Featuring America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Barry Stone

Barry Stone

America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist

Barry StoneKnown today as “America’s House Detective,” Barry advises readers from coast to coast about home inspection and real estate disclosure, providing honest clarity, fresh wit, consumer protection, and even-handed fairness in his responses to real estate questions. Read more.

After moving in, we found undisclosed defects. How could we have prevented this?

What should I do about my asbestos ceiling?

Why does my new roof leak?


Got questions about disclosure or home defects?

Contractor Loses Job Over Asbestos Bid

Dear Barry:  I hope you don’t mind another asbestos question. As a general contractor, I was bidding on the remodel of an old home. The ceilings had acoustic texture, sometimes known as “popcorn,” so I included the costs of testing and possible asbestos removal in my bid. The homeowners complained that two other contractors had also bid on the job and that neither contractor had mentioned asbestos. Because my bid included the additional costs, I did not get the job. What do you think of this?  Bob

Dear Bob:  Contractors who did not consider the possibility of asbestos in their bids may not realize that they are exposing themselves to financial liability and potential lawsuits.

Most of the acoustic ceilings installed from the 1950’s through the 1970’s contain asbestos. If the texture material is intact, it is not regarded as a significant health hazard. When removal or demolition takes place, the law requires that the material be tested and that handling, removal, and disposal be done by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor.

The homeowners who received your bid were informed by you of a potential problem, but chose to overlook it, supposedly for financial reasons. In so doing, they made a serious misjudgment, exposing themselves and others to a possible health hazard.

In a similar situation, several years ago, a remodeling contractor removed acoustic ceiling texture from a home without advising the owner of possible asbestos. Fabrics throughout the house, including carpets, drapes, upholstery, and clothing, were later found to be contaminated with asbestos fibers. All of these had to be sent to a toxic waste site, and the contractor was held to be financially liable for the losses.

The homeowners in your recent situation were not prudent in their decision. Hopefully, they will not come to regret that choice.

Archives


Inspection Complaints

Home Inspector Missed Electrical Defects

Dear Barry:  When I purchased my home, I hired a home inspector. The only electrical problem he found was a charred wire in the fuse box. After moving in, I noticed that the lights kept dimming, so I called an electrician. He said that the panel was very old, that the... read more

Technical Issues

Contractor Loses Job Over Asbestos Bid

Dear Barry:  I hope you don’t mind another asbestos question. As a general contractor, I was bidding on the remodel of an old home. The ceilings had acoustic texture, sometimes known as “popcorn,” so I included the costs of testing and possible asbestos removal in my... read more

Misc/Other

Home Inspector Goes To Small Claims Court

Home Inspector Goes To Small Claims Court

The House Detective: by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector Dear Barry:  I’ve been a home inspector for about two years, so I’m still learning. Unfortunately, I just learned a very hard lesson after doing a free walk-through inspection as a favor for a real estate... read more