Defective Drywall: drywall manufactured overseas, and used in Florida during building material shortages, which contained defects that pose risks to health and other building materials.

Our group was recently contacted by the owner of a condo unit which contained Defective Drywall. Defective Drywall, also known as Chinese Drywall, was purchased by developers when developments were popping up everywhere during the construction boom and building materials in the US experienced shortages.

Chinese Drywall is a present issue in real estate because it refers to an environmental health issue involving defective drywall manufactured in China and imported to the United States starting in 2001. Laboratory tests of samples for volatile chemicals have identified emissions of the sulfurous gases carbon disulfide, carbonyl sulfide, and hydrogen sulfide. These emissions, which have the odor of rotten eggs, worsen as temperature and humidity rise and cause copper surfaces to turn black and powdery, a chemical process indicative of reaction with hydrogen sulfide. Copper pipes, wiring, and air conditioner coils are affected, as well as silver jewelry. Homeowners have reported a variety of symptoms, including respiratory problems such as asthma attacks, chronic coughing and difficulty breathing, as well as chronic headaches and sinus issues.

To resolve these challenges, given that the seller was located in another state and their property was left in a chaotic state, we used our network of contacts to get the right remediation team into the property to measure the damage in a speedily manner and prepare it for sale. Repair of the drywall was estimated to be in the $30,000 range, so we adjusted comparable sales accordingly and built that discount into the listing price as to not waste anyone’s time with unrealistic expectations or drawn out negotiations. We then proceeded to market the property for the opportunity it was – a bit of inconvenience with a potential for great payoff, of course disclosing the presence of Defective Drywall.

In order to most benefit our client, compensation was offered to participating brokers and the property placed on the Multiple Listing Service right away – as the ultimate goal is to sell the property with the best terms- even if we didn’t procure the buyer. To ensure availability to show, the property was placed on an electronic lockbox in which easy access was granted but security and knowledge of each visit easily monitored and obtained. For those potential buyers not available to view in person, we prepared an in depth virtual tour providing photos/video and additional information of the unit as well as building amenities.

Our efforts produced multiple offers and an executed contract in less than a week!

The existence of Defective Drywall materially affects the value of property; there is no doubt about that. Yet, this fact does not ultimately prevent a sale, which is important to recognize. “Negative” features simply must be handled with care and the home promoted for the value it still maintains; we pride ourselves on our ability to distinguish these subtle differences.