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Mold may not sound like a serious problem but to anyone who has ever had to deal with a home full of Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys chlorohalonata, more commonly known as black mold, it can be a very big deal. Much like discovering termite damage, it instantly turns your easily sellable house into a potential problem. While mold might start out as a microscopic concern, it can grow into a major issue faster than you expect.
If you’ve decided to put your house on the market and just made this discovery, don’t panic just yet. You have options. The more you understand what those options are, the better chance you’ll have to get a good return on your investment.
First things first, you need to figure out exactly where all the mold is and how deep the infestation goes. If your nose has been running, your eyes have gotten sore, and you’ve been sneezing without knowing why it might be because you’ve got a mold allergy. That’s especially true if you always feel better when leaving the house. Go to each room and check for a musty smell. If you can detect an odor that you associated with dampness, that could be a big warning sign.
In order to spot mold visually, look for clusters of small black spots on walls. Check crevices, corners, confined spaces, and other places in the home where dampness, wetness, and cold temperatures have had a chance to affect the structure. If you find small clusters, you should immediately try to remove it. Use protective gear, use bleach or ammonia, and seal off each contaminated area to stop the spread. There may be mold in areas you can’t see, such as inside the walls or under the floors. If you see water stains, discoloration, or warped wallpaper, that could be a warning sign that there’s mold lurking in the dark corners of your home.
If you are able to contain the mold, the next step is to fix whatever issue is allowing this toxic fungus to flourish. Check your pipes and water sources. A leaky pipe under the sink or in the bathroom is often a big culprit for causing mold to fester. Check any old flooding spots because even though you cleaned up the water, you might have left behind just enough for mold to grow. Look for condensation on your windows. If you constantly see build-up on windows and glass, consider a dehumidifier to help bring the moisture down. Basically, if there’s a place inside or outside your home where moisture and water collect, it’s a perfect place for mold to take hold and grow.
Mold can be a bit overwhelming, literally and figuratively. So if you’re not an expert at identifying the sources or getting rid of it, you should consider bringing in a mold inspector. This is especially true if you can smell the mold but not see it. A mold inspection can reveal the source and just how infested the home has become. If there has been past water leaks and there’s a chance mold has taken root in the walls, an inspector can find that out and identify problem areas. There are mold home kits that you can use but their results are often misleading. Better to get a professional in your home in order to identify the specifics. Plus, if you’re going to put the home on the market, a mold inspection helps to protect you and the seller because it cuts down on the chance of surprises during the sales process. As far as how much it costs, that depends greatly on which rooms are affected and how intense the mold infestation has gotten. Black mold removal in a basement can range from $500 to over $3,000. Getting rid of it in attics or ducts gets trickier and cost anywhere between $2,000 and $6,000 for intense mold. If a house has been flooded and is covered in mold, you could be looking into the $10,000 and above range, depending on the residence size.
The biggest key to selling a home that has had or currently has mold problems is to be upfront and honest with potential buyers. The last thing you want is for someone to agree to buy the house only to discover during their home inspection that there’s mold and then demand a lower price or cancel the sale outright. Depending on which state you live in, you may or may not be required to disclose mold, but regardless it’s the right thing to do. Especially if the buyer has an allergy or health risks related to toxic mold. If your seller is using an FHA loan, know that their appraisers are required to make a note of any mold they find and even identify the specific kind. They know what to look for and how to find it. Let potential buyers know exactly where the mold infestation is or was. Explain to them what you did when you discovered it, how you cleaned it, and what fixes you made to the house to ensure that mold won’t return. You might not be able to promise mold won’t return, but at least you’ll look honest by letting them know the potential pitfalls to look for.
The truth is, if mold has gotten into the bones of your home, the headaches may have only just begun. If you did manage to sell a house and the buyer discovers mold, they could bring a lawsuit against you. If you knew about the problem and didn’t solve it, that could put you in serious legal danger.
Even if you are upfront, buyers are likely going to want to see the price come down to compensate for the state of the home and the needed repairs. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get the high price you’re hoping for. Especially if you haven’t dealt with the mold problem or changed the conditions to prevent mold outbreaks in the future.
If you’re looking at a massive mold infestation and you just don’t want to make the financial investment to remove it and repair what’s broken, consider selling your home as-is to an investor like Chattanooga Property Solutions. We will give you a fair price and take the mold problem off your hands so you can move on and find a mold-free house to call home.
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