There is one problem with buying older homes. Homes built before 1978 may have lead paint in the house.
Lead was a popular ingredient in house paint for years before scientists discovered that this element—if eaten or inhaled as dust in the air—could cause a wide range of health problems, from anemia to seizures to death, particularly in children.
The federal government banned the sale of lead-based paint in 1978.
“Many painters loved lead-based paint,” says Welmoed Sisson, a Maryland-based home inspector with Inspections by Bob. It tends to be glossier, more lustrous, and it holds color better. “Once they learned the ban was going into effect, many of them stocked up on a cache of lead-based paint.”
And since the government made it illegal only to manufacture and buy the paint, using what you already had was a gray area that lasted for years. “I’ve talked to inspectors who’ve found lead-based paint in homes built in the ’90s,” says Sisson.
Bottom line: This is not something you want hanging around a home once you move in. Thankfully, there are ways to check for lead paint and get rid of it.
If you know there is lead paint in the house, what can you do about it?
- When it comes to testing for lead, you have two options: hire a professional, or do it yourself. Certified professional lead inspectors can give you the quickest and most accurate test results. You can find listings of certified lead inspectors at your regional EPA office. Expect to pay several hundred dollars to have your house tested.
- Depending on how much lead paint is present in your home, you may be able to contain it with a strict maintenance plan that includes regular inspections for pain deterioration. Any future renovations will need to be made by lead-safe certified home contractors.
- Lead paint can make your home difficult to sell. The seller must disclose any information you know about the presence of lead-based paint to potential buyers. Though that can turn away some shoppers, lead paint disclosure is required by law.
Seller’s Obligations to the Buyer:
Federal law requires that before signing a contract to buy a house built before 1978, buyers must receive information about lead paint in the house from the home seller:
- An EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards titled Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home (PDF).
- Any known information concerning the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the home or building.
- An attachment to the contract, or language inserted in the contract, that includes a “Lead Warning Statement” and confirms that the seller has complied with all notification requirements.
I am Christian Dunlap and my company, ChristianBuysHouses.com, buys houses all across Hampton Roads, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth.
Give me a call today at 757-705-8812, and I will do my best to provide you with the fastest and fairest home selling solution you need.