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Buying Resources

Do you know what to look for as problem signs when buying a house? Do you know if the house has asbestos, radon or mold? We’re here to help. Below is a list of things to look for and helpful resources when finding these issues in a home.

ASBESTOS

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral composed of flexible fibers that are resistant to heat, electricity, and corrosion. These qualities make the mineral useful. However, asbestos exposure is highly toxic. Asbestos was widely used in construction from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s until it was banned in some U.S. products in 1978.

Homes built before 1978 should be tested for Asbestos. The best way to know if you have this substance in the home is to hire a special asbestos inspector. Home inspectors once routinely looked for asbestos, but most don’t do that any longer.

Inspectors will take samples for laboratory analysis, assess asbestos material, and suggest needed corrections. The initial inspection, lab fees, and report cost $400 to $800 for an average 1,500-square-foot house.

LEAD BASED PAINT

Lead paint was used in most homes built before 1978. Although the lead content in the paint was reduced as the years moved closer to the 1978 cut-off, there is still enough lead present to be a problem for the health of anything that ingests it or inhales it.

Lead is a highly toxic substance that affects nearly every organ in the body.

Lead in the paint can leach into the non-lead-based paint as well, so painting over lead-based paint with modern paint is not enough to completely eliminate the risk.

Sellers are required to disclose any knowledge of lead-based paint used in the home, but if they don’t have a disclosure it might be good to hire an inspector to test if your house was built before 1978.

METH CONTAMINATION

Contamination of residential homes with methamphetamine is an emerging issue of significant concern to public health, as a result, in more than half of states, home sellers are required to disclose whether to the best of their knowledge, a property has ever been used as a meth lab.

If you suspect that the property might have been exposed to methamphetamines the best thing you can do is have it tested.

RADON CONTAMINATION

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has no odor, color, or taste and is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Uranium is found in all soils and in higher concentrations in granite, shale, and phosphates.

Radon is impossible to detect in a home without a test, so it is recommended that if the seller has not disclosed that a radon test was completed, we recommend having one performed prior to purchasing a home.

MOLD

Mold in houses is a serious issue for both the health of people as well as the integrity of the house. In addition to the physical effects it has on people, mold can damage your home as well. Mold naturally decomposes organic matter like wood, sheetrock, etc. Left unattended in a moist environment, mold can do some serious damage.

We generally see mold growing in homes as the result of some kind of water leak. In many cases, the leak is not obvious until the mold has become very established and it’s starting to cause damage to both people and property.

While most general home inspections will tell you if there is evidence of mold in the home, many inspectors are not licensed to test for mold, so depending on the inspection, you may need to hire a mold specialist.

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