Why mold inspection is important before buying a home

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Moving into a new house should be an exciting time in your life. But you shouldn’t let these happy emotions cloud your judgement. To avoid making a decision you’ll later regret, be vigilant and don’t rush into buying.
One of the most common issues found during a home inspection is mold.

Not familiar with mold?

Here are some basics. Mold encompasses many different species of fungi that come in various shapes and colours. They thrive in damp, dark places and feed off of cellulose-rich materials such as wood, cardboard and drywall.

Some types of mold are toxic while others cause allergies; however, all molds can affect the structural soundness of a building, the quality of indoor air and thus your overall health.

Where does mold grow in a house?

Typically, mold is found around wet, damp or humid conditions, such as in bathrooms, in basements (which are prone to flooding) and around leaking pipes.

Wallboards, drywall, carpets, insulation, wooden beams and almost all construction materials can be a good place for mold to develop if there is a source of moisture nearby. Humidity is the reason that mold loves basements and crawlspaces.

Sometimes mold is visible to the naked eye, but many times it’s not. In our experience, most times we find mold growing where there was no obvious, physical sign of it.

Even home inspectors often don’t realize where mold could be hiding because they are not mold specialists. For this reason, if you’re seriously considering buying a home, it’s important to invest not just in a home inspection, but also a mold inspection.

Still not convinced? Here are nine more reasons to have a professional mold inspection before buying a home:

1. Protect your health

Mold can cause health problems, including rashes; seizures; respiratory problems; and severe fatigue in some people. Infants and toddlers, as well as the elderly, are very sensitive to mold and may experience far worse symptoms than the average person. A mold inspection before buying a house will reassure you about the air quality in your new place for you and your family.

2. Protect your investment

A new house will not only be your home, but it will also be one of the most important investments you will ever make. No wonder buying a house is considered one of the most stressful events in life, even more than bankruptcy or divorce. It makes sense, then, to protect it from the start.

A professional mold inspection will ensure that you buy what you see; in other words, that there are no hidden mold problems that could cause significant expenses in the future.

In the long run, mold can and will eat away at construction materials and cause structural damage to a building. Because the underlying cause of all mold problems is moisture, mold will keep growing in the home until the cause of the moisture problem (typically, a leaky pipe, flooding or foundation cracks) is addressed.

And if you look at the bottom line, fixing a moisture problem is most certainly more expensive than a mold inspection.

3. Catch condensation before it becomes problematic:

Condensation (yet another form of moisture) can develop as a result of temperature differences between the warm indoor air and cool surfaces like poorly insulated walls and floors. And as we already know, mold thrives in moist environments.

This difference in temperature causes the warm indoor air to cool to its dew point when it touches a cooler surface (such as an uninsulated wall). The result is condensation on the surface, which creates the perfect environment for mold to grow.

4. Get extra information that you may not get with a standard home inspection:

A standard home inspection is a non-intrusive survey of a property that does not always include a thorough check for mold. This is because a home inspector’s job is to assess the structural integrity of a house. Therefore, major problems such as mold, which may lie hidden behind walls and therefore not be visible during the home inspection, can be easily missed.

Furthermore, home inspectors do not have mold-specific training, experience and certification. They cannot perform mold testing, comment about the extent of the mold problem or recommend a remediation plan because they are not mold experts.

5. Protect yourself as a buyer:

Unfortunately, there is no clear regulation that compels real estate agents to follow any specific action regarding the existence of mold in a house. Even if they suspect its presence, they are not mold experts and are therefore not the best people to rely on for advice.

As a buyer, you need to be cautious, especially because sometimes sellers will try to hide information related to previous mold or water-related problems in order to get a higher price.

6. Some things people just don’t like to talk about…

Homebuyers will often talk to their potential neighbours about a home they’re interested in. However, let’s be honest, mold is not a good conversation piece. So, while you may learn juicy details about the seller, you likely won’t hear anything about any prior mold problems.

7. Get the upper hand in negotiations:

If the mold inspection reveals the presence of mold, you as a buyer now have the upper hand. You can use this information to bargain down the price (to reflect the cost of mold remediation and repairs) and ultimately get a better deal.

8. Save yourself the trouble:

If you do find mold before becoming the owner, you can simply choose not to close the deal and keep looking for a house with a healthier environment.

But if you ever discover mold after purchasing the house, it will be virtually impossible to get the seller to pay for the work that would need to be done to clean the mold. Why? Because mold can develop as quickly as 48 hours in the right conditions. So, even if mold was there before the sale, it would be hard to prove (and you can bet that the seller will deny it).

The best way to avoid this kind of situation is to get a professional mold inspection before buying a home.

If you live in Ontario or Quebec and need a professional mold inspection, visit Mold Busters for more details.

9. Save your relationships:

Dealing with a mold problem, especially after moving into a new home, is devastating and can take a toll on you and your family in many ways – and not just financially.

In addition to having to pay for costly repairs, you also have to spend time and energy solving the issue, finding a contractor and dealing with toxic mold. Your health and your relationships are bound to suffer.

Refrain from putting a strain on a happy relationship with a mold inspection before the transaction is closed.

With all of these reasons in mind, we hope that you will approach the home-buying experience with an open, albeit cautious, mind. After all, it is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life!