When you’re buying a new home, mold is probably one of the last things on your mind.
Small structural repairs, how much care the yard will need, where you might put Grandma’ heirloom bookshelves—those are the things that are probably running through your head as you wander through your new dream home.
However, if you’re overlooking the possibility of mold, you could be in for a nasty—and expensive—surprise.
Here’s why it’s so important to inspect for mold when you’re buying a new home.
Mold can be dangerous.
Mold is more than just unsightly. It can also be dangerous to your health, and even the structure of your home.
Certain strains of mold, especially the toxic black mold Stachybotrys chartarum, can cause serious health concerns, from respiratory issues like wheezing, coughing, and a runny nose, to rashes, fatigue, and chronic headaches.
In addition, if left untreated, mold can actually cause structural damage. After all, what mold does is consume organic material, like wood, fabric, and drywall—in other words, the material that makes up a house.
Treating mold after your home purchase can be expensive and time-consuming.
If you do find mold in your home after your purchase, the cost of remediation is entirely yours—and that cost is, on average, about $650.
That cost is in addition to the hassle of clearing out the space where the mold is, ensuring that all the fabrics and materials in the room are treated, and getting everything back to normal once the mold remediation has been completed.
During a remediation, a mold specialist will clean the affected area as well as a wide area around it, spray a chemical to trap any spores that are still in the air, and use a HEPA vacuum to clean the carpet and take care of any additional mold that may be in the fibers.
If the mold problem is discovered before you close, you can often negotiate a credit for having the work done, or ask the seller to remediate the mold themselves.
How do you know when you need a mold inspection?
So how do you know when you should get a mold inspection? What are the signs to look for?
Obviously, the biggest clue that it’s time for a mold inspection are any signs of visible mold—no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Visible mold growth means that there could be larger areas of growth that you just can’t see, so that should always be checked out by a mold inspector.
Even if there are no signs of visible mold, when you have your regular home inspection done the inspector will note any indicators of potential mold: standing water in a basement or around an HVAC system, high humidity in certain rooms, signs of water damage, and musty or earthy smells.
If any of these are present, it’s a good idea to schedule a mold inspection.
Remember, mold isn’t just an unpleasant eyesore. It’s a health and safety hazard. It’s important to inspect for mold any time you may suspect its presence, so you can move in without worry.