When you make an offer on a home, getting an inspection is one of the first things your agent will help you set up. As important as home inspections are—and they are incredibly important—there are some problems that require more than a general inspection.
Mold is one of these. Left untreated, mold can not only become a health hazard, but a structural hazard as well.
Mold spores and cells are present in every home, as it’s quite simply part of the biome we all live in. The issue is when it begins to grow, and it can grow anywhere where moisture is present. If you’ve seen small black specks around a windowsill or in your bathroom, that’s mold—and you probably also know that it’s fairly easy to remove with strong bleach and a good scrub.
However, the problem with mold is that you don’t always know when you have it. What appears to be nothing more than a few spots in the bathroom may actually be much larger than that inside the walls or behind the vanity, in places that are not easily accessible.
How do you know when you need a mold inspection?
If mold is often an unseen issue, how do you know when you need a mold inspection? Home inspectors don’t look specifically for mold problems, but a good inspector will point out indicators that mold could be present—standing water around an HVAC system, a musty smell, or high humidity in areas like an attic or basement. That’s in addition, of course, to any visible mold growth.
If you have any of these indicators, that’s enough reason to get a mold inspection.
Why do you need a mold inspection?
While home sellers are required to disclose lots of things, the presence of mold is not always one of them.
Certain states do not require home sellers to disclose a historical or current mold issues, which means that you could buy a home with significant mold problems and have no idea until you start experiencing health or respiratory issues, or the home begins experiencing structural damage.
Clearly, this is the last thing any new homeowner wants to deal with. Getting a mold inspection before you close on your new home can save you the headache of discovering your beautiful new home has a serious, dangerous flaw, not to mention the expense of mold remediation.
How do I request a mold inspection?
As more and more agents become aware of the prevalence of mold problems, mold inspections are becoming a more common element of home negotiations.
If there are any indicators that mold could be present, ask your agent about ordering a mold inspection. In many cases, sellers will carry the cost of the inspection, as a clean bill of health for their home puts them in a stronger negotiating position.
And of course, If mold is present, then you’ve saved yourself a great deal of time and money by discovering it early, before you close on your new home.