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Beware of accident hazards in the home

Home sweet home is where we spend more than 50 percent of our time. For most people it is a place of security, but statistics can tell a different story. Most accidents and injuries occur at home, so I want to offer some tips to make your home just a little safer and more secure. As Realtors know, a home that is more safe and secure to live in also makes it better to sell. The following checklist will help you enjoy home more:

Household products

Stockpiles of hazardous household items — such as paint solvents, pesticides, fertilizers, or motor oils — can create a dangerous situation if not properly stored. They can easily spark fires and can cause illness or even death if ingested, even in small amounts. What to look for? Check all the corners, crawl spaces, garages, or garden sheds in the home. If these products are found, make sure you store them in proper containers. If there are any children in the home, lock up the hazards. When you sell, assure the buyer that they will be removed and disposed of properly. Many municipalities offer hazardous waste disposal for free several times per year.

Handrails and trip hazards

There are stairways in virtually every home, either inside or out. Make sure there are sturdy handrails by each stairway, and proper lighting. I suggest a motion activated light outside, and light switches at the top and bottom of each stairway inside. Many people use stairways to set small items on. They put them there so they can take them “next time” they go up or down. Realtors tell stories of dozens of homes where there are items along the side of an entire stairway, making the passage narrow and dangerous. Keep stairways clear for your own safety, but if your home is for sale, never store anything along a hallway or stairway.

Throw rugs and runners

These are attractive accents in many homes but they are also a trip hazard. Be sure that door mats, throw rugs, and carpet runners are secure and edges aren’t curled. If you are buying a home and see throw rugs, many times they might be concealing abnormal wear or damage; be sure you look under them during inspections.

Lock boxes. Lock boxes aren’t just for homes that are for sale. A hidden combination lockbox outside of a home can securely hide a key and keep you from being locked out if you lose your keys, or if the power is out and the garage door won’t work. Did you know that many people don’t carry a house key, they just rely on the garage door opener in their car? Have a backup plan to get in your home. Don’t “leave a key over the light next to the door.”

Lock your car door. If you leave your car outside with a garage door opener in it. and your car isn’t locked, then your house isn’t locked. Thieves look for garage door openers for an easy way to break in.

Forgetting “what you did”

One large hazard homeowners create is doing something around the house, such as installing an underground water or electric line, and then forgetting where it is. Years later this underground line becomes a hazard when you want to dig up the yard and plant a tree or bush. In this digital age, go old school and create a paper binder with printed picture of where the underground installations are. Create a sketch or map with measurements that will help you find hidden lines, and be safe. When you sell, provide all those pictures and sketches to the buyer, it provides a level of comfort that is impossible to duplicate.

Buying or selling a home, you want to know where the hazards are and try to avoid them. Realtors know that the more comfortable a buyer is, the more likely they are to buy your home. Be sure to try and reduce or eliminate the hazards to make buying and owning a home more enjoyable.

This article was provided by the Warren Area Board of Realtors.

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