Over 7,500 New Zealand homes were sold during May 2018 alone - us Kiwis are a property-hungry bunch. A number of laws govern the sales of these properties and, although cashing in a capital gain may be at the front of your mind, it’s essential you’re aware of these laws and that you follow them while selling.

Asbestos is one material in particular that may be of concern due to its potentially hazardous nature. So you’re aware of what’s legally required of you as a vendor, below we’ve compiled everything you need to know about selling a house containing asbestos.

 

Laws under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008

In November 2009, the Real Estate Agents Act was introduced in order to govern the practice of those involved in property transactions. It includes a set of laws regarding what real estate agents and vendors must disclose about a property during a sale. Most importantly, a vendor or agent must:

●      Disclose any information they hold about a property on request.

●      Not mislead a buyer about a property during a sale.

Furthermore, real estate agents are required to disclose any details of the property that may affect a buyer’s decision to purchase. Asbestos usually falls under this banner, so it’s important you disclose the presence of asbestos in your home to your real estate agent, or inform buyers yourself if you’re selling privately.

If you suspect your home contains asbestos but you’re not sure, the interpretation of the law becomes a little less clear. Generally speaking, it’s best to err on the side of caution and always tell your real estate agent if you suspect your home contains asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). This information may deter buyers and damage your sale price, so in most cases it’s worth investigating further so you know for sure what’s inside your home.

Asbestos testing before a sale

What does asbestos look like? While most ACMs are difficult to see, they can be easily identified with professional asbestos sampling and testing easily performed by Chemcare. Fortunately for those in the process of selling a house, this is a quick and easy process.

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Once you contact the team at Chemcare, we’ll advise which survey is best for your needs, and visit your home to take samples. Samples will generally be $2 coin-sized cuttings of tiles, claddings, or other materials, all of which will be separately bagged and labelled. Our technicians take samples from discreet areas to avoid unnecessary damage to your property.

These samples will be sent to an accredited laboratory, and you’ll receive a report detailing the results and suggesting a course of action to minimise the health risk of any asbestos present in your building.

With any luck, the results will be negative and you’ll gain peace of mind knowing you’re selling a property free of asbestos. If the results come back positive, however, it’s time to consider the next steps.

 

 Asbestos removal before sale

When you receive the results of the report and the management plan, it’s a good idea to request a quote for asbestos removal. Next, speak to your real estate agent and ask whether they believe the possible reduction in purchase price due to asbestos will be more or less than the cost of asbestos removal.

They won’t be able to give you a definite answer, but they should be able to help you decide whether it’s best to go to market with asbestos or deal with it before you sell. Alternatively, you may be able to provide the management report to potential buyers to make sure they’re fully aware of any further costs that may be involved, and the level of risk that the asbestos poses.

Regardless of what you do, always disclose what you know about the home to real estate agents and buyers. It’s better to deal with problems now than to have buyers discover asbestos in the home after the sale, which could lead to them taking legal action against you.

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If you require further advice on selling a house containing asbestos in Auckland, or wish to have your home tested before sale, contact with the expert team at Chemcare today.