A property’s value can be significantly affected by mold growth.
Some of the factors that will influence a home’s value are:
1. The type of mold
The extent and type of mold on exterior components, to include siding, shingles, windowsills, garage door frames and soffits. The type of soffit (lapped vs. clipped) will also factor into a determination of the impact of the mold damage.
2. Is it spreading?
Is the mold growing on other building components such as walls or wood trim? This would increase cost for material replacement and labor.
3. If its spreading, how bad is it?
You need to know the extent of mold growth inside the home on surfaces such as window sills, cabinetry, drywall or ceiling areas.
These all have to be removed to clean the affected area and provide a barrier against future mold growth.
If the removal process is not executed by an expert, like a mold remediation contractor, you may be liable and end up later trying to prove that the mold was removed correctly.
In addition, if it was improperly done you will have no recourse for compensation since it can’t be proven which party is at fault (you or builder).
4. Were there any recent construction?
Was new construction impacted by moisture; concrete slab vs carpet from leaks? This also has a significant bearing on cost for fix as well as whether this will affect property’s value.
5. Is there major structural damage because of mold infestation or moisture issues?
Moisture issues can compromise support structures and significantly reduce the property’s value.
It is not uncommon for mold to impact wood framing causing large sections to have compromised strength, requiring replacement and labor costs for repair. In some cases, there are legal costs and the potential impairment on the property’s resale or future value.
These conditions have to be disclosed to prospective buyers or renters.
Does an appraiser look at mold?
Yes, an appraiser will look at areas where water damage and subsequent mold growth is or was present.
Also, depending on the appraiser, they will document the type of damage it caused to determine an opinion regarding the property’s condition and value.
What will a good appraiser do once they identify a property that shows signs of significant mold?
A good appraiser should ask for documentation as well as take photographs both interior and exterior to determine how extensive the problem area is.
They should also consult with specialists in the field such as environmental consultants to understand the ramifications of these problems on future use or resale value if necessary.
Do not allow people who are not qualified to be involved in this process – you want experts undertaking work that may have long term implications for you and your family.
Are there any instances when I would not need to disclose mold problems?
You should consult with your attorney on this subject. Generally, an attorney will advise you to always be up front about any problem areas and disclose the extent of the damage and the amount it will cost to fix or repair.
If you fail to do so, there may be legal repercussions down the road if a problem comes up later that can be traced back to failure to report a potential liability when you had a chance, even if you thought it would lower your property value at the time.
What are some precautions I can take once I own my home regarding moisture control?
There are several steps that you can take today to control mold issues in your home. These steps include:
1. Check for leaks in plumbing both inside and outside of structure as well as roof and gutter leaks. If you can’t find them, a professional mold assessor or home inspector can be hired to help with this process.
2. Make sure outdoor vents and fans are clear of leaves and debris that might block airflow. Ductwork should not be restricted by debris since it will prevent proper air flow within the structure which may lead to mold growth in other areas of the house as well as the outdoors.
Keep gutters free from leaves to ensure no sewer line or drain clogs occur during heavy rains that could result in moisture intrusion into your property’s inside walls and attic space.
3. Do not store items such as boxes or furniture directly against exterior wall surfaces since the humidity caused by trapped water behind these objects may cause future mold problems.
4. Check for plumbing leaks in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms to make sure hot water tanks are installed properly and have no leaks. Many times people will forget about sources that are not seen everyday.
So, it’s important to frequently walk your home to see if there are any moisture issues like leaking water heaters. Look for signs of dampness on walls within one foot of plumbing fixtures such as sinks, tubs or showers.
If you discover moisture damage in any area, most experts would advise fixing it immediately since mold could quickly become an issue once this type of structural damage is present.
5. Make sure vapor barriers are always intact and are not torn or punctured. If you see water stains on baseboards or other building areas there may be rising moisture within walls, attics or crawl spaces.
Most homes are designed with proper ventilation to ensure that hot humid air rises into the attic space; where it can exit through vents in the eaves. This allows cooler fresh air to enter at ground level through central air conditioning units.
A blocked drain line, plumbing leak or failed siding seal could also be sources for this type of problem. So its important to know for sure and hire a professional if you need assistance in finding the moisture source.
6. Clean or replace furnace and air conditioning filters regularly especially during summer months. Neglected maintenance can lead to poor airflow within structure and contribute to high indoor humidity and condensation problems.
7. Check vent registers for blockage by dust and debris then use a vacuum cleaner with crevice tool attachment nozzle carefully inserted into each register opening to check further for blockage caused by spiderwebs, insects, and even dirt. Note that debris and dirt can come from outside through open windows during wind storms.
If there is ever a question about air flow in your homes interior you can use an inexpensive testing kits to determine if you have proper ventilation.
Many utility companies also offer free services such as these that may be helpful when diagnosing problem areas during summer months. If you have major concerns about the airflow in your home, the best thing to do is to have a licensed HVAC company inspect or test and balance your air conditioning system.
Doing so will let you know if you have a problem or air vents that may need to be replaced.
8. If attics or crawl spaces have been neglected for long periods of time; then it is best to hire experts to assist with the cleanup process since mold and mildew growths can become extensive quickly without regular cleaning being performed by occupants of the home.
It may take several days depending on how large the area is that needs attention.
So, consider hiring a professional to help out.
They will know what remediation steps are necessary once they arrive at your property. But it takes a lot to perform mold remediation correctly, so be sure to calculate costs for their labor as well when attempting to budget how much it will cost to make repairs.
9. Check any areas where gaps can allow water to enter structure from the outside environment. Areas such as driveways or parking areas that are subject to flooding during heavy rainfall events.
Many times people may not be aware of these types of structural problems until they begin noticing a musty odor within the living space.
Poor ventilation can also be an issue since there is no circulation of fresh air occurring and if you suspect plumbing issues could cause this problem then turn off all water sources including toilet supply lines (make sure spare ballcocks are installed on each fixture) while checking the roof for damaged areas.
Can you sell a house with mold as is?
Often, a seller can sell a house that has mold.
The number of prospective buyers willing to purchase a home with mold may be very low because the property will need repairs and could have an odor issue associated with it.
As-is sales can still occur where there is no disclosure made on the sale contract about hidden or existing problems. In many cases, an inspector identifies those issues so they become part of the disclosures before the transaction occurs. Its always best to consult an attorney on these matters when purchasing a property.
They will be best equipped to provide beneficial advice.