Seeking advice after inspection for my first home purchase

2 Replies

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this site, so forgive me for not having done a formal introduction yet. My name is Marissa Staller, and I signed a purchase agreement to buy my first home. The home is unique in that it is connected to a studio apartment, which I had intended to set up and run as an Airbnb listing. I would live in the front part of the home, and rent out the studio through Airbnb.

My problem is that during the home inspection yesterday, the inspectors found radon (a carcinogenic gas) in the basement (levels 4.7) and vermiculite in the attic. Vermiculite has at least a 70% chance of containing asbestos, but it needs to be tested to be sure. Testing for asbestos costs $600, and the cost of abatement if asbestos is found ranges between $15K - $30K. 

My question is what to ask for in terms of mitigating the problems that were found. I know I should ask them to mitigate the radon, but who should pay for the asbestos testing? If asbestos is found, the seller should pay for the abatement, right?  There were several other minor problems found too. Any advice you have to share would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Geez...let's start with the easy one first:  the US EPA recommends that a second text be performed in the home before any mitigation be done. Radon levels fluctuate naturally and high ratings can be caused by severe weather. The text can be done 2 to 7 days following the first one.  

Asbestos.  Maybe.  Are you willing to spend $600 to know?  I would not.  I would give the seller's agent a copy of the inspection report along with an Addendum to Contract or Cancellation of Contract stating that the inspection findings were unacceptable - and that you are either cancelling the contract with return of your escrow - or if it's okay with you, you will continue provided the seller corrects both conditions and provides evidence of such from a licensed specialist.  

The bottom line is that the inspection report will make the property ineligible for insurance so the seller needs to address these items for his own health AND in order to sell the house.  My recommendation is not to assume the cost of further testing nor proceed with the purchase as is.  

Hope this helps, Marissa.  And, welcome to BP.  See you in the forums! 

The radon should be tested again as 4 is the cutoff for mitigation (even though there’s “no safe level”) it should be multiple days. The fix for it is USUALLY very cheap. It’s a pvc pipe and a fan to get there air out. The less “finished” the basement the cheaper. Figure less than $5k  

The asbestos quote SEEMS very high, especially if it’s loose insulation. But certainly an asbestos company could give you a quote assuming it is so you’d have that number. In mean time even the testing seems kinda high. But 70% isn’t a gimmie. That’s only 2 out of 3. 

If you have plenty of houses to choose form feel free to move on or negotiate hard. If there’s slim pickings, or all the houses in your neighborhood are the same age and design investigate, learn, and proceed with caution, become the expert.