Asbestos siding: Should I be frightened?

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Asbestos siding on the exterior: deal breaker or not?

The property I was headed to look at and hopefully make an offer on has asbestos shingles. I'm a little sad because everything else on the property seems in-line (crawlspace, HVAC, roof, etc). In fact, it was one of those deals that makes you go "wait, this seems a little too good." Nevertheless, I've looked at about 55 properties prior to this one so I am also thinking I may have just finally found the right deal (after sifting through enough non-deals).

I'd be keeping the property as a buy-and-hold rental for as long as I can. I'm more after slow growing cash flow than an immediate profit.

I'm presently researching all I can on asbestos but wanted to ask:

  • Have you had a property that had asbestos?
  • When it came time to replace the exterior siding, was the abatement cost for the asbestos enough to make the deal a bad one?
  • What other things might I need to know about asbestos siding before making an offer?

I really appreciate your feedback!


I bought a duplex with asbestos siding.  It's not like asbestos is going to kill you if you touch it.  The overall cost was more than a traditional house because the asbestos removal has to be contained and disposed of in a different way. But then the actual siding job was like normal.  Not all siding contractors can do the removal so you may need to call around to find one who can do it.

@Brian Knox I own a multifamily with asbestos siding.  The siding on it is probably 100 years old and in good condition.  

If the siding is in good shape you don't need to worry. You shouldn't put other siding over it as you'd have to "disturb" it to drive the nails/screws but you can paint it like normal. You only have to deal with remediation if you're removing it. If you want to make extra sure you're doing things right you can check with your local inspector.

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I have it on one of my rentals. it is a good siding material. it lasts for decades and holds paint well.  it should not be a problem to keep it in place.

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