Three Signs You Should Get Your Potential Home Tested For Mold

Posted on: 6 October 2017

When you buy a home, you want to make sure everything is in good working order and there are no major problems. Unfortunately, one issue that can escape detection during the home shopping phase is mold, which can cause you to spend anywhere from $500 to $6,000 getting rid of it once you discover you have a mold problem after you've purchased the property. To avoid this scenario, here are three indicators that you should have an expert test the home for mold before you sign the sales contract.

Your Home Inspector Finds Water Damage or Mold

In general, home inspectors do not test for mold or go out of their way to look for it in a building. However, they will note signs of water damage and mold if they happen to come across them during their inspections. This can be immeasurably helpful, because they'll go poking around in places most people would avoid, which—coincidentally—may be places where mold is more likely to develop (e.g. the dark corners of unfinished basements).

Not all inspectors are comfortable noting possible mold growth on official paperwork, because it could get them entangled into legal problems they want to avoid. Despite that, though, the inspector will often verbally confirm whether he or she saw signs of mold in the home, so don't be afraid to ask the person pointed question about this issue. If the inspector did see something of concern, you should have the home tested.

There Was a Natural Disaster in Recent History

Another good sign you should have a home inspection for mold is if it was in the path of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, that caused flooding. Homes that have been flooded have a higher risk of developing mold, especially if the water lingered around for several days or the homeowners didn't do a good job of drying out the place.

Sellers are typically required to disclose whether a home has been flooded previously, so be sure to ask or review the disclosure report. Even if the seller denies the flooding or dodges the question, you can use the internet to find out flood information about the area. Be sure to also review the homeowners' social network profiles if they have any, because it's not uncommon for people to post about these kinds of troubles online.

Ask the sellers about any renovations that were done to the home to help it recover from the flood. If none of the walls or floors were replaced, you may want to have the home tested for mold because fungus could be secretly growing under floorboards and inside walls.

The Roof Leaks

If the roof appears damaged and shows signs that it leaks (or the inspector says it does), this may be a red flag that there's a mold issue in the home. This is also true if the roof doesn't leak but the attic is poorly ventilated causing condensation to form on the walls, insulation, or roof sheathing. The longer this has been a problem in the home, the higher the chances there is mold growing somewhere on the building.

Don't be afraid to inspect the attic, even if the seller is storing items in the space. If the attic smells musty, doesn't appear to be ventilated well, or there are tell-tale green and black spots on the walls or ceiling, call a professional to test the home for mold.

A mold problem in a home doesn't have to be a deal breaker, but you need to know what you're getting into before you purchase the home. To learn more about detecting mold in a house or to have one tested, contact a mold inspection company in your area.