When you are preparing to invest your hard-earned money into a home, it is essential to learn everything about that home’s history. While there are common questions about a home’s condition, history, and location, buyers often overlook some vital issues.
Don’t rely on sellers to volunteer this information. In some cases, they may not even know the answers for themselves. It is imperative to protect your potential investment. These questions can help you get to the bottom of potential pitfalls:
1. Have you ever had asbestos removed from the home? Old heating ducts, ceilings, and even certain types of flooring can contain asbestos; if they’ve had asbestos removed, follow up by asking about the removal process. Was it done DIY, or did they have professional help?
2. Has there ever been mold remediation in the home? Mold can be a severe issue. For a healthy family, monitoring and eliminating mold is crucial. Mold is sneaky, and it can creep up on you when you least expect it. Spores are known to stay dormant until they have the moisture and the nutrients required to bloom. Much like asbestos, find out the mold removal process if mold has been an issue.
3. Has the home been tested for lead? Homes built before 1978 may be at elevated risk for lead contamination. If the owner hasn’t checked for lead contamination, you or the sellers could do tests. The Environmental Protection Agency only recognizes two DIY lead paint test kits. These test kits are LeadCheck and D-Lead. Both tests are available for low-cost and produce quick results. To learn more about these tests, check out this article by House Logic.
4. Were renovations adequately permitted and inspected? If there’s been work done on the home, find out if those renovations are legal and up to code.
5. Is the home in a flood zone? Yes, you can research this yourself, but it can be a litmus test question. Do the homeowners know? If they know, do they have flood insurance? Who provided the insurance? Make sure to do your research. Get flood insurance quotes before buying a home to ensure it is an expense you can afford. Note that rates are a national standard, so getting multiple quotes from different insurance companies is not usually necessary.
6. Have radon levels been tested in the home recently? Indoor air quality is essential, and radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can contribute to lung cancer.
If a seller, or their agent, can’t answer these questions, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re hiding something. But asking these questions can save you time, money, or even your life down the line. Due diligence is vital! I have years of experience in asking these questions. Give me a call if you need help.