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BlogArizona.com - the ORIGINAL Arizona Real Estate Blog
BlogArizona.com offers discussions on a wide variety of subjects, but focuses on Arizona and real estate.  The articles  posted here are contributed by various working professionals.  Their insights and experiences will inform, educate, challenge and entertain our readers week after week.  Some of the best reading on blogs often comes from reader Comments!  We encourage you to use the 'Comments' feature to join discussions and interact with both our Contributors, and our other readers.  We do require that you first review and accept our 'Comment Rules' in order to preserve the quality and integrity of this blog.  Also be aware that all visitors are subject to our Terms of Use.

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BlogArizona Category: Appraisals & Inspections

This page contains all BlogArizona posts related to Appraisals & Inspections.   Read a specific post by clicking on a title below, or scroll further down the page to read through all posts in this category.
  • BlogArizona.com - An Arizona Real Estate Blog

  • Friday, August 30, 2013

    Sign on Front Door of San Tan Valley, AZ House

    This San Tan Valley homeowner has a humorous way of saying, "No thank you" to solicitors!

    Sign on front door of San Tan Valley, AZ house

    Scott Hubbard of Homewerx Home Inspections in Phoenix, Arizona    
    Written By: Scott Hubbard

    Certified Home Inspector, ASHI® Member
    Homewerx Home Inspections
    Office: (480) 503-2611
    Toll Free: 1-888-THE-WERX
    Schedule a Home Inspection Online!

    Posted by Scott Hubbard, Arizona Home Inspector on August 30, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Arizona Home Inspector Meets Big Swifty the Tortoise!

    As a Home Inspector, I come across all kinds of pets in the homes that I inspect.  Some pets love me, some pets hate me, some want to eat me, others just follow me around and supervise.  In recent months, I've been inspecting more occupied homes, but for awhile there it was mostly vacant houses with no animal friends.  Over the years, I've had all types of animals follow me around during inspections.  Afterall, I'm in their territory so I don't mind.  But I never expected to be followed by a tortoise!

    Big Swifty the Arizona Tortoise 

    I don't know his real name, but I called this guy, "Big Swifty".  He totally followed me around the backyard as I inspected this house.  He'd start walking towards me and as soon as I moved, he'd turn and follow me.  Sorry if the picture's a little blurry, he was really bookin' for a tortoise!

    Scott Hubbard of Homewerx Home Inspections in Phoenix, Arizona Written By: Scott Hubbard
    Certified Home Inspector, ASHI® Member
    Homewerx Home Inspections
    Office: (480) 503-2611
    Toll Free: 1-888-THE-WERX
    Email me or Schedule a Home Inspection Online!

    Posted by Scott Hubbard, Arizona Home Inspector on October 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    Tuesday, July 01, 2008

    Arizona Homeowners: Bee-ware of Bee Hives!

    Beehive on a Phoenix, AZ home

    I found this beehive while doing a home inspection in Phoenix yesterday.  If you ever see a beehive like this, stay away from it and call a professional to have it removed.
    Scott Hubbard of Homewerx Home Inspections in Phoenix, Arizona Written By: Scott Hubbard
    Certified Home Inspector, ASHI® Member
    Homewerx Home Inspections
    Office: (480) 503-2611
    Toll Free: 1-888-THE-WERX
    Email me or Schedule a Home Inspection Online!

    Posted by Scott Hubbard, Arizona Home Inspector on July 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (41) | TrackBack

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    AZ Home Buyers, Sellers & Realtors®: Prepare for the Home Inspection!

    A couple years ago, the real estate market was so crazy that many buyers were waiving their right to a home inspection just so the seller would accept their offer.  But those days are over and in the current buyer's market, the inspection period is once again being used as a time to negotiate price.  Although each contract is different, most Arizona home buyers have a 10-day inspection period.  During this inspection period, buyers can generally cancel the contract based on their inspections and receive a refund of their earnest money.

    As a result, the inspection period is a very nerve-racking time for many real estate agents and sellers.  While most experienced Realtors® want their buyers to have a thorough home inspection, some real estate agents are scared to death that an experienced home inspector like myself will 'blow the deal' and cost them a commission.

    But in my experience, most buyers don't want to cancel their contract when the inspection reveals problems.  Some buyers do, but usually the buyers will ask for major problems to be repaired, or for monetary compensation in lieu of repairs.  Sometimes, sellers will be offended or will refuse to negotiate based on the inspection and it does blow the deal.  But usually, the buyers and sellers come to a reasonable compromise and the deal closes.

    I'm often asked by sellers and real estate agents if there's anything they can do to 'prepare' for the inspection.  Here are some things that can be done to make the home inspector's job easier:


    1.  Make sure ALL utilities are on prior to the inspection.  Most sellers keep the utilities on while their home is for sale, at least the electricity anyway.  But sometimes the gas or other utilities will be off if the home was vacant for an extended period of time.  Foreclosures and bank owned properties usually do not have the utilities on.  If the gas is turned off, the inspector cannot operate gas appliances such as the heater, water heater, stove, etc.  There are still many items that can be inspected, but you will not get the best inspection possible if any of the utilities are off.  If the water is off, I will not be able to properly evaluate the plumbing or anything else which uses water.  If the electricity is off, I cannot inspect anything that requires power.

    My home inspection company always asks the client or Realtor® who makes the inspection appointment to verify that all utilities are on, but sometimes the gas or water company doesn't have it on when they say they will.  If I'm unable to inspect something due to the utilities being off and I need to come back to the property, I have to charge the client a re-inspection fee (currently $100, and likely to increase soon due to gas prices).  Even when it's not the buyer's fault, the buyer is the one who usually ends up paying it.  A good buyer's agent will insist that the sellers reimburse the buyer for this re-inspection fee since it's usually the seller's responsibility to have the utilities on for the inspection (I believe the standard AAR contract requires this).  But this is a cost that can be avoided altogether with some prior planning.

    2.  Unlock gates and remove locks from electrical boxes, sprinkler timers, pool equipment or fences, etc.  Basically, unlock everything that's locked so the inspector can access it.

    3.  Secure your pets if necessary.  I love animals and I frequently have animal friends accompany me through the house as I do my inspection.  One time, I even had about a half-dozen weiner dogs follow me through a two-story house I was inspecting (have you ever seen a weiner dog try to run up stairs!)  I realize I'm in their territory and I try to introduce myself to the pets in a non-threatening way.  I don't mind being followed and I even enjoy interacting with the animals.  But if you have a large or aggressive pet that needs supervision or restraint, please do so!  In the thousands of home inspections I've performed, I've never been attacked by a pet - but I've had a few big dogs I wasn't sure about that were definitely a distraction.  Also, if you have a pet that likes to sneak outside when the door is opened, please make me aware so I can watch out for him/her!

    4.  Move ALL items that may limit the home inspector's access.  And please don't stuff everything in the garage or in closets, because I have to inspect in those areas too!  Home Inspectors are not going to move personal items to inspect behind or underneath them.  If access or visibility is obstructed, that area will not be inspected.  This isn't because we're being lazy, but moving things really isn't a home inspector's job.  In fact, the state standards specifically say home inspectors are not required to move personal items, furniture, equipment, etc.  And it's really best for the homeowner that we don't move their stuff.  Most homeowners wouldn't want us to, and we don't want to take a chance of breaking something (which sometimes happens when you start moving stuff).

    5.  Replace bad light bulbs.  This makes my job easier and I won't call a light fixture bad when it's really just the bulb.  I have a tool I can screw into the light bulb socket to test the light if it won't come on, but it will only fit regular light bulb sockets.

    6.  Don't try to hide stuff with last minute paint or repairs!  This never works and will likely call more attention to the area.  For example, painting the ceiling to cover a water stain doesn't keep me from knowing about a roof leak.  I'll still see the evidence on the roof and in the attic.  Likewise, fresh caulking in the shower may cause me to look more closely at that area.


    1.  Buyers should be present at the inspection.  The scariest way for a buyer to learn the results of their home inspection is by reading the report.  If a buyer is at the inspection, they can ask questions about the problems that are found and the repairs that are necessary.  They can ask questions like "is that common for a house this age?".  As a home inspector, it's my job to make sure my clients learn as much information as possible from my inspection.  I report on everything I see, but I'm not doing my clients any favors if I scare them unnecessarily.  Sometimes, a big list of defects in the home inspection report can scare an unprepared buyer out of one deal, only to find the next house they put under contract has most of the same problems (because the problems are common for the age/type of house).  So I make sure my clients understand as much as possible about the problems I find, and those problems are put in perspective.  A client who comes to my inspection leaves with an understanding of what problems I found, and a good idea which ones are major expenses.  When clients are not at the inspection, I often get frantic phone calls from buyers who are worried about something that's really no big deal.  But when they read the report without the ability to be there, see it and ask questions, it's much more scary. 

    Many buyers are out-of-state and cannot attend the inspection.  But if at all possible, the buyers should attend the inspection. A normal inspection takes several hours, and I know it's boring to sit around that long while the inspector inspects!  So ideally, the client and agent should show up during the last half hour of the inspection (ask what time that will be when you make your appointment).  That way, the inspector can give the client and agent a summary of what was found and address their questions.

    2.  Verify that all utilities are on.

    3.  Understand what a home inspection is, and what it is not.  A pre-purchase home inspection is an opportunity for the buyers to learn more about the home's condition before they own it. Most buyers schedule their home inspection while they can still back out of the deal or negotiate repairs/money. 

    While sellers may agree to make some repairs, buyers need to understand that a home inspection report is not intended to be a repair list for the seller (except perhaps on new homes/warranty inspections).  Even on brand new homes, I will usually find dozens of problems.  So a home inspection report with only fifteen deficiencies is a pretty clean house.  But when a first time buyer who's never had a home inspection and thinks they're buying the perfect house gets a report with fifteen deficiencies, they can be scared to death.  Or they may expect the seller to repair every single item, which almost never happens in a re-sale situation.  Unreasonable expectations from one party can blow a deal.

    In short, buyers and sellers need to be prepared, and know in advance what to expect from the home inspection.  From my experience, fear of the unknown is the primary reason most deals fall out of escrow after the inspection.  But even when the home has problems, a home inspection should remove both the fear and the unknown, giving the buyers confidence in their purchase rather than scaring them away.  Now don't get me wrong, if the house has several expensive, unexpected problems, there's no amount of preparation that can overcome that.  But knowledge is power, and the home inspection goes much smoother when all parties are prepared and know what to expect.

    Scott Hubbard of Homewerx Home Inspections in Phoenix, Arizona Written By: Scott Hubbard
    Certified Home Inspector, ASHI® Member
    Homewerx Home Inspections
    Office: (480) 503-2611
    Toll Free: 1-888-THE-WERX
    Email me or Schedule a Home Inspection Online!

    Posted by Scott Hubbard, Arizona Home Inspector on June 20, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack

    Sunday, April 06, 2008

    Selling a Home in AZ and Not Sure What to Disclose to the Buyer?

    I recently received an email with this question about disclosure of sex offenders when selling a home in Arizona:

    "Recently in USA Today 3/20/2008 in an article written by Matt Reed, he stated  " Arizona has one of the nation's toughest laws, requiring sellers and agents to disclose neighboring sex offenders to potential buyers."

    Yet Arizona real estate law attorney Richard Keyt stated on his website the following: " The presence of a sex offender in the vicinity of the property is not a fact that is required to be disclosed by law."  His web page was last revised 3/23/2008.

    Additionally, a form from the Arizona Association of Realtors, Residential Seller Advisory version 02/2008 stated: "By law, sellers are not obligated to disclose that the property is or has been: ( I'll skip to paragraph 3: located in the vicinity of a sex offender."

    My question is has the governor or the legislation changed this provision of law recently? Who is correct?"

    First, I have to say that I'm not an attorney so I can only address this question in the general sense and from a Realtor's perspective.  So do not consider my answer as legal advice, and ALWAYS consult an attorney for questions about your own specific situation.

    Second, don't believe everything you read in the mainstream media!  Of course, you can't believe everything you read on the internet either.  But I do know bloggers who are much more thorough about checking facts than some of the major media outlets.

    Arizona legislators are constantly updating our laws, and real estate disclosure is a hot topic.  However, I don't think a change to the law is the source of confusion in this case.  From my experience, I'd say all of the sources quoted are technically correct.  I think this is the USA Today article that was referenced in the question, here's the AZ real estate attorney who was mentioned, and here's the Arizona Association of Realtors (AAR) Residential Seller Advisory form.

    The AAR Residential Seller Advisory does indeed state, "By law, sellers are not obligated to disclose that the property is or has been... located in the vicinity of a sex offender."  But if you keep reading, it goes on to say, "However, the law does not protect a seller who makes an intentional misrepresentation."  And then the top of the next page says, "Sellers are required by law to disclose all known material (important) facts about the Property to the Buyer".

    So what is considered to be "material" or "important"?  Generally, anything that may affect a buyer's decision to buy is definitely material and should be disclosed.  To be safe, I tell sellers that EVERYTHING is material to the buyer.  At least, a seller has to assume that everything is material because they don't know what's material to the buyer.  Every buyer is different... what seems minor and unimportant to the seller may very well be minor and unimportant to one buyer.  However, that same item may be extremely important, and thus material, to another buyer.  If it ends up in front of a judge, I would guess that anything and everything the buyers find out later, that the seller knew and didn't disclose, will be considered material!

    The AAR Residential Seller Advisory reinforces this idea with it's heading, "When in doubt, disclose!".  If the sellers know there's a sex offender living down the street and the buyers ask, I would tell the seller to disclose it, in writing, to protect both the sellers and the buyers.  Even if the buyers don't ask, I would still tell the sellers to disclose it, in writing.  It doesn't matter if the buyers are older or don't have kids.  You cannot assume they don't care about a sex offender living nearby.  They may have grandchildren who visit and play outside, or friends that come over and bring their kids.  My point is, you shouldn't try to get inside the buyer's head and figure out what is, or is not material.  Only the buyer can decide that.  Just disclose it and let the buyers make that call... whether it's a maintenance problem, or something you know about the neighbors, homeowners association, schools, etc.  Disclose whatever you know.

    I know many people are reading this thinking, "Disclose it, even if it they don't ask? That would probably kill the deal."  Well, it's better to kill the deal now than end up in court later.  And actually, being honest from the beginning by making full disclosure reduces the risk of a last minute deal-breaker, 29 days into the transaction.  As a seller, if the deal isn't going to close, don't you want to know right away instead of AFTER your house has been off the market for a month?

    Full disclosure isn't just for sellers either.  It's a two-way street.  Buyers should also disclose anything that might be material to the sellers, like if they know something which may affect their ability to qualify for a mortgage.  The "golden rule" can (and should) be applied to real estate transactions, just like anything else in life.  Every transaction is smoother, less stressful and turns out better in the end if both parties are honest and upfront with each other from the beginning. 

    But buyers, don't be naive!  You should NOT rely on the sellers to disclose all material facts about the property you're buying.  Even if the sellers are honest people, they may not know all the material facts.  So buyers must also do their "due diligence" by investigating everything that's important to them.  The AZ Department of Real Estate advises buyers to read and investigate the items on this checklist for Arizona home buyers.  While the law may require certain disclosures, "Buyer Beware" is a reality!

    Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard

    Great American Realty, Inc.

    Cell: (480) 695-6672
    Email me

    Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on April 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

    Monday, February 25, 2008

    AZ Home Inspector Licensing Board going away?

    Arizona Home Inspectors need your help!

    Arizona's home inspector licensing agency, the AZ Board of Technical Registration (BTR) is inefficient, expensive and allegedly corrupt.  In fact, Arizona lawmakers are thinking about eliminating the BTR altogether (SB1171), and moving home inspector licensing to the Registrar of Contractors (ROC).

    As most of my readers already know, I'm co-owner of Homewerx Home Inspections, one of the Valley's leading home inspection companies since 1999.  As such, I sincerely appreciate your support on this matter.

    While I do NOT support eliminating the BTR, it definitely needs some change - starting at the top with the guy in charge.  It's unfortunate, but AZ home inspector licensing seems to be alot more about money and power and industry organizations than it is about quality home inspections.  There are some real problems and conflicts of interest that have just been ignored at the BTR, and we all know that problems don't just go away when they're ignored...they get worse!  Now, the BTR is so inefficient and lacking accountability that I think the whole idea of protecting homebuyers got lost somewhere along the line.  Home Inspectors don't trust the BTR, consumers kind of laugh at them.

    And the cost of inefficient government regulation is real... look at how much it costs to be a home inspector in Arizona compared to other professionals licensed by the same agency.  And look at how much Arizona home inspectors pay compared to home inspectors in other states.  "Wow" is all I can say!  Home Inspection companies inevitably pass these ridiculous costs onto the homebuying consumer, who is already strapped for cash in case the BTR hasn't heard.  And a home inspection is an out-of-pocket expense - those are the ones that really hurt and will be a deal-breaker alot quicker than borrowed money will.

    So please Help support the 'little guy', and you will help keep Arizona home inspection prices down plus eliminate government incompetence at the same time.

    Thank you again for your support!

    Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard

    Great American Realty, Inc.

    Cell: (480) 695-6672
    Email me

    Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on February 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    Selling Your House? Don't Take the Curtain Rods When You Move.

    By the title of this post, you might think I'm getting ready to talk about the difference between personal property and real estate fixtures, and what you can take with you when you move versus what has to stay with the house.  Nope.  This post is actually just something funny my Dad emailed me, which I thought my readers would enjoy.  By the way, don't do this!

    She spent the first day packing her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases.  On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things.  On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining room table by candle-light, put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar, and a bottle of spring-water.

    When she had finished, she went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimp shells dipped in caviar into the hollow of the curtain rods.  She then cleaned up the kitchen and left.  When the husband returned with his new girlfriend, all was bliss for the first few days.

    Then slowly, the house began to smell.  They tried everything; cleaning, mopping and airing the place out.  Vents were checked for dead rodents and carpets were steam cleaned.  Air fresheners were hung everywhere.  Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which they had to move out for a few days and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting.

    Nothing worked!!!  People stopped coming over to visit.  Repairmen refused to work in the house.  The maid quit.  Finally, they could not take the stench any longer and decided to move.

    A month later, even though they had cut their price in half, they could not find a buyer for their stinky house.  Word got out and eventually even the local real estate agents refused to return their calls.

    Finally, they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place. The ex-wife called the man and asked how things were going.  He told her the saga of the rotting house. She listened politely and said that she missed her old home terribly and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for getting the house back.

    Knowing his ex-wife had no idea how bad the smell was, he agreed on a price that was about 1/10th of what the house had been worth, but only if she were to sign the papers that very day.  She agreed and within the hour his lawyers delivered the paperwork.

    A week later the man and his girlfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home....

    And to spite the ex-wife, they even took the curtain rods!!



    Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Contributed By: Shannon Hubbard

    Great American Realty, Inc.

    Cell: (480) 695-6672
    Email me

    Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on February 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Friday, January 18, 2008

    AZ Termite Inspector Licensing Agency Going Away

    Termite tube found in an Arizona home during a pre-purchase termite inspection If you haven't already heard, the licensing agency for Arizona termite inspectors and pest control professionals is going away - for good.  That's right, the Arizona Structural Pest Control Commission (SPCC) is being eliminated.

    Amid allegations of "cronyism, inefficiency, overregulation and instability", the executive director was recently fired by the seven member Commission.  In protest, the 3 Commission members who voted against firing the executive director have resigned.  A committee of Arizona lawmakers have since voted in favor of, and are introducing a bill to disband the SPCC altogether.

    Under the new bill, regulation & licensing of pest control professionals, including termite inspectors, will be transferred to the AZ Department of Agriculture.  Arizona lawmakers also considered transferring the SPCC's duties to the AZ Registrar of Contractors (ROC) or the AZ Board of Technical Registration (BTR).  However, agricultural pest control is already regulated by the AZ Dept. of Agriculture, so they are the most logical choice.

    Last I heard, the bill was supposed to be introduced in early January when the AZ Legislature reconvened.  While I have not officially seen anything stating the bill has been introduced or approved, I was told by one of my State Representatives in early January that the SPCC's duties will be transferring to the AZ Department of Agriculture.  I think he told me a time frame, but I don't remember what it was.  So it sounds like a pretty done deal, even if it has not been officially approved.  AZ Governor Napolitano mentioned late last year that she would consider the recommendation to get rid of the SPCC, and the State Representative I spoke with did not say the SPCC might go away, he said it was going away.  Additionally, the SPCC (like all such agencies) is subject to review every ten years.  I believe the SPCC's sunset review is due in June of this year, and even in the absence of other legislation, I don't think the SPCC is expected to be re-authorized or renewed.

    So, the "good ole boy network" at an Arizona licensing agency...could it really happen?

    Of course, I'm being sarcastic - yes, it really happens and probably more than you'd ever believe.  I have personally witnessed the type of abuse of power alleged here at another AZ licensing agency.  Luckily, it was not not directed at me personally.  However, I would bet that it's much more widespread than the public really knows.  That's a real shame since these licensing agencies are intended to protect the public.  But when the agency is corrupt, it doesn't protect anybody - it just raises the cost of doing business.  And that cost is ultimately passed on to the consumer, which means the licensing agency ends up hurting the very consumers it was supposed to protect.

    By the way, I want to apologize to my loyal readers for my recent "vacation" from blogging.  Between the holidays, visiting relatives and another project I've been working on, the time has just gotten away from me.  But I promise to post again soon.  In fact, my friend the AZ Mortgage Guru recently sent me a very interesting article, which got me doing some research on another Arizona licensing agency.  And what I found is definitely worth coming back to read.  So be sure to check back in a few days and read all about it!

    Related articles:
    - State Pest Control Director Fired
    - Arizona Structural Pest Control Commission May Disband
    - Pest Control Agency May Be Disbanded
    - Napolitano willing to consider abolishing pest control agency

    Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard

    Great American Realty, Inc.

    Cell: (480) 695-6672
    Email me

    Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on January 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Saturday, December 08, 2007

    Indoor Air Quality & Pollutants in Your Home

    During the last 20 years, many homes have been made tighter to conserve energy, to decrease the amount of heated air that leaves the house in winter, and likewise, decrease the amount of cooled air that escapes in the summer.  At the same time, of course, there is less fresh, cold air getting into the house in the winter and less fresh hot air entering the house in summer.  This may seem like a good idea; it isn't.  Because the air inside your house is in an enclosed space, the concentration or level of pollutants can be much greater in the air inside than outside.  A tighter house has a lower ventilation rate.  As a result of ventilation decreases, the concentration of pollutants inside the home increases.

    Indoor air pollutants pose the greatest risk to people who are at home the most; babies, children, the elderly and chronically ill.  Ironically, these are the very same people who are most susceptible to pollution in the air.  Some indoor air pollutants like radon and asbestos are life threatening.  While others may not be life threatening, they can make your life miserable causing eye, nose & throat irritation, shortness of breath, dizziness, lethargy, fever and digestive problems to name a few.

    There are three basic ways to reduce and alleviate indoor air pollution:

    1. Source Control - the goal here is to simply eliminate the source of the pollutant
    2. Ventilation - both natural ventilation & mechanical ventilation will decrease pollutants within the home
      • Natural ventilation (open doors and windows)
      • Mechanical ventilation (using a fan)
    3. Air Cleaners - generally removes particles from the air, but not gas pollutants

    There are many different types of indoor air pollutants:

    the by-products of combustion, including environmental tobacco smoke;  respirable suspended particles;  carbon monoxide;  nitrogen dioxide;  volatile organic compounds (VOC's);  biologicals;  and electromagnetic fields (EMF's).

    Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and nonirritating gas that can interfere with the supply of oxygen to the body tissues.  Its sources can include unvented kerosene & gas heaters, leaking chimneys & furnaces, car exhaust, gas stoves and tobacco smoke.

    Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) refer to a large number of organic vapors that contaminate the air.  It's common for VOC levels to shoot up temporarily, during and following new construction, renovation or refurbishing.  Therefore, it's important to increase ventilation as much as possible during and following any renovation.  Some VOC's are carcinogenic and there are numerous sources of VOC's including:  household products (paints, paint strippers & other solvents);  new carpeting, drapes & furnishings;  wood preservatives;  aerosol sprays;  cleansers & disinfectants;  moth repellents & air fresheners;  stored fuels & car supplies;  hobby supplies;  dry cleaned clothing;  and environmental tobacco smoke.  When present indoors, tobacco smoke can be a major source, or significant part of indoor air pollution.

    Biologicals include things like fungi, molds and dust mites.  Higher levels of humidity tend to encourage their growth.  The two major actions to control biologicals are controlling the moisture and keeping your home as clean as possible.

    Electromagnetic Fields (EMF's) are a combination of electric fields and magnetic fields that radiate from electric cables, wires, fixtures and appliances.  They include any appliance that either: uses electric bulbs; has an electric motor, such as a refrigerator, freezer, clothes washer, hair dryer, shaver, food mixer, blender, vacuum, etc.;  or has an electric heating element, such as a clothes dryer, iron, electric blanket, stove/oven.

    The data is not conclusive regarding EMF health hazards.  It seems to indicate that the most likely health effects of exposure to EMF's would be in the areas of cancer and reproduction.  While a cause and effect relationship has yet to be established, a statistical association has emerged between exposure to EMF and cancer risks and reproduction malfunctions.

    • 1979 - a study done by two Colorado epidemiologist, found that a greater percentage of children who lived near power distribution lines had cancer, compared with a control group.
    • 1986 - a study commissioned by the New York State Power Lines Project to see if the results could be repeated using a different group of children in Colorado.  The findings in that study substantiated the earlier findings.
    • 1989 - the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment concluded that "emerging evidence no longer allows one to categorically assert that there are no risks" from exposure to EMF's.

    Here's one (probably unknown) step to control and mitigate EMF in your home:  If you have an electric blanket, use it to warm the bed and turn it off before you get into the bed!

    Martin Spilo, Arizona Realtor with Gateway Properties in Phoenix, AZ      
    Contributed By: Martin Spilo
    Realtor ®
    Gateway Properties
    2430 W. Red Range Way
    Phoenix, AZ  85085
    Business: (623) 363-5685
    Email me

    Posted by Martin Spilo on December 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Is Your AZ Realtor® a CRS, SRES, ABR, GRI, ALC or CIPS?

    November is Realtor® Designation Awareness Month... I know, I know - as if anybody really cares!  But I have actually received emails in the past from home buyers and sellers who've asked me, "What does the ABR after a REALTOR's name mean?".  So I thought it might be interesting to blog about the different designations and certifications Realtors® can earn.

    There are many different designations and certifications awarded by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and its nine affiliated Institutes, Societies and Councils.  Surprisingly, not all Realtor® designations and certifications are for Realtors® - some are for appraisers, brokerage managers and even office assistants.  Here's a summary:

    The Arizona Association of Realtors® also recently introduced a program to earn the Certified Risk Management Specialist (CRMS) certification.

    In addition to the national and local Realtor® associations, there are also other organizations that offer designations and/or certifications for real estate professionals.  For example, RealtyU.com offers the following designations:

    Some real estate agents and brokers take Realtor® designations very seriously, and are determined to earn as many as possible.  Other real estate agents and brokers never earn any.  So, should you choose a Realtor® based on their designations and certifications?  It certainly doesn't hurt, but I wouldn't make a decision solely on their designations.  I've known many extremely knowledgable and experienced real estate agents with no designations at all.  On the other hand, I've known some very inexperienced agents with many certifications and designations.  Anybody can take a class and pass a test, but there are some tough and important lessons that can only be learned through experience.  So if you're impressed by your real estate agent's designations and certifications, be sure to look at what they actually mean.  Some designations and certifications are very easy to earn by simply paying a fee and taking a class/test, while others are only awarded to those with significant relevant experience.

    Now that you understand the meaning of all those 'letters' after your real estate agent's name, I'm sure you'll sleep much better at night ... I know I will!

    Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard

    Great American Realty, Inc.

    Cell: (480) 695-6672
    Email me

    Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on November 15, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


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