Home Inspection
Information From
Alban Home
Inspection Service

March '06

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From The Desk of
Arthur Lazerow


What has happened to radon testing during real estate purchases in our area? Ten years ago, Alban performed radon tests during 35% of our home inspections. During the last two years we averaged about 12%. Radon is not a large profit center for Alban, so this is not a financial issue to us. However, it is a real concern because radon is a killer. Radon is the second most significant cause of lung cancer, behind smoking. 21,000 people are estimated to die from radon caused lung cancer every year. Estimates are that 10 million homes and 38 million people are affected by radon. Radon has been found in ever state in the U.S. and every county in Maryland.
A negative radon test is obviously beneficial and reassuring to all parties in a transaction. A radon test finding of elevated radon levels is beneficial to the future occupants and warns the previous occupants to be radon safe in the future. This triggers the need for remediation, which in our area costs between $750-$900 for the typical home. The system in place does not affect the value of the home and operating costs are about $75.00 per year. No deal killer there. Installing a radon remediation is usually simple and permanently reduces radon concentrations below the EPA action level. There are other benefits. The system acts to depressurize the subsoil areas under the home in relationship to the pressures in the home. This prevents moist soil air from being drawn into the home, eliminating mold and mildew transmission and reducing humidity levels. The system can prevent other soil contaminates, such as methane gas, pesticides and herbicides, from entering the home.
Do not shy away from radon testing as a Realtor. Keeping your clients radon safe is the right thing to do!

Get Ready
Preparing For a Home Inspection

Face it: if your client is selling a home, chances are he will be subjected to a home inspection. But that’s nothing to get worked up about. Tell your client that almost every buyer will hire a professional set of eyes to take a close look at the home before going to closing. No big deal!

Of course, the seller may feel more confident about the inspection if he has prepared his home for it. The best preparation is to take care of the house’s maintenance and upkeep all along. But here’s some spot checking tips you can share before the inspection — just for the seller’s peace of mind: Mold and Mildew Spots — these are red flags that might spell the end to a potential purchase. Toxic black mold has been making headlines — and that makes buyers even more wary of homes that show evidence of mold or mildew. Homeowners should take care of any mold – even the nontoxic variety — as soon as possible, killing it, fixing the source and totally cleaning the area. Plumbing Problems — Leaks and clogs are an easy fix, and one that should be completed long before an inspection appointment has been made. The inspector will check water pressure by turning on a variety of faucets and flushing toilets simultaneously. He’ll also check the washers and dishwashers for leaks or clogs, as well as inspect the septic system for drainage problems. And speaking of water…Wet

Basements and Crawlspaces — Tell the homeowner to take a deep breath — in his basement. If he smells mildew, the basement is too moist. He should check the walls and floors for mildew patches and other signs of dampness. Moisture can deteriorate building materials and attract unwanted pests, so an inspector will be monitoring dampness closely. The homeowner should alleviate the problem by covering exposed earth in these areas to keep the moisture level down. He should also repair leaking basement walls or lower the price of the house to reflect the problem.
The Stuff On Top — Problems may also occur in the roof, gutters and chimneys. The homeowner should check the shingles or roof covering and replace and repair as necessary. The gutters should be clean and downspouts are positioned so water flows away from the home. The flashing around the chimney should be watertight, and all mortar and bricks should be in good condition.
Electrical Systems — The electrical panel and circuit break configuration will be inspected to assure they meet the needs of the house. For the most part, a 125 amp electrical panel should be sufficient. The homeowner should make sure the individual circuits aren’t overloaded, and that receptacles in the bathroom and kitchen are complete with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFI). The inspector will probably test the receptacles to assure they

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Alban is proud to offer FREE Continuing Education Courses in Real Estate Offices! Call Tina to schedule one of our educational seminars, for additional information, or to schedule our services at 800-822-7200 or 301-662-6565.

ALBAN ANNOUNCES RADIO SHOW! Check out Arthur Lazerow, President of Alban Home Inspection Service, the co-host on WMET 1160 AM Intelligent Radio Real Estate Today! Saturdays 10 to 11 AM!


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