the corners. If there's some primer or wood showing, use a small foam brush to push paint into those places or cover the outside.

This pass can be done from a sample bottle or from a tiny touch up tray. Always keep a piece of plastic sheeting under any open paint to avoid problems. 

Have a container of treated disposable paint cleaner wipes and roll of paper towels nearby during the project. If a can of paint spills on an uncovered tile floor, fast action can save it. If the paint sets, it becomes a bigger problem. 


The completed project makes your kitchen brighter and appears roomier. Unfortunately, it doesn't help with social distancing from the refrigerator. 

I've Got Your Six!

While you're here...
You’ll want to see and compared the weekly Market Watch posts. They allow you to check the pulse of the DFW real estate market. With historically low rates, now is an ideal time for both buyers and sellers.

I tracked down each new home builder and their developments in the communities surrounding Frisco, Texas. Let me know what you want and where you want it, and I’m happy to help locate your ideal new home! My services are almost always at no cost to buyers. They’re factored into the selling price. Talk to me before you visit a new home builder. Don’t pay for services you don’t get! 

Meanwhile, I made a pre-listing video: "Let's Sell Your House!". It explains my proven marketing plan to sell your property as quickly as possible and execute a smooth transaction. If you haven’t seen me or heard my voice in a while, here’s your opportunity. 

 I also have two versions of what house sellers should expect. The bullet-point version is hyperlinked to the detailed version. The long version should answer almost any questions you’ll have.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Let's Sell Your House!


Video presentation by Mark M. Hancock / DFWmark.com

When you're ready to sell your house in DFW - especially Frisco, Collin County or Denton County - I'm here to help! Please watch this pre-listing presentation. It tells you about my proven marketing strategy to sell your house as quickly as possible and execute a smooth transaction.

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock
REALTOR, GRI, MRP
214-862-7212
DFWmark.com

#DFWmark #REALTOR #Frisco #DFW #HomeSales #seller #listing #SellMyHome #HouseForSale #video

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Double Closing Day


video, photos and listing by Mark M. Hancock / © DFWmark.com

Double Closing Day! I couldn't be happier for my Clients!

We got multiple offers over asking price and sold their home in Fort Worth. They did everything perfectly. Now they have a beautiful new-build home in Aubrey.

Although this journey is complete, I’ve Still Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock
REALTOR, GRI, MRP, Certified New Home Sales
DFWmark.com

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Pandemic Help

Mark M. Hancock / © DFWmark.com
I hope the information on my other blog helps you, your loved ones and associates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you're surviving the pandemic with only inconveniences and Zoom meetings, you are very likely to know someone who can use the information listed below.
Since you may not know who needs help, please share this page on your social media to help your friends.

Jump to:
Suicide Prevention
Family Crisis Center / Domestic Abuse

Federal Stimulus Packages
• Federal Stimulus Checks
• Unemployment Benefits
• Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
• Food programs
• Utility, Prescription and Medical Help
• Veterans Administration

Small Business Administration Loans
• Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Loan Advance
• EIDL Emergency Grant

Pandemic Mortgage Relief Options
• Health and Welfare Assistance
• Mortgage and Rent Programs
• Protections for renters
• Where to get additional help

Pets (food and veterinary assistance)
401K Disbursements
IRS (tax relief)
Student loans
Report price gouging

DFW city and county websites 


Stay safe! Stay healthy!
I’ve Got Your Six!

DFWmark.com

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Award-Winning Photos



photos, soundstripe, video by Mark M. Hancock / © DFWmark.com
photos by Mark M. Hancock / © DFWmark.com, The Beaumont Enterprise and/or The Dallas Morning News

This video features International, national, state and regional award-winning photos I created during my 25-year career as a professional photojournalist.

Enough for now,

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Free SLR Photography Class in Frisco


Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise


MONDAY, Jan. 27, 2020
Starts at 7 p.m. (Q&A follows)
6255 Frisco Square, Ste. 100, Frisco (1st floor at the corner of Library by city hall)
Office: 469-621-0081 or 214-862-7212 (cell)


Take your photos to the next level. Get past capturing images inside a box. Tell stories with your images.

Mark M. Hancock is a former staff photojournalist at The Dallas Morning News and The Beaumont Enterprise as well as a book editor. He also freelanced for magazines and corporations. His images have won professional news and art competitions against the best shooters in the world.

He will show examples of his award-winning work for clarification and context. You’ll learn about composition, light, focus, skeletal structure, layers and more.

In his 25 years as a pro photojournalist, he’s witnessed life from the first breath to the last and all the drama and emotion in the middle. From state championship sports to hurricanes, he’s been there and shot that. Now, he’ll share how you can do some of the same.

After a short introduction, and quick lesson, ask your complex photo questions and get the answers you need.

Free, and please preregister at EventBrite or email markhancock@judgefite.com. If enough folks register, a vendor might provide refreshments. Otherwise, we'll have cookies and coffee.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Wheelchair Frustration


© Mark M. Hancock / DFWmark.com

A basketball player expresses his frustration at missing a shot during a 3-on-3 tournament in Richardson in 1997.

Award-winner: 
1st Place, Feature / Single, NPPA Region 8 monthly clip contest

I've had this print hanging on my wall for years, but I never scanned it for some unknown reason. It was my first professional National Press Photographers Association monthly clip contest win. Unfortunately, I don't have the caption information anymore.

I scanned the image to include it in an upcoming "Award Winners" video slideshow of my work. I also plan to make various portfolio slideshows (PJ categories) since I pulled down my portfolio website when I became a Realtor.

My 2020 plan is to teach FREE photo classes to large groups of adults (I need a less-dangerous hobby). If you are in an organization in Collin County or southeast Denton County that would like to learn more about SLR photography or iPhonography, please call 214-862-7212, text or email. My information is also located on DFWmark.com

Enough for now,