If your home has a mold problem, your best bet is probably to resolve the problem before selling the house if at all possible. Mold is most likely a Material Adverse Fact – something that would affect a buyer’s decision to buy the house or affect how much they would be willing to pay for it. As such, any mold issues you may be aware of should be disclosed properly or else you may risk a lawsuit from the new owner. Furthermore, the trend in lending is to steer buyers away from homes with mold…so in order to reach to highest number of potential buyers and get the highest dollar amount for your home, it is often best to clean it up, have it re-tested, and then disclose what happened.
What Causes Mold?
Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. There are thousands of different types of molds. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions Molds spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive through conditions that would kill mold. Basements and showers are common areas for mold to be found inside homes because of their high humidity levels.
What Types of Mold are There?
There are thousands of types of mold, but here are a few that are common problems in homes:
Penicillium: An allergenic mold that can cause diseases in humans. Commonly lives in soil, food, or decaying food materials. It can also be found in the dust in your air conditioning system.
Cladosporium: A powdery substance that is black or darkish green. It normally grows on food, dead plants, paint, and fiberglass air ducts. Can cause nail fungus, asthma, pulmonary conditions, and skin rashes in humans.
Memnoniella: Usually found on cotton, paper, and wood products. Memnoniella can also develop toxins that are very harmful to the health of animals and humans. Often found alongside Stachybotrys.
Stachybotrys: Slimy, black in color, and is often referred to as toxic black mold. Like Memnoniella, it can also produce toxins that are very harmful to your health. It is known for causing cancer, asthma, and headaches. This type of mold is commonly found in the back of walls and under ceilings.
Mucor: Mucor Usually found in soil and animal droppings. It can also thrive in household dust. People who have weak immune systems can easily develop reactions if they are exposed to this type of mold.
Alternaria: Like Penicillium, it is also an allergenic mold. Usually found on soil and plants. Can cause asthmatic reactions, hay fever, and various other allergies if inhaled.
How is Mold Harmful?
All molds have the potential to cause health effects. Common effects include nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. More severe reactions can include fever, shortness of breath, or mold infections in the lungs.
Can I sell a home with mold?
Yes, but you might be limiting your pool of buyers. Lenders tend to get scared by mold and are less and less willing to lend money to buyers seeking to buy a home with mold. From a risk standpoint, the bank would prefer that the sellers get rid of the mold or the buyers find another house to buy.
If a lender refuses to loan money to a potential buyer for your house, then you are effectively reducing the number of people who can buy your home to only cash buyers.
Can a Home be Tested for Mold?
Yes, you can purchase a home mold test kit or contact a mold remediation specialist to have a home tested. If you do not own the home but are considering purchasing it, you may need to obtain the owner’s consent before testing the home.
What Can I do to Prevent Mold?
Mold and mold spores can never be eliminated completely from the indoor environment. However, you can take these moisture controlling steps to reduce the amount of mold in your home:
- Keep humidity levels at or below 50%.
- Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
- Be sure your home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
- Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
- Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
- Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.