Buying a new home is an exciting and often uncertain time, but that’s no excuse for doing it right. This means checking every single thing off the list to make sure the house you’re buying is in good condition. Otherwise, you could end up spending a lot of your move-in budget on services to get the house in livable condition.
Don’t get in a rush and skip over small yet important details, like getting a mold inspection. Mold is something that you don’t want to deal with later on, because it is a problem that only gets worse as time goes on.
Professional mold remediation is the responsibility of the seller or realtor to handle before you ever come into the picture, so don’t get stuck handling a problem that was never supposed to fall on your shoulders!
Mold Inspection as Part of Purchasing a New Home
There are several reasons to include a mold inspection in your pre-purchase checklist.
First, mold can make your family sick.
Various types of mold commonly found in homes and businesses can cause allergy-like symptoms and skin irritations or much more severe issues like shortness of breath.
Visible mold can quickly be identified and removed, but hidden mold colonies can produce the same reactions in people and pets without ever being seen. Professional mold inspectors look everywhere to rule out every possible hiding place.
It can also weaken the wood structure of your home.
Anywhere mold is present, it begins feeding on whatever is most convenient. This is why food in the fridge develops mold pretty quickly.
Mold eats organic materials like skin cells, food bits, and wood, but certain strands also eat through plastic, paint and glue, so really, no surface is safe from mold. This characteristic makes it dangerous in large amounts, especially where it cannot be seen, like within the walls and in the trusses of your roof.
Finally, you could incur hundreds or thousands of dollars’ worth of issues.
Because of the two reasons above, mold can cost you a lot of money, either because of medical bills or home repairs. Besides the time and inconvenience you’re going to deal with fixing a problem that you never anticipated.
Unfortunately, when buying a home, you can’t just take someone’s word that everything is A-OK. Your realtor or seller may be trying to hide something, in hopes that you’ll sign the contract long before you realize anything is wrong.
If they can’t produce recent paperwork of a passed mold inspection, you need to have one done independently. More importantly, if you are being given the run-around and told that a mold inspection isn’t necessary or they are outright refusing, this may be a sign that it’s time to walk away from the deal.
Signs of Mold in Your New Home
If you are suspicious that mold may be present in a home you are purchasing, look for these obvious red flags:
Water stains – Signs of a leaky roof (past or present) or any previous water intrusion in the crawl space or basement can all indicate the presence of mold if it wasn’t remediated right after the damage.
Wet carpet – Either a flooding accident or recent carpet cleaning can result in wet carpet fibers that hold onto moisture long enough for mold to grow.
Indoor water – Any amount of water that is enclosed indoors, from a small aquarium to an indoor pool, can add enough extra humidity to the air to cause mold.
Vents that don’t lead outside – Most bathroom and laundry vents direct moist air outside, but some homes’ ventilation systems are not designed that way. This can lead to excess moisture and mold growth within the ducts.
Plumbing problems – Any plumbing leaks or poor drainage situations can give mold the opportunity to settle.
If none of these things are present, but you still have a feeling that there may be mold in the home, here are a few less obvious causes that can still potential problems:
Humidifiers – They might help you breathe, but you already know too much moisture in the air creates the perfect conditions for mold.
Ice maker in fridge – Something as innocent as a drip in the ice maker or water dispenser will make the entire area consistently wet and, therefore, the perfect environment for mold.
Property layout – A house that sits “in a hole” where all the surrounding land slopes toward it, or a house that sits on a hill where rain runs past it flowing downhill, means that you’ll always have to be vigilant about basement and foundation leaks to avoid mold.
Small roof overhang – The roof’s overhang should be at least 2 feet past the exterior wall. This serves to protect the walls, windows and foundation from excess water.
Is Mold Your Responsibility?
It is the responsibility of the homeowner to prepare their home to be sold in good condition, safe for the buyer. That said, if the house is being sold “as is,” you (the buyer) may be agreeing to take what you get. These situations are most common when the home is sold by owner, not using a realtor.
In the case of a new home, it is the builder’s responsibility to make sure the home is mold-free before it is sold. Ironically, because modern homes are built so well, so airtight, they are often found to have mold in them before anyone ever moves in.
During most real estate deals, it is the responsibility of the seller, not the buyer, to schedule and pay for mold inspection. In a lot of cases, inspections are included in the selling price, so the buyer and seller share the costs.
Trust a professional mold removal company to do your mold testing before you purchase a new home, whether it is a new construction or pre-owned. If any mold issues are found, this same team can assist you with safe, fast mold removal so you can get on with the exciting adventure of buying a new home.