There are a number of horror stories that involve houses with lead paint. Such homes can prove a nightmare to rehab and sell. While older homes can certainly be visually attractive, they are best avoided because of the presence of lead paint in homes built before the late 1970s.
My company has had to deal with three houses with lead paint-that’s really three houses too many. It’s an expensive process to fix up such houses-lead abatement projects can run into the thousands, in some cases, the tens of the thousands of dollars. Few companies want to deal with that kind of expense, especially if they are trying to prepare homes for re-sale to tenant buyers.
In one particular case, a family was interested in obtaining a home, but they lacked the financial resources to make the deal a reality. As a result, they wanted to provide sweat equity-in other words, they wanted to invest their labor into the home rather than their dollars. The family would do the rehab work, rather than the company. As a result, the family was able to obtain the house at a lower price.
In this particular situation, the father went into the child’s bedroom and sanded and painted the room, stirring up the lead paint. Consequently, the lead rate skyrocketed, creating an unpleasant surprise for all involved.
In order to protect their health, the family ended up moving out and into another one of the company’s properties. However, they didn’t stay at that property long. They moved to another property, then wanted to move back into one of the company’s homes. Unfortunately, the house they moved into was tagged for lead as well. The contractor moved quickly to try to address the situation and remove the lead paint hazard.
When the company performs rehab work, contractors go in and paint everything. If there’s an old rotted window, the contractors will take the window out and put in new vinyl. The idea is to restore the property to its original pristine condition-or as close to that as is humanly possible.
Obviously, when a home has lead paint, the first and most important step is to protect any children living there. The idea is to solve the lead problem before a family moves into the property. But it’s a time-consuming, high-cost process and therefore, it’s not for the faint of heart.