Buying a Home with Mold: When Should You Just Say No?
Buying a home is stressful enough, but when your home inspection turns up mold, you may be tempted to back out of the deal.
Over the years, scientists have documented a variety of dangers associated with mold. The concern is so great, in fact, that many buyers refuse to even consider a home that has any hint of this dreaded substance.
Today we know that not all types of mold are created equal, and the problem can often be remediated without a hefty investment. But how is a home buyer to know for sure?
The Growing Problem of Mold in Homes
Until fairly recently, you typically only found mold in older homes (especially if they had roof leaks or plumbing problems), or those that had been poorly cared for by a previous owner. Today, the problem pops up in new houses more frequently than ever.
The problem lies — at least in part — with new energy-efficiency standards and construction methods.
Homes need a bit of air circulation, which is largely prevented by today’s airtight construction standards. In the warm, humid climate of Southern California, this creates an even bigger problem. Not to mention, mold spores are in the air and all around us, as any professional mold test will tell you.
When we give that furry menace a food source, problems start to develop.
How Buying a House with Mold Can Affect Your Health
When mold becomes concentrated in the environment, it can cause a variety of health problems that range from mild to dangerous.
The most common problems are allergies and asthma, especially for those who are highly sensitive or have compromised health or immune systems. For children and the elderly, this can pose a greater threat.
Most household mold spores are allergenic but not toxic. When toxic strains — Stachybotrys chartarum is the most common type — are present, that’s when it’s time to worry.
Fortunately, you aren’t likely to encounter the bad stuff often, because it’s fairly rare.
Still, don’t assume a problem exists (or not), just because a potential home smells musty. The only way to know for sure is to consult a professional.
Consult a Mold Specialist
Before you sign a purchase contract for a house with mold, we recommend having a professional mold inspection to determine the extent of the problem. Also consult with a mold remediation contractor, to learn exactly how much it will cost to fix the problem.
In many cases, home sellers and their Realtors® recognize the challenge of selling a home with mold, and adjust the price accordingly. If the seller has priced the home to reflect what remediation will cost, you may be able to score a great deal.
You can learn more about mold on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides a variety of helpful information about mold cleanup and remediation.
In the Yorba Linda area, the Edie Israel Team is well-versed in the problems that mold can pose in the home. We can recommend inspection and remediation professionals to help you understand the risks and what may be involved in the cleanup process.
If you plan on buying a home in the near future, contact us to find out more about the dangers of mold.