Last updated on June 2nd, 2024 at 06:03 am

Quick Answer

Yes, it is possible to sell a home with asbestos. However, it is important to disclose any asbestos-containing materials to potential buyers, and it is recommended that you have a qualified professional inspect the home and assess any asbestos materials. If you don't disclose, you can get sued. Having a real estate agent assist you can ensure that your are protected.

What is asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber composed of long, thin fibers that are resistant to heat, fire and chemicals. 

It was commonly used in building materials, insulation, and other products until it was discovered to be a harmful carcinogen linked to [cancer in the lungs called asbestosis] a variety of serious health conditions.

  •  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 1.3 million buildings (commercial and public) in the U.S. contain asbestos.

Naturally if a home has been constructed with asbestos, they will be a concern for the buyers and sellers today! 

Remember asbestos exposure is real, and harmful.

contractors removing asbestos

Common places on the property where asbestos is located

If you’ve discovered asbestos in one place of your home.  there could be other areas where it’s present.

Asbestos is widely used by numerous industries due to its positive properties that were beneficial for a variety of different applications.

It is light and fire-resistant, as well as resistant to heat, and provides strength and tensile properties to items like paint.

This is the reason asbestos may appear in a variety of locations in your home and in other places, such as:

  • ceiling tiles and panels
  • Floor tiles
  • insulation wrap
  • Roofing underlayment, or felt
  • roof Shingles
  • Exterior siding
  • wall panels
  • Textured paint
  • popcorn paint ceilings
  • Insulation in the ceiling and walls

Will an inspector find it

To definitively prove the property was constructed with asbestos materials,  the inspector will need take a microscopic look of a sample of material by drilling or other destructive actions that require the approval of the owner. 

This is why an ordinary home inspection will not be able to determine if the house has asbestos.

However, the inspectors are aware of places where asbestos was utilized in older houses.

If they find elements in a home constructed in the early 1980s,  and which contains asbestos materials, they’ll certainly be aware of the potential of asbestos. 

Appraisers also need to consider the possibility that asbestos could be present in the property.

An accredited EPA asbestos inspection will confirm or deny the presence of asbestos. 

Is it possible to sell a house with asbestos

Yes it is possible to.

Up until the 1980s, a myriad of asbestos materials were in use by common consumers across the US. These included products used to construct homes, such as tiles, insulation and siding.

The majority of single-family houses in the US that are in use today were constructed prior to 1980. Like you’d think, houses that contain asbestos are legally purchased and sold every single day.

There are two methods that homeowners may sell their house if they were constructed with asbestos materials.

  • One method is to correct the asbestos problem and then sell the property like you normally would by promoting your home to the public on MLS with an agent.
  • Another option is to sell the house in its present condition.

Who should you contact to eradicate this hazard

If you believe that you might have asbestos somewhere in your home, contact a professional asbestos removal service.

They will be able to assess the situation and recommend the best course of action for safely removing and disposing of the asbestos.

What does it cost to repair or remove it

The first step is to undergo an inspection by an inspector certified by the EPA to determine if you require to conduct remediation or the removal of asbestos substances.

 It will [full inspection] cost between $400-$800. It can differ based on the laboratory work required.

This doesn’t include the testing of asbestos-containing airborne particles.

If it is necessary to have this completed, it will add an additional $400-$1500 to the cost of your inspection.

There are numerous particular regulations concerning the disposal and removal of asbestos materials.

This can make removal more expensive than remediation.

The aim in remediation would be to ensure that it doesn’t get disturbed.

The most expensive material to get rid of is insulation since it is more likely to become airborne.

The removal of attic insulation could cost anything between $10,000 and $25,000 or more.

Removal of solid materials such tiles or drywall can cost several thousand dollars for each space.

Pipes coated with asbestos paint could be as high as $5,000 to get rid of.

The removal of all siding of a home can range between $12,000 and $16,000.

Depending on the size of the home and the amount of the contamination, the average cost of asbestos testing and removal ranges from $500 to $3,000.

According to this source, remediation can start as low as $5 per square foot, and increase up to $20 per square foot. 

Does the seller need proper disclosure paperwork

Based on the state in the location of the property

There are a number of regulations regarding disclosure by sellers of relevant information.

Together they suggest complete disclosure of the existence of asbestos.

Many states have specific requirements to know the existence or asbestos present in your house.

You must discover if the state you live in is among them. Again the easiest way to determine this is contact a realtor before you list the house for sale.

If your state doesn’t have asbestos disclosure laws there may be additional disclosure requirements that buyers or their attorney might believe include asbestos.

Many states have a residential property disclosure form that requires you to disclose the presence of toxic or hazardous substances within the home.

Other forms may require you to be aware of any environmental dangers in the house.

No matter if the form includes asbestos, a potential cash home buyer may expect you to mention asbestos in your answers to these questions.

Apart from the few remaining caveat emptor states sellers must inform buyers of any things that could affect the selling of the property.

This is an extensive requirement that can be understood to include asbestos.

If cash house buyer wants to know if your home has asbestos in it, you’ll have to be honest or be held accountable for false representation.

If the buyer learns that your house was built with asbestos materials  and you haven’t told your buyer, they could think that you’re not trustworthy. 

The buyer might just terminate the contract!

seller negotiating with buyer

Negotiating with the Buyer

Buyers could reasonably conclude that the presence of asbestos is a problem, as it does cause health problems,  or might view this as an opportunity to negotiate the price on the home sale.

Whatever the case, the seller can anticipate that the buyer will want a credit or price reduction on the home

The fear of the danger of asbestos in a house can be more severe than the actual danger to homeowners.

The negative effects of asbestos are real, but asbestos doesn’t affect the people in a detrimental way until it’s damaged.

If asbestos materials are broken or cut open in this way, asbestos fibers release in the atmosphere.

This could be result of demolition, sawing or drilling into these material during remodeling.

In these cases,  the fibers could be inhaled or breathed in by the people living in the house.

Certain asbestos-based products are very solid and, when kept in pristine condition, pose little danger to those living in the house.

Other materials, for instance insulation, are much more susceptible to break down, or become airborne.

If the asbestos components are low and stable, the risk is managed, which significantly minimizes the risk of exposure.

The asbestos types mentioned above are usually neutralized by remediation rather than removal.

Remediation is less expensive than removal, and it would not justify the same decrease in price.

In negotiations on the sale, a homeowner might be able to legitimately argue that asbestos in the house is not detrimental to the home, and thus doesn’t deserve a price cut!

What type of buyer will purchase a home with this hazard

There are buyers out there who would not only be interested in purchasing your house as-is, but they are  searching for homes that are distressed in some way.

Cash buyers are investors that purchase houses quickly in cash. They intend to fix the homes and sell them, or rent them out. 

When investors purchase homes the typical negotiations  with the seller are absent. They will evaluate asbestos more objectively. 

They want to know what it will cost to fix the issue.

The most suitable homes for cash buyers are properties that require repairs or upgrades.

They can handle the tasks that are being completed on the property themselves, which can save money.

Sometimes, they do certain tasks themselves.

Investors have cash on hand and don’t require a mortgage or the assistance of a lender.

A regular buyer might not be able to secure a loan from a bank due to the underlying issues. 

Local real property investors are aware of market prices as well as repair and construction costs.

They can also assess the viability of a venture without needing to request an appraisal. They also conduct their own inspections, often being accompanied by their employees. 

It’s also possible the house isn’t worth repairing, in this case, a cash for land deal might be the best option. 

Want a cash offer and don’t want to go through the process of selling with a real estate agent?

 A cash buyer can offer you similar services and sellers won’t pay commissions to a realtor or closing costs, ever!