So you are buying a new home and you are likely overwhelmed with all of the things that you need to do prior to closing.  You are trying to get the lender all of your financial information, you are dealing with a home inspection, picking out furniture, and trying to figure out if you have missed anything.  There are a number of things you should do prior to finalizing the home purchase.  One of which is to consider getting additional inspections, other than the general home inspection.  You should consider having environmental inspections done.

What is an environmental inspection and do you really need one when purchasing a home?  An environmental inspection helps to uncover issues that could impact your families’ health.  There are a number of environmental inspections tests available.  Let’s discuss a few of the more popular testing options.

  1. Mold 
    Mold testing has become much more popular over the years.  This can be a real problem in homes.  It can be both expensive and very harmful to your health.  One real problem is that many homeowner’s policies exclude claims that deal with mold and mold remediation, particularly black mold.  Mold can be pretty scary as it can be hidden in walls, under coats of paint, and beneath carpeting.  So, if you don’t test for it, you could be buying a home with mold and not know it.  When you are getting a home inspection, your inspector will look for visible signs of mold, but unless they see or smell it, you will not know.
  2. Lead 
    Lead based paints were banned in 1978.  So if your home is older than that, you should consider getting a lead test.  The concern with lead is that paint chips can come off over time and can be released into the air as a dust.  It can be absorbed into soil and also leak into drinking water causing significant health hazards.
  3. Asbestos 
    Asbestos was very popular prior to the 1980’s and commonly used in roofs, pipes, heat lines, attics and outside sidings among other things.  Asbestos can pose significant health risks when it begins to break down during renovations.  There are still a lot of homes in the U.S. that have asbestos as the average age of homes in our country is 35 years.  So if you are buying an older home and plan on any renovations, you should strongly consider doing a test to determine if your home has any asbestos.
  4. Radon 
    This testing is highly recommended as radon causes tens of thousands of deaths every year. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind tobacco smoke.  Radon is a colorless and odorless radioactive gas that can be found in homes in the United States. Radon has been found in 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States.  So it is more common than you would think which is why testing is recommended. You will not know if the home has radon unless you test for it.

In summary, if purchasing an older home, you should consider getting a lead or asbestos test.  All potential owners should strongly consider getting mold and radon testing.