When I first became a real estate agent, I would write offers left and right— hungry to get my clients the house they wanted. But with experience I learned how to work smarter, not harder. The first year I was an agent I would say that I wrote offers on about 8 to 10 houses that got released because of the inspection findings. It was that year I put together a guide on things to look for when walking through a home. There are always going to be issues you can’t catch on your own, perhaps under the house, that only an inspector can find. But before writing a contract, before getting an inspection, before wasting anyone’s time and money, I’ll share a few things to look for starting with asbestos siding.
It is mostly found in older homes built between the 40s and 60s. It is very flat siding with vertical ripples running down to wavy edges. If you see this style of siding it is 100 percent of the time asbestos. When looking for asbestos in an older home, it’s important to walk all the way around the house. Often it is covered up with vinyl siding except for say, a screened-in porch or an addition.
Before you even make the trip out to see the potential house, check the MLA sheet. Most of the time it will tell you if it’s asbestos siding, or will at least denote “other." If you know you qualify for an FHA loan, unless you want to get a very expensive renovation loan, it’s usually best to move on to the next house. There are ways to remediate the problem if the siding is perfectly intact. The asbestos siding can be sealed and then covered with vinyl to properly protect it. If any of the siding is broken, it can be very expensive to remove it due to health and environmental implications.
Another thing to consider is resale value. If you have a conventional loan and bypass all the requirements of an FHA, when you go to resell, asbestos siding can become an issue. Even if it’s not a concern of yours at the present moment, it can be one for a potential buyer.
If you educate yourself on the basics, you can do your own pre-inspection before spending hundreds of dollars to have someone tell you what’s in plain sight. Next week, I’ll share a few more tips!