Diane, Home Buyer in 98101

Is there a lot of mold problems in seattle?

Asked by Diane, 98101 Wed Dec 29, 2010

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In addition to being a real estate broker, I work in property preservation, servicing bank-foreclosed homes. We find mold in a large percentage of vacant homes that we service. This is because these properties are often left without heat or proper ventilation. Fortunately in most cases the mold isn't terribly widespread nor is it dangerous black mold. A professional inspector with the proper testing eqipment can determine whether existing mold is a particularly dangerous type or not.
That said, having lived in Washington State nearly my entire life, I have never had any mold grow in a home where I've lived, except on bread in the cupboard. With proper heating and ventilation, mold will not be a problem, here or anywhere else.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 29, 2010
Favoritehappyplace, I would question whether you're hooked up to a legitimate inspector. There is mold everywhere! Even outside. The issue is when is there too much mold. A non-reputable inspector would make the presence of mold an issue just like a non-reputable car mechanic can make normal conditions sound bad, or a sewer scope company make every property seemingly need $5,000 of repairs.

If you're seeing problem levels of mold in every property, that would be very suspect.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 12, 2013
I am not a realtor, and have lived in areas from Seattle, to east side of, to up north near the border. Is there mold ? Well, yes, there is. How do I know ? I have worked with construction and inspection, and remodels the entire 15 years in and out of these areas. I have lived in a variety of climates and countries, and have seen all sorts of issues in housing. I agree that ventilation plays a part, as does the environment. There has not been a single building (in my experience) untouched by mold here in the Pacific Northwest. Many times the inspector has not found the issue, because so often the issue is hidden. I won't even start to discuss beyond saying that every single remodel has uncovered at least some issue, with the majority being a big surprise to property owner, renter, etc. At first it shocked me too. Now it would surprise me to find nothing. I leave the area for a few days and sinuses, etc clear up. Some people seem to be much more affected. Be careful, have a proper look into anything whatever you are considering.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 12, 2013
I am origionally from the southeast. While sunny there, it is very hot and humid. Mold is much more common there than in the cooler NW.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 31, 2010
Rob, you should have had a skin test done a long time ago! (NW Asthma & Allergy is great, BTW).

So, Diane, be on the lookout!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 29, 2010

I am going to take a different tact here. I have lived in 6 states and only practiced real estate here, but for what it is worth, yes, there is more mold here then in other places.

Having said that, let me explain. First of all I am allergic to mold. I didn't realize this until I moved to Seattle and started poking around in crawl spaces and attics of homes for sale.

Mold spores are everywhere. You are breathing them in right now as a matter of fact. They become a problem when they are allowed to take root in places that have poor ventilation. Given the amount of moisture we have here in Seattle, and the relatively mild climate, we have more of an issue then most places.

If a house is appropriately ventilated however it should not be an issue. If it does become an issue, then mold abatement is much easier of a process then I thought.

The key is having a great inspection done at the time of purchase to make sure there isn't any mold currently and to make sure that the situations that lead to mold are not present so you can rest easy at night moving forward.

Just my thoughts.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 29, 2010
It's "THAN" not THEN!!! THAN, not THEN. Geez!
Flag Fri Feb 19, 2016
No, Diane, there are not. When you think of "mold problems," Seattle houses do not come to mind.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 29, 2010
Hi Diane, Ray is correct, however we'd like to add that in some cases a vacant home, closed up with no sun light or the heat on can also cause mold. We've come across homes that you'd never think should have mold and did, the inspectors told us it's because there was no ventilation or sun light. We personally had it happen in our home because our washer broke, we didn't realize it by the time we got home our basement had about 2 inches of water in it. We didn't properly clean it up sorry to say we got a bit of mold. So sometimes mold comes from these types of issues.

All the Best

Dave & Lisa
Web Reference: http://www.urhomerealty.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 29, 2010
Yes, there are mold problems in the Pacific Northwest. Anyplace there is moisture is a supportive environment for mold. Mold is all around us, in our homes, our food, and the air we breathe. Not all mold is harmful, but some strains can be very unhealthy to those who are sensitive to mold. You can have the mold tested by a local lab for a nominal cost of about $100 to determine if it is one of the more dangerous strains.

A house with mold is always a problem. No matter what type of mold you have, it's an indication of too much moisture in the structure and the source of the problem should be discovered and repaired.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 29, 2010
Good morning Diane,
Mold growth is common in any enclosed, moist space. Hire a professional home inspector qualified to check for mold and pests to identify any locations in the home where mold (and dryrot) may have begun to grow in the home. Common locations are bathrooms, kitchens, laundry areas, the bottoms of walls in basements and around any leaks in the roof or exterior walls of the structure.
Wood, insulation and drywall that have been soaked for any reason may not dry out fast enough to avoid becoming a growing medium for everpresent mold spores. If mold growth is detected, usually there is a leak or other moisture source that must be cured and then all of the affected mold substrate (drywall...etc.) should be replaced. Localized surface growth can often be kept under control with bleach and proper venting will prevent initial mold growth in higher risk locations, but if you have specific concern, contact a specialist before the problem gets worse.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 29, 2010
Having lived in the PNW for many years and selling real estate there, just like any damp climate there is a possibility of mold. Of course you would have an inspection for check for it. Even when I sold older homes there I did not see a huge problem. Basements of course can have more moisture but there are many remedies from dehumidifiers to simple moisture collectors. Part of the problem is that you need to have airflow in a home and a lot of the newer homes are too air tight. Most of the molds are not necessarily toxic unless you have allergies - of course if you are worried about toxic molds that is where you need a specialist.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 29, 2010
Being in Ga, I can not answer the question from experience, but all the rain that you all get sure makes a lot of sense. There are all different kinds of mold tests. They can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Now and even more so in the future, mold in a home or crawl space will make it very hard to sell. Best Regards.

ReMax/Athens, GA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 29, 2010
I wouldn't say it's more prevelant than other places. It will depend on the home, age it, condition of it and you'll want to do an inspection to assure yourself that mold doesn't exist as with any home anywhere that you decide to purchase.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 29, 2010
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