Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dream Igloo Turns to Nightmare

We bid on a house.

It is in one of those up-and-coming neighborhoods. You know, the ones with bistros and cafes and galleries, open air markets.

So we submitted a bid. A big bid.

After we bid, we found out that the house has ASBESTOS. The furnace ductwork and the furnace needs replacing. You can't disturb asbestos. Disturbed asbestos is a worst case scenario for your health.

I realise that there is a lot of debate as to how unsafe asbestos is. I don't care. Any amount of carcinogenic exposure is too much for me. I wouldn't sleep at night.

Did you know...
Employment laws dictate that commercial, industrial or institutional buildings have to be cleared of asbestos...

Unfortunately, many home renovators don't realise that a home built before 1980s likely has asbestos. It is far more common than most of us realise. Fences, chimneys, sheds, roofs, eves...even brick cladding can contain asbestos. Due to the big trend in DIY projects, home renovators are the new suffereres of asbestos cancer. In Australia, they are predicting an epidemic of this disease which is not expected to peak for another 10 or 20 years.

I don't want to fool around with that stuff. We have an ex asbestos-removal supervisor in the family. I know I need asbestos like I need a hole in the head.

** What is the plural of roof?** I never knew there was a controversy!


At 8:24 AM, Blogger Anne said...

Oh No! Sorry to hear that, where is the house?

At 8:37 AM, Blogger Julia said...

Hi Anne, The house is in Wellington Village. The kicker is that there is a very good chance that most of the housing in Westboro, The Glebe and even the beloved 'burg probably have asbestos. Aparently it is very common... uh... we just don't know about it. Not a problem if you don't renovate, but with everybody doing their own home renos... it's bad news.

I'm moving into NEW CONSTRUCTION.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Oh no, I'm so sorry. Does this mean the deal's off or will you try to have the current owners deal with it?

Which of the two houses was it? The one with the garden or the other one?

At 1:16 PM, Blogger suburban mom said...

So is the deal off? Our old house had asbestos. But it was just insulating some of the furnace ducting. It wasn't a big deal to me. We never even used it! :)

(I know some lawyers who have gotten very rich off of all the asbestos lawsuits...(I don't know why I through that in)).

Oh, and isn't it rooves? Wait, that isn't right. Roofes? Nope. Crap....what is the plural?

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

Julia, as long as you remove the asbestos in one piece, there is nothing to worry about. Of course, if you damage it, it's an entirely different matter. Over here you can hire a few chaps in special suits to remove the asbestos for you.

I hope you'll find your dream house soon and if at all possible one with a garden. :-)

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Julia said...

Hello all, yes it was the GARDEN house.

Katherine, it sounds like your asbestos and my asbestos are in the same location. Mine is on the furnace ducting. It doesn't sound like there is a lot, however, the furnace needs replacing and updating $6000 in order to insure the house. That would definitely disturb the asbestos and we would have to get a special team in to do it before the furnace guys would come. So the whole thing is getting a bit more expensive and anxiety producing than we like. I noticed your "dig" about never turning on the furnace, by the way!!!

My husband and I are not the low-anxiety types when it comes to housing issues. I realise that it would probably be alright intellectually to have asbestos in the house, but emotionally, I can't do it. Same with that formaldehyde insulation. We run from that as well.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Here in the U.S., when a problem like this pops up, it becomes the problem of the seller, not the buyer, to remediate the asbestos. And then the house has to pass inspection again before the deal can be finalized.

At 6:30 PM, Blogger suburban mom said...

Dig?! If it was a dig...it was on me! :)

And can you just make that part of the offer - they have to fix the aspbestos/furnice problem before you buy?

That's actually what happened when we sold that home - we had to replace the furnace for the new owners. Everything was up to code, and I think it cost us about $5000.

The main reason we didn't use it, was b/c the house was all glass and very drafty. Seriously, we would have spent over $500 a month, and it wouldn't have really helped.

In this house, with it's new double paned windows...we DO use the heater in the winter. Every night.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Julia said...

I notice that the American commenters say that the onus for stuff like fixing a furnace / removing asbestos is on the seller. That would be nice! I don't think we tend to do that as much up here (wimps). For instance, the seller will provide you with "quotes" for the work and then you can bargain with that number but knowing that you are paying for the updates. We are in a sellers market, I guess.

At 11:50 PM, Blogger katieo said...



At 12:21 AM, Blogger suburban mom said...

ha Julia! you are so funny. So I'm answering your post here. Yes, I spent my summers there - that's where all the pictures are from that I post!

My grandmother died a few years ago and the house was sold :( My dad's family still owns the house behind their old house which was next door to my mom's house. They grew up with summer homes next to each other...isn't that too cute? ;)

At 12:25 AM, Blogger suburban mom said...

ha ha, J, I just changed the title of the post for you - thanks for reminding me (at least that's what I read in a WSJ journal article a year or so ago...number two was in the hamptons :)

At 12:33 AM, Blogger Crabby McSlacker said...

What a shame!

I've always insisted on living in older houses because of the "charm" factor. But after dealing with mold & dryrot and broken pipes and shifting foundations etc, I think we've reached the point where we're tired of charming. Now adjectives like "new" and "green" and "low-maintenance" seem much more appealing than "classic" and "cozy" and "historic."

Good luck on your next place, whether it's Cute House of Asbestos or New Construction.

At 12:44 AM, Blogger suburban mom said...

OK, me again.

I just found the article I was thinking of. So I was wrong. Balboa Island is number three. I'm going to post this tomorrow, I just thought it was so fun to read :)



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