Buyers, House Inspections, Sellers

Professionals on the 10

We sat down with Home Inspector extraordinaire Brian Abate from Housemaster. Brian was able to give us some tips on how to prepare your property to be viewed in the best light this selling season. These five items are cost-effective and will ensure a smooth transition during your real estate sale process.

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 Make sure to call Brian and his team to schedule your home inspection. Best in the biz…

#1 – Underground Oil Tanks

By far the most vocalized cause of concern was the presence of underground fuel tanks. This
is driven largely from worst case scenario portraits that have appeared in law publications in
the past few years. The only way to satisfy an attorney’s question regarding buried oil tanks
is to perform a magnetometer scan of the property. A magnetometer is similar to a metal
detector but only responds to ferrous (iron) metals, like steel fuel tanks. We detect the
presence of underground fuel tanks less than 1% of the time when other physical evidence
(fill, vent and supply lines) is absent. Performing a magnetometer scan and being able to
supply documentation that there is no buried oil tank will relax a potential buyer’s fears, allay
a real estate attorney’s concerns and keep the real estate transaction on track.

#2 – Assessment for Fungi
Coming in second on the sensitivity list is a fear of mold, no pun intended. However, the
problem here is not with a potential buyer’s concerns regarding fungal proliferation but with
a whole army full of self-proclaimed ‘mold specialists’ stoking the fire with fear. They will
conduct air and surface sampling without performing the most important facet of a mold
investigation, which is moisture detection. In fact, random mold testing is frowned upon by
every regulatory authority (EPA, CDC, NIH, AIHA, etc.) because the testing is for mold
spores and not actual fungal proliferation. The presence of mold spores does not actually
support a fungal problem. We perform thousands of moisture related investigations each year
and provide topical analysis rather than anecdotal advice based on mold testing results.

#3 – Inspection for Asbestos
There is a common misconception that all asbestos is bad. In fact, EPA recommends nonfriable
asbestos (material that is in good shape) to be left alone, yet some people will run
screaming for the hills at the mere mention of the word asbestos. Fueling that fear occurs
when asbestos removal companies are asked for advice. The easiest way to allay those fears
is to proactivly have an engineer inspect the property and issue a report regarding the
possible presence of asbestos containing material and, more importantly, its condition. It is a
commonplace issue where we have to explain risk versus reward when considering asbestos

#4 – Radon Screening
Where do we begin on this one? EPA claims that 23,000 people die annually from exposure
to radon. That’s pretty scary. However, if testing is performed under controlled conditions the
results are less misleading than a ‘snapshot’ picture taken during a home inspection. Being
able to provide a radon picture of your property from the outset will prevent any snags
during a real estate transaction.

#5 – Appliance Recalls
This one sounds a little inocuous until you take into consideration that furnaces, boilers, air
handlers, condensing units and electrical panels are considered appliances. The number of
times that we hear that a home inspector or electrician noted that a factory recall requires
replacement of equipment is uncountable. The truth of the matter is that they never provide
documentation. We employ a service that queries the CPSC database to determine if recalls
are in place for any of your appliances. That’s the good news. The better news is that if a
recall exists, the contact information is supplied to you to have the appliance repaired or
replaced – usually at the manufacturer’s expense.

Thanks Brian!

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