Buying a house, vacation property, or even investing in a timeshare typically comes with a little risk. Before making an offer, many potential property buyers will ask themselves a lot of questions. Will the property hold its value? Will it have a higher cost to maintain? Is the property turnkey, or will it need some immediate repairs and renovations? Are there any structural, exterior, or interior problems? Are there any insurance concerns?
These days the media is quick to point out other questions that may be attached to the value of a property which includes health and safety issues such as the presence of mold?
If you are a seller, you might also be asking yourself a lot of questions about making sure you are getting the most value out of the property. In a situation where the property has a past or present mold issue, the waters of value and asking price can quickly become murky.
Understanding The Threat Of Mold
Mold is technically a special type of fungus. While it can develop anywhere that is moist and warm it is more and more likely to appear in an older home or a home with a structural defect than it is to develop in a new construction property.
Something as simple as a problem with a plumbing joint, a leaky faucet, a roof leak, insufficient ventilation in the bathroom or kitchen can significantly increase a properties chances of developing a mold problem. In some of these instances, the mold problem might be localized to a single room or two. Yet the longer the mold problem has gone without professional remediation, the more likely it is to be widespread throughout the structure.
There are potentially hundreds of thousands of strains of mold that exist in nature. The most dangerous varieties in indoor environments come from Stachybotrys chartarum, which is often referred to as toxic black mold. This particular strain of mold is known for its ability to develop quickly and spread throughout a home. In ideal conditions, it can establish a presence in a little more than a single day!
One mold gains a foothold it starts to broadcast spores into the air. Individuals who inhale these spores can potentially suffer from a wide range of health issues including
- Increased allergic reactions
- Asthma attacks
- Frequent headaches
- Lethargy or a general lack of energy
- Acute inflammation issues
- Chronic inflammation response syndrome (CIRS)
The longer a mold problem goes without professional remediation the more likely it is to spread and exacerbate symptoms in an affected individual. If you notice a mold problem, you might be tempted to try to deal with it using household cleaning products. Unfortunately, most of the products sold in stores lack the potency and effectiveness to truly eliminate the issue. Some of them can release toxic vapors of their own.
Or course, time is of the essence when it comes to dealing with a mold issue. If you are thinking about selling a home and you notice a mold problem, the wisest choice of action is to seek professional mold remediation services.
Mold Can Affect A Property’s Value
There are many factors that go into determining a home’s asking price. This can include things like curb appeal, the size of the yard, the characteristics of the neighborhood, the features of the house, inspection results and much more. When mold is found in a home it can have a profound negative impact on the asking price and may potentially prevent a potential buyer from making a good faith offer.
Indeed, even a property that has had a past mold issue, may be at risk for a decreased valuation. In some situations, a past mold disclosure or the active presence of mold can reduce a home’s value by as much as 17 to 23-percent. This can also impact the costs to insure the home!
Different states have their own rules and regulations when it comes to inspecting for mold and disclosing it current or past presence. Make sure you understand these mold disclosure laws before listing your home or agreeing on an offer. If you are later found in violation of mold disclosure laws, you could be fined or be vulnerable to litigation.
While a visual inspection can certainly help identify mold, you should always have a professional inspection performed if you have even the slightest of mold concerns.
Mold can develop anywhere in a home. However, there are some locations where it is most likely to be found such as:
- The attic
- Basement or crawl spaces
- Downstairs closets
- Poorly ventilated kitchens
- Interior spaces of a home’s wet wall
If an active case of toxic mold has been found in your property, chances are prospective buyers will not even consider making a full value offer, without some professional remediation provisions in place. Offers that are placed after a mold disclosure are often contingent on the seller paying the cost for professional remediation and follow up air quality testing.
Purchasing A Home With Mold
There are some prospective buys who fall in love with all the other characteristics of a home and are willing to make a good faith offer, at a reduced price. If you find yourself in a situation like this, the first course of action is to request that the seller pays for any professional remediation services as well as a follow-up inspection to ensure all traces of toxic mold have been eliminated.
The past presence of toxic mold can also impact your future homeowner’s insurance. If you are contemplating an offer on a home with an active or past mold problem, and your homeowner’s insurance and property tax will be rolled into escrow, a high insurance cost could affect your buying power. So, it’s best to seek out multiple quotes and find out if there are any policies that can later reduce your rate.
Dealing With A Newly Developed Mold Problem
Different states have different mold disclosure laws and requirements. If you purchase a home an later find out that there is an active or a newly developed mold problem, you need to act fast. The wisest course of action is to seek out a professional mold remediation service. Most household cleaners sold in stores simply lack the potency to effectively eliminate mold and prevent it from recurring.