Real Estate Inspections...what's really important when it come to problems? By Steve Gladstone Chief Inspector Stonehollow Inspections Part 4

By
Home Inspector with Stonehollow Fine Home Inspections & Testing

 

And now the much anticipated part 4... Environmental problems and problem materials.

Hardly an inspection goes by that I don't have to explain radon, lead, contaminated wells, asbestos, carbon monoxide or the biggest buggaboo... mold.

Okay people... I admit it, house problems rarely scare me.  It's not that I'm some invincible character who thinks crawling in a crawlspace isn't gonna harm big ol' me. On the contrary , I firmly believe these issues are very real and often dangerous...but most of them are way blown out of proportion. Most people are afraid because they have little if any information to work off of.

Before you freak...or cheer , however , let me say that you should never make light of another's paranoia or their concerns. Buying a house is scary enough, but all these environmentals scare the bejesus out of most first- time buyers.

My attitude may surprise you.  From a real estate point of view my advice is when you sit down with this couple in your office, as you ask all the financial questions... ask also what are your fears?  What issues concern you about homes, and what issues would you not even consider buying if the home has one.

Some of my customers readily admit if there's any rats within 1 mile of their home..." forgetaboutit".  If they are considering an antique home you'd better get a read on how they feel about asbestos, lead and old equipment.

If they are buying a home built before 1978 lead may be a huge issue to them especially if they have small children.

New construction may have contaminated wells, radon in water and radon in air... Some people don't even know that they really should test.  That the only way to know if a home is problematic is to test.    

Older homes may have odd plumbing or electrical components that are known to be problematic   Some homes will have siding made from wood chips that are rotting and decks with aggressive chemicals may be eating the fasteners quicker than a relative having desert at the picnic table. 

So what  should you do?

 My advise is put together information sheets on all of the big items. Give them web site addresses and take the time to listen to their worries. If she says she's not interested in asbestos, don't show her the old bombs, If she's worried about radon get her focused on the epa materials that explain the risk. He doesn't want a buried oil tank or to live near the high voltage towers, so be it.

The home with synthetic stucco, a wet moldy basement will rarely sell easily, nor will the average buyer accept the financial burden of a termite infestation once the inspection finds it.  

But do not ignore the mine field you are walking through. When the business slows... the pressure  increases and the stakes may be higher. Lawsuits come from misunderstanding as much as perceptions that we didn't give the level of service that was expected.  When people are in pain they look for someone to blame.

Let your client know you are protecting them and their kids. When you see problems help them to understand them and make sure they make the important decisions, not you. When foreclosures and mortgages are on everyones watch list, we may forget the responsibility we have to be their friend and make sure they understand all the issues.

Help them to find the right house and don't be quick to settle for the wrong one.

If you are not educated enough about some of the problems we've mentioned google them and get smarter.

Its a jungle out there... wear your sunscreen.

More later... Steve

 

 

 

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Rainer
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Rosario Lewis
DDR Realty - Newburgh, NY
GRI, SRES - DDR Realty - Orange County, NY

Recently, I have had two occurrences of clients considering buying properties with buried oil tanks. Fortunately,  oth clients accepted the situation well. 

Sep 17, 2007 05:07 PM #1
Rainer
33,546
Stephen Gladstone
Stonehollow Fine Home Inspections & Testing - Stamford, CT
Buried oil tanks if properly decontaminated and the soil  below is tested can be ok but the average buyer is better served if the tank is pulled out, a photo taken of the clean excavation for posterity, and an alternative site for a new tank is installed inside.  Steve
Sep 18, 2007 12:47 AM #2
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1,709,615
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy Stephen

Very good post.

I just did an inspection of a doublewide mobile home. The subflooring of this home had failed. Joist holding up the subflooring had failed. The insulation was falling to the ground. There was no vapor barrier on the ground so the home had moisture evaporat into the structure from the soil. My client did not buy it.

Have a good one

 

Sep 22, 2007 06:47 AM #3
Rainer
7,111
Donald Sutherland
Marathon Constructors Inspection Services - Seward, AK
Inspector-Seward, Alaska

Stephen,

Good ideas here. Was looking forward to your presentation on "problems with older homes" at Kaplan/ITA at Las Vegas last week. Sorry you had to cancel. Maybe next year?

Alaska Don

Oct 09, 2007 07:52 AM #4
Rainer
33,546
Stephen Gladstone
Stonehollow Fine Home Inspections & Testing - Stamford, CT

Thanks Don... We arrived in Las Vegas early in the morning, took a siesta in the room and received a call from home that my wife's mom had been rushed to the hospital in cardiac arrest. She died shortly after and we got on the next plane available and went home to bury her.

For those of you waiting for the next installment...I'll get to it soon.

Don did they not put on the presentation?  I thought someone else on staff would do it... 

Oct 09, 2007 08:28 AM #5
Rainer
7,111
Donald Sutherland
Marathon Constructors Inspection Services - Seward, AK
Inspector-Seward, Alaska

Stephen,

Sorry to here about your loss.

No, they did not put on anything. When I walked over to the room their was nothing posted. So I saw Scott Patterson and asked him if he knew where your class would be held. He didn't know, so I walked back to the room, and their was a sign that class had been cancelled.

Alaska Don 

 

Oct 09, 2007 11:54 AM #6
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