Buying an older property to renovate and modernise is a popular choice for many Australians. This is particularly true for first-time buyers who want to make a good profit on the renovation project to progress further up the property ladder. If you're a first-time buyer, then you are hopefully being particular about the pre-purchase inspections you undertake on the desired property.
Pre-purchase inspections are important for any property purchase but they are absolutely non-negotiable on an older property. As well as building and pest inspections which will alert you to any costly problems you may strike during the renovation, you also need to book in an asbestos inspection. As a first-time buyer, you may have heard about asbestos but aren't really certain about the details and implications that finding it in your property can entail. To help you out, here are four commonly asked questions about asbestos in a home.
1. What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used prolifically in building materials in Australia until the 1980s. This was when the dangers of asbestos and the fatal lung diseases and cancers related to exposure to asbestos were made public and its use was banned. If the home you intend to purchase was built before the 90s, there is a likelihood that it will contain asbestos.
2. Where is asbestos usually found in a home?
The most common use for asbestos was the sheeting used to cover the internal and external walls of older homes. However, it was also used in many other applications, including roof tiles, cabinets and electrical casing, among other things. It's also quite common to find asbestos in the garden soil of older properties. Before the dangers of the material were known, it was often discarded and buried on site by workmen.
3. Can I remove asbestos myself?
Although it is legal to remove a small amount of asbestos yourself, asbestos removal is a job that's best left to the professionals. In an inert state asbestos is quite harmless, but when the fibres within a piece of material are disturbed they can lodge in your lungs, which is the cause of asbestos-related disease. Trained professionals will be able to remove and dispose of your asbestos-containing materials using suitable safety gear, protective clothing and dedicated cleaning equipment.
4. Should I still purchase a property that has asbestos?
If you have found a property that you love but that is riddled with asbestos, you may be tempted to pull out of the sale. It's true that renovating this kind of property will involve extra expenses; you can try to negotiate with the vendor to lower the price to mitigate the extra money you'll need to spend.