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Tips to Homeowners

November 10, 1985|Armand L. Fontaine

Question: We are remodeling an older home in the desert, and we have been advised to spray for cockroaches prior to installing new carpeting. Is this a good idea?

Answer: When you are concerned about cockroaches, anytime is a good time to spray. It makes good sense to spray or "bomb" the house when it is empty, so that the spray or mist can work into every corner. You should be careful to protect your food and kitchenware. Place all shelved food items in the refrigerator. Take all canned goods and utensils, including pots and pans and put them in a back bedroom and cover them with a sheet. Be sure to wash them before using.

If you live in the desert and have a serious cockroach or pest problem, you might hire a licensed pest control firm to do your monthly spraying. The fees usually run about $20 a month. If you are installing new carpet and the house is empty, I would suggest that you fumigate both before and after the installation.

Q: I understand that housing costs in California and Hawaii are probably the highest in the United States, yet I see quite a few very reasonably priced homes advertised in the newspaper in outlying areas. Are these home prices included in the statistics?

A: In all probability, when the statistics are published, they are referring to metropolitan areas such as San Francisco, Orange County and "greater Los Angeles," but they do not include outlying areas such as Pomona and Riverside, where housing costs are drastically lower. Those statistics do not completely hold water because in many of the older established eastern cities, we are talking about older neighborhoods with usually smaller square footage per house.

For instance, statistics from the National Assn. of Realtors show that the most inexpensive housing in the United States--in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y. area--at present has an average resale price of $47,000, while greater Orange County shows an average resale price of more than $135,000.

These statistics, while technically correct, do not really reflect the quality or size of housing in each area. I doubt that an identical home being sold for $135,000 in Orange County could be purchased in the Buffalo area for only $47,000.

On the other hand, housing costs in Alaska are much more than in California because of the high cost of labor, transportation of materials and the short periods when contractors can work.

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