Two Reasons To Have The Soil Analyzed Before Buying A Home

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There are many things you must consider when purchasing a home: the number of rooms and bathrooms it has and how far it is from your job, for instance. One thing not nearly enough home buyers consider is the quality of the soil the home sits on. Here are two reasons you should invest time and money in having the ground around your potential home looked at by a professional before you make an offer.

Chemicals and Contaminants Could Cause Cancer

Possibly the top issue of concern is the soil may contain chemicals and contaminants that could make you and your family sick and even cause cancer. And homes located in major metropolitan areas aren't the only ones at risk. Even house in rural, suburban, and low population areas can have soil that's filled with harmful contaminants, particularly those who live where flooding and severe weather events are common.

There are several ways contaminants can find their way into the soil. Storms and other severe weather events can relocate contaminants from one area to another. In particular, flood waters will often pick up oil, gas, and a myriad of pollutants and redistribute them to every area the water touches.

Another common source of contaminants is underground structures and devices. For instance, a leak in a septic tank system may saturate the ground with sewage waste. Forgotten propane and natural gas tanks may also leak harmful pollutants into the soil.

Having the soil tested for these items can help you avoid purchasing a home that may make you sick or at least prepare to take care of the problem before you move in.

Structural Issues from Shifting Soil

Another reason you want to have the soil inspected is it may cause structural damage to the home over time. Contrary to what you may think, soil is not solid. It's essentially a bunch of small particles tightly packed together. As such, it is prone to shifting and moving around, particularly if it gets wet. This is why homes typically settle after being built, and you end up with irregularities such as misaligned doors and cracked drywall.

There are different varieties of soil, but soil with the smallest particles (e.g. clay and silt) can cause the biggest problems because their particles expand when they come in contact with water. This means they will shift around the most, which may lead to major damage to the home over time.

There are several ways to minimize the effect of shifty soil, such as pre-compacting and ensuring there's proper drainage around the home. Knowing what type of soil you have can help you ask the right questions and perform the right maintenance to reduce structural problems.

For more information about this issue or help choosing from the houses for sale, talk with your real estate agent.