Mold is a serious and costly problem to correct. Some states require sellers to disclose any known mold problems. But keep in mind that they only have to disclose what they know about and not all states even have this requirement. What homeowners know and disclose falls far short of an expert opinion. It’s a red flag that the house has a very serious problem but don’t expect a solution to be suggested or provided.
Almost certainly, the owner has at least tried several unsuccessful (if inexpensive) solutions. Mold can be growing in almost any part of a house. Places with a constant supply of water are the most common (kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms). Also, around windows, roofs, and water pipes just to name a few other common culprits.
Mold Causes Health Problems
Besides looking bad and putting out an unpleasant odor (sometimes but not always), mold causes health problems. In the worst cases, these are mycotoxins. Mycotoxins lead to rashes, seizures, unusual bleeding, respiratory problems, and severe fatigue. The type and severity of health effects that result from mold exposure is widely variable across different locations, from person to person, and over time. The good news is that most molds are not toxic.
If you live in a dry climate, your chance of encountering molds is reduced but in no way is it eliminated.
When a Home Inspection Reveals Mold
Mold in a house is a strong indication of a water leak of some type. It could be from the plumbing, a leaking roof, ground water seeping into a basement or the house foundation, leaking doors, etc. Houses built so airtight that the house can’t breathe are prone to mold as well. All of which will need repairs.
A house with mold problems can be a good opportunity to invest at a substantial discount. However, be sure to consider your repair costs beyond just cleaning up the mold. Obviously, the mold will quickly return if the source of moisture isn’t eliminated.
Once mold has a foothold in a house, consider that it is also living in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. These may need to be professionally cleaned, or better yet replaced.
This isn’t meant to scare you away from taking advantage of deeply discounted houses with mold problems but instead to make sure you take into account all of the possible repair costs.
Mold Houses Need to be Inspected by a Specialist
A house inspector might let you know about a mold problem. However, until you have ample experience with moldy houses, I advise you to have the house inspected by a mold specialist to determine the full extent of damage needing to be repaired before making any offer on the house.
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