If you are preparing to sell your home and spot a build of mildew or mold, naturally you will have many questions, one of them being what do I need to do when Selling a House with Mold.
Typically, mold thrives in conditions that are damp, and often grows on paper, food, carpet, wood, and cardboard.
The structure of your home, as well as your health, can be affected massively by mold, which can grow on the outside or inside of your walls.
Several types of molds can build up in your home, and the effects they have on your structure and health may differ.
With many homes across America being susceptible to mold, it's important to understand your legal stance with real estate companies if your house is infested, the impact that mold can have on the value of the home, and if it is necessary for you to disclose past issues of mold.
Continue reading this article to find out what you need to know about selling a house with mold, as well as learning what damages it can have on an individual's health, and the damages it can cause to your household structure.
What is Mold and How Can It Affect my Health?
Mold is a kind of fungi that thrives in multicellular structures known as hyphae. The hyphae produce mold-like bacteria that can be found either outdoors or indoors.
Whilst mold spores can be found everywhere, in order for the mold to reproduce and grow it requires a lot of moisture.
As mold needs moisture, mold is frequently found in showers and bathrooms, refrigerators, the aftermath of a flood, or even after a leaking water pipe.
Extra Facts: If you live in an area susceptible floods, please take a look at our guide on how to build a flood wall around your house.
As mentioned there a several different forms or species of mold; some are helpful to us, for example, some molds are used to help form medicines such as penicillin, and some food types.
Although there are some good aspects of mold if it begins to grow in your business, office, or home it can have detrimental impacts on your property as well as health.
When mold releases tiny bacteria into the air we breathe, it can irritate a person's respiratory system and can be the leading cause of a wide range of illnesses.
If you do not detect and eliminate the mold quickly and the mold begins to multiply a wide range of health concerns can arise.
Commonly, hay fever symptoms, coughs, sneezing, shortness of breath, runny noses, and other allergic reactions are caused by mold.
For example, black mold is one of the main forms of mold found in houses and offices, creating serious health problems.
Studies show that Americans spend around 80 and 90 percent of their time inside, so the quality of the air an individual inhales will have a huge impact on their well-being and health. So, if you are living with mold this will substantially affect your indoor air quality.
People who have underlying health conditions such as asthma, or individuals considered to be sensitive it can cause or further contribute to conditions such as, depression and anxiety, brain fog, and fatigue.
How Can Mold Affect my Property?
As well as affecting your health, the health and safety of your home's structure can also be heavily impacted by mold growth.
Mold tends to grow where high levels of moisture and oxygen are found, so can be found near windows, pipework, leaks in your home's roof, and mainly in flooded basements.
Extra Information: Taking a shower and steam created from cooking can increase the moisture in the air and cause mold problems.
When mold begins to multiply and grow around your house, it can begin to feed on the materials it is growing on.
Once the mold begins to feed, some of the damages resulting from this are irreversible, and it can make selling a house with mold increasingly difficult.
Furthermore, if the mold is not spotted efficiently or if it is left untreated for a long time it can cause the physical structure of your home to weaken and deteriorate.
Materials such as drywall can rapidly be eaten through, and the mold begins to thrive of a material source such as drywall. This can raise safety concerns, cosmetic damages, and the overall depreciation of your home's original value.
Key Insight: To eliminate a mold infestation in your home, you will usually have no choice but to knock down your drywall or whatever material has been penetrated to stop the spread.
The presence of mold in a house can prove to be a big problem for, mortgage lenders, buyers, sellers, and home insurance companies.
Figure Out Where the Mold Is Coming From
Usually, you can smell mold, as well as being able to see it. Walk around your home and look for stains on your walls, furniture, and ceilings.
It will usually be fuzzy or rough-looking and appears in black, white, grey, and sometimes even yellows or greens.
Any musky or earthy smells usually indicate some mold around your house.
Selling a House with Mold: The Effects on Value?
The area or place where the mold is found on your house can vary and can alter the impacts it has on the market value of your house or property, as well as the health and safety risks it may impose.
For instance, if you have mold on the exterior of your property such as your siding- it won't have a huge impact on the value of your home.
Generally, build-ups of mold bacteria on the outside or exterior of your home or property will not have a negative impact on a person's health.
However, as the mold will be visible to potential buyers, it will be a bit of an eyesore and affect the appearance of your home, which will cause your markets value to decrease.
Build of bacteria on your interior spark tougher reductions to your properties market value. If the mold is found in tight areas such as a shower room in clusters of dark patches, that will not have a tremendous effect on pricing.
Remember: In areas such as shower rooms and bathrooms, a high level of moisture is expected so small patches of damp will not be looked into massively, mildew won't have a huge effect either.
But if a buyer walks into the saleable property and spots a large amount of mold growth on ceilings, floors, or walls- where moistures levels are considered to be fairly low- this will immediately indicate a big problem, typically a fungal infestation.
Usually, at this point, mold remediation is your only option to remove the mold, and it is a fairly expensive job.
Bear in Mind: If at any time mold remediation is carried out on your property, you must disclose this in any paperwork if your house is sold. Check your state's guidelines for further information.
Do I Need to Disclose Mold Issues When Selling a House? Is it Legal?
One of the biggest questions asked when you consider selling a house with mold is- can you sell a house with mold?
Legally speaking, the answer is yes and there are no state or federal laws that forbid property owners from selling their properties that have been exposed to mold.
Usually, your home will undergo an inspection before its sold, so mold may be detected by inspectors.
While rules and regulations around disclosure vary from state to state, many states require sellers to disclose defects to their homes in the buyer's paperwork.
Note: Check with your selling agent to discover your state's necessities when it comes to disclosing mold, mildew, or fungi in your home. There is also a list of real estate disclosure forms to see exactly what the rules are.
As mentioned above, this will also include the history of mold, as well as if it has been removed professionally using the mold remediation process.
Generally, sellers should disclose:
Any defects to their property at the time of sale
Sellers must not knowingly lie about defects when asked
It is possible for buyers to take legal action against their sellers after sale if the home was misrepresented.
Hot Tip: Take a look at your real estate's disclosure forms, search for phrases like:
Are you aware of mold testing on the property?
Have you been notified of mildew issues that have or are currently affecting the property?
Five Quick Tips to Prevent Mold
There are steps that you can take to prevent a large build-up of mold in your home, by monitoring and controlling moisture levels in your house.
The following five tips will help you to keep mold out of your home:
Switch on your air conditioning or use a dehumidifier in your basement.
Immediately fix and water pipe leaks that can seep into your house.
If you notice any damp rooms ventilate them and monitor any build-up of water.
Keep your indoor humidity at a reasonable level. Typically, between 30 and 50 percent, open your windows to let in the fresh air.
Quickly take out wet clothes from your washing machine and put them to dry.
The Bottom Line:
Mold is a type of fungi that is usually found in areas inside and outside your house that have high levels of moisture, so keep an eye for mold in your shower or bathrooms, around any leaking water pipes, and in your basements.
However, despite mold problems, selling a house with fungi is possible and there are no federal or state laws that prevent a seller from doing so.
It is vital that you check with your state to determine the rules and regulations on what exactly needs to be disclosed in the buyer's paperwork, whether that be professional work done to reduce mold or any known defects to your house.
Some results on your house can be irreversible or damaging once the mold begins to feed on certain materials in your house such as drywall.
If the mold is not spotted efficiently or if it is left untreated for a long time it can cause the physical structure of your home to weaken and deteriorate.
If you are selling your house and you are aware of some mold issues- it is best practice to alert your buyers to mold within your house- even if your state's forms do not require you to do so.
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