How Mold Can Affect the Value of Your Property
It is safe to say we dread seeing mold around the home. Not only does it put our health and well-being at risk, but it can also hurt the value of our property big time. But just how much does mold devalue a home?
First, let’s explain why mold can be a serious deal-breaker for homebuyers. A mold outbreak can quickly get out of hand, leading to lasting, harmful repercussions. Also, there’s no reason for a buyer to purchase a mold-infested home when they can easily get a good deal on a different property that doesn’t have this issue.
That said, mold growth is not the end of the world. Despite all odds, you can still sell a house with a history of mold, provided you deal with it responsibly.
But before we dive into mold remediation, let us see why mold is such a stumbling block in real estate transactions.
1. Why is it Difficult to Sell a House with Mold Damage?
A few mold patches around the home may not seem like a big deal, do they? Well, they are. Here’s how mold can make your home less desirable to potential buyers.
A) Mold Deteriorates Structure
When mold is allowed to thrive, it can colonize unimpeded pretty fast. As a result, it can effectively eat away at housing materials like wood and drywall. This can damage a building’s structural integrity permanently.
Extreme mold infestation cases can ruin a building from floor to ceiling, leaving owners with no choice but to raze it to the ground.
B) Mold Reduces Your Home’s Visual Appeal
Being dark, dense, and fuzzy, mold often alters a home’s outward appearance in drastic ways. Think ugly back spots and patches on the walls and rafters. It’s disgusting, to say the least.
C) Mold Leads to an Onslaught of Health Problems
According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, indoor mold is a serious health hazard, as it produces allergens and irritants. About 6-10% of the general population is allergic to mold.
Left unchecked, mold can lead to a host of health concerns, such as:
- Upper-respiratory issues (coughs, sneezing, wheezing, shortness of breath)
- Headaches, fatigue, and eye irritation, among other things
Worse still, some mold species produce mycotoxins. These, when inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin, may lead to multiple adverse health effects.
This is why you must treat mold as quickly as possible. Long-term mold exposure can affect your health for good.
2. How Does Mold Affect a Home’s Market Value?
Having mold on your property does not necessarily mean you won’t be able to sell it. Usually, this depends on where the mold is located. For example, mold on a property’s exterior may not be much of a health or safety concern. As a result, it’s unlikely to have a grave impact on your home’s overall value.
However, the property might be harder to sell due to its messy, unkempt appearance. Besides, the buyer will consider the expenses of restoring the appearance when making an offer, lowering the resale value of your property.
The problem lies with interior mold growth. In this regard, you must note that dark patches in small, generally moisture-rich areas (like bathrooms and showers) usually do not decrease property value by a lot.
On the other hand, fungus on walls and ceilings often point towards bigger threats. Also, since mold is a direct consequence of excess moisture, it can indicate drainage issues and water damage in different areas of the home. As a result, this kind of mold growth is more likely to put your property in a much lower price range.
3. Mold Remediation: How to Sell a Property with Mold
While selling a home with mold may seem impossible at first, we’re here to tell you that there’s hope. All you need is professional inspection and remediation to get your property back in shape. Here’s what you will have to do.
A) Start as Soon As Possible
You probably won’t want buyers to associate your property with an ongoing mold investigation. So, it’s best if you start addressing mold issues before putting your home up for sale. Wait till the cleanup is complete before listing.
B) Conduct a Thorough Investigation
Mold often hides in crawlspaces and attics: two of the most inactive areas in a home. When looking for mold patches, be sure to investigate these two places as extensively as possible. Besides, consider areas frequently exposed to moisture, such as the back of a water heater or dishwasher.
Homes prone to flooding and water damage often tend to have mold patches growing in their basements. Go through every inch of this area with a fine-toothed comb to detect any instances of a mold outbreak. Nipping the problem in the bud can save you a lot of stress and heartache in the future.
C) Determine What’s Causing the Mold
While almost all mold is caused by moisture accumulation, the sources of water may differ case-by-case. In case mold is a recurring problem in your home, you will need to figure out if it is caused by:
- A leaky roof
- Leaky window frames
- High indoor humidity
- Frequent water discharge from appliances
- Wet clothing piles left unattended for long periods
- Condensation on cool surfaces
- HVAC system problems
- Significant water damage in the home
Once you isolate the root cause of the mold infestation, you’ll find it easier to eliminate it once and for all. You can also warn future homeowners against the possible sources of mold in your property, so they can take appropriate preventative measures.
D) Contact a Mold Inspection and Remediation Specialist
Yes, you can tackle a small mold issue yourself, using a pair of rubber gloves, a scrub brush, and a mold-killing cleaner. But for bigger outbreaks, it’s best if you bite the bullet and consult a professional mold inspection and remediation expert.
Many mold remediation specialists use antifungal and antimicrobial cleaners to get rid of mold for good. Additionally, they may:
- Contain the infestation to minimize cross-contamination
- Clean the air of airborne mold spores
- Correct indoor humidity levels and dry out water-damaged spaces
- Remove mold stains from surfaces
- Use sealers to help the treated areas withstand future water damage more effectively
In this regard, do not forget to document the mold remediation process for yourself. If possible, get a subsequent mold inspection or clearance after the remediation is complete. These records can act as evidence for buyers and put their minds at rest.
E) Always Disclose a History of Mold Growth
Many states require home sellers to disclose any known instances of mold and fungal growth to potential buyers. In addition, the homebuyers must also be informed of any professional remediation efforts undertaken by the seller.
Legal requirements aside, try putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Would you still buy a home if the seller tried to hide mold issues?
Living in a house with a rampant mold infestation can have serious long-term health consequences. If you believe that knowing about molding in a property would directly impact your purchase, you should disclose this information to the buyer straight away.
4. Schedule a Property Appraisal After Mold Removal and Remediation
An appraisal is typically done before a home is put on the market or refinanced to determine the actual property value based on the home’s condition. An appraiser will arrive on the property and look for signs of damage that could lower the value, as well as any additions or renovations which increase it.
If you have a professional service to remove and remediate the mold in your home, it is highly recommended to schedule an official appraisal after the remediation is complete.
Water damage and mold are two things that appraisers will be looking closely for. So, you’ll want to hire a mold remediation company that repairs any water damage and mildew left behind. Adding a fresh coat of paint or laying down new flooring will likely help to remove any lasting effects – and it can help to increase the determined value from the appraisal.
The Bottom Line
To sum up, you must check your home for mold damage to avoid decreased property values and legal ramifications. Remember that indoor mold does not have to kill your sale, as long as you are diligent and honest about the remediation efforts.
Fight back against an indoor mold outbreak with GP Inspect! We take a highly scientific approach to mold investigations and inspect every inch of your property for traces of fungal growth. Additionally, we also provide mold clearance to ensure the remediation was performed correctly. Contact us today for more information!