Home Improvements

How to Keep Radon From Building Up in Your Home

Radon is a gas that can build up in your home and be hazardous to your health, but there are ways you can test for and mitigate it.

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

What is radon and how can you keep it out of your home?

Radon is a gas produced from the radioactive decay of the element uranium. It can be found naturally moving through soil, water, or air.  After seeping from the ground, it can enter the building materials of a home through foundational cracks and/or sump pumps. From there, it can get trapped in basements (or main levels, if you live in a home built on a slab) and accumulate. 

Radon is measured in units of picocuries per liter (pCi/L), and the EPA states that radon becomes harmful once it reaches or exceeds 4 pCi/L. 

There are a couple ways you can test for radon. If you already own a home, you can buy a radon testing kit at any local hardware store or big-box store. If you’re purchasing a home, I recommend getting it tested by a professional. A professional radon test costs around $200 and takes two days to complete. 

"If you didn’t get your home tested for radon when you bought it, you can always do it now."

In either case, if the test comes back positive, the mitigation process will typically cost anywhere from $1,000 to $1,200. To mitigate radon, they simply stick a PVC pipe in the ground with a fan attached that sucks the radon out and releases it into the atmosphere. It’s not a hard fix, but it is something you should be aware of if you change your sleeping arrangements or a member of your household decides to live in the basement. 

If you’re curious how prevalent radon is in your specific area, Fairfax County provides a radon potential map on their website. In the video above, we’ve printed out a copy of this map to show you what it looks like. Officially, the EPA classifies Fairfax County as “Zone 1,” which is high. 

So remember, if you didn’t get your home tested for radon when you bought it, you can always do it now.

If you have any more questions about radon, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We’d be happy to help you.


 

2 Home Repairs You Need to Keep an Eye On

Some home repairs are more preventable than others. Here are two that you can easily snuff out by being proactive.

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

Today I want to talk about the two biggest repairs that you can prevent while you own a home. I see these all the time, and they’re completely preventable:

1. Wood rot. Especially on the outside of your home. The most common places to find it are around your door frames and exterior. This happens usually because you’re not keeping up with painting. Make sure any exterior wood is painted, sealed, and caulked so that water doesn’t eat away at the wood. Rotted eaves are common too.

"We were actually victims of gutter overflow."

2. Gutter overflow. We were actually victims of this. Water ended up seeping in through our foundation simply because we weren’t cleaning our gutters. Make sure you have your gutters cleaned at least once, if not twice, per year.

If you have any questions for me in the meantime about your home, the real estate market, or anything else, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

These 2 Inexpensive Home Products Are Absolute Game-Changers

Do you need a little help around the house? Today, I’ve got two devices that may just do the trick.

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

Do you ever feel like you could use some help around the house? If so, I’d like to recommend two great devices that can make your life much easier. 

First of all, if you or anyone in your family has long hair, you’re probably familiar with the problem of clogged drains. Well, as someone with this same problem, I saw a solution on the show “Shark Tank” that I knew I had to buy. For $10 on Amazon, you can buy the Drain Wig—a small device you hang down into your drain that collects hair, therefore preventing clogs.

This product has been super helpful for my family and me. I know this isn’t a glamorous subject, but it’s certainly important.

"These products have been super helpful for my family and me."

The second device I recommend is the amazing Watchdog Water Alarm. You can purchase this product for about $13 at Lowe’s or Home Depot, and I highly recommend it. When you place the product near a sump pump, washing machine, or anywhere else where leaks may occur, this alarm will alert you right away so that you can prevent a flood in your home. 

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Do You Have Water and Sewer Line Insurance?

 

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

 

If you don’t have water and sewer line insurance, you need to get it from Dominion Power. 

You may be thinking, “Why is she talking about Dominion Power? They do my electricity.” It may seem confusing, but Dominion Power is the company that holds the insurance for water and sewer lines. 

You may have heard neighbors talking about getting insurance for water and sewer lines, especially after this horrendous weather we’ve had. A lot of pipes were freezing and water meters were freezing, so you should definitely get water and sewer line insurance. 

"$15 a month in insurance payments can save you from up to $5,000 in repair costs."

After you sign up for the insurance, there is a 30-day wait period. The water insurance is $4.99 a month, and the sewer line is $5.99 a month. You can add restoration to both of those for $1.99 a month.

If you get both types of insurance, an extra $15 a month gets tacked on to the electric bill. This insurance has really saved a lot of folks from expensive repairs. 

Before we bought our house, the water line broke and the previous owners had to pay $5,000 to repair it. We still carry the insurance. Just because the water line has been replaced doesn’t mean that there won’t be an issue again. 

This insurance is only $15 a month, so it’s worth it to set it up. You won’t regret it. 

Go to DominionEnergy.com for more information. As always, you can give me a call with any real estate questions you might have. I would be happy to help you!

 


 

The Different Uses for Essential Oils

 

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

 

Essential oils are something I personally use for a number of things. From treatments for my family to cleaning my home, essential oils are a staple in my life.

By filling any glass spray bottle with essential oil, you can utilize it as a tool for cleaning countertops, killing ants, and more. 

So, what are some of the specific oils and their uses?

Lemon is great for deodorizing fridges or cleaning floors. Additionally, by combining it with half a cup of olive oil, you can use it as a great leather polish. 

Tea Tree is also very useful. When you mix it with water, you can use it either on your children’s hair or anywhere outside to deter lice and other pests. 

One of my personal favorites, though, is Rosemary. Rosemary has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which is why I use it to clean my countertops. You can also use it in your laundry, as an air freshener, or in many other ways, as well.

        "Essential oils are a staple in my life." 

Another popular oil is Wild Orange. One to two drops will lift grease, and if you combine 12 drops with a quarter cup of castor oil and water you can use it to wipe down your stovetops. 

Lavender is great as a sleep aid. Personally, I keep it in the bedrooms in my home, but you can also add it to vinegar to make a cleaning mixture. 

Eucalyptus has great properties, as well. For one thing, it does a good job eliminating dust mites. By Combining it with baking soda, you can use it to deep clean your mattress. You can also use it in a dry wash to clean stuffed animals.

For car sickness, I love using Peppermint. By mixing 10 to 15 drops of the oil in a spray bottle with water, it can also act as a pest neutralizer.

Cinnamon leaf, too, is good for deterring pests. 

When it comes to cleaning a common oil that many people use is pine. Pine oil can be used to kill yeast spores and E. Coli.

There are other oils with similar properties, as well. Thyme, interestingly enough, is effective against salmonella. Using it on your cutting board is just one of its uses. 

Recipes for these all of these oils, which happen to be from doTERRA, can be found online on websites like Pinterest.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
 

 


 


 

Why Are We Such Big Advocates for Home Staging?

A lot of clients ask me if they should stage their home prior to selling. Here is my professional opinion.

If you have a vacant home and are moving out of the area before the home will be listed, I highly recommend staging your home because it will sell much quicker. The problem buyers have with vacant homes is that they have a hard time imagining how they will live in the space.

Staging does the thinking for them and provides sellers with nice, new furniture that makes any home look like a model home. All of a sudden, buyers can see their furniture and how it will look in the home. It’s an amazing thing.

In the age of HGTV, we are used to seeing perfect homes. This has unfortunately skewed our opinion of what a home should look like.

If you have a vacant home and decide you don’t want to stage it, make sure it’s completely vacant. Leaving a piece of furniture or two in there will simply confuse buyers. It should either be fully staged or completely vacant.

If you don’t have a vacant home and, in fact, have a house full of furniture, that’s great. We offer a free, two-hour staging consultation for all of our clients. A professional stager will come into your home, go room by room, and reimagine your furniture and decorations throughout the home in order to appeal to the highest amount of buyers possible.

“Our team offers a free two-hour staging consultation.”

It’s never a bad idea to stage your home. In fact, I have received multiple offers on a staged home that I listed just a few hours ago. There’s your proof.

If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

3 Great Tips for Improving Curb Appeal

Want some tips to spruce up your curb appeal? You got it.

First, do a spring cleanup. That just means getting old leaves or weeds out of your yard that have accumulated over the winter, cleaning off your deck and deck furniture, and clearing away any other disheveled parts of your outdoor space. Then do some power washing. Power washing is a great way to make your home, deck, deck furniture, or patio really sparkle. You’ll want to look into power washing especially after the pollen season.

Next, get your home mulched and edged. It will make a significant difference in making everything feel brand new and look professionally done.

“Power washing is a great way to make your home, deck, deck furniture, or patio really sparkle.”

You should also plant some flowers. Flowers make everyone happy and add some color. Pay attention to when you’re doing it, though. I’ve made the mistake of planting flowers too early, and you’ll want to wait until we are rid of those random 30-degree nights. I’ve also killed plants by not paying attention to which plants need which conditions to thrive, so make sure you have shady spots if you pick plants that thrive in the shade.

If you have any questions about curb appeal or any real estate questions, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!