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Lead-Based Paint Explained

In this week’s Real Estate Tip of the Week, I wanted to discuss Lead-based Paint, a common disclosure and contingency when buying a home in Northern Virginia.

Dating back to the early 1900s, lead-based paint was once the standard type of paint used for houses in the United States due to its durability and ability to withstand the effects of weather. However, over the years, it was discovered that the lead-based paint was poisonous and posed several health threats. Thus, Congress banned the use of lead-based paint in 1971 and the manufacturing of lead-based house paint stopped in 1978.

It is now required by law for homes built before 1978 that certain disclosures are presented during the home sale. To be specific, before the ratification of a sales contract occurs, a seller must:

Disclose any knowledge of existence of lead-based paint on the property

Give potential buyers a lead-based pamphlet

Give potential buyers a 10-day period to conduct a lead-based paint inspection at the buyer’s expense if desired.

Since majority of the homes in Arlington, VA are built before 1978, it is important to understand the risk that lead-based paint poses and what you need to know to protect yourself. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than 50% of U.S. houses and more than 75% of homes built before 1978 contain some lead-based paint. If the lead-based paint is in good condition and left alone, it poses little risk. However, if damaged, lead from chips and dust can pose serious health hazards particularly to young children. Children under the age of 6 are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead and can often acquire learning disabilities if effected.

If a home does have lead-based paint, removal isn’t cheap. The average lead-based paint removal project costs roughly $10,000. Thus, when buying a home that is built prior to 1978, make sure you protect yourself against lead-based paint.

For more great Real Estate Tips, click here! As always, if you have any real estate questions or need help buying/selling your home, please feel free to give me a call at 703-350-8800.

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