What is Mold?

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Molds are a form of fungus. There are many different molds and they can be found both indoors and outdoors. Molds spread through the production of spores, which are present in all indoor environments and cannot be removed from them – spores are capable of surviving in harsh conditions that otherwise prevent the normal mold growth.

Molds grow best in moist, warm and humid environments – easily created in the home. Molds are capable of growing on a variety of different surfaces, including fabric, paper and wood.

Common indoor molds include:

  • Alternaria – found in damp places indoors, such as showers or under leaky sinks
  • Aspergillus – often found indoors growing on dust, powdery food items and building materials, such as drywall
  • Cladosporium – capable of growing in cool areas as well as warm ones. It is typically found on fabrics and wood surfaces
  • Penicillium – typically found on materials that have been damaged by water and often has a blue or green appearance.

Molds take a variety of forms and textures, appearing as white, black, yellow, blue or green and often looking like a discoloration or stain to a surface. They can also have a velvety, fuzzy or rough appearance, depending on the type of mold and where it is growing.

Spores make their way into the home either through the air or after attaching to objects or people. Open windows, doorways and ventilation systems are all gateways through which spores can enter. Clothing, shoes and pets can all facilitate the arrival of mold within the home.

Mold can often be found in areas where leakages and flooding have occurred and near windows where condensation builds up. Wet cellulose materials are most supportive of mold growth, including paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles and wood products. Wallpaper, insulation materials and upholstery are other typical launchpads for mold growth.

Mold allergies produce similar symptoms to other allergies to airborne substances affecting the upper respiratory tract, such as pollinosis. These include:

  • Blocked/runny nose
  • Itchy nose
  • Itchy throat
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes

When dealing with mold, it is best to consult with a professional to ensure the mold is properly removed.  For all of your real estate needs, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC.  Located in Anacortes at 809 7th St., Team Groesbeck is available daily at (360) 941-3734 or via email at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

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What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen or smelled and can kill an individual within minutes of contact. Carbon monoxide can quickly build to unsafe levels in enclosed or poorly ventilated areas.

What Are Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, confusion and nausea. Low-level carbon monoxide poisoning can include symptoms similar to illnesses such as the flu.

As these may be difficult symptoms to diagnose, they could be a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning if:

  • Symptoms go away when you leave your home, and come back when you return.
  • Everyone in the home experiences similar symptoms at the same time.

 

What Should You Do if You Suspect a Carbon Monoxide Leak in Your Home?

If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak in your home, gather your family outside in the fresh air and immediately call 911.

  • During power outages, never use charcoal or gas grills indoors or in enclosed spaces. Do not burn charcoal in a fireplace, as charcoal does not produce a draft strong enough to push the carbon monoxide outside.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, garage, carport, basement, or near an opening into your home while outside. Generators should be kept at least 20 feet from buildings in the hope that airflow will direct carbon monoxide flows away from the home.
  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat your home and do not sleep in a room using an unvented gas or kerosene heater.

 

The Importance of Home Inspections

Home Inspections
Many wonder why such an emphasis is placed on home inspections when they are not mandatory in the home buying or selling process.

The bottom line is: buying a home is already an expensive process- it is best to have a third party check for potential (unseen) problems before you are fully committed, rather than signing without knowing what you could be getting into.

One of the biggest indicators that the home inspection is important is that it can be used as a contingency in your purchase offer. This means that it can be used to back out the deal if certain significant defects are revealed by an inspection.

 

While inspectors may vary in thoroughness, there are certain key elements they should look at:

  • Whether or not the problems they find are safety issues, or major/minor defects.
  • Which items require replacement or servicing.
  • Which items should be monitored closely for possible repair/replacement in the future.

 

As a general rule, some of the items an inspector might look at include:

  • Foundation
  • Exterior Walls
  • Pest Problems
  • Roof Damage
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical Hazards
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
  • Water Heater
  • Kitchen Appliances (provided any are staying with the home)
  • Laundry Room (proper ventilation)
  • Potential Fire Hazards
  • Bathrooms (proper ventilation, mold issues, water damage, etc.)

 

Potential safety concerns that should absolutely be addressed in the inspection are:

  • Radon
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Mold

 

Inspections may not always identify everything wrong with a property, but they can point you in the right direction if something appears amiss and if anything, you will have the opinion of an “expert” to back you up.

If you have any questions about home inspections (how to schedule, why they are important, etc.) give us a call! We would be happy to walk you through everything you need to know about buying or selling your home.

Guest Blogger: Tim Hance – 5 Ways to Add Oustanding Value to Your Home

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Our friend Tim Hance, of All Islands Home Inspections has put together a great list of budget-friendly ways one can add value to a home. This has come at the perfect time as we approach summer and can take advantage of excellent weather

Inexpensive Ways to Add Great Value to Your Home

1. Create an Open Floor Plan

Conventionally, most households in the United States have a wall that separates the living room and the kitchen. Consequently, people in your sitting room can’t see the kitchen.

Lately, this trend continues to evolve as most home buyers prefer a house with an open space. If a wall separates your living room from the kitchen, remove the wall.

The resulting space will create an island between your kitchen and the living room. Eliminate this island by adding a table and some chairs to create a flow between the two rooms. As Jeanne Baron of This Old House argues, “you’ll increase the space and transform your home’s feel”.

2. Landscaping

Working on your home’s interior is commendable, but don’t forget about the look of those trees and bushes. Why? Because unkempt bushes and tangled trees can easily obscure views, promote mold and darken interiors.

While most homeowners may overlook it, landscaping is among the top three home investments with the highest returns. HomeGain, a real estate marketing company, surveyed 2,000 brokers and discovered that an investment of between $400 – $500 can generate up to four times in returns.

For this reason, pruning your trees is important. If the planters hinder potential buyers’ view of the house, they’ll move right on to other houses that are more visible. Other than losing potential home buyers, neglected Mother Nature can cause other costly damages to property.

3. Update Your Plumbing

If your iron pipes look old and rusty and you fear you’ve ingested enough metal through your drinking water to construct a small ship, it’s time to replace your plumbing system.
Believe it or not, appraisers heavily consider plumbing when giving value to your home. Back in the day, re-piping was a massive undertaking where contractors would have to dig up walls. Lately though, people prefer plastic piping because it’s reliable and easy to install. Professional plumbers can run it through the walls like extension cords.

4. Boost Your Bathroom

As Matt and Nicole, licensed realtors and remodeling experts put it, you can brighten your bathroom up with some paint and add wallpaper. Do not overdo the wallpaper addition, though.
Remember that the moisture in the room can quickly loosen your wallpaper. To prevent this, use super glue to attach the wallpaper to the wall.

Other simple additions you may need to make are introducing a new mirror and a few light fixtures. With these simple procedures, you’ll transform your bathroom from a plain Jane to a beauty queen.

5. Illuminate Your Space

Few people prefer a dark living space and that’s why lighting enhances the appeal of any home. You can do a few things to brighten your house, and these include fixing broken panes, ensuring windows open and fixing switches that trigger dim lighting.

Don’t forget about the lights outside the house as well. They are important for both aesthetic appeal and security.

To add value to your home and beautify it, consider both the interior and exterior parts. Start by implementing each of the above ways as they are the easiest and most inexpensive ways to add value.

Understanding Real Estate CMA’s

real estate cma's

In Real Estate terms, CMA stands for comparative market analysis; in other words, the report provided by a realtor when they conduct an in-depth analysis of a home’s worth in your market. If you are considering selling your home in Anacortes, we can conduct an in-depth comparative market analysis and help you make the most of the information. Use our checklist below to make sure that you have an adequate understanding of real estate CMA’s.

cmas

Before committing to anything, be sure you are working with a real estate agent you can trust. Our goal as your agent is to make the Anacortes home buying or selling process stress free and smooth. After all, we work for you! If you would like a complimentary market analysis of your home in Anacortes, please call, text or email us today! We will provide you with an up to date market value of your home in Anacortes.

 

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning: Natural Cleaning Products

Spring Cleaning

The first day of spring has come and gone, and it is time to get that layer of dust off the furniture and clean out those closets!

The purpose behind spring cleaning is to create a clean home that feels welcoming and happy. Why not add “healthy” to that list? Around this time we are often still working on those New Year’s resolutions to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so this might be the perfect time to consider incorporating health into your cleaning regime as well.

Certified Organic cleaning products have become increasingly popular with the rise in use of essential oils and home remedies. Home owners are taking into consideration the ingredients that are in most household cleaners and the effects they might be having on themselves and their families.

When it comes to household cleaners, GreenHome.com advises us to choose cleaning products that “are made from naturally occurring, non-toxic substances. Be sure to avoid cleaners containing phosphates, chlorine, and VOC’s, all of which are toxic to humans or damaging to the environment.” And let’s face it, for those of us that have bleached anything and experienced its lingering lung-stinging aroma, it probably isn’t the safest substance to use in abundance around the home.

Now that we know a few of the ingredients we should be looking for, which products are genuinely the best options? We’ve compiled a list of our top five natural cleaning brands, using factors such as affordability and availability.

1. Mrs. Meyers Clean Day
2. Method
3. Seventh Generation
4. J.R. Watkins
5. Honest Company

Looking for more of the DIY approach?

Try some of these common household items to take care of some of your cleaning needs:
• Baking Soda- Use as a water softener or add to your dishwasher to help remove stuck-on food.
• Vinegar- Easily dissolve calcium build-ups in coffee pots, and sinks. Vinegar also gets rid of foul odors in drains by taking odors with It as is evaporates.
• Lemon Juice- Not only does it smell great, but it removes stains, deodorizes toilets, and inhibits mold build-up. Try slicing off an end and rubbing it around the edge of your sink, then simply wiping away the dirt and leftover juice.

Want more Spring cleaning tips?  Email us at Info@JeanGroesbeck.com and let us know! We are always happy to provide helpful home tips.

5 Common Mistakes When Buying a New Home

When buying a new home it is easy to overlook pertinent information or important steps in the purchase of your new home. The excitement of purchasing a home can sometimes distract you from the important aspects of home buying process.We are here to assist you in making sure you make the best decisions for a smooth home purchase! Here are 5 common mistakes that are made by home buyers:

1. Making an offer on a home before prequalification.

Being prequalified will make the buying process and your life much easier when making an offer on the home of your dreams. Take the time to speak with a lender before you jump into an offer. Specific questions a lender will ask in regards to income, debt, lifestyle etc. will help determine the price range you are able to afford. It is best to talk with several different lenders to insure you are applying for the loan that is right for you.

2. Not having a home inspection.

We all want to save money today, but making the mistake of not having your dream home inspected now can cost you tomorrow. Qualified home inspections will detect issues that many buyers can overlook, especially when it is your first home. Ask your real estate agent for a referral if you are unsure of who to turn to for a proper home inspection.

3. Limiting your search to  the internet.

When searching for your dream home on the internet, many times homes have been sold or are under contract and the home listing information has not yet been updated. The best way to view active listings and up to date information is through a real estate agent. Real estate agents will have the most recent information and will help you find the home that suits you best. There can also be home listings that are not available to the general public; a local real estate agent is the best source to finding your dream home!

4. Choosing the wrong real estate agent.

Making the right connection with a real estate agent is crucial. It is important to interview different agents (Click here for tips on interviewing agents) to make sure you are hiring an agent that puts your needs before, during, and after the sale. Building a strong relationship with your real estate agent will make the process of buying a home easier for you, if they know what your needs and wants are, they will strive to fulfill!

5. Thinking there is only one dream home out there for you.

The process of buying a home is process of elimination, not selection. The market is growing daily, make sure to keep an open mind to new property listings throughout the buying process. Be sure to ask your real estate agent for a comparative market analysis (CMA) comparing recently sold homes or homes still on the market to the home you are interested in purchasing. (Click here to learn more about CMA) Keep in mind that every home might have a slight flaw and might not match up to your needs and want list, compromise is key, you may need to adjust your list to insure you have you needs met instead of all of your wants.

It is important to not make these most common mistakes when you feel you are ready to make an offer on your dream home in Anacortes or Skagit County. We are committed to serving you, we are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have when making an offer on a home! Let us show you the difference that 5 star service can make in a real estate transaction!

809 7th St Anacortes, WA - (360) 941-3734

Is your home ready for winter?

Now that fall is officially here …. it is time to prepare your home for the winter months ahead. Sure it may seem like a drag but in the end it will help you lower your utility bills and keep your home in good shape for years to come! Here are some easy tips to winterize your home and protect the value of your house:

1. Check your home heating system – Consult a professional to make sure your system is clean and in good shape! Also make sure that all vents are opened an unblocked so that the heat can distribute evenly. Act soon… an inspection will be less expensive than having repairs later down the road.

2. Scan the roof of your home – Check for any signs of damaged shingles or cracks on the roof and repair them immediately. Also,check for any cracked seals around the chimney and vents.

3. Clean the gutters – If gutters are full of leaves and debris, water can back up and potentially cause damage to the roof and siding of the house.

Arvin cleaning the gutters in our office

4. Check for drafts – Caulking and weather-stripping any leaks around windows and doors will help you lower your heating bill this season.

5. Inspect the chimney – Consider having your chimney professionally inspected before the first cold night of the season. This will ensure that everyone at home will enjoy a cozy fire all season long.

6. Turn off exterior faucets- In cold weather water left in the pipes can freeze. Disconnect all garden hoses and drain the remaining water from the faucet. Avoid waking up in the middle of a cold night to a broken pipe.

Congratulations you are officially ready for winter!

Protect your investment…your home might be worth more than you think!

* If you would like to contact Arvin at Arvin’s Pressure Washing and Window Cleaning, please call (360) 941-6973*

If you have any real estate questions please contact Jean Groesbeck (360) 941-3734  Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com

August Home Maintenance Tips!

Guest Blogger, Tim Hance from All Island Home Inspections, gives Anacortes homeowners some great home maintenance tips for the month of August!

Kitchen & Bathroom: Check under your sinks for signs of leaks from supply pipes and waste pipes. Also check for rust on the bottom of enameled steel sinks and water damage to the countertop.

Structure & Exterior: Check your home’s exterior wood for paint or wood stain needs.

Vinyl siding: Assess vinyl siding for cleaning needs. It requires less maintenance than most other sidings, but it still needs occasional cleaning.

Plumbing: Getting cold showers? The sediment in your water heater might be lowering your water temperature and the amount of available water. Flush sediment from your water heater.

Electrical: Inspect your outdoor electric wiring. While you’re outdoors during warm weather, take a few moments to inspect your outdoor electric outlets, lighting and wiring.

For more complete details and step-by-step guides see the article.

Tim Hance – All Island Home Inspections
Local, Certified & Licensed Professional Home Inspector
NACHI, NEFSI, AHIT, WSDA SPI, MS

If you would like to read more about how to keep your Anacortes home looking great, please see our blog!

Where to Install CO Detectors?

If your home is currently for sale, there is a new law requiring sellers of owner occupied single family homes, condos and mobile homes to install carbon monoxide alarms prior to closing.

Below is a short video presentation from Tim Hance of All Islands Home Inspections, created to address WHERE and HOW MANY carbon monoxide detectors are required to be installed by Anacortes home sellers prior to closing.



For more information on Anacortes real estate or homes for sale throughout Anacortes, vist our home page.  If you are wondering what your Anacortes home is worth in today’s Anacortes  real estate market, please visit our website and fill out this brief form!