Should I buy a house that has asbestos in it?

 

I have hundreds of properties in my personal portfolio and probably three quarters of them contain asbestos in some shape or form.

Any property built between 1950 and 1990 most likely has asbestos in it. 

For a red brick house built in that time, the fibrous cement asbestos in it will commonly be located in the eaves. That strip of gyprock looking material that sits underneath the tiles is generally full of asbestos. It could also be in the kitchen and bathrooms (wet areas).

Some properties have asbestos roofs, fencing, even gutters and downpipes.

Nowadays you have blueboard, villaboard, different types of gyprock and different types of fibro that you can get, which contain silica. Now there are new problems occurring with silica and silica poisoning from people that are cutting it, however most properties have asbestos in them in some shape or form.

 

So should it deter me from owning a property full of asbestos?

I’m not a health professional and don’t profess to be, but generally, asbestos left alone is OK.

The way it affects people generally occurs once it’s disturbed by someone going in there to knock it around, patch it, sand it, or cut it. 

The disturbance makes the particles turn into dust and once the dust particles are inhaled, it gets stuck in your lungs and over time can cause you serious health problems. 

So, if you’re going to renovate a property, check that it’s got asbestos, then dispose of it correctly and make sure you’re being safe.

But if you leave a property and don’t disturb the asbestos, it should be perfectly safe.

 

Factor in risk and costs

If investing in a property with asbestos, I would measure the risk. What would be the value of the property if I had to dispose of that asbestos?

Say for example I may need to replace a roof and dispose of the asbestos. Would that cost me an extra $10,000?

If so, I’d factor that into the purchase price to cover that future cost.

If it’s just in the kitchen or the bathroom, it may not need to be removed or replaced, but it’s best to check. Talk to someone who does know about asbestos before any renovations.

Also, understand there are some areas of the property, be it underlay, in a lino or kitchen area, that can contain it. 

For further advice, reach out and speak to the team at 1300 367 925.