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Home > Home Buying Tips > Tips for Buying a Safe Home

Tips for Buying a Safe Home


Buying a home can be a wonderful and exciting experience, but today homebuyers are realizing more than ever before just how much of a commitment they are making when they do make the move to buy a home. Not only are you committing to making mortgage payments over the course of several years, but you are also committing to the upkeep and maintenance of that home. If something goes wrong with the house or you discover after the fact that there is a serious hazard, you cannot simply pick up the phone and call the landlord to repair it. You bear the sole responsibility. Toward that end, it is imperative to make sure you fully investigate a home before you purchase it to be sure you are aware of any potential health hazards it might pose.

In today's modern world we are learning more and more about the many potential hazards a home can hold, including lead, mold and radon. Such toxins can not only be a headache and a hassle to deal with, but they can also seriously impair your health and can be even potentially fatal.

Most people today are aware of the dangers associated with carbon monoxide. Before you buy a home, always make sure it is equipped with not just smoke detectors, but also carbon monoxide detectors as well. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer for a reason; you won't be able to detect this gas until far after it is too late. Many local areas actually have regulations regarding how many carbon monoxide detectors should be in a home and where they should be placed. Check your local rules and at the very least be sure you have detectors near all of the bedrooms in the home.

It is also a good idea to spend some time learning as much as you can about the heating system and the appliances in the home. This is because appliances that burn fuel act as a source for producing carbon monoxide. If they are not vented and maintained in a proper manner, you can have a serious and possibly deadly situation on your hands. Before you commit to buying a home, find out when equipment such as water heaters, furnaces, wood-burning stoves, gas dryers and gas rangers were last replaced and serviced.

Many people do not stop to consider radon when buying a home, but it can be a serious issue. Before moving into a new home, be sure it has been tested for radon. Remember, radon is colorless and odorless, but the health consequences can be long-term. It only takes a few minutes to pick up a testing kit. Most hardware stores and home improvement stores sell them or you can hire a professional to test your home for you.

Leaky faucets aren't just a nuisance; they can also lead to a very serious problem with mold. If your new home has wet areas, a musty smell, high humidity or water stains, you should be wary. Anytime there has been any type of leak within the home, it is possible that mold may have developed. Mold doesn't just look bad and smell bad; it can pose a serious risk to your health.

For many years now, public service announcements have warned of the dangers posed by lead in a home. Make it a point to find out the exact age of a home before you buy it. Homes that were constructed prior to 1978 may contain paint with lead in it. If your home was built before 1950, the chance that there is lead in the paint is even more likely. You can purchase a lead testing kit at most home improvement stores that will allow you to test for lead hazards in your home as well as in the soil.

Finally, make sure you do not overlook the importance of having your home tested for pests. This should ideally be done before you finalize the purchase. In many areas, you can make the purchase contract subject to the outcome of the pest inspection. If your home is infested with certain pests, such as termites, it can be time consuming and expensive to rectify the problem. You are much better off knowing in advance so you can re-negotiate or possibly even pull the plug on the deal if the infestation is too serious. In many cases, the sellers may be willing to lower the sales price or cover the cost of treatment based on the outcome of the pest inspection.


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