Whether you’re a home buyer or seller, real estate professional, lender, law firm or government agency, at some point in time you may need to use the services of an environmental risk information company. But what do these companies actually do, and how can they help you? Hopefully, this article will de-mystify the work of environmental risk information companies and show you the benefits they could bring to your business or real estate sale.
Home buyers and sellers
If you’re about to purchase a new property, or are considering putting your home on the real estate market, you should consider any environmental risks in the area – these could affect your property’s value as well as affecting your family’s health, so it’s important to stay informed. As a general rule, 85% of properties will have public records relating to environmental contamination that you should check out before you consider making a purchase. These records could relate to landfills, underground tanks which are leaking, illegal drug labs or waste sites containing hazardous materials. Wouldn’t you like to know more about the area you’re moving to? A Neighbourhood Environmental Report (NER) can tell you all this, and more. If you’re looking for more environmental information, the Environmental Information Service Centre (part of the US Environmental Protection Agency) can help.
Real estate professionals
If you’re a real estate professional, you probably already use a variety of tools to assist your clients and secure that all-important sale, but did you know that there are services provided by environmental risk information companies which could be even more beneficial to your business?
Environmental data resources such as radius map reports instantly show you high-risk locations, for example, a historic gas plant or gas station. All the important data you need to advise your clients is included in a report of this nature, but there are a number of other environmental reports you may find useful too. A City Directory can provide useful information dating back to the 1800’s for a property and other nearby properties, looking at five-year intervals for the most accurate results. Using tools such as these could mean the difference between clinching that big sale and falling flat!
Legal professionals can benefit from the services provided by an environmental risk information company too, and this can boost the service you are able to offer to your clients. Sanborn Maps and Historical Aerial maps give nationwide coverage and are a great way to work out what a site was used for prior to becoming a residential property – many environmental risk information companies will be able to supply aerial photographs dating back as far as the 1930’s, and this information could be invaluable to clients considering purchasing a property for residential or commercial use. Photographs such as these can be used for cases such as boundary or other legal disputes, and could be invaluable for legal professionals. Sanborn Maps date back to the late 19th century and will allow you to track the changing use of land and property – many environmental risk information companies allow you to order digital copies of these maps online for your convenience. Learning about land cover isn’t just useful for legal professionals – anyone involved with land management or planning can benefit from this knowledge too. Using Sanborn Maps is a cost-effective and accurate way to find out more about current conditions and how they are changing. This can also be used by governments and environmental planning officers when developing plans for the future. In fact, engineering firms, water districts, environment/research organizations, government and forestry organizations are just some of the types of companies that will benefit from land cover knowledge using Sanborn Maps.
Environmental risk information companies are not only a great source of environmental information for corporate organizations; as you can see they also offer services to the public including neighbourhood Environmental Reports for home buyers and sellers. If you’re considering moving to a new area and purchasing a new property, it is well worth spending the time and money to have one of these reports carried out, particularly if you value the health and safety of your family.
About the author:
Marshall Peterson has worked as a freelance writer for over 10 years, writing widely about environmental and green issues. A passionate eco-warrior, he does his bit for the environment and is teaching his kids Poppy (aged 3) and Heather (aged 6) to do the same!