A Hard Pass: The 7 Dangers of Buying a House with Mold
- 1. There Are Many Types of Dangerous Mold
- 2. Mold Can Spread to the HVAC System
- 3. Mold Is Unsightly
- 4. Mold Is Bad for Your Health
- 5. Treating Mold Can Be Expensive
- 6. Mold Can Destroy Your Property
- 7. Investors May Try to Hide Mold Damage
- The Difference Between Buyers That Conduct Mold Inspections – and Those That Don’t
- What to Do When Buying a Property with Mold
- Are You Considering Buying a Home with Mold?
“I was in escrow and had them inspect the new home for mold. Many forms of mold were found in all bathrooms and kitchens, including airborne black mold. We were able to negotiate a $10,000 price reduction on our home as a result.
Dorsaye was very attentive and thorough. She always picked up the phone and inspections was scheduled without delay, which was critical during our 14-day escrow. They also provide recommendations for remediation companies, one of which I used and did a great job.
Guaranteed came out and did the final inspection and cleared the house for mold. Great experience during a stressful time.”
~ Ben W.
Moldy homes are a major problem in the United States as it is present in nearly every building in the country. The reason that mold is so prolific is because it only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to grow in a moist indoor area. It also grows well in dark, damp spaces, so it’s often found in kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, basements, and crawlspaces.
Now, not all mold is worrisome. And since virtually every home has trace amounts of mold growing, it’s nearly impossible to avoid buying a mold-free house. But there are some significant dangers to buying a house with mold growth.
If left untreated, mold will soon spread to other areas of a home and may cause health troubles and expensive home repairs. If you’re thinking about buying a property with some kind of mold problem, you may want to think again.
Here are seven key reasons why you should avoid buying a house with mold.
1. There Are Many Types of Dangerous Mold
One of the dangers of buying a home with mold is that there are so many different kinds – some of which can be extremely toxic. Researchers have identified over 100,000 different varieties of mold, many of which are routinely found indoors.
Someone who is unfamiliar with mold might be unable to recognize the signs, even if they were to see them. Further, mold often grows in hidden spots you can’t easily get to, like underneath carpets or in the attic.
Mold growth is often missed by traditional home inspectors as well unless there are obvious physical signs. This means they will not be able to identify all the problem areas properly, so you could wind up buying a home with severe mold issues. To avoid this issue, it is highly recommended to schedule a professional mold inspection before buying.
2. Mold Can Spread to the HVAC System
Mold infestations get exponentially worse if they spread into heating and air conditioning systems. HVAC ducts can attract mold growth since the air is quite humid inside. Mold also feeds on dust moisture, which is plentiful inside of an HVAC system.
The issue with mold growth in the air ducts is that the spores can travel through the air and spread to other rooms. This also means that the mold spores can enter your family’s lungs and cause potential health issues.
Having mold around is never healthy – and it gets exponentially worse when that mold is breathed in. Mold can trigger allergic and asthmatic reactions and lead to respiratory issues and infections.
3. Mold Is Unsightly
The appearance of mold is very unappealing. Mold comes in a variety of sickly colors, including green, brown, or yellow. It may also be blue, black, or white, which tends to stand out on carpets or walls.
Once it has taken root, mold stains can be very difficult or even impossible to get rid of. Mold growth can leave an unsightly stain wherever the mold infestation has taken hold, even after a thorough cleaning. Sometimes, repainting will not fix it as the mold will show through!
4. Mold Is Bad for Your Health
Mold can cause detrimental effects on human health, especially for children or people with pre-existing health conditions.
Asthma is the most common health issue associated with long-term indoor mold exposure. Adults who live in moldy homes are up to 50 percent more likely to develop asthma. Children are even more likely to develop health issues like asthma and rhinitis.
Mold exposure has also been associated with other upper respiratory infections, with symptoms that can range from sinus infections to sore throats. Mold can cause infections of the lower respiratory system as well. This often leads to shortness of breath, wheezing, or even whooping cough.
As if this all weren’t enough, mold can also trigger allergies. Sometimes mold-related allergies can develop into more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
If someone in your home has a weakened immune system, they will be more susceptible to develop mold-related infections. These infections are dangerous to immuno-compromised people and can lead to long-term illnesses and, in some cases, death.
5. Treating Mold Can Be Expensive
Once a mold infestation affects a home, it can take a great deal of money, time, energy, and resources to eliminate the problem.
First, you’ll have to hire a mold inspection team to identify the type of mold(s) in your home and their potential health risks. They will also help to develop a remediation plan to remove the mold and address the source of the growth, known as the moisture intrusion source.
If the mold infestation is fairly advanced, you may need some major structural work to eliminate the issue. For instance, it might require cutting into drywall or even complete demolition to some parts of the home. Any infested carpeting, drywall, flooring, and other porous materials will need to be fully replaced, which can be quite expensive.
Serious mold problems need to be treated using special mold-resistant solutions. This can be something as simple as anti-fungal paint, but it may also involve using special seals and chemical solutions. These treatments were rather inconvenient as it restricts you from using your house to its fullest capacity.
Chances are that you will need to renovate the area after mold remediation is complete. In worst-case scenarios, your home may be condemned, especially if it is infested with toxic mold. This is an extreme scenario – and often preventable if you catch the mold issue early enough.
6. Mold Can Destroy Your Property
When mold grows on personal items like furniture or clothing, it needs to be completely eradicated so it doesn’t spread. It’s virtually impossible to remove mold completely from personal items like fabric or paper, so you will likely need to throw it out, even if it holds sentimental value.
Along with personal belongings, mold can damage large sections of a home, like built-in carpeting. You may even need to hire demolition services to remove mold from your home, and this could result in numerous home repairs. This also significantly lowers the value of your property, unless it is remediated completely and renovated.
7. Investors May Try to Hide Mold Damage
Homeowners often assume that newer buildings or recently renovated homes must be mold-free. But sadly, this is not always the case. Many real estate investors and “home flippers’ choose to paint or cover up mold infestation with new drywall. This is a quick, easy, and completely cosmetic fix. It does not get rid of the mold – it just covers it up.
States do have legislation in place against this. In California, sellers are required to disclose to potential buyers about any known defects. However, this may not always be a thorough report or the seller may be untruthful about the extent of the damage.
Buying a home that has been flipped or renovated can be quite risky. We highly recommend that you ask the seller to provide both an air quality test and a comprehensive mold inspection.
The Difference Between Buyers That Conduct Mold Inspections – and Those That Don’t
Before you buy any home, you should conduct a professional mold inspection – regardless of whether you see visible signs or not. This will let you know how much mold, if any, is in a home and whether it’s easily removable. You want to know the house is worth the investment upfront.
When buyers DO conduct a mold inspection, they have the chance to:
- Identify all of the different affected areas.
- Understand the extent of moisture or water damage.
- Learn about past claims to insurance.
- Talk to the seller about covering/addressing mold remediation costs.
- Negotiate a better price for the house after finding the mold growth.
- Back out of the sale if the mold problem is out of control.
- Remediate the mold immediately if they plan to move in and stay safe.
When buyers DO NOT conduct a mold inspection, they will likely:
- Not find out about the mold until weeks or months after the purchase.
- Overpay for a house with serious problems.
- Expose their family and pets to health complications after moving in.
- Jeopardize the safety of their belongings by exposing them to mold.
- Face a hefty remediation bill (generally not covered by their homeowner’s insurance).
- Deal with hefty medical bills after mold exposure.
- Have to vacate the property if the infestation turns out to be extensive.
The bottom line is that if you’re considering buying a home, you need to have a mold inspection done to cover yourself and to avoid purchasing a nightmare of a situation.
What to Do When Buying a Property with Mold
If you have your heart set on buying a particular house and discover it has mold, you have options. A certified mold inspector can identify the problem and present you with a written report estimate based on the scope of necessary work for remediation/removal of mold.
You can take that estimate to your real estate agent or the sellers and ask them to either address the remediation before the close of escrow or to give you a price reduction on the purchase price of the property.
Are You Considering Buying a Home with Mold?
Don’t worry – buying a house with mold isn’t the end of the world. The technicians from GP Inspect can identify and solve nearly any kind of mold infestation imaginable. We will also get you in touch with certified mold remediation services to tackle the job.
If you think you have a mold problem, contact us today and let us help you!
First Published on: May 22, 2020
Updated: Dec 21, 2021