Can You Sell a House with Asbestos?

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An old and deteriorated roof on a house for sale with asbestos

Selling a house with asbestos is challenging and stressful but not impossible. We want to acknowledge that having a home with asbestos is challenging emotionally.

When selling your house with asbestos, the key is to be transparent and disclose everything to potential buyers. Not only is it the right thing to do morally, but it’s also a legal obligation in most states.

Keep reading for helpful information regarding legal obligations, potential liabilities, and different strategies to consider when selling a house with asbestos. It is essential to be aware of the disclosure requirements in your state as you prepare to sell your home.

Selling a House With Asbestos

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)explains that asbestos was commonly used in building materials until the late 1970s, when its health risks became well-known. While it is not necessarily a deal breaker, asbestos poses a real challenge for homeowners looking to sell their homes.

Adverse Health Effects of Asbestos

Asbestos is a group of fibrous minerals that, when inhaled or ingested, leads to severe and life-threatening health complications. Exposure to asbestos causes lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis — a chronic lung disease. Asbestos is only dangerous if it becomes disturbed and is in the air, which makes it all the more important for homeowners to be aware of its presence.

Disclosing Asbestos to Potential Buyers

If your home contains asbestos, you must disclose it to potential buyers. While it is a legal requirement, it is also your moral responsibility. The disclosure should include the following:

  • The location.
  • Type of asbestos-containing material.
  • The condition of the material.

Dealing with Asbestos

Finding licensed professionals to remove or encapsulate asbestos is essential before selling your home. Encapsulation is a less invasive process than removal, and it is less expensive. It involves coating or sealing the asbestos fibers to prevent them from becoming airborne.

If removal is necessary, the asbestos-containing material must be removed according to the regulations of your state or municipality.

Two men in protective suits removing a deteriorated roof from a house for sale with asbestos.

How to Identify Asbestos in Your House

Asbestos is a mineral fiber commonly used in construction materials due to its excellent insulation and fire-resistant properties. However, asbestos exposure has been linked to serious health risks, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Understanding Asbestos

Asbestos fibers are heat-resistant, making them ideal for insulating materials in older homes. Unfortunately, these fibers become airborne if disturbed, which increases the risk of inhalation and subsequent health issues.

Construction materials that may contain asbestos include:

  • Roofing and shingles
  • Insulation materials, such as loose-fill asbestos and fiberglass
  • Ceiling tiles and textured paint
  • Flooring tiles and adhesives
  • Pipe insulation

Identifying Asbestos in Your Home

To identify asbestos in your home, inspect areas where construction materials may have been used. Some common places to check include:

  1. Roofs and roofing materials: Look for roofing and siding materials made of shingles, cement sheets, or roofing felt, which may contain asbestos. Check the outer layer and see if it has a corrugated texture. If you need more clarification, hire a professional to conduct asbestos testing.
  2. Ceiling tiles and popcorn ceilings: If your home was built before the 1980s, your ceiling tiles might contain asbestos. Tiles that are white, gray, or beige and have a powdery texture are likely to contain asbestos fibers.
  3. Insulation materials: Check your pipes, ductwork, and walls for insulation materials that look gray or white fluffy. If you suspect insulation materials contain asbestos, seek professional help to test and remove them safely.
  4. Flooring tiles and adhesives: If your home was built before the 1980s, check your flooring tiles and adhesives. Vinyl floor tiles and black or brown adhesives with a paper or felt backing might contain asbestos fibers.

Handling Asbestos-Containing Materials

If you have asbestos materials in your home, it’s essential not to disturb them. If you’re considering renovating or removing insulation materials, seek professional help to remove them safely. Do not attempt to remove asbestos materials alone, as this increases the risk of asbestos exposure.

Fixing Asbestos Damage in Your House

When left undisturbed, asbestos is not hazardous; however, it becomes hazardous material if it is damaged or worn. Asbestos is found in various materials in residential buildings, including insulation, shingles, siding, and flooring.

Identifying Asbestos Exposure

Identifying the presence of asbestos in your home before embarking on any renovation or repair work is essential. If your home was built before the 1970s, it may contain asbestos. Some building materials, like drywall, may have even contained asbestos until the 1980s. It is best to hire a certified asbestos inspector to inspect your house.

Steps for Asbestos Abatement

If your home contains asbestos materials that have been damaged, it is crucial to take action immediately. Here are the basic steps that homeowners must take to remove and replace asbestos safely:

  1. Obtain a permit – Before starting any asbestos-removal project, you must obtain a permit from your state or local authorities.
  2. Hire a removal specialist – It is essential to hire a licensed and certified specialist to handle asbestos removal.
  3. Develop a work plan – A work plan outlines the steps the removal contractor will take and how to dispose of the asbestos-containing materials.
  4. Prepare the work area – Establish containment barriers to restrict asbestos fibers from spreading to other areas of the home.
  5. Remove the asbestos-containing material – The removal specialist will carefully and safely remove the asbestos-containing materials.
  6. Dispose of the asbestos material – The asbestos-containing materials must be disposed of according to state or local regulations.

Two professionals working on the roof of a house for sale with asbestos

Preventing Future Asbestos Damage

Preventing future asbestos damage is crucial to ensure the safety of the occupants of the building. Here are some strategies to avert asbestos damage:

  1. Do not disturb the asbestos material – Do not drill or damage any products containing asbestos. If you need to cut through asbestos material, contact a specialist to handle the task.
  2. Conduct yearly inspections – Hire a specialist to inspect your home for any signs of asbestos damage.
  3. Avoid DIY removal – Attempting to remove asbestos by yourself is highly discouraged. Please leave it to the professionals.

Does the Seller Have to Disclose Asbestos to the Home Buyer

Yes, in most states, the seller is legally obligated to disclose the presence of asbestos in a home to the buyer before completion. 

Asbestos poses a significant health risk and is costly to remove.

Failing to disclose the presence of asbestos could lead to potential legal consequences for the seller, including fines and legal action taken against them by the buyer. It is always best to err on the side of caution and disclose any known presence of asbestos to potential buyers.

How to Sell Your House with Asbestos

The use of asbestos was every day in building materials until the 1980s. While it has many valuable properties, including fire resistance and thermal insulation, it harms health and safety. Asbestos has been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other serious illnesses.

Steps for Selling a House Containing Asbestos

Step 1: Hire a Licensed Asbestos Inspector

Before you sell your home, you must have it inspected by a licensed asbestos professional. They will evaluate the presence of asbestos and report their findings. This report will help you identify any areas that need remediation or removal.

Step 2: Disclose the Asbestos Presence

Next, you must disclose any known asbestos presence to potential buyers. This is a legal requirement, and failing to do so results in legal action. Be transparent and honest about the existence of asbestos and provide copies of the asbestos inspection and any remediation reports.

Step 3: Obtain the Required Permits

Depending on the extent of the asbestos, you may need to obtain specific permits before selling your home.

Step 4: Remediate or Remove Asbestos

If asbestos remediation is necessary, hire a licensed and experienced contractor to complete the work. They will follow strict guidelines for containing and removing asbestos. Once remediation is complete, obtain a clearance certificate from the inspector to prove the work was done correctly.

Step 5: Find Buyers

You can opt for a traditional sale, but may find it difficult to find buyers. A better option may be to find a real estate investor or cash home buyer who has the money and ability to handle your home.

Importance of Transparency in Selling a House with Asbestos

It is vital to be transparent during the selling process when disclosing the presence of asbestos. Honesty will help you reach a successful sale and protect you from legal action.


While asbestos is hazardous if disturbed, it’s possible to manage and poses little risk if left undisturbed. When selling the property, it is crucial to consider the cost of any necessary repairs or removal of asbestos and the potential health problems associated with the material.

It is essential to be honest and upfront with potential buyers about the presence of asbestos while highlighting the property’s positive aspects.

One option might be to sell as is to an online cash buyer. They have the experience and resources to make a cash offer on your home with asbestos. An additional benefit is that you don’t have to pay realtor commission fees.

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