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New EPA laws on lead t-minus two days

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Lead Paint

With all the talk of market recovery, tax credits expiring, new Truth in Lending guidelines, this one may have snuck up on you.  Yes, the EPA’s new law requiring contractors to be certified to do renovations on homes built before 1978 will go in effect a scant two days from now on April 22nd.

From the EPA Website:

“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 in April 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.”

Exclusions:

From what I can tell the exclusions are owner’s working on his/her own home, areas that are less than 6 sq feet indoors and 20 sq feet outdoors, and homes that have been tested for lead by a certified professional.   Landlords renovating their own properties are required to be certified or hire a certified professional.   Windows are NOT considered a minor repair and will not be exempt.  Renovators working on properties they own but intend to sell don’t seem to be addressed so far in my research.

Penalties:

The penalties can be up to 37k a day and anyone can report the violation including a neighbor and  you will be investigated.   There are states that have opted and been approved by the EPA to administer their own programs including: Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, and Mississippi.   Each of these states should have details of their program on their State Govt. Websites.

Info for Realtors:

The NAR has posted a series of videos addressing how these new laws will affect our industry.

General Overview

Frequently Asked Questions

Oye:

It sounds pretty life altering but the EPA suggests for contractors and painters that have been following previous EPA guidelines on reno jobs, should only see about a $65 per job jump in their costs.  The EPA continues to provide the certification course and their webpage on lead is extremely comprehensive if you would like to pass along more information to your clients.

Anna Altic – Village Real Estate Services. I’ve called Nashville home for the last 15 years and have been practicing (practice being the key word here) real estate for just over 6 years. In the fall of 2007, I went to a local German Festival that had a home tour, including a LEED certified property, and I instantly became enamored with the idea of eco friendly living (ok, so I’d had a little beer and the dual flush toilet rocked my world). I have since devoted much of my time and energies in to studying and espousing the benefits of better building technology within our local residential market and my proudest accomplishment thus far has been successfully leading the initiative to get over 25 green features added to our MLS search fields.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Jim Duncan

    April 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I’ve only started to hear about this over the past 3-4 weeks, but it seems there are more than 200 “certified” lead renovators in my area already … it’s surely going to add yet another hurdle to an already challenging time.

  2. Lani Rosales

    April 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Anna, I SO support these measures, but I’m wondering who it should be reported to if GCs upcharge abusively? Like if an area contractor says it’ll add 30% to the bottom line of any project, who does the complaint go to? I’m sure this is obvious to everyone but me, but I’m just curious.

  3. Anna Altic

    April 20, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Lani – because this is an across the board rule and ALL the contractors and renovators are required to carry this certification to work on older homes then I suspect that they will probably pass the cost on. However, charging a premium in a time when work is scare may not be in their best interest considering many contractors will opt to price competiviely. Our profession is a vital link between contractors and homeowners though in being able to pass along accurate information.

  4. jay arlington condos

    April 20, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Where do you get the $65/job of additional costs estimate?

    j

    • Anna Altic

      April 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm

      Jay – I’m new to AG so hopefully I am responding correctly. In the frequently asked questions section of the page I reference on my post the cost per project is the first they list. Here is a portion of their answer. I actually misspoke a little from some research I did yesterday.

      “EPA estimates that the costs of containment, cleaning, and cleaning verification will range from $8 to $167 per job, with the exception of those exterior jobs where vertical containment would be required.”

  5. Aaron Charlton

    April 21, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Here in Arizona, the EPA has had a stranglehold on the construction industry for years with their dust control ordinances that shut down or slow projects, levy huge fines, and require massive wasting of precious water resources to keep dust down on job sites. Being that we live in the desert, you would think a little dust would be allowed, particularly when the same ordinances don’t apply to farming — a much bigger dust creator. The only rational explanation I can come up with is that the EPA is full of environmental activists who are trying to shut the construction industry down, and this new rule is no different. Their estimate of $8 per job just shows that they don’t have a clue about construction. $8 per job implies that compliance will only require less than 5 minutes of their time. That’s funny. What

  6. BawldGuy

    April 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Considering much of San Diego’s home inventory, (and income property) was built WAY before 1978, this new reg will have an immediate impact here. Thanks — good stuff.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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