How Reliable is Your Home Inspection?
Buying a home is a long term decision.
When making a purchase, buyers rely on the good will and honesty of the seller, real estate agents, and the home inspector.
Considering the potential cost of mold removal, you are much better off finding out if there is a potential mold problem before purchasing the home. A mold inspection will provide you with additional peace of mind because it is conducted by an independent professional who gains nothing from the sale of the home.
Best case scenario, no mold is found.
Worst case scenario, mold is found, giving you the option to walk away or negotiate a better price with the seller to cover the cost of professional mold remediation.
The cost of a mold inspection is negligible considering the potential cost to remove mold after the purchase has been complete. Better to be safe than sorry!
The purpose of this article is to explain why you should not rely on the judgement of a home inspector to assess mold.
Always submit an offer to purchase, subject to a home inspection AND a mold inspection.
Mold 101: Key Facts About Mold You Should Know When You Are Purchasing A Home
- Mold is nature’s recycler because it has an important purpose in our eco-system: to breakdown and eat dead organic matter.
- Mold needs three important ingredients to grow: a food source, dead organic material like wood, paper, carpet, etc.; ideal temperature of 41 degrees up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit; and moisture.
- Mold comes in various colors (black, white, green, or gray) and different shapes.
- Some molds are visible and may give off a smell.
- The core problem with mold lies with the fact that it can be hidden between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements and attics.
- Mold is often found around leaking pipes, windows, or roofs because the constant supply of water gives mold spores the moisture they need to thrive; basements or other places that have flooded and haven’t been thoroughly dried; tightly sealed buildings (common with new construction), which trap excess moisture inside; homes with poor ventilation, numerous over-watered houseplants, and housekeeping habits that ignore obvious dampness and don’t include airing the place out.
- Other clues that there could be mold concerns include the following: water stains on the walls; musty odors in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, basement, and other areas where there could be leaky pipes; standing water in the basement.
- Foreclosed homes are susceptible to mold because banks shut down the power to save money, meaning the HVAC unit is no longer running. This usually causes high humidity levels meaning mold can take hold quickly.
- Mold exposure can impact your health, making you sick.
- Mold is not only a health concern, but a structural one because it feeds on the property thereby reducing the long term value.
These are just some basic facts about mold that you should be aware of when you are purchasing a home.
Listed below are links to articles with more in depth information about mold to help you research and educated yourself about mold.
- What causes mold growth? What are the most common types and varieties of mold? How can I detect mold?.
- What Can I Do If I Am Mold Sensitized?.
- What Should I Do If I Find Mold?.
- Top Four Procedures That Occur During A Mold Inspection!.
- How Is Mold Removal Cost Determined?.
- 8 Steps To Mold Removal Success!.
Buying A Brand New Home Does Not Necessarily Mean It is Mold Free!
There are several reasons why new homes are susceptible to mold, including the following:
- The trend towards building energy efficient homes saves money on heating and cooling. Unfortunately, building homes so that they are air tight results in a lack of proper ventilation, leading to mold growth.
- Construction errors like installing the vapor barrier when there is moisture present leads to mold growth because the moisture is trapped.
- The season the home was built could also be a factor. If the home was built when there was lots of rain and the foundation was not allowed to completely dry before installing the insulation and vapor barrier, traps moisture behind the walls.
- Cost saving construction measures is another factor. Home builders prefer to use Orient Strand Board (OSB) and less plywood and timber which provided some resistance to mold because these materials are semi-porous. In contrast, OSB and particle board are porous and susceptible to mold growth.
In the video below, our founder, David Myrick, provides an in depth presentation on mold, including an explanation of why new homes tend to be more susceptible to mold growth.
Hire A Professional To Do A Mold Inspection When You Are Buying A Home
Since buying a home is such a long term decision, it is in your best interests not to rely on the judgement or advice of your real estate agent or home inspector because they are not mold experts. Always hire a professional mold inspector for several reasons:
- The primary goal of real estate professionals is to facilitate the sale of property because that is how they earn their commissions. Their goal is well defined.
- Real estate agents are proficient at sales and marketing. Most do not have any mold training or experience.
- Even if a real estate agent has a background in construction, this does not necessarily mean they have any knowledge about mold or even know what to look for.
- Agents rely on the honesty of the seller when they fill in the property disclosure form. What if the seller does not disclose moisture issues, existing mold problems, or past moisture events that has caused mold? How will the agent know?
- Since most agents are not construction experts, they usually advise their clients to submit their offer subject to a home inspection.
- Most home inspectors are not trained to identify mold concerns or the potential causes of mold. The primary goal of home inspectors is to inspect the overall structural integrity of the home, the roof, wiring, bathrooms, plumbing, etc. They may point out water stains or advise you that your basement has an odor, identify water seepage or a leaky roof, but will they advise you that this could lead to mold? Home inspectors want to avoid potential liability from mold related problems. If they point out moisture issues don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions and always get a second opinion with a professional mold inspection.
- Most home inspectors rely on referrals. Not surprisingly, the primary source of referrals tends to be real estate agents, whose primary objective is to sell property. Mold concerns create challenges for home sellers and the agents listing the home. Could there be a potential conflict of interest?
- Is the property in a flood hazard area or an inland wetlands area?
- Does the home have basement water, seepage, or dampness issues?
- Has the home had roof leaks?
- Does the home have any rot and water damage problems?
- Does the home have any water drainage problems?
- Does the home have any sump pump problems?
- Does the home have a crawl space?
Concluding Thoughts: Hire A Mold Inspector For Peace of Mind!
When you are purchasing a home it is important that you have all the information to make an informed decision and have peace of mind.
Scrutinize the property disclosure form that is provided by the seller. Here are just some questions you should get answers to:
Buying a home, moving in, and then finding mold problems will not only be a huge inconvenience to you and your family, it could also impact your health.
If you hire a mold inspector, there are two scenarios.
Scenario 1: The mold inspector does not find any mold. Yay! This is fantastic news. 🙂
Scenario 2: The mold inspector finds mold. Oh no, now what?
Don’t get too worried. You have two options:
First, you could walk away from the deal.
With this estimate, you can increase your negotiating power with the seller, demanding either that they fix the mold problem, subject to a Third Party Clearance test, or you submit the purchase, deducting the cost of the mold removal from the final sale.
It is much easier to remediate mold from an empty home then it is with contents inside. Valor Mold are professional mold removal specialists. We will remove the mold and restore the fungal ecology of your home and back up our work with a Third Party post remediation clearance test verifying the efficacy of our work.
Then move into your new dream home with peace of mind knowing that you do not have to worry about mold concerns or the potential health impact.
Buying or Selling A Home? Got Mold Questions?
Call Valor Mold, 571-210-2040, if you want an expert opinion on mold or send us an e-mail. We look forward to serving you! 🙂
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— Valor Mold (@ValorMold) June 1, 2016