Brian's House Building Blog

Selling a house that has asbestos

by Peyton Sanders

So you have decided to sell your house, and you want to get the best possible price. This process involves a degree of upselling. You will want to make sure that any prospective buyers are very clear about all the wonderful features that your house has – perhaps close proximity to good schools, or extensive outdoor areas. At the same time, you probably won't want to draw any major attention to issues that your house has. With that being said, it is still important to be honest and transparent about the features of your home, particularly when it comes to something like asbestos. This article will help you deal asbestos in the home you want to sell.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a product that was used in many building materials prior to the 1980s (and it was officially made illegal to use it in 2003) because of its insulating properties. If the asbestos is in good condition, it actually doesn't pose any kind of threat, but if it is crumbling or deteriorating, asbestos can have serious consequences for people living within the space and who are exposed to it. It's for this reason that it is very important to be honest about the presence of asbestos.

Where might asbestos be present?

You might actually not realise that you have asbestos in your house yourself, and so it is imperative that you hire specialists who can execute a thorough house inspection. Asbestos can be present in a whole range of features as well as some places you might not expect. Many people realise that asbestos was used as an insulating ingredient within building materials, but did you also know that it can be present within vinyl tiles, water pipes that are set into walls, sheeting on roofs and garages and garden sheds?

And what's the issue?

The big issue with the presence of asbestos is that it can cause some major health complications. Not mentioning a leaky pipe is not the same as choosing not to mention an aspect of your home that could have serious consequences for a person's health. Asbestosis is an inflammation of the lungs caused by asbestos in particular. When a person suffers from this, they can experience shortness of breath, coughing and scarring of the lungs. Beyond this, asbestos can cause two forms of cancer -- mesothelioma (a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs) and lung cancer.

Does it need to be removed?

If the asbestos in your home is exposed, it absolutely needs to be removed. It will not only be dangerous for the people moving into your home, it is dangerous for you while you are still living there. It is not safe to remove asbestos yourself, because you could actually be exposed to great volumes of asbestos by doing so -- plus, it is very difficult to locate asbestos by eye alone. There are companies that specialise in asbestos removal, and they have access to adequate equipment and protective clothing that enables them to remove asbestos safely.

If there is asbestos present on your property but it is not exposed, you don't necessarily need to remove it, but you will need to be totally clear with your prospective buyers that it exists and where it exists. Even though asbestos in good condition doesn't pose health risks, if the buyers decide to undertake any kind of demolition work or if the property's condition deteriorates over time, they will then be exposed to this dangerous substance.

People will often undertake an asbestos inspection before committing to purchase a property, but actually, many inspections do not look for asbestos. Because of this, it is imperative to make the asbestos situation very clear to any potential buyers.