that appear perfect can harbor serious health hazards that have yet to be
discovered. The current owner may know nothing about them. Most home inspectors
can perform the proper tests to ensure that your home is as safe as it can be.
Here are some important tips:
1. Inspect your home inspector before
the home inspection.
states do not require the licensing of a home inspector. In most cases, if you
have a problem with a major defect after settlement that was not disclosed to
you by the home inspector, the inspector's financial liability to you is limited
to the inspection fee that was paid. So do your homework to determine that your
home inspector is competent and has the ability to provide all necessary
environmental inspections, such as water, radon and lead testing in addition to
the general home inspection. Simply being a member of a trade association, or
being "popular" in the neighborhood does not constitute competency or guarantee
that you are going to be satisfied with the home inspection. Additionally, you
are going to spend two to three hours with your inspector going through the home
you are contemplating purchasing and will want to make sure that the inspector's
personality and disclosure style are compatible with your expectations. You can
receive a free "Hiring a Home Inspector Checklist" from www.hometest.com, a national, independent authority on the
home inspection process.
2. Make sure the Boca Raton Florida home inspection
contingency is properly worded.
The Boca Raton Florida home inspection contingency specifies what items in the home you have
the right to inspect and under what terms and conditions you can require the
seller to repair items or allow you to cancel the contract. Home inspection
contingencies can be of a specific nature, whereby you are only allowed to
inspect specific items, or can be of a general nature, where you are allowed to
inspect the home for any structural, mechanical or environmental concerns. It is
important to make sure that your Boca Raton Florida home inspection contingency is a general
contingency that gives you a ten day opportunity, after signing the sales
contract, to hire a home inspector of your choice to inspect the Boca Raton property for
any structural, mechanical and environmental concerns that you or the inspector
may decide to inspect. The contingency should give you the right to decide to
not proceed with the purchase of the home, or ask the seller to make appropriate
repairs. Additionally, the removal of a contingency should stipulate as to how
and by whom the repairs will be made and that the repair will be verified to be
satisfactory by your home inspector prior to settlement as part of the final
walk through process. For a free guide that includes recommended wording for your home
inspection contingency, visit hometest.com.
3. Make sure your Boca Raton Florida home inspection
includes environmental inspections.
Determining if your new home is environmentally healthy is as important
as determining if it is structurally and mechanically sound. An overwhelming
amount of information from recent studies shows that environmental hazards in
homes are contributing to chronic diseases. Although there are a host of
environmental issues that can affect your health, the primary issues in housing
are drinking water, radon, lead dust and mold and mildew. Read more about important environmental aspects to consider before
you purchase a home.
4. Test the water.
Safe water for drinking cooking and bathing
is an absolute necessity for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, a
significant number of homes do not contain water that is considered to be safe
or healthy. Most public water supplies obtain their water from underground
aquifers. The water is tested and treated for contaminants found in the water.
Although water leaving a public water supply may be tested and considered safe
before leaving the plant, it must travel through underground piping that may be
old and deteriorating and may contain lead and other contaminants that leach
into the water. Additionally, the plumbing supply in the home may contain lead
solder or have lead in fixtures that may contaminate the water. Private wells
obtain their water from aquifers just as many municipal systems, however the
water is not tested and treated for contaminants that are commonly found by the
municipal system. As a result, the testing of the private well is solely up to
the homeowner. Most lenders will require that the well water is tested, but many
only request a bacteria test. To learn more about water testing and testing
products that can be used by your home inspector visit www.hometest.com.
5. Test for radon.
Radon is a radioactive gas that has
been in found in homes across the United States. It comes from the natural
breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breath.
Radon typically moves up through the ground and into your home through the
foundation. Radon enters through cracks and holes in the foundation and can even
seep through the foundation itself. Once radon is in your home it becomes
trapped as a result of modern homes lacking a significant amount of ventilation.
Additionally, radon can enter the home through well water. Any home can have a
radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and
homes with or without basements. In fact, it is estimated that nearly one out of
every fifteen homes in the United States is estimated to have elevated radon
levels. Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in every state.
Radon gas is listed as a Class One human lung carcinogen. Prolonged exposure to
high levels of radon gas can cause lung cancer. As a result, the EPA and the
office of the Surgeon General recommend that all homes be tested for the
presence of radon. Because radon is invisible and odorless, a simple test is the
only way to determine if a home has high radon levels. In the event the test
should reveal a high level of radon, mitigation systems costing between
$800-$2000 can be installed to correct the situation. For more information on
radon testing kits that can be used by your home inspector visit www.hometest.com.
6. Test for lead.
Lead is one of the most toxic
elements known to man. It was used extensively for many years in residential
paint and was not banned in the United States until 1978. As a result, over 75%
of the nations housing contains lead-based paint. Exposure to lead causes
permanent damage to the nervous system, especially in children and pets. The
Centers for Disease Control name lead poisoning as the number one preventable
environmental disease affecting our nations' children. Exposure to lead causes
reduced I.Q., reading and learning disabilities, reduced attention span, even
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Lead paint exposure is normally not a result
of chewing on lead paint chips. Rather, it is a result of being exposed to
invisible lead dust that may be on windowsills and floors in the home. As the
lead paint ages and deteriorates, or is disturbed by repainting or remodeling,
invisible lead dust is created. Normal vacuuming does not remove the lead dust
because the small particles pass through the bags and filter. In the event a
home has a lead dust problem, it can normally be corrected by paint
stabilization through repainting and specialized cleaning using a special HEPA
vacuum. It is important to dust test any home built prior to 1978, especially if
you have children or pets. Lead dust testing can be accomplished by a home
inspector, environmental inspector, or can be done by the homeowner upon moving
into the home. Visit www.hometest.com for more information on lead dust testing
products, as well as a complete kit on maintaining a lead safe home.