What to do about mold when selling your home.
Will mold affect my home sale?
Mold can affect the health of many people who live or work in a house or building. Everyone is affected differently by mold and airborne spores. Many prospective home buyers are nervous about buying a home that may have mold issues. Much like Radon, Asbestos and Lead – Mold is something that buyers, home inspectors and real estate agents will look for when you list your home for sale. If they discover mold while selling your home, you the seller will either hire a remediation expert or reduce the selling price so the buyer can get the mold remediated. If a home inspector finds suspicious staining, he will recommend the mold be assessed or remediated by a mold expert. A certified mold company or inspector should be brought in to test the staining to determine if it is really mold or not.
Depending upon the area of concern, a certified mold inspector will visually assess and take surface or air samples to be tested by a third party laboratory. If the lab tests come back negative, that will overrule the findings of the home inspector. In this case, the home sale can proceed without issues regarding mold and save everyone a lot of money and time. However, if mold is confirmed the mold inspector will provide the homeowner with an estimate to remediate and a “scope of work” describing the specific process required to clean up the mold.
Can I clean up the mold myself?
Maybe. There are some difficult aspects of remediating mold. The first and most important is not spreading it to other areas of the home by creating negative pressure containment and making the situation worse. The second is having the proper PPE (personal protective equipment) and effective products needed to safely remove all of the mold, not just the visible staining. Effective PPE and the various products used to remediate mold are not available at local or chain hardware stores. If you do have the right equipment, products, PPE and training you may be able to remediate the mold, but your buyer will likely require a 3rd party testing to confirm successful cleanup after your are done. You may have to consider other options.
Should I pay to remediate the mold or reduce the selling price?
That’s a tough question and depends on a lot of factors. If you as the seller get the mold remediated you can better control costs, address the buyers’ fears and get the full sales price for your home. If you reduce the price for the buyer, it will save you time and the responsibility of having to hire a mold remediation company to perform the cleanup. Consult your real estate agent and real estate attorney to help you through the specifics of your deal.
What do I need to prove the mold was successfully remediated?
A reputable and experienced mold removal company will complete a detailed scope of work, perform Post Remediation Verification (PRV) testing through a 3rd party laboratory AND provide you with completion and warranty (if offered) documentation upon completion. You will provide this to your Real Estate Attorney who will share with the buyer’s attorney and at final closing. Many companies providing mold cleanup services may not have experience with these types of jobs, so be sure to ask a lot of questions before hiring to make sure you get what you need.
Pro tips for home sellers:
- Make sure the mold inspector and mold remediator are insured, certified and trained.
- Confirm your mold remediator can meet your schedule and get project done before closing date.
- If your mold remediator offers a warranty, check to see it is transferable to the new owners.
- Be sure your mold remediator is taking PRV samples at end of project to confirm successful remediation.
- Don’t assume every stain is mold – getting it tested may save you lots of time & money.
- Talk to your Real Estate Agent & Real Estate Attorney before deciding to remediate or negotiate price.
- Contact a known mold expert to perform the testing and remediation if necessary.