Across the country, homeowners are oblivious to the fact that they have asbestos in their homes. Up until 1980, asbestos was used in many construction materials and was mostly unregulated because the dangers weren’t widely known. From roof tiles to drywall, houses were constructed with asbestos throughout, which is why it’s incredibly important for you to get an asbestos inspection before selling your home.
While many people commonly mistake asbestos as referring to a single item, the term refers to a total of six naturally occurring minerals. The minerals are composed of long, thin fibers that are resistant to heat and corrosion. Because of this, the minerals were widely used in everyday products such as cloth, housing insulation, plastics, and even paper. But, as useful as asbestos is in manufacturing, the minerals are highly toxic for humans.
According to asbestos.com, when people ingest or inhale asbestos dust, the mineral fibers remain in their bodies. Over time, those fibers accumulate in the body and become irritants, causing inflammation, scarring, and even genetic damage. Asbestos exposure causes cancer in many people, with mesothelioma being the most common, in addition to lung disease. However, asbestos is not illegal in the United States.
Whether you’re planning on remaining in your home until retirement, or if you plan to sell sometime soon, it’s good to know whether or not your house contains asbestos. If your home was built before 1980, when asbestos use began being regulated, you’re a strong candidate for getting an inspection.
Just having asbestos present in your home isn’t inherently dangerous. Still, if you plan on doing any renovations, you need to know. Again, asbestos dust is the culprit, which can be an issue when you’re doing home improvement projects, as disturbing it causes the fibers to become airborne. Another reason to get an asbestos inspection is to know what you’re selling when you go on the market. Selling a home with asbestos isn’t impossible, but you have two options: repair it or disclose it.
While it’s not illegal to have asbestos in your home or sell a home with asbestos, you must disclose it if you are aware of its presence. Again, you’re better off knowing so that you can reveal asbestos when you sell, rather than have the buyer come back with a lawsuit if they find it.
Asbestos tops the list of things that fail a home inspection, which is why the better option is for you to replace and repair the asbestos in your home. If you want a smooth and speedy home sale, it’s better to be aware of any issues and take care to repair them before a potential buyer has your home inspected.
Asbestos remediation can push closing off by weeks, depending on the extent of it and the availability of contractors in your area. Do not attempt to remove asbestos on your own -- it’s not a DIY project! Take care of it sooner rather than later, and keep your closing on schedule.
Again, asbestos isn’t a deal-killer, but having inspection results can safeguard you down the line, whether you choose to repair or disclose. And most importantly, you can be completely transparent, which, in turn, builds trust with prospective buyers.