Post # 1
My husband and I have recently begun househunting and found a house we love. It’s well-priced in the area we want to live in. We’d like one more bathroom but are fine without it. The issues that we see so far are:
1. There is an encapsulated pipe in the basement that our real estate agent pointed out has asbestos.
2. There is a radon mitigation system in the basement.
3. The boiler looks to be about 500 years old.
4. There is a pool in the backyard. This is not really so much a major issue like the others are, we just never thought about pool ownership before. Although we know there are risks and liabilities and every reason in the world not to own a pool, both of us are kind of excited at the idea. But the added cost/safety risk makes me nervous.
We aren’t sure whether we should put in an offer contingent on the asbestos and boiler being fixed, whether we should put in a lower offer and tackle those things ourselves, or whether we should just see these issues as red flags and move on to the next thing. The internet of course has totally conflicting advice and so…I’m asking for more advice! Does anyone have any words of wisdom?
Post # 2
I can’t really advise on the other issues as I have no experience of them, however, asbestos is extremely common in properties built around 30+ years ago. It is safe as long as you don’t disturb it and it is not cracked/crumbling etc. You should find out what type of absestos it is as the property we have just purchased has absesotos cement in the garage and outhouse, which is the safest type. We can remove it ourselves provided we have the right protection and don’t crack the sheets, our local council will then dispose of it for us. I’m not sure where you live, but we were advised you don’t really have a leg to stand on with asking sellers to remove asbestos as long as in it’s current state it is safe.
Post # 3
Exciting! Congratulations! So typically, unless the house is being sold As Is or Cash only, you make your offer and then have a stated amount of days in your contract to have the home inspected. Usually after the inspection you ask the seller to address or lower the price based on the issues found in the inspection. You could also put in the paperwork you want the right to receive estimates to fix those issues so you have an idea of what it would cost if they refuse to fix it and or lower the price. If you decide to move forward, your agent should write the offer to protect you. You definitely want to be able to walk away after inspections if you decide to. Also, pools are nice but it is work to maintain them and can be pricey if you are going to keep heated or pay a company to maintain. You can call and get quotes on that as well. Pools also require their own inspection to make sure they aren’t “leakers!” Good luck!!
Post # 4
I agree with a pp on the asbestos – around my area it’s common in houses of a certain age and only a problem if it’s disturbed. If you plan to renovate that area, maybe reconsider but if you’re just going to leave it there it probably isn’t a huge problem.
My first house had an unusual heating system. Our lawyer made a chance remark about it and how he’d probably get a separate heating survey carried out just on that. We decided to follow his advice and it was the best $50 we’ve ever spent because it turned out that the heating was condemned for chucking out carbon monoxide. We got over $3000 knocked off the asking price as a result because it didn’t have functioning heating. Boilers are expensive. I’d say it’s worth getting a plumber/heating specialist to inspect it and go from there.
Can’t comment on the other things as I have no experience.
Post # 5
The asbestos thing wouldn’t bother me too much. It’s a pretty common occurence in older houses and can be addressed.
The bathroom thing would be an issue for me if it was the difference between one and two. If you were hoping for three and this one has two, that’s not so bad.
But the pool would be a deal breaker for me. We specifically didn’t look at any houses with pools because of the extra maintenance costs. Our realtor has a pool and has tried both taking care of it himself and hiring someone. He told us doing it himself costs about $70/month in chemicals and hiring a company is about $100/month. Not worth it in my eyes. I’ve lived in houses with pools before and you never use it nearly as much as you think you will..not to mention it’s usually too cold about half the year anyway.
Post # 6
ktrv927 : I wouldn’t. Asbestos remediation can be complicated and expensive plus most ikely there is other asbestos in the house. If you eventually re-sell it must be disclosed.
Post # 7
NO! I would not do this with a house with radon issues. My cousin bought a “new” house about 10 years old that had one in it. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last year. Apparently the radon system had stopped working and they were not aware and her oncologist said he was almost positive that she got her cancer from it breaking especially it is extremely rare for someone as young as her to get. Just my opinion. It might be totally fine but something to think about.
Post # 8
Your lender could require that the asbestos be removed or no loan. It could depend on how safely the asbestos is contained.
The lender may insist on other repairs as well.
Banks won’t make purchase loans on properties in need of repairs that go to safety or habitability; it’s too risky. They want their collateral to be in marketable condition.
Whether the seller agrees to make those repairs is another matter. It depends on how hot your market is. Are there cash buyers making offers? If so, your seller can hold out. If not, the seller is going to have to make the repairs sooner or later.
Are you going conventional or FHA? FHA is more strict than conventional lenders regarding property condition, and will be less flexible on asbestos.
Post # 9
Have the home inspected by a licensed home inspector. It may cost you $500-$1000 but you will be more informed about necessary repairs and costs.
Post # 10
Thank you everyone!! We decided to put in an offer that has language that we will take the house “as is” based on the known issues (excluding other issues that arise during the home inspection), but we lowered our offer by about $15,000 to compensate and do the work ourselves. We don’t think we’re actually going to win this house because it’s a hot area and it’s right on a park, but the agent said to try for it anyway as long as we’re comfortable with the amount we’re bringing to the table. We’ll see what happens!
Post # 11
ktrv927 : if the asbestos is intact it’s fine. If it still bugs you then I’d ask for a credit so you can get it remediated (you don’t want just anyone roping it out – that’s can be dangerous) but then remember to reinsulate that pipe! Asbestos is an excellent insulator and you’ll have frozen pipes if you don’t replace it straight away.
Post # 12
I know I’m late to the game but I just wanted to lend some advice on Asbestos. As as long as it’s not disturbed, it’s fine. So if you do get the house and move in, and decide not to replace the pipe, just paint to lock in any loose fibres and it should be good as long as you don’t randomly decide to start scratching at it. As for the radon, it’s all about how common it is in your city. I live in a city where radon is extremely common, it doesn’t matter if it’s a new or old build, the soil and ground is what it is in certain areas. Having that system is likely a bonus – and if you’re keen on that area and end up getting a house in it, I’d highly suggest doing the testing.
Post # 13
Our house has wrapped piping potentially asbestos in the basement too in a couple of pipes. It’s our first home so it was what we could afford. Fast forward two years it really is the best and most solid house ever and its a 100 years old. Previous owner removed majority of asbestos anyway. You want a house with radon mitigation, I feel, since you know the owners are potentially addressing any issues. We added one to ours as well. We also have things downstairs that are 500 years old, but it was what we could afford and its in a great area. If you both love it, go for it!