The real estate industry sure has a mess on their hand with mold issues. Mold is a unique topic in the market because it has implications for homeowners and home buyers. The issue of mold and to test or not to test is unfortunately still very confusing. Home inspectors, mold remediation providers, and insurance companies are all weighing in on the topic and further confusing the issue.
What you should know about mold:
- Moisture is the cause, unless you address the water and humidity problem you’ll never fully get rid of mold
- Mold isn’t just killed, the growth must be removed and wet materials replaced to finally get rid of mold
- Repairs can be expensive simply because mold growth is a hint at a larger problem such as a leak
In the past, realtors and home inspectors handed home buyers a form to sign that reduced the liability but really didn’t solve the problem or provide much comfort. In fact, most homeowners were told not to test for mold because mold is a moisture issue and they were instead advised to address moisture problems and sidestep the questions about mold.
When a real estate transaction is involved, and you really want some answers, here are the reasons you should test for mold:
Mold, or suspected mold, is apparent
If you can see mold or suspect what you are seeing is mold, then you have a legitimate reason to ask for a mold test as it will aid in the inspection response and ensure that the seller addresses the issue of mold appropriately. The result of your mold test should state very clearly whether elevated levels of mold were detected or not. In the case of a surface mold test, the results should indicate whether mold growth was present (it may not be).
Work was done recently or you smell mold
Mold isn’t always apparent over the course of a visual home inspection. If there was mold remediation done recently, or if the house has a musty odor that identifies as mold, a simple indoor air quality test will give you the peace of mind (or uncover a whole new problem). Either way, the return on your investment will be a good one. The mold test should not require you to get a PhD in molecular biology to understand it. It should be simple and easy to read.
Allergies or health issues
Loads of families have someone with an allergy or health issues. If you’re one of them, then you can’t be too careful with mold testing. An indoor air quality test is cheap, quick and cost-effective. You probably know there are many strains of mold – some more toxic than others – and not all mold is remediated the same way. Knowing that someone in your family has a health concern can help you.
While no home inspector is a fan of mold testing just to be mold testing on every home, keeping these three reasons in mind before you ask for a mold test will help.