A Halloween reminder for property investors
This seems like the appropriate time to remind all property investors of the major environmental hazards lurking out there when searching for investment real estate. I have previously written about these hazards in depth (see my article here from May 30, 2011 entitled “Locating Investment Property – Basic Environmental Concerns.” It’s fitting that on this spooky day, I remind property investors of the most major hazards that may confront you as you look at multiple properties for a real winner…
Remember, I always recommend you use a house inspector to rule out all hidden defects that may be unseen by the naked eye (or that you do not have the experience to catch, even by eye). Also remember that these environmental hazards all pose grave risks to your potential tenants, so must be addressed before you purchase any piece of investment real estate.
One of the more basic hazards includes asbestos. It was primarily used as an insulator of pipes in basements of older homes. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and if fraying and airborne, it is a very real and present danger. Another major hazard are underground oil tanks. The older the tank, the greater the probability of a leak. And any oil spillage into the ground is cause for concern, as it poses a public health risk to all local homeowners as well as your property, due to the possibility of soil and aquifer contamination.
Among the top hidden dangers lurking in any potential investment property is lead paint. The majority of houses built prior to 1970 traditionally used lead paint. There are swab test kits available to determine if lead paint is present, however, you may want to use your house inspector to run the test for you. Lead paint that is chipping could possibly be eaten by young children, and are also known carcinogens when ingested.
Another hidden danger is radon gas. This odorless gas can only be detected through a radon test kit. However, you can purchase a kit at your local hardware store, and send the test in for the lab results to show any presence of the gas in the house. You should also be aware of any well water that might be tainted. If the house is fed by a well system, you’ll need to run a water test to determine the potability of the water supply. Keep in mind that homes that have remained vacant for any appreciable period of time run a greater risk of forming high levels of dangerous bacteria in the wells, and will most probably need to be treated with chlorine (known as “shocking” the system) to rid the water supply of the contaminants.
Be on the lookout for the hazards
So this Halloween, be especially on the lookout for these environmental hazards lurking within your next potential investment property. If you find them, at least you can prepare ahead of time to mitigate them – and ask for remediation as part of any offer you decide to make on the property.
photos courtesy of freefever.com, pooboy.com, pacificgroupdevelopments.com, sema.dps.mo.gov