The new home buying process can be exciting, stressful, and scary all wrapped in one big emotion. Yes, the three “I’m ready to get this over with right away” emotions. This feeling can often times lead home buyers to skip over the small but important details of the process. However, there are a number of questions that you should always ask AND get an answer to before proceeding with buying a home. One of the questions that you should be sure to get an answer to is, “Am I buying a house with mold?”
Let’s be honest. It’s not always in a realtor’s best interest to get an inspection on a property that they’re selling. A mold inspection gone bad can open up a number of problems for someone selling a home, costing thousands of dollars and they would like to knowingly be apart of selling a house with mold. However, hidden mold in a home can cause an even bigger problems for a clueless home buyer. Think about it. Imagine being super excited to move your family into the home that you have always dreamed of having. You go on a bidding war against other potential buyers that drive the price up, spend thousands of dollars on new furniture throughout the house, get the kids into a new school, all just to find out that the your dream home is really a moldy nightmare.
So how do I prevent buying a house with mold?
I’m glad you asked! When buying a new home, ask the realtor for recent paperwork showing that the home has passed an inspection. Do not take the realtor’s word alone. If there is no recent paperwork, request to have an inspection before moving forward with the buying process. Keep in mind that unless the realtor is a certified mold inspector, his advice is not likely to be helpful. You need professional mold inspectors involved. If the seller of the home is not willing to provide an inspection, then you may be saving your family and yourself a lot of headaches, figuratively and literally, by not buying the home. Do not move in without proof that there are no mold problems. Buying a house with mold can cost your family a lot of money, cause illness and develop stress.
Signs that you may be buying a house with mold
If you would like to sort of a “pre-inspection” before calling in the professionals, here’s a list of things to look at to know if you’re possibly buying a house with mold:
- Does the house have wet carpet or water stains.
Carpeting and carpet padding are great mold foods and mold growth can easily hide inside carpeting and padding.
- Does the home have indoor bodies of water?
An indoor pool, jacuzzi spa or large fish aquarium continuously generates high indoor humidity to drive mold growth.
- Is there a built in humidifier?
As humidifier pushes moisture and humidity throughout the house, this increases the chances of indoor mold growth. This is true for humidifiers that are built into the home’s heating/cooling equipment and free-standing, portable units.
- Does the refrigerator have an automatic ice maker?
Water supply line that brings water to an automatic ice maker often goes bad. A bad water supply line causes leaking water and could promote mold growth into kitchen floors, walls, and cabinets.
- Does bathroom and laundry vents lead outdoors?
Such vents often exhaust high humidity air into attics, crawl spaces, walls, ceilings, or floors, rather than directly outdoors. Be sure that these vents are leading outdoors to prevent moisture build-up.
- Does the air conditioning condensation pan have a leak?
Air conditioning systems include a drip pan to catch water than condenses and drips from the air conditioning coils. Such drip pans are sometimes poorly installed or the pan drain pipe becomes blocked, thus allowing water flooding and mold growth into adjacent walls and ceilings.
- Does the building lot slope towards the house?
If the house building lot slopes downward toward the house, rather than away from the house, there is going to be significant water intrusion into the basement, crawl space, concrete slab, and/or building foundation, and thus enabling the growth of mold resulting from such water intrusion.
- Does the house on the side or bottom of a hill?
A residence that is located on the side of a hill or at the bottom of a hill will be a moldy house because rain fall will cause significant ground water intrusion into the same areas mentioned above.
- Is the roof overhang too short?
If the roof overhang extends less than two feet beyond the walls beneath the overhang, rainfall will fall upon and run down the exterior walls to soak into the wood and masonry surfaces of such walls.
- Has the house ever had a leaky roof?
If the roof surface or flashings around a chimney or furnace and plumbing vent pipes are degraded or poorly-maintained, water will enter into the home’s attic and run downward into the insides of the ceilings, floors, and walls beneath the attic to cause huge, hidden toxic mold growth therein.
- Has the house ever had a crawl space water intrusion?
Most crawl space dirt floors suffer from water wicking upward from the ground water in the soil. In addition, rainfall frequently runs into crawl spaces. Crawl space water intrusion results in big toxic mold growth that can grow upward into the insides of the floors and walls above.
- Does the house have leaking water supply or sewage drain pipes?
Plumbing line leaks can cause massive toxic mold growth inside and on walls, ceilings, and floors.
Remember these tips and always hire an experienced and trusted home inspector when purchasing a home. Good luck on your house hunting!