Drywall homes: bargain or bind

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Drywall homes: bargain or bind

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. – Aug. 11, 2009 – Florida homes tainted by defective Chinese drywall are popping up on Realtor.com at bargain-basement prices. Although it is not required by law, many brokers have readily adopted a new drywall disclosure form developed by the Florida Association of Realtors® to use in sales transactions.

There currently are nine drywall properties listed for sale on the site – all of them fairly new and for under $50,000 – but there also are questions about whether the low prices are worth the hassle the real estate could bring in the future.

It reportedly costs about $100,000 to clean up a property contaminated by bad drywall, which leaves an offensive smell, corrodes metal components in the home, and causes respiratory problems and other health troubles for occupants. Remediation typically involves gutting the home and replacing the affected materials, but it is not yet known if that is the final solution.

“What if they say every porous material in the home, including concrete slab, absorbed enough stuff to consider it a health risk,” poses Jeff Tumbarello, president of the Southwest Florida Real Estate Investors Association. “Then what? Then you’re done. (Investing in a Chinese drywall home is) just a big wild card. Somebody is going to look brilliant, somebody is going to look stupid. We just don’t know who they are yet.”

Bonita Springs-Estero Association of Realtors President Joe Pavich also is taking the “caveat emptor” approach. He estimates that a buyer could purchase a home for $20,000 and completely rehabilitate it; but he says house-hunters also now could get a similar property – minus the defective drywall – for as little as $70,000.

Source: Fort Myers News-Press (08/10/09) Wozniak, Mary

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Related Topics: Chinese drywall