Why Mold Is No Joke
Mold is a fungus that comes in a variety of shapes and colors (think black, white, green, or gray). Sometimes mold can be visible and odorous while other times it can grow undetected inside the walls, under the floors, in the ceiling, or places like your basement or attic. Mold thrives in moist, damp areas and building materials such as paneling, wallboard, carpet, paint, ceiling tiles, etc. Don’t be fooled, mold can grow in homes in the desert just as easily as it can in homes located in humid or wet climates.
Some common places mold can grow:
- In homes with poor ventilation
- Around leaking pipes, windows, or roofs – any place where a continuous supply of water will give mold spores the start they need and continue to feed them
- Basements or other places that may have been flooded and not completely dried
- Tightly sealed buildings that may trap excess water inside (common in new construction)
In addition to being unsightly, and at times, unpleasant on the nose, mold can cause a variety of health problems ranging from mild allergy-like symptoms to severe rashes, seizures, bleeding, and respiratory problems.
How to Detect Mold in Your New Property
Bottom line: you won’t always know if there is mold in new property, but you can and should be taking steps to try and find out.
- Look for mold. Seems simple enough, right? Look for some of the elements we discussed above and keep an eye out for standing water, watermarks or discoloration on the walls, ceiling, and floors. Take notice of any musty smells in places like the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room or other areas with frequently used plumbing. Got a newer home? Find out if it is built with “synthetic stucco,” otherwise known as the Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS). This is an airtight barrier that is designed to improve insulation but if improperly installed, may allow water penetration.
- Ask your home inspector. If you have your home professionally inspected before you purchase it, your home inspector may see obvious signs of mold or mositure.
- Ask the seller. Some states require sellers to disclose mold related information, but even if your state doesn’t you have a right to ask questions about mold or conditions in a home that could lead to mold growth.
- Ask agents/appraisers. Most states require real estate agents and appraisers have a duty to disclose to you any signs of mold.