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New EPA Lead Based Paint Regulations

The EPA has issued new regulations around lead based paint that go into effect this week. From now on, in housing built prior to 1978 there are new requirements around renovations. If more than six square feet of an interior or 20 square feet of an exterior lead paint covered wall is disturbed by a repair, then steps to prevent the lead dust from becoming airborne and contaminating the home must be taken. Contractors working on renovations of homes built before 1978 will be required to have an EPA Certification on lead based paint.

What does that mean for you as a home buyer or seller? Based on what I'm hearing so far, any renovation to a home built before 1978 is likely to cost you more than it used to. Right now not many contractors have this certification and those that have it can charge a premium. The EPA's web site lists no contractors with the certification in either Warrenton or Culpeper. The closes contracors listed are in Nokesville, Broad Run and Manassas. That may change over time, but right now, it's suddenly gotten more expensive to renovate that 1960s rambler.

As a buyer, you should think about that additional potential cost when looking at homes built before 1978. And, if you're looking at these homes in the future you're going to want to make sure that any work that was done was done by a contractor with the required EPA certification.

There's a lot of "the sky is falling" blather right now about these new regulations. That tends to be the case with any new regulation in any industry. Time will likely make this all seem less onerous.

For now, you just need to be aware of the changing regulations.

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Finding a Good Contractor

Whether you've just bought your new home and want to make some changes or are working to get the place in shape before you sell it, finding the right contractor can be the hardest part! Most people don't have an extensive list of every kind of contractor they might need. And looking at phone book ads or a bulletin board full of business cards really doesn't make you feel warm and fuzzy.

The Federal Trade Commission has a web site that's a great guide to finding and choosing a contractor. It can tell you how to check references how to pay them and just about everything else you'd want to know about how to get the right person for the job.

Check it out. And don't forget to give me a call or send me an e-mail if you're at a loss. I recommend professionals all the time and usually have a short list of people I've used or my clients have used and recommended. And, any time you've used someone and are really happy with the experience, I'd love to know. You can't have too many good workmen on your list!

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Piedmont Alternative Energy Expo

Regular readers of this space will know that I have an interest in green building and alternative energy solutions. If you're passionate about the subject or just a little curious, there's a great opportunity this next Saturday in Warrenton.

This is the second year for this event and I'm really excited! It's a wonderful opportunity to have this kind of information this close! Please stop by if you have a chance!


Saturday, June 2
9 a.m.–4:30 p.m

Fauquier County Fairgrounds
6209 Old Auburn Rd, Warrenton, VA 20187-4353

Admission: $5 for adults
Free for children and students

The region's only one-stop shopping opportunity for consumer-friendly alternatives to fossil-fuel energy returns for a second year.

NEW for 2007 is an added emphasis on green building, energy conservation, and sustainability.


Featured technologies for the 2007 Piedmont Alternative Energy Expo include solar, wind, and biofuels solutions, plus energy-efficient heating and cooling options—such as geothermal systems, high velocity duct systems, tankless water heaters, radiant systems, and alternative fuel boilers.

New exhibitors include
ECO Solutions, LLC (water and air purification systems) , Green Man Forest Management (conservation-minded tools for responsible forest management), MoreSun Custom Woodworking, Inc. (timber frames, furniture, cabinetry and timber frame design using environmentally-friendly materials), RASP Technologies (alternative fuels), Blue Ridge Yurts (alternative buildings), and COTEFCO Corporation (energy efficiency consulting and products).

Lining up to return for a second year are… Appleton Campbell of Warrenton (energy-efficient heating and cooling systems), Oesch Environmental Design (
solar and zero energy homes, green oak timber frame, straw bale construction, living earth roofs, and healthful environmental control systems), Piedmont Biofuels Cooperative of North Carolina (biofuels cooperative), Recovered Energy Resources (small-scale power plants fueled through biomass, animal manure, wood wastes, and trash), TerraBuilt (subsoil brick manufacturing and construction system), and Solar Connexion (solar design and installation services), among others.


Among the most popular Expo offerings are the chance to talk through individual applications with a wide range of experts and a variety of hands-on educational opportunities. A number of not-for-profits will also be on hand to provide information on energy use strategies.


The 2007 Piedmont Alternative Energy Expo is presented by the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP) and the Riptide Fund. RLEP is a 35-year old membership organization dedicated to preserving the natural resources and rural character of Rappahannock County, Virginia.

 For more information, visit www.RLEP.org.


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What's Out for 2007

Date: Jan. 6, 2007
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In my last blog I talked about what's in for 2007, based on a recent article from Realty Times. Today I'll summarize the most interesting points about what's out in 2007. Again, if you're thinking about any remodeling plans for 2007 this information may be useful.

Bedrooms not large enough for a bed - During the hot sellers market there were a lot of people creating tiny bedrooms in order to increase the selling price of the house. "It's not a three bedroom! It's a four bedroom! And, now I'd like an extra $50K for my home!" Of course if the only thing small enough to sleep in there is your dog it's not much use! Bedroom sizes are starting to look more normal again.

Loads of glass upper kitchen cabinet doors - While it looks beautiful in the models, the reality is that most of us aren't organized enough to keep it always looking great. And, it turns out that people who hate washing windows aren't that fond of washing an additional bunch of them in a room that tends to produce a fair amount of grease and grime!

Bowl-shaped above-counter bathroom sinks - These turn out to be very messy and a pain to keep clean and neat. Nice to look at but not practical seems to be the verdict on these.

Any shiny metal finish - Brushed nickels and pewters are in and antiqued and polished brass is out.

Stainless steel refrigerators and dishwashers - They look cold and they're high maintenance.

Spiral staircases - Baby boomers knees don't like stairs in general and definitely don't like these. They're unfriendly to kids and pets.

Also heading for the "out" list:

Bamboo floors - They are eco-friendly. However they turn out to not be very durable. They are easily dented and scratched and prone to warping from humidity.

Laminate floors - They don't handle multiple sandings well.

I hope this is helpful as you plan for the year ahead. If you're thinking about selling your home in the next year, visit my web page at http://www.JulieEmery.com for more information on getting ready!  Or give me a call at 540-270-2742 and let me help you plan ahead!

What remodeling plans are on your list for 2007?

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What's In for 2007

Date: Jan. 5, 2007
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A real estate news company called "Realty Times" recently came out with their list of what's in and what's out for 2007. While some of the items are probably not interesting to most of you, there are some items on the list concerning homes that may be of interest if you're contemplating any major or minor remodeling projects in 2007. And, some items are just interesting as marks of how society is changing. Today I'll let you in on what's in. My next blog entry will cover what's out.

What's In:

Third places or officetels - While there are more and more home offices in our homes, not everyone wants or is able to work there. Sometimes we need a little more social interaction. Sometimes we need a little larger distance between us and the distractions of home, but still without the hours long commute. So there will be more in between places where you'll be able to rent short term offices, cubicles or conference rooms. You can see this locally in Vint Hill where you can rent a cubicle with high speed internet connections for those days you just can't face that long ride into Northern VA or DC.

Upscale garages - These days people are looking for garages with cabinet and storage systems, mini-refrigerators and, of course, fully finished with heating and air conditioning. Now even our cars live better than the homeless!

Two home offices - One isn't enough any more as there are more and more families where both spouses are telecommuting for at least part of the week.

Caving - This is space devoted to one person in the household where they can go and play without being disturbed.  Think crafts room or workshop.

Rejuvenation Rooms - In case you wondered how the other half lived! This is a one-stop space for exercising, meditation, yoga, sauna and fancy steam showers. And, if that's not enough, even the showers are going upscale. There are now waterfall fixtures, programmable temperature and water flow controls are what's "hot" now.

Heated patios, walkways and driveways - Having been born and raised in Minnesota, this has strong appeal to me. I wonder if Dad would have gone for the heated walkway to the barn?!

Snoring Rooms - These are now being offered as options in some new homes as a way of restoring harmony in marriages where the night noise has gotten out of control!

Modular Housing - Modular options and quality are different from what most of us remember. They now encompass everything from a 1200 sq. ft. starter home to an 11,000 square foot monster!

Sustainable Design - This is near and dear to my heart. This is based on three areas; energy conservation, indoor air quality, and resource conservation. My hunch is this will be big with future generations who are growing up much more concious of our impact on the earth.

Structured Wiring - This is now entering the main stream and is becoming a must-have for technology based home buyers. Coax TV cable (RG-6), Category 5E voice and data lines, distributed radio and remote camera security are all wired through the home into multi-outlet boxes called, in the trade, home network centers.

Mixing finishes on kitchen base and wall cabinets. Everything matching is soooo old school! The new look has stained-wood base cabinets and painted wood upper cabinets. This may be an acquired taste!!

Watch this space for news next on what NOT to do to your home in 2007!

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