Josephine (Jo) Cusi | Vallejo Real Estate, Benicia Real Estate, American Canyon Real Estate


“The silent killer.” It’s a perplexing name for a common household hazard. We’ve all heard of the dangers of carbon monoxide, but few of us are taught exactly what causes CO poisoning.

Understanding the causes of CO poisoning are essential in reducing the risk that you or your family could be harmed by this poisonous gas. So, in this article we’ll break down what exactly it is that carbon monoxide does to the body, where it can occur in the home, and how to protect yourself against it.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas. Because it is so dangerous to humans, fuels that emit carbon monoxide are usually mixed with other gases that do have an odor. This way, humans can typically smell gas and therefore be alerted that they are in danger.

What does CO do to the body?

When inhaled, carbon monoxide inhibits your body’s ability to use oxygen. So, even though you are breathing in air, your body is still suffocating. As a result, the lack of oxygen caused by carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to death the same way that drowning does.

High levels of CO in the air can cause you to succumb within minutes. Your chest will tighten, you’ll feel dizzy or drowsy and could suffocate if you don’t get away from the area.

However, lower levels of CO exposure can also be dangerous. People often notice headaches, slight dizziness and muscle fatigue and mistake the symptoms for the flu.

People who are asleep can die from carbon monoxide poisoning without ever experiencing symptoms.

Where is CO found within the home?

Since carbon monoxide occurs from unburned fuels leaking in the air, there are a number of sources within and outside the home that emit carbon monoxide.

According to the American Lung Association, some common sources of carbon monoxide include:

  • Gas appliances (furnaces, ranges, ovens, water heaters, clothes dryers, etc.)

  • Fireplaces, wood stoves

  • Coal or oil furnaces

  • Space heaters or oil or kerosene heaters

  • Charcoal grills, camp stoves

  • Gas-powered lawn mowers and power tools

  • Automobile exhaust fumes

How to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning

Luckily there are several ways to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning. Knowing what causes it is the first and most important way. Preventing gas leaks in appliances and maintaining proper upkeep of those appliances is one important way.

Another tip to keep in mind is to make sure your home is well ventilated. If cooking for a long period of time, don’t leave gas ranges unattended. If the knobs on your range are easily turned, make sure children and pets aren’t left alone near the oven.

Never use items like kerosene lanterns, portable camping stoves, burning charcoal, or running engines inside your home or garage. Lack of ventilation can easily cause CO levels to rise to a dangerous level within minutes.

Common mistakes involving carbon monoxide include running lawnmowers or other gas-powered items inside a garage, or leaving a car running in a garage.

Finally, install a carbon monoxide detector in your house and garage. Change the batteries regularly and test the alarm often. If you smell gas in your home and can’t identify the source immediately, open the windows and leave the house.


Ready to submit an offer on a home? Putting together a proposal that stands out in a home seller's eyes is key.

With the right home offer, you can improve your chances of securing your dream house without delay. Plus, dedicating time and resources to put together a home offer that works for both you and a home seller is sure to accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

How can you improve your chances of submitting an offer that a home seller is sure to accept? Here are three tips to help a homebuyer submit a standout home offer.

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage.

In many instances, a home offer may be contingent upon financing. And if a homebuyer has to secure financing after submitting a proposal, this individual could risk missing out on an opportunity to purchase his or her dream house.

Comparatively, a homebuyer who gets pre-approved for a mortgage will have the necessary financing in place when he or she submits an offer. As a result, this individual's offer may stand out from other proposals, particularly to a home seller who wants to speed up the home selling process.

2. Consider a Quick Home Inspection.

Don't ask the home seller for 15 or 30 days to conduct a home inspection. Instead, be ready to conduct a home inspection as soon as possible.

You may need only a few days to set up a home inspection. As such, if your offer includes a request for five or 10 days to complete a home assessment, it may stand out from others.

Also, if you find your dream home, you may want to consider purchasing the house "as is." Doing so may allow you to forgo negotiations between a homebuyer and home seller after a home inspection.

If you submit an "as is" home offer, you will be able to learn about the condition of a property before you buy it. However, after a home inspection, you will be unable to ask the home seller to complete repairs. At this point, if you find the house fails to meet your expectations, you can either walk away or buy the home in its current condition.

3. Add an Escalation Clause to Your Offer.

An escalation clause can help you compete against other homebuyers in a fierce real estate market. It enables you to increase your offer by a set amount over any other bids to a certain level. As a result, including an escalation clause in your home offer can help you avoid the risk of overpaying for a house and improve your chances of securing your dream residence at the same time.

Ask your real estate agent to include an escalation clause in your home offer. Your real estate agent can help you submit the perfect proposal, and ultimately, boost your chances of getting a "Yes" from a home seller.

Use the aforementioned tips, and you can bolster your chances of getting the right house at the right price.


Looking to buy a house in the next few months? Ultimately, a cautious approach to purchasing a residence may prove to be ideal, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

There are many reasons to err on the side of caution as you search for your dream house, including:

1. You don't want to pay too much for a house.

Although acquiring your dream house may seem priceless, it is important to remember that the costs to purchase a residence can add up quickly. As such, if you're not careful, you risk overspending on a house.

Lucky for you, there are many simple ways to avoid the temptation to bid too much on a residence.

First, analyze the housing market closely and search for patterns and trends. If you discover an abundance of houses is available, you may be operating in a "buyer's" market. As a result, you may be better equipped than ever before to acquire a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.

Don't forget to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to starting your home search too. That way, you can enter the housing market with a mortgage – and budget – in hand.

2. You want to find a house that you can enjoy for years to come.

A home is one of the biggest purchases that an individual will make in his or her lifetime. Thus, it is important to allocate the necessary time and resources to assess a house before you submit an offer on it.

Of course, a home showing is a must prior to the submission of a home offer. A home showing allows you to walk around a residence and envision what life might be like if you purchase this home.

After you submit an offer on a house, you'll likely have the opportunity to complete a property inspection before you finalize your home sale. This inspection is important, as it enables you to learn about any "hidden" problems that may have gone unnoticed during an initial home showing.

If you feel comfortable with a residence after an inspection, you can move forward with a home sale. Or, if you aren't comfortable with a house at this point, you can always submit a counter-proposal or remove your offer entirely.

3. You want your home to retain its long-term value.

Let's face it – buying a home is a tough decision. And if you need extra help determining whether a home purchase is a viable long-term decision, it may be a good idea to consult with a real estate agent.

Typically, a real estate agent can respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions, at any time. He or she is happy to help you explore high-quality houses, and by doing so, will enable you to take the guesswork out of discovering a residence that will retain its value.

Err on the side of caution as you proceed along the homebuying journey, and you should have no trouble purchasing a residence that matches or surpasses your expectations.


For home sellers, accepting a homebuyer's offer represents one of many steps you'll need to complete to finalize your home sale. In fact, accepting a homebuyer's proposal provides no guarantees, and a homebuyer likely will conduct a home inspection that may determine whether he or she moves forward with a home purchase.

Ultimately, a home inspection may make or break your home sale. But if you spend some time preparing for a home inspection, you can improve your chances of accelerating the home selling process.

Here are three tips to help home sellers get ready for a home inspection.

1. Clean Up Your Home's Interior and Exterior

A home inspector will investigate every nook and cranny of your house. As such, you'll want to ensure your residence dazzles when a home inspector visits, as any flaw could damage your chances of finalizing your home sale.

Conduct an extensive clean-up of your house's interior and exterior – you'll be happy you did. With a neat, tidy home, you'll be able to improve your chances of making a positive impression on a home inspector.

Plus, evaluating your residence before a home inspection ensures you can identify and address any minor flaws before the evaluation. That way, you'll be able to eliminate any problems and improve your chances of a fast, seamless home inspection that won't jeopardize your home sale.

2. Ensure All Areas of Your Home Are Easily Accessible

A home inspector will want to examine your hot water heater, your home's siding and more, so you'll want to make every area of your home easily accessible to a home inspector to guarantee he or she can perform the assessment properly.

Although a home inspector may uncover a variety of problems with your residence, the assessment represents a valuable learning opportunity for both you and the homebuyer. Thus, if all areas of your home are easily accessible, you may be able to make the most of this opportunity, learn about hidden problems with your residence and work to resolve these issues accordingly.

3. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent

Let's face it – a home inspection can be stressful, particularly for home sellers who want to finalize a home sale as soon as possible. Luckily, your real estate agent can help you minimize stress and ensure you know exactly what to expect before, during and after a home inspection.

Your real estate agent can answer any of your home inspection questions and ensure you are fully prepared for the assessment. In addition, your real estate agent will collaborate with you and the homebuyer. And if problems are discovered during a home inspection, your real estate agent will help you determine the best course of action.

When it comes to a home inspection, there is no need to worry. If you use the aforementioned tips to prepare for a home inspection, you'll be able to improve your chances of speeding up the home selling process.


Adding a condo to the housing market may seem difficult at first. Lucky for you, real estate agents can help you streamline the process of listing your condo, stirring up interest in your property and ensuring you can maximize its value.

What does it take to find the right real estate agent to sell your condo? Here are three questions that you should ask a real estate agent before you hire this professional to sell your condo:

1. Have you sold condos in the past?

When it comes to selling a condo, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Therefore, you may want to consider hiring a real estate agent with condo selling experience over a real estate professional who exclusively sells homes.

A real estate agent with condo selling experience may be able to offer insights that you won't receive elsewhere. For example, this real estate professional may be able to provide tips to help you enhance your condo without the risk of violating homeowners' association (HOA) rules.

Plus, a real estate agent with condo selling experience will understand how to manage home selling challenges that may arise. This housing market expert will be able to address such challenges quickly and limit their impact on the condo selling process.

2. What approach will you take to sell my condo?

As a condo seller, your goal is to sell your condo as quickly as possible and ensure you can get the best price for your property. Meanwhile, you should find a real estate agent who shares your goal and will do everything possible to promote your residence to the right groups of property buyers.

Initially, a real estate agent should learn about your condo selling needs. He or she will listen to your condo selling concerns and ensure you are fully supported throughout the condo selling cycle.

A real estate agent should be ready to promote your condo in a variety of ways too. From social media posts that highlight the size and beauty of your condo to open houses that enable property buyers to check out your residence, a real estate agent should go above and beyond the call of duty to showcase your condo.

3. Why should I hire you?

No two real estate agents are identical, and as such, you're sure to hear lots of different responses to this question. Consider a real estate agent's answer closely, and if you are satisfied with the response, you may want to move forward with this housing market professional.

For home sellers, it is essential to collaborate with a real estate agent who makes you feel comfortable. This real estate professional will communicate with you regularly and keep you informed at each stage of the home selling process. As a result, you'll never be left in the dark as you move closer to selling your condo.

Ready to sell your condo? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can hire a great real estate agent to help you simplify the condo selling process.




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