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Colorado’s Environmental Hazards – Beware Homebuyers (and Homeowners)

Posted by Susanna Haynie on July 10, 2013
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environmental hazardColorado has a rich history with gold and silver mining in the past centuries and oil drilling, coal mining in this and the last century.These activities have had tremendous impact on the environment. Colorado state, counties and cities are working hard on remediating the results of these past endeavors and try to anticipate and prevent environmental catastrophes with new ones.

When buying or owning a home there are very obvious concerns: Does the roof leak? How old is the heater? Are there any cracks in the foundation? However, there are other issues that might not be obvious that you need to consider or pay attention to.

Although most states in general still adhere to the doctrine of caveat emptor = “buyer beware,”   –  known facts about a property’s environmental characteristics must be shared with prospective buyers. Most likely you will recognize the most obvious environmental issue(s) on a property. In Colorado, sellers and brokers are required to disclose any defect or hazard of which they are aware. The Seller’s Property Disclosure form, which is approved by the Colorado Real Estate Commission addresses several environmental concerns and should be honestly and carefully completed by the Seller to the best of their knowledge. There is no need to be fearful of what might be wrong with the property you want to buy, just do lots of  research and get professional opinions during the time you have to do your due diligence. Your Realtor will assist you with questions.

Walk your property to see any unusual things and check for notes on the seller properties disclosure like these:

  • hazardous materials on the Property, such as lead (together with asbestos and radon, probably the most common hazard) radioactive, toxic, or bio-hazardous materials, asbestos, pesticides, herbicides, wastewater sludge, radon, methane, mill tailings, solvents or petroleum products
  • Underground storage tanks (check if there are any close by your property)
  • Aboveground storage tanks
  • Underground transmission lines
  • Pets kept on the Property
  • Property used as, situated on, or adjoining a dumpsite, landfill or municipal solid waste landfill
  • Monitoring wells or test equipment.
  • Sliding, settling, upheaval, movement or instability of earth or expansive soils of the Property
  • Mine shafts, tunnels or abandoned wells on the Property
  • Within governmental-designated geological hazard or sensitive area
  • Within governmental-designated flood plain or wetland area
  • Dead, diseased or invested trees or shrubs (noxious weeds)
  • Environmental assessments, studies or reports done involving the physical condition of the Property
  • Property used for any mining, graveling, or other natural resource extraction operations such as oil and gas wells
  • Endangered species on the Property
  • Archeological features, fossils, or artifacts on the Property
  • Interior of improvements of Property tobacco smoke free
  • Other environmental problems.

Fracking: Lately fracking has been in the news – it’s longterm effects on homes and the environment are not known 100% yet. However, it would be definitely important for a homeowner to know about this activity in the area. You, the buyer, then determine if  this property is right or wrong for you.

These bullet points are not listed to scare the current home owner or home buyer, but to give a heads up on what may or may not be an issue on the property. If you know what to look for, it will help you to make the best possible decisions.

Resource: colorado.gov

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