Updated: Jan 22
Purchasing a home is a complicated procedure. Even with the guidance of an expert realtor, the house hunting process can take months. Then once you find a home you like, it has to pass the inspection process and you have to attain funding and make an enticing offer to the seller.
One key aspect of a real estate transaction is the inspection process. This is your chance to uncover any issues in the home that could cost you thousands to fix after the sale, or even worse, could make the home unsafe or unhealthy to be in long-term.
Things like structural damage, a failing roof, water damage, hidden mold, plumbing or electrical issues are all pertinent here.
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As more people become aware of the health impacts of electromagnetic radiation (EMF) there's a new type of real estate inspection that's gaining in popularity: an EMF inspection . More research is coming out every year and more scientists are calling for precaution regarding exposure to this type of radiation. Common producers of EMFs are essentially all around us these days, including inside homes.
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What are EMFs?
I'll keep it brief. EMFs are forms that energy takes as it travels about the universe. In the modern world, we harness this energy, in the form of electricity and radio waves to power our homes, and connect to the internet. Here are common sources:
Health impacts are well established and include daily performance drains like brain fog, ringing in the ears, skin rashes, body aches. Plus, links to cancer, diabetes and fertility issues are present when EMF exposures are high for an extended time. See the BioInitiative Report for more info.
Why Should I Have an EMF Real Estate Inspection Performed?
Just like with a conventional home inspector or mold inspector, an EMF real estate inspection will identify major issues that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars to fix, potentially making the purchase of a home out of your budget or generally unreasonable.
In some cases, like with power lines, there may be nothing you can do to mitigate the radiation and make the home safe to live in. An EMF inspection can save you the anguish of falling in love with a house, making the purchase, and then watching your family get sick.
An EMF inspection can save you the anguish of falling in love with a house, making the purchase, and then watching your family get sick.
Typical Sources of EMF Radiation Found in Real Estate Transactions
So what types of EMFs typically come up during real estate inspections? There are two main categories: Radiofrequency (Wireless) and ELF (Power Grid).
Radiofrequency/Wireless covers external transmitters like cell towers, radio antennas, smart gas, electric and water meters plus nearby strong sources of WiFi from a neighbor or even the city itself.
ELF/Power Grid covers the flow of electricity outside of and inside of the home. Common sources that create issues are power lines, home wiring errors, home appliances and unwanted current being injected onto the home grounding wiring. I've also found major issues with the city's street lamps at the curb, and dirty power coming from the utility.
EMF Real Estate Inspections in Seattle, WA
Here is one example of an issue I discovered in a home my clients were considering purchasing in Seattle, WA
EMF Real Estate Inspections in Portland, OR
Here's another video showcasing the effect a pad-mount transformer (green box out front of some homes) has on the front yard and interior spaces of the home. This is one of those sources of EMF radiation that is unreasonable to shield or remediate.
How Much EMF Radiation is Acceptable
There are well established guidelines by the Building Biology Institute telling us how severe the EMF radiation is in a given home. A Quality, professional EMF inspector with the proper training will take this into account but will also take it one step further for you.
Just because a home has a high EMF radiation exposure, doesn't mean it shouldn't be considered. Here's an example:
House #1: Has a nearby cell tower and is in the extreme category for HF/RF exposure (see image below)
House #2: Is right by power lines producing an extreme level of AC magnetic inside the home.
Both homes have extreme exposures, but in only one home can you do anything about it. That's home #1, where shielding paint and materials can be incorporated to block the cell tower. This is the nuance that a professional EMF inspector can help you see.
How Long Does an EMF Real Estate Inspection Take?
This inspection generally takes 60-90 minutes, and for my clients, focuses on what I consider "red flag deal breakers". Again these are issues with the home electrical or external sources like power lines / cell towers that would cost an unreasonable amount to address. At the end of the inspection, I'll go over my findings and recommendations with you and answer any questions you may have. I'll leave you with a written report covering all the important details.
Do It Yourself Real Estate EMF Inspection
Here are a few tools you can use to rule out potential properties and not waste money and time on houses that are non-starters.
Google Maps: A satellite view is always useful to look for deal breaker items like cell towers less than 0.5 miles away, and power lines. As a general rule, if you have large power lines on big metal towers closer than 300', you should probably rule that house out.
Antenna Search / nPerf: These two resources will give you an idea of where the cell towers are for a given address, including 5G. Here's an article I wrote about detecting and protecting from 5G, if you have concern.
Drive by: Walking or driving through the neighborhood will help you spot items not seen on Google Maps or not listed on the sites for #2.
Get your own meters. Having your own meters is a fantastic way to verify a house is low enough EMF to justify the next step of a professional EMF inspection. The meters that I recommend are easy to use and very accurate. They won't cover all of the tests I perform, but they will save you money in the long run. Use my code ODS05 when checking out for discount: Shane's recommended EMF meters
Professional vs. DIY Real Estate Inspection: What's Right For my Family?
It is possible to rule out some houses or rentals with the tips in the previous section. However, this won't catch all significant EMF issues (those that I consider deal breakers), and it can take time to perform this research and learn to use the meters (plus the cost of the meters). Because of this, many people opt to use the 'easy button' and hire me for a professional evaluation right off the bat.
For peace of mind, and speed of results, nothing beats a professional inspection.
You, or your realtor can set that up quickly with my convenient scheduling tool (click the button below). If you have a few homes in mind, I even offer a discount package for inspecting two homes.
I hope you found this overview of why EMF should be incorporated into your real estate search valuable. If you have any questions about the process, please reach out or feel free to setup a discovery call with me below.
Shane Reilly Electromagnetic Radiation Specialist Owner - Optimal Dwelling Spaces LLC
email@example.com 971.204.8956 ***************
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