Real Estate News for North Pinellas County

Archive for May, 2015

Mold. What should you do about it?

     I see it all the time – mold on bathroom ceilings, mold in shower enclosures, mold in kitchens and laundry rooms. It’s more than just an aesthetic problem; mold can cause serious health problems, especially for people with allergies or asthma.

But it’s not necessarily a reason to walk away from buying a home.

First, let’s look at what mold is and how it gets into houses:

Mold is a kind of fungus. Its purpose in nature is to help with the decomposition of dead organic material such as trees and plants.  Dig through a pile of dead leaves and you will usually find plenty of mold.

IMG_9706Mold travels through the air in the form of microscopic spores that you can’t see without a microscope. There’s plenty of those little spores around and you probably breathe them in every day.

But that black, dark blue or green mold that you may see on an interior wall results when mold spores find a wet or damp surface. Dampness on organic material is what mold spores love to find.

Mold is bad for humans because it can cause allergenic reactions – sneezing, rashes or even asthmatic attacks. Reactions to mold can run the gamut from a minor annoyance to a life-threatening asthma attack.

It’s possible to remove mold, but if you don’t deal with the moisture that attracted it, there’s a very good chance that the mold will reappear. So if you buy a home that has visible mold, you have to be concerned about removing the mold AND dealing with the source of the moisture that attracted those mold spores in the first place.

There are different kinds of mold, and there are tests available that can tell you what kind of mold you are dealing with. But mold testing can be costly, and mold in a home should be removed and dealt with no matter what kind of mold it is.

So, let’s say you find mold in your home and decide to deal with it. If the mold is on wood, tile or painted drywall, you should be able to use a good detergent and scrub it off with a sponge. You can use bleach or a commercial mold killer if you want, but remember what we said about those mold spores being everywhere; even if you kill all the visible mold, it may well come back if new mold spores come into contact with a damp surface.

If you are dealing with unpainted drywall, you should cut the drywall out and replace it, because drywall is porous and the mold will have penetrated it.

Also, remember that if mold is on one side of a wall, it’s likely to be on the inside surface as well. You could successfully get all the mold of a drywall surface, only to find that a similar mold outbreak is taking place on the inside drywall surface as well. So think seriously about replacing the moldy drywall.

A couple of cautions:

1. Wear gloves

2. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, get a friend (or hire someone) to do the work.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a page on its website devoted to mold and how to get rid of it. Take a look.

And don’t forget – getting rid of the mold will be a useless exercise if you don’t deal with the dampness that attracted it. So deal with that dampness, whether it’s a leaky pipe, bad condensation or water seeping into the home from outside.

Also, some insurance companies may be leery about providing insurance on a home that has an active or recent mold problem, so check that out ahead of time. If you are planning on financing the home through FHA, be aware that FHA may refuse to guarantee a mortgage on a home that has, or has had, mold problems.

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Gorgeous Ozona townhouse!

I’ve just listed a truly gorgeous three-bedroom, three-bath townhouse in Ozona with more than 2,100 square feet of living space.  Take a look!

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The Koi pond at Bok Tower

The Koi pond at the base of Bok Tower in Lake Wales

The Koi pond at the base of Bok Tower in Lake Wales

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Road trip! – Bok Tower

Road trip rules: There’s lots of interesting places to go and things to see within easy driving distance to North Pinellas County, so find some time in your busy schedule and take them in!  Here are the rules: Road trip locations have to be within a couple of hours of North Pinellas County, and no more than 100 miles (okay, we may stretch it a little if it’s REALLY great). If there’s good food in the vicinity, we’ll provide a recommendation or two.

 

bok tower 239Bok Tower is a great spot with beautiful gardens, a large Koi pond and a gorgeous singing tower, a 60-bell carillon (the bells were specially cast in England). The location is in Lake Wales in Polk County, about 90 miles east of North Pinellas. The tower is located on the highest point in Florida (don’t worry, it is less than 300 feet above sea level – you won’t be needing an oxygen tank).

Bok Tower was opened to the public in 1929. It is considered to be a contemplative garden, so please keep noise to a minimum.

Admission is $12 for adults, $3 for kids. There’s a good restaurant on the grounds that provides good light fare, such as salads and sandwiches.

Learn more at http://boktowergardens.org/

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Dog parks in Pinellas County

There are some great parks in Pinellas County, but did you know there are a number of parks where dogs are welcome? In fact, there are seven parks in the county that provide fenced areas where unleashed dogs can frolic to their heart’s content.


And it gets better; there are some parks in the county that are not run by Pinellas County, but which are managed by municipalities. And some of those parks are very welcoming of dogs, as well. An example: North Anclote River Nature Park in Tarpon Springs. This park is near my home, and it welcomes dogs. It even provides free poop bags (and really hopes that you’ll use them); free dog-level watering stations for thirsty doggies; and even showers for overheated dogs.

Here are the Pinellas County parks that have dog areas for unleashed dogs:

border collie playingAs you might expect, there are a number of rules that the county insists upon. Here they are:

  • All dogs must be leashed when entering and exiting the park.
  • Park closes at dusk.
  • Patrons use the dog park at their own risk.
  • Handlers are liable for any injury or damage caused by their dog (s).
  • Handlers are limited to three dogs.
  • Dogs shall be licensed and vaccinated with a tag on their collar at all times.
  • Dogs in heat are prohibited.
  • Handlers must be 16 years of age or older.
  • Children under 12 are not permitted without a responsible adult.
  • Handlers must control their dogs and attend to them at all times.
  • Handlers must carry a leash with them at all times while in the park.
  • Handlers are responsible for picking up and disposing of their dog’s waste in designated receptacles.
  • No dogs under four months of age. Check with your veterinarian before introducing a new puppy to the dog park.
  • No aggressive dogs.
  • Handlers must stop their dogs from digging and are responsible for filling any holes their dogs make.
  • No excessive barking.
  • No bathing of dogs within the park.
  • No food or smoking within the fenced area.

The county suggests that you not walk barefoot in the fenced dog areas. I think that is great advice.

 

 

 

 

 

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North Anclote River Nature Park

One great benefit that we enjoy in Pinellas County is the large number of parks that are scattered around the county. Pinellas County is in charge of most of them, but there are also some local parks that are well worth visiting.
IMG_0173One of these locally-owned parks is the North Anclote River Nature Park, a slender 77-acre park that runs from a parking lot just of Old Dixie Highway to the banks of the Anclote River.
This park is located near our home and we visit there frequently. It’s a good place for a morning walk, and it’s dog-friendly. There is an observation deck that juts out over the Anclote River, and there is also a dandy fishing pier as well as a beach area that’s good for pulling your kayak or canoe ashore.
 IMG_0012    Also, there are rest room facilities as well as a playground for the kids near the parking lot.
The park has been in operation for nearly 20 years, having been purchased with grant money from the Florida Communities Trust. If you enjoy hiking or biking on the Pinellas Trail, you will find that the trail runs right through the middle of the park, and you can get off the trail and access the park’s trail system.
It’s open to the public from 7:30 a.m. until dusk.
I’m going to be writing on the blog about a number of the parks in the Pinellas County area, especially in North Pinellas County. This is the first in what I hope will be a series.

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