4 Things to Know Before Selling a House With Asbestos

by Rebbeca Binder on October 15, 2013

  • Sumo

Selling a house is often a huge decision, but once a person makes that decision, they often stand to make a large amount of money. Unfortunately, selling a property isn’t always as easy as some people would hope. Some residences, for instance, actually still have asbestos contained within their walls.

Anyone who hasn’t lived under a rock for the past few decades surely knows that the small fibers that come off of this material can lead to a cancer called mesothelioma. This means that anyone trying to sell a home containing asbestos should know a few things to ensure that they’re on the right side of the law.

1. Get an Inspection

Unless a home was built after 1978, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not it contains asbestos. Though it may be a hardship for sellers, this is something that they need to know before selling. It is legal to sell homes with products containing this fabric, but in doing so, the seller must inform the buyer of that information; it must be listed as a disclosure.

Mesothelioma most often attacks the lining of the lungs causing shortness of breath, coughing, weight loss and pain. Despite treatment, the prognosis is disappointing; victims are rarely cured. If you’ve been diagnosed with this disease and are in the NY area, as it may have taken 20-50 years to develop, contact a New York Mesothelioma attorney to learn of all your options and rights to benefits.

Since older homes may or may not contain this dangerous substance, it’s important to have professionals come out and check the home for the toxin’s presence. This will allow the homeowner to accurately let their buyer know whether or not they could potentially be in danger by purchasing and residing in the house.

2. Disclose Status to Buyer

As mentioned, all home sellers have a legal obligation to notify their buyer that a home contains asbestos. Unfortunately, this material was used in an array of building products made before 1978. It often exists in older insulation material, but can also be present in tiles and siding. Failing to notify the buyer can leave a person open to serious legal consequences, but to tell the truth, existence of asbestos isn’t always a deal breaker.

3. It May Not be Dangerous

While it sounds strange to say that these fiber products may not be dangerous, it’s actually the truth. Asbestos-containing products were used in most homes prior to 1978, so if the products were all dangerous, it would only make sense for everyone born before this year to have mesothelioma. Obviously, this isn’t the case. It’s only when the fibers are released in its tiny dust form that it becomes dangerous.

When asbestos is in its dust-like form, it is easily inhalable by humans. These small structures resemble shards of glass, and when they get into the air, they can lead to serious health consequences. Fortunately, this usually only occurs if improper removal methods are used or the containing material becomes damaged. Undamaged siding with asbestos in it, for example, doesn’t really pose any threat since the particles aren’t floating around.

4. Removal Must be Done by Experts

Even though asbestos may not be dangerous in all cases, a seller still has to inform their buyer of its existence. In some instances, the potential homeowner may demand that the material be removed. The seller has a few options at this point: they can pay for asbestos abatement, take money off of the closing price to allow the new homeowner to pay for the procedure, or they could outright refuse having the abatement performed.

While selling a home with asbestos in it is legal, one’s chances of selling the home greatly increase when the material is removed. Many states, however, including New York, have strict guidelines on asbestos removal. Employees of removal companies must be trained for specialized procedures, and there are even strict removal and transporting rules involved. It’s important to ensure that an abatement company meets all of these criteria.

Sadly in NY, many first responders to the destruction of the World Trade Center, and those living in the area were exposed to asbestos and are suffering from mesothelioma. A New York Mesothelioma attorney at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. can help their clients chase claims for compensation. They have the experience to “prove when, where and how…asbestos exposure happened” so the right entities can be held accountable.

Asbestos can be detrimental for a person’s health, so knowing of its existence and notifying the future owner of a home is essential for anyone trying to legally make a sale. While the required hurdles that must be jumped through may seem stringent, in the end, they’re definitely worth it. Selling a home in this condition without notifying the buyer could undoubtedly cause legal troubles for a seller down the line. 

Rebbeca Binder

Rebbeca Binder

Rebecca Binder is a stay-at-home mom to two daughters. She has been a freelance writer for five years and enjoys writing on topics relating to law and consumer information. Aside from her writing and family, her hobbies include playing piano and fitness.
Rebbeca Binder

Latest posts by Rebbeca Binder (see all)

Previous post:

Next post: