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Buying and Selling Homes with Lead: What Everyone Needs to Know

While most homeowners and homebuilders are well aware of the dangers of lead, there are still many misconceptions floating around about it. Many people are still unaware of the rules and regulations surrounding homes containing lead, and what will be expected of them as homeowners if they decide to sell a home with lead in it. In this article, we’re going to give a few pointers for people thinking of buying or selling a home that might contain lead.

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Why Lead is Such a Problem

The huge problem with lead is how ubiquitous it was at some point in the construction business. And it wasn’t simply limited to paint, but even vital plumbing elements as well. All homes that were built before 1978 are at risk of containing lead, even if the levels of lead in paint were lower closer to the 1978 mark. Lead is especially risky for young children and could lead to a variety of disorders, such as mental impairment for instance, but can also be very dangerous to adults and lead to kidney damage and higher blood pressure among other things. A law was passed in 1992 that made it mandatory for homeowners to disclose whether paint containing lead was used in the house.

Tips for Sellers

If you’re a seller and you know that lead paint was used in your house, you are obligated by law to provide this information to buyers. This could be through a risk assessment, lead inspection report or a letter of compliance.

However, you should be aware that you are under no obligation to perform a lead test. If you were not notified of the fact that the house may contain lead and never performed a test, you are not forced to perform one. But you should know that a home that has been tested will be easier to sell. You should also know that while you are not obligated to perform a test yourself, you are obligated to allow the seller to have the home tested themselves. You have to give the seller a minimum of 10 days to conduct a test, though you can always negotiate a shorter time frame with them.

Before the buyer signs the purchase agreement, you also have to provide them with a Lead Paint Notification. You’ll also be required to give them a copy of the EPA’s “Protect your Family from Lead in Your Home” prevention pamphlet. You can download it directly from the EPA’s website.

Tips for Buyers

As a buyer, you are not obligated to perform a test, but it’s always wiser to do so, especially if you have children under 6 years of age. You should also know that even if the lead concentration is under the EPA lead levels, it can still cause some dangers. While doctors still use the 5 mcg per deciliter of blood measurement for lead poisoning, no quantity is considered safe.

If the house contains lead, you’ll have to perform interim control before you can buy the house. Interim control isn’t as extensive as full de-leading, but it does provide a temporary fix. However, you’ll have to have the house inspected by a risk assessor first.

Lead exposure is something that should never be taken lightly. Whether you’re an owner or a seller, it’s important that you do your due diligence and make sure that no one ends up being affected.

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