Agent

Inspector’s speculation derails home sale

Presence of asbestos or lead in older homes not a given

DEAR BARRY: Our home was built in 1864 and recently fell out of escrow because of the home inspector. Our agent had been less than pleased with the buyer's choice of inspector. She said that he had a reputation for stating speculation as fact, and that turned out to be just what he did. When he arrived at our home, he stated that "because the house is old, it must have lead and asbestos." I was a construction project manager, and inspectors were supposed to stick to verifiable facts. I am also certified in asbestos abatement and had already obtained an asbestos clearance on our home. The woodwork still has its original varnish, so there might be some lead content. But the old lead paint and the old shingles have been removed. The inspector's comment caused the buyer to cancel the deal. What are your thoughts on this? --Sylvia DEAR SYLVIA: Home inspectors should not make conclusive statements about the presence of asbestos or lead in homes. Old houses may conta...