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Do Home Inspections Check for Asbestos?

Asbestos is a dangerous group of minerals that are confirmed carcinogens, meaning they cause cancer in humans. Unfortunately, asbestos was used in millions of buildings and structures before it was confirmed as dangerous. This means many homes in the United States contain asbestos today. Before you purchase a new home, schedule the right type of home inspection to seek out asbestos-containing materials so that you can deal with them safely.

What Is Included in a Standard Home Inspection? 

A home inspection is the standard operating procedure when purchasing real estate. It is a visual assessment of the condition of a home that is conducted by a licensed professional. The purpose of a home inspection is to search for potential problems that could decrease the value of the property or cost the new buyer more money in the future. This includes issues with the foundation, floors, ceilings, walls, plumbing and electricity.

The home inspection is something that is organized and paid for by a prospective buyer. This ensures that the inspector is not biased toward the homeowner or working with the owner to sell the house. If you plan on buying a home, the inspection is an important investment so that you are fully informed about the state of the property and its potential safety hazards. This can allow you to make an informed decision about closing on the house and negotiating a sales contract.

Does a Home Inspection Come With an Asbestos Assessment?

Asbestos was one of the most popular materials used in the building and construction of houses in the 1800s and 1900s until the federal government began regulating the use of asbestos in the 1970s. Any home built before this time could contain asbestos. The most common materials that relied on asbestos for fireproofing or durability include roof shingles, floor tiles, insulation materials, textured paints, adhesives, drywall, cement and pipe coverings. 

Regular home inspections do not identify the presence of asbestos. Additionally, under current federal laws, a homeowner does not legally have to disclose the presence of asbestos-containing materials on his or her property. However, this may be the law in certain states. If a homeowner is not legally obligated to disclose whether a house has asbestos, it is in a potential buyer’s best interest to organize the right type of inspection before buying. 

Typical home inspectors for real estate purposes are not trained to search for asbestos. If you are concerned about asbestos in an older home, you must find an inspector who has the propensity to take a sample of materials from the home and test them for this carcinogen. Schedule home asbestos testing from a certified professional who can do it safely and thoroughly. These inspectors know what to look for and can connect you to asbestos abatement professionals who can safely remove asbestos from a house you are buying.

What if an Inspection Finds Asbestos in a Home?

If you move into a home that contains asbestos, you and your family could be at risk of inhaling asbestos fibers that enter the air when these materials are disturbed. While you may not notice signs of a health problem right away, over the years, asbestos fibers that are lodged in your lungs and other internal tissues could cause serious health problems, including a terminal type of cancer known as mesothelioma.

The best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from asbestos when buying a new home is to have a professional come in and remove all asbestos-containing materials. The professional will dispose of the asbestos properly to reduce health hazards. Never attempt to remove asbestos from a home on your own. Removing or disturbing asbestos can emit it into the air and put you and other household members at risk of related diseases. Instead, leave asbestos removal to the professionals.

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