Archive for October, 2010

Environmental Regulation Changes in 2010

By: Courtney James

This year has brought about two changes in environmental regulation that are sure to effect owners of older homes.

Underground Oil Tanks:

As of July 1, 2010, all property owners with leaking home heating oil tanks are now eligible for 100% reimbursement of cleanup costs from the Leaking Petroleum UST Cleanup Funds.  Prior to the change, property owners had to prove tank ownership; otherwise, a $5,000 deductible and 10% co-payment were required.  Now all property owners are elgible for 100% reimbursement of necessary and reasonable cleanup costs.

Lead Based Paint:

Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children.

To protect against this risk, on April 22, 2008, EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Under the rule, beginning April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

EPA requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools be certified by EPA and that they use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices. Individuals can become certified renovators by taking an eight-hour training course from an EPA-approved training provider. Learn how to become an EPA certified firm and where to take a training course near you.

Contractors must use lead-safe work practices and follow these three simple procedures:

Contain the work area.

Minimize dust.

Clean up thoroughly.



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The State Fair is here!

If you haven’t already been to the NC State Fair,  here is a great way to get there and help keep our air clean!    Durham Area Transit Authority will provide bus transporation to the State Fair everyday from 10am to 10 pm, except on Sunday (only until 7pm).  The cost for the ride is $2 round trip, with youth under 12 and seniors riding for free.  You can’t beat that!  Click here for more information.

You will certainly reduce your stress level by riding the bus.  Plus you can use the time on the bus to plan where you are going at the fair and, more importantly, what you are going to eat (5lb Gummy Bear or the Krispy Kreme burger?)!   If you have your Blackberry or IPhone,  here is the link to the Food and Ride finder you can view on the way.  Happy travels!

Don’t forget – the State Fair ends on Sunday, October 24th.  Be there or be square!

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House Hunters – one more time!

By: Courtney James

Some of you may have seen my post here in May about the reality TV show that I filmed earlier this year ( In January, I had the opportunity to film an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters. It was a great experience, but at the time of my post, I was disappointed by the fact that the show had aired and HGTV had failed to give me or my clients advance notice.  Well, I now have been given that opportunity.  A client of mine who watches the show religiously informed me that the show is scheduled to re-air on October 17th at 12:00 pm.  Oh, and apparently the entire episode is available on the HGTV website:

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Is Downsizing Right for You?

By:  Mary Rae Hunter

I recently read an article by Dena Kaye in the Architectural Digest.  Dena’s topic was the complexity of downsizing.  (With an “8,000-plus-square-foot dream house” on her hands, Dena is probably a safe bet for being an expert on the matter!) What motivated Dena to downsize followed on a five-month trip to Europe–with but one suitcase of possessions.  This caused her and her partner to re-think their lives’ priorities.  Comparing a suitcase, quick and light living in small quarters with the space and demands of a massive estate was a form of enlightenment.

Though emotionally difficult–there is an emotional attachment to the memories we have with “things”–they decided to redirect their resources “to traveling and living elsewhere.”  Living in current large quarters was not so much an excess as it was an obligation, an emotional ball and chain that prevented her and her partner from realizing other dreams.  Dena personally realized how much her life needed editing, and she focussed on eliminating many of her personal possessions and moving towards inhabiting a more quaint, comfortable space.

Dean’s insights and perspective came to mind when I attended a party this past Friday night.  A friend mentioned that were she to downsize, she thought a great location would be Weldon Downs.  In addition to Weldon Downs, Downtown Durham offers Minerva, Trinity Lofts, Burlington Warehouse, Parkside at Morris Ridge, and Mangum 506, to cite but a few more examples.  Many bungalows, downtown lofts, and condominiums are on the horizon for completion or are available now.

Perhaps it is this unique variety of living choices in the midst of our cultural diversity that partially explains why Durham recently was named the best place in the country to invest, and the best place in the country to retire–and might make for a perfect second or third “nest” for the likes of other Dena Kayes to consider!

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