Professional home inspectors are the first line of defense for prospective home buyers in identifying, assessing and reporting on a wide range of issues that could be legally "material" to a property transaction. These issues are "material" because of the significant cost required to correct them.
Therefore, the most important reason to help your client know if vermiculite insulation is present is that it could end up costing them a lot of money if they don't find out until after the property transaction is consummated, when it is too late to adjust their offer price to reflect the presence of this environmental liability. The Zonolite Attic Insulation (ZAI) Trust can help both the buyer and seller in a real estate transaction address the presence of confirmed Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation.
Although the ZAI Trust has been reaching out to home inspectors professional associations, the home inspection profession is still grappling with this issue, and not all home inspectors may have received formal training about asbestos in Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation. That's one of the main reasons that I wrote my ebook - so that I could reach as many home inspectors as possible, given that it isn't possible for me to attend local home inspector professional society meetings all over the country.
With the exception of lead-based paint (LBP) where federal regulations mandate disclosure during a real estate transaction, a seller's real estate disclosure obligations vary with each state. The issue of "materiality" with the presence of Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation is that is adversely affects the home's revalue because of the cost to have it removed properly. Therefore, even though technically disclosure of the presence of Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation might not be legally required by state law, I strongly advise home inspectors to do so when it is readily accessible, because it could open the home inspector to potential legal liability and risk of litigation for failing to disclose it during a property transaction once a home inspector has knowledge of its' presence. When in doubt, it's always a good idea to consult with a State-licensed real estate attorney to minimize potential legal liability of a home inspector in a real estate transaction involving any environmental contamination or hazard.
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