Millennial Home Ownership: The Hidden Cost of Asbestos

According to a recent KPMG Poll: 72% of millennials say that their goal is to own a home, but 46% say that this is a pipe dream. With the steady decline in home prices as well as increased first-time buyer incentives this pipe dream might just turn into a reality. Nevertheless, buying your first home is an extremely huge undertaking.

Now imagine this: you have checked over all your finances, gotten approved for your mortgage and now you are ready to start house hunting! You come across this beautiful small two-story home located in a well-established neighborhood. Everything is perfect, you are even considering a few small renovations! However, the year the home was built: 1975. Uh oh. Then you remember that one time you heard about Asbestos.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a cancer-causing mineral used in many common building materials between the 1940’s and 1970s. Virtually indestructible and non-flammable, Asbestos saw a huge rise in popularity and could be found in many different building materials such as:

  • Drywall
  • Floor-tile
  • Wall and Texture
  • Ceiling Tile
  • Vermiculite

Left undisturbed Asbestos is harmless and will not become airborne. But I already know what you are thinking when you see 4 different floor tiles and popcorn ceiling, trust me we have all been there. Whether it is renovation, emergency response to flood, or getting rid of it for safety reasons, removing and
disposing asbestos safely and legally is a huge undertaking. The cost of asbestos removal can reach upwards of $15,000. That number is not something that lots of first-time buyer account for.

Aren’t Asbestos tests generally included in home inspections?

Short answer is no, not often. Although some home inspectors may be trained in identifying asbestos, but most do not have the qualification to do so. Often when asked they will generally contract this work out to a hygienist or environmental consultant. Our suggestion is, if you are in Alberta looking into purchasing a house built prior to the 1980’s give us a call and we’ll see what we can do.

Remember, it is always better to be safe and prepared before taking that leap into home ownership.