Table of Contents
- How much does a lead paint inspection cost?
- Do I need a lead paint inspection?
- What’s the difference between a lead paint inspection and a lead paint risk assessment?
- Health risks concerning lead paint
- How to find certified lead paint inspection companies
- How to save on homeowners insurance
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In the United States, a lead paint inspection typically costs somewhere between $230 and $430. The exact price largely depends on the state you live in, the square footage of your home, and the total surface area of the areas (walls, doors, windows, etc.) being tested for lead.
After lead paint was banned for residential use in 1978, testing for it became commonplace for homebuyers looking to purchase older homes. Some mortgage lenders, especially those funded by the government, began including it as a requirement for loan approval.
Testing your home for lead paint is one of the easiest ways to keep your family safe and healthy—that’s why
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Jerryhas put together the following guide breaking down how much lead paint inspections cost, when they’re needed, and how to find a professional inspection company.
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How much does a lead paint inspection cost?
Per research conducted by HomeAdvisor, a lead paint inspection generally costs somewhere between $230 and $430 (the national average is $330), but the exact price will ultimately depend on your location, the square footage of your home, and the total surface area of the areas being tested.
Most professionals charge between $300 and $330 to test both the interior and exterior of your home for lead paint, including all the surfaces which may contain paint (such as doors, windows, molding, walls, etc.). This is done by testing areas with loose, cracked, chipped, or peeling paint with a chemical reagent that will turn a certain color if lead is present.
If the inspector finds lead paint,you will also need to pay for the cost of lead abatementand repairs. The average cost of this is $3,000. For a more detailed exploration of these measures and their costs, see the section below.
Lead paint abatement and removal costs
If lead paint is discovered during the inspection, you’ll want to move forward as soon as possible with the abatement, or reduction, of the paint.
When considering abatement, you generally have two choices: mitigation or removal.
- Mitigation ($1,000-5,000). Mitigation is the preferred choice for prospective homeowners and generally consists of reducing your exposure to lead paint by sealing off old paint with new drywall or siding.
- Removal ($10,000+). Complete removal of lead paint involves hiring professionals to strip and dispose of all paint before replacing the affected walls, doors, and window surfaces.
Typically, total removal of lead paint is only a requirement for those managing large-scale subsidized housing, but it may be something to consider if your household includes young children. High abatement expenses are still preferable to the long-lasting side effects of lead poisoning, after all.
Do I need a lead paint inspection?
Generally speaking, a lead paint inspection is not needed if the house you are looking to buy was built after 1978, the year lead-based paint was officially banned for residential use in the United States.
If the home you are considering buying was built before 1978, however, your mortgage lender may require you to schedule a lead paint inspection. Most homes built during this time contain at least some lead-based paint.
This is especially true if you are looking to borrow a loan from the Veterans Administration (VA) or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). If your lender does not immediately inform you at the outset that a lead paint inspection is necessary, it can’t hurt to ask—and it may be beneficial to conduct one for your own sake.
Lead paint inspection for a VA loan
As per the property requirement guidelines set by the Veterans Administration, you must schedule a lead-based paint inspection (and remove any loose lead-based paint if found) before a VA loan can be approved.
Fortunately, the VA has very clear rules on how this has to go. The process consists of four steps:
- A VA appraiser inspects for “defective paint conditions”
- The VA appraiser makes recommendations based on their findings
- If lead-based paint is found, corrections must be made
- Final compliance inspection once repairs have been made
As long as your home meets the VA’s minimum property requirements—be it upon initial inspection or after the compliance inspection—you should still qualify for a VA loan.
FHA vs. VA loans
Lead paint inspection for an FHA loan
According to the Federal Housing Administration’s home loan rulebook, any person selling a home built before 1978 must make the buyer aware of any information regarding lead-based paint or paint hazards before completing the sale.
Once informed, the FHA borrower is given a 10-day period to conduct a lead paint risk assessment or inspection to determine whether lead-based paint is present. If desired, the borrower has the right to waive this opportunity.
If lead paint is discovered, the FHA borrower may be required to start lead paint abatement measures before the loan is approved.
High lead levels in blood test results
If you live in a home built prior to 1978—or even one built in the 1980s—it’s a good idea to have all people living in your home undergo a lead blood test.
On average, these tests cost somewhere between $50 and $100, but the fee will ultimately depend on your health insurance plan.
If the test shows lower lead levels of around 5 micrograms per deciliter, a lead paint inspection or risk assessment should be scheduled to identify where exactly the lead is coming from.
If your test results show lead levels as 45 mcg/dl or higher, a lead paint risk assessment will be required, as will further medical treatments to rid your body of the excess lead.
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What’s the difference between a lead paint inspection and a lead paint risk assessment?
While researching lead paint inspections, you may come across another lead-related service: a lead paint risk assessment. This serves the same fundamental purpose as a lead paint inspection, but there are a few key differences:
- Inspection—typically, lead paint inspections are scheduled when you’re buying or selling a house. They only tell the buyer if and where lead paint is found.
- Risk assessment—generally, a lead paint assessment is conducted after lead poisoning is found in the bloodstream. The assessor will take time to research the source of the lead paint before recommending abatement solutions.
Health risks concerning lead paint
So why inspect for lead paint in the first place? In 1978, the U.S. government banned the use of lead-based paints for residential purposes after studies showed that children with high amounts of lead in their bloodstream consistently scored lower on behavioral and neurological tests than those who had not been exposed to lead.
Some of the proven health risks linked to lead paint exposure include:
- Lead poisoning
- High blood pressure
- Headaches and dizziness
- Memory loss
- Diminished motor skills
- Brain damage
- Birth defects
Young children are most susceptible to lead exposure due to their ongoing mental and physical development. They are also more likely to engage in hand-to-mouth activity after touching surfaces or objects potentially containing lead.
How to find certified lead paint inspection companies
If you need to schedule a lead paint inspection for your home, it’s important that you find an inspection company that is professional and certified to perform lead testing.
Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) keeps a running, searchable database of all EPA-certified lead inspection and abatement firms in the U.S. Find it
Once you find a reputable, certified company to perform the inspection, you can move forward with the scheduling process.
How to save on homeowners insurance
Scheduling a lead-based paint inspection is one way to help protect your household from certain hazards, but you’ll need a good homeowners insurance policy if you want to protect your home and property from other unforeseen perils.
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