Evaluating a property: possible asbestos ceiling tile

10 Replies

Newbie here. Today I looked at a SFH in a good location in Madison, WI. The price is 58% below the average for homes in this neighborhood. It needs a lot of work - total rehab. It's a rare find in this city and would likely be a great BRRRR property.

Before I pull in a contractor, I'd like to get input from this community. I believe it's highly likely that the ceiling tiles have asbestos. Does this look like asbestos ceiling tile to you? If so, how expensive is it to have it removed? It's a 1600 sqft home. Is this just part and parcel of rehabbing? 

Thanks in advance,


@Cheryl Hewitt , how old is the tile? Age will help you determine if it is or not. The other thing that you should consider is whether or not you want to really know. You only have to disclose what you know. You do not have to disclose things that you suspect or think. And, the only way to know for sure is to test it. Once you test it, you may be opening a can of worms you don't want to open.

CLICK HERE for a guide on identifying asbestos tile. It may help but isn't a guarantee.

The danger with asbestos is when the dust is airborne and ingested or inhaled. I also think it has to be disposed of properly. I think it would be worth having someone test it. If it's not asbestos, sail on. If it is, you'll have to determine if you want to just cover it or pay for someone to remove it professionally.

Good morning. The realtor sent me the real estate condition report, which did verify that the house has asbestos and lead paint, and lead pipes, and a myriad of other issues. The report included an estimate for repairs, excluding plumbing, HVAC, and electrical and some other key components like updating the interior including bathrooms and kitchen, the amount came to $139,549.35. I'm walking away from this one. It's just too much, especially for someone just starting out in REI.

Call revive restoration. Write an offer based on an asbestos test (and other contingency you think you need). If there is known asbestos that pops up in test the seller would be required to notify other potential buyers. It could allow you to get the property under contract with exclusive window to negotiate. 

Good luck and PM if you would like to discuss further. 


Just saw your follow up post. Yikes!  Hard to stomach those costs. Could be a coup for someone who knows how to deal with that stuff to get at a value and still have a delta after repairs. 99% of buyers aren’t touching it. 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here