Real Estate Horror Picture Show: Would You Like Asbestos with Your Popcorn?
Real Estate Horror Picture Show: Would You Like Asbestos with Your Popcorn? - You have decided to sell your property and the process starts out innocently enough. You research and select a Richmond VA Realtor
, sign the listing agreement, and declutter to the point that your house looks like a model home. You are off to a great start and this is going to be one awesome frame in the movie of your life!
Immediately you start to receive showings on your listing. Wow, this picture IS amazing! Buyer's agents start to ask the golden questions: How old is the roof? What are your utility bills? Do you know if there is asbestos
in the popcorn ceiling? Wait...WHAT?! The plot just took an interesting turn and you are now in the real estate horror picture show. Would you like asbestos with your popcorn?!
Asbestos in Popcorn Ceilings
When a buyer's agent asked me if the sellers had any knowledge of asbestos in the popcorn ceiling, I immediately called my clients to inquire. I anticipated their answer to be "No" since this wasn't something they disclosed on their Property Disclosure Statement. I was correct in that assumption, the sellers had no knowledge. I passed on the information to the other agent and that was that. You see, Virginia is a caveat emptor
state and it is the buyer's responsibility to explore all inspections during the home inspection period, and that would include a physical inspection, a radon inspection, and testing for asbestos if they so desired.
Fast forward a day or two and my clients call me to inform me they are going to test. Although it isn't their responsibility, they felt it was the ethical thing to do. While they tested, I spoke with several fellow Richmond VA real estate agents
and most thought the chances of asbestos being in the popcorn ceiling was slim. Sadly, their bets were wrong. The tests came back and, yes, there is asbestos in the popcorn ceiling. This real estate process just became a horror show for my clients.
Remediating Asbestos in Popcorn Ceilings
Now that there is a known hazardous environmental defect, the sellers either must disclose that there is asbestos in the popcorn ceiling or remediate it. After much discussion, the sellers decided to take the property off of the market and have the problem corrected.
Remediating asbestos in a popcorn ceiling consists of proper containment and removal, decontamination, and disposal in accordance to the law. It is imperative for a homeowner to not simply scape the popcorn ceiling off as, if it contains asbestos, you will likely inhale the fibers which can lead to cancer.
The Cost to Remediate Asbestos in Popcorn Ceilings
Remediation is not inexpensive as you must hire a specialist who is certified in asbestos removal. The cost depends on the size of the area and what will need to be done to repair the ceiling. In my experience the cost can be upward of $25,000. Although this is not an anticipated expense, sellers who discover they have asbestos in their ceilings have only two options: fix it or disclose it. While the temptation may be to simply disclose it, that will possibly put a stigma on your property and your chances of selling will be slim. It is my opinion that you go ahead and take the necessary steps to remediate the problem. Once the remediation has taken place, there is no need to disclose as the threat no longer exists.
Have a Popcorn Ceiling and are Thinking of Selling?
If you have a popcorn ceiling and are thinking of selling, you do NOT need to test to find out. Again, Virginia is a buyer beware state. However, if you do have knowledge of asbestos in the popcorn ceiling you will need to address the issue or disclose it. If you choose not to fix it and just want to disclose it, please remember your price will need to reflect the defect as it will already be difficult to overcome a buyer's objections let alone convince them to make the costly repair on their own.
While my clients had no legal obligation to test for asbestos, I am proud of them for following their heart and doing what they feel is right.
Richmond VA Realtor
Thinking of selling your Richmond VA area home? Give me, your Richmond VA Realtor at the RVA Home Team
with Keller Williams Realty, a call today! We will do everything possible to make your movie a Fairy Tale and leave the Horror to Wes Craven!
*Photo image courtesy of: MichelleMeiklejohn/http://www.freedigitalphotos.net