Make us your home page

House calls: Sellers aren't required by law to provide lead assessment

Lead assessment isn't required of sellers

Q: My house was built in the late 1890s. I am planning to paint the interior. It does not appear that paint was ever used inside. There is a great deal of stained woodwork, which will not be painted.

Since homes built before 1978 need to have lead assessment done before selling, would a combined inspection and risk assessment be currently sufficient for a sale within four years? My thought is to do a thorough lead assessment now, and then remedy any potential lead problems without having to repeat at time of sale.

A: A seller is not required by law to do lead assessment or abatement. You must give potential buyers an EPA booklet about the dangers of lead paint in any house built before 1978. If they wish, buyers may order a lead paint assessment before they commit to buy. If the interior was never painted, there shouldn't be any problem.

Backing out of a second mortgage

Q: I am about to close on a second mortgage. I want to know if I could get out of this loan.

A: You can certainly refuse a loan if you change your mind. In certain circumstances, you might even be entitled to a refund of some application expenses. With a second mortgage, you could even close, and then change your mind and give back the money for three days after that. It's called your right of rescission.

Managing a contingency contract

Q: About a contingency, as in waiting until the buyer's home sells before a closing, do we need a limit of time? And what about the total price?

A: With a contingency contract, you trade worrying about the sale of your house for worrying about the sale of your buyer's home. But if you won't consider contingent offers, you're eliminating a large group of potential buyers. With most contingency contracts, the sellers reserve the right to keep showing the house. If they want to accept another offer, they can notify the original buyers, who have a few days to remove their contingency and then promise to buy no matter what. If the first buyers can't do that, they have to drop out. Or in some contracts, the contingent agreement automatically becomes void after a certain length of time.

The drawback is that even though the house can remain on the market, some agents won't bother bringing in prospects, preferring to show something less complicated. So yes, some sellers do expect a price consideration in return for waiting around. It's always prudent to find out before signing anything whether the buyers' property is fairly priced, so that it's likely to sell promptly.

Edith Lank will respond to questions sent to her at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester, NY 14620 (please include a stamped return envelope), or readers may e-mail her at

House calls: Sellers aren't required by law to provide lead assessment 08/20/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 20, 2010 6:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours