Relocation.com reported on an area in California where residents are learning the hard way about researching their neighborhood.
Homeowners living in a neighborhood in the city of Carson learned that their home was once a Shell Oil tank farm, which is starting to pose health risks to residents. Complaints from residents range from the smell of gas in their neighborhood to tar-like liquid leaking on their yards. Plus, cancer-causing chemicals have been found in the area and the groundwater is said to hold high levels of chemicals and methane gas.
Unfortunately, these things happen – all the time – as land that was once used for manufacturing is repurposed into new housing.
So how can you protect yourself?
Research a neighborhood well. If the area is new, understand what occupied the land before you. Check state records and newspaper clippings.
Check local water records. You can learn a lot about the water in the area by requesting a water report on the area. Understand any problems that have existed in the past and what the company has done to remediate them.
Do your own testing. If you have any concerns about the land or water, hire an engineer to do some independent testing for you.
Research the developer. Especially in new construction visit other projects by the same developer. Learn about their philosophy and how they build and why.
Talk to the HOA. Call the HOA management company and make sure they are fully funded and there are no pending lawsuits.
Don’t be in hurry. Test out a neighborhood by renting a corporate housing home and see what it is all about – what does it sound like at 2:00 am – what does it feel like to shop in the local grocery store – who says hello when you walk down the street? These are all important factors and in today’s real estate market. Always take the time to make an educated decision.