How to Detect and Remove Lead Paint from Your Home

Old New England homes are rich in history and character. The style of many modern houses in the region is heavily influenced by English colonial homes of the early 1700s. It was in colonial times when lead pigment was first used.

By the 1920s lead paint usage was at its peak. The paint was strong, it covered a lot of surface area, and it made vibrant colors, all very appealing to home homeowners at the time.

The health hazards of lead paint are many. Although, unlike other home hazards like fire or carbon monoxide, they reveal themselves slowly over many years, making them especially dangerous for children. According to WebMD, high levels of lead paint exposure can cause the following:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Kidney damage
  • Behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity
  • Slowed growth
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Hearing problems
  • Headaches
  • Bone marrow problems

Scary stuff, right? But don’t panic…

Here’s what you need to know about detecting and eliminating lead paint in your home.

If your house was built before 1978, there’s a chance it has lead paint. It was in 1978 that the federal government banned the consumer use of lead paints. Since usage reached its peak in the 1920s, the older your house the higher the likelihood of it having lead paint. This puts old New England homes at greater risk.

To test for lead paint you should seek out a licensed inspector. Most state websites have resources for locating an inspector near you (mass.gov for example). Inspection can cost anywhere from $150-$400 and will depend on the size of your home, rates in your area, and other factors.

Once tested, you will be given options and a risk assessment and can then decide how you’d like to proceed. Some ill-advised homeowners take the situation into their own hands, scraping paint and mopping up the dust. This is exactly what NOT to do. Dispersing all of those lead particles into the air will contaminate your home and yard, seeping into the ground outside.

Many people share anecdotal stories about removing lead paint themselves, insisting, “I did it myself and I’m still alive.” It’s important to remember, however, that those who are truly at risk are the children who will grow up in that house facing longterm exposure to lead.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning for three reasons:

  1. Toddlers tend to put objects into their mouths such as paint chips or other objects that may have traces of lead. This causes a high level of lead absorption
  2. Children’s bodies are developing rapidly and absorb lead faster than adults
  3. They can spend decades in a home, developing the symptoms listed above that can then become chronic, lifelong illnesses

To completely remove the lead from your home you’ll need to seek out a lead abatement contractor. View the Lead Safe List for your area to find contractors and receive quotes.

If you have attempted to remove lead yourself, or performed recent renovations that may have dispersed lead paint and are worried that your children may have been exposed you should bring them to their pediatrician. Testing for high levels of lead can be detected by a simple blood test.

 

Steering and Blockbusting

Businesspeople imitating see, hear, speak no evil conceptThe country’s long history of racism and racial discrimination effected many aspects of life in the U.S. and the world of real estate was no exception to this. In the past, real estate agents would practice things such as “steering” and “blockbusting.” In both cases real estate agents played a part in segregating different communities by race.  Whether by steering, suggesting clients look in certain neighborhoods based on their race, or blockbusting, convincing homeowners to sell their homes quickly and at low prices by instilling the fear that minorities would soon be taking over the area, their practices did not have their clients’, or the general populations, best interests at heart. In fact, ‘steering’ and ‘blockbusting’ allowed agents to reap many fiscal rewards of racism.

Modern day real estate agents have a very high standard of ethics and laws in place in regard to discrimination for these very reasons. These standards make the content an agent can provide his or her clients with limited at times. There is certain information your agent can not and should not provide.

An agent cannot and should not attest to the specifics of a certain neighborhood. The agent shouldn’t tell a client the area is perfect for single persons or on the other hand describe a neighborhood as family-friendly. Your agent can suggest you speak with some of the homeowners in the neighborhood in order to get a better grasp on the neighborhood’s atmosphere. Similarly, If you want to know if the area you’re looking in has a good school system, an agent can point you in the direction of where this information and data is readily available, perhaps online, and allow you to do your own research and make your own assumptions. An agent, generally, cannot provide you with his or her personal experience or opinion on these sensitive topics.

This is not detrimental to you as a buyer or a seller. As a seller you are ensured your agent is showing any and all interested buyers, and as a buyer you know your agent is showing you the optimal number of homes and neighborhoods based on your desires not your race.

As your real estate agent I’d be happy to point you in the right direction of any information you may be seeking while abiding by all of the highest moral standards of my profession. It is my job to have your best interests in mind.

Art Display Mistakes To Try And Avoid

Once you move into a new home, you are probably worried about furniture and pots and pans. You should, however, be concerned about what is going to go on your walls. Artwork and photographs are among some of the most important things that you will have in your home. They are what gives your home character. 

The problem with art, and decorating in general is that there’s so many different mistakes that you can make in your home that have an impact, but you’d never even realize it. Here, we’ll explain some of the most common art and art decor mistakes that are made in homes and how to avoid them. 

Placing Your Art At The Wrong Height

If you hang a framed piece either too high or too low on a wall, it’s going to look awkward. The art should be a sensible distance from other things on the wall. You can use your fireplace, sofa, or bed as a frame of reference to see if the picture is displayed strangely. The same rule goes when it comes to other pieces that are placed on shelving. Be sure that shelves or display tables come at an appropriate height for the room.

Art That’s Not The Right Size For The Room

Hanging a giant piece of art in a small room will leave you wondering what’s off with the space. The same goes for hanging a really tiny piece of art in a larger room. Your art should be to scale of wherever you decide to hang it. Don’t buy an extra large statue if you know you don’t have a room that can house it without looking out of sorts. You can break this rule a bit from time to time. Sometimes, a large painting will look wonderful in a room, no matter how big it is. Use your judgement when it comes to artwork and its proportions within your home.      

Same Old Same

If you don’t have enough variety in your home, it’s like going to a museum where every room has a theme. This type of decorating can make your home feel stuffy. When everything matches, like your overly beach-themed bathroom, it gets boring. Colors should blend, but they don’t have to match. Think of how to integrate a few types of decor when it comes to adding personal touches to your home, especially when using artwork, sculptures, and photos.

Every Wall Is Full

You don’t need to stuff every wall of your home full of pictures. Art doesn’t actually belong on each and every wall of your home. Some walls deserve to be blank or sparse, depending on the contents of the room. Also, hanging too much art gives you the illusion of chaos in the home, and you don’t want that feeling to come across and cause undue stress.

How to Set Up Your Home for a Quick Sale

Who says a home seller should be forced to wait many weeks or months to sell his or her residence? Instead, devote the time and resources to get your home ready for the real estate market today, and you can boost your chances of a quick home sale.

Ultimately, there are many ways to set up your residence for a quick sale, including:

1. Establish a Competitive Price

The first 30 days your home is available on the housing market are critical. But if you establish a competitive home price from the get-go, your house could sell just days after it hits the market.

To determine the right price for your home, you’ll first want to evaluate the prices of residences similar to your own. By doing so, you’ll be able to assess your house relative to the competition and set a fair price for your residence.

Also, consider how homebuyers may evaluate your residence when they first see it. If you examine the homebuyer’s perspective, you’ll be better equipped to understand your house’s strengths and weaknesses and establish the right price for your home.

2. Focus on Improving Your Home’s Curb Appeal

What does a homebuyer think of your residence when he or she views your house for the first time? Your house’s curb appeal may impact your ability to enjoy the benefits of a quick home sale. If you spend some time enhancing your residence’s curb appeal, however, you may be able to speed up the home selling process.

Simple home exterior improvements such as mowing the lawn and painting the front door could make a world of difference for home sellers. These enhancements may help your residence stand out from the competition and enable your house to generate widespread interest in no time at all.

3. Declutter and Depersonalize Your Home

Make it easy for homebuyers to envision what life would be like if they purchased your home by decluttering and depersonalizing your residence.

Taking down family photographs and putting away personal belongings may seem like a time-consuming process, but removing these items from your residence will enable homebuyers to look at your house as more than just another property. In fact, decluttering and depersonalizing your house will empower homebuyers to view your residence as a home that they could enjoy for years to come.

Selling a home can be challenging, but a real estate agent can help you overcome a wide range of home selling hurdles. This professional understands what it takes to accelerate the home selling process and will do everything possible to help you promote your residence to the right homebuyers consistently. Plus, your real estate agent can help you establish a competitive price for your house, find fast, effective ways to boost your residence’s curb appeal and more.

Commit the necessary time and resources to prep your house for the real estate market. That way, you can ensure your residence stands out from others that are available and improve your chances of a quick home sale.