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Lakeshore Realty


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 663

Happy Easter!

by Lakeshore Realty
May this year’s Easter bring you hope and joy.
  • New Lakeshore Realty Homes for Sale in Lake Tahoe, Incline Village Nevada

These are some of the newest listings at Lakeshore Realty on the North Lake Tahoe's Incline Village Real Estate Market.

867 Jennifer St.

Bed: 3
Bath: 2.5
Year: 1979
Sq. Ft.: 2392

Price: $799,000


Listing Agent:
Jamie & Kristi

This beautiful home has been completely remodeled inside & out! New roof, siding & decks.  Gourmet kitchen w/ maple cabinetry, slab granite counters stainless steel appliances, hardwood flooring, great room floor plan, adjacent to forest service.  Easy to show.  Vacant on Lockbox!


1054 Flume

Bed: 4
Bath: 2
Year: 1963
Sq. Ft.: 2032

Price: $700,000


Listing Agent:
Chris & Patti Plastiras

PROPERTY SOLD "AS IS" "WHERE IS" NO EXCEPTIONS!  House is in tear down condition.  Excellent lot in the low elevation Millcreek Subdivision.


564 Matchless Ct.

Bed: 5
Bath: 3
Year: 1978
Sq. Ft.: 4353

Price: $1,545,000


Listing Agent:
Pam Fernandez

Contemporary mountain home w/lake views & surrounded by FS. Extensive remodel. Elevator to your front door, Heated driveway! Hardwood floors. Spa room. Sep bdrm or office + 1/2 bath above garage with pvt entrance. 3 FP's (2 gas -1 real wood burner).


910 Tyner Way

Bed: 5
Bath: 3.5
Year: 2008
Sq. Ft.: 3681

Price: $1,975,000


                                               Listing Agent:
Chris & Patti Plastiras

Quality construction throughout. Spectacular setting featuring filtered lakeviews, property overlooks protected non-buildable Forest Service land w/access to popular hiking trails. High end finishes throughout and top-of-the line appliances. Custom cabinets & slab counter tops. The great room floor plan lends itself to easy entertaining with massive vaulted beamed ceilings, and picture windows bring in an abundance of light and ambience. Spacious Master Suite located on main living level.


735 Martis Peak

Bed: 4
Bath: 4.5
Year: 2005
Sq. Ft.: 4196

Price: $2,749,000


                                               Listing Agent:
Chris & Patti Plastiras

Custom home, like new built in 2005 located in the lakeview subdivision. All 4 bedrooms are en-suite. Master bedroom on main level. Open floor plan with state-of-the-art kitchen, featuring high end stainless steel appliances: Wolf, Subzero, Franke sinks & 2 Miele dishwashers. Clear cedar siding with granite accents on front elevation. Stained Knotty Alder wood used throughout, carpet, wood, travertine and marble flooring. 9 ft ceilings and 8 ft doors.  A must see home.


1415 Tirol Dr.

Bed: 4
Bath: 3
Year: 1982
Sq. Ft.: 2412

Price: $569,000


Listing Agent:
Pam Fernandez

The ultimate ski chalet!  Very spacious home on corner lot. 4 bdrms, 3 full baths & private lavs in each bedroom. Spacious Great room, dining area, kitchen & 2 bedrooms on entry level. 2 bedrooms, huge loft with small view of Lake Tahoe & laundry all on 2nd level. Easy access.  Short path and few stairs to front door. 2 decks out front & decks off each bedroom. Quiet area.  Garage addition possible -must purchase coverage, plans, permits, etc. New paint & carpet & interior doors throughout.


862 Southwood Blvd.

Bed: 3
Bath: 3
Year: 1983
Sq. Ft.: 1710

Price: $298,000


                                               Listing Agent:
Chris & Patti Plastiras

Centrally located has beautiful new wood floors and new carpet.  Quality built, but rental for many years, some TLC needed.  Spacious 1,700 s.f. with 3 lg, BR & 3 BA, 2 car attached garage.  Compare price s. ft., location & potential

To access all the Incline Village and Lakeshore Realty listings please click here. You can also contact us by email or call us at 775-831-7000. If you are in Incline Village, please visit us at 954 Lakeshore Blvd. Incline Village, NV 89451.

Housing Update: Relief for underwater sellers extended

by Lakeshore Realty

Housing Update: Relief for underwater sellers extended

Important housing update: The Senate Finance Committee has passed a two year extension of tax relief for home owners who have had mortgage debt forgiven by a lender as part of a short sale, loan modification or foreclosure. This bill would be retroactive to January 1st, 2014, when the law expired.

The tax relief provision expired at the end of last year, and unless both the United States Senate and House of Representatives approve the extension, homeowners may have to pay tax on the forgiven debt.

“Even though the housing update for the real estate market has recovered from the housing crash, many homeowners still remain under water.  Home Owners and those advising them need to know that this tax on forgiven debt does not just apply to short sales and loan modifications.  It also applies to foreclosures, so ignoring the problem and just letting your home foreclose will not protect you from being liable for the tax. Home Owners need to pay attention and consult with a tax preparer on the IRS tax consequences of forgiven debt”. Says David Blank, CPA Founder of

NAR President Steve Brown says. “We applaud the Senate Finance Committee for approving a bipartisan compromise bill today This is, at its core, an issue that’s all about fairness. It is unfair to ask homeowners who are underwater on their mortgage and who make the prudent decision to do a short sale instead of allowing their mortgage to go into foreclosure to pay tax on the forgiven amount of the loan.”

The mortgage forgiveness tax relief act provided in the past has been one of Congress’ bipartisan success stories, and there’s a good chance an extension will pass Congress this year, too, analysts say.

Some 350,000 households could be affected by the tax if relief isn’t extended, because that’s the number of households who sold their house last year as a short sale. “And we expect a large number of short sales [an estimated 300,000 to 350,000] this year,” says Brown.

To read up on the tax law go to

This housing update was provided by David Blank.  To subscribe to our housing update blog, click here

Incline Village Real Estate Sales Comparison

by Lakeshore Realty

Incline Village Real Estate Sales Comparison.



  • Residential Home Sales Report

Click here for larger image

- Please note that the report above was created using data extracted from the MLXChange System and reflects Residential Home sales starting January 1 through March 31.

  • Condominium Sales Report

Click here for larger image

- Please note that the report above was created using data extracted from the MLXChange System and reflects Condominium sales January 1 through March 31.

  • P.U.D. Sales Report

Click here for larger image

- Please note that the report above was created using data extracted from the MLXChange System and reflects Townhome (P.U.D.) sales January 1 through March 31.


To access all the Incline Village and Lakeshore Realty listings please click here. You can also contact us by email or call us at 775-831-7000. If you are in Incline Village, please visit us at 954 Lakeshore Blvd. Incline Village, NV 89451.

5 ticking time bombs in your home

by Lakeshore Realty

5 ticking time bombs in your home

By Christopher Solomon of

There are some maintenance and repair issues that homeowners just hate to deal with — either because they take time, or cost money, or just don’t seem, well, urgent. But some of these problems can become ticking time bombs, poised to explode if they’re not defused early, when they are more like firecrackers than bombs.

Here are some of the top structural and mechanical time bombs in your home that experts say have the potential to blow up and are worth squelching now — before the big boom.


Why it’s explosive: Houses settle. But not all settling is the same. “A lot of times people will ignore the cracks in the brick veneer on the outside of the house, even when they get to be a half-inch or more,” says Bill Loden, incoming president of the American Society of Home Inspectors. Even though that brick is often just the “skin” of the house, a crack that large can signal much deeper problems with a moving foundation, Loden says. Caught early, a repair might cost a few thousand dollars. Caught too late, the tab could run $20,000 to $50,000.

Snuff the fuse: Some cracks in your house are essentially cosmetic, the result of natural settling. When is a crack something more? “If you see a crack big enough to put a No. 2 pencil in, you’re looking at a problem,” says Loden, owner of Huntsville, Alabama-based Insight Building Inspection. Other signs of trouble: a tilting chimney or windows and doors that stick or jam, which can be caused by a moving foundation that is twisting their frames. If you suspect foundation issues, hire a structural engineer to evaluate your house, Loden says.


Why it’s explosive: ”Most people don’t pay any attention to their roof until they see water coming through the ceiling!” says Bill Jacques, outgoing president of the American Society of Home Inspectors  and owner of American Inspection Service in Charleston, S.C. But if you see drips in your living room, the problem is already far gone. A new roof could cost you “probably $8,000 to $10,000,” Jacques says.

Snuff the fuse: Some people say, ‘I’ve got a 20-year shingle, it’s gonna last 20 years.’ Well, no it’s not,” Jacques says. “I would just recommend that about every five years they have the roof inspected.” One of the telltale signs of a wearing roof is coarse sand pooling at the base of gutter downspouts; the sand is most likely the granules of the shingles washing off. If you see a lot of it, then it’s a good idea to have someone climb higher. If you can safely get on the roof (be careful!) and the surface feels slippery, that’s another sign that the shingle material is coming off, Jacques says.

You can find evidence of additional problems under the roof. Water will usually enter the attic first. Hire an inspector, or look for stains around the chimney and the stack vents, or around other venting pipes that exit the house. Those are places where the metal flashing can fail, says Jacques. Also, look around the attic for wet and, or damaged insulation. Discovering issues early on could mean the difference between repair and replacement — or a few hundred dollars rather than thousands.

Septic system

Why it’s explosive: Homeowners who have septic tanks don’t always like to think about them, Loden says. That’s a mistake. “A septic tank is gonna work until the day it quits,” he quips.

Generally speaking, a septic system breaks down the solids and liquefies them. The liquid then goes out into lines and is dispersed into the surrounding ground. But other materials also reach the septic tank — from sanitary napkins and cigarette butts to foodstuffs such as coffee grounds and grease (particularly if you have a garbage disposal). Over time, the baffles that stop the larger solids from going into the lines can get blocked. If that happens, the system can back up into your house. “That’s not a ‘check engine’ light; that’s an ‘engine failure’ light,” Loden says. “That’s when you end up with a backhoe in your yard.”

Snuff the fuse: If you have a septic tank, have the tank pumped every five years — “and if you have a garbage disposal, you might want to have it done every three years,” Loden says. In Loden’s area of the South, the cost is “between $300 and $500,” he says. “It’s really relatively inexpensive to have it pumped. A lot of those guys will pump it and inspect it at the same time.” It’s particularly cheap when compared with the cost of digging up your yard to repair your system, which can run thousands of dollars.

Old electrical systems

Why it’s explosive: Homes built after World War II, as well as homes built earlier, “didn’t have the same requirements for power that we do now,” Loden says. Homes built today can’t have more than 12 linear feet of space between electrical outlets. This stipulation was intended to minimize the use of extension cords, which can cause fires. The electrical systems of older homes, particularly those outfitted with lots of appliances and amenities, just can’t handle modern electrical demands. Sockets can actually wear out, and switches, too. Breakers become less reliable as they age. The upshot can be a fire.

Snuff the fuse: "Probably every 20 years,” a home should have a thorough inspection of itselectrical system, Loden says. Homes built prior to 1980 should definitely be looked at, “and another break point in my region — the Deep South — is 1965. There were a lot of improvements in the 1960s,” he says. You could call an electrician, although Loden cautions that “an electrician may see it as a sales call. Like any trade, they’re there to fix things.” Another alternative: Consider calling an experienced home inspector.

Crawl space 

Why it’s explosive: Few homeowners ever pay attention to their crawl space, that often dank, dirt-floored area beneath many homes. “And why would they?” says Jacques, of ASHI. But you should, because the crawl space is sort of a window into the belly of your home and all its inner workings, he says. It could reveal all sorts of problems before they get bigger:

  • “You might have a leak in the bathroom under the commode or in a supply line that could be weakening the floor,” Jacques says, and you’d never know it until the day a sag appears in the floor and you need major repairs.
  • Termite damage can usually be seen there before it appears elsewhere.
  • Many crawl spaces carry the heating and air-conditioning ductwork that runs throughout a house. But when repairmen clamber about in this cramped space, over time “they might cause some damage to the insulation or to the ductwork. So you could be pumping your nice cold air into the crawl space itself,” Jacques says.

Snuff the fuse: Jacques recommends that a homeowner periodically spend a few minutes with a flashlight looking inside the crawl space as a precautionary measure.

He also recommends occasionally hiring a home inspector to do a more thorough examination of the space. An inspector can look for leaks in plumbing and find faulty or damaged ductwork and worrisome wiring. As well, while often not licensed to inspect fortermites, an inspector usually knows enough to point out suspected trouble and recommend treatment or repair.

North Lake Tahoe March 2014 Real Estate Sales Comparison

by Lakeshore Realty
  • North Lake Tahoe March 2014 Real Estate Sales Comparison

The charts bellow reflect Incline Village real estate sales for the month of March in the past 5 years. These reports we're created individually for Residential Home sales and Condominium Sales.

  • Residential Home Sales Report

Click here for larger image

- Please note that the report above was created using data extracted from the MLXChange System and reflects Residential Home sales.

  • Condominium Sales Report

Click here for larger image

- Please note that the report above was created using data extracted from the MLXChange System and reflects Condominium sales.

To access all the Incline Village and Lakeshore Realty listings please click here. You can also contact us by email or call us at 775-831-7000. If you are in Incline Village, please visit us at 954 Lakeshore Blvd. Incline Village, NV 89451.

Home Prices Will Keep Rising, but Level-Off Soon

by Lakeshore Realty
Home prices continue to increase by double digit percentages on a year-over-year basis CoreLogic said today.  The company's Home Price Index (HPI) for February, an index that includes distressed sales, was up 12.2 percent compared to February 2013.  Thus February becomes the 24th consecutive month in which there have been annual price increases.   Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased by 0.8 percent in February compared to the previous month.



Including distressed sales, the five states with the highest home price appreciation were California (+19.8 percent), Nevada (+18.5 percent), Georgia (+14.2 percent), Oregon (+13.8 percent) and Michigan (+13.5 percent).  There were no states with negative annual appreciation.

On its index which excludes distressed sales, national home prices were up 10.7 percent compared to February 2013 and 0.9 percent from January.  All 50 states and the District of Columbia showed annual increases with the greatest appreciation in California (+15.9 percent), Nevada (+14.6 percent), Florida (+13.1 percent), Washington (+11.5 percent and Hawaii (+11.5 percent).  An additional nine states had double digit annual appreciation and Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas and the District of Columbia all reached new home price highs. Additionally, 22 states were at or within 10 percent of their price peaks.

From the price peak in April 2006 to February the change in the national HPI was -16.9 percent including distressed sales and 12.1 percent excluding them.  The five states with the largest remaining peak-to-current declines, including distressed transactions, were Nevada (-39.9 percent), Florida (-36.4 percent), Rhode Island (-30.9 percent), Arizona (-30.5 percent) and West Virginia (-26.6 percent).



Ninety-six of the top 100 Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) measured by population showed year-over-year increases in February 2014. The four exceptions were Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Ark., Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis., Rochester, N.Y. and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C.

"February marks two straight years of year-over-year gains in national prices across the United States," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "The consistent upward movement in home prices should ultimately prove to be an important stimulant for higher levels of sustained market activity and growth in the housing economy."

CoreLogic said today's report introduces a new forecast metric that provides advanced indication of home price trends.  The current forecast is that home prices are projected to increase 0.5 percent month over month from February 2014 to March 2014 and that home prices, including distressed sales, are expected to rise 10.5 percent year over year from March 2013 to March 2014. Excluding distressed sales, home prices are poised to rise 0.4 percent month over month from February 2014 to March 2014 and 9.3 percent year over year from March 2013 to March 2014.

"As the spring home-buying season kicks off, house price appreciation continues to be strong," said Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Although prices should remain strong in the near term due to a short supply of homes on the market, price increases should moderate over the next year as home equity releases pent-up supply."


Freddie Mac: Doubtful Rates Will Return to Recent Lows

by Lakeshore Realty

"One thing seems certain: we aren't likely to see average 30-year fixed mortgage rates return to the historic lows experienced in 2012."

- Freddie Mac,  March 24, 2014

There are those that hope that 30-year mortgage interest rates will head back under 4%. Obviously, for any prospective home purchaser that would be great news. However, there is probably a greater chance that interest rates will return to the greater than 6% rate of the last decade before they would return to the less than 3.5% rate of 2012.

Freddie Mac, in one of four original posts on their new blog, explained that current rates are still extremely low compared to historic averages:

"The all-time record low – since Freddie Mac began tracking mortgage rates in 1971 – was 3.31% in November 2012. Conversely, the all-time record high occurred in October of 1981, hitting 18.63%. That's more than four times higher than today's average 30-year fixed rate of 4.32% as of March 20...rates hovering around 4.5% may be high relative to last year, but something to celebrate compared to almost any year since 1971."

Rates over decades

If you are thinking of buying a home, waiting for a dramatic decrease in mortgage rates might not make sense.


Meet Your Merchant: Lakeshore Realty celebrates 20th anniversary

by Lakeshore Realty

By Jenny Luna

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nevada — Twenty years ago, Patti and Chris Plastiras helped co-found Lakeshore Realty. The couple’s partnership, both at the office and at home, has contributed to their success of one of the area’s reputable real estate companies.

“For Chris and I personally it has been a real plus being a couple,” Patti said. “To be able to go in to a situation, you listen differently as a female than you do as a male, you observe differently as you show homes to people.”

When inspecting a house, it isn’t rare for Chris to be examining the home’s garage and Patti to be in the kitchen, asking different questions.

“There are always two perspectives,” she said. “It has been very much in our advantage because we have different area of expertise and analysis of things. It does bring more to the table.”

Patti admits that she and her husband talk business at home— the “board room in the bedroom” as they jokingly refer to it.

Even when the couple first began dating, Patti remembers the phone ringing during dinner and how she gave Chris complete understanding.

“I just knew it was business and I never thought anything of it, because I was in sales too,” she said.


Lakeshore Realty was formed in 1994 by a group of real estate brokers that included the Plastirases “to create a more personal and less corporate way of brokering on the North Lake Tahoe real estate market in Nevada,” according to the company’s website.

Its agents are specialized in Lake Tahoe and Incline Village real estate, bank-owned properties, luxury listings, vacation homes and rentals. The office is located on Lakeshore Drive, just across from Incline Beach.

About 80 percent of the buyers at Lakeshore Realty are Californians, Chris said, many who seek the financial perks of being a Nevada resident and the small-town feel of Incline Village.

“I think a lot of people are coming back not just to the tax advantages, but to the small-town environment with educated people around them,” Patti said.

Many people return to Tahoe, just as Chris did 35 years ago, to live where they grew up vacationing with their family.

“It makes us really feel good to work with people who are here simply because they’ve spent many a summer up here in their youth and have always thought in the back of their mind that they were going to have a place here,” he said. “It’s very fulfilling to see that dream come true.”

During their two decades owning Lakeshore Realty, the Plastirases have watched families come up summer after summer, growing from a getaway cabin to a panoramic lake view home on the water.

“We’ve sold houses not only to the parent, but to the child 20 years later,” Chris said.

Every year, the family at Lakeshore Realty grows as well. With 32 agents and a committed office staff, the sense of family and community continues in its tradition of closeness and support.

And after $225 million in sales in 2013, the Plastirases have high hopes for 2014.


It isn’t unlikely for Patti and Chris to become friends with clients. In fact, Lakeshore Realty makes it a priority to stay in contact with clients after they buy a home.

“We become a really good resource for them after the sale,” Chris said.

People turn to Lakeshore Realty for ideas such as pet sitters and restaurant recommendations. And learning from the clients is an experience the couple is grateful to have.

“We get to meet some of the most amazing, unique people from all walks of life,” Chris said. “They’re so interesting because they have a story to tell and they have a history. We learn so much about other parts of the United States and other professions right here in this office, that’s really exciting.”


Listening to clients and establishing good communication is a priority for all the brokers at Lakeshore Realty.

Intimately knowing the 15 gated communities in Incline as well as the entire area of Incline Village and Lake Tahoe means the Realtors and agents can work with buyers to find properties that work best for them.

Being professionals with a combined 50-plus years experience, Patti and Chris have learned how to truly listen to clients and anticipate their needs.

“Our job is to interpret not only what they say but what they mean,” Chris said. “We’re trained to listen beyond what they say.”

Technology is a big part of Lakeshore Realty as well. Patti applies her background and experience in the tech business to good use.

“When we first opened the office it was extremely important for me to get a website up and going and the rankings immediately, and because of that it has stayed up there and continually is being improved upon,” she said.

Lakeshore Realty just finished its new iPhone app, which allows users to find a property’s information when seeing it in Incline Village.

The company is also working with to create a map of the area. Virtual tours and videos of each property are available on the website.


Checklist: 10 health hazards to avoid when remodeling

by Lakeshore Realty

Checklist: 10 health hazards to avoid when remodeling

By Kelly Pate Dwyer of SwitchYard Media

Perhaps you're gutting an old kitchen or adding a master suite. As you daydream about the ideal layout, ambient lighting and cabinet finishes, remember the less thrilling but essential safety aspects of remodeling.

We're not just talking about the hard-hat variety. During the project, you have some big issues to consider.

Air-quality issues account for the lion's share of remodeling health dangers. Then there's where to dispose of paints, solvents and other potentially toxic materials properly.

1. Asbestos

If your home was built before 1980, hire an inspector or environmental consultant to check for asbestos before cutting into or removing potential asbestos-containing structures.

"Always test suspect material," says Devin Arnett, an environmental consultant in Charlotte, N.C. "It's cheap, and then you know what you're dealing with."

Asbestos can be found in wall, heating and plumbing insulation, siding, roofing, flooring, caulking, window glaze, drywall, joint compound and plaster.

Any project that involves exposure to old insulation or cutting through walls, floors and roofing in homes built before 1980 are most likely to need testing and abatement.

2. Lead

Federal law requires contractors be certified in the safe removal of lead and to test for lead before remodeling homes that were built before 1978. Exposure to lead paint typically starts with scraping and sanding old paint, or when paint chips are ingested.

Arnett recommends remodelers skip stripping and sanding and replace the painted item, such as a window frame. If you own a historic home, hire a lead-certified renovator to complete the stripping safely.

Lead can be anywhere you have old paint, indoors and out. It also can be found in soil, water and pipe soldering.

Sanding and scraping wood trim is one of the main ways lead exposure occurs.

3. Mold

In 2002, Johnny Carson's sidekick, Ed McMahon, won a $7 million settlement after alleging that toxic mold made him and his wife sick and killed his dog. Most mold situations are less dramatic but can still cause allergic and asthmatic reactions. Unchecked, some mold can cause death.

Mold typically grows on drywall and other organic materials, often in kitchens and bathrooms.

Homes in humid climates are more likely to develop mold, and homeowners often find it when they remove old cabinets and drywall.

4. Volatile organic compounds

Most building materials contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde, which are emitted into the air as fumes. If you whiff a heavy dose of VOCs, they can irritate your eyes or respiratory tract and cause headaches, dizziness, visual disorders and memory impairment.

When possible, choose low- or zero-VOC paints and other finishing materials. Wear a mask and goggles and keep air flowing while working with VOCs inside your home.

VOCs are emitted from a long list of construction and household products, including paint, paint strippers, glues, cleaners, carpeting, flooring, upholstery and cabinet finishes. Nearly every remodeling project is bound to involve some VOCs.

5. Mercury

Mercury was used in heating systems and thermostats in older homes, and it can be found in fluorescent bulbs and thermometers. It can leak when these features are removed. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, when a product containing mercury spills, it can emit an odorless toxic vapor, which even in small amounts can cause learning disabilities and liver damage.

"Mercury vapor is one of the most toxic things on the planet," says Brent Jorgensen, an environmental consultant in Tualatin, Ore.

6. Radon

Radon is an odorless, invisible radioactive gas that seeps into a home, typically from rock below the foundation. It can flow anywhere in your home. The EPA estimates that radon causes 21,000 U.S. lung-cancer deaths every year.

Inspector Dale Pope of Pope Associates Inc. in Gloucester, Mass., tells clients in his area -- which has a high incidence of radon -- to add pipe around the foundation of a ground-level or below-ground addition. It can be vented outdoors if high levels of radon are detected.

Projects that add to your home's footprint need a fresh radon test once work is complete. Homes in the Northeast have some of the strongest radon-gas readings.

7. Underground oil tanks

Before sending digger trucks into your backyard, consider whether an old heating oil tank lies beneath. Heating-oil tanks are typically buried within several feet of the foundation and 7 to 8 feet below ground, Jorgensen says. They often come into play when you're expanding on your property.

The steel tanks often corrode and leak, causing oil to seep into groundwater or posing a fire hazard, Jorgensen says. Removing the tank may cost thousands of dollars. If it leaks, cleanup costs climb much higher. Inspectors search for tanks with a magnetic scanner or test soil for leaks.

Dangerous leaks are most common in areas that get lots of rain or where groundwater levels are high.

8. Pressure-treated wood

If you have wood garden beds, decks or play sets that were built before 2004, chances are they are made of a pressure-treated wood that contains chromated copper arsenate, or CCA, which contains arsenic and has since been banned.

Arsenic is linked to some cancers, and it can leach into garden soil.

"You get in trouble with the treated wood when you're working directly with it," Jorgensen says.

If your remodeling or landscaping project involves cutting or moving pressure-treated wood, wear gloves. Do not grind the wood or burn it.

9. Electrical hazards

Electrical wires run through nearly every wall of your home. They can run along exterior walls and through your yard.

Any remodeling project that involves electrical power poses the risk of shock or fire, particularly those in kitchens and bathrooms that involve additions or changes to wiring, plumbing or both.

Many do-it-yourselfers get shocked or create a fire hazard when doing their own electrical work. Inspector Peter Hopkins of San Diego-based SoCal Infrared, which uses thermal imaging to diagnose energy issues, says that there are unexpected dangers that only a licensed electrician knows to avoid. These include one brand of square outlets that can cause a fire when used with aluminum wiring.

10. Combustion appliances

Combustion appliances -- such as furnaces, clothes dryers, space heaters, boilers and gas stoves -- warm your home or provide cooking fuel. They use natural gas, petroleum, kerosene, oil, coal or wood.

"Homeowners know not to move these without a professional," Pope says. "It's the long-term threats many people don't understand. Combustion appliances are the air-breathing dragons in your house."

Projects that involve moving these appliances, disconnecting them from vents, rebuilding vent systems or building walls or doors near or around them require caution and expertise.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 663




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