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Kessler-Bergin Group Blog

The Green News In Real Estate!

By Kessler-Bergin Group | Agent in Los Angeles, CA
  • Healthy Furniture, Healthy Home

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Studio City, Going Green in Studio City, Design & Decor in Studio City  |  October 6, 2014 4:25 PM  |  55 views  |  No comments

    You might know what’s lurking under your couch, but do you know what’s in your couch? It’s a question more and more people are asking as concerns about flame retardants, formaldehyde, triclosan, and other components in furniture increase.

    In part, that’s because of consumer awareness: More people are talking about the potential toxins in their furniture. It’s also because the industry itself is starting to rethink the ways it protects consumers, and how it can meet flammability standards without giving people a dose of chemicals that could cause permanent health problems along the way.

    If you’ve been paying attention to environmental news, you may have heard that furniture companies often add various flame retardant chemicals, triclosan (to prevent microbial growth), and formaldehyde to foam furniture products and certain others in order to protect consumers from the risk of fire, mold and bacterial contamination. These well-meaning steps are also designed to align with legal standards requiring furniture to be resistant to flame and contamination — historically, furnishings didn’t have these safeguards in place, and could become dangerous in a fire (in some cases, they could be the fuel that let a smoldering cigarette or other object catch flame).

    While protecting consumers from fires is a definite plus, we’re starting to learn that the chemicals used to do it may be hazardous. That’s why California adjusted its standards (and, by extension, so did the rest of the nation, as many manufacturers produce goods to California’s exacting specifications so they can be sold anywhere, rather than making separate product lines just for the Golden State) to make it easier for furniture manufacturers to meet them while still protecting consumers and, at the same time, avoiding the use of chemicals. However, California’s new law doesn’t mean that furniture manufacturers won’t use hazardous chemicals in their furniture. It just means they have the option of not using them.

    Which brings us back to the original question: How do you tell if your furniture is safe, and should you get rid of your furniture and replace it?

    If your furniture was made before 2005, you might be in trouble. Pre-2005 foam furniture may contain PBDEs, which were very good at preventing fires, but unfortunately also very toxic. Furniture made after that point may contain other flame retardant chemicals if it includes a tag indicating that it meets TB-117, California’s former flame retardant standard, especially if it was made out of foam. The new standard, TB-2013, may indicate that your furniture is safe, but the only way to find out is to get into contact with the manufacturer.

    Some furniture makers are very forthcoming about the sources of their materials and the chemicals they contain. Unfortunately for you, they’re usually most helpful when their products are safe, not when they aren’t. A mystery couch might remain just that — and it’s important to note that manufacturers may mislead you when it comes to the precise components used in their products.

    The best way to make sure your furniture is safe is to buy it from a manufacturer that dedicates itself to the production of furniture that meets state standards while avoiding toxins. These manufacturers use fillers like wool and horsehair instead of foam — and it’s going to cost you, because these components are more expensive. Depending on the firm, external upholstery may also be made out of similar high quality materials without petrochemical treatments.

    If you’re not too pleased at the thought of having to buy new furniture, there’s still hope. You can opt to replace the foam inside your furniture and reupholster it (this includes mattresses, too). If your furniture has good bones and you’re attached to it, there’s no reason to get rid of it. Lots of reputable furniture stores offer this option, and can discuss flame retardant-free upholstering choices with you. They may cost a little extra than replacing with conventional foam, but you may appreciate the peace of mind.

    Also, if you can’t take any of these measures right now, be aware that the biggest danger with flame retardants is that they work their way out of the couch and settle in household dust. For a more immediate solution to your concerns, keep your home wiped down, consider investing in an air filter and make sure you wash your hands well before handling food.
  • Americans Are Even Supersizing Their Homes

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Studio City, Remodel & Renovate in Studio City, Going Green in Studio City  |  September 19, 2014 12:18 PM  |  64 views  |  No comments

     Richard Florida of CityLab looks at the increasingly bloated American dream, at how once again the average size of the single family suburban home is on the rise. He uses data munched by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a think tank that positively gushes at the good news.

    Their bottom line:
    We hear all the time about stagnating household incomes, the decline of the middle class, rising income inequality, and lots of other stories of gloom and doom for Americans. But when it comes to the new homes that Americans are buying and living in, we see a much brighter picture of life in the US. The new homes that today’s generations are buying are larger by 1,000 square feet compared to the average new homes our parents might have purchased in 1973, and are almost double in living size today adjusted for household size compared to 40 years ago.

    The AEI goes on to say that these houses are better insulated, with bigger baths, garages, more appliances and every one of them has central air. “Overall, the increasing size, improving quality, and relative affordability of new homes today means that living standards continue to gradually, but consistently, improve year after year for most Americans.”

    © American Enterprise Institute

    Look at the actual number of housing stats in America and you find that while they are climbing, they are still half of what they were prior to the Great Recession. The fact of the matter is, because of stagnating household incomes, the decline of the middle class, and rising income inequality, there are far fewer people who can qualify for mortgages or can afford to maintain the lifestyle.

    Or as Richard Florida put it:

    "America’s bloated house size is a two-sided problem. For one, it’s yet another indicator of the nation’s deepening economic divide. The wealthy are pouring more and more money into trophy homes, while the professional and knowledge classes, too, are demanding more space for family and media rooms. The poor, meanwhile, are crammed into urban quarters or pushed out to older, dilapidated housing in the suburbs."

    © Bloomberg
    While the new houses are marginally more efficient and new technologies like LEDs and smart thermostats might be lowering our energy consumption, the energy used per person keeps going up as the houses keep getting bigger and the number of people in them keeps getting smaller. It’s all wonderful for the AEI and the 1 percent who can get into these houses. The other 99 percent, can move into the 1 percent's left-overs.
  • Have A Green Holiday Season

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Studio City, Going Green in Studio City, Design & Decor in Studio City  |  December 13, 2013 6:37 PM  |  355 views  |  No comments
    During the holiday season, waste disposal increases 25 percent in the United States, causing an extra 5 billion pounds of waste in the landfills according to the Medical University of South Carolina. Plus, travelers will be logging tons of miles and creating tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

    Here are tips to help you plan ahead to reduce your waste and green your gift giving this year.

    1. Get Rid of the Wrap
    Do you get dad the same thing, a new shirt and tie for the holidays? Wrap the box to be reusable each year and store the ornaments or decorations in the box for next year! Reuse old wrapping paper or put your gifts in reusable bags or boxes. Be creative about giving old materials new life-scraps of fabric, magazines, or calendars make great patchwork bags or collage wrapping paper. 

    2. Send Tree-free Holiday Cards 
    Search the National Green Pages™ for cards made from kenaf, hemp, and other tree-free resources. Or, send e-cards and avoid the wait at the post office for stamps.

    3. Hold a No-Waste Holiday Party
    Host a zero-waste party. Minimize the garbage by asking people to bring their own cups, plates and utensils if you don't have enough of your own. Use fabric tablecloths and napkins. Then be sure to recycle any post-party cans and bottles and compost food scraps.

    4. Beware of Electronic Gifts
    Disposable electronics (usually the cheap ones you see advertised on Black Friday) are painful for the environment. Some of the most popular gift items for children and teens are electronics like computers, tablets, e-readers, video games, and music devices. But the manufacturing and disposal of these items creates significant human health and environmental hazards. To learn more about the environmental impact of computers and electronic devices, check out the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. The Recycled Video Games Network is a great resource to dispose of old equipment or buy recycled games and systems for less, reducing the amount of new materials made

    5. Give Gifts from the Heart
    Buy a Groupon or LivingSocial experience to share with your loved ones! There are amazing discounts on incredible adventures in your area! Sign up for their deal alerts and make memories this holiday season! Give the gift of your time and talent to loved ones this year. Offer to make dinner, walk the dog, help with gardening or home repairs, or invite friends to a local adventure!

    6.Give Green Gift Memberships
    Make a donation in honor of a loved one. Choose a cause that addresses an issue that you and your friends and family members care about and support. Green America offers 2-for-1 gift memberships during the holidays. Green America gift memberships are a great way to support our work for a green future while introducing more people to the ideas of just and sustainable purchasing and investing. Give gift memberships »

    7. Make Your Holiday Travel Green
    If you are one of the many people planning to log a lot of travel miles this holiday season, don't forget to look into green options for getting around. Better World Travel Club can help you offset the carbon emissions from your travel through their Travel Cool program. Plus, Green America has partnered with NativeEnergy to help you offset your energy impact, including travel impact, fund the production of more wind energy, and generate support for Green America's Climate and Energy program. 

    8. Green Gifts
    If you choose to give presents over the holidays, shop with green businesses listed in the National Green Pages. This year, a number of green businesses are offering special discounts to make green gift giving even easier.

    9. Avoid Toys Made with PVC plastic
    Toxic PVC is found in everyday plastics, including some children’s toys. Vinyl chloride, the chemical used to make PVC, is a known human carcinogen. Also, additives, such as lead and cadmium, are sometimes added to PVC to keep it from breaking down; these additives can be particularly dangerous in children’s toys. PVC is also the least recycled plastic.Find safe toys in the National Green Pages »

    10. Recycle Packaging From Gifts Given (And encourage others to do the same!)
    To reduce environmental impacts, it is important to recycle all cardboard packaging and peanuts or other Styrofoam packing that comes with gifts or purchases as these items will not break down in a landfill but can be used over and over again for packaging and shipping. The National Green Pages contains several listings for easy drop-off centers for both types of waste.

  • Energy Audits

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Studio City, Home Selling in Studio City, Going Green in Studio City  |  May 6, 2012 12:36 PM  |  343 views  |  1 comment
    Hey my green guys and gals. The new buzz in residential real estate is an “energy audit.” This audit is asked buy potential buyers bidding on an existing house, they request an energy audit alongside the standard inspection clause. That audit, in turn, can save the buyer thousands of dollars in future operating costs and pinpoint the specific features of the house that need correction to improve efficiency. It might also be a tipoff to a sobering reality: This house is an energy guzzler. Either the asking price comes down, the seller fixes the problems or deals can be broken.

     

    Though energy audits have been available to consumers for years — the best known is the Home Energy Rating System — virtually nobody in the real estate field promotes them to buyers. WELL I’M GOING TO START. Since energy costs rank high on the list of ongoing expenses for many homeowners, and multiple studies have demonstrated that energy-efficiency renovations more than pay for themselves in utilities savings, why aren't more audits performed? In an era of $4-a-gallon gas and autos that are marketed on the basis of their low fuel consumption, shouldn't buyers know about the operating costs of the houses they are bidding on? Shouldn't energy audit contingency clauses in purchase contracts be as commonplace as home inspection clauses?

     

    I’d recommend energy audits to both sellers and purchasers, I think they help sell houses — even raise prices — rather than wreck deals. A deal is so much smoother when buyer and seller disclose everything. Transparency is crucial to a comfortable deal.

  • Supply and Demand: Correcting the Imbalance

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Studio City, Home Buying in Studio City, Home Selling in Studio City  |  March 5, 2012 9:46 AM  |  387 views  |  No comments
    I love when business concepts like supply and demand get to prove themselves. Inventories of homes listed for sale in January dropped by 6.6% from December to 1.77 million, the eighth straight month that listings have declined. For-sale listings are 23.2% below year-earlier levels and at the lowest point since the housing bust accelerated five years ago, according to data fromRealtor.com. So, do the principles of supply and demand come into play right now? Do costs go back up?
     
    Housing inventories typically rise heading into the spring selling season, but only four markets saw inventories increase from December, none of them in California.
     
    There were nearly 2.31 million homes for sale at the end of January, a 21% decline from one year earlier. At the current pace of sales, it would take 6.1 months to clear that inventory, the lowest level since April 2006, before home prices began falling.
     
    Low inventories are a prerequisite for any housing recovery because a glut of unsold homes has been one factor pulling down prices. Declines, in this manner, are a positive for the housing market.
     
    Inventories typically jump in January after a seasonally slow home-shopping period during the December holidays. But this year, the supply is lower which should only help recover home prices. Correcting the imbalance between supply and demand is an amazing start to a full-blown housing recovery.
  • The A Team L.A. Presents 3 New Listings in Studio City

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Studio City  |  April 24, 2010 2:26 PM  |  449 views  |  No comments

    Charming Quaint Cottage

    Offered at: $792,000

    4429 Saint Clair Ave., Studio City CA 91604

    MLS# 10-444891

    This charming 3 bedroom, 2 bathrooms California Cottage has a nice flow, wonderful romantic master suite.  Large kitchen open up to a great family room which leads out to a backyard and private pool. Carpenter school in a great location in Studio City.

     

    Open Sundays, Starting April 25, 2010 ~ 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

    Brokers Open: Friday, April 30, 2010 ~ 11:00 am to 2:00 pm

    Brokers Open: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 ~11:00 am to 2:00 pm


    Fabulous remodeled Contemporary.

     

    Offered at: $890,000

    4010 Alta Mesa Drive, Studio City CA 91604

    MLS# 10-443103

    FABULOUS REMODELED CONTEMPORARY HOME HAS AN OPEN FLOOR PLAN. GOURMET CHEF'S KITCHEN WITH THERMADOR APPLIANCES WITH CALABATTA MARBLE, LIVING AND DINING OPENS OUT TO A PATIO AND SECLUDED HILLSIDE GARDENS WITH PATHWAYS. 2 BEDS THAT LEAD OUT TO A PRIVATE SIDE YARD AND SPARKLING POOL.2 BEAUTIFULLY UPGRADED BATHS,VAULTED CEILINGS,HARDWOOD FLOORS,RECESSED LIGHTING,A TANKLESS WATER HEATED,COPPER PLUMBING THROUGHOUT,UPGRADE ELECTRICAL.SOUTH OF THE BLVD.A WONDERFUL RETREAT!

    Take a tour:

    http://tour.circlepix.com/5NMD6P

    Open Sundays, Starting April 25th, 2010 ~ 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

    Brokers Open: Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 ~11:00 am to 2:00 pm




     

    Gorgeous Bridgehampton Estate

    Offered at: $2,075,000

    4212 Lemp Ave., Studio City CA 91604

    MLS# 09-407185

    Enter into this private, gated unique estate. With the most grand living room and vaulted beamed ceilings that give a 5000 sqft. look and feel. This 4 bedroom 5 bathroom home is beautifully appointed with archways, 2 unique custom fireplaces, stained glass doors, surround sound throughout, hardwood floors, crown molding, built-ins, French doors, and a water purification system throughout, Gourmet cook's stainless steel and granite kitchen with a vaulted ceiling that gives you an appetite for the good life. All baths and the kitchen are graced with Walker Zanger tiles.It has 2 private master suites with great views to a huge spectacular pool and it's very private backyard. Double lot which is beautifully landscaped. Lots of flat land. This is truly a custom home with every detail. In the Studio City Colfax Meadows, Carpenter school district.

     

    Showings by Appointment only

    Take a tour:

    http://4212lemp.com/

    p>

     Adrienne Kessler

    310.722.6699

    Adrienne@beverlyhillsmoves.com

    www.Beverlyhillsmoves.com

    DRE# 01255323

  • New Listing- Private, gated, romantic contemporary

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Studio City  |  February 15, 2010 12:29 PM  |  534 views  |  No comments
     

    A New Listing
    from
    Adrienne Kessler & Claudia Batson

    Private, gated, romantic contemporary

    Offered at: $1,165,000

    3195 DONA MEMA PL.

    Studio City CA 91604

     MLS# 10-427261

    This 4 bed, 4 baths has a fabulous open floor plan, with lots of windows and light, wonderful master suite which overlooks this private heated pool and has a flowing fountain for relaxing peaceful times. Great grassy back yard, with beautiful mountain view.

     Located in the Studio city hills, Carpenter school.

    Take a tour:

    http://www.circlepix.com/home/5N8T89

     

    Adrienne Kessler

    The A Team L.A.

    310.722.6699

    Adrienne@beverlyhillsmoves.com

    Beverlyhillsmoves.com

    DRE# 01255323

    KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY 

    Claudia Batson
     818-370-6554
     cbhomes@socal.rr.com

    DRE# 01818968

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

 
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