Real Estate Blog

The Importance of Testing for Mold When Buying a Home

There’s no better feeling than zeroing in on the purchase of your very first home. But you absolutely cannot let your excitement cloud your judgement. Remember that it’s not only the mortgage that you’ve taken on that will remain with you for years and years to come. There’s no way to tell if the home you buy today will be easy to sell when you’re ready to move on. Hopefully this house truly becomes your family’s home, a place you can grow into and spend the next several decades in. But things don’t always work out this well. If you don’t uncover a major issue until after you’ve signed on the dotted line, you could be in for a huge expense and a rotten experience when you should be rejoicing. That’s why it is incredibly important that you test for mold when buying a home.

If you’ve never seen a mold infestation, consider yourself lucky. It comes in a variety of shapes and colors, from almost white to completely black. And sometimes you can’t see it at all, because it is growing literally under the floorboards or in the walls. Have you ever had a flooded basement or other experience with water damage? Mold was probably the result. Basically any dampness at all creates the perfect atmosphere for this nasty fungus, even if the house is in the middle of the dessert. Simple ventilation problems or even heavy watering of your plants can create mold, and you often won’t see the results of the issue for months.

So why is mold such a concern? First off, a mold infestation can cause a host of health issues. A build up of mold in your home releases something called mycotoxins into the air. Breathing these particles in on a regular basis can lead to uncomfortable rashes, respiratory issues, extensive fatigue and even bleeding and seizures. If you have young children or senior citizens in the home, the results can be quite severe. Children can develop asthma, and in some extreme cases deaths have occurred. Again, this is quite alarmist, and most mold spores are non-toxic. But you won’t know the difference until you begin experiencing the negative effects.

Health problems aside, mold can also cause significant damage to a building. This is usually the case because it has developed in conjunction with leaks. Mold can occur around leaky roofing, windows or pipes, or in basements or bathrooms after floods. If the standing water isn’t handled properly, you could face extensive repairs. But the thousands you’ll spend to insure the home is solid is nothing compared to what it will take to rid your home of mold. This isn’t something you can do yourself with a sponge and a bucket of bleach. Cleaning mold of any sort is a hazardous enterprise, that must be handled by professionals.

First, you’ll need a mold inspector to come in and check things out. If the mold is toxic, you won’t be able to handle the cleaning yourself. You could actually get quite ill if you try to clean the mold off your walls and floorboards. You’ll have to hire a mold remediation crew, and you won’t be able to live in the house while they’re doing their work. If the mold is in the walls, they’ll have to be ripped out and replaced. Some houses need to be taken down to the bare beams to get rid of the mold entirely. This could take months, and force you to drain your bank account. After just buying the house, you might not be able to afford such service. For this and all the other reasons, you absolutely must test for mold before buying a house.

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