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What Do I Need to Know About Lead Paint in a Home?

Are you buying or selling a home that was built prior to 1978? There’s a good chance there is lead paint in the home and as one of the only disclosures that is federally mandated, having lead paint can pose some challenges whether you’re buying or selling.

Why Lead Paint is an Issue

Lead is a toxic substance that can affect any and all organs in the body. Prior to 1978, lead was used to make paint. Lead is especially harmful to children six years of age or younger due to their itch to explore and consume things.

Another big issue with lead paint is that even if you paint over it with modern paint, the risk is not eliminated. It can still vaporize and be inhaled through non-lead-based paints.

What You Need to Know About Selling a Home with Lead Paint

  1. You must disclose any information regarding the lead paint in your home
  2. You are not required to test of lead-based paint but must disclose this to potential buyers
  3. Potential buyers have ten days to order a lead paint test
  4. The new owners must receive a Property Transfer Lead Paint Notification
  5. The pamphlet, Protect Your Family from Lead in the Home, needs to be given to the buyer

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do we need to specify if we want to perform a lead paint test or not if it is not part of the negotiation?

It is Mass Law; the Property Transfer Lead Paint Notification must be presented before the sale of a home if it was built before 1978. It’s a way to protect children against the possibility of lead poisoning. As a first time home buyer, this might sound very scary so it is important to explain it fully. Lead paint is not something to lose sleep over – it’s safe to say most buyers DON’T have it done – BUT it is important to understand the disclosure and the possible risks and responsibilities to resolve if necessary.

Is my deposit still protected if we decide to test, lead is found and are no longer interested in the property?

Yes. However, it is also dependent on responding to the seller within the dates promised in the offer. So be sure to check with your agent and understand the time in which you need to decide if you are going to move forward with the sale or not.

What is my obligation/responsibility if lead paint is found?

If a child under the age of 6 is living in the home, it must be taken care of and in compliance with the Lead Paint Law.

If we decide to not have the test performed can we do so at a later date?

Yes, you can have a lead paint test performed at any point in time once you take ownership of a property.

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