As Elena Talis pointed out, there are really only three (3) options in terms of your contract and how you can treat this new knowledge. And as Lance King and Bill McCord pointed out, however, depending on your contract (for example, if in trying to purchase the home in Cupertino--a very hot market, you agreed to waive contingencies), your options may be greatly limited without jeopardizing a part or all of your earnest money deposit.
Since the others have already talked about your options from a contractual standpoint, I'm going to elaborate a little on what Terri Vellios mentioned previously about what it means to find asbestos in your home...
First, there are still many homes in Santa Clara County that have asbestos within the property. From ducting to flues and pipes to acoustic ceilings within the interior of the home and garage, there is and always will be asbestos. Asbestos, as a product, was removed from acceptable housing materials around the mid-1970s, so if the home is older than 1970, chances are high that somewhere within the home, there is asbestos. So long as asbestos is not nicked or damaged (a condition that is called making the asbestos "friable") or is encapsulated with another product (for example, paint over acoustic ceiling), my understanding in talking with experts is that is should not present health hazards to you or to your family. Removal of asbestos is a fairly common construction job today, and, while not cheap, it is certainly not hugely expensive either. In most cases, asbestos can be safely removed in about a day with minimal inconvenience to the homeowner.
So you have options regarding how to treat the asbestos. It all boils down to your own personal comfort level with having the asbestos in the home. By the way, older homes have a plethora of materials within them that might be considered hazardous today that was not previously so when the home was built. Dealing with these issues as they crop up during your ownership is part of maintaining an older home--believe me, I know, I, too, own an older home.
Now, more importantly, before you consider your next moves, it's time to sit down with the experts--your home inspector, an environmental hygenist, your contractor, your agent and, if necessary, your real estate attorney to determine what are your options. We can all tell you, generally, what you can do, but none of us is in your contract or knows any specifics about your contract--that's why you have a Realtor to help you. Work with your agent and your team of specialists to get a better idea of how to address the asbestos. Remember, it can be removed fairly easily so you have options if you really like the home.
Contact your agent today, and work out a plan for which you're comfortable in addressing your problems with the home.
Allison James Estates & Homes
Even if the seller has acted appropriately he may still consider modifying the purchase agreement. Your agent is your key to negotiations.
Whether it is asbestos, lead paint or termites don't panic. People have been fixing similar problems for years.
Top 2 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty
Over 30 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties
In addition to what all of the experienced broker and agents stated below, I just want to add that the chances of having asbestos is relatively high if you are buying similar age home as you are looking at. If you find it in this home, you may find it in another home in the similar age. Also, if you do feel like the amount of asbestos found is excessive relative to what the seller had disclosed to you before, you can go back and renegotiate. I know most sales nowadays are as-is sale, but when there are surprises in the home inspection report, you can always ask your realtor to go back and talk to the seller. If it truly is more severe than you expected or what the seller's inspection report had disclosed, same worries will probably arise even if the seller tries to sell the property to the other prospective buyers also. Worst comes to worst, the seller will tell you no credit will be given to you and you can then decide if you still want to purchase the property. The problem is, 1) you most likely will find another home in similar age that has asbestos still 2) the price continues to rise these days, the longer you wait, the higher the price may be in the coming months.
Hope this helps you make the right decision. Just hire a contractor who is certified to remove asbestos and see how much it'd cost to remove it. Depends on the condition of the asbestos, most of the time, the inspector would tell you nothing happens as long as you don't disturb it. That's why it recently became a law that if you do decide to remove asbestos, it has to be by a contractor who is certified to remove asbestos or lead based paint in a home. http://www.cslb.ca.gov/GeneralInformation/Library/LicensingC
Good luck with your purchase!!!!
1. Continue with the purchase as agreed upon in the contract.
2. Quit unilaterally - depending on the stage of the purchase process this option may have financial consequences.
3. Negotiate change of terms of the contract. Depending on the other side agreeing to the proposed changes you may have to revert to option 1 or 2.
In more practical terms - I assume that the presence of asbestos is not acceptable for you. I would get an estimate for the cost of the cleanup and depending on the cost I would decide what to do. Your realtor should be able to be able to help you navigate your options.
Asbestos can be removed and there are licensed contractors who can do this. If it is recommended to remove the asbestos, then you can get an estimate for removal.
The next option do you want the house and with the knowledge of the condition and cost does it still fit for you? If so buy it. If not, talk with you agent to review your purchase contract on what your options will be.
Have an amazing day!
And regardless of how hot the market is it is rarely a good idea to make offers without inspection contingencies unless you are knowledgeable enough to assess the condition of the property without inspectors help. Even if it's new construction, things happen and you lose your leverage to have the seller/developer take care of things by having no contingencies. You can reduce the default time period to show you are serious.
In all cases it should be possible for a correctly licenced Abatement Contractor to completely resolve the problem and you are really just talking about who pays the cost.