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My Property Info

2010 August 30

By Wendy Schumacher

Prior to relocating to Washington in 2007, I had to sell my home in Fort Collins, Colorado. The biggest challenge to marketing the property wasn’t the original1962 kitchen cabinets or the three feet of snow covering the beautiful drought tolerant garden, it was determining if radon was present and, if so, if the level was above acceptable limits.

In many states, sales contracts require that people selling property certify if the property is located in a flood plain or free from a variety of environmental hazards ranging from radon to lead paint. On the other hand, today’s buyers and their lenders want to know more. In fact, a large number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted to EPA ask for records about a single property someone is considering buying or financing or because some states require certification that EPA does not have any information on the property. The FOIA process gives federal agencies 20 working days to respond. For this type of request, most of the time EPA does not have any record of the requestor’s potential new home or small business. That’s always good news!

To reduce the amount of time for requestors to obtain a response from days to minutes, on June 25, 2010, EPA released a web-based tool where it will be possible to search EPA’s databases for environmental information by an individual address and print it in a single report. The tool is called MyPropertyInfo.

The tool’s primary audience is expected to be real estate agents, mortgage banks and engineering and environmental consulting firms. That said, everyone around the office who has helped with testing this new tool has looked up their own and their Mom’s address, too.

Wouldn’t MyPropertyInfo have been useful during my time as the FOIA Officer in EPA’s Regional Office in Chicago! I’ll never forget being seated at a formal dinner next to a real estate attorney who wanted to know the status of his client’s proposed purchase of a former gas station before we even finished our salads.

About the author: Wendy Schumacher is on detail to the National FOIA Office from the Office of Water. Between assignments in EPA Region 5 and Headquarters, she spent six years with the National Park Service’s Natural Resource Program Center in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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18 Responses leave one →
  1. Don Webb permalink
    September 1, 2010

    Knowledge is the key to maximizing the land ownership experience, both for current and prospective land owners. Unfortunately, the information that supports acquiring knowledge is often hard to find and filter through. Online tools like this are a great resource.

  2. Jerry Morgan permalink
    September 5, 2010

    “In many states, sales contracts require that people selling property certify if the property is located in a flood plain or free from a variety of environmental hazards ranging from radon to lead paint.”
    True in California as well we have a lot of issues in Los Osos regarding the Snowy Plover and due to its endangered species level meanys people haven’t been able to sell there homes. I know this isn’t exactly radon or lead paint but it is a serious issue in the environmental vs. construction rights concept. .

  3. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    September 5, 2010

    This tool will be a huge help to buyers and sellers of real estate. It is something that has been a long time in coming and now that it has, it will be used alot as word gets out that EPA has it. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  4. Keala Kanae permalink
    September 24, 2010

    This will also be helpful for another important niche… Real Estate Investors such as myself. With foreclosures on the rise and property prices at all time lows, those with the proper Investment training have found an opportune time to enter the market these last few years, especially those Investors specializing in no money/ no credit type deals. Because time is of the essence in nearly every investment situation, I am happy that the EPA is providing this tool.

  5. Buy Home Or Sell Home permalink
    October 28, 2010

    This tool will be extremely useful to both buyers and sellers of real estate. It will be of great use as word gets around that EPA has it.
    Best of luck

  6. James permalink
    November 12, 2010

    Truthfully speaking, I do think that one solution to helping the economy is through real estate. Yeah, foreclosures should go down so that more people can afford. And that the qualifying process should not be very strict. Yeah, this tool is very helpful indeed.

  7. Thailand Real Estate permalink
    November 12, 2010

    Someone who clearly knows their subject, it’s great to not be led around the information world on a goose chase, informative and very reliable. Internet power is well and truly with you brother. Thanks for these posts and more

  8. Real Estate MLS permalink
    March 25, 2011

    It can be both extremely difficult and expensive to obtain flood insurance, so this too is a topic that needs consideration when purchasing a property.

  9. myrealestatetools.com permalink
    June 4, 2011

    If you are to avail this tool EPA would be much happier because its gonna be a big help.

  10. Cairns Real Estate for Sale permalink
    August 20, 2011

    Having an own property is great. But you should be wise on choosing and investing a property. It help’s a lot to be a wise person.

  11. city cash loans permalink
    September 19, 2011

    The tool’s primary audience is expected to be real estate agents, mortgage banks and engineering and environmental consulting firms.

  12. San Diego Real Estate permalink
    January 2, 2012

    I think that EPA is so important in this environment because of the risk of selling to peolpe without disclosing proper paperwork.

  13. Desmund permalink
    May 24, 2012

    You might want to refer from real estate properties experts.

  14. June 13, 2012

    Custom made kitchen cabinets that stand the test of Time.

  15. Veenita permalink
    February 26, 2013

    Really this information is really useful for real estate for buying and selling property. Real estate is good source for investment. Many people invested in real estate this information is very helpful for investment. Thank you sharing such nice information.

  16. DC Home Buyers permalink
    July 4, 2013

    What would be nice is if the EPA would be more active in providing tools or information to home owners who are doing renovations about the materials they are using. It seems California is always 10 steps ahead of the EPA – should be that way.

    CG

  17. Jahangir Alam permalink
    April 10, 2014

    Real Estate business is now a top label business in the world and perfect for investment.I think this is a good information for those people who want to invest in this sector.This will also helpful for a buyer.

  18. Jahangir Alam permalink
    April 10, 2014

    I will be beneficial by this information.I am a real estate business man in singapore.This information will help me to take a good decision.

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