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LA Digs - Northeast LA Real Estate Blog

Welcome to LA Digs, the real estate and Northeast Los Angeles community blog written by Realtors Tracy King and Keely Myres.

Here, we share tips, market updates, and local news bits to keep you informed on what's happening in Northeast Los Angeles and the surrounding neighborhoods. Read on to learn about the latest in your neighborhood!

Winterizing Your Home

The change of seasons from fall to winter is a great time to check that your home is still in good shape.  Even in sunny Southern California, we need to think about “winterizing” our homes.

If you are a homeowner, the best single thing you can do is schedule a periodic inspection of the major areas that can affect how safe, warm and dry you will be this winter.

Here’s a list of points you can use to make sure your home is ready for winter (however mild it may be here!):

1.       Are your doors and windows secure?  It’s easy enough to check all your locks, knobs and handles. Also, if you have recently moved into your home, have you had your locks re-keyed? It’s not expensive and can prevent someone else’s old friends from wandering in.
2.       Is your house safe from bugs? A termite inspection every year or two is such a smart thing to do. Take it from the person who waited nine years and had to go through a fumigation, wood repair, repainting…a whole lot of work that could have been easily prevented!
3.       Is your house safe from fire? Have your chimney cleaned and inspected.
4.       Are all your systems operating safely? A professional  general inspection will tell you if you have electrical or plumbing issues that you might not know about otherwise. I once listed a house in which the electrical system was so old and worn that the inspector warned them a fire could start at any moment. They re-wired the house immediately, but would not have known to do so otherwise.
1.       Have your furnace inspected and serviced. Are you changing your filters as often as recommended? You will ensure safe and efficient operation, plus you can save on your heating bills—a clean filter lets more warm air through with less energy used.
2.       Have you checked your doors and windows for air leaks? You can apply weather-stripping yourself with inexpensive supplies from the home improvement store.
1.       Have your roof inspected.
2.       Check your yard. Is the ground sloped away from the house so that moisture doesn’t flow or wick toward your foundation?
3.       Do you have rain gutters? Clean and inspect them often, especially if you have trees nearby. A clogged gutter can cause water to collect on your roof and drastically reduce its life.
If you don’t have gutters, you might want to investigate having them installed—they can help keep water away from your foundation.
4.       Back to plumbing—How often do you go under your house? It is very common in older homes to have a plumbing leak that is small enough that you don’t notice it, but it can do a lot of damage over time. Or it can provide a breeding ground for mold, dry rot, or pest infestation.

These inspections don’t have to be expensive. A reputable termite company might charge $75-$125 to inspect your home. Start with that and a chimney cleaning ($75-250) and go from there.
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Did you know? The deal on paint law

By now, we all know that lead is not-so-good for our general health.  Unfortunately, the U.S. did not ban the use of lead-based paint until 1978.  This means that hundreds of thousands of homes still contain lead paint, and when these older homes need remodeling, the lead can be released into the air, soil, and water it contacts.

Finally, on April 22, Earth Day, of 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a rule that requires lead safe practices by contractors who perform any renovation or repair projects that disturb lead-based paint in home, child-care facilities, and schools built before 1978.  No longer can a contractor just go in to a home and start demo work, or even just sanding, without being certified and following specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

A little background on lead -- did you know that some scientists believe that the lead used in some ceramic glazes and in the water pipes helped destroy the Roman Empire? Yes, the long term effects of lead poisoning leads to decreased bone and muscle growth, damage to the nervous system, kidneys, hearing, seizures and unconsciousness in children. In adults, effects can include everything from fatigue to infertility, anemia, high blood pressure, and dyspepsia. In general, lead poisoning makes humans sickly and weak, and therefore easily conquered.

If every one of us were all-knowing and filled purely with concern for humanity, we wouldn’t need government intervention. But consider the banning of the use of lead in paints. Did you know that some nations in Europe banned lead-based paint in the 1920’s to protect painters? Meanwhile, the U.S. government endorsed the use of lead in paint because it helped make paint more washable, thereby allowing homes to be cleaner and reduce the incidence of infectious disease. There is a lot written about how in the 1950s scientists found lead in paint to be the cause of lead poisoning among children who lived in poorly maintained homes (with peeling paint).

So, while even more regulations on how you can work on your own home can be annoying,  one of the most important jobs a government can do is to protect you from things that you can’t see.

For the complete information on the rule and the certification and regulation of professionals, go to
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