Help... discovered attic mold on our dream home during inspection

dominogoldOctober 14, 2012

Quick rundown...

We are very picky buyers. For 2 years, we've been looking for the perfect home and we found it in the perfect neighborhood. It's a newer home, expensive but we can afford it, less than a year old. Everything was perfect.... agreed on a price and then the inspector found mold spreadout the attic sheathing and on some trusses throughout the north half of the attic. We were devastated.

We hired a mold inspector, who tested it and determined it was "common mold" typically found outdoors. Non toxic, and can be remediated. Inspector thought it was from wet wood left outside while the house was being built, combined with tight construction and high humidity inside last winter. Left unfixed it could grow and cause allergies. He also tested the indoor air quality of the second floor near the attic opening which checked out normal. Neither of our inspectors were able to find a ventilation issue (ridge vents/soffit vents were all correct)

We attempted to negotiate with the sellers and all they were willing to do was give us the money for us to fix it. We felt we should get a discount off the property also due to the risk of it coming back, and the risk of a future hit in resale value after it's remediated - so we walked away from the deal.

We are reconsidering and wondering if we did the right thing. Does anyone have experience with this type of situation. If mold remedation is done properly (and is non-toxic in the first place) is there a hit in resale value? If it's cleaned up correctly does it tend to come back?

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Just buy a new house.

Of course even IT may have problems.

You are panicking over nothing.
I am glad you are not trying to purchase from me.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 1:22PM
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Most houses, new or old, will have some mold from the materials getting wet during framing. That's just how construction happens. The only way you're not going to get some mold in a home is to buy a pre-fab constructed in a factory and then put it together on site during sunny weather.

You shot yourself in the foot on this one. If I were the sellers, I wouldn't deal with you again should you change your mind. Or the price would go up for the PIA factor.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 1:46PM
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I think you should have asked your questions BEFORE walking away.

Once the problem is removed, it will not affect future value. It's kind of like if I had a leak in my roof. Once I fix it, it does not affect value. I agree with the sellers, and would have only offered to pay for remediation, not give you a further discount.

Buying a house is a risk.

In addition to removing the existing mold spores, many mold remediation companies apply a chemical agent that helps prevent future mold growth. The key, as always, is to eliminate the source of moisture. If the mold began when the wood was exposed to the elements, and this is no longer the case, the mold won['t grow back.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 2:24PM
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The sellers offered you money to get it repaired!... Why would you expect to get more than that, especially for the "perfect" house.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Not to jump on the bandwagon, but if it was the "perfect" house, you had a mold 'expert' come in and tell you there was nothing to worry about, and the sellers offered to remediate, I am not sure why you would have walked away.

And this coming from a guy that walked away from a sale because of an uncooperative seller just a short while ago.

I would perhaps try to come back with my hat in my hand, apologize, and see if you can continue with the deal if it hasn't been cancelled by now. for the perfect house, I would consider offering to pay for the clean-up out of pocket, just to show you are sincere.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:08AM
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Mold was non-toxic and air quality was normal. OK then, so what's the big deal? If left to grow, it could cause allegies. OK then, you better tear up the whole lawn and lay down some astro turf, because if you let the grass grow, it can also cause allegies. Sorry to be a smart butt, but you have to realize just how overly paranoid you are here.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:36AM
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Ok, thanks for the comments and honesty.

I'm not concerned about the health risk/allergies and I might be a little paranoid. That's possible. But I'm concerned about the stigma associated with homes with mold. When we sell the home, it could scare away buyers (like it originally did to us) that it had a mold problem. And once it's fixed, it could come back. Those are the risks that make me uncomfortable about it.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 12:12PM
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Is non-toxic mold a disclosure-able item in your state? In my state, mold, even the toxic kind, if remediated isn't a disclosure-able item.

Lead paint, asbestos, etc, yes, but not mold. How would the future buyers know about any potential mold you had in the past?

And, what about termites, mold, or any number of other things that will devalue your house over time while you are the owner? You just have to take care of your house. And, before you sell, get a pre-inspection and take care of any mold before your buyers find it themselves and walk away in "fear".

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Like others said, once repaired, it does not need to be disclosed. And if you find the source of moisture and fix this, the mold WILL NOT come back.
Go back to the sellers and get back into the deal, or realize that you may be looking for the next perfect home for another two years.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 7:38AM
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We found our perfect house after years of searching and it had mold. Non toxic, but the air quality test failed. The sellers remediated, the air quality tested fine, and we couldn't love the house more. I would go back and try to resurrect the deal.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:05AM
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I don't blame the potential home buyer from being concerned -- the media has all trained to freak out over the word "mold."

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 9:33AM
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"the media has all trained to freak out over the word "mold.""

And becoming educated is such hard work...

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:40PM
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I think you overreacted.

I agree with what other posters have said. If you still want the house, go back to the buyer, apologize and tell them that now that you've done more research, you're willing to purchase it at the agreed upon price. And that if their offer to remediate is still on the table, you'll take it. But if it isn't, you'll pay for the remediation yourself.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 4:33PM
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Mold.... many of these situations are just another sector of the economy making a living off real estate. I have seem some ridiculous proposals to get rid of mold that was actually mildew because the idiot inspectors (IQ that matched their ages) could not tell the difference. In one of our houses a "remediation specialist" said to me solemnly, "I'm sorry to get so emotional about mold, ma'am, but mold killed my brother." That same genius also told me that mold spores cannot be killed by any "known chemical."

Nonetheless, he proposed to remediate our "mold" for several thousand dollars. The actual mildewed area was on a single piece of drywall and partially covered an area about 8" x 10". The culprit was a leaky pipe from the heat recovery unit between a water heater and hvac equipment.

Not all mold contains toxins. Actually, not much of it does, but that hasn't stopped people from making a cottage industry out of public ignorance.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 5:46PM
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So OP what did you do?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 10:57AM
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Yep, overreacted fer sure. Mold thats visible, known to be harmless and easily remedied is nothing to be scared of. It's the undetected leaks and toxic blackmold infestations inside your walls (requiring extensive deconstruction) that you might want to run away from.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:37AM
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Well for the OP it is at least a lesson learned. This reminds me of another thread in which a seller thought the buyer was trying to extort them after an inspection. It really isn't fair to ask a seller to repair an issue, and also lower the price of their house. Perhaps it was lack of knowledge on the buyer's part, but I could understand if the seller thought the request was unfair and in all honesty, I would suspect such a buyer to find more "issues" and price reductions before closing. Hopefully next time the buyer does more research before the next house negotiation and finds the perfect house.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 9:58PM
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