Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Neighborhood Environmental Reports: The Next Frontier

With all the emphasis on ensuring that the homes they wish to purchase offer clean potable water, low levels of radon, and mold-free spaces , buyers have paid somewhat less attention to the areas immediately beyond the boundaries of their new address.

Yet the presence of nearby environmental hazards can pose health threats that are equal or greater than those to be found within a home's four walls.

In the past, it required hours and hours of painstaking research to track down potential issues that might adversely impact a home's air and water. The good news for buyers and sellers alike is that it's now possible to obtain a comprehensive "home health report" from home inspectors and real estate agents who have been certified by Environmental Data Resources (EDR) to provide Neighborhood Environmental Reports, each customized to a specific property.

Each Neighborhood Environmental Report segregates the known current or past environmental issues into two categories: those within a radius of 300 feet (approximately six acres) of a property, and those beyond that circle, up to a distance of about one mile away. It includes information about the location and status of leaking oil storage tanks, landfills, hazardous waste sites, EPA priority cleanup sites, and areas of accidential toxic contamination from fuel spills or industrial leakage.

In many cases, the reports reveal that previous problem sites have been satisfactorily resolved and do not pose a present danger. In other cases, it may be possible to implement precautions or other protective measures to mitigate any risks.

But the important thing is that the EDR "NERs" arm a consumer with the data she needs to make an informed choice about whether to purchase a particular property.

As a recently certified EDR provider, I can now offer Neighborhood Environmental Reports to real estate agents, buyers, sellers, and anyone else who would like to have this information about their property. Please contact me if you're interested.

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