Real Estate Home Inspection for Mold

Though mold may sound like an instant real estate deal breaker for many, it is actually relatively easy to find, treat and even use as a negotiation tactic for buyers. There are over 400,000 strains of mold known to man – it’s important to keep in mind that many of mold types have not been proven to be harmful for humans. Below, we’ll explain what real estate home inspections for mold entail and why they’re important.

When & Why You Should Get A Home Inspection For Mold

As a general rule of thumb, you should get a home inspection for mold when you notice strange odors you cannot pinpoint, if there is water damage present or when mold is actually visible in your home. We also recommend paying for a home inspection for mold when you put your house on the market or when you are looking to purchase a house. Regardless of which position you are in, it is always important to know if your property has mold and water damage present to ensure you are living in a healthy environment. Though it may be costly, hiring an experienced mold professional for mold testing may be a worthwhile decision since many homes have hidden mold issues that can be difficult to spot. 

Additionally, some groups of people are extremely sensitive to mold and living in its presence can cause allergies and in some cases, serious illness. Pregnant women, children, infants, elderly, and those with preexisting conditions make up the most high-risk groups when it comes to mold exposure. Even though most  health issues related to mold exposure aren’t severe, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. 

To better understand why it’s important to get a home inspection for mold, we’ll explain the science behind mold allergies and sensitivity. Molds excrete substances that can cause allergic reactions, irritation and sometimes contain toxic byproducts. Mold allergies are relatively common and the symptoms include stuffy noses, sneezing, bloodshot eyes and rashes — these symptoms can come on quickly or appear over time. In some individuals with asthma, mold has been found to trigger asthma attacks or worsen the condition. In those who have adverse reactions to mold, symptoms occur because their immune systems overreact to inhaling particles and spores. Many of the symptoms are often confused with seasonal allergies.

What to Expect When You Get a Mold Test for Your Home

When you choose to get a mold test for your home, the inspector will arrive ready to find all areas of concern. Of course, the cause of mold is always water. Naturally, the inspectors will spend their time looking for areas of moisture. To do this most effectively, they are typically equipped with infrared thermal imaging cameras and electronic moisture meters. When problematic areas or odors are found, samples must be collected for laboratory tests. Samples can be taken from problematic surfaces as well as from the air. The tests will be sent to laboratories to determine how many mold spores and particles are present and if the levels are high enough to be worrisome. Without the lab results, there is no way the professional can confirm with total confidence that mold is in fact present.

Beware of inspectors who come without any equipment – inspecting for mold visually is not always efficient because sometimes the mold problem is not immediately apparent. Though visual inspection can lead to the site of a mold problem, there may be hidden issues going on as well. If you are paying to get a mold test for your home, make sure the professional is completing the inspection thoroughly!

After you get a mold test for your home, your inspector will notify you of the laboratory results, make suggestions on how to fix the issue and possibly recommend follow-up testing or inspection. 

Mold Testing for Home Inspection: The Cost & Aftermath

Despite common belief about mold, it is actually not very expensive to remove. Typically, mold only exists and grows in small clusters. Mold testing for home inspection helps you to pinpoint these areas and ensure they are isolated. Many homeowners will worry that if a bit of mold is found, it is growing rampant throughout the entire property but in most cases, this is simply untrue. On average, fixing or removing mold is anywhere between $1,500 and $7,500. The process of removing mold is usually referred to as mold remediation – removal is technically an incorrect term because in any place, some level of mold spores will be present. In reality, you are not fully removing the mold but rather, remediating problems areas where clusters have formed.

When determining what to do with mold, it is best to consult your mold testing home inspection professional. Sometimes, you will not need to renovate existing structures with mold – you can just thoroughly clean them.This is especially true in cases of mold growth on tile or hard, sleek surfaces. But, when it comes to porous surfaces such as drywall, insulation or carpet, mold growth is typically irreversible and the material must be replaced.  

It is important to recognize that mold comes from water. So while you may need to remove the mold-infested surfaces, you must also get to the root of the moisture problem itself. If you don’t handle the leak, crack or other deformity that created the mold, remediation efforts will be pointless and it will begin to grow on the new or cleaned surface.

As proud sponsors of California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA), the experienced and professional team at Rarefied Air Environmental is dedicated to providing impartial and objective mold testing. Regardless of whether you’re a homeowner, real estate agent, or commercial real estate business, our technicians can provide the most comprehensive mold testing and even help you develop a plan for your mold remediation. Contact us today to find out more about mold testing for home inspections and our other home inspection-related service offerings!