If you are looking to buy a home that has the foundational healthy home criteria, this is the post for you.
Who should I work with?
When looking to buy a home, most people hire a realtor to help them find a home that suits their needs. To buy a healthy home, you will want to work with a realtor who is familiar with the healthy home and similar concepts. This will ensure they are looking at and selecting the right options for you and/or can help you see where improvements can be made in an existing home The following are some questions you can ask your realtor to figure out if they are the right fit for you.
- Do you have any educational background in health and wellness in the home or sustainability?
- Are you familiar with and/or a certified AP member of WELL or LEED?
- Are you familiar with the healthy home concept?
- Have you ever assisted anyone in search of a healthy or sustainable home?
- Are you familiar with sick building syndrome and what causes it?
- Would you be willing to research healthy homes/work with us in order to help us find one?
What should I look for?
Unfortunately, most homes were not built with health in mind. With that being said, it is becoming more and more common. Finding an intentionally-created healthy home in the area of your choice and price range, though, may be difficult. You can turn most homes into healthy homes, but there are some main aspects of the home that are difficult/impossible to change – so being on the lookout for homes that will not require these changes is ideal. I recommend finding a home that has the foundational potential to become the healthy home you desire, so that the changes you have to make after that are minimal.
- Exterior Environment: Part of picking a healthy and wellness promoting home includes finding the right environment in regards to proximity to parks, sidewalks, and easy access to outdoor activities. Look for a home that would encourage you to be outside and give you various outdoor activity options.
- Water Quality: Though we now have access to high quality water filtration systems, checking to see the water quality that home gets is still important. The fewer the contaminants, the more likely your filtration system will catch them. It is very important to know what contaminants are in the water in your area – that way, you can get a filtration system that can efficiently remove them. You also want to know whether or not you will get hard water in that home. Check what contaminants could be in your water here.
- Air Quality: Air quality of an area is not something you can necessarily control. Though you can purchase high quality air filtration systems for your home (and I highly recommend you do) you cannot control the air in your exterior environment that makes its way into your home naturally. Check your area’s AQI here.
What about hiring inspectors?
There are many aspects of a home that a realtor and a buyer are not able to figure out without the help of inspectors. Realtors will sometimes recommend inspectors they have worked with before, but before going with them (or the first inspector that pops up when you Google it), make sure to do your research to find inspectors you trust. Only 30 states regulate home inspectors!
You’ll want to make sure you are working with a certified home inspector or inspectors that look at the following areas.
- Electrical Structure
A typical home inspector is NOT looking for other environmental issues. You will want to look into getting an inspector or inspectors for the following areas as well.
If you are a realtor or working with a realtor that wants to learn more about healthy homes and how to find them then check out the following resources.
Prescriptions for a Healthy House, 3rd Edition: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders and Homeowners By: Paula Baker Laporte
The Healthy Home: Simple Truths to Protect your Family from Hidden Household Dangers By: Myron Wentz