When you’re about to put your hard-earned money into a home, you want to know everything you can about that home’s history. While there are common questions to ask about a home’s condition, history, and location, there are some questions buyers often overlook.
Don’t rely on sellers to volunteer this information. In some cases, they may not even know the answers for themselves. 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 with how it was removed. Was it their uncle Joe hacking away at it, 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 home, 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 they need to bloom. Much like asbestos, find out how it was removed if it’s ever been a problem.
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, there are test the sellers, or you could do. The Environmental Protection Agency only recognizes two DIY lead paint test kits. These test kits are: LeadCheck and D-Lead. To learn more about these tests, check out this article by House Logic. Both tests are available for low-cost and produce quick results.
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 there now, or has there ever been, an underground oil tank on the premises? Heating oil tanks are standard in some areas, even if old heating systems have been upgraded. You want to know if a tank is still underground and if one has been removed.
6. 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 make sure 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 beneficial (BePrepared).
7. 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.