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The extra tests you need sometimes

Lisa Wetzel and Jim Valentine
Special to the Sun-Bonanza
Unless there was a recent Water Quality test done for your water, be sure to get one.
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Most residential real estate transactions today utilize the services of Physical and Pest inspectors. Once in awhile, their reports lead to additional inspections or tests.

Sometimes the nature of the property leads to additional testing or services being required. However you get there, when you need to get extra information about the property you are buying, do it.

A common additional test series involves drinking water. Unless there was a recent Water Quality test done for your water, be sure to get one.

You are going to be your own water purveyor, get off to the right start. Some situations will require a Water Flow test. Be careful if you are advised to pull the pump to check it out. More damage can come from pulling and reinstalling it than from the onset of age on a pump.

“A good way to assure a viable septic system is to hire a good septic company to pump the tank and look it over for you. They may have just pumped it a year or so ago and can tell you about it without coming out.”

Some local subdivisions actually have water problems in their homes even though they are supplied by quality water purveyors. The problem is not the water supply. Be careful — all may not be what it appears to be.

How are the corners on the property you are buying? Established neighborhoods may look just fine, but mistakes could have been made decades ago that will impact you if you want to build close to the property line or build a new fence.

Surveys can also reveal setback violations that may haunt you later. We don’t do many surveys for the typical home sale around here, but in the right circumstance don’t let the cost deter you. It may cost you a lot more in the future if fences aren’t truly on the boundary line.

Radon is often spoken about, but not many escrows actually involve a radon test in our area. Most homes are constructed to minimize the danger of radon if the vents are opened and closed properly.

Some areas are more susceptible to radon than others, i.e., those on the hillside with DG soil, decomposed granite. In such areas it is advised not to have closed in basements without a radon filtration system, or good air movement.

Septic inspections are interesting. Some people give a lot of credence to their validity, but they mostly consist of looking around for surface water or increased vegetation where the septic is located.

A good way to assure a viable septic system is to hire a good septic company to pump the tank and look it over for you. They may have just pumped it a year or so ago and can tell you about it without coming out.

Mold mitigation gets really interesting. There are good molds, and bad molds, but once the “M” word is mentioned emotion usually takes over.

In our dry climate we don’t see anything like what coastal communities experience with mold issues in a house. Mitigation can be anything from spraying a small patch of mold to closing the house off and bringing in big equipment.

Besides being expensive and taking a long time, that type of mitigation is quite ominous and many scare off even the staunchest of Buyers.

Our Advice: Every transaction is unique due to the people and property involved. Some can’t get enough testing while others don’t want to be bothered.

Some properties are immaculately maintained while others beg to be inspected. It is important to understand that we’ve seen surprises in both situations.

Immaculate properties with an abundance of required work and run down looking properties that are in very good overall condition. It is important to get beyond the paint and carpet when considering the condition of the property and your decisions on inspections.

Inspections, tests, investigations are cheap insurance. Better to pay $300 for an inspection than $17,000 for an unexpected repair. Until it transfers, the existing problems belong to the seller. Make sure you really know what you are buying.

Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, CDPE, SFR, work for RE/MAX Realty Affiliates in the Carson Valley. Visit carsonvalleyland.com or call 775-781-5472 for information.