Home Maintenance

Non-compliant plumbing fixtures & SB 407

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faucetNon-compliant plumbing fixtures & SB407

Have you updated your faucets and showerheads???   Are you getting ready to sell your home???  Well guess what?  According to a new piece of legislation called SB 407, you going to need to do just that.

As you are well aware California has been suffering from a long time drought, lakes are at an all-time low and I mean low.  Did you see the pictures of exposed buildings, bridges and other things that surfaced due to low water levels in our lakes and reservoirs?  People were walking out to the middle of Folsom Lake on dry land, now that is low.  Thank goodness for Senor El Nino, matter of fact it is raining heavily at the time I am writing this and lake levels are beginning to rise but we are not out of the woods yet.  We need much more rain and more snow pack in the Sierra’s to help us out of this drought.  The water aquafers need to be filled as well, so come on rain and snow, not that I like to shovel or anything.

The state of California also passed some new legislation, SB 407 requires that on or before January 1, 2017, noncompliant plumbing fixtures in any single-family residential real property shall be replaced by the property owner with water-conserving plumbing fixtures.  The fixtures that the bill is targeting are the faucets, showerheads and toilets.  I guess they could have wanted the water dispenser on my refrigerator to dispense water at a slower rate as well.  Maybe that would be a good thing so water doesn’t shoot out of the glass when you go to fill it.  Now that’s a waste!

The bill goes on to say that on or before January 1, 2017 any non-compliant plumbing fixtures need to be replaced by the home owner with water conserving plumbing fixtures.  Also, by the same date a Seller or Transferor of a single family home shall disclose in writing to the potential purchaser of SB 407 and whether the property has any non-compliant plumbing fixtures.  Those doing additions or modifications to their home may also be subject to this new law.  Read SB 407 for more info on that.

Non-compliant plumbing fixtures would include toilets, if they have a flush rate of greater than 1.6 gallons of water per flush.  Faucets are non-compliant if the flow rate is more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute and showerheads are non-compliant if the flow rate is more than 2.5 gallons per minute.

So, if you are thinking of buying or selling a home this year be sure to look for these items to be corrected before you buy or sell.  If you don’t you may get stuck with a headache and a potential delay of the escrow process.  Call, text, Facebook, email, visit my website or whatever works best if you need help Buying or Selling a home or if you have questions regarding this information, I can help.

 

Thanks for listening and don’t forget to share this information to your Facebook page.

 

John Conca

Broker Associate

Century 21 Select Real Estate

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Thinking Of Remodeling Your Victorian Style Home?

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Are You Ready To Remodel Your Victorian?

Your Victorian style home was a beautiful adventure when you toured it with your Realtor. You signed papers, moved in, laughed over fitting your furniture into the odd-shaped spaces, and learned to duck on your way downstairs so you would stop bumping your head on that beam. Over time you got rid of some of your ill-fitting furniture, added some extra lamps, resigned yourself to using the kitchen table to prep your meals while cooking, and pinned countless hacks on making your space look bigger. It might be time for a remodel.

But, Where To Start?

Flickr photo credit: john.schultz
Flickr photo credit: john.schultz

This is a good time to make some lists. You’ll need to evaluate your highest priorities and figure out what areas are the most troublesome to you. Are there inefficient spaces that make daily tasks take longer than they should? Are there dangerous areas you have to warn guests to stay away from? Is there a room that won’t fit your standard-sized furniture no matter what crazy configuration you try out?

Stick a list to your refrigerator for a week and as you go about your days make notes about anything you’re reminded of in your home that you wish were different. It might take the whole week to remember you’ve been subconsciously avoiding the left side of the stairs or that you have to duck to get in and out of your claw-foot tub. Number these annoyances in order of priority and you have a good starting point.

What To Keep?

Flickr photo credit: Orin Zebest
Flickr photo credit: Orin Zebest

The biggest fears when remodeling a Victorian style home is that you might remove some of its historical significance and/or charm. To retain as much of the historic significance and charm as possible, work closely with your contractors and try to reuse existing materials.

Keep the intricately designed medallions and brackets; bring them to a woodworker, like The Gingerbread Man in Placerville, to replicate pieces that are falling apart. Try to keep or replicate distinctive wood carvings and stencil-work unique to your home as well. If you have an original claw foot bathtub with crumbling porcelain, instead of throwing it out, have it reglazed.

If you’re going to add-on to your Victorian home, keep the original structure intact whenever possible. You want to try to be sure that any future traditionalist homebuyers would be able to restore the home back to its original glory.

Some Ideas For Updating Your Victorian Home

Create More Space

Flickr photo credit: emdot
Flickr photo credit: emdot

Some things to keep in mind when remodeling your Victorian home is the original layout. If you have a kitchen that is cramped with minimal counter space, you might try to keep the original layout of the kitchen (i.e.: typical and useful inward-oriented kitchen) and just expand it by moving a doorway or changing/adding hanging cabinets.

Often the rooms in Victorian style homes are so inconveniently odd-shaped and small that it’s hard to find spots for furniture that makes sense. When this is the case you might consider opening up your floor plan. Be aware though-the builders of the 19th and early 20th centuries didn’t have the capacity to build long expanses of building on upper levels without utilizing load-bearing walls. Because of this, many inner walls in Victorian style houses cannot be removed without causing the floor above to sag. Luckily there are some ways you can still open up a load-bearing wall:

  • You can remove just a door and frame in the doorway for a more open feel.
  • You can have a contractor cut an opening in the wall for a pass-through.
  • Usually the contractor can remove the wall and support the floor above with an archway or decorative columns.
  • Just remove a partial wall.

If you feel like you don’t have enough space for storage you can add storage by converting an under-the-stairs area into a closet. Gain square footage by building shelves and bookcases into the wall around windows and doors instead of using standing shelving units.

Click to learn how to paint your ceilings taller.
Click to learn how to paint your ceilings taller.

Create The Illusion Of More Space

Along the same lines of opening up a room, there are some tricks you can use to make the room feel lighter and brighter and thus larger and open. Painting a small dark space with whites and lighter neutral paints will help, as will decorating vertically, furnishing with daintier pieces, and painting your lighter ceiling color several inches lower onto the top of the walls so the ceiling feels bigger.

Work With What You’ve Got

If your Victorian Style Home was already added on to and the new addition is jarringly different from the rest of the house, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to remodel it. Sometimes you can get away with just continuing the same flooring as the rest of the house into the room, keep the décor and paint colors similar, and add some similar pieces as are throughout the rest of the house where possible such as molding, brackets, and stenciling motifs.

Preserve The Exterior

Flickr photo credit: David Sawyer
Flickr photo credit: David Sawyer

Victorian style homes were usually built with fanciful spindle work, gingerbread, brackets…etc… If yours is still intact, see what can be done to preserve it while you remodel and to restore it to its original beauty. If the façade of your home has been damaged or removed over the years and you don’t have enough of it to determine the original look, you can always take cues from neighboring homes. Chances are they are styled similarly.

Talk To A Contractor

A good contractor will be able to guide you toward the wisest changes for your home. Discuss your needs, wishes, and worries with them and bring your list along so that you get the most out of your remodel. Abby Palmer, at (530) 391-3268, is a great local Contractor for El Dorado County. Tell him I said “Hi!”

Stay tuned and follow along for more information and inspiration from this Victorian Style Home blog series! Give me, John Conca, a call at (530) 306-3494, to discuss your real estate options.

victorian style home cupid

 

Victorian Style Homes Series

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victorian style home cupid

Need A Victorian Home Reality Check?

Victorian style homes offer romantic allure, but unfortunately, living in them can be more of a comedic adventure than a romance. Appreciating the beauty and visual interest of Victorian homes is easy and living in a historic building does have its appeal. Depending on the level of care put into the home and the level of desire for comfort, Victorian style homes can prove to be much more work than you’d expect. Even the most devout neo-Victorian may find themselves pining for 21st century comfort and ease.

The Good:detail

Sometimes built with novel features such as dumb waiters and brightly colored, intricate gingerbread, Victorian style homes are eye-catching and tend to launch one’s imagination. Victorian style home attributes do not begin and end here, but isn’t that what pulls the eye and heart toward this style? They’re beautiful, old, have captivating details, wonderous charm…what’s not to love?

The Bad:

  • Victorian style homes may fall victim to aging which can make them drafty, musty, and creaky.
  • They are  commonly known to have extremely odd floor plans which feel like a labyrinth.
  • Victorians often offer too much space where it’s not needed and too little where it is.
  • Staircases can be dangerously steep.
  • Doorways and hallways can be extra narrow.
  • Kitchens can be tight-built for servants.
  • The wiring can be less than safe.

The Ugly:

Since home buying is such an emotional endeavor for most people, buyers will often pay more money than appropriate for the status of the uncommon. However, that applies equally to buying price and selling price.

Follow The Series

I’m putting together a Victorian style home blog series. For the next month and a half or so I’ll be posting about Victorian style homes; how to live in them, how to update them for modern comfort, how to get away with adding Victorian style and Victorian practicality to your current non-Victorian style home, and some examples of all instances for inspiration. If you think of any other Victorian-style-home related posts you’d like to read about, please let me know and I’ll do my best to fit it in.

If you want to follow along with this blog series, click the “follow me” button on the upper right. Search properties on my website-here are the  Eldorado County , but you can give me, John Conca, a call at 530-306-3494 if you want to discuss your real estate options or if you have any questions.

Follow This Advice For Preparing To Sell Your Home This Spring

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Can’t Beat Good Advice

Good advice doesn’t happen every day. When it does you want to share it. That’s what Facebook and Twitter are often used for, and that’s what today’s blog post is for!

I was reading Dave Ramsey’s post, Your 3-Month Plan to Sell A Home In The Spring, and I appreciated the process he laid out to take 3 months to prepare to sell your home. Most people don’t fully grasp to what degree their lives will come to a screeching halt when they sell a home. That’s not something anyone wants. Giving yourself plenty of time to prepare your home is the key to a smooth-sailing home sale.

First Steps

Flickr Photo Credit: torbakhopper
Flickr Photo Credit: torbakhopper

The first step Ramsey lays out is to find a Realtor. You have already found me. Give me, John Conca, a call anyway at 530-306-3494, and we’ll discuss your real estate needs and make sure I’m a great match for you. Next he wants you to make your to-do lists and plan your move; I agree, everything runs more smoothly when planned out in to-do lists. Then start packing up your house and store the boxes and any unnecessary furniture away to make the next few months a breeze.

2-3 Months Before Listing

Ramsey suggests you get a pre-sale home inspection so that there are no surprises and you know everything you need to do before selling for top-dollar. Add those and any other home updates to your to-do lists and then tackle the repairs yourself before the buyers even have a chance to be scared away. It will save you time and money to do repairs now rather than wait for a buyer to ask for it in inspection requests.

1 Month Before Listing

A month before listing you should add a fresh coat of paint in neutral tones and work on your curb appeal. You are turning this into a new home for someone else, so here is where you depersonalize it.

1-2 Weeks Before You List Your Home

A week or two before you list your home, Ramsey says, is the right time for that deep cleaning. He also shares some advice for getting the family involved so that there is little last-minute stress when showing your home.

Follow Dave Ramsey’s advice and you should be able to work the home-selling prep into your life. In your downtime check out new Placerville listings here.

Thanks for your time! Give me, John Conca, a call at 530-306-3494, if you want to discuss your real estate options or if you have any questions. Follow my blog for updates on real estate news, timely home maintenance suggestions and tips for buyers and sellers. Have a great day.

Organize Your Home Office This Weekend

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Fast Organizing Tips For Your Home OfficeBrooklyn_Home_Office,_Minimized,_At_Night

Home offices can get so messy that it becomes hard to know where to start organizing. The home office is usually the smallest room in the home, used by everyone, and often serves many purposes, so the clutter and confusion can pile up fast. Sometimes we just need some quick tips to remind us where to start and what to do next; this will fill that purpose.

You can contact me, John Conca, at 530-306-3494, if you are searching for a home anywhere in El Dorado county, or if you are ready to sell your home. I’d be happy to discuss your options with you. You can find new Placerville listings here.

Start Low And Work Your Way Up

  • Begin by moving all of the items on the floor-computer parts, bins full of odd items, and unnecessary furniture that’s taking up space-out of the room. Find another home for it all.
  • Next clear all of the paper from all surfaces. File it, shred it, burn it, send it away…whatever needs done. There shouldn’t be any paper out anywhere when you’re done. Paper is one of the biggest obstacles in a home office-when it’s out it makes everything feel messier than it is.
  • Open the drapes. If you have a source of natural light then let it in. It will help the room feel bigger and energize the space; boosting productivity.
  • Get rid of all nick-knacks.
  • Move out or store any excess technology items like speakers, chargers, the printer or handheld devices. All can be moved into cabinets, drawers or boxes on shelves.

Boost Productivity

  • Use a desk organizer, but only put in it the things you use often. Store other items in drawer organizers.
  • Organize your time by mount a white board calendar on the wall where you can write in the month’s projects.
  • Mount your flat screen computer monitor on a swinging arm to free up your desk space.

Keep It Clear

  • Straighten up once a week by putting paper away, putting all of the desk items where they belong in their organizers and drawers, and tucking chargers and other technology items away in their cabinets and drawers.

 

Thanks for your time! Give me, John Conca, a call at 530-306-3494, if you want to discuss your real estate options or if you have any questions. Follow my blog for updates on real estate news, timely home maintenance suggestions and tips for buyers and sellers. Have a great day.

Organize Your Life

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Put It All Down In Writing

Flickr photo credit: Cas
Flickr photo credit: Cas

I have been looking into some life organizer books lately. I’ve found some interesting ones and decided to share some of the most promising ones here. I avoided the actual “home organizer” books here and have focused more on organizing the things you can’t just slide onto a hanging sweater shelf.

Each of us needs something different depending on the stage of life we’re in and what, exactly, we need help organizing. Some may need a daily/weekly organizer which contains important phone numbers, passwords, info on where important papers or files are kept. Others will need an asset organizer which contains info on your investments, important items and their value, and perhaps how to contact your plumber, broker, and lawyer.

There’s something for everyone here. I mainly went by ratings and while reading the reviews I queried how forgivable were the low-star reviews. If the complaints were mostly superficial and wouldn’t apply to everyone and the other reviews were quite positive, it made the cut. I hope you find this helpful and inspiring.

You can contact me, John Conca, at 530-306-3494, if you are searching for a home anywhere in El Dorado county, or if you are ready to sell your home. I’d be happy to discuss your options with you. You can find new Placerville listings here.

Click the book titles to see the product listing on Amazon.com.

 Home Keeper

download

This book seems geared towards those without children as there is no tab for kids. It would be helpful for home maintenance schedules and remodeling information. A few readers pointed out that it is too small to hold standard size paper in the plastic folders.

 

Life Organizer

download (1)

This one has it all, everything you own is listed and it changes with your circumstances through the decades of your life. Some reviewers say it’s too bulky and others say it’s overwhelming.

 

 

Get It Together

download (3)

This book is more of an organizer for your estate than the others. This type of organizing will bless your loved ones at the end of your life by keeping the burden of so much guessing and paperwork off of their shoulders.

 

 

Homeowner’s Record Keeper

download (4)

This is a great book for planning and keeping track of home remodels, home appliances, paint colors and maintenance information.

 

 

Christian Family Organizer

download (5)

There are a lot of great reviews for this book and it says #1 bestseller right on the cover. It looks like a good daily/weekly organizer for the Christian organizer in the house.

 

 

A Deeper Look

It is true that as time goes by people seem to be getting less and less organized, or at least we have more need for organizational resources. Why is that? I think it’s because we have so much. Yes, most people probably have too much stuff, but look at this with an eye of gratitude and take stock of what you have that’s important or meaningful to you. Those are usually the things we spend our time on; the things that necessitate care and organization. If they aren’t, then maybe some heavier organizing needs to take place.

We all have so much. And only so much time on Earth. Spend it wisely and organize it with care.

 

Thanks for your time. Give me, John Conca, a call at 530-306-3494, if you want to discuss your real estate options or if you have any questions. Follow my blog for updates on  real estate-related news, timely home maintenance suggestions, and tips for buyers and sellers. Have a great day!

 

 

Simple Changes Make A Healthier Home

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Simple Changes Make A Healthier Home

 

When we think of air pollution, we usually think of it happening outdoors. Cars, factory emissions, smoke, pesticides… they all contribute to outdoor air pollution and on certain days we avoid going outside because of poor air quality. But did you know the air you breath inside your home can be far worse than the polluted air outside? Here I’ll show you what my family has done to make our home healthier. The steps we’ve taken have helped us reduce our chemical exposure and saved us money.

Flickr photo credit: Maegan Tintari
Flickr photo credit: Maegan Tintari

Contact me, John Conca, at (530) 306-3494, if you’re interested in buying or selling a home in El Dorado County. I’d be happy to discuss your options with you. You can browse through new Placerville listings here.

Laundry Detergent

Store-bought laundry detergent can be filled with fragrances that are skin and lung irritants, brighteners that can contribute to sun damage on skin and which never fully break down, and are full of innocent-until-proven-guilty untested chemical combinations. My wife, Jeanne, is a Young Living Lemon Dropper (that’s an essential oil independent distributor) so we use a lot of essential oils in our home. I can honestly say, I think they’re great.

One of our favorite homemade laundry detergents is one using the Thieves household cleaner. Here is a graphic with the recipe:

 

thieves laundry

 

Fabric Softener

Fabric softener sounds like a pleasant addition to laundry; makes you think of a fluffy teddy bear or the soft-as-a-cloud towels. If carcinogens and hazardous chemicals aren’t the first thing to pop into your head just read what the Environmental Working Group wrote about fabric softener. Instead of allowing those unnamed compounds into our home to pollute our air we just add a half a cup of white vinegar to our final rinse along with a few drops of essential oil if we feel like it.

Flickr photo credit: Joe Wolf
Flickr photo credit: Joe Wolf

Vacuum

That’s pretty obvious, especially in a house with 2 cats and a dog. It’s good to have a HEPA filter on your vacuum, but if you can swing it then one of those water reservoir vacuums, like the Rainbow vacuum, would clean and humidify the air while cleaning the floors. We have a Lindhuas vacuum that we got about 16 years ago. It has a HEPA filter and still runs great.

Shoes

We take our shoes off at the door. We live in the forest and there is plenty of dirt outside. Leaving that dirt outside saves wear and tear on our carpet, especially considering the tree sap we tend to collect on the bottom of our shoes. Not to mention the oils and chemicals our shoes pick up just walking around parking lots–we don’t need those tracked into our home.

Furniture

It makes sense that if you have a couch that has open-weave upholstery that it would pick up and collect more dust, and then the dust

Flickr photo credit: Rubbermaid Products
Flickr photo credit: Rubbermaid Products

winds up in the air when you sit down. Vacuuming the furniture helps, but having leather furniture or removable, washable covers work best at minimizing furniture dust. Just steer clear of vinyl furniture which off-gasses and contributes even more to indoor air pollution. Other furniture to avoid is anything made with particle board which is made using wood chips and a lot of glue to hold it all together. The glue is always off-gassing pollutants into your home. Stick with natural materials when possible.

Household Cleaners

You’ve probably already guessed it, but we use Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner in our home. It’s a concentrate so you dilute it for what you need. Use it diluted 1:1 for hand soap, 1:20 for heavy de-greasing, 1:30 for most cleaning applications, 1:50 for light de-greasing and 1:50-100 for cleaning glass. You can also mix half water and half vinegar with about 8 drops of lemon essential oil (a lot of essential oils, if not all, are anti-bacterial, so just pick your favorite) and use it in a spray bottle for just about anything.

No More Comet

Melamine sponges (aka Magic Erasers) are little powerhouses. They work well on any stains that need scrubbing. I use them on anything from grout to crayon on the walls to soap scum and that rusty drip that can form in the bathtub. You just get them wet, squeeze them out, and erase all the grime away. Don’t buy the name brand though, save money and buy them on Amazon.

Flickr photo credit: Nomadic Lass
Flickr photo credit: Nomadic Lass

Ditch The Blue Stuff

The famous blue glass-cleaner has ingredients known to affect lung, kidney, and liver function. I have a simple favorite for cleaning glass; soda water. A big, cheap, flat, bottle of soda water with a microfiber cloth is the best indoor glass cleaner I’ve ever used. I never get streaks and it cleans fast and thoroughly without fumes. If you really want to you can add blue food coloring.  I still use the Thieves cleaner, diluted a lot for car glass cleaner and cleaning outside windows; both need more cleaning power.

Air Freshener

I’ve seen homes where they have plug-in air fresheners that warm up wax directly in a plug-in unit, and there was wax splashed behind it on the wall. That seems like a fire hazard, especially if you have pets or children running around who could accidentally bump it and could at least get burned by the wax. The reed diffusers that are so popular now also run the risk of spilling, ruining furniture and harming pets. Don’t even get me started on the risks of burning candles.

Flickr photo credit: Young Living Essential Oils
Flickr photo credit: Young Living Essential Oils

All of those usually have one thing in common: chemical fragrances. When a product lists “fragrance” in its ingredients (if they list ingredients) that word can cover hundreds of chemicals used to create that flowery scent. Chemicals aren’t the best thing to be breathing.

We use essential oil ultrasonic diffusers in our home. Diffusing helps humidify the air (so useful where we live) and creates negative charged ions which, combating the positive charges from electrical devices, help create a healthier home environment. Essential oils can also help clean the air. Studies found that Thieves essential oil, diffused for 20 minutes, killed 99.6% of airborne bacteria. There are many more reasons to diffuse essential oils which work toward cleaning your home rather than using products which pollute your home.

Full Disclosure

My wife, Jeanne Conca, is a Young Living Independent Distributor (as well as a Pediatric Physical Therapist and a loving wife and Mother) and so she does receive compensation for her business through Young Living. Our lives have been changed by the products though, and our home and family’s health has benefited greatly since switching away from conventional cleaning products. All of these opinions are my own and I have not been paid to include them in my blog.

A Never Ending Story

I’m sure we’ve only scratched the surface of ways you could improve your home’s health, but this is what we can take on for now. If this is too much for you, just take what you can use and leave the rest! If you are a healthy-home superhero and have moved past these simple changes years ago, then more power to you.  Any one of these changes, or variations of these changes will improve the health of your home and will probably improve the health of your family. There is always something you can do to begin.

Thanks for your time today! I hope you found some useful information in this post. Please feel free to browse my website and follow my blog for updates on real estate news, timely home maintenance suggestions and tips for buyers and sellers.