Susan F., Home Buyer in Central Business Dis...

Black mold in the basement.

Asked by Susan F., Central Business District, Newark, NJ Mon Apr 20, 2009

My husband and I really like this house. However during the 2nd viewing, our realtor found black mold on the walls of the basement. He advised us that we should not move forward with an offer or inspection because it would be costly and the seller is not required to pay for mold cleanup.
The entire basement is finished a part from a small area where the mold was found. Our realtor thinks that the seller is trying to cover up a hugh problem. There is also water damage in another part of the basement but it was difficult to see where is was coming from.
Does anyone agree or disagree with walking away with this moldy basement?

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Answers

8
Susan
First educate yourself on mold
The EPA has a very good publication you can get at:
http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html
People often react to mold on an emotional level that is far beyond the real impact of the situation. In most cases if you eliminate the moisture that caused the mold to grow, properly remediate it and repair any damage you should be fine. If you get estimates on remediation make sure to check out at least 3 companies and get references on them all.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
Mold issues can be affordably and effectively fixed. Being in the mold remediation business I've witnessed what appeared to be the "head in the sand" approach to mold or the "wait and see" approach - hoping that a potential mold issue is not uncovered during a routine pre-sales home inspection. This is never a good idea. There's quite a bit at stake and considering liability issues that can happen later, it is best to handle mold issues up-front, ASAP and in full disclosure. Nobody likes the added costs of properly dealing with a mold issue before they are "forced to" however, consider the fact that mold can be a serious health threat and who would want to save a few dollars trading it for someones health. One of the issues is the perception that mold remediation will cost a ton of money. This is untrue. Most mold issues can be handled quickly, safely and in cost effective ways.

There is still a lot of confusion over "black mold". Not all black colored mold is the highly toxic Stachybotris type that headlined the news due to it's lethal effects.

My firm gets called into many situations and invariably, the initial upset and fear is that their particular mold problem is going to cost tens of thousands of dollars. Our first goal is to get our customer to relax, and work on an effective remediation plan. It is a good feeling when, the cost effective plan is laid out, to see the stress and anxiety melt away .... it is what we do - solve mold issues in the best, cost effective way possible.

Selling a home in a buyers market is a pain. It seems like one thing after another, buyers asking for everything under the sun,or money-back concessions. When it comes to mold, 99% of the time it gets remediated BEFORE a closing at at the sellers expense.

So the question HOW EXACTLY can one company such as ours be cost effective and still remdiate to industry standards or better?

The answer may surprise you or at least make you think.

Our company Mold Remedy LLC is family owned and operated. NO SUB-CONTRACTORS and no middle men or employees and all that overhead. We constantly review the industry for improvements in tactics, equipment,products and procedures. In fact, our main mentor has over 1200 major mold remediations to their credit and not one failure. In fact, they are thinking about issuing LIFETIME warranties! But that isnot the standard in NJ. Most mold remediation firms will issue a certificate that is transferable for a year or two ... The point is, if you are a remediation company, it is best to stay up to snuff with the latest trends in mold remediation technology as, overall, it saves the client money.

We've dealt with many basement mold issues and suffice to say there is a handful of often missed issues. As far as basements are concerned the following are said to be major problem areas...

... improper pitch and grading - clearly at least 75% of basements we look at have this issue. Builders back-fill foundations and this fill settles over time making the pitch toward the foundation not away, and the water runs right to the sponge, i mean, the masonry wall ...

..... faulty water-proofing installation. It is not enough to simply dig a french drain or trench on the perimiter of the basement slab. A proper water-proofing consists of many elements one of which is the installation of drain holes IN EACH block space which means a hole at the bottom of the block cavity which means 3 or 4 holes every 18 inches or so ... all along the bottom course of block.
Otherwise you have a drainage ditch that is not taking the water out of the block wall .l. it just looks good.

So now it is getting clearer. Not all water-proofing companies know what they are doing.

... and there there is the obvious - leaks in windows and window wells, cracks and holes in foundation itself and bad gutter and leader flow.

... but by far, the most major contributor to mold in a basement is ... failure to keep relative humidity BELOW 55%. This means, at least 3/4 of the year there is a need for active dehumidification. This is a biggie ... one of the worst mold infested basements we have EVER encountered short of a flood is when the occupant of the home said "I did not feel it necessary to spend an extra $100 a month running that dehumidifier" ... .

Hope these tips help you better understand and deal with basement mold issues.

Mold Remedy LLC is a licensed, certified, insured and reputable mold inspection and remediation firm serving New Jersey .. visit Mold-Remedy.Com for more info, and contact info
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 30, 2014
Black mold can be moved by a professional, but it is not cheap & you want to hire a licensed professional.
'
You will be paying someone to remove & dispose of a hazardous material. Then you or a contractor will be replacing walls, ceilings, etc.

I wouldn't necessarily rule a home out, but just be aware of the costs to correct the problem & factor that in.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
I am a commercial realtor, but I have been associated with a mold, asbestos and lead paint abatement company for many years. Mold can be successufully removed, however the issue with mold is moisture. If the moisture issue has not been corrected, the mold will simply return. Mold needs something to eat, moisture, and the right temperture. If you really want the house, pay for an inspection and ask for a deduction from the purchase price to correct the moisture problem and remediate the existing mold. If you have any questions, you cal call me at 609-381-2990.
Bill Minnick
Web Reference: http://www.aei2.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 20, 2009
Hello, Susan!
How are you doing?
First of all a Realtor is not mold specialist and cannot give this advise. You as a buyer may do just a sample test of this mold before full home inspection. And if there is a problem you can address it to the seller and ask him/her to fix it or get a credit for an estimated amount for this work
If you are not sure you like the house, do not bother, but it looks like you really like it, so do not give it up.

Sincerely,
Yelena Tsuladze
Advanced Realty Group, LLC
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 20, 2009
Susan,
The only way your agent or anyone else can tell if the mold you saw is toxic mold is a lab test. If you really love the house I would proceed and have a mold test done. Then you have the upper hand because, if it is toxic then the seller now had a known material defect and is required to disclose it to any future potential buyers. So obviously it would be in the sellers best interest to remediate the mold. Another issue you want to check into is insurance. If there has been a leak and the sellers made a claim against their homeowners report getting insurance in the future may be difficult or expensive. If you give your insurance agent the property address they can pull a CLUE report on the property. (They will do this anyway when you go to purchase insurance) Insurance companies are very wary of water related claims because they can so easily result in mold issues. If you like the house and proceed carefully you should be fine.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 20, 2009
Yes mold can be dangerous and costly to remediate. If the mold is evident, ask for the sellers disclosure. Though not required by NJ law, that might help you to determine what the problem is. Has your agent spoken to the listing agent about your second showing?

If the seller doesn't think it's a problem and you want to move forward, perhaps you can negotiate in the contract a mold inspection and remediation. Speak to an attorney about this, since I am not an attorney nor can I give legal advice.

Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Atlantic Shore
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 20, 2009
It depends on how much you love this house. Mold is certainly a serious concern, but may not be as serious as it appears. Is this a foreclosure? If not, it is reasonable to negotiate mold remediation with the seller. If you are dealing with an FHA/VA/USDA loan this could present a real problem as well. It is possible to get a thorough home inspection, a mold inspection from an environmental mold inspector, and have a contractor look at the house and give you a quote for addressing the cause and repairing the damage. This could be an indicator of a major underlying problem, or a simple fix that would stop the water/moisture intrusion and allow for clean-up. Your Realtor is probably not an inspector, and I hope there is a legitimate basis for assuming the seller is covering-up. Have you seen a seller's disclosure or asked the seller specific questions about these issues? Good luck. Proceed with caution.
Web Reference: http://www.tiastanley.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 20, 2009
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