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Should You Test for Mold when Buying a House?

by krystle
home inspection mold

Is it Important to Test a House for Mold Before Buying?

Yes, it is wise to ensure a good investment and test for mold before purchasing a home. Mold can effect real estate value and will be destructive to structures and building materials over time, resulting in damaged property. Mold also can also cause many serious health problems. A professional mold inspection can indicate existing mold issues with the home, and will help you make an informed decision on whether or not the home is right for you, and if it will be a good investment or need major remediation.


Does Mold Lesson the Value of a Home?

The jury is still out on whether mold adversely affects everyone or only those who already have health problems, but one thing is for sure–mold in a home dramatically lessons the value of the home, and if not taken care of, mold will cause serious damage to a home’s structure.

Recent tax liability and insurance issues arising from the presence of black mold in homes has caused people in the real estate industry to heighten their awareness of mold and its role in the selling process. Whether you are buying or selling a home, it makes sense to know a little more about mold and take steps to find out if the home you are buying or selling has mold problems.

Although there are thousands of different mold varieties, most of them are common and thought to be harmless. In fact, in daily life most people encounter several varieties of mold in many different settings. However, there are seriously damaging types of mold that you should know about in a home, and the amount of mold present can also indicate whether or not it is high enough to cause problems.

What is Mold?

Mold is a fungus that reproduces in moist places when its spores land on a mold-friendly, damp surface. One mold to be aware of is called Stachybotrys, or black mold. Black mold, also called toxic mold, produces mycotoxins. These hazardous byproducts are responsible for most of the negative mold reactions in humans.

Although those with respiratory problems such as asthma are particularly sensitive to mold, the mycotoxins released by black mold can affect even those people without a history of respiratory problems. For babies and seniors, mycotoxins are even more serious as some believe that they can adversely affect lung function and result in a loss of memory.

How to Test for Mold When Buying a House

The first step to take when testing a house for mold is to hire a professional mold inspector. It is a good idea to research inspectors in your area and check out the reviews. Find a certified mold inspector with adequate experience testing for mold. Ask them how they test for mold and the tools they utilize in the process.

Schedule a time to have the house inspected for mold. Try to make an appointment that you can attend and coordinate the appointment with the homeowners and realtor.

Types of Inspection

  • Visual inspection– The mold inspector will visually examine areas of the home prone to  have mold growth. This can include basements, attics, bathrooms, etc, and will be looking out for water damage, discoloration, and noticeably odors.
  • Air Inspection– The inspector will likely take a sampling of the air from throughout the house and send it to be tested at a laboratory for the presence of mold spores.
  • Surface Inspection– If there are visible signs of mold a surface sample may be taken to determine the type of mold present. This sample will also be sent to a laboratory for testing. 

Once the inspection is completed and laboratory results have been obtained, a complete mold report will be given by your inspector. This report should detail the types of mold found, as well as the extent of the mold issue, along with recommendation for remediation, if needed. 

Are You Planning to Sell Your Home?

If you are planning to sell your home, have it checked for mold so you can take care of any problems before you have a buyer. All molds should be eliminated from your home. Whether you choose to take care of the mold problem on your own or hire a professional to do it for you, expect to evacuate your home for at least three days while the mold is being removed. Both the disrupted mold spores and the cleaning agents will give off dangerous fumes that you will want to avoid. Once the mold is successfully removed, correct any problems that might have caused the mold to grow in the first place.

Have Your Home Inspected

Have your home repairs inspected by a professional to ensure that everything is taken care of. If you are planning to buy a house, insist that the home be checked for mold. Not all home inspectors routinely test for mold, so make a point of asking your inspector to do so or get a referral to a home inspector who performs mold checks. Your offer to purchase should be dependent on the home passing the mold test, and allow you to refuse to buy the home if a mold problem is uncovered.

No matter which side of the home buying process you are on, it makes sense to check a home for mold before finalizing a sale. You will save yourself a lot of headaches, literally and figuratively, by insisting that a home is free from mold.

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Danny June 27, 2006 - 12:33 pm

I work in an office that needs to have certain walls replaced due to roof leakage during the winter. This will not be happening until around september. However one of my employees is being affected by the mold and everytime he is at work he has cough attacks. He does not have these at home, I should know I am his roomate :) …

anyway my question is, what sort of things are available to either clear up the mold until the walls are replace or at least clean up the air? air purifier perhaps?!?! we need some way to help him until the wall can be replaced. Any advice or help would be appreicated thank you.

– Danny

mouldmasters May 21, 2023 - 11:29 am

We at http://www.mouldmasters.co.nz always recommend conducting a mould inspection when buy a new house. While there may not be any visible mould – its possible that the air is contaminated with invisible mould spores.
We offer a fogging service to real estate agents which cleans the air eliminating any mould spores in the air making sure your new home is mould free. We use the Goldmorr system.


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