viola76May 17, 2010

We have a home under coontract to buy. We received our inspection report indicating the home has asbestos in the sheetrock throughout the house. From all the research done, it looks like this is not an issue so long as we don't disturb the sheetrock.

However, we're worried about having to disclose asbestos from a resale perspective in the future. Do you think people will avoid buying this property or pay a lot less for it since we'll have to disclose that it contains asbestos in the future? We are the first people to ever test it for asbestos.

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The only way to determine that there is asbestos in the sheetrock is to have samples analyzed by a qualified lab. If that home inspector is basing his statement on visual observation, or anything other than lab tests, he is just speculating, or covering his rear end, or just plain doesn't know what he is talking about. Sheetrock did not typically contain asbestos, although sometimes the joint compound did, and often the spray-on texture of "popcorn" ceilings did. I'd question this guy on how he came to this conclusion. In my experience, quite a few people who work as home inspectors have questionable competence.

Unless this inspector can offer convincing proof, I would not believe him, and I do not believe you need to disclose info in the future that is based on speculation.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 3:47PM
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If you really did test for asbestos (not just a home inspection) then yes, you would have to disclose it. And yes, it would be a big negative for many buyers. While the science may support your conclusion, the market will discount a property with asbestos in every wall.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 8:31PM
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If you get a reduction in the house price from the seller you can do the same for the next buyer or use it to help pay for covering or removing the existing wall board.

When talking about asbestos it is best to avoid using trade names like "Sheetrock" unless you know for sure that was the brand used.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 11:55PM
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ASk what type of test they did. If they used polarized light this is often not all that accurate. If you get a result of less than 10% asbestos with polarized light my understanding is that a point count test should be done. When that is done my understanding is that results above 1% with polarized light may be well under 1% with the more accurate point count test.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 6:23PM
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Did you get an answer from the home inspector on whether any testing for asbestos was actually done?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 6:39PM
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Our home inspector, who was supposed to be an expert in old homes, told us that we had asbestos in the ceiling tiles. Wrong! I sent a sample to an EPA certified lab and the results were cellulous, not asbestos. I have never heard of asbestos in drywall, but for $25 you can have it tested. It is worth the peace of mind.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 1:11PM
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How old is the sheetrock?

Here is a link that might be useful: Sheetrock - Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure Risks

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 3:06PM
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