Neighborhood Toxicity On The Web

A New York Times article from late August reminded me of the service I talked about in an earlier post about getting reports on environmental hazards in your neighborhood. I learned about the reporting company at the Eco-Broker conference in Denver this summer.

The NYT article talked about a company called Toxics Targeting which is an environmental data firm in Ithaca, NY. This company has a website which allows you to check environmental data for free. Unlike the EDR Neighborhood Environmental Report that you can get through and EDR certified professional, Toxics Targeting provides information via the Web and is readily available to you as a consumer right now.

Unfortunately it’s not available in Colorado. For those of you I’ve heard from in New York, this may be perfect for you. You may be wishing though, that you had this available when you were in the process of buying rather than in your current situation.

Don’t despair though, I think that it’s worth investigating how your neighborhood stacks up. Just like a regular home inspection, this can give you an advantage over your competition.

Before you go calling me crazy, let me explain.

As with a home inspection, you have a choice about your next step. Sure, unlike the traditional inspection, if you find that your furnace is dying you can simply replace the offending furnace and let all buyers know it’s a brand new rig.

What some sellers do though, is inspect, disclose, and adjust their price accordingly. You too can get an advantage over your competition with this added information. Remember, frequently information is power.

So let’s say you go to the Toxics Targeting website and find that in your immediate vicinity there’s some environmental issue that might jeopardize the sale or price of your home. That’s going to be true for all sellers in the area. While you are armed with information, just as all buyers will be if they’ve done their due diligence, you can adjust your asking price properly to get the home sold. Remember, just about any home can be sold, if the price or terms are right.

While other homes for sale in your neighborhood will languish on the market due to their above-market high prices, you will sell your home at the right price since you’ve informed yourself early in the game.

This is true for the standard home inspection also. Sometimes sellers can’t financially handle making repairs after learning about all the ‘deferred maintenance’ items that can come up in a pre-marketing inspection. Their next tool is to price the home properly to get it sold with the undone, deferred maintenance.

Not the best choice, and not my first recommendation, but a workable solution.

Whether it’s an impossibility to make changes to the home due to a lack of resources, or due to neighborhood environmental issues, there are always more options if you have the power of information.

I hope you enjoy reading my work. If you’re thinking of buying or selling, and don’t already have a Realtor helping you, I’d love the opportunity to help you. Please click the contact button at the top of this page if you are ready to get started.

-Zachary Epps, full-time professional Realtor

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