BY Bruce Cathcart

This past week a friend on FaceBook posted that her Smoke Detector/Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector had gone off in her house. Since she did not see or smell smoke she posted, “What can I do to get it to stop beeping?” Of course her friends immediately offered advice such as “hit it with a hammer” or “change the battery”. Of course I had to be the concerned “parent” and inform everyone in FB land that CO was an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that initially is non-irritating… and yes, IT CAN KILL YOU! According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 400 Americans die each year from CO poisoning while 20,000 visit emergency rooms and 4,000 end up in the hospital from exposure to CO. Of those who die or become seriously ill the majority of the time it takes place while they are sleeping or passed out while being “under the influence”. On July 1, 2011 it became a California State Law that all houses with either an attached garage, fireplace, or gas heater or gas appliance have a CO detector… so it is very likely that we all have at least one CO detector in our home. So what do you do if your CO detector goes off? The first thing you do not do is ignore it!

Before I get to what you should do when your CO detector goes off, let’s take a look at the sales data for homes in the Coachella Valley for the month of May.

According to the Desert Area MLS as of 7/1/17 there were 1,333 pending transactions of residential properties here in the Coachella Valley in the month of June.  That’s up from the 1,133 pendings in the previous month (May) and up again when compared to the same time last year when we had only 917 pending sales.  In May there were 1,057 solds and we were down just a bit in June with 1,024 solds. This is yet another increase over last year when we sold only 963 homes in June 2016.  Our year to date sales total for 2017 stands at 5,640 homes compared to the same time period last year when we had sold only 4,914 homes. Statistically we ended our first six months in 2017 exceeding last year’s sales by over 13%. We are continuing this trend for our third straight year starting off with higher volume of both pendings and solds. According to the Desert Area MLS “Statistics” the average home sale price and median home sale price for ALL HOMES in the Coachella Valley are up 7% this year when compared to the same time period for last year. This is an excellent trend for our valley and even though I estimate that the majority of the homes here in the Coachella Valley are still about 15% below the high market values that we experienced in 2006-7, this positive data indicates that the Coachella Valley real estate market and home values here continue to improve. Our inventory of homes for sale was down significantly again this month with 3,622 homes available on July 1, 2017 compared to 4,050 homes available on June 1, 2017. While we usually experience a “seasonal” drop in inventory this time of year as many sellers take their properties off the market for the summer months, this is the fourth such drop in as many months in the total number of homes for sale in the Coachella Valley. With home sales staying strong already this year through June there may soon be a shortage of homes for sale in our market place. Check back next month and we’ll see if this trend continues and what that will mean for prices and sales for July and August.

It is 2:00 AM and your properly placed CO detector right outside your bedroom door is emitting and intermittent beeping. It takes you a minute or two to focus and you realize that your CO detector has gone off. How do you feel? Do you have a headache, are you dizzy, weak, have an upset stomach, feel like vomiting, are vomiting, feel weak or are confused? Basically, do you feel like you have the flu? According to ADT Home Security, if you have any of these symptoms and are alone get out of your house and into the fresh air immediately. If you are not alone you must get everyone else in the home up and out of the house. Yes, you should be dialing 9-1-1 on your cell while you are moving! Tell the 9-1-1 operator what your situation is and they will send the appropriate assistance. But what if you wake up and feel perfectly OK? You still take this matter very seriously! If you are not alone, get everyone out of the house and into the fresh air. Then go back into the house, open all the doors and windows to get air ventilation into the house and turn off your gas appliances (water heater, oven/stove, furnace, and fireplace). After the home has been properly ventilated reset your CO detector. If the detector does not go off again, call a qualified technician to inspect and repair any problem. If the CO detector goes off again (and still no one is showing any of the above flu like symptoms), continue venting the home and call your local fire department. The emergency personnel will advise you when it is safe to re-enter your home.

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Carbon Monoxide gas is a very serious issue. If you do not have a CO detector currently in your home, get one! They are relatively cheap (about $30) and some models just plug into a wall socket. Install it where it will wake you up if it goes off… and if it does go off, well don’t just hit it with a hammer.

Join me each month this year as we keep a close eye on our Coachella Valley real estate market. If you have a real estate question or concerns please email me at the address below.

Bruce Cathcart is the Broker/Co-Owner of La Quinta Palms Realty, “Your Friendly Professionals” and can be reached by email at bycathcart@laquintapalmsrealty.com or visit his website at www.laquintapalmsrealty.com.