If you're searching for a new home and find one that you love, only to discover that asbestos has been found in the home or on the property, should you rescind your offer and start searching for another home? This is a common question from homebuyers, as they may be afraid of asbestos being in a home they want to buy, but may not understand the actual risks of this material and their options. Note a few factors to consider about asbestos in a home, and then discuss these with your real estate agent or attorney as needed.
First, note that asbestos is dangerous only if the fibres are inhaled; simply having it in the home is not necessarily a danger to your health. Some asbestos will have loose fibres, such as when the material is used as insulation, but asbestos may also be mixed with other compounds, such as caulk or joint compound. This asbestos is very unlikely to become loose and airborne. When considering a home purchase, note the condition of the asbestos and how it was used in the home, as it may not be as dangerous as you assume.
Even if asbestos is loose and in fibre form, note that it can be contained so that it doesn't become airborne. An asbestos removal specialist may even recommend it be contained, such as with plastic sheeting or other materials, rather than risk the danger of causing it to come loose during a removal process.
To decide if containment is a good option, consider if you might have any plans for future home renovation projects; drilling, sawing, and other such work can cause vibrations that might shake the asbestos loose. If you would need to renovate the home, it would probably be better to have the asbestos removed, or consider homes for sale.
Building material surfaces can be cleaned so that the asbestos is pulled away and removed, or the materials that are holding asbestos might be replaced. This usually includes wood studs or plumbing pipes.
To determine if this is a good option for you, get a quote for this work, and then discuss this with your real estate agent. The homeowner may actually reduce their asking price, knowing that this asbestos needs to be removed or contained, and this can make the home affordable and safe. Keep this option in mind when home shopping, rather than assuming that a home with asbestos is not a good purchase or that you have no options after finding asbestos in a potential new home.
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