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Protect Your Family from Asbestos-Contaminated Vermiculite Insulation

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

Protect Your Family from Asbestos-Contaminated Vermiculite Insulation

This page provides important information on how to protect yourself and your family if you suspect that you might have vermiculite insulation from Libby, Montana.

What is Vermiculite

Vermiculite is a naturally-occurring mineral composed of shiny flakes, resembling mica. When heated to a high temperature, flakes of vermiculite expand as much as 8-30 times their original size. The expanded vermiculite is a light-weight, fire-resistant, and odorless material and has been used in numerous products, including insulation for attics and walls. Sizes of vermiculite products range from very fine particles to large (coarse) pieces nearly an inch long.

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Concerns about Asbestos-contaminated Vermiculite Insulation

A mine near Libby, Montana, was the source of over 70 percent of all vermiculite sold in the United States from 1919 to 1990. There was also a deposit of asbestos at that mine, so the vermiculite from Libby was contaminated with asbestos. Vermiculite from Libby was used in the majority of vermiculite insulation in the United States and was often sold under the brand name Zonolite. If you have vermiculite insulation in your Home, you should assume this material may be contaminated with asbestos and be aware of steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from exposure to asbestos.

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Identifying Insulation That is Made From Vermiculite

Look at the photos on this website and then look at the insulation without disturbing it. Vermiculite insulation is a pebble-like, pour-in product and is usually gray-brown or silver-gold in color.

The following photographs show typical vermiculite insulation.

You should assume that vermiculite insulation is from Libby and treat the material as if it contained asbestos by not disturbing it or by using a trained professional if it needs to be removed. Since the Libby mine was estimated to be the source of over 70 percent of all vermiculite sold in the United States from 1919 to 1990 and vermiculite from Libby was contaminated with asbestos, further testing is not necessary to take the appropriate precautions. While you can hire a trained professional to test your attic for asbestos, this may be expensive and, depending on the methods used, might give you erroneous results. We do not recommend that you open your walls to check for vermiculite.

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Risk of Exposure to Asbestos If You Have Vermiculite Insulation

Asbestos causes cancer and other diseases. There is no known safe level of asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers must be airborne to cause a health risk through inhalation, so the first step is not to disturb the material, which would release more fibers into the air. If you remove or disturb the insulation, it is probable that you may inhale some asbestos fibers - the degree of health risk depends on how much and how often this occurred. If you do not go into your attic, handle, or disturb the insulation, it is likely that you will not be exposed to asbestos fibers from vermiculite insulation.

Also, you need to consider if any disturbance of the insulation - possibly by a contractor doing work in you attic - may result in the fibers being deposited into other areas of your house where an exposure might be possible.

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Concerns About Exposure If Your Family Removed or Handled Insulation That Contained Asbestos

It is not possible to say whether your exposure may result in disease. Exposure to asbestos increases your risk of developing lung diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma, and disease may not occur until decades after exposure. The risk of disease increases as the level, duration, and frequency of exposure increases. That risk is made worse by smoking.

If you are concerned about possible exposure, talk to your doctor and consider consulting a physician who specializes in lung diseases, also known as a pulmonologist. For more information on asbestos-related diseases see the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry Web site.

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If You Have Vermiculite Insulation

YOU SHOULD ASSUME THE VERMICULITE CONTAINS ASBESTOS AND DO NOT DISTURB IT! Any disturbance could potentially release asbestos fibers into the air. If you absolutely have to go in your attic and it contains vermiculite insulation, you should limit the number of trips you make and shorten the length of those trips in order to help limit your potential exposure.

We recommend that you:

  • Leave vermiculite insulation undisturbed in your attic or in your walls.
  • Do not store boxes or other items in your attic if it contains vermiculite insulation.
  • Do not allow children to play in an attic with vermiculite insulation.
  • Do not attempt to remove the insulation yourself.
  • Hire a professional asbestos contractor if you plan to remodel or conduct renovations that would disturb the vermiculite in your attic or walls to make sure the material is safely handled and/or removed.

Tom can help you find a home free of environmental and other issues using his 25 years of experience as a realty broker and retired builder.  Contact us today or look at the All MLS properties listed above.  


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Vogels Locksmith Ann Arbor Scam

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team
Scam Alert - Locksmith Scam
If you use Vogel's Lock and Safe for locksmith work, please be aware that their Google Links have been compromised. People reached through a Google search are posing as Vogel's representatives. Their goal is to gain entry into properties to burglarize the property.  
Please call Vogel's directly for service at 734-668-6863 (same number for 100 years). Their service vans will say Vogel's on the side, their employees will be wearing blue, yellow and white shirts with Vogel's on the front. They do not have an after-hours answering service, and do not demand cash or follow customers to the ATM for payment.  
Vogel's is a local, family owned Ann Arbor company which provides quality service. They are courteous and make appointments in advance. Be sure to call them directly to arrange for service. 


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February 2016 Unemployment Rates best since 2006

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

Wow - I remember a rate of 10% plus not that Many Years ago !

In great news for the U.S. economy, 242,000 jobs were added in February, with the unemployment rate flat at 4.9 percent, according to recently released Bureau of Labor statistics. This was well above market expectations of 190,000 new jobs, and the lowest unemployment level since May 2008.

According to Economist Jonathan Smoke, the report bodes well for the housing market, which is driven by job creation.

“February’s employment situation report should strengthen consumer confidence,” says Smoke. “Additionally, the strong pace of job creation should lead to continued positive household formation. Combined with substantial pent-up demand for Home purchases, we remain confident we will see the strongest spring Buying season in a decade.”

Its a good time to purchaser real estate with the historic low interest rates adn economic stability.  Contact us today so we can send you an inventory list of properties that fit your criteria or try the "All MLS Listings" link above.  


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Home Staging Tips to Increase Your Sale Price

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team


staged homeIt’s no secret staging can raise the value of a home—in fact, it can boost a sale price by as much as 10 percent. The best staged homes—the ones that garner the full 10—strike the balance between lived-in and never-owned. How can you apply that science when staging your home?

Look no further than model homes, which draw buyers by blending the form-follows-function principle with the preferences of today. To stage your home to that effect:

  1. Remove anything from the room that doesn’t fit the intended purpose of the space, and vice versa. Take televisions out of bedrooms and designate an eating area in the kitchen, for example.
  2. Delineate sections in a room with area rugs, and “float” furniture away from walls and on and around the space. Avoid closing off accessibility by allowing at least three feet of walk-through space around furniture arrangements.
  3. Group solid furnishings, like sectionals or bookcases, with visually lighter pieces, like a glass side table or raised bench, to convey spaciousness over sparseness.
  4. Have at least one light fixture for every 100 square feet of space, especially if your home lacks natural light. Use pure white lamp shades on all light fixtures, and replace any incandescent bulbs with CFLs.
  5. Mix general and task lighting in rooms that see the most traffic. Install lighting between open-air shelving or underneath overhead cabinetry in the kitchen, and place a small lamp on a desk or workspace in a child’s bedroom.
  6. Accessorize sparingly. Display only a handful of books with like-colored bindings in bookcases or shelving units, add one (thriving!) house plant to a side table, or hang one statement piece of artwork (scaled appropriately) over a bed or fireplace.

Click the Contact Tom Link below right and we will email you back the  Link to Our Home Staging Video and more tips.  


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Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4