Monday, October 17, 2016

Scott Says... Help Yourself Breathe Easier

Help Yourself Breathe Easier: 9 Tips to Banish Mold from the Home

If you live in Oregon, you know how moist it can get inside your home throughout the year.  Mold can be present in many homes, and often can be present in the attic, bathrooms, and basement. In many cases, the mold found in Oregon homes is a non-toxic variety, but it’s presence may still cause runny noses, sneezing, and offensive odors for some people. No matter the type of mold found, you will want to eliminate it from your home to ensure a healthy environment and to maintain the structural integrity of your home.

How do you find the mold in your home? Sometimes it’s easy—it may be right in front of you and you can visibly see it, or you may be able to find it by its distinctly musty smell. Though it’s harder to find hidden mold, you can do so by looking behind and beneath fixed materials and appliances: refrigerators, dishwashers, sink cabinets, washer/dryers, carpets, vinyl flooring—areas where water flows or where air doesn’t penetrate readily. Also, look for signs of staining or discoloration on walls and ceilings; this can denote a moisture buildup behind which mold may lurk.

If mold is found, it can generally be easily remediated such that it will no longer be a problem. But remediation alone is not always enough.  Here are some tips to help you control the likelihood of mold in your home.

Follow these 9 tips to reduce the presence of mold in your home:
  1. If you've lived in your home for several years and haven't had a recent home inspection, considering having a home inspector check out your attic and crawl space for the presence of mold that may have accumulated since you purchased the home.
  2. Call in a professional to assess water-damaged areas due to bathtub overflows, broken pipes, leaky roofs, etc.
  3. Keep humidity low. Use of a de-humidifier may be necessary to keep humidity levels between 30% and 50% to prevent condensation on building materials.
  4. Replace any carpets and furniture that have ever been significantly damaged (i.e. saturated in water), even if they look OK on the outside.
  5. Carpet in the bathroom or basement? Don't even think about it. There was a time when builders installed carpeting in bathrooms in front of the sinks, around toilets, and sometimes in front of the shower.  it's time to get rid of it.
  6. Use an air conditioner during the summer and fans to keep the air circulating.
  7. Ensure your home has sufficient roof ventilation - roof vents and soffit vents - to keep air moving throughout the attic space.
  8. Provide adequate ventilation in hot areas. The kitchen and bath are two of the highest-risk rooms for mold. Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms and be sure to use them!
  9. Don't neglect areas underneath the house.  Have a professional drainage contractor evaluate your crawl space for the presence of water and adequate ventilation.  Water in a crawl space can evaporate through the home and get caught in the attic, creating a ripe environment for mold formation.
The most important tip is to fix the underlying issue - eliminate as many causes and sources of mold as possible.  Mold is not the problem.  It's an indicator of a moisture problem.  You can get rid of the mold, but if you don't address the leaky pipes, high humidity and water intrusion, the mold will come back.    

Scott Says... contributed by Scott Wagar, Scott Wagar Home Inspections

Thursday, October 13, 2016

September 2016 Real Estate Market Statistics

The following is the latest Real Estate Market Statistics for September 2016.
Click here for the full report

  • Sales:   2,823 in September 2016 vs 3,010 last September:  -6.2%
  • Pending Sales:   2,875 in September 2016 vs 2,971 last September:  -3.8%
  • New Listings:   3,673 in September 2016 vs 3,424 last September:  7.3%
  • Average Sales Price:   $392,600 in September 2016 vs $352,500 last September:  11.4%
  • Total Market Time: 35 days in September 2016 vs 46 days last September:  -24.5%
  • Inventory in Months: 2.0 months in September 2016 vs 1.9 months last September
Inventory by Area:
  • NW Washington County   2.0 months
  • Beaverton/Aloha               1.27 months
  • Hillsboro/Forest Grove     1.54 months

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Mortgage Rates by Decade

A recent post from blog provided information on mortgage rate trends over the past decades.

This table shows the average 30-year fixed mortgage rates and approximate payments for a $200,000 mortgage (principal and interest only).

Interest rates are still at historic lows.  This is a great time to lock in your housing cost and protect yourself from increasing rents, or refinance your current mortgage.

Smoke Alarm Advice: Test Monthly, Replace Every 10 Years

Fire Prevention Week runs October 9 - 15 this year, which is a good time to remember to replace your smoke alarm batteries.  

Do you really need to have smoke alarms in your home?  Yes!  You are four times more likely to survive a home fire if you have a working smoke alarm.  During a fire, you may have less than three minutes to escape.  Smoke spreads fast, and smoke alarms alert you to the danger and give you time to get out.

Different types of smoke alarms are available - Ionization vs photolectric, battery operated vs wired in.  The place to install smoke detectors in your home depends on when your home was built and how many levels - but there should be one on each level of your home and near bedrooms.

Actually, do you know how old your smoke alarms are?  If the
Back side of Smoke Alarmmanufacture date of the smoke alarm is older than 10 years (not the date when you bought the alarm), it is time to replace the whole smoke alarm unit.  Look on the back side of your smoke alarm to find the manufacture and expiration dates.

Smoke alarms must be maintained, tested and batteries replaced according to the manufacturer's recommended instructions. If the alarm chirps, it's time to replace the battery - or possibly the entire smoke alarm.

It is also important to have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home near the bedrooms.  You may replace a hard-wired smoke alarm with a hard-wired with battery back-up smoke/CO alarm.

For more information on types of alarms, place for proper installation and what to do if your smoke alarm sounds visit the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal Smoke Alarm FAQs website.

Be Safe!