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In today's market, selling a home is tough enough without being surprised by an issue like mold. Whether you are planning on selling or buying a home, mold can greatly effect the desirability of the property. The presence of mold, past or present, is a ‘disclosable' item in most real estate contracts.

A concern about mold in the home or building has a bad habit of showing up near closings or worse yet after the sale causing significant problems - including prospective buyers backing out of the sale, unexpected devaluation of the home and/or possible legal problems.

While a ‘home inspector' evaluates a home for general construction issues, little thought is usually given to a home's environment. Unfortunately, the presence of mold can greatly effect the value and desirability of a home.

Roof leaks, condensation buildup, and plumbing breaks may provide the opportunity for blooms of molds/fungi and bacteria. Inhalation or contact with these organisms can have serious health effects. Long after the water and the visible damage is removed, the spores of these organisms can remain in the home unless proper actions are taken at the time of cleanup.

A pre-conveyance inspection should involve, at a minimum, a thorough visual inspection of all areas of the home or building with extra attention paid to those areas with water piping and water use (kitchens, bathrooms, walls containing water/sewer piping, etc.) looking for indications of water intrusion (staining, paint blistering, finish delamination, water induced deterioration, etc.), past flooding or actual visible mold growth. This should include testing suspect areas with a moisture meter to determine the presence of moisture at levels that could support mold growth. Following the visual inspection samples of suspect growth, or areas suspected of containing growth may be collected to confirm the presence of mold. Sampling may include direct sampling of a suspect mold colony, general surface sampling to determine the mold burden and/or air sampling to determine the presence of elevated levels of mold particulates (spores, hyphae, etc.) in the air.

If you are buying or selling a home, whether there have been any roof leaks, broken water pipes, flooding from any source, odors or any other indication that there may be mold in the home or building (including past mold problems - even if they have been corrected), you should consider having a ‘pre-conveyance mold inspection' to avoid any surprises.

A professional mold inspection report should include a description of all areas where mold was found, the general extent of the mold growth, recommend methods and procedures for remediation and a recommendation for ‘third party' post remediation ‘clearance testing' to determine the effectiveness of the clean-up.