Diversifying with Environmental Reports
By Benjamin V. Cesare
Home buyers today have more questions to ask than ever before—and they frequently turn to their home inspector for answers that will help them make a good decision for themselves and their family. Today’s savvy home buyer wants complete information about the properties they are considering — both the structure and the property surrounding it.
In response to the increasing numbers home buyers and homeowners performing due diligence as well as expanding disclosure standards for sellers of residential property, Environmental Data Resources (EDR) has introduced the EDR Neighborhood Environmental Report™.
Developed exclusively for residential real estate transactions, the report delivers information about a property and the neighborhood around it from a database of more than 23 million records including local, state and federal records of known environmental contamination in the United States over the last 100 years. EDR, the recognized authority in environmental risk information, has served the commercial real estate market since 1990.
Environmental hazards may seem like “somebody else’s problem.” And, although they are sometimes invisible to the naked eye, environmental contamination can be present on or near the most pristine looking of homes. A report can identify leaking underground tanks, state hazardous waste disposal sites, former landfill locations, even former “meth lab” locations which can hold highly toxic contaminants for years.
The EDR Neighborhood Report offers inspectors the opportunity to provide a value-added service to their customers and to take advantage of an opportunity to supplement revenue with minimal additional time required onsite. A home purchase is the biggest investment most people will ever make and this report helps to provide peace of mind that a family’s health and investment are protected.
The report is presented in an accurate, comprehensive, easy to understand summary available on all residential properties throughout the U.S. and is available through EDR-Certified home inspectors nationwide. It supplies information about the property within 300 feet of the address (approximately six acres) and information beyond 300 feet of the address up to one mile.
A leaking underground storage tank can seep into soil and groundwater and contaminate drinking water, indoor air quality and create unhealthy living conditions. In fact, the most recent statistics from EDR list more than 500,000 leaking tanks and well over 1,000,000 recorded locations of hazardous substances discharged throughout the United States.
Information on environmental risks is found within the files and databases of numerous local, state and government agency websites and in local libraries. While this information is publicly available, locating it is not always easy and usually very time consuming.
Home sellers and real estate agents also benefit from an EDR report. A home with a “clean” record is a valuable selling feature, particularly in a slower market. Buying a report and disclosing any issues affords the seller and the agent some liability protection.
Today, consumers can eliminate frustration and save time by ordering an EDR Neighborhood Environmental Report through a local EDR-Certified inspector.
To become EDR-Certified, home inspectors complete a convenient online training course provided by EDR. ASHI and NAHI members are eligible to receive five continuing education credits for completing the program, and some states have also approved the course for credit. For more details, go to www.edrnet.com or call (800) 624-0470.
About the Author
Benjamin V. Cesare is Managing Director of Residential Services, Environmental Data Resources, Inc.