The Importance of Inspecting for Mold When Buying a New Home

Learn how to check for mold before buying a new home.

Mold is not the first thing on your mind when you’re buying a new home (well, unless you’re buying a home in a swamp!). It’s a lot more likely you’re thinking about things like how old the roof is, whether there’s any wood rot, and how, exactly, you’ll keep that massive lawn mowed.

However, if you’re not considering the possibility of mold, you could be in for an expensive surprise once you start moving in. Here’s why it’s so important to inspect for mold when you’re buying a new home.

Mold is a health and structural hazard.

Some mold is always present in the form of spores in the air. It’s only when it begins to grow into colonies that you need to start worrying.

If you see those telltale black spots, you could be in for not only health issues, but structural issues with your home.

Certain strains of mold, especially the toxic black mold Stachybotrys chartarum, can cause health issues from wheezing, coughing, and a runny nose, to rashes, fatigue, and chronic headaches.

Mold can even cause structural damage, because it consumes organic material like wood, fabric, and drywall. That’s its job in nature: to help things decompose.

It’s better to find and address any mold issues before closing, rather than discover them after the fact.

There’s nothing worse than discovering there’s something seriously wrong with your home after you’ve already signed the closing documents. That’s as true of a roof leak as it is with mold. It means you’re probably in for an expensive and time-consuming process.

If you do find mold in your home after you’ve closed, the cost of remediation is entirely yours—and that cost is, on average, about $650. If, on the other hand, you get a mold inspection before closing and mold is discovered, you can usually negotiate a credit with the seller, or ask them to handle the problem before moving forward.

During remediation, the mold specialist team will clean the affected area as well as a wide area around it, spray a chemical to trap any spores that are still in the air, and use a HEPA vacuum to clean the carpet and take care of any additional mold that may be in the fibers. You should always make sure the company you or your sellers use holds IICRC (Institute of Inspection Certification and Restoration Certification) credentials and has environmental insurance coverage.

When should you get a mold inspection?

If there are no signs of mold in the home, how can you possibly know whether you need a mold inspection?

This is where a home inspector comes in.

Home inspectors know the signs to look for, even if visible mold isn’t present. Things like standing water around HVAC systems, marks from water damage, high humidity in a basement or attic, and musty smells are just a few of the signs that you may have a mold issue.

Of course, the biggest clue that it’s time for a mold inspection are any signs of visible mold, however small. If you see spots here and there, it may be a sign that there’s a larger growth that you just can’t see, so you should always have that checked out by a mold inspector.

If you have a mold problem, you’ll need to face it head on. The good news is that remediation is very effective, so as long as you take care of the problem right away and mitigate the humidity or dampness that allowed it to grow, you should be able to move in to your new home without delay!

Elizabeth Pandolfi

Guest Blogger

Expertise in the visual and performing arts, as well as the nonprofit, financial, tech, and wellness industries