Safety

House icon - asbestos in homesSilicon Valley has many properties built before 1978, so asbestos in homes is common, often in the HVAC systems, ceilings, or floors. Very few people test their for asbestos in homes. Seeing that a seller has “no reports” on items like asbestos on their home is not uncommon, but it does not mean it is not there, particularly in older properties.

Most of Silicon Valley has older homes, as you know, so most contain some amount of asbestos, commonly on the HVAC ducts and, more visibly, in some popcorn or acoustic ceilings. Asbestos in homes built prior to 1978 is very common. Homes built after 1978 are far less likely to be effected. Asbestos can be found in almost any product, especially in older parts of the home where fire retardancy would be beneficial.

But that doesn’t mean homes with asbestos are bad homes or a major risk to you and your family. I know for a fact that my home has asbestos on the boots, where the ducts come up to the heat register. Since it is on the external part of the ducting, not the inside, the air in our house should be clean and free from asbestos.

What is it?

Asbestos is the common name for a group of silicate minerals made of thin, strong fibers, best known for their use as excellent fire retardants. Not many realize that it occurs naturally in certain areas, including California. The most common naturally occurring Asbestos is Chrysotile, often found in serpentine, common to the Sierra foothills and the Coast Ranges.

What does that mean? Since Asbestos are minerals, that means they are generally stable and will not evaporate. However, the mineral can be crushed into a fine dust which will float in air – this is referred to as friable asbestos. Friable asbestos, suspended in air and breathed by humans is a carcinogen linked to the development of lung cancer.

What are the risks of asbestos in homes?

It’s usually contractors that must be careful of the risks, since asbestos is mainly dangerous when airborne, which can occur when workers break, open, or move the walls, ceilings, or ducting that contain it. Good contractors know the risks and can identify where it is important for them and the workers to wear protective covering, such as masks and goggles. In California, contractors must be certified to work with asbestos.

I cannot tell you the exact risks. Each house, the amount of asbestos, where it is, and the condition it is in will be different for each case. That being said, it is common wisdom that so long as the asbestos is not disturbed and does not become airborne it should not cause harm. So don’t stick pins in that popcorn ceiling!

How to get rid of it?

There are companies that can eradicate and remove asbestos safely. In some situations, the asbestos can be encapsulated instead of removed (which is much less costly in many cases). On ducting, for instance, the asbestos can be sealed by professionals with a tape, which is cheaper and quicker than removing and disposing of the asbestos. You have probably seen a very shiny, silver looking tape near a furnace – that’s likely what you are looking at.

What about getting rid of it? I have personal experience with this. A few years back, our refrigerator broke, completely flooding our kitchen. The floor had to be removed, and what did they find? The glue beneath had asbestos in it! Since it was beneath the floor, we never came in contact with it before then, but the professionals knew what to do. A special asbestos cleanup crew came in, sealed off the kitchen in plastic, donned hazmat suits and removed all of the asbestos filled glue safely. The room was sealed off for only 2-3 days, making it a relatively short part of the process compared to the other repairs necessary to fix our flooded kitchen floors.

If you are worried that a home you are buying has asbestos and you’d like to get work done or remove the asbestos, talk to an architect and consider having the work done before you move in. For instance, if you intend to remove popcorn ceilings and paint, both are easier done before you move in. Just give yourself a couple of days extra for the safe removal of the popcorn ceilings.

It is important to note that removing asbestos is homes is not a “do it yourself” type job. It’s not worth your health to save a few bucks. Depending on what you need done, there are professionals who can safely remove asbestos in homes, and they are not difficult to find. Please reach out to me if you need contact info for one of these professionals.

Related reading:

Is there a radon risk in Silicon Valley homes?

Information on Lead Paint on the ValleyOfHeartsDelight.com site of mine.

For the California government page on asbestos: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/acru/acruinfo.htm

Security guards used to be required on site when a home was fumigated in California, but that has not been the case since the 90s.  Seems that some clever bad guys have decided, in Southern California, that this makes a home “easy pickings” (apparently gas masks are not that hard to come by).  Sadly, crime often comes in waves and ideas catch on, so it would be wise for us to be prepared to have this happen here.  The solution is simple: bring back paid security, or stay on site yourself (rent or borrow a motor home, camper etc.)

Check out the news video from Los Angeles’ KABC TV station and see if you don’t agree that having someone there with watchful eyes isn’t a good idea.

 

  1. 6 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 4,496 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.40 ac
  2. 7 beds, 7 baths
    Home size: 6,651 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.95 ac
  3. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,783 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.09 ac
  4. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,025 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,560 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 4,655 sq ft
    Lot size: 43,560 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,999 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,490 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,352 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,171 sqft
  8. 6 beds, 10 baths
    Home size: 8,410 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.89 ac
  9. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,397 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,080 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,970 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,479 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 11/21/2017)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Federal Pacific Electrical PanelSometimes things seem to come in waves, and this last week the waves that found me seemed to all be about unsafe electrical panels in homes which are either risky or potentially risky.  I read a home inspection report for a house with a Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE) panel that encouraged home owners to replace that type because of the risk of fire.  Then I met with a potential seller client who was aware of a fire on his block due to a panel failure and was experiencing issues with his Zinsco electrical panel which seemed dangerous. Having two of these red flags thrown down at once did get my attention.

Tonight I did some research on these two panels to see what I could glean, and happened to find a website which discussed both the Zinsco and FPE panels.  This site includes photos of what happens if an electrical panel fails. I found it exceedingly helpful, and think it’s worth sharing widely.

http://www.ismypanelsafe.com/fpe.aspx

For safety’s sake, please go check the type of panel you have, and sub panel too, if there is one. DO NOT attempt to pull off the dead front (the part which is gray in the image to the right) – only a licensed, qualified electrician should do that.

If you have an older panel, or Federal Pacific Electric Company or Zinsco panel, you may want to investigate replacing it.  Ditto that for an outdated panel.  Please do some research on this topic if you have one of these panels in your home, especially. It may not be universally believed that they should be replaced but this is something to check out, at the very least, if you have one of these in your home.  Buying a home?  Ask your property inspector about the reputation of the panel.  Sometimes home inspectors won’t mention it one way or the other unless they see symptoms of overheating or something similar.  Perhaps it’s fine now, but should be on your list of things to replace over time for an added measure of peace of mind.

  1. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 720 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,626 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 800 sq ft
  3. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,800 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,972 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,695 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.66 ac
  5. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,778 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.17 ac
  6. 5 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 5,076 sq ft
    Lot size: 3.03 ac
  7. 4 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 3,758 sq ft
    Lot size: 22,215 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,816 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,877 sqft
  9. 6 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 7,031 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.00 ac
  10. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 4,900 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,152 sqft

See all Real estate in the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno community.
(all data current as of 11/21/2017)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Most homeowners have a smoke detector, at least one, in their home.  Ideally, everyone has them in each bedroom, too.  But what kind is it, and does it matter?

Smoke Detector There are two main types of smoke detectors: ionization and photoelectric.  Usually we find ionization types in homes, but the photoelectric is superior.  It does cost more, but the photoelectric one will not go off from steam in a laundry room or coming from the bathroom (which makes it tempting to simply remove the battery since it’s an annoyance to get a false alarm!).  Additionally, the ionization type responds faster to smoke.

Some home inspectors suggest that it’s a good idea to replace all of the ionazatation types with the photoelectric types for this reason. Interestingly, not everyone shares that opinion.  The National Fire Prevention Association suggests using both types in the home (see 2nd article below), noting that each type is better in certain areas of smoke detection.  The Allstate insurance blog likewise sees pros and cons in both types, stating that ionization types pick up the smoke from a flaming fire faster (as opposed to a smoldering fire, which apparently is better detected by photoelectric types).

Related reading:

http://www.structuretech1.com/2012/04/ionization-smoke-alarms/

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/fire-and-safety-equipment/smoke-alarms/ionization-vs-photoelectric

http://blog.allstate.com/ionization-vs-photoelectric-smoke-alarm/

 

  1. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 720 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,626 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 800 sq ft
  3. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 2,702 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.41 ac
  4. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,800 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,972 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,866 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,959 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,695 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.66 ac
  7. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,645 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.71 ac
  8. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,188 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.03 ac
  9. 4 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 5,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.06 ac
  10. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 935 sq ft
    Lot size: 6.40 ac

See all Real estate in the city of Los Gatos.
(all data current as of 11/21/2017)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 

waterfallFor four years we have worried about the lack of rain and increased our conservation efforts.  Today lawns everywhere are dead, or hanging on by a thread.

Weather experts now say that there’s a 90% chance of an El Niño winter ahead.  Not only that, but they expect it to be a doozy.

My suspicion is that most of us are not really ready for all that water and the flooding that may ensue, so I wanted to suggest a little preparation for the rainy season (and the deepest hopes that it will refill our reservoirs and aquafers).   Here are a few suggestions from me, based on decades of attending home inspections:

  1. If it’s been more than 3 years since your roof was inspected, get a roof inspection done now, during the dry season. (Use a licensed roofing contractor to do it, not a handyman.) It’s better to do it before you discover a leak, and it’s better to do it before the roofers are booked out a few weeks!  The cost is probably going to be around $100 – $150.  Most homes need “tune up” work every few years, and that’s normal, so have the inspection understanding that some of your vent pipes may need resealing, a few shingles may need replacing, or other small items may require adjustment or repair.  If the roof is younger, that’s all it should be.  The old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies here.
  2. Make sure that the grading around your house or townhouse is correct and that the land slopes toward the yard & away from your home.  Grading is incorrect a lot of the time – I probably see my home inspector write that up more than half the time.  It matters because the water that comes down will follow the slope of the soil and you do not want it aimed at your structure.  You want the water to go away from your home.
  3. Your downspouts should direct the water away from the house, ideally 6′ or more.  This is super important, as the entire surface of your roof collects water and pushes it off through just a few openings, and in heavy rains this is a ton of water!  You do not want it lingering near your foundation because our clay soils are expansive when wet and that puts unfriendly pressure on foundations and may cause cracking and the exposure of the rebar inside to moisture.  That rebar is important for the foundation’s strength, and if it rusts, the integrity of the foundation is at risk.  So protect the whole system by getting the water away from the home.
  4. If you have a drainage system, make sure that the grates over it are cleared of leaves to allow the water to filter into it.
  5. If you have a sump pump, consider upgrading from the standard type that operates on electricity only to one that works with a battery backup.  In really big storms, we can lose power and then the regular sump pump won’t work, just when you need it most!  If you already have a battery backup, consider keeping a replacement battery on hand.
  6. Most Silicon Valley homes have power lines rather than underground utilities.  Have a look at yours, if applicable, and see if there are tree branches too close to the lines.  Often P, G & E will trim them for free if you spot a problem and let them know.
  7. Do keep spare batteries, water, food, medicines, and other essentials on hand in case of a prolonged power outage.  I recommend getting cell phone or other electronic device battery backups.  Again, if you’re out of power for 3 days, you may need something to juice up your mobile phone!  I have a couple of these “bricks” but my favorite is called a PowerStrip and it has a solar charger.
  8. If you are in an area which is heavily wooded, or the access to your home is heavily wooded, consider purchasing power tools to clear trees that may fall on your route.  Being able to get in and out is crucial in case of an emergency.

Due to an avalanche of spam comments, I have had to turn off comments on this blog, but if you think I have missed anything, please email me and I will edit this article to help others be better prepared for the rains that we hope and pray are coming soon.

  1. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 720 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,626 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 800 sq ft
  3. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 2,702 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.41 ac
  4. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,800 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,972 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,866 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,959 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,695 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.66 ac
  7. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,645 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.71 ac
  8. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,188 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.03 ac
  9. 4 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 5,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.06 ac
  10. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 935 sq ft
    Lot size: 6.40 ac

See all Real estate in the city of Los Gatos.
(all data current as of 11/21/2017)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

FlameMost homes require smoke detectors, but where do they go?  The California Fire Marshall is in charge of this regulation.  The CalFire site states the following, which applies to most dwellings:

Placement
Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, in the hallways leading to the bedrooms, and on each level of your home, including the basement. Smoke alarms should be mounted on the ceiling 4” from the wall; wall mounts should be 4-12” from the ceiling. Do not install near draft areas (windows, vents.). Call your local fire department if you are unsure about placement.

For more info:

http://www.ca.gov/HealthSafety/LawsAndRegs.html

 http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/calawquery?codesection=hsc

  1. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,440 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,378 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,499 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,244 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 938 sq ft
    Lot size: 840 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,431 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,201 sqft
  5. 6 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,902 sq ft
    Lot size: 20,399 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,960 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,912 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,359 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,715 sqft
  8. 1 bed, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,985 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,545 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,296 sq ft
  10. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,180 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,996 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Morgan Hill.
(all data current as of 11/21/2017)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Residential Environmental Hazards Booklet - State of CaliforniaIt’s the end of the year and many people are making New Years Resolutions or New Years Goals.  Often these have to do with getting more exercise and losing some weight – in other words, getting healthier.  But there’s one very important aspect of health which is often overlooked: indoor air quality.

Could the air inside your home not be healthy?  You may be surprised.

One of the least known but perhaps one of the biggest risks involves gas cooking, as well as the use of other gas appliances, in the home. What many cooking aficionados do not realize is that every single time you cook with gas, you also should be using the vent to clear the gas fumes lest you contribute to a buildup of carbon monoxide (and other pollutants) indoors.  (Venting is also crucial with other gas appliances such as the furnace and water heater.)  Carbon monoxide detectors are now mandatory in California homes, not just at the point of resale but in all houses, condos, town homes etc. – but even the best devices can fail or have the batteries die, so best to avoid relying on them alone and make sure to use care in venting all gas devices whenever in use.  There are some studies indicating that gas cooking and the use of other gas appliances indoors may aggravate respiratory conditions such as asthma and increase pulmonary (lung) risk, too. Carbon monoxide is the best known, but not only pollutant, that may come with gas appliances.

Radon is thought to be a non-issue in California, but Silicon Valley is generally a moderate radon area. Care should be taken particularly in properties with basements and in homes where occupants smoke indoors.

Other issues include mold and dust, which are especially hard on people with allergies or lung disease, but can also irritate eyes. For structures built prior to 1978, lead may be present too.

When buying or selling residential property in California, the Residential Environmental Hazards booklet is provided.  It can be found online via a variety of sources, including the State of California’s website.  If you haven’t seen or read this booklet recently, I would like to suggest that you have a look and consider incorporating some of the suggestions and tips in the coming year to make your own home a healthier one:

http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/CLPPB/Documents/ResEnviroHaz2005.pdf

A last point about this fabulous booklet: do not read right before going to bed!! 

Additional information from the World Health Organization can be found here:

WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Selected Pollutants (book, 2010)

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014!

  1. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 511 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.26 ac
  2. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 888 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,092 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 648 sq ft
  4. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 800 sq ft
    Lot size: 29,620 sqft
  5. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 2,359 sq ft
    Lot size: 23,043 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,460 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,585 sqft
  7. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 881 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,746 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,667 sq ft
    Lot size: 10.10 ac
  9. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,805 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,619 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,400 sq ft
    Lot size: 28,706 sqft

See all Real estate matching your search.
(all data current as of 11/21/2017)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Small bedroom windowsIf you are buying or selling an older ranch style house in Silicon Valley, there’s a good chance that original bedroom windows may be smaller or higher than your home inspector might like.  What is the big deal with the height or size of the windows?  The inspection report may mention ingress and egress.  What is that all about?

For fire safety, it’s important that bedroom windows be an escape route for persons in the home (egress).  It’s just as important that fire fighters, with their large backpacks on their backs, can get in through the same openings (ingress).  When windows are too high, kids, and perhaps adults, cannot get out through them.  And no matter how low or high, if the windows are too small, emergency personnel cannot enter through them.

When remodeling your home and switching from single pane to dual pane windows, many people will be tempted to use the same sized windows with the new replacement set in order to save money, and in many areas, skip the need for permits and finals by not disturbing the stucco.  But rather than target the least expensive way to upgrade your windows, I’d like to suggest making safety a priority.  Upgrade not just your home’s energy efficiency, but its safety too.

I found many related articles on line with the particulars about size.  This one seemed especially good, so I’m including the link here:

http://www.finehomebuilding.com/how-to/articles/code-violations-emergency-egress-windows.aspx

  1. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,344 sq ft
  2. 3 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,284 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,621 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,365 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,178 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,754 sq ft
    Lot size: 18,295 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,191 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,181 sqft
  6. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 2,396 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,550 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,744 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,611 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,303 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,588 sqft
  9. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,464 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,930 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,508 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,580 sqft

See all Real estate in the Willow Glen community.
(all data current as of 11/21/2017)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Change for the betterMany times, homeowners look at the size of their home and assume that all living space is equally valuable on a price per square footage basis.  In Silicon Valley, though, we frequently see tract neighborhoods of smaller houses, say 1000 to 1500 SF, in which additions have been made.  Sometimes it’s an unattractive “box on the top” over the garage. Other times it’s a tasteful expansion into the overly large front yard or the expansive side yard where perhaps drying lines used to be found.

Most of the time, the expansion will not be valued as highly as original square footage.  If it’s a very small addition, this may not be the case, particularly if this leaves the structure’s size still in line with the neighborhood.  But in general, the added living space will be valued by most home buyers (and appraisers) on a lesser scale.  If the addition was done without permits and finals, home buyers may still find it attractive, but appraisers will most likely count the value as zero.   One other factor has to do with the type of room that was constructed.  Bathrooms and kitchens are more expensive and therefore will be valued more heavily than bedrooms or family rooms or other space that does not involve plumbing or appliances.

How much less does the added square footage get counted?  It depends on many things, such as whether the house is now overbuilt for the neighborhood, the market conditions at the time, the quality of construction, etc.   Several times in my career I’ve seen homes which were added onto multiple times, such that it ends up feeling like a bit of a Winchester House.  At the other extreme, there are remodels which are so comprehensive that the whole house is nearly rebuilt.  In that case, there could be no discount for the addition at all.

Related Reading:

Assessed Property Value vs. Market Value of Silicon Valley Real Estate

Sometimes the List Price Isn’t the Expected Sales Price, So Run Comps!

  1. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,176 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,840 sqft
  2. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,554 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,564 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,169 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,181 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,512 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,998 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,244 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,298 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,501 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,454 sqft
  7. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 704 sq ft
    Lot size: 705 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,200 sq ft
  9. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,176 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,036 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,512 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,972 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Campbell.
(all data current as of 11/21/2017)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

View from Campbell of Percolation Ponds and Coastal Hills

If you live near a creek, pond or lake, you may have more trouble with wild life

Recently I was in a Silicon Valley neighborhood forum where someone asked what to do about a mouse (“or something”) in the wall of a house.  For better or worse, I have a fair amount of experience with this both personally and professionally: birds in chimneys, mice and rats in homes (inside plus in the attics, walls, crawlspaces, and heating ducts) and even a bat that got into first an attic and then into the living area itself – that last story goes with the photo from a backyard in Campbell of a townhouse I sold some years ago.

Sometimes this can be a do-it-yourself project but often it’s better if you leave it to the professionals: a good termite & pest control company is normally going to be your best bet for removing rodents and other unwanted visitors and keeping them out.

What happens if you hire someone to get rid of your mouse, rat, bat, bird or other invading animal?

Usually it’s a 3-4 visit process over 3-4 weeks to catch the house guest, then do “exclusion work”, which means finding how it got in and making sure that or any other access points are cut off, then rechecking another time or two to make sure that the problem is taken care of.  (What you do not want to do is get a dead rat or mouse stuck in your wall, so the pros will usually use traps where they can retrieve them rather than poison in the house’s attic or crawl space.)  The cost is often a few hundred dollars for this multi-visit process. Continue reading

Translation

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Mary Pope-Handy
Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805


Selling homes in
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Almaden Valley,
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focus on home selling

Silicon Valley Real Estate Report
Silicon Valley real estate
market trends & statistics
Mary’s Blog Awards
Top 25 real estate blogs 2016
2016: Personal Income's list of top 25 real estate blogs.


Best Realtor blog award
2016: Coastal Group OC's list of best Realtor blogs


The 2009 Sellsius list of top 12 women real estate bloggers
2009: Sellsius list of top
12 women real estate bloggers


Mary Pope-Handy's Live in Los Gatos blog won the 2007 Project Blogger contest, sponsored by Inman News and Active Rain

2007: Mary Pope-Handy and Frances Flynn Thorsen win the Project Blogger Contest for Mary's Live in Los Gatos blog. The contest was sponsored by
Active Rain and Inman News.


Non blog award


Best real estate agent in Silicon Valley from the San Jose Mercury News poll of readers in 2011
"Best real estate agent
in Silicon Valley"

2011 readers' poll,
San Jose Mercury News

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