Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Buyers of Foreclosed Properties in the Mid-Atlantic Beware


Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Foreclosed properties are often at risk of harboring a host of environmental concerns, including mold, lead and asbestos.

Lewes, DE, January 9th, 2012 -- Maryland’s home foreclosure filing rate increased in November 8.6% from the previous month.  Across the region property buyers are finding bargains due to the large number of foreclosures.


Foreclosed properties can offer buyers great value when purchasing residential or commercial properties.  Since many of these properties have been vacated for some time, and others have not been maintained, potential buyers should be aware of possible indoor environmental risks that may be present before buying.


Many of these potential hazards may also be found in non-foreclosed properties, but due to various circumstances, including neglect and damaged properties in need of renovations, may be more pronounced in foreclosed properties. 


Potential indoor environmental hazards may include:


  • Mold – mold can begin to grow in wet or high humidity environments in as short as 24 to 48 hours on many common materials used to build and furnish properties.
  • Lead - Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in paint and other products found in and around homes and other properties.
  • Asbestos - This mineral fiber has been used widely in a variety of building construction materials due to its fiber strength and heat resistant properties.
  • Sewage Contamination – Some neglected properties with sewage damage can present concerns over infectious diseases and microbial pathogens, including E. coli.
  • Vapor intrusion - Vapor intrusion generally occurs when there is a migration of volatile chemicals from contaminated groundwater or soil into an overlying building.
  • Radon - Exposure to radon in the home is responsible for an estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
  • Formaldehyde – Properties that have been recently renovated may have high levels of formaldehyde in the air due to off-gassing of materials.
  • Meth Lab – Properties that were once used as clandestine drug laboratories can have a host of toxic chemical residues indoors and hazardous waste outdoors if chemicals were dumped on the property.

“People need to be educated buyers when it comes to potential indoor environmental issues in many of these properties,” reported Susan White, Ph.D., CMC.  Dr. White is the President of Sussex Environmental Health Consultants (SEHC), a leading indoor air quality (IAQ) and environmental consulting firm serving the Mid-Atlantic region.   “A property inspection specifically for environmental concerns could save buyers and real estate investors tens of thousands of dollars in remediation costs.” 


SEHC recently sponsored a public outreach video about indoor environmental risks and foreclosed properties that can be seen at:


To learn more about SEHC’s indoor air quality (IAQ), environmental, or health and safety services, please visit, email or call (302) 947-1810.


About Sussex Environmental Health Consultants, LLC

SEHC is a certified woman owned business that provides environmental and health and safety consulting services.  The company is located in the Mid-Atlantic and services customers nationwide.  SEHC provides solutions to clients ranging from homeowners to international Fortune 500 Corporations.

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