The home I inspected in Lynbrook New York yesterday had asbestos piping insulation hidden above ceiling tiles.
I did not find a lot of it, but it also could be hidden in other areas that are not easily accessible.
Did the seller do this on purpose? Its hard to tell, and as an inspector working mostly for buyers, I doubt this was done to hide it. It likely was known and the person did not want to disturb this material as this can become friable (can make dust that can be breathed in).
Most people who are selling do not want to spend any money on a house they are selling, but I have to make sure my client knows the deal when it comes to asbestos. It is very expensive to have it removed, and only a licensed professional should be performing the removal.
If a seller states it will be removed for you, the buyer, you absolutely must insist on a receipt from the contractor that was hired. If no receipt is present, you can bet it was removed by the homeowner, and therefore not properly removed.
Ray Wilson is a Home Inspector, covering all of Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk), the 5 boroughs of NYC and now upstate NY. For any home inspection related questions he can be reached at Meticulous Home Inspection Corporation. He can be reached at 631-902-6761.