This is a trick question of sorts, as it’s akin to asking “Are homes with 1950s tile worth less?”. It all depends on the particular home involved, the local housing market, and a ton of other variables.
In general, though, homes with asbestos siding are viewed by most buyers and sellers as having a “problem”, much like a home with foundation issues.
The general take on asbestos siding is that it’s dangerous and expensive to remove, so that often translates into a perceived lower value for a home that has asbestos cement siding, in the eyes of many home buyers and sellers.
That said, there are many buyers who won’t blink an eye at a home with asbestos siding and won’t consider it a negative at all.
Are Homes With Asbestos Siding Worth Less?
Unlike a home with foundation issues, asbestos siding isn’t always seen as a negative. The look of asbestos siding is also making a comeback of sorts, along with the revived interest in ranch-style homes, and some home-owners are choosing fiber cement siding (that looks exactly like older asbetos siding but contains no asbestos) when installing new siding.
One thing to keep in mind, too, is that sellers sometimes discount their asking price too much, because they overestimate the problem that asbestos siding presents.
If you can purchase a home with asbestos siding at a steep discount, it might actually be worth more to you at the end of the day, if the cost to remove the siding or install new siding over the asbestos siding is smaller than the discount you received when purchasing the home.
I am looking into purchasing a new home. I found one that i absolutely just love that was built in 1949. The down side is that it has asbestos siding. Everything in me says “don’t buy something will happen and create a health risk.” I’ve been told by the Realtor and owner that you can “cover up” the asbestos but simply just putting vinyl over it. What would be your recommendation as a first time home buyer in an area that has LOTS of homes that were built in this time period? What would you advise me to do about the asbestos? Because, i just simply am in love with this house, but love my health more!
Thanks for your time,
The first step would be to get a test done to make sure the siding on the home actually contains asbestos. It can be old and look exactly like asbestos siding but contain no asbestos, as not every siding manufacturer added asbestos t their products. Tests can be done is less than a week and usually cost $20-$30.
If it does contain asbestos, then you have a decision on your hands. It’s never good to have asbestos in or on your home, but siding is one of the lowest risk categories. It’s difficult to break up and make friable — basically crushing it enough that the dangerous fibers are released — and difficult to inhale enough fibers if they are somehow released to be dangerous.
Encapsulating asbestos siding — i.e. “covering it up” — with vinyl siding is a very viable way of dealing with it and recommended by numerous agencies and officials. If done properly to minimize breakage and contain any fibers, encapsulating the old siding with vinyl siding is not only safe but it contains the asbestos and gives your home a bright, new look.