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Can You Sell a House With Asbestos?
If you live in an ancestral home or have inherited one, chances are, you'll find traces of asbestos in the property. Asbestos is a dangerous mineral used in building many old houses. It poses major health risks when inhaled, which leads us to the question, can you sell a house with asbestos?
There are no laws prohibiting the sale of a house with asbestos. However, the seller is legally obligated to disclose it to the potential buyer to avoid being litigated. Homeowners can sell a house with asbestos on the traditional market or to a cash buyer. The latter is preferred if the owner doesn't want to deal with the removal of asbestos during the home sale.
To learn more about selling a house with asbestos, read the rest of this blog! Up ahead is a detailed guide on dealing with asbestos and all your options when selling.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural mineral used as one of the most common building materials until the 1970s. It was once tagged as a miracle mineral because it is flame and heat-resistant. Specifically, homebuilders used this fibrous material to insulate walls, pipes, and roofing, as well as strengthen the cement and tiles of houses built several decades ago.
Asbestos is categorized into six— amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite. Among these, amosite and chrysotile are commonly used in homes.
On July 12, 1989, however, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restricted the use of asbestos because of its health threat.
Does Asbestos Exposure Pose a Health Risk?
Yes. Asbestos exposure poses a serious health risk. Many studies reported that disturbed asbestos insulation or loose asbestos fibers could lead to cancer and other major health problems. It is the main reason why any material that contains asbestos has been banned for many years.
Here are the specific diseases and health issues caused by disturbed asbestos:
- Lung lining scarring
- Pleural effusions
- Lung cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Throat cancer
- Gastrointestinal tract cancer
Where Will You Find Asbestos In Your House?
Asbestos was once a widely used material so expect that they're everywhere. Houses built many decades ago probably have asbestos tiles and roofing materials that are insulated with asbestos. Asbestos attic insulation is also pretty common.
If you plan to remove asbestos materials from your property, here's where you'll probably find them:
- Downpipes and gutters
- Floors and walls around furnaces and stoves
- Wall paints that are textured
- Soundproofing materials in walls and ceilings
- Floor tiles
- Water tanks
- Pipework and boilers
- Fuse boxes
- Loft insulation
How Much Does Asbestos Removal or Remediation Cost?
To understand how asbestos materials impact the value of a property, we must first look into how much asbestos remediation or removal costs.
Here's a breakdown of the expenses that go into asbestos removal and remediation costs:
Expert Inspection of Asbestos Siding and Other Parts of the House
Inspection is needed to determine which between removal and remediation would solve the asbestos problem. The fee for a certified inspector from EPA can run from $400 to $800.
Testing for Airborne Particles
If the asbestos disturbance is extreme, airborne particle testing may be necessary. This costs $400 to $1,000.
After the removal or remediation has been made, a final inspection should be done to ensure that there are no more asbestos traces or they're properly concealed. This will cost you another $200 to $400.
Should the EPA inspector decide that removing asbestos materials is required, here are the specific expenses you have to anticipate:
- Removal of Asbestos Insulation in the Attic: $10,000 to $25,000
- Removal of Asbestos Insulation in the Drywall and Tiles: $1,000 to $3,000 per room
- Removal of Pipes Painted with Asbestos: $5,000
- Asbestos Siding Removal: $12,000 to $16,000
- Minor Removals: $2,000 to $3,000
On the other hand, if remediation is the better option, expect that the cost would be $20 to $40 less than the removal fees.
How Does Asbestos Impact the Market Value of a Property?
The impact of asbestos on the market value of a property would depend on whether the mineral is disturbed and already causing health issues. If many parts of the house have disturbed asbestos and the particles are already airborne, the house can lose 10% to 20% in value.
Note, however, that the exact impact of asbestos in figures would only be determined if the homeowner asked the contractor for the exact costs of asbestos removal or remediation. Even then, the exact costs may still vary depending on a lot of factors.
Can You Sell a House With Asbestos
Yes. You can legally sell a house with asbestos. No federal law prohibits this action; however, the presence of this dangerous mineral should be disclosed to the potential buyer early on to avoid facing any lawsuit.
Selling a house that contains asbestos is usually more challenging than the sale of a perfectly good home in the local real estate market—many homeowners attest to this.
For starters, potential buyers are looking for houses they can readily move into. Only a few want to deal with repairs, much less something as dangerous as asbestos.
To sell a house with asbestos, the best option is to get a cash offer. This type of real estate transaction is less risky because there are no mortgage lenders involved. To learn more about this, continue reading the next section of this blog!
How to Sell a House With Asbestos
Just like a typical home sale, you have two major options when selling a house with asbestos— sell with real estate agents or get a cash offer.
Getting a cash offer is hassle-free and fast because the buyer has enough cash to pay you. Nevertheless, if you want to sell your house at a much higher value, you may want to remove the asbestos and sell it at the local market.
To identify which route is best for your home sale, let's dig deeper into your two options.
Sell As-Is to a Cash Buyer or Real Estate Investor
Cash home buyers or real estate investors can purchase houses with cash and they do not require repairs. This means even if your house is extremely hazardous due to asbestos, they'll buy it from you in as fast as seven days.
Here's a complete list of reasons why you should prioritize cash home buyers and real estate investors when selling a house that contains asbestos:
- No Asbestos Removal or Remediation: Unlike retail buyers, cash buyers won't require you to fund or personally take action to resolve the asbestos problem. They'll do the removal or remediation for you.
- Fast Closing: Cash buyers remove lenders from the picture, so the sale timeline is very much more flexible. If you want to sell your house fast without dealing with asbestos, it is very much possible.
- Less Paperwork: Another perk of removing the lender from the equation is less paperwork. Most of the paperwork in cash sales is handled by the buyer, so it's less work for you.
- No Commission Fees: There is no need for a real estate agent when you get a cash offer from a cash buyer or other investors. In short, you'll save on expensive commission fees!
- More Certainty: Cash sales are less risky of failing because there's no loan approval involved. Cash buyers don't usually back out of a sale when they have already given an offer.
- No Closing Costs: Yes. You read it right! Cash buyers rarely charge closing costs! They'll cover it for you, so you get the exact amount of their offer during closing.
Getting a cash offer for your house with asbestos is super easy. You just have to call the cash buyer or real estate investor or fill out a form found on their website. In most cases, they'll visit your property so they can assess the asbestos problem and make a fair cash offer.
If you accept their offer, you then have to sign a contract electronically to seal the deal. After which, the sale would proceed to closing and you'll receive the money in your bank.
Sell Traditionally With Real Estate Agents
Selling a house that contains asbestos materials in the local market is also an option. In this selling process, you can decide whether to deal with the asbestos before selling or sell your house with all its infirmities.
Ultimately, selling a house with asbestos as-is in the open market is difficult—after all, who would want a home that can potentially give them cancer?
Nevertheless, if the asbestos problem had been fixed, the house would sell at a much better price in the real estate market.
To sell a house with asbestos materials with real estate agents, here are some of the core steps you should take note of:
Learn About the Laws and Your Testing Options
If you are certain there's asbestos or any toxic substances in your home, do preliminary testing to prevent the buyer from using it against you during negotiations.
You can buy a kit for $30 to $60 and collect potential asbestos from your home. This will then be examined in an EPA-certified laboratory. In case the state where you live considers collecting samples illegal, you would need an EPA inspector to directly check your home.
Decide Whether to Fix or Abate the Asbestos (Including how much)
If the results of the examination reveal that your house has disturbed asbestos insulation, you then need to plan your next step. Do you resolve the asbestos problem or sell your house that is left unchanged? Should you decide that the former is a much better option, do you have the asbestos professionally removed or sealed?
Remember that all your actions and decisions at this point will affect the money you'll receive at closing and the success of the sale in general.
Disclose Asbestos to the Buyer
Asbestos is a deal killer, so even though you have already taken actions to remove asbestos insulation or conceal it, you should still stay on the right side of disclosure. This way, you'll also gain the buyer's trust and they won't use the discovery of the asbestos material as a bargaining chip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Asbestos Come Up During a Home Inspection?
Asbestos is very important to add to your home inspection check list. Asbestos can only be found if a sample is sent off to a lab or an EPA-certified inspector is on site to determine such. Inspectors can only warn a buyer or homeowner about the presence of potential asbestos in your home.
Once warned, the homeowner or buyer can then decide to hire an EPA asbestos inspector to drill or disturb the asbestos to collect samples for microscopic examination.
Can You Get a Mortgage for a House With Asbestos?
Yes. You can still get a mortgage even though there is asbestos material in your home; however, there would be more hoops you have to go through. Many mortgage lenders are hesitant to approve loans for houses with asbestos because of two reasons.
The fact that asbestos material is risky to health and human life is the first. Of course, this has financial implications for the lender in case the homeowner suffers from cancer caused by asbestos and the house defaults.
The second reason is that asbestos removal is expensive. If the homeowner cannot fund the removal, the house's resale value can take a dip. And if the house is foreclosed, the lender won't be able to recoup his losses.
Can You Still Live In a House With Asbestos?
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, you can still live in a house with asbestos so long as it is not disturbed or damaged.
Asbestos exposure only becomes a serious health risk if it breaks into microscopic fibers and is inhaled. When this happens, the occurrence of cancer and other health problems is possible.
Does a Seller Have to Provide an Asbestos Report?
No. An asbestos report or document is not required to be provided by the seller. However, this doesn't mean that the seller can skip disclosure. The seller has the duty to disclose any safety and health hazards of the property and it includes the presence of this dangerous mineral.
Is Asbestos Removal Covered by Home Insurance?
No. Asbestos removal is not typically covered by home insurance as it is considered a pollutant. Asbestos can only be covered by home insurance if the asbestos exposure is caused by a peril such as wall vandalism, a tree falling in your home, or snow damaging your house roof.
Final Thoughts: Can You Sell a House With Asbestos?
Selling a house with asbestos material can be more challenging than typical home sales because of the risks asbestos pose to human health. If you really want to see a successful home sale, better to sell to a cash buyer or real estate investor.
As stated in this blog, cash buyers purchase houses as-is, no matter their condition. Even if your house was built in the 60s and it is full of disturbed asbestos, you don't have to deal with removal before you can sell your home.
Once you are ready to sell your house to a cash buyer, reach out to us at House Buyer Network. We'll give you a no-obligation cash offer and cover closing costs for you!
Simply fill out our form below or call us at (855) 835-2544 to start selling your house with asbestos.