One of the most stressful things about buying a home is ensuring that the property does not have any hidden surprises. If you detect a musty odor, don’t ignore it. If left untreated, mold and moisture issues carry a host of worrisome health problems, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov). They can also be costly to fix.
Buyers should know that home inspectors are NOT mold remediation specialists. They do not have the expertise required to identify potential mold issues. Therefore, the Mesimer Team advises home buyers to invest in both a home inspection and mold inspection before purchasing a home, particularly if there is any indication that there are potential moisture issues.
Here are some tips you may find helpful.
Stains or Condensation:
- Stains or spots on ceilings, walls, and floorboards may be from a prior leak that has already been fixed, but they could indicate an ongoing problem. Once water collects in a home, mold can begin to germinate after as little as 24 to 48 hours on porous surfaces. Even if the active leak has been stopped, the mold may still exist where you can’t see it, and that may mean hiring mold eradication firms to clean it up.
- Condensation in windows or on walls means there is trapped moisture in the air. Whether it is a bathroom or clothes dryer with inadequate ventilation, excess humidity in a home can quickly become an attractive breeding ground for mold spores.
Trust Your Nose:
- Many homes have their own unique odors caused by a variety of benign issues. But, if your nose is detecting a more earthy smell, you may want to have a closer look. Mold and mildew have a very distinct, musty odor that smells like dirt or damp leaves. Encountering these smells in enclosed areas like a basement or crawl space warrants extra investigation. Even if you can’t see a problem, moisture meters and other probing tools can find hidden damage.
- Be sure to closely look at foundation walls. A failing foundation can become a huge and expensive problem to solve. Catching problems early is essential. Even on a dry day, a basement that leaks will leave behind a white, powdery, salt-like substance on foundation walls and floors, called efflorescence. These stains can be found both inside and out of the home and indicate an area where water runs or pools. Make sure that the grading of the lot slopes away from the foundation walls, and downspouts are diverted out into the yard.
- Check the foundation walls for cracks or areas that have been repaired and be sure to point out areas of concern to your home inspector.
For more information on mold visit www.cdc.gov/mold.
For a list of local mold remediation specialists visit: Top 10 Mold Removal Companies in Pinellas County: www.primebuyersreport.org/fl/pinellas-county-fl-mold-remediation.html