Should I Buy a House with Asbestos?

By Cristina M. in Health

Buying a home is a quite difficult process. Making sure that your potential new house is a good investment, as well as that it provides a safe environment, is very important. Millions of houses which were built in the U.S. before the 1980s contain asbestos, a toxic mineral known to cause various types of cancer and respiratory problems. Asbestos was widely used in homes for insulation, pipes, roofing products, and attics and can imply a higher or lower risk of exposure.

Therefore, when it comes to such houses, prospective buyers may understandably become disinterested. However, people should also know that they do not necessarily have to give up on their dream house just because it contains asbestos.

Important things to keep in mind when buying a house with asbestos

If asbestos is found in the house you like, you do not really have to stop considering buying it. Nevertheless, it is of high importance to know your rights and obligations when buying such a property. For example, you have the right to be informed by the seller about the existence of asbestos in the house before buying it. If the owner fails to do this, we suggest you contact a lawyer, as you might be entitled to compensation. Moreover, try to think of the asbestos issue as a positive thing, because it is a great chance for you to buy the house at a lower price.

It is very possible that the asbestos-containing products and materials are in good condition. This means that the risk of asbestos exposure is extremely low or even non-existent. Nonetheless, you still have to check your state's laws on how to manage asbestos safely. Even though nowadays construction materials contain only up to 1% asbestos, you must make sure that the asbestos-containing materials are undisturbed and correctly installed before buying or renovating a home.

If, on the contrary, the house contains friable products which require removal, you can seek recommendations from your real estate agent, who can help you estimate the cost of asbestos removal and decide whether the house is worth it or not.

Make asbestos testing a priority

Asbestos-containing materials are safe when they are in good condition and imply a high risk of exposure when cracked or damaged. However, there is no way to know for sure if a home contains asbestos or not just by looking at it. Therefore, having what may become your new home inspected by a professional team before you buy it is highly recommended.

The only way to correctly test a house for the presence of asbestos fibers is to have some samples taken and analyzed by a NATA accredited laboratory.

Your choice entirely

Deciding whether to buy a house that contains asbestos can be difficult, as this dangerous mineral can easily frighten and intimidate buyers. Depending on the situation, buying a home with asbestos can be a good idea. It can bring several benefits, such as a lower price, as well as certain risks, but it is ultimately up to you to make a final decision.

Why Should I Test Products in My Home for Asbestos?

It is often impossible to tell whether asbestos is embedded in a material, as the fibers are too small to be observed with the naked eye. Exposure to asbestos is responsible for serious respiratory conditions, so thorough testing is required to ensure your home is asbestos-free.