You’ve found the perfect house! Did you schedule a mold test before closing?
Written by Camille Panaro, MS. ES., MS. Ed.
Closing on a home can be a very stressful event, yet exciting at the same time. For one thing, you know that you are one step closer to owning what is hopefully the house of your dreams. But to get to the point of finality, one of the most important steps taken on your behalf is the home inspection. Any home buyer knows the importance of inspecting the house and the surrounding property. I’ve met very few people in my life who have waived the inspection because otherwise, the new home buyer is stuck with undisclosed problems and potentially unforeseen expenses. Of course a home inspection doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be any issues, but at least a buyer can make an informed decision as to how to proceed. Should problems arise, you as the buyer can certainly back out of the deal or ask the homeowner to pay (provided you have an inspection-contingent purchasing agreement). I think we can agree that you wouldn’t want to buy a house without inspecting it first.
What people may not realize is that home inspections do not include mold testing or account for air quality in the home. Mold spores in the air are not visible to the naked eye, and you’re lucky if your olfactory senses help you out. It is possible to detect a volatile smell produced by compounds called microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs), but not always.
I recently spoke with a local real estate agent who shared with me that a couple purchased an older $300,000 house in late summer. The couple did not have a mold test or any environmental testing prior to closing, however, they did have a home inspection. It wasn’t until late Fall that the couple discovered an undisclosed, toxic mold problem in their ventilation system. Once the family turned on the heat, the windows fogged up which indicated the first sign of moisture. As it turned out, water was pooled in the grille and toxic mold had grown everywhere. Had the purchasers taken one extra step in their closing process, they could have saved themselves a huge expense by either backing out of the deal or holding the owners accountable.
My house is fairly new, could the inside contain mold?
It’s very important to understand something about mold. Mold doesn’t care if you purchase a $90,000 house or a $700,000 house, an old house, a newly built house, or a condo. Mold simply needs a moist environment to reproduce spores and a damp spot to land on. There are a number of reasons that mold can grow inside a home – poor contracting work, leaks, flooding, poor ventilation, humidity, or roof leaks are some common reasons.
Once mold begins to grow inside a home, the air quality is compromised due to the allergens emitted.
Is a mold test necessary before buying a house?
In the case of testing for mold, it is necessary to hire a trained mold assessor, equipped with modern equipment and precise techniques, who is versed in current guidelines as directed by governing agencies. This is especially important because mold spores emit allergens that are potentially very dangerous to people with immunocompromised systems. In other words, children or adults with asthma are more vulnerable and susceptible to lung infections due to mold inhalation. Otherwise healthy people may experience runny noses, skin rashes, watery eyes, wheezing, headaches, or difficulty breathing. In fact, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that in 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
Without a doubt, mold testing should be at the forefront of your decision making because of the potential health hazards to living things. Since mold spores are not visible to the naked eye, you may become symptomatic and not realize the source. So to answer the question about whether to have a mold test or not…I think the choice is clear.
I want a mold test before I close on a house, but who do I contact?
Problems associated with mold inside a home can be avoided by hiring a skilled mold assessor. At AMD Environmental Consultants Inc., you can rest assured that our certified employees are highly qualified to provide an accurate assessment of air quality before closing on a home. We don’t just offer mold testing – we offer the best analysis with the most precise testing possible. We fully understand that mistakes have no place in a business such as ours and our meticulous testing process yields unparalleled results.
Your health is our business and you deserve the best. Before you sign on the dotted line – contact AMD Environmental Consultants Inc. for your peace of mind.