Has anyone out there ever purchased a house that has significant mold problems?

Asked by Lori Chamberlain, Chicago, IL Tue Jul 10, 2012

I am considering purchasing a REO house that had a flooded basement (600 sq. ft.). There is now an obvious mold problem. It is not good, in fact it's climbing up the walls to the main floor. I am getting a quote from a remediation company, but so many people have told me once a mold problem, always a mold problem, even after remediation. I know the answer is to walk away, but it's way below market (because of the mold) and in a great location.

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Joe Shoemaker’s answer
Joe Shoemaker, Agent, Carmel, IN
Sun Jul 15, 2012

Great question. The answers you've received are spot on.

Two things to consider:

1. It's actually impossible to have a home without mold. Mold spores are in the air, in the grass and in the soil. Mold spores travel on our shoes and clothes when we come into the house from outside, or when we open a door or window and the wind blows into the house. Pets who wander in the yard will also bring mold spores into the house. The question then becomes - as in the case of the house you're considering - is there more mold inside the home at any given time than in the ambient air. It's quite clear that the house you're considering has excessive mold due to a flooded basement, and it very well may be easily remediated by a qualified technician to bring it to acceptable levels.

2. In Indiana, Sellers are required to complete a "Sellers Residential Real Estate Sales Disclosure" any time they sell a property. There is a question on that report which is specific to mold. That question asks, "Have there been or are there any hazardous conditions on the property such as methane gas, lead paint, radon gas in house or well, radioactive material, landfill, mineshaft, expansive soil, toxic materials, MOLD, other biological contaminants, asbestos insulation, or PCB's?"

You'll note that the question doesn't only require a disclosure of a current condition, but also requires the disclosure of the presence of mold in the past. As the new owner with knowledge of mold in the house, you'll be required to disclose to future buyers that the house at one time had mold. That may or may not impact your ability to sell the property in the future, depending on how you choose to remediate the problem and your ability to provide documentation and a warranty of the services.

Good luck!

Joe Shoemaker
Principal Broker, REALTOR®
MacDuff Realty Group, LLC
317 413.8501
Web Reference:  http://www.macduffrealty.com
0 votes
Marita Topmi…, Agent, Indianapolis, IN
Wed Jul 11, 2012
I am selling one such home now, Lori. Like you, I worried about possible
future effects upon my buyers ... who, incidentally, fell in love with this
home because of the size, location and quality they could get for the price.
I called a mold guy I trusted because of the way he handled himself with one
of my buyers last month. The mold remediation guy is confident that after
the mold is cleaned up and the carpet removed and the air scrubbed, the
home will be safe. Afterwards, as Shawn mentioned below, it is essential
the home be kept dry.

0 votes
Thanks, Marita. That has been my thinking (I used to work for mold guy in California) but everyone in my life is convinced the house will always be a cesspool of mold. Would you mind giving me your mold guy's info, if that's allowed over Trulia? I do want to have a specialist take a look at the place. thanks again!
Flag Wed Jul 11, 2012
Shawn Holsap…, Agent, Indianapolis, IN
Wed Jul 11, 2012
I buy/sell homes that have had mold all the time. One can usually pick these up at a significant discount. It does cost several thousand dollars to have a certified mold remediation specialist do the work. If done properly and the home is kept dry, there will be no future issues.
0 votes
Michael Cheng, Agent, San Jose, CA
Wed Jul 11, 2012
You should discuss your concerns with a mold specialist. What those people tell you has a small grain of truth. Yes, that house would be prone to having mold later. But, that applies to every single house, even brand new houses. As long as there's enough moisture for 2-3 days in a dark place, you'll get mold. There's really no getting around that. You just have to make sure that your moisture problem is solved.
Web Reference:  http://www.archershomes.com
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