If you are in search of a new home, it’s vital that you learn how to detect mold in homes, get the home seller to disclose any information about mold and be prepared to negotiate around any mold problems that come to light in the course of the sale.
Let’s face it, no one wants to purchase a house with a mold problem but these sneaky little spores aren’t always easy to detect, and if you’re willing to tackle the problem yourself, you may get a good deal on a home.
For those who don’t really understand, mold is a fungus which can cause health-related problems and is a costly, time-consuming problem to fix. Although some molds are visible and even odorous, mold can also grow between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements and attics.
The Environmental Protection Agency explains that molds produce allergens—substances that can cause allergic reactions, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, including hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.
Some forms of mold can also be the trigger for asthma attacks.
Mold grows best in water-soaked materials (paneling, wallboard, carpet, attics), but can survive in almost any damp location. That’s why many indoor mold problems begin with an aging, weathered, leaky roof that may allow water to enter the home.
Spores are very easily aerosolized and once they are disturbed, hundreds of thousands of spores can fill the air within a short period of time. Because of this, containment procedures are necessary to prevent contaminating an entire house.
Most homebuyers rely on a home inspector to look for mold, and while they will mention obvious signs of water damage and the possible presence of mold, it is not their job to seek out mold. You should always be sure to ask an inspector of any possible mold damage.
A savvy buyer should hire and rely upon their own independent mold inspection and testing of the home by a certified mold inspector.