LESSONS I’VE LEARNED IN SACRAMENTO REAL ESTATE – When a home contains “Popcorn Ceilings” many agent and buyers are aware, unsure, and at times uninformed.
Any agent who’s been selling homes for a while has shown homes that have acoustic ceilings, usually found in homes built in the late 1930’s through the 1980’s. I’ve had clients who would walk into a home and say, “Oh darn…, popcorn ceilings!” as if to say, cross this one off the list. Or they turn to me, as their agent and ask, “How hard/expensive is it to remove the ‘cottage cheese’?” Some hate the look of it, while others are very concerned about its content. The product that was used to create these acoustic ceilings had asbestos in it, until 1978 when it was banned by the Clean Air Act in the U.S. What’s the big deal about asbestos? If you are not aware, asbestos has been shown to cause lung cancer and pose other health risks when inhaled. So the adage was always, don’t eat it, scrap it, or let you kids kick a ball into the ceiling to make it rain “popcorn.” Many people just paint right over it as to contain its dust and make it more of a solid. I had one client who loved everything about a home, even so far as to make and offer and get it accepted, except for the popcorn ceiling. They were terrified about the possibility of it containing asbestos and harming their children. I tried to make the case that since the house was built in the mid-80’s, there was a high unlikelihood of the ceilings containing asbestos due to it being banned in 1978. My argument didn’t work. As a result, I had to step up my game. I called one of the best known outfits in town that take out popcorn ceilings. They explained to me that they don’t even test the substance if they house is newer than 1980. I thought this would certainly close the deal, putting fears to rest with the buyer… Nope. As research has shown, larger companies who manufactured this product were allowed to expend their inventory, so as to not put fiscal constraints on the companies due to the law change in 1978. So there is still a very slight chance that some ginormous, asbestos-filled warehouse doled out the last of its supply in 1984. I had to, yet again, take to another level. There is a company in Sacramento that does quick, inexpensive testing of acoustic ceilings to see if they contain asbestos. The seller allowed me to scrap some ceiling matter from a closet ceiling, into a zip lock bag, so we could have it tested. The result…. NO ASBESTOS found, and deal closed!
Lesson learned: See potential roadblocks as growing, learning experiences. Keep digging and working on behalf for your clients – never give up! The more eager I can be to keep elevating and being educated, the better for my client and myself.
Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900
Specializing in Residential Sales & Property Management
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