“Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more.”
The last thing any buyer or seller wants to find out is that their home may have a mold infestation. What do you even do when buying or selling a home with mold? Well, I have some advice for sellers, buyers and homeowners in general. Because every home has mold!
“There’s never been a mold test that we’ve done that didn’t have any mold,”
Mold needs three things to grow. It needs the proper temperature, moisture and food. Unfortunately, most homes are kept at a comfortable temperature and have dirt and dust (mold food) so, if you add a bit of moisture from a leak, mold is always a concern. Before you think I’m painting a horrible picture, keep in mind that mold can be controlled and remedied with proper maintenance and repairs. The real concern with mold is when spore counts exceed outdoor levels or when an extremely toxic mold is present.
Is That Mold Super Toxic?
Before you fret about the dreaded toxic black mold in a home, you need to realize that it is a rare occurrence. But black mold is toxic and dangerous to humans. If you believe you have black mold, known as Stachybotrys chartarum, you can learn about it here.The most common household mold, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are cladosporium, penicillium, alternaria and aspergillus.
Consider Your Health When Buying or Selling a Home With Mold
The concerns with most common molds relate to young children, asthma sufferers, and the elderly. Most people will experience mild allergy-type reactions to molds. Long-term exposure can lead to more risks. So, before you write off the mold in your home or prospective home as not a problem, keep in mind you don’t want your home sweet home to be a health nightmare. Symptoms include: coughing, wheezing, nasal stiffness, eye irritation, and skin irritation.
If I’m Buying or Selling a Home With Mold, What Should I Know?
Most states require you to disclose any current or previous mold infestations. So don’t think you will sell and let it become someone else’s problem. Many a real estate deal have gone south when a buyer’s inspection revealed mold, even if it was not severe. Just think about it. Would you want to make a huge purchase and move your family into a potentially unhealthy situation? Most buyers that find out a property has a mold issue move on to the next property.
Even if you do find a buyer willing to accept the home, you will need to be open for negotiation on the purchase price. You probably won’t receive your full asking price.
Most mold remediation services include clean up and often a warranty of five years for their work. Make sure to fix the main cause of moisture, such as a leaky pipe or roof. Keep documentation, and be ready to share it with home buyers. Although it is expensive to have a mold inspection, it will save you money in the long run and help to not scare off your buyers.
If you’re a seller, fix the problem, professionally remove the infestation, have it warrantied, and share this info with buyers.
While mold can cause serious health issues, not all mold is hard to remove. If you have found the perfect home but feel there may be a mold issue, make sure to add a mold contingency to your real estate deal.
Most molds can be taken care of easily by a professional and won’t return with good maintenance. If a home you want has mold, get some quotes for repair and know what you may have to spend ahead of time. Oh, and have the mold in question tested. It can be hard to determine the exact mold without a lab test.
If the home has mold, make sure you negotiate the sales price and make sure the repairs are done before your family inhabits the home.
This can be an opportunity to make a steal of deal if the seller hasn’t done the research on mold. Like I said earlier, mold is like the plague to most home buyers. They won’t go near it or ever want to deal it. Use this to your advantage.
Beware: Even if the mold has been eradicated, make sure to ask if the underlying cause of the mold has been addressed. Otherwise you will have mold again in five years.
Mold Prevention Strategies
- Clean gutters and downspouts so water moves away from the home.
- Make sure the foundation is properly set up to move water away from the house.
- Have proper home ventilation, including the basement with proper duct work.
- Run fans to promote air circulation.
- Replace and clean air filters.
- Use a dehumidifier.
- Attend to leaky pipes and roofs quickly, and do a proper clean up before mold can take hold.
- Do not seal or caulk over mold. Do a proper removal.
- Make sure places like bathrooms have proper ventilation or install extra fans.
- Biggest advice is: Don’t ignore it!
- If you smell a musty smell, that tends to be mold off-gassing, so start looking for mold.
- Periodically check harder to reach areas like attics and crawlspaces.
- For more tips and advice, you can view the CDC’s mold prevention tips.
Putting It All Together When Buying or Selling a Home With Mold
Basically, mold is a pain to deal with if you are buying or selling a home. Most buyers will run the other way and never look back. If you do have concerns that mold may be present, take steps to inspect, remove, and repair, and then add those contingencies to any home deal. Oh, and if you’re a buyer, consider negotiating a better sales price.
Remember, all homes have some degree of mold. It’s when a problem has been neglected or overlooked that it becomes serious.
Have you dealt with mold before? How did it work out for you? Let me know in the comments.