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Homebuyers Beware of Indoor Environmental Concerns

Mold. Chinese Drywall. Radon gas and carbon monoxide. Drug labs. These are all potential hazards that may exist in the home you are purchasing here in the Phoenix, AZ area. How do you do know what you are buying?

Well…I have some suggestions to help guide and educate my clients.

Let’s start with the most well known…MOLD! Interestingly, mold has always been with us and it is rare to find a property that does not have some mold. What has been discovered however, is that certain kinds of mold have been identified as a possible contributor to illness. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services “If you can see mold, or if there is an earthy or musty odor, you can assume you have a mold problem. Allergic individuals may experience the symptoms listed above. Look for previous water damage.  Visible mold growth is found underneath materials where water has damaged surfaces, or behind walls. Look for discoloration and leaching from plaster.” You can go here and get more information about mold.

Sometime it is VERY evident that mold exists! Take a look at these pictures!

The listing agent requires you sign a WAIVER to enter this property…but who would want to?

There have been a few reports of Chinese Drywall used in Arizona homes.The problem is defective drywall, and it could be harmful to your health. It’s a product in U.S. homes made in China. It’s causing copper to corrode, producing a stinky, rotten egg smell. Physical problems include sore throats and a headache; dry, burning eyes and respiratory infections. Here is a link to a video that gives advise on how to tell if YOUR home has a potential problem.

Radon gas and carbon monoxide. Radon is an invisible, radioactive gas created from natural deposits of uranium and radium in the soil.  Radon gas can be drawn into a building and accumulate to concentrations that can increase the potential for contracting lung cancer.  According to the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency:

The amount of radon in a building is dependent upon:

The amount of uranium found in the soil beneath the building.

The existing radon potential depends partly upon the amount of uranium and radium found in the soil.

Driving forces:
The way a building literally pulls radon from the soil beneath it, and the ease with which radon moves through the soil and into a building.
The amount of radon that actually enters a building is dependent upon the force that draws in the radon, as well as the ease with which it can move through the soil and into a building.

Ventilation rate of building:
How well radon is diluted with air.
Once radon gets into a building, the final radon concentration is dependent upon the amount of ventilation that will dilute the radon. Low ventilation rates can affect indoor radon levels, but are not the cause of a radon problem.

Residential usage patterns can also have an impact on average indoor radon levels:
Over time, the typical usage patterns of a home’s residents can also greatly affect the radon levels in a home.  For instance, occupants who ventilate a home often when weather permits may be exposed to lower radon concentrations, on average, than if the same home were occupied by persons who keep the windows closed year-round.

You can get more information by going to their site here.

Another potential environmental hazard stems from properties that have been used as drug labs. The Arizona State Board of Technical Registration’s web site maintains a list of homes KNOWN to have been drug labs. This is a list of seized drug laboratory sites or sites where drug manufacturing chemicals were seized. Once the home has been properly remediated it is declared “safe”.

I guess the bottom line is make sure you engage a qualified home inspector to point out the issues of concern…and follow up with a field specific professional if need be.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home please give me a call at 602-504-3898.

If you are looking for a GREAT agent to help with your real estate need please give me a call at 602-504-3898 or 888-897-7821 x 114. Plus, I have a GREAT search tool on my web site that gives you the ability to search the entire MLS…just like agents do. Very COOL!  ;) Go to Metro Phoenix Homes and check it out! If you save even one home as a favorite, you will be prompted to enter contact information. If you do this…YOU can create and save as many searches as you would like. It is THE BEST MOST ACCURATE SEARCH OF OUR LOCAL MLS!!!!

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