How much do prospective buyers avoid properties with mold?

Asked by Trulia_fan, Waltham, MA Thu Oct 9, 2008

How do yout hink most buyers react to properties that is known to have mold in it, though it is encapsulated / limited to a specific area? We're looking to buy a property with an oddly shaped roof and mold in the attic surrounding the bedrooms, but are getting different opinions about remediation -- of whether we should remove the entire ceiling in the bedrooms and all of the mold versus remediate the accessible parts and encapsulate the rest.

What do you all think -- should we encapsulate the mold or tear down the ceiling and remove everything? Would we have a hard time selling this in the future if we leave it encapsulated? Would it adversely affect our resale price? Or regardless, should we avoid it if there is simply a history of mold (even if the problem is fixed)? I know there is a lot of hype about this, so I want to proceed carefully.

Thanks for your advice!

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Linda Bee’s answer
Linda Bee, , Concord, MA
Wed Jul 14, 2010
Dear Trulia Fan - Waltham Home Buyer -

If you don't want to walk away - get a third opinion from a Certified Mold Inspector. There are many different kinds of mold some toxic, some not. Some people have allergies, some people have small children that can be severly impacted by molds. As far as resale - there are definately some buyers who would not even look at a house with past mold issues based on their health status. Some who don't care, as long as it has been remediated.

Google Watham MA Certified Mold Inspectors - you will get a list of several companies.

Best Regards,

Linda Bee
0 votes
Michael Hunt…, Agent, Sudbury, MA
Fri Jul 9, 2010
Hi Trulia_fan,
Short answer: Mold is the new radon. A home should be free of mold (and the conditions that support mold growth). Period.
That being said, there are a gazillion types of mold and you might be affected by one while I might not, and a mold test inside a house might yield results that match those from the pine tree in your yard.
A great resource in the Boston metro area is Jeff May, who wrote the book on mold, check out his website.
0 votes
Ken Lambert, , Exeter, NH
Fri Oct 10, 2008
Hello trulia fan- I have some experience with mold and minor remediation, though I am not an expert or certified in that respect. I have built and managed numerous homes, so maybe take this as a general guideline; this is a personal, not a company, opinion-
In a practical sense, with all other available homes out there, I would maybe just pass and go on to the next house that has been on the market for over 6 months.
You need to get a quote from a qualified local contractor on removing all the building components that would need to be replaced, and installing and finishing/ painting of such before you make any offer on the house. That should be in the negotiations with the seller, and the seller's agent probably anticipates that.
Mold is much of time overly "hyped"- most of the horror stories you hear in the media are from a form of black or toxic mold. Regular mold is not nearly as dangerous. Keep in mind that to some extent there is mold in every house and in every building- somewhere. It's just a matter of if it is a hazard. And a professional, not me, would have to tell you that and test it.
If the roof has been fixed and there is no recent leakage, and the attic is well ventilated, most likely the mold will not return to be a further problem. Once the moisture or water problem is cured, the mold cannot spread and becomes dormant.
My final disclaimer- I'm not a mold expert- just trying to give some overall and basic info :)
Thanks and good luck,
Ken L.
0 votes
The Moores', , Templeton, MA
Fri Oct 10, 2008
Dear home buyer,

WOW-You sound like you are feeling guilty. No low price property is worth the health of your family. So if the mold is in the building you should remove all of it. It is a living organism and one that will return encapsulated or not, in my opinion.

I have previewed, sold and become very ill from dealing with moldy buildings caused by ignorant, lazy and cheap builders and home owners. My husband and I have walked away from what some would consider steals, because of mold. It’s just not a friendly opponent there is no negotiating with this organism.

Good Luck,

Karissa Moore, Realtors
Hogan Real Estate,
0 votes
Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Thu Oct 9, 2008
I agree with the below ... Mold can be a very serious problem and could have a serious effect on value and future value.
0 votes
Barbara Brown, Agent, Longmeadow, MA
Thu Oct 9, 2008
Joshua is right, it's important to get a professional opinion from a reputable company that can remedy this problem for you. I would like to add that my husband rehabs houses & all the advice he has received on the subject has been to make sure that you remove all the mold. Encapsulating it would not stop it from affecting the health of the people who live in the home. In my opnion, that's too much of a risk to take.
0 votes
The Florida…, Agent, Spring Hill, FL
Thu Oct 9, 2008
I don't know that this is a question anybody here should really answer for you...mold is a very touchy subject and one with many legal ramifications because you're asking about HOW to remediate the issue...

I would contact a company like servpro (not an endorsement, just an off-the-top-of-my-head recollection) and have them tell you what's involved in remediating and then warrantying the problem.

Some buyers will care more about it than others.
0 votes
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