OUR CAPE COD HOMES TEAM - EXIT Cape Realty



Posted by OUR CAPE COD HOMES TEAM on 4/18/2017

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.  





Posted by OUR CAPE COD HOMES TEAM on 3/14/2017

Many of us take for granted the safety of our homes from asbestos. Some of us have grown comfortable at home and would never guess there could be potential dangers like asbestos or lead paint lurking behind our walls and under our floorboards. Others assume that since these dangers have been known for decades they must have already been taken care of in our homes. Unfortunately, many homes, especially homes built before the 1980s, still contain potentially harmful asbestos. Here's everything you need to know about detecting and removing asbestos from your home.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is a known carcinogen--meaning it is capable of causing cancer. Asbestos has been utilized throughout history for a number of practical uses, dating back to Ancient Greek and Egyptian societies who used asbestos in the embalming process and in candle wicks. In 1900s America, asbestos was used in a range of industries from automobiles, the military, and in building our homes. The benefits of asbestos are many. It is a great insulator and is also fire retardant. So for homeowners trying to keep warm but also concerned about their house burning down, asbestos offered two highly sought after services. It wasn't until the 1970s that the U.S. government began warning about and regulating the use of asbestos.

Risks

In spite of its many uses, asbestos has one--huge--disadvantage: it causes cancer. More specifically asbestos exposure can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma (a cancer of the lining of the chest and abdominal cavity). The cancer is a result of inhaling the fibers of asbestos mineral that are released into the air. In extreme cases where asbestos exposure becomes cancer-causing, some common symptoms include:
  • pain or difficulty breathing
  • coughing blood
  • a cough that doesn't go away or worsens
  • shortness of breath

Detecting asbestos in your home

The ways in which asbestos can make its way into the air are innumerable. Sometimes drilling into a ceiling that is blown with asbestos insulation causes the fibers to fall into the home. However, there are other places asbestos has been used in homes such as in flooring, paint, and wallpaper used around wood-burning stoves. According to the EPA, you generally can't tell if something contains asbestos just by looking at it. If the asbestos containing material is in good condition it is recommended that you leave it alone. However, if you are planning a remodel that will disturb the material (work which involves breaking ceilings, walls, or flooring) it is recommended that you seek out a certified inspector.

Removal or repair?

If an inspector deems part of your home unsafe due to asbestos fibers they will help you determine if the asbestos needs to be removed or simply repaired. In minor cases, a contractor will be able to repair the fix that is causing asbestos fibers in such a way that it doesn't need to be removed entirely. In more severe cases, the asbestos may need to be entirely removed by a contractor. It is important that you don't attempt these repairs or removals yourself as they require safety equipment and precautions that only accredited professionals have access to.





Posted by OUR CAPE COD HOMES TEAM on 4/12/2016

Child-Proofing Your Home. Unintentional injury is one of the leading causes of death in children under 14. That should be enough to make any parent shudder. Child-proofing a new or existing home can be quite the headache, but it's an incredibly neccessary step in making sure your home is safe for all members of your family. Luckily, by following a simple checklist, you can rest easy knowing that you've covered most, if not all of your bases. While there are extra steps that may need to be taken on a house-by-house basis, most of these steps are applicable to just about every kind of residence. Smoke Detectors - While this may seem like an obvious step, you'd be surprised how many people don't follow through with their fire alert system. Low batteries, improper placement, and broken detectors can all spell potential tragedy for you and your family. Pay close attention to the manufacturer's instructions. You should have at least one smoke detector per level of your home, including the basement and attic. One very important step you can take these days is to purchase batteries that are designated for electronic devices. Carbon Monoxide Detectors - These need to be placed near sleeping areas, and at least 15 feet away from any fuel-burning appliances. Anti-Scalding Devices for your faucets - Contact your local plumber to get an estimate. Door Stops and Door Holders - If your home already comes equipped with these, then make sure they are all in good working order. Outlet Covers and Plates - Ensure that covers and plates aren't easily removable. Edge and Corner Bumpers - These come in a variety of styles, and are easily installed on the sharp edges and corners of your home. Pay special attention to the corners in your kitchen, as many child injuries take place here. Safety Latches and Locks - These need to be installed in cabinets that would be accessible at your child's level. These will prevent your child from gaining access to areas that hazardous cleaning materials are stored, like under your sinks. Doorknob Covers and Door Locks - Use these on rooms that aren't child-proofed. If you can prevent unsupervised access to a room, you don't have to worry about keeping it in perfect working order in regard to child proofing. Child Gates - Stair-related accidents can be avoided by implementing a gate system. Pay special attention to the types of gates used.....Pet gates are NOT the same product, and may lack the level of protection needed to ensure proper safety of your child. Childen are resourceful individuals, and can breach many systems that your family pets cannot.





Posted by OUR CAPE COD HOMES TEAM on 7/21/2015

If you are a new homeowner and haven't changed your locks yet, then you should strongly consider doing so as soon as possible.  You  have no way of knowing who holds keys to your new home.  Thankfully, there are really cheap ways to go about accomplishing this.  Hiring a locksmith to come into your home and change the locks can be expensive, but is an option if you are pressed for time.  However, you can take your locks to a local locksmith shop and have them changed for a fraction of the price. If you have different keys for different doors, you can use this as an opportunity to make all of your locks match.  Additionally, you can choose to purchase knobs and deadbolts that suit your decorative flair a little more.  Sets can be ordered online, or through your local hardware store.  Styles like egg-shaped bronze, handle pulls, oil-rubbed bronze, and riverwind doorknobs can add a touch of personality to what can ordinarily be a home fixture easily looked past. After refitting your home with new locks, be sure to pay attention to the placement of your new keys.  Wait until you get to know your neighbors a little better before you leave a spare key with them.  Until you become a part of the neighborhood, keep a spare key handy, but hidden.  Hideaway rocks, potted plants, and magnets can all be employed as a good hiding place, provided they aren't too conspicuous-looking.




Categories: Money Saving Tips  


Posted by OUR CAPE COD HOMES TEAM on 3/10/2015

In the hustle and bustle of prepping a home to be sold, many people overlook one very important detail; home safety. And while you'd like to think that prospective buyers visiting your home are upstanding citizens, the simple truth remains that selling your home opens your door wide open to complete strangers...Strangers who are going to be encouraged as potential buyers to explore every detail of your home. Luckily, by taking a few small steps, you can rest a little easier. 1. Hide you valuables - This may seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people forget to put away common valuables like jewelery, high-value collectables, expensive perfumes, and high-end designer accessories like handbags and money clips. Be sure to go from room to room, keeping an eye out for anything that may hold appeal for a potential thief, and tuck away anything you think might draw a thief's attention. Do a follow-up walk of your house the next day, just in case you may have missed something. 2. Firearms - If you are a homeowner who is also a gun and/or weapon owner, then you are probably already taking the necessary precautions in regard to gun safety. However, for some collectors, prominent display is one of the things that a gun owner may take pride in. Just because your guns are in a locked, secured display case doesn't mean that they still don't hold risk to you or your loves ones. In a private setting, a locked display case is just fine...But in a situation where you are selling your home, complete strangers will have the ability to see that you are a gun owner, how many guns you have, and the precise location of your collection. Considering the value of a gun collection can run into the thousands, they should be treated just like any other valuable in your home; locked away and out of sight. 3. Personal mail - Things like bill invoices, credit card statements, and social security information should be put out of sight. Identity theft is on the rise, and by taking the proper precautions, you can avoid your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. 4. - Prescription medication - Be sure to remove medications from your medicine cabinet that carry the potential for abuse. 5. Parental safety - If you are a parent, you'll obviously want to take precautions to keep your children safe. Remember...You are allowing complete strangers full access to your home. For peace of mind, consider removing family photos, personalized items such as prominently displayed school jerseys and embroidered pillows, and that A+ math test on the refrigerator. Many people feel this step is either unimportant or unnecessary. If you feel fine with displaying these items, then feel completely free to.  The odds of a person wanting to do your family harm are fairly low.  But if you are a "better safe than sorry" kind of person, then consider this step. As long as a few precautions are met, you have no reason to feel uneasy about your home being shown. The vast majority of the people who are going to be looking at your house are responsible members of society, looking for a home to either start or grow their own families. That being said....Better safe than sorry.