Selling a home with mold growth can lead to potential problems. This week alone, we have already had three calls from sellers with this very issue. Two were from callers selling a home with mold growth in their crawl space. And one was from a caller selling a home with mold growth in their basement. So, what do you do when you or your home inspector find mold? First, don’t panic. As a home seller, you are on a time line and can’t afford to mess around with mold. However, it’s not always as bad as it may seem. Bringing in an environmental consultant to test the mold is a great start.
Mold can grow anywhere, both indoors and outdoors. In Atlanta Metro and surrounding areas, we see a lot of mold in basements and crawlspaces. Mold growth is common in these areas due to the high humidity in Georgia. Another common cause of mold is from indoor water damage. Selling a home with mold growth can block or prolong the sale of your home. Mold scares many people, and most banks will not lend on a home with visible microbial growth.
How Can Mold Affect the Sale of Your Home
Selling a home with mold growth is not something you should initially try. Most buyers will run away at the first sight of mold or mention of mold. This is due to the many health concerns surrounding mold. Recently, one of the calls we received was from someone who had waterproofing to her crawl space. The company who performed the waterproofing treated the mold by spraying an antimicrobial on it and walking away. For the seller trying to sell her home, this visible mold that was left behind is a huge issue. The company told her that the mold spores are dead from the treatment. That many very well be the case; however, the buyers wanted a test for confirmation. This is where it gets tricky. A swab / tape lift test will only confirm that there is indeed mold. Now, this home seller must pay even more money to have the crawl space remediated properly. The goal is to eradicate all visible mold and the spores.
Mold can grow in any area of your property as long as there is moisture and warmth. Mold developing in poorly ventilated rooms or areas that had water damage, should be treated quickly.
Legal Problems for Sellers with Mold Growth
Just like lead and asbestos, mold can develop into serious complications. Therefore, you should state any information about mold to potential buyers. However, this is your chance to show them you had it remediated properly. Most remediation companies give a 2, 5, or 10-year transferrable warranty for their work. You can show this warranty and let them know it comes with the house. Buyers have every right to be cautious when buying such a large purchase. But you can ease their troubled mind if you have done your part properly. Selling a home with mold growth does not have to become a legal problem. You can even back up your mold free claims with the mold testing / air quality testing that Morris Environmental provides. It’s further documentation that an environmental consulting company has done testing to verify there are no mold issues.
Dangers of Mold
There are hundreds of thousands of different types of mold that have been identified so far. Some molds are toxic and some molds produce mycotoxins. It is these molds that cause the most health problems in humans and animals. Airborne mold, the mold you can’t see, is the most damaging to our health. While everyone will react differently to different types of mold, many of the symptoms are the same. Common symptoms include hay fever, asthma, skin rashes, lung problems, infections, neurological damage, cancer and rarely death. Those most vulnerable are young children, the elderly and those who have weak immune systems. See our mold guide for details on molds, the Mycotoxins they produce and what health complications they can cause.
What Home Sellers Can Do About Mold
Selling a home with mold growth does not have to be the end of the world. Face the problem head on by educating yourself. Get a mold inspection and test to find out exactly what you are dealing with. You don’t want buyers passing your home up because of mold. And, you don’t want buyers offering less money because of mold. Your mold inspector will be able to give you a protocol of what you need to do to remediate all the mold. This will help you sell your home faster and for your asking price.
Don’t be that stubborn seller who thinks mold isn’t dangerous and buyers will overlook it. Many molds produce Mycotoxins, which can cause serious health issues. Most buyers are already scared of mold and will not take the chance. Mold repairs are just like any other home repairs. Sometimes they can be costly, but not always.