If you’re closing in on purchasing a new home, your mind is probably overwhelmed with everything left to accomplish. You’ve got all of the details of the closing ahead, and hundreds of pages of paperwork to read through. There are attorneys, real estate agents and accountants to meet, and the current owner to haggle with until you finally come to a financial agreement. At some point the housing inspector will get involved, and the results he comes back with may leave you wanting to look for another property to purchase, or ready and willing to sign on the dotted line. But is the inspector keeping an eye out for mold? Here are a couple of the reasons why it’s important to test for mold when you purchase a home.
First of all, mold isn’t always obvious to the naked eye. Mold comes in a wide range of shapes and colors, and if you’ve had the home inspected with furniture still inside a smallish infestation can easily be missed. Mold has also been known to grow inside the walls, under the floorboards or in and around pipes. If the property inspector is the least bit lazy, or if he’s rushing through the job because he has three more houses to get to that day a detail like this could go unnoticed. And that could cost you in several ways.
All financial concerns aside, there are very real medical problems that could come from living in a house infested with mold. People have been known to develop serious allergies, long-term breathing problems or even internal bleeding and seizures in severe cases. This may sound alarmist, and if you’re a reasonably healthy adult you won’t have to worry that much. But young children and senior citizens are affected in much more extreme ways. Children have been known to end up with asthma, and seniors with any sort of respiratory problem can actually die from too much mold exposure. The last thing you need after purchasing and moving into a new home is a major medical issue. You never want to see people you love fall ill, and the stress of that on top of the financial concerns could be absolutely overwhelming.
Speaking of financial concerns, they are significant. Mold is usually present because there has been some sort of water damage. That means there could be major issues with the integrity of the house you’ll have to face. You’ll need to call in a contractor, and you probably won’t be happy with what they have to say. If the mold infestation is in the basement or the roof, entire sections of the house might need to be reinforced. That’s a lot to take on when you’ve just picked up a mortgage, paid your first round of property taxes and spent significantly on closing costs.
Yet it is removing the mold itself that will create the most significant expenses. This isn’t a project you can tackle on your own. If toxic mold is present just attempting to clean it without proper protection will spread spores throughout the air, causing your whole family and any pets to fall seriously ill. You’ll need to call in a mold inspector to get a full understanding of the problem. Once he comes back with his report, you’ll need to make an appointment with a professional mold remediation company. Any area of the house that’s infested will have to be carefully dried out and removed. And you cannot live there while the remediation is in process. Imagine spending thousands of dollars to put your whole family up in a hotel for weeks at a time, all while your new home is ripped down to the bare beams. If the flooring is infested, that’s a whole additional level of construction. You might end up with a remodel job on your hands that involves a large percentage of the structure. After everything you’ve already laid out, that could lead to bankruptcy. So absolutely be sure you’ve tested for mold before you purchase a home.