Ayelet Gilad

Alpharetta Living, Real Estate and Community

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Does Your House Have a Mold Problem?

For all the concern over second-hand smoke and other toxins that confront us while we’re out in the world, indoor air pollution is something most people don’t think about. One of the chief pollutants of indoor air is mold, whose spores are inhaled with every breath we take.

What is Mold?

Molds are microscopic fungi that digest organic materials, such as plants, animals and wood. To reproduce, molds produce and release spores, which act like seeds, spreading the mold when conditions are right.

Mold isn’t just ugly, it also causes health problems, and some people are more susceptible to it than others:

  • The elderly.
  • Infants and toddlers.
  • People with respiratory ailments.
  • Anyone with a weak immune system.

Physical Symptoms of Exposure to Mold

Mold can cause allergy-like symptoms with fatigue, sneezing, wheezing and headaches. If asthma symptoms appear in a person without a previous asthma diagnosis, suspect the presence of mold in the home.

How do I know if I Have Mold in My Home?

While visions of black crud creeping up the walls are typical when one thinks of mold in the home, it isn’t always apparent. Mold can hide behind walls, under carpets and carpet pads, behind wallpaper, even in furniture.

Mold isn’t always black, either. It may appear as a white powdery substance, or be pink, green and many other colors.

Aside from seeing mold, if you detect a musty odor, you most likely have a mold problem that you can’t see, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

How to Eradicate Mold from the Home

There is no way to get rid of all molds in a home, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. You can, however, control mold growth by getting rid of excess moisture in the home.

Finding the source of the moisture may be challenging. After you’ve eliminated the obvious, such as under sinks and around toilets and other water sources, check the following:

  • Look for cracks in siding. Seal any cracks that show signs of moisture intrusion.
  • Check the ceilings and basement walls for cracks, water stains or peeling paint. These are signs of moisture damage, so there may be a leak behind the damaged area.
  • Check stored furniture and boxes of clothing for signs of mold growth.
  • Inspect the attic for signs of moisture intrusion.

Eliminating the moisture source is just the first step in ridding the home of mold. Whether you clean the mold yourself or have it done professionally depends not only on the size of the infestation, but also on the type of mold.

The New York State Department of Health recommends taking the following steps to eradicate mold in the home:

  • Remove and discard anything with heavy mold growth, such as carpeting, ceiling tiles and drywall.
  • Thoroughly dry anything that is wet.
  • Clean mold off of hard surfaces with diluted detergent or a solution of 1/2 cup of borax in one gallon of water. Wear gloves and a dust mask during the removal process.
  • In areas that are constantly exposed to moisture, use a 10 percent bleach solution to clean off the mold and then monitor the area for signs of future growth.

The EPA suggests hiring a professional to remove mold if the moldy area is greater than 10 square feet. Check the contractor’s references and ascertain if he or she follows the EPA’s guidelines.

Preventing Future Mold Infestations

To prevent mold growth in the home, the EPA suggests reducing indoor humidity. This can be accomplished by ventilating bathrooms and laundry rooms, running an air conditioner or dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air, and using exhaust fans when cleaning and cooking. They also caution against installing carpeting in areas that are prone to moisture intrusion.

How to Check for Mold When Purchasing a Home

It seems like there’s never enough time to thoroughly check out a home before you purchase it. Even a professional home inspector may miss something. Knowing what’s lurking behind the walls in what might be your dream home may be worth the money it costs to hire a certified mold inspector. This is especially true if you or someone in your family is a member of one of the high-risk groups mentioned previously.

While it isn’t possible to completely rid a home of all air toxins, getting rid of excess moisture in the home will go a long way in preventing the growth of mold.mold


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Swimming Pools: Do They Add Value or Turn Buyers Off?

Sparkling blue water, especially when it’s lit up at night – what’s not to love about a swimming pool in your backyard? If you have one, you may feel blessed. If you don’t, and are considering adding one, hang on a minute.

Who Wants a Pool?

According to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, middle-aged buyers with teenagers at home comprise the biggest market segment for homes with swimming pools. This makes sense when you consider how dangerous an unfenced pool is for families with toddlers.

Another segment of homebuyers who may find a pool desirable are younger couples who entertain frequently. There has been a lot of emphasis over the past few years on outdoor entertainment areas, including outdoor kitchens, fire pits, fireplaces and seating areas. A swimming pool frequently figures into these plans.

Location Always Counts

“Location, location, location” may just be a trite real estate mantra, but it is important nonetheless. If you live in Hawaii, Florida or the Southwest, a pool is far more in demand than for homes in Minnesota, Alaska or North Dakota.

Then, drill down your location even further. Even if you live in the desert climate of the Southwest, if there’s a community pool a block away, installing a pool at home may be a waste of money. On the other hand, if your neighbors all have pools, you should probably consider putting one in.

How Big is Your Lot?

Lot size is a huge factor in deciding whether or not to have a swimming pool installed. Remember, if you have a small lot and the pool takes up the entire backyard, you are removing your home from consideration by buyers with small children and buyers who garden or entertain. Pet owners and young families typically want grassy areas where their pets and kids can play safely. Many seniors like to putter in the yard. If there is no room for any backyard activity other than swimming, you narrow the buyer field dramatically.

What is the Home’s Value Right Now?

One of the most important factors to consider when thinking about adding a pool as a home improvement project is to not over-improve for the neighborhood. If you own a modest tract home in a neighborhood of similar homes, a pool may be overkill. The value of your home can only rise to that of the most expensive home in the area.

Owners of luxury homes in higher-priced neighborhoods with roomy backyards that appeal to buyers looking for a certain lifestyle may be able to justify the expense of installing a swimming pool. In fact, if you own a luxury home without a pool, you may lose buyers.

Type and Condition of the Pool

It should probably go without saying: If the pool is in poor condition or dirty, it will not add value to the home. If the pool is outdated, it won’t add value. If the pool hasn’t been maintained, the appraiser may even deduct from the home’s value, according to Tim Page, owner of Appraisals by Page in Spokane, Washington. He suggests that if your pool is of the above-ground variety, it is considered personal property and it won’t factor into the home’s value. Be that as it may, if it is in poor condition it may turn off buyers, so take it down.

Factor in the Ongoing Cost of a Pool

Ongoing home maintenance costs are a turn-off for many buyers, and a pool may be a maintenance nightmare for them. Aside from the cost of pool installation, ongoing maintenance tasks such as heating and cleaning the pool, as well as the ongoing cost of a swimming pool, may be prohibitive to many buyers.

Does a Pool Add Value?

Most real estate agents will tell you that pools do not add value to a home, and for the most part this is true. What value a pool may add is small – typically about 8 percent of the home’s value, according to the National Association of Realtors® National Center for Real Estate Research. The margin of increase is larger for homes in the southern U.S., Florida and Hawaii.

The decision to install a swimming pool should be based on your personal lifestyle and desire, not whether it will add value to the home.

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What Can You Do With Your Tax Refund?

It’s tax refund season! Did you receive your refund already or about to receive it? I can think of at least two great ways you can use your refund for!

The first option is to use the refund to remodel your house and get it “listing ready” just in time for spring! For more details on the benefits and expected return on the investment in remodeling please read “Should You Remodel Your House Prior to Putting it on the Market?”.

Your second option is to use the refund for a down payment on an FHA loan. You only  need to put 3.5% as down payment (FHA loan can up to $346,250).

Still debating how to use your refund wisely? Call me today @ 404-245-7172  and I’d be happy to discuss it with you!

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What Are The Most Important Parts Of The House To The Average Buyer?

In continuum of our latest post about whether you should remodel your house before you sell,  we thought you should know that an upgraded kitchen and master bedroom will make your house more likable to any buyer! Nonetheless, they will like your house more, just because of that compare to any other houses with outdates kitchen and master bathroom.

Should you  renovate your kitchen and/ or the master bathroom to sell faster and for higher price? Well, in all honesty – it depended. Talk to us and will make sure to go over your specific details, your area and neighborhood.  So before you “over-improve” your house and lose the money, find out what’s suitable for your house by contacting the Ayelet Gilad Home Team today!

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Should You Remodel Prior To Putting Your House On The Market?

Is improving your house will make it sell faster? Will you get more money for a recently renovated house?

Unfortunately, there is not a straight answer to this. It really depends!  Renovations and remodeling can definitely make your home more sellable and compatible to buyers taste. However, while some renovations can benefit the selling process and yield a higher price,  some renovations would only help you sell the house faster without increasing its value. Since cost of renovations and recouping the money when selling the house depends on the area, checkout this table, which summarizes the cost of the project, the resale value and the $ recouped for a variety of projects ranging from deck edition to kitchen remodeling to door replacement.

How can you decide if you should renovate or not? Contact us for your free consultation.