You are about to make one of the biggest investments of your life. Between appraisals, surveys, & inspections… you are shelling out cash in all directions. Then you started thinking about asbestos…
In most real estate transactions, there is no requirement to get an asbestos inspection. But should you anyway?
Let’s dig a little deeper and answer that question.
What Are The Chances The Home Has Asbestos?
Honestly, there is a pretty good chance asbestos is contained somewhere in the home you are about to purchase. Asbestos was an extremely common component of many building materials through the last century. Even though it is less likely, modern materials may still contain asbestos fibers as well.
It is not a long shot to think that asbestos will be present in the home you are about to purchase.
Whoah… Should I Be Scared?
There is no reason to panic. Throughout your life you have been living, working, and playing in buildings that have asbestos materials. For the most part, the asbestos fibers have been safely locked into the components they are a part of. For example, vinyl floor tiles often contain asbestos. You have probably walked across these floors on more than one occasion. The asbestos fibers, however, stay firmly encased in the tiles and present no hazard to you.
Then What Is The Big Deal?
Asbestos presents a very real health hazard when the fibers are released into the air and breathed. In your lungs, asbestos leads to often fatal diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.
So the big deal is when building materials that contain asbestos are disturbed, they release the fibers into the air.
An extreme example of this was the collapse of the World Trade Center. Asbestos materials were pulverized and sent as a cloud over thousands of people. First responders and recovery workers were exposed to these fibers over the months that followed and many are now suffering the health effects.
An example that is more relevant to your question, though, is the removal of an interior wall. You are going to open that living room up just a tad so you take a hammer and crowbar to the wall not realizing that asbestos is present in the joint compound. The drywall demo produces asbestos containing dust that contaminates the room and is sucked into the air conditioner… I think you see where we are going here.
So What Should I Do?
This really comes down to a personal decision. If you are purchasing a home with plans to renovate or improve it, knowing if you have asbestos will help you make a better decision. You can account for the cost of an asbestos abatement in your budget and use the information as you are negotiating the purchase price of the home.
If your renovation will require a permit, you will need an asbestos survey anyway, so you may as well go ahead get it out of the way.
On the other hand, if you do not plan on any renovations or improvements, you can probably move forward without worrying about asbestos.
Reasons You Should Consider An Asbestos Inspection:
- You are planning to renovate the home.
- You notice materials that are already deteriorated and/or crumbling.
- You will be more at peace knowing if asbestos is present or not.
- You would like to know if there is asbestos so you can properly manage it in place.
Reasons You May Not Need To Worry About An Asbestos Inspection:
- The home is move-in ready and no renovations are planned.
- The home was built in the last 10 years.
Armed with this information, you can make the best decision for your circumstance. If you decide that you do not need an asbestos inspection before you buy, move forward with confidence and don’t spend extra time worrying.
If you are still asking the question at this point, an asbestos inspection is a small price to pay for a definitive answer. It will give you more information you can use to make an informed purchasing decision.
An asbestos inspection is a simple step that could save you big time headaches and money down the road. Our inspection teams are committed to not only conducting a professional assessment of your home, but also spending time answering your questions and educating you on how to deal with any asbestos that is discovered.