Should I Discourage My Clients from Buying a House with Mold Issues?

Five ways realtors can save a sale when mold is involved

Mold can be a major problem in real estate, but it does not have to kill your transaction. Listed below are 5 scenarios that real estate professionals we work with run into, and how you can empower, through knowledge, your buyer or seller to finalize the transaction.

Scenario 1: A few inches of mold is found in a small area of the home and your client is worried mold is everywhere.

Save: Mold is an indication of moisture in that area, and like a tree will not grow without water. If it is found around a window where there could be a small leak then their is no reason to worry about the other dry areas of the home. Only the area of moisture would need to be removed, and the leak fixed. A do it yourself seller can generally, with a little research, figure out how to properly remediate small areas of mold growth.

Scenario 2: Mold is identified and all parties involved are concerned about health effects and potential liability from mold.

Save: The media has really hyped up the health effects of mold growth inside your home. The truth is that a lot of what they say or imply is not actually proven, and as the CDC and EPA have an ongoing study about the health effects of mold the only general consensus is that mold does cause allergy like symptoms from inhalation.

Scenario 3: “Black Mold” is identified and your buyer or seller is concerned that the mold is toxic.

Save: There is over 100,000 types of mold which come in all types of sizes, shapes, and colors. So to make it simple know that just because it is black does not mean it is toxic. Another interesting fact according to the CDC is that no mold itself is actually toxic, only toxigenic, meaning some mold species produce mycotoxins which can present hazards in the same way other common molds would.  

Scenario 4: Mold is disclosed or identified but you are not sure whether you need to hire a professional to remove it.

All amounts of mold have to be removed but not necessarily by a professional. If it is a very limited amount then building a negative containment chamber is not necessary, and the mold can be removed safely following a simple process. A “do-it-yourselfer” with a little research would be able to remove small amounts of mold from the property. On larger jobs (greater than 5 square feet of visible mold) a homeowner may want to consider hiring a professional with experience and the right equipment to build proper negative chambers to keep the rest of the home safe from cross contamination.    

Scenario 5: Mold problems indicate water problems since mold can only grow where water is present.

This silver lining in finding mold during an inspection is that it is an indication of a leak. That way your buyers don’t buy a house and later find out about leaks in the home. They can simply have the owner take care of the affected areas prior to closing on the home.

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