House Hunting Questions

Feel free to copy and modify according to your own needs.

 

If there’s an interested and cooperative vendor or real estate agent who can speak with the vendor (or property manager, etc) to get the answers to as many of these questions as you need answered for your health, it’s easier to make better decisions about being able to function in a potential new home.

You can also use the list in other ways. Feel free to use as needed.

Possible intro:

QUESTIONS  regarding potential health issues for interested buyer /renter who suffers from severe allergies and chemical sensitivities.

We need and appreciate your complete honesty when answering these questions, realizing they may seem unusual. There are no right or wrong answers.

Your answers will help us to understand what substances and materials have been and may still be present in this environment, and if these are ones that are safe, or are present in safe amounts for the prospective buyer to be exposed to.  Sometimes trace amounts are dangerous, so we need to know the history. What may be normal and cause no problems for most of us may cause symptoms ranging from mild and irritating, to severe neurological effects, or something similar to what you might expect from someone with a peanut allergy.

We realize that no place will be perfect. The goal is to find a home that is least likely to have an impact on the existing medical condition.  We expect that some remediation or modification may need to be done before moving in to any home, and need to know to what extent this may or may not be possible here.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Homeowner Information

Name: _________________________________________________________________________

Occupation: _____________________________________________________________________

Address:________________________________________________________________________

Phone Number: _____________________________  Daytime Number:______________________

Email: _____________________________________ Other _______________________________

Please answer the following to the best of your knowledge.  If you are not sure of an answer, please indicate that you “don’t know”.

1)     What is the approx. age of your home?     _____ years

2)     What direction does your house face?  Circle two, if applicable:     N     E     S     W

3)     What direction are your prevailing winds from?  Circle two, if applicable:     N     E     S     W

4)     Have you ever used  Any plug-in type  air fresheners ?    Y ___ N  ___
IF YES… thank you but we cannot proceed.

If yes to any of these, approximately how often,   where, and  how long ago did you use them last?
All these products tend to be absorbed into walls, cabinetry etc, and contain substances which cannot be easily removed.

Any other air fresheners?       Y ___ N  __    _________________________________________
Sprays like Lysol?                      Y __  N  __     _________________________________________
Scented candles?                       Y __  N  __     _________________________________________
Incense?                                     Y __  N  __     _________________________________________

5)     Do you use fabric softeners for the laundry?   Yes____ No_____

Do you recall ever having spilled fabric softener on the floor before?     Y___   N ___
If yes, where, on what kind of a surface, and approximately how long ago did this happen?
____________________________________________________________________________

6)    Have you used WD40 or other lubricant in the home before?     Y  ___   N  ___

If yes, please specify where and when  used: _______________________________________

7)     What products do you use to clean the following areas?  When were they last used?

a) kitchen                  ___________________________________________________________________

b) bathroom             ___________________________________________________________________

c) carpets/floors             ___________________________________________________________________

d) permanent wood fixtures     ___________________________________________________________________

e) wood floors             ___________________________________________________________________

f) appliances             ___________________________________________________________________

8)     Is there anywhere else you use another cleaning product?  If so, where, and what do you use?

_______________________________________________________________________________

9)    Are any scents, cleaning or deodorizer products used in the closets/cabinets?    Y___  N ____

If yes, please indicate where and what is used: _____________________________________

10)   When was the most recent painting done and where? ________________________________

11)   Have you conducted any recent (within 10 years) renovations on this property?  Y ___   N ___

Of particular interest are any recent interior counters or cabinet installations (using particle board, MDF, or plywood), caulking or gluing, windows, flooring (vinyl, laminate, hardwood, tile…), carpet installation, roofing, plumbing or water damage repairs, or mould remediation work.

If so, please indicate what, where, and when these were done:

1.)    _________________________________________________________________________

2.)    _________________________________________________________________________

3.)    _________________________________________________________________________

4.)    _________________________________________________________________________

5.)    _________________________________________________________________________

12) Have you ever used pesticides (for insects and rodents) in the home before?     Y ___    N ___

If yes, please indicate what you used, where was it used, and when:

a) Store bought spray pesticides (such as Raid) _______________ (please name product used)

Used approx. _____ days/months/years ago in __________

b) Professional pest control spraying ___

Used approx. _____ days/months/years ago in ______________

c) Ant traps ___     d) Glue Paper ___

e) Other (please specify): ____________________________________

Used approx. _____ days/months/years ago where __________

13)    What is your water source?  __________________________________

If you have well water, how often is it checked? ___________________

Is anything required to make your well water safe to drink? __________

14)    Does this home use a septic system?     Y     N

If yes, when was the system last fully maintenanced? _________________________________

When is the system due to be maintenanced again? __________________________________

15) Please indicate any odours, however small, that you may recall sensing either in your home or outside over the past year:

a) Neighbour’s BBQ ___                       Detected inside ____  outside _____

b) Wood smoke from fireplaces ___               Detected inside ____  outside _____

c) Woodburning stoves ___                       Detected inside ____  outside _____

d) Gas fumes (or propane, or oil) ___               Detected inside ____  outside _____

e) Neighbour’s laundry line or dryer exhaust  ___                 Detected inside ____  outside _____

f) Roofing tar or asphalt ___                      Detected inside ____  outside _____

g) Garbage dump ___                        Detected inside ____  outside _____

h) Burning garbage ___                    Detected inside ____  outside _____

i) Diesel /propane exhaust fumes ___            Detected inside ____  outside _____

j) Industrial smells (if so, please specify if known): ____________________________________

16) Are there any go cart, ATV, or snowmobile trails nearby?     Y     N      Don’t know ___

If yes, approximately how far away are these trails from your residence? __________________

17)    Do you know of any planned roadwork near your home?     Y     N

18)     When was your road last resurfaced? ___________________________     Don’t know ______

19) Do you often see or hear airplanes near your residence?     Y     N

20) Approximately how far away is the nearest airport from your home? ______________________

21) Are there any industries or factories operating close to where you live?  Y    N     Don’t know___

If yes, approximately how far are they from your home?  If you can, please also specify what is produced.

a)    _________________________________________________________________________

b)    _________________________________________________________________________

c)    _________________________________________________________________________

22) Are any of the following businesses located within 1 mile of your home:

a)    Laundromats?    Y ___     N ___     Don’t know ___  If yes, approx. distance from home: __________ Direction ___________

b)    Dry cleaners?    Y ___     N ___     Don’t know ___  If yes, approx. distance from home: __________ Direction____________

c)    Hair salons?         Y ___     N ___     Don’t know ___  If yes, approx. distance from home: __________  Direction___________

d)    Other (please provide details): _______________________________________________________________________

23) Do you know of any cell phone towers located within 2 miles of your home?

Y ___     N ___     Don’t know ___

24) Do you know of any future plans to erect cell phone towers nearby?

Y ___     N ___     Don’t know ___

25) Are there any high transmission power lines located within 2 miles of your home?

Y ___     N ___     Don’t know ___

26) Is there a golf course located nearby?     Y     N

If yes, approximately how far and in which direction? ____________direction_____________

27) How close are the nearest rail lines to your home? __________________________________

28)  Is there a farm located nearby?     Y ____   N  ______  Several ________

If yes, approximately how far is it/are they from your home? ____________  directions _______

If you can, please specify what is farmed and in what direction :

_______________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________

29) Do you know of any outdoor pesticide or fertilizer use by you or your neighbours or township?

Y ___     N ___     Don’t know ___

If yes, please specify where used: and products used

This residence ___
DIY ___  Hired company ___ Frequency of use: __________ Products_______________________

By neighbours ___
DIY ___  Hired company ___ Frequency of use: __________ Products ______________________

Township ___ Utilities ____ How often and where _______________________________________

30) How would you describe the traffic on your road?     Rare ___     Regular ___     Busy ____

Approximately __________ cars/hour at peak times

31) Is your driveway currently plowed by a service?     Y ___     N ___   Reccomend? ___________

How long is the driveway?  __________  How far is the house from the road? ______________

32) Do you have outdoor laundry lines?   Y ___     N ___ If no, can lines be installed?  Y ___  N___

33) Is there a Vegetable garden here?     Y ___     N ___     Flower garden?     Y ___     N ___

34) What kinds of flowering trees are located on the property?

a)    None ___                        d)  Jasmine ___

b)    Catalpa ___                    Other ______________________________

c)    Lilac ___                        Other ______________________________

35) Please indicate, to the best of your knowledge, your closest neighbours and their approximate distance from your property.  Where there are no neighbours, please indicate the type of land in the specified direction (e.g. conservation land, swamp, horse farm, etc.)

a) North: _________________________________Approx. distance from property: __________

b) East: __________________________________Approx. distance from property: __________

c) South: _________________________________Approx. distance from property: __________

d) West:__________________________________Approx. distance from property: __________

36) What type of heating system does your home have? __________________________________

37) Do you have forced air vents?     Yes ___     No _____

If yes, are they lined?     Yes ___     No _____

Have they been recently cleaned?      Yes ___     No _____

If yes, by whom? ____________________________     When? __________

Were sprays/anti-bacterials used in the cleaning process?   Yes ___    No ___  Don’t Know ___

38) Please indicate if your home contains any of the following:

a) Air exchange unit? _____________        Last serviced: __________

b) HRV _____ with VOC filters? _____        Last serviced: __________

c) Attached Humidifier? ___        Last serviced: __________

d) Central Vac? ___            Last serviced: __________

e) Water filter or conditioner? ___    Last serviced: __________

39)    If known, please indicate the material used in your plumbing pipes: ___________________

40)     Do you know of any lead in your plumbing?    Yes ___  No ___   Don’t Know ___

41)     Is the laundry room/area  enclosed?  Yes___ No___   Type of door_________________                                                                                                                                                                                                               What materials are the floors made of?________       Walls?________

42)     What material are the kitchen cabinets? _______________Bathroom cabinets ____________

43) Is high speed internet available here?     Y ___     N ___     Don’t know ___

44) Is the mail delivered to the door?     Y ___     N ___

If no, how far away do you have to travel to pick up your mail? __________________________

45)  Is there a garage?  Yes___ No____  Is it Heated? ___________________________________

Other out buildings? ___________________________________________________________

Bunkie? ____________________________________________________________________

Gazebo or covered porch or deck? _______________________________________________

46)  Is the area quiet? Yes ____ No____   Can you hear any neighbours? ____________________

What kind of sounds are regularily heard here, and are they seasonal or regular?

___________________________________________________________________________

47) Does the house have an enclosed entryway / foyer?  Yes _____   No  _____

With an enclosed closet?    Yes _____  No_____

48) When was the roof last replaced? _________________________________________________

Is there anything else we may have missed, good or bad, that you want to add?

Maybe some of these should be in this questionnaire also…

What materials are the bathroom cabinets/sink/counter made of?____________

Is the tub and surround plastic/acrylic or enamel and tiles________________

What materials are the floors made of – list
Living room__________
dining room______________
bedrooms-
1__________
2_________
3__________
kitchen______
bathroom(s)_________
hallways_________
basement________
stairs____________

Is there any wood panelling?
Where?
What kind?
What is the finish on it? (paint, shellac, urethane,…)

What walls are the utility meters against? (bedroom, kitchen, etc)

Is there a smart meter, and if so, against which wall/room of the house?

Those are all our questions for now.  Thank you

 

Here’s a helpful checklist from reshelter:

Safer Housing – Househunters Checklist

Here’s a useful document download of things to be aware of when house-hunting, from MCS-CanadianSources (copied in 2008, not updated)

MCS and pre-existing dwellings

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7 responses to “House Hunting Questions

  1. Hi, I just found out about your website today. It has some great information on it! I am a little chemically sensitive but nothing to the extent of some of the people on here. My background is in real estate development and it has always scared me how many chemicals go into the average home, both in building and in maintenance. Just wondering, how is everyone with concrete homes? I always wondered if this could be a solution.

    • The concrete here had to be done without the usual chemical additives, which cause problems for people.

      The storage areas where the concrete bricks were not painted are still problematic, and in a couple of places I “wallpapered” them with sheets of mylar using double sided painters tape.

      Hempcrete is a newer material that some people are having success with. I haven’t been able to sample any myself, so don’t know how I’d do with it.

  2. Has anyone actually presented this list to a real estate agent and had a vendor return it?

    • I tried!

      Back in about 2008, I think it was, and when vendors balked, it became clear that it was because they had something to hide. They had major liability fears. I was able to discover a few details from other agents that confirmed there were undisclosed problems (like why there might have been a plug-in in the basement or elsewhere = mold).

      I did learn to avoid any place that didn’t want to answer questions!

      If you know anyone who could put together a more agent/vendor-friendly version that would be well received, let me know please!

  3. Did you find a good place to live since then and do you have any pointers? I am thinking I will end up in an apartment and have terror thoughts of bug spraying. It has been 20 years since my last apt then we could not say no. Do you know if that has changed.

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