The Importance of Inspecting for Mold When You Buy A New Home
by Lauren Stevens
Imagine purchasing your dream home and getting settled-in with your family. Within weeks, your little ones begin exhibiting cold symptoms they just can’t seem to shake. Then you and your partner begin showing signs of upper respiratory infections. Simply put, the entire family is miserable, ill, and just can’t seem to shake it. How would you feel if you found out that it was your new house making you sick?
The above scenario could have been avoided if you’d gotten a mold inspection before buying. It’s a nightmare that many homebuyers don’t think about when they’ve found the perfect home. With all of the legal paperwork and mounting expenses involved in purchasing a home, it’s easy to just order a general home inspection and call it a day.
If you didn’t have your home inspected for mold before purchasing, and you find that it’s a problem after you’ve signed on the dotted line, you’ll need to face it head-on. Unfortunately, many states do not require that water damage and mold be disclosed by home sellers, which leaves unsuspecting buyers in the lurch when it’s discovered after purchase. As a result, you’re stuck with the task — and cost — of remediating the issue and possibly staying somewhere else until your home is declared mold-free.
We’ve all heard of the dangers and toxicity of black mold, but even homes free of black mold can cause health problems. Some common physical symptoms of mold include runny nose, cough, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, shortness of breath and rash or skin irritation. Those with asthma or other breathing conditions may find it difficult or unbearable to be in an affected house for long periods of time as their respiratory systems are negatively impacted with exposure. Your family’s health, however, isn’t the only thing compromised when you have mold in your home.
Because mold is brought on by damp conditions, homes with water damage from leaks or bad weatherproofing breed fungus due to moisture. While mold spores can definitely cause health problems, they can also contribute to wood rot and compromise the structural integrity of your home. It is possible to buy a home that looks pristine, but is actually mold-infested within the floors and walls — this is how people go years without realizing that mold is causing health conditions.
When you have wood rot and mold eating away at your floor joists, drywall, and frame, those areas become porous and weakened as time goes on. As in the movies, the end result could be you putting a foot right through the floor if the rot gets bad enough. So, if you detect a musty odor or have a situation with water entering your home, you should get a mold inspection to find out if remediation is needed; if mold is visible, you already know it’s present and can go right to remediation.
While ordering yet another inspection is the last thing you want to spend money on when you’re deep in the homebuying process, being proactive can literally save you headaches down the road. Take the time and justify the expense of having a mold inspection completed before you sign on the dotted line — your family and your wallet will thank you.