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How Will the Increase in Chinese Drywall Affect Real Estate Agents?

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By Michael Ryder

Chinese drywall has become a problem for thousands of homeowners across the country, and many builders and insurers are currently facing errors and omissions insurance claims as a result. As more homes are listed on the market through foreclosures and short sales, some are wondering whether real estate agents may also face an E&O backlash from unsuspecting homeowners who purchase these properties.

The issue of Chinese drywall has been reported in several states across the country. The material emits a foul smell, and releases toxic materials that can corrode air conditioning coils, electrical wiring, metal appliances, electronics, jewelry and plumbing fixtures. Further, the drywall has been known to cause mild to severe health problems for those living in homes with the material.

In Virginia, some residents with Chinese drywall in their homes have been unable to use the property for years, particularly as they begin to develop health conditions associated with the toxic materials embedded in the material, according to local ABC News station WVEC.com. In Florida, the problem is even more persistent with nearly 2,000 homes in a single county alone being listed as having drywall, according to the News-Press. The news source reports that the number of homes listed as having the defective building material increased to 1,938 in Lee County, Florida in 2013, compared to 1,882 in 2012.

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