What do you do if your new home has a surprise occupant? — mold. You’ll need to remediate this problem, but what’s even better is discovering it, and getting it under control, before you close a deal. Florida requires sellers to disclose property defects that may not be visible (like mold or water damage), but as a buyer, you want to have a potential new home inspected by an expert.
And here’s why: While some molds are visible, or smell, they can also hide under floorboards and inside walls and ceilings. Not all varieties of this fungus are created equally and some strains, like black mold, can cause health problems like asthma, allergies, or even immune issues.
Experts can give you the tools you need to make an informed decision about how to proceed with your potential new home’s unwanted visitors:
Get a realistic picture
A comprehensive mold inspection involves tactics to assess the mold, humidity levels, and water intrusion — which can lead to future mold formation. This might include thermal imaging or other tests that are not included in a standard home inspection.
Some types of mold, like Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra, that dangerous “black mold”), grow on wood and fiberboard. Others breed among carpeting, insulation, window frames, and drywall.
A professional might find that what was determined to be a minor problem in a buyer’s home inspection, has evolved into a serious health hazard. If the home already has known issues with mold or humidity, it’s an even better idea to get a second opinion, to ensure that the problem has not gotten worse since the last inspection.
Prevent big problems in the future
When mold multiplies, your whole house could be at risk, and that includes its structural integrity. If your potential home has a basement, or bathrooms without windows, it’s an even better candidate for mold.
A buyers’ general home inspection might pick up on surface problems like stains or mold on walls, and ceilings; standing water around HVAC units; and earthy or musty odors. But an expert can tell you when you have a problem that could get worse.
When it spreads, mold can lead to expensive structural issues and healthcare costs for you and your family. A study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that 21% of the 21.8 million asthma cases in the U.S. can be attributed to exposure to dampness and mold.
Get it in writing
While Florida home sellers are required to submit reports of any known issues, that doesn’t mean they’ve specifically had a mold inspection done.
A professional will give you documentation that you can use as a bargaining tool if you find something that wasn’t disclosed or is worse than when it was first discovered. This might lead to a price reduction or repairs as part of your deal.
The thought of buying a house with mold is certainly unpleasant, but it’s a situation that you can avoid, or at least remedy to save yourself from a headache down the road.