Maintaining Our Sense of Community

Over the last few weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the way that businesses operate. In compliance with the Governor’s stay-at-home orders, our team has adapted some remote operations – like sending and signing contracts electronically, video walkthroughs of our listings and virtual client meetings. We have also implemented best practices to keep people safe and reduce the spread of the virus while we continue to help our clients move their lives forward.

While we practice social distancing, we’re also finding creative ways to stay connected to our team! At Windermere, we’re proud to support our agents not only by equipping them with the tools to be successful but also by nurturing a positive team culture.

Typically in the office, owners Randy and Marla Heagle would prepare a homemade breakfast for the agents to enjoy during the weekly sales meetings as they celebrate the teams’ victories and discuss business. Now with the stay-at-home orders, the weekly sales meetings have gone virtual so Randy and Marla started offering “Drive-Thru Dinners” to maintain a strong sense of community while social distancing!

 


Posted on April 27, 2020 at 9:46 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Community |

A Guide to a few of the Puget Sound’s Unique Island Communities

Seattle is the beating heart of the Puget Sound area. An explosive regional economy backed by some of the world’s largest tech companies has brought an array of big-city benefits to the once sleepy city. World-class culture, cuisine and sporting events are at the fingertips of those in the city. However, like many large cities, there comes the impacts to traffic and congestion, increased cost of living, and long gone is that once sleepy little fishing town. 

 

While many locals and transplants thrive on the new Seattle, whether for retirement, remote work, family life, or to simply get out of the metropolitan areas, more and more people are looking to move out of the urban core. Unique to the Puget Sound area, many of the so-called suburbs of Seattle are in fact surrounded by water, physical and metaphorical islands, each offering a unique set of characteristics that aligns with those seeking change from city life. 


Here we will explore the variety of island communities in and around the Seattle area, hearing firsthand from local island experts who weigh-in on each island’s character, community, and vibe. 

 

Three islands stand out as offering something distinct and compelling. For some, the attraction will be an island that affords them the chance to stay connected to a more urban area – a true island suburb. Others will gravitate towards a more rural island, away from the commuter corridors, and still, others may seek a blend. 

 

First, we start just a 15-minute drive off of Interstate-5, an hour north of Seattle with a serene, outdoorsy, family-friendly island that is Camano Island. 

 

Camano Island: Real-life island experience – without the hype.

Simply put, Camano Island blends all the benefits of island living with easy access to the urban cores of Puget Sound. Get away…way away — but remain close. While it sounds contradictory, Camano offers a real-life island experience — without the hype or big tourist traps. There are a few restaurants, a handful of country-style grocery stores, bed and breakfast facilities, and to serve the elite few who have discovered Camano Island. Boasting stunning sandy beaches, abundant wildlife, and relaxed small-town charm, Camano Island is a haven for crabbers, water-skiers, and beach-lovers.

 

Rich in history and culture, Camano Island is home to a vibrant arts community as well as an array of surprisingly charming restaurants, country-style grocery stores, intriguing fine art galleries, and annual festivals. The enduring appeal of Camano Island is that it offers an idyllic, island experience that feels away from it all — without actually being away from it all. 

 

Without the need for a ferry thanks to an always-open bridge from neighboring Stanwood, you can find yourself ensconced in a diverse community of families, retirees, artists, and locals who value culture and the finer things in life – which now includes easy access to travel. The recent opening of commercial flights at nearby Paine Field means locals and visitors can hop on a quick flight to or from the island, opening the world to Camano. 

 

Real estate and housing options are as diverse as the flora and fauna who call Camano home. Desirable family neighborhoods walkable to the beach, small cabins in the woods, or majestic beachfront homes dot the island. If building that dream home from the ground up is in the cards, Camano holds a large amount of undeveloped land, again at a full range of options to meet your desired lifestyle. 

 

Come to Camano for a weekend to explore and you may just end up staying! 

 

Mercer Island: A breath of fresh air in an urban center

Connected via the I-90 bridge on both sides, Mercer Island is situated right in between Seattle and Bellevue – less than 20 minutes from either city. The island itself is only 13 square miles, but it has everything you need to feel at home: a close-knit community with beautiful waterfront, easy commuting, excellent schools, unique local businesses, and hundreds of acres of parks and trails. 

 

The petite island has more than 20,000 residents – all of whom share a strong sense of community. Residents are active and connected, giving Mercer Island a small-town feel at the core of a major urban settlement. Education is highly regarded, with an emphasis on innovative learning, technology, and attainable challenges. The island’s schools are consistently ranked among the best in the state. 

 

Despite being in such a central location, the island has a suburban feel with lots of neighborhoods. Each Mercer Island neighborhood has a distinct personality – from the amazing views of First Hill and the serenity of El Dorado on the north end, to the highly social community of The Lakes on the south end. Options for housing range from apartments and charming craftsman homes to luxurious waterfront estates. You may even find a rare opportunity for new construction if you’re interested in building something custom to suit your wishlist. 

 

With 475 acres of parks and trails, you’ll have plenty to do on Mercer Island. Take advantage of the children’s play area and sporting fields at Lid Park, or enjoy Pioneer Park’s 113 acres of trails – there’s even a designated area for horseback riding. If you’re looking for more, Luther Burbank Park features 4,000 feet of shoreline, a boat dock and fishing pier, the island’s largest playground, a dog park, an amphitheater, tennis courts, three miles of trails, and plenty of green space to relax and enjoy the view on Lake Washington. And of course, Mercer Island also has a rich culture with local theaters, unique restaurants and bars, charming local boutiques to shop, and plenty of community celebrations throughout the year. 

 

Make yourself at home on Mercer Island. It’s a place where neighbors feel genuinely connected and there’s always something wonderful to do. 

 

Orcas Island: Explore your passion and find your community

About an hour from Anacortes by ferry, Orcas Island is a popular second home market but there is more than enough to keep you engaged. Orcas Island is known for its high quality of life, numerous farm-to-fork restaurants, expansive arts community, variety of clubs and nonprofits, beautiful wildlife and scenery, and local businesses that offer everything you need to live comfortably on the island. 

 

The 57-square-mile island’s diverse population swells from 5,000 year-round residents to about 14,000 residents in the summer who come to soak up the island’s enchanting scenery and charm. Kayak along the shores of the horseshoe-shaped island, hop on a whale watching tour, hike along one of the island’s trails, or just relax on the beach. It’s a spectacular place to just take it all in, and you may be lucky enough to see bald eagles and hundreds of other bird species, rabbits, or the island’s namesake orca whales. 

 

With a relatively small year-round population, Orcas Island is known for a strong sense of community thanks to a large number of nonprofits and clubs geared toward niche interests. If you’re more interested in the arts than the outdoors, consider one of the island’s acting or dance clubs, visit a gallery, shop with local artisans, or explore during one of the summer’s art walks. There are numerous events on the island throughout the year geared toward the unique interests of visitors and residents, like Hops on the Rock beer festival, the Orcas Island Film Festival, or the Shakespeare Festival. 

 

In addition to being termed the Gem of the San Juan Islands, Orcas Island is also known as the “foodie” of the island chain. It’s home to a large population of local organic farms and livestock, which have inspired the menus at several amazing farm-to-fork restaurants on the island. If you’re looking for something to sip on, Orcas Island also has a number of boutique distilleries and a few wineries. 

 

There is room to grow on Orcas Island. Consider building a custom home on the island, or choose a home in an established hamlet. The island’s strong public and private schools and home school community have made it increasingly popular with families in recent years, but anyone who appreciates the relaxed island lifestyle is sure to love living on Orcas Island. 

 

Choose the quality of life you can only find on Orcas Island. 

 

 

 

 


Posted on February 17, 2020 at 9:00 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Buying, Community, Living |

Strong regional economy putting pressure on local housing market

real estate forecast

 

 

By Evan Caldwell  | Jan. 29, 2019 

 

 

Stanwood, Wash. – Economic growth doesn’t come without some burden.

“We are suffering from our own successes,” said economist Matthew Gardner. “We have a robust economy, and that means growing pains.”

The solid economy equates to more jobs — and more people — moving to the region, putting continued pressure on infrastructure and housing markets, he said. Gardner spoke about the national, state and local economic past, present and future to about 250 people at an economic forum Friday, Jan. 24, at the Camano Center.

“If you want a job, you can certainly find a job,” said Gardner, citing Snohomish County’s low 2.5% unemployment rate. “And jobs and income growth should increase this year.”

Snohomish County continues to be one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. By 2025, an estimated 250,000 people are predicted to join the 800,000 already living in the county, according to estimates by the state Office of Financial Management.

However, finding affordable places to live is the current challenge, said Gardner,

Gardner is the chief economist for Seattle-based Windermere Real Estate and also sits on the Washington Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors. He chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington and is an advisory board member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at UW, where he also lectures in real estate economics.

“People are coming, that’s for sure, you can see it in the housing demand,” he said. “We need to be building more homes.”

In the Stanwood and Camano ZIP codes of 98292 and 98292, the number of new listings per month continued a steady downward trend in 2019, according to Northwest MLS data. In December 2019, there were 129 homes for sale in the area, down from 148 in December 2018.

Prices have climbed. The average median price for a home in Stanwood increased to $443,000 in 2019 from $430,000 in 2018 and $389,995 in 2017, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data. On Camano Island, the median cost of a home rose to $434,000 in 2019 from $410,000 in 2018 and $394,975 in 2017.

“Because inventory is so tight, housing prices will continue to rise in 2020 .. and it could be a very tight market for a very long time,” Gardner said. “So, why aren’t there more homes for sale? They’re living in them longer and moving less frequently for jobs.”

Americans nowadays are staying in their homes for about eight years before moving – up from four years from 2000-09, according to Attom Data Solutions, a real-estate data firm.

In addition to newcomers, millennials are starting to enter the housing market, adding increased pressure in the first-time homebuyer category, Gardner said. Even the few hundred new homes and about 150 new apartment units planned to be built in Stanwood in the next few years are insufficient to meet demand, Gardner said.

“To better compete, we need to create housing people can afford to live in — the teachers, the firefighters,” he said. “And certainly cities will need to address infrastructure needs, and governments will need to work on mass transit options.”

However, several factors can stymie new home construction, such as cost of land and materials, permitting constraints and an expensive construction workforce. In Snohomish County in 2019, there were 2,221 permits to build new single-family homes, down from 5,719 permits in 2005. On Camano in 2018, there were 375 permits for new home construction, down from a high of 752 in 2005.

Gardner said the U.S. economy is due for a minor recession in the coming years. The U.S. was last in recession from 2007-09.

“We might have a recession in 2021 in some segment of the economy, but it’ll be OK; it’ll be modest,” Gardner predicted, citing data showing major companies slowing the pace of hiring in the run up to the presidential election. “What do companies do when they’re worried? Nothing. Like a deer in headlights, they freeze, they’re being cautious.”

This article was originally published on goskagit.com.


Posted on January 29, 2020 at 10:25 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Community, Housing Trends, News, Press Releases | Tagged , , , , , ,

Economist to talk about 2020 job, housing markets at free forum

 

 

By Evan Caldwell  | Jan. 15, 2019 

 

 

 

Stanwood, Wash. – Matthew Gardner returns with his crystal ball to peek at what 2020 holds for the local economy and housing market.

Gardner, the chief economist for Seattle-based Windermere Real Estate, is the keynote speaker for the 2020 Economic and Housing Forecast community forum 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, at the Camano Center, 606 Arrowhead Rd. on Camano Island. The forum will take a macro and micro look at the economy, the economic forecast and housing.

“In 2020, I expect payrolls to continue growing, but the rate of growth will slow as the country adds fewer than 1.7 million new jobs,” Gardner wrote in his 2020 forecast last month. “Due to this hiring slow down, the unemployment rate will start to rise, but still end the year at a very respectable 4.1%.”

Gardner, who spoke to a packed house at last year’s event, wrote “many economists, including me, spent much of 2019 worried about the specter of a looming recession in 2020. Thankfully, such fears have started to wane.”

The forum is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Call 360-387-4663 or visit windermerestanwoodcamano.com/2020-forecast. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a cocktail and appetizer hour, followed by Gardner’s presentation and then a question-answer session with the audience.

This article was originally published on goskagit.com.


Posted on January 15, 2020 at 3:24 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Community, Housing Trends, News, Press Releases | Tagged , , , , ,

The Easy Drive-On Island

Moving to an island can be challenging. To live on many islands in the Pacific Northwest you have to account for ferry schedules, as well as being far away from major shopping centers. Even things you don’t normally think about, like having a few different options for gas stations, or being able to quickly drive to the nearest recycling center, may be out of reach. For some people, island living is worth the drawbacks. Sure, you may not be able to visit the mall, but you get to settle down in a literal vacation destination.

When you live on Camano Island, you don’t have to choose.

We like to say that Camano Island is the “easy drive-on island” where there are no finicky ferry schedules, and no waiting in a crowded parking lot for hours at a time. Take a few minutes out of your day to cross a few hundred yards of bridge, and you’re on Camano Island! The island is close to several major urban centers: 20 minutes from Marysville or Burlington via I-5, and only 45 minutes from Bellingham or Shoreline.

Another great thing about living on Camano Island is getting away from rush-hour traffic. Typically, once you go north of Marysville, traffic eases up. When you want to go shopping in Burlington, for example, you don’t need to worry about planning your whole day around the trip! Hop across the bridge, cruise through Stanwood, and head north on I-5 for an easy twenty-minute drive.

Living on an island doesn’t have to mean giving up access to the rest of the world! On Camano Island, we like to think we have the best of both worlds: island paradise, with abundant convenience.


Posted on January 30, 2019 at 10:01 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Community, Living |

Island Amenities

There are many reasons to move to Camano Island: the relaxed island atmosphere, friendly neighbors, and beautiful scenery right in your backyard. Everything that island living has to offer coupled with modern conveniences like coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores make Camano Island a great choice for your next home.

 

Sometimes there are drawbacks to living in a beautiful place far away from the business of everyday life. This is why Camano Island is so special. We have beaches, state parks, a golf course, and a winery. Locals go boating in the summers and fresh crab is an island staple. While other islands can boast similar attractions, we can proudly say that we’re also twenty minutes away from the urban centers of Marysville, Mount Vernon, and Burlington which offer bix-box retailers as well as a much-loved outlet mall. 

If you don’t feel like driving for twenty minutes to pick up a few groceries, that’s ok! Camano Island and Stanwood have several options for home necessities, including QFC, Mod Pizza, Starbucks, Rite Aid Pharmacy and more!

Looking for a place to grab a drink with a friend? Check out either of our two craft breweries or any one of our three artisanal coffee shops. If hiking and adventuring is more your style, look no further than Cama Beach State Park, or Camano Island State Park; located less than twenty minutes from anywhere on the island.

There’s also no need to worry about finding a gas station, either. In Stanwood and on Camano Island, take your pick of the six (competing!) fueling locations available. 

 

Camano Island gives you the opportunity to experience life on vacation while still enjoying the convenience of living near a major urban center. Take a walk on the beach in the morning, then take a five-minute drive to Stanwood to do your afternoon shopping. Living “away from it all” doesn’t mean having to give up your access to civilization! Own a home on the beach and get your Starbucks fix every morning. Watch beautiful sunrises, and visit local boutiques and department stores.

When you live on Camano Island, we believe you can have it all.


Posted on January 30, 2019 at 9:47 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Community, Living |

2019 Economic and Housing Forecast

What a year it has been for both the U.S. economy and the national housing market. After several years of above-average economic and home price growth, 2018 marked the start of a slowdown in the residential real estate market. As the year comes to a close, it’s time for me to dust off my crystal ball to see what we can expect in 2019.

 

The U.S. Economy

Despite the turbulence that the ongoing trade wars with China are causing, I still expect the U.S. economy to have one more year of relatively solid growth before we likely enter a recession in 2020. Yes, it’s the dreaded “R” word, but before you panic, there are some things to bear in mind.

Firstly, any cyclical downturn will not be driven by housing. Although it is almost impossible to predict exactly what will be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”, I believe it will likely be caused by one of the following three things: an ongoing trade war, the Federal Reserve raising interest rates too quickly, or excessive corporate debt levels. That said, we still have another year of solid growth ahead of us, so I think it’s more important to focus on 2019 for now.

 

The U.S. Housing Market

Existing Home Sales

This paper is being written well before the year-end numbers come out, but I expect 2018 home sales will be about 3.5% lower than the prior year. Sales started to slow last spring as we breached affordability limits and more homes came on the market. In 2019, I anticipate that home sales will rebound modestly and rise by 1.9% to a little over 5.4 million units.

Existing Home Prices

We will likely end 2018 with a median home price of about $260,000 – up 5.4% from 2017. In 2019 I expect prices to continue rising, but at a slower rate as we move toward a more balanced housing market. I’m forecasting the median home price to increase by 4.4% as rising mortgage rates continue to act as a headwind to home price growth.

New Home Sales

In a somewhat similar manner to existing home sales, new home sales started to slow in the spring of 2018, but the overall trend has been positive since 2011. I expect that to continue in 2019 with sales increasing by 6.9% to 695,000 units – the highest level seen since 2007.

That being said, the level of new construction remains well below the long-term average. Builders continue to struggle with land, labor, and material costs, and this is an issue that is not likely to be solved in 2019. Furthermore, these constraints are forcing developers to primarily build higher-priced homes, which does little to meet the substantial demand by first-time buyers.

Mortgage Rates

In last year’s forecast, I suggested that 5% interest rates would be a 2019 story, not a 2018 story. This prediction has proven accurate with the average 30-year conforming rates measured at 4.87% in November, and highly unlikely to breach the 5% barrier before the end of the year.

In 2019, I expect interest rates to continue trending higher, but we may see periods of modest contraction or levelling. We will likely end the year with the 30-year fixed rate at around 5.7%, which means that 6% interest rates are more apt to be a 2020 story.

I also believe that non-conforming (or jumbo) rates will remain remarkably competitive. Banks appear to be comfortable with the risk and ultimately, the return, that this product offers, so expect jumbo loan yields to track conforming loans quite closely.

 

Conclusions

There are still voices out there that seem to suggest the housing market is headed for calamity and that another housing bubble is forming, or in some cases, is already deflating. In all the data that I review, I just don’t see this happening. Credit quality for new mortgage holders remains very high and the median down payment (as a percentage of home price) is at its highest level since 2004.

That is not to say that there aren’t several markets around the country that are overpriced, but just because a market is overvalued, does not mean that a bubble is in place. It simply means that forward price growth in these markets will be lower to allow income levels to rise sufficiently.

Finally, if there is a big story for 2019, I believe it will be the ongoing resurgence of first-time buyers. While these buyers face challenges regarding student debt and the ability to save for a down payment, they are definitely on the comeback and likely to purchase more homes next year than any other buyer demographic.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to hear more about the market forecast join us and Matthew Gardner Jan. 25 at 6 PM at the Camano Center on Camano Island. Space is limited, reserve your seat here!


Posted on December 30, 2018 at 12:08 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Buying, Community, Housing Trends, News, Selling |

We Are Stanwood Camano Giving Tree

Windermere Stanwood and Camano Island Prepares “We Are Stanwood Camano Giving Tree” to Support Neighbors in Need During Holiday Season

 

CAMANO ISLAND, WA (November 16, 2018) – Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Windermere Real Estate has put up its “We Are Stanwood Camano Giving Tree” at its Terry’s Corner office located on Camano Island to benefit local people who need a little bit of help this year. Strung throughout the Christmas tree, anonymous tags noting an individual’s age, gender and interests will be hung for people to choose from and fulfill with an appropriate gift. All donated items are to be turned into the Windermere office by December 15 so that Santa’s Elves (ie. Windermere brokers) can wrap and deliver the gifts before Christmas arrives.

“This is a project that all of us at Windermere look forward to each year,” said Marla Heagle, owner/broker of Windermere Real Estate Stanwood Camano Island. “Our tree is loaded with names of people right here in our community who just need a little help. We’re encouraging the community to stop by our office, grab a tag, and take advantage of this weekend’s Black Friday sales to fulfill someone’s Christmas wish. It’s a small way to give back and elevate your spirit during this season of gratitude.”

The individual’s profiles that fill each tree tag were submitted by the faculty of local schools. It’s a process that affords families with the anonymity, but also the holiday joy, they deserve to experience this time of year.

Donated items will be accepted at the Windermere office on Terry’s Corner between Friday, November 23rd and Friday, December 15. All donations (ie. toys, books, stuffed animals, etc.) must be brand new at the time of drop off. The Terry’s Corner office is located at 818 North Sunrise Boulevard on Camano Island. Office hours for drop off are between 9AM and 5PM Monday through Saturday, and 10AM to 5PM on Sundays.

About Windermere Real Estate Stanwood and Camano Island
With an extensive network of over 50 agents serving Island, Skagit and Snohomish County, Windermere Real Estate Stanwood and Camano Island provides decades of combined experience and local knowledge. The Camano Island Windermere office was started in 1991 and purchased, along with the Stanwood office, in 2005 by Randy and Marla Heagle. The Heagles work hard every day to bring value and positive change to the Stanwood and Camano Island community.

# # #


Posted on November 19, 2018 at 9:52 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Community, Housing Trends, Press Releases, We Are Stanwood Camano |

Say Hello to the We Are Stanwood Camano glassybaby

 

Glassybaby was started by a 3-time cancer survivor, Lee Rhodes, as a way to give others a “one of a kindness” in times of hardship. Since its inception, glassybaby has grown to represent much more; each glass votive is hand blown using a unique color and technique as well as given a name to express an equally unique sentiment. Glassybaby donates 10% of their revenue to several charities, giving back to the planet, animals, and humanity.

 

Marla Heagle, owner of Windermere Stanwood Camano, selected a light blue glassybaby last year, naming it, Camano. Over 300 were sold and this year, a navy colored ‘We Are Stanwood Camano’ glassybaby is available for purchase. The meaning behind We Are Stanwood Camano goes deep, as the agents feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of such a tight-knit community. It’s not just the natural beauty or gorgeous homes of Stanwood Camano that make living here so special, it’s the people. As a way to give back to the community, a portion of each We Are Stanwood Camano glassybaby purchase goes to the Windermere Foundation, which will be dispersed to people in need within our community.

 

Established in 1989, the Windermere Foundation is funded by a portion of agent commissions on every home purchase and sale. Funds are used to create grants and are donated to nonprofits, providing emergency assistance, school supplies, scholarships, counseling, training, shelter, and youth programs to members of the community in need. The Windermere Foundation has raised over 35 million dollars for low-income families and the homeless since 1989.

Get your very own We Are Stanwood Camano glassybaby for $50 at the Terry’s Corner Windermere office. You can also reserve one online. It’s the perfect way to join Windermere in celebrating and serving the community!  

 

 

RESERVE NOW

 


Posted on November 6, 2018 at 4:30 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Community |

Simple Steps for Maintaining Air Quality in Your Home

 

Most of us tend to think of air pollution as something that occurs outdoors where car exhaust and factory fumes proliferate, but there’s such a thing as indoor air pollution, too. Since the 1950s, the number of synthetic chemicals used in products for the home has increased drastically, while at the same time, homes have become much tighter and better insulated. As a result, the EPA estimates that indoor pollutants today are anywhere from five to 70 times higher than pollutants in outside air.

Luckily, there are many ways to reduce indoor air pollution. We all know that buying organic and natural home materials and cleaning supplies can improve the air quality in our homes, but there are several other measures you can take as well.

How pollutants get into our homes

Potentially toxic ingredients are found in many materials throughout the home, and they leach out into the air as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. If you open a can of paint, you can probably smell those VOCs. The “new car smell” is another example of this. The smell seems to dissipate after a while, but VOCs can actually “off-gas” for a long time, even after a noticeable smell is gone.

We all know to use paint and glue in a well-ventilated room, but there are many other materials that don’t come with that warning. For instance, there are chemicals, such as formaldehyde, in the resin used to make most cabinets and plywood particle board. It’s also in wall paneling and closet shelves, and in certain wood finishes used on cabinets and furniture. The problems aren’t just with wood, either. Fabrics—everything from draperies to upholstery, bedding, and carpets—are a potent source of VOCs.

The good news about VOCs is that they do dissipate with time. For that reason, the highest levels of VOCs are usually found in new homes or remodels. If you are concerned about VOCs, there are several products you can buy that are either low- or no-VOC. You can also have your home professionally tested.

How to reduce VOCs in your home

Make smart choices in building materials.

  • For floors, use tile or solid wood—hardwood, bamboo, or cork – instead of composites.
  • Instead of using pressed particle board or indoor plywood, choose solid wood or outdoor-quality plywood that uses a less toxic form of formaldehyde.
  • Choose low-VOC or VOC-free paints and finishes.

Purify the air that’s there.

  • Make sure your rooms have adequate ventilation, and air out newly renovated or refurnished areas for at least a week, if possible.
  • Clean duct work and furnace filters regularly.
  • Install air cleaners if needed.
  • Use only environmentally responsible cleaning chemicals.
  • Plants can help clean the air: good nonpoisonous options include bamboo palm, lady palm, parlor palm, and moth orchids.
  • Air out freshly dry-cleaned clothes or choose a “green” cleaner.

Fight the carpet demons.

  • Choose “Green Label” carpeting or a natural fiber such as wool or sisal.
  • Use nails instead of glue to secure carpet.
  • Install carpet LAST after completing painting projects, wall coverings, and other high-VOC processes.
  • Air out newly carpeted areas before using.
  • Use a HEPA vacuum or a central vac system that vents outdoors.

Prevent Mold.

  • Clean up water leaks fast.
  • Use dehumidifiers, if necessary, to keep humidity below 60 percent.
  • Don’t carpet rooms that stay damp.
  • Insulate pipes, crawl spaces, and windows to eliminate condensation.
  • Kill mold before it gets a grip with one-half cup of bleach per gallon of water.

We hope this information is helpful. If you would like to learn more about VOCs and indoor air quality, please visit http://www.epa.gov/iaq/.


Posted on August 21, 2018 at 10:33 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Community, Uncategorized |