can you make a seller have toxic mold removed before you buy it?

Asked by Katie, 53063 Sun Feb 6, 2011

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Beth Bell’s answer
Beth Bell, Agent, Eagan, MN
Thu Feb 24, 2011
Hard to "make" anyone do anything.

Depending on your financing, your lender may not even let you buy the home. You could look into renovation financing and roll repairs into your mortgage.

Personally, I'd probably just find another home.
2 votes
Melissa Goss, , Center Moriches, NY
Mon Aug 26, 2013
Dealing with this situation now for my own home loan. The lender would not even allow a loan if the basement was not remediated of mold.

The conclusion was that both myself and the seller would split the costs. However, split the cost at closing. The seller paid it in full seeing how it was his home, and if there were any issues I would not be stuck with a bill if the home never closed on.

The seller should pay for it, if he will not ask to split the cost at closing if he or she will agree.

If you cannot agree on that you can always walk.
1 vote
That's a good idea to split the cost with the seller for the removal of the mold. I would probably look for another home before closing though. I think that mold removal is something the seller should take care of before selling the house, especially if you can't even get a loan to buy the house if there's mold. I've wanted to look into how much it would cost to have a mold removal expert get rid of some extensive mold in my basement that has been driving me nuts.
Flag Fri Nov 7, 2014
Nate Gerard, Agent, Stillwater, MN
Tue Feb 8, 2011
Hi Katie,

Firstly, if there is toxic mold (the kind banks make agents and buyers sign release forms for on bank owned homes) I would look at a professional remediation team. They do amazing things. The big point here is that homes with mold should be the cheapest thing in the area.

With that said, hopefully you're still in your inspection period and can make an issue out of it. If you're buying a bank owned home, they probably won't do the remediation but it never hurts to ask. They may agree to a lower price though since they know they'll have to deal with it regardless of who they sell to.

If you're dealing with a traditional seller and you're still in the inspection period, you have a lot of power and should use it to your advantage. If you're past the inspection period or didn't submit an offer with that contingency, you really need to consider your options. How bad is the mold? What will it cost you to do a full remediation? How much earnest money is at stake here? Answers to these questions will help you determine the best path.

I work with many investors so I have a great mold remediation team if you're interested. Feel free to email me at or call at 612-849-9079.

Good Luck
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1 vote
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Feb 6, 2011
You can't "make" a seller do anything, you can only negotiate with them.

All the best,
1 vote
Marienovali, Home Buyer, Saint Paul, MN
Mon Nov 14, 2016
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0 votes
Gibsonbrookl…, Home Buyer, Pittsburgh, PA
Mon Nov 14, 2016
Helpful piece - I loved the insight ! Does someone know if my business would be able to get access to a blank MNAR Seller\'s Property Disclosure document to fill out ?
0 votes
Michael Emery, , Minneapolis, MN
Mon Feb 7, 2011
If during your inspection you determine there is a mold problem, you can request that the sellers either make the repairs or escrow enough funds to make the repairs after closing. If you are out of your inspection period or if you didn't use an inspection contingency as part of your purchase agreement, you are pretty much out of luck - unless you could prove the homeowners were are aware of a mold problem and failed to disclose the problem on their sellers disclosure.

If this is a bank owned or show sale property, you can ask them to remediate the mold or escrow funds to make repairs after closing. However these kinds of homes are sold 'as is' and it's unlikely they will be willing to make repairs.

There is some incentive for homeowners to fix a problem (assuming it's a real problem) because once a defect has been brought to their attention they will now have disclose that defect on their sellers disclosure form - which is read and signed off by everyone else who will want to buy their home. So if you walk away, they will have to tell everyone else they have a defect in their home.

Talk to your agent regarding the options you have at this point in your purchase process.
0 votes
Tammy Hayes, Agent, Port Charlotte, FL
Mon Feb 7, 2011
If you signed an As Is Contract, no. If you have a regular contract and the inspector found mold, you can ask the seller to pay a portion of the repair. Also it depends if you signed a mold addendum and what the terms of the contract state. If you are in this situation, your Realtor or Agent should be able to answer the question for you.
0 votes
Davide Salaf…, , Rochester, NY
Mon Feb 7, 2011
If it is part of your engineer inspection release, then yes. The seller may not agree to it, but if the deal is contingent upon them cleaning up the mold then they may want to take care of it to keep the deal together.
For more buying and selling tips, please visit

Salafia Sold Team
0 votes
James Gordon…, Agent, Hamilton, OH
Mon Feb 7, 2011
Here is a link to the Center For Disease Control (CDC) web site for information on toxic mold. They recommend cleaing with a solution of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon water. They also recommend finding the source of the moisture that is causing the mold growth and eliminating it.
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Mon Feb 7, 2011

An inspection that identifies a serious health concern and recommends the type and extent of remediation may prove helpful but as previously stated, in the end it's up to the seller where they want to go with this.

Our best recommendation, it to build a case for yourself and plant the seed that this recent discovery should be disclosed to future buyers and that any other buyer will likely want this matter resolved as well.

Good luck,

0 votes
Mark Atteber…, Agent, Louisville, KY
Sun Feb 6, 2011
You can definately ask. You can probably back out without recourse. You should absolutely have your Realtor deal with it promptly. You only have the authority to do what you both agreed to do in writing. Everything else is a courtesy.

Good Luck,
Mark Atteberry, Expert Louisville Realtor
0 votes
Christine Mc…, Agent, Valparaiso, IN
Sun Feb 6, 2011
Have your agent negotiate that the mold is remediated by a licensed mold remediation specialist. In Indiana toxic mold that is not remediated would be a reason that the home is not safe to live in. A buyer here could back out and get their earnest money back.
If the seller is unwilling to remediate the problem, negotiate to have your own choice of a mold remediation specialist go in and get an estimate for you. Then you can submit the bid for the remediation to the seller and ask for a price reduction to get the repairs done.
Good Luck
0 votes
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