Buying a New River Valley Home After April 22 2010?

A new law goes into effect today that could have a significant impact on homes built prior to January 1 1978 – and in the New River Valley, that’s a lot of homes.

Prior to January 1978, many products – including paint – had high levels of lead in them.  The EPA requires that, when a home is sold, the Seller acknowledge whether they have knowledge – or reports – of lead based paint being used in the home.  More often than not a homeowner in 2010 isn’t going to have knowledge or reports of lead based paint being used, but nevertheless it’s one of the required disclosures.

Now, the EPA is adding another wrinkle – beginning today, April 22 2010, if you’re doing any work to a home built prior to 1978 you must have an EPA-certified contractor or renovator conduct the work.  Simple – for a contractor – everyday jobs like replacing a door or window frame will now require extra equipment in the form of, among other things, full body suits, respirators, googles and gloves.  These contractors will have to have attended specialized training, gotten specialized certifications, and have specialized equipment – and they’ll be paying for all this specialization themselves.  Now, who do you think those “special costs” are going to get passed to?

Not every property will have to comply – there’s always a caveat, right?  Those conditions include:

  • properties built after 1978 (duh)
  • properties that have been certified by a Certified Risk Assessor, Certified Renovator, or Lead Inspector, to be lead-free
  • interior renovations of less than six square feet, or exterior renovations of less than twenty square feet

When looking through the EPA’s website, I had some trouble finding certified renovators in our area., though, has a handy search tool, and according to their site we have a lot of resources available – 259 Lead-Safe Renovators, and 144 Lead Clean Up firms, who can help provide more information.

So are you thinking of buying a home with the help of local interior decorators in Blacksburg, Christiansburg or Radford that was built prior to 1978?  Our MLS system won’t allow them all to be shown at one time, but if I could, there’d be 239 to choose from.  So, when thinking about that older home with so much charm that just needs a little elbow grease – hiring the right contractors and technicians just got a whole heck of a lot more important (and quite possibly more expensive).

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