Home Buying in Chicago>Question Details

Happylucy22, Home Buyer in Chicago, IL

Shall we buy a house with mold suspicious?

Asked by Happylucy22, Chicago, IL Thu Aug 27, 2009

I am looking at a 40 years old house with finished basement and a replaced new roof. However our inspector found some mold suspicious in basement wall. Shall I buy the house and is there any way to remove the mold? Thank you for your advices.

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Wayne has it right!

Hopefully your inspector was able to report on likely moisture problems of which the mold is only a symptom of. The removal for the mold could get expensive, and you could do it again and again, if you do not address the cause.

Mold in the basement is not unsual because moisture in the basement is pretty common. The finished basement often has drywall covering a concrete wall which has water penetrating it. The installation of drywall, which has paper volnerable to mold when wet, in a damp location will lead to mold. Further investigation is needed, but testing for mold will only tell you what you already know. It is not the deadly black mold, or you would be dead. It is not the shower mildew if it is on wood or paper products such as drywall. It is not an acceptable level of mold, because it is visible.

Removal of mold is easy on concrete. On drywall, it is not easy. The infected drywall must be replaced. Same goes for wood, although some will attempt to kill the mold with fungicides. I sure would like to know what is behind that drywall. Ok, you didn't say drywall, I'm making an assumption based on typical mold problems.

Mike Hart, Home Inspector, Contractor, Investor
4 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 28, 2009

I think it nice to see a Home Inspector give his take on this type of question and see by your profile you've helped others by sharing.

Just wanted to say thanks, welcome to the forum and hope to see you around more as it makes the forum an even better place with an experienced Inspector around to offer yet another view on things.

Thumbs up and thanks, Dunes
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 28, 2009
The previous respondents have raised some important points. All mold is not created equal, and you should have it tested for type to identify if it's hazardous or just ugly. There are many contractors that can test and remediate mold problems.

There is a potentially larger concern. Did your inspector identify why the mold formed? There are almost an infinite number of reasons that mold forms on building surfaces, but there are always two common factors, paper (wood) and water. The source of the moisture needs to be identified. Is it seepage, exterior grading, broker drain tile, flooding, condensation, leaks, etc? The remediating may be one cost, but stopping the reoccurrence of mold may be another. Identify why the moisture is there and you'll stop the mold from coming back. Get an idea of what the solution cost while your dealing with the mold issue.

Best of Luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 27, 2009
Thanks for the thumbs up Dunes. I appreciate that, especially coming from a "grumpy sarcastic Non-Pro" who actually knows what he is talking about.

Happylucy, I hope we have been helpful. You sure have the right idea to do a little research yourself, instead of completely relying on the information "displayed" for you.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 2, 2009
Mold. What an awful word! Just remember that every house has some sort of mold in it. Most of it is in very very small doses. But sometimes it can get extensive and be hazardous to yours and your families health. Have your agent put you in contact with a mold inspector. This person will tell you how bad it is. They can also always get rid of the mold. If you find out there is some, and it will cost 5-8grand to remove, I would ask the seller to pay for it. They will now not really be able to sell the house without removing the mold themselves. They wont pass up on a buyer thats willing to purchase as long as they take care of the mold. Good luck!

Matt Laricy
Americorp Real Estate
Brokers Associate, e-PRO
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 27, 2009
Don't make a decision until you have all the facts. Some mold is funky, some fatal. Get the house tested by a reputable professional (or 2). Your agent will know who to call for the testing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 27, 2009
Dear Buyer,
Mold and Mold and mold is not the same, so depending on what kind of mold, and where and how extensive it has spread is very very important....
Especially if you have babies or young children or allergy sensitive people living in the home, I would be concerned. Do not panic yet....

But if the mold is inside the walls, if it is in the drywalls of the ceilings etc., it will require professional removal and that could become very very important, and we are not talking about some moldy areas on the bathroom shower corner, we are talking about black mold....

Depending on the extent it could cost you thousands of dollars to have it removed and taken care of...

So the very best is to get a free estimate from a mold specialist (his assessment) and then the removal companies written estimate. With that you can then negotiate with the Seller...

The decision on whether you want to buy the home or back out based on the mold situation is of course up to you, at one hand it is a financial question that could be agreed upon with the seller, as the seller will run into the same situation with the next buyer they will most likely agree to something. Whether YOU the buyer feel comfortable with the purchase should depend strongly on the results the mold specialist inspector gives you...

Good luck, Just to be on the safe side I would definitely have the home checked by a mold specialist and then make the final decision.
Edith Karoline - YourRealtor4Life!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 27, 2009
Since you put an offer in on the house I am assuming you would like to continue with your purchase. There are companies that specialize in mold remediation. I would recommend having one of these companies inspect the home for mold and if they concur with your inspector, ask them to give you a quote for the remediation.

Of course having a second inspection for this purpose will be an additional expense. Before you proceed you might want your agent or attorney to negotiate these additional costs with the seller.

If you can not get a referral for a mold specialist, you might Google "Chicago Mold Removal" for a list or Angie's List would be another source (fee required).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 27, 2009
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