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Buying and Selling a Home with Mold Problems

Buying And Selling a Home with Mold

Mold is everywhere in the Pittsburgh; however, its growth inside houses can cause serious health problems and trigger allergic reactions like nasal blockage, headaches, breathing problems, nausea, and itchy eyes. Buying and selling a home with mold can be tricky and potentially a point of concern.

Eager sellers and prospective buyers both want to avoid any potential damage due to mold in the future. This guide will walk you through all you need to know about real estate transactions and mold.

Buying and Selling Real Estate with Mold

Mold and Real Estate

If you are looking for your dream home or are all set for your real estate investment, the last thing you want to hear is, “there is a mold problem”.

The presence of mold is a big turnoff for the majority of Pittsburgh buyers as they become too reluctant to buy the house or proceed with the real estate investment.

No one wants to invest their money in real estate with mold growth. So, what should you do? Cancel your plan of owning your dream home? Absolutely not.

Mold and Real Estate Transactions

There are different ways of tackling the problem and safeguarding yourself as a buyer. You can always have your prospective property investigated by a professional mold service company or use the mold as a point of negotiation with the seller.

The real estate agent, as a mediator, should also act responsibly to ensure that the homeowners disclose the mold history and present status to the buyers correctly and allow the negotiation to take place fruitfully to resolve the mold issues.

Should I Get a Mold Inspection When Buying a House?

Yes, we highly recommend getting a mold inspection when buying a house if you suspect the house has potential areas of mold or has experienced any water damage.

The nature of the mold problem can considerably impact the home’s value, and as a buyer, you don’t want to pay more than the value you receive. However, the mold on the exterior will not significantly impact the property value, like the presence of mold inside the dry areas of the home, such as ceilings, floors, and walls.

Mold Inspection before buying and selling a home

Buyers want to pay less for a home with mold as they have to spend more money on mold remediation services. On average, mold removal costs between $600 to $6000. The buyer can ask the seller to pay for the mold remediation cost; otherwise, he can always walk away.

The buyers are willing to make certain adjustments or concessions in a seller’s market but should negotiate strongly in a buyer’s market. Your real estate agent can check the real estate situation in your area and guide you accordingly regarding your powers in the deal negotiation.

Mold Test Before Buying a House

A mold test should be done without fail before buying the house. According to EPA, a mold problem can be manageable by yourself if the affected home area is less than 10 square feet. We cover some how to treat mold yourself tips on our blog.

However, it is better to seek professional mold inspector help if the affected home area exceeds the prescribed limit.

It is better to have a mold test inspection done by a professional inspector before buying a home because mold can be present in confined, tight spaces with poor ventilation, such as crawl spaces and attics.

To book a no obligation, free inspection please head to pureairnation.com/freeinspection to schedule a date and time.

Book a no obligation free inspection with Pure Air Nation

Mold Remediation

Professional mold remediation companies remove or wash flooring/carpet depending on the mold. Further, if the problem appears significant, mold professionals treat water damage and remove mold-infested and water-damaged building materials.

They use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum technology and tend to remove mold from its source to prevent mold growth in the future. Read about our six-step process to proper mold remediation here.

Found Mold in the House After Purchase

A home with mold can certainly be a deal-breaker for many. However, if you purchased your dream home and noticed mold afterward, then what? The first step is identifying the moisture source, which usually leads to mold growth.

Mold in Newly Bought Home Disaster

Once the moisture source is identified, you can use mold removal products such as vinegar, borax, hydrogen peroxide, etc., for cleaning and mold removal.

Black mold can be visible near the bedroom corners or behind furniture against the wall. Mold can even hide underneath carpets, wallpapers, paneling, or behind walls.

Black Mold in the corner on drywall

You can always DIY if the affected area is less than 10 square feet, but you need to seek a mold remediation professional if the infected area is large.

Buying A Home with Mold

There are various risks to buying a home with mold. Mold can cause health risks leading to asthma symptoms like

  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath

Mold also causes allergy symptoms such as

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing

Mold can be hidden in HVAC drip pans, windowsills, or tile grout. The musty odor with no visible source can be the first sign of mold.

The other sign of unseen, hidden mold is sick building syndrome, which causes symptoms of headaches, dizziness, nausea, or fatigue among multiple persons living in the mold environment.

The common places for mold to grow are attics, crawl spaces, drywall, air ducts, etc.

Attic

The attic is commonplace for the mold to hide and grow and can get into the ventilation system and spread throughout the house.

Repairing roofing issues immediately, proper insulation, and cleaning soffit vents can allow free air flow and reduce moisture, ensuring mold mitigation.

Mold in Attic

Crawlspace

Like basements, crawl spaces are perfect for mold growth. Dirt floor and water running into the crawl spaces serves as the perfect environment for mildew and mold. Pittsburgh is notorious for older homes with hard to get to crawlspaces.

Pittsburgh Crawlspace and Mold Removal

The use of dehumidifiers, complete sealing from outdoor moisture, hard plastic on the floor, and good ventilation can help remove mold.

Drywall

Black mold grows on drywall when the black airborne mold spores land on the wet surface of the drywall and start growing within a day.

Further, visible mold growth is seen within a few days, and a mold outbreak happens within a week. The drywall is a giant food source on which it feeds and grows on both sides.

Mold on Drywall

Air Ducts

Mold spores thrive in warm moist atmospheres such as in air ducts. Molds develop in and around air ducts due to an excessively wet atmosphere that traps the moisture in the walls causing condensation.

The mold grows if the moisture builds up and is not dried out. It then spreads within the HVAC systems if it remains undetected over a long period.

Mold in Air Ducts

The mold testing of the samples in air ducts can confirm the substance in the HVAC as mold. Therefore, getting rid of mold in air ducts with the mold removal process for HVAC systems becomes vital. We specialize in Air Duct Cleaning.

Is It Legal to Sell a House with Mold?

It may be surprising to hear, but yes, it is legal to sell a house with mold. There are no governing federal laws against selling houses with mold. However, some states require the seller to disclose mold information related to mold issues in the past and present.

Mold Disclosure

It is always important for the seller to disclose the mold issues they are aware of before they sell a house; otherwise, they can be sued on the basis of intentional non-disclosure.

Even when it is not legally required, disclosing past or present mold issues is always better because the mold problem can come to light, and the buyer would walk away from the sale.

Sample Mold Disclosure Form

There can also be potential lawsuits under local law if mold is considered a safety and health issue and the seller, even knowing about the same, does not disclose it. Thus, it is always better for the homeowner selling a house to talk to the real estate agent about the relevant disclosures.

Buying A House with A Crawl Space

There is generally mold in a crawl space, and many do not consider it to be an issue as it is usually out of sight; however, opinions change after it spreads to the other parts of the home.

The problem occurs when unaddressed mold festers and reproduces, spreading mold to other areas of the home.

Mold in Crawlspace Pittsburgh Homes

Crawl spaces are perfect for mold growth. Dirt floor and water running into the crawl spaces serves as the perfect environment for mildew and mold.

You should not avoid buying a house with a crawl space just because of mold. Mold in crawl spaces and attics is common and can be remediated easily!

You can always have a mold inspection to see what is causing mold and whether you can fix it before proceeding with the purchase. Here is a related article on why Mold Inspection is Necessary before Purchasing a Home.

Is Mold A Deal Breaker When Buying a House?

You should not always walk away from buying a home with mold. Instead, you can have a mold inspection before buying to decide what is wrong and consider whether it is a good investment to buy the home. Most molds are easily treated.

The wisest real estate actors talk to the selling homeowner about the mold remediation costs to seek help before committing to purchase.

Tell-Tale Signs of Deal Breaker

However, it would be best if you chose to walk away wisely when you notice the following signs.

  • The home has foundation issues and has failed the mold inspection test.
  • The seller does not have money to spend on mold remediation costs, is unwilling to fix the mold issue, and unwilling to negotiate.
  • The seller does not care or have the time to fix the mold issues nor care to discuss.

Mold Deal Breakers for Real Estate Purchases

Can You Get a Mortgage on a House with Mold?

Yes, you can certainly get a mortgage on a house with mold. However, it is not always straightforward.

Mortgage on Home with Mold

Let’s say you have found your dream home and want to purchase it. However, you come across mold inside the property and start wondering how to get rid of it or if your bank will finance your loan for a home with mold.

Some banks and financial institutions may finance your home with mold. However, it depends upon the individual bank, the type of mold, the extent, and whether it can be fixed.

The FHA 203k Streamline and Fannie Mae HomePath Renovation deal with mold growth.

The bank or the mortgage lender will want to look at the mold and ensure that it can be dealt with quickly and cost-effectively to make the home safely inhabitable.

The banks will also want the source of the mold to be identified and fixed so that there is no future mold-related problem.

We know exactly what to provide you to present to your bank and include the pertinent information in all our mold inspections and test reports.

Will FHA Approve a Home with Mold?

FHA does not use mold specialists as appraisers, and thus, sometimes mold issues may go unnoticed. If mold is discovered, they may defer it to state law, federal law, or local authority, and the local authority would most likely have a bigger say in the matter.

FHA Logo

Mold is an environmental issue, and FHA has strict guidelines for environmental issues that would deem a home unsuitable.

The outcome is largely decided by the local authority or relevant state or federal agency. Then FHA assesses the situation to decide whether they can go ahead with the home approval based on the extent and types of mold, whether it can cause any health risk or can be fixed, and many other factors.

Takeaway

The real estate transaction for buying your dream house is usually tough, considering the different factors. Besides that, if all is set, you definitely don’t want to walk away because of a mold problem.

The sellers can legally sell a home property with mold. Still, they need to disclose the mold issue and its past and present history to the prospective buyers to avoid being sued based on intentional non-disclosure for known defects.

On the other hand, the buyer needs to be wise enough to have a proper home inspection to determine if there are any mold-related issues.

If the mold issue is larger, it is always better to do mold remediation through a professional. The sellers can be called upon to pay for the mold inspection and mold removal.

Mold can be hidden in HVAC drip pans, windowsills, or tile grout. The musty odor with no visible source can be the first sign of mold.

The other sign of unseen, hidden mold is sick building syndrome, which causes symptoms of headaches, dizziness, nausea, or fatigue among multiple persons living in the mold environment.

The common places for mold to grow are attics, crawl spaces, drywall, air ducts, etc. Hence, it is always better to call a professional to inspect and remove mold inside the house to avoid any future mold problems.

The mold can even be found after buying the home, and if the affected area is less than 10 square feet, then you can always remove it through the DIY method. See our full Mold Removal Guide here.

Your bank can always reject your home if the mold problem is larger, which makes the home environmentally unsuitable for inhabitation.

Thus, if you are planning to go for a mortgage for your home, then it is always better to eliminate mold by having a mold inspection and removal done by a professional. We at Pure Air Nation offer free inspections with no obligation. We highly recommend you let one of our trained professionals examine any property you are intending to purchase!

Author Profile
Owner, Founder, Mold Technician at Pure Air Nation | Website

Matthew Dayton, is the founder and operator of Pure Air Nation. He has over a decade-plus of experience working in Mold Remediation and Water Restoration. Matt is a fifth generation Pittsburgher or yinzer and is currently raising the sixth generation! Matt has an overwhelming strong belief in affordable pricing without any sacrifice to quality of service. Most of Matt's values and community driven approach stems from his own humble beginnings and blue collar attitude. Matt is educated in the Pittsburgh public school system and later attended Thiel College in Mercer County, PA to study Education. Matt also holds CMR (Certified Mold Remediator), CMI (Certified Mold Inspection) and MRS (Mold Remediation Specialist) certificates while Pure Air Nation boasts 4.8+ and hundreds of five-star reviews across Google and Home Advisor. You can contact Matt directly as Pure Air Nation remains owner operated to this day.

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