From time to time, no one asks me “Burbed, real estate is so expensive here in the Bay Area. I know it’s special, and they’re not making any more land – but maybe I should just move somewhere else and get a bigger house that won’t require a complete teardown.”
To those non-existent people, I say “I pity the fool who leaves the Bay Area.” Now, obviously you’re not going to leave California – because California is special – so let’s look at what happens when you buy outside of the Bay Area:
cbs13.com – Call Kurtis: High-Cost Homes Blown Apart
The Yeadon family moved out of their million-dollar home in the Serrano Country Club area on the advice of their doctors. [Ed note: Near Folsom]
“I think we had 23 doctor visits between the kids and my wife that month, in May of 2005,” said Yeadon.
This, after months of symptoms that seemed like an endless series of colds and flu, under laid with constant exhaustion.
“I never put together it was the house,” said Yeadon.
The Yeadon’s finally brought in someone to sample the air in their home. The tests found so much moisture, an attorney suggested they look for mold, and they found it.
“I came back after a weekend of taking my kids’, all of our clothes, and all of our belongings, and throwing them into a dumpster. I said, I can’t see straight. I got blood in one eye and tears in another,” expressed Yeadon.
When the family bought this home, brand new three and a half years ago, they paid just more than $800,000, and then put in $100,000 more in upgrades like this pool. They just sold this house. The highest bid they could get–$425,000.
So what does wind have to do with mold? Bill Thomas explains it like this: high winds can rock the house from its roof to its foundation. But as the building sways, individual parts, like doors and windows move at a different frequency, and even different directions.
Thomas says that can break the seals, loosens the caulking, fractures the stucco and water gets into the walls.
“You feel that house kind of move in the wind,” said Thomas.
Bill Thomas says separating windows, and cracked walls with dark water spots like these at the Yeadon’s house are signs a building is moving.
Rusting nails and staples in what are supposed to be dry spots are another sign. El Dorado Hills and much of the county below Lake Tahoe are zoned for what’s called “Wind Exposure B”.
Thomas says exposure “C” should be the standard here, but that would require stiffer materials and stronger design and drive up the cost of homes.
“If it costs you $10,000 less to build it and you just built 400 homes in the subdivision, then now, you’re talking about real money,” said Thomas.
California’s uniform building code says a home built with more than a half-mile of open space with gentle hills around it is technically wind exposure “C”. In much of El Dorado Hills, the exposure appears endless.
“You can see all of the homes, along this ridge, in both directions, all have the same wind exposure,” said Thomas.
Its not just the top of the hill either.
“The house, in my opinion, and in our expert’s opinion, is under-engineered for the wind exposure,” said Dave Crozier.
Stonebriar, a development of nearly 200-homes at the bottom of the hill, and south of highway 50 from Serrano. People here say scaffolding and mold remediation equipment are depressingly common throughout the neighborhood.
Dave and Vickie Crozier paid more than $700,000 for their home on the edge of Stonebriar. They’re now living with their two-kids in an apartment paid for by the builder.
So remember folks, if you care about the health of your family – think of the children – you know what to do: buy in the Bay Area.
$700,000 to gamble your health on a new built house in a gated community non-special part of special California… or $700,000 to buy a house that you know already in the beautiful Bay Area? Like this one:
It’s your decision. I think the choice is obvious.