Asbestos, a mineral fiber found in rocks and soil, was once used in construction due to its strength and fire-resistant properties and is commonly found in homes built before 1980.
However, exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. As a result, the use of asbestos in construction has been significantly reduced, but it can still be found in many homes, including those financed by VA loans.
Minimum property requirements (MPRs) are established to ensure homes financed by VA loans are safe, sanitary and structurally sound. While the VA does not address asbestos-related issues specifically, any element of the home that negatively affects a veteran’s health may not meet the minimum property requirements and must be addressed before the home is eligible for a VA loan.
Depending on the amount and exposure of asbestos, homeowners and potential buyers should check with their state and local governments to understand the asbestos requirements for that area. You may need to hire a professional asbestos removal company or take other measures to remove or encapsulate the asbestos to meet the property requirements.
The presence of asbestos in a home is not necessarily a health hazard because it is only dangerous when the fibers are released. If the asbestos-containing material is damaged and the fibers are breathed in, they can lead to severe health issues.
VA appraisers aren’t required to check for asbestos, nor do they typically have the qualifications to do so. However, if an appraiser detects asbestos in a home, it can be deemed a general health hazard that violates the VA minimum property requirements. The home will not move past the appraisal stage until adequately addressed.
Thankfully, many cases of asbestos don’t require removal. But it is recommended that a professional evaluate the home to ensure that the asbestos-containing material doesn’t deteriorate and become a future health risk. Before undertaking a home remodel or repair, it is crucial to evaluate your home if asbestos is suspected.
Keep in mind that the federal government does not mandate sellers to disclose if their home contains asbestos, even if they are aware of the issue. Some states and municipalities have buyer asbestos disclosure requirements, so be sure to look up your region to understand your rights and responsibilities.
Deteriorating shingles of any kind could require a roof repair, so before the appraiser gets to the nature or construction of the shingles, the property could be flagged as needing corrections before the home can be approved. If the presence of shingles with asbestos fibers in and of itself violates local laws, the appraiser would either recommend their removal per VA MPRs or deny the home if the safety risk is significant.