What is Mold?
Mold are fungi which are found outdoors and indoors. It has been estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of mold types. There are many different types of mold (indoor and outdoor) and mold grows in warm and humid conditions. Mold can appear as black spots and can spread via spores which can spread by water or they are airborne.
The spores are microscopic and when it is airborne it can cause health problems.
Where is mold found?
Mold can be found outdoors in damp and shady areas where there are plants, vegetation, and moisture. Indoor mold can be found where there are humid conditions such as a shower. I am sure you have seen what looks like mold in a shower, in grout lines. It is important to keep that cleaned up.
Water intrusion in a home can be very damaging and can create the conditions where mold can grow. That is why it is imperative to repair any water leaks immediately as they can cause problems. If you have a leak where you can see it, that should be repaired immediately. The more subtle places a leak may occur under a bathroom sink. Another place is a slab leak, in pipes in between walls and in between multiple story homes where the plumbing lines run.
How to know if you have a leak somewhere that is not that obvious?
- On a home built on a slab, if the temperature of the floor is warmer, there may be slab leak from a hot water line.
- The temperature of a bathroom or pantry is warmer than the rest of the house, then there may be a leak, it can be the hot water line.
- Bubbling paint where water has nowhere to go.
- Toilets can leak, there can be moisture around the toilet.
- Presence of efflorescence which is a white powdery substance which is a residue left from water. This is common to see on a concrete floor such as a garage or walkways. Efflorescence is indicative of the past presence of moisture and is a mineral, and can be very destructive to concrete and eventually breaks it down.
- If you turn off all the water in your house and look at the meter and it is still moving, then you may have a leak. Consult a professional.
If you discover a leak I recommend you hire a licensed plumber to come and evaluate the situation as soon as possible. Plumbers have moisture meters which can detect moisture in the walls. Often times a plumber will open up a wall and if there has been a leak for an extended period of time, then this is the environment where mold can grow. Plumbers generally do not diagnose mold, however, they can recommend (and should recommend) a mold test and remediation company.
It is important to have the leak repaired as quickly as possible to prevent any further damage. And then it will be time to find out if mold grew as a result of the leak.
Mold tests typically are done by taking air samples which tests the number of mold spores in the air. A baseline air sample is done outside, and then an air test is done in the areas that are under concern where the suspected “mold” might be located. The air samples are sent to a lab and the results come back in a few days. There may be other tests, I recommend you consult with professionals in your area and hire a licensed or certified mold inspector.
If you have mold . . .
You will need to hire a remediation company who can properly remove the areas that are affected by the mold and dry it out. Be sure to keep all of your documentation and invoices to disclose to a potential buyer. The process can be daunting and if you are residing in the home, the remediation company may ask you to move out as the area impacted has to be sealed up to prevent spores from getting into the rest of the house.
If the leak and/or mold issue is in the kitchen, that can be very inconvenient to live in a house where the kitchen is sealed off. The remediation company may remove cabinets, counters, and walls in order to sufficiently address the problem. Also depending on where the leak or water intrusion is, the floors may also have to be removed.
Be sure to have it professionally remediated by a reputable company. And be sure that the source of the mold has been found to prevent it from returning.
It can be a big project, but it can be remedied just like any other household repair.
Be aware if this is something that your insurance covers, this claim will now show up on past insurance claims on your property. Check with your insurance company about water intrusion and mold remediation.
Does mold affect people?
Because the mold spores are airborne, some people are very sensitive to it and it can cause allergic reactions, sneezing, wheezing, skin irritation and impact your overall health. Long-term exposure to mold may have more serious health risks.
How mold affects the sale of your property
Some buyers are VERY concerned about water intrusion and mold and will not purchase a home where mold has been discovered. There are buyers who realize that if a property has had mold and it has been remediated, then the problem has been addressed. That is why you want to be sure that it has been diagnosed by a professional, and remediated, with all documentation.
Additionally, if there is active mold on the property, a home inspector may discover it in the home inspection. Additionally, an appraiser will be coming out to the property to complete an appraisal and if there is the presence of mold, it may be difficult to get a loan on the property. Banks generally do not want to loan on the property with active mold.
What should you do?
Before you list your house, I recommend getting a home inspection, plumbing inspection from a licensed plumber and get a pre-listing mold inspection if you have suspicions that you may have a moisture problem. Most likely a buyer will still get their own home inspection (and they should), however, this is information that you should disclose to any potential buyer.
There are disclosures that you fill out when selling your home and all the information including a home inspection and mold inspection should be provided to a potential buyer. If you try to hide a potential problem, the buyer will most likely find out and there could be litigation and lawsuits as a result. It is important for a buyer to know what they are purchasing and aware of all the facts to prevent a future lawsuit.
If you are considering listing your home for sale and suspect you may have water intrusion or potential mold, be sure to address it with a mold inspection and having it professional remediated.
If mold is discovered when you are preparing your home for sale, it is an issue that can be addressed and remedied.
Be sure to disclose to any potential buyer any issues with the property that you are aware of, so the buyer is fully aware of the condition of the property to avoid any future issues with the house.
If I can answer any questions about home selling, please contact me.
— Sharon Paxson (@SharonPaxson) November 8, 2017
For other information about “Selling a Home with Mold” from other Real Estate Professional around the country, please check out the articles below, and please share across Social Media if you liked the article:
Mold Basic Facts via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Take the High Road when Selling Your Home via Lynn Pineda, Boca Raton South Florida Real Estate
Selling a Home with Mold | What You Need to Know via Bill Gassett, via Bill Gassett, Maximum Exposure Real Estate
What You Need to Know about Mold when Buying or Selling via Anita Clark, Selling Warner Robins
What to Clean Up When Preparing Your Home for Sale via Paul Sian, Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Real Estate
5 Common Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling via Kyle Hiscock, Rochester Real Estate Blog