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The Importance of a Mold Inspection

Although there are many things to think about when you are buying a home, from legal agreements to financial contracts, the physical condition of the house is also an important issue. Prior to purchase, the homebuyer must ensure that the house undergoes a proper inspection, including a mold inspection.

The process of a thorough mold inspection can help avoid future extensive costs related to the need to eliminate existing mold due to sudden health problems. It enables you to make a wise and informed decision when you are ready to make an offer to purchase on a house.

What is mold and where does it hide?
Mold is an airborne, microscopic fungus. Its spores float around your home, undetected, until it develops to a level at which it can be seen and/or smelled. Although some molds such as penicillin are beneficial, the type that develops in your home can be harmful to your health. See here for the different types of mold.

Mold InspectionMold requires nutrients and moisture to grow. It can be found on window sills, along the ceiling, or on drywall, where it sometimes leaves a black, brown, orange, yellow, blue or even purple stain. As it thrives on humidity, two of its favorite areas are the bathroom and the basement. A strong odor of mold in the house is a valid indicator of a serious situation because it often means that it is widespread.

Homebuyers should not invest in a house that has a serious mold problem. In many cases, a mold inspection can bring about detection right away, either by sight, smell, or with the use of a mold detector.

How much mold is a problem?
You may find small patches of mold in the bathrooms of the older homes that you browse through, or a slight build up of mold around the windows and doors of the newer homes built with an airtight design. These are usually insignificant, and merely an indicator that there is a high level of moisture in the house. With a thorough clean up and a few changes to the airflow, a house with this amount of mold does not usually create a problem.

However, if you spot a moldy patch that is larger than a three-foot square area, or if you notice a strong odor of mold in the house, there is very likely a crucial problem. Simple clean ups and airflow alterations may not be sufficient to render the place a healthy home for your family; especially when the fungus has developed in the walls. If any member of your household suffers from asthma, allergies or other health conditions aggravated by mold, even a small amount can be dangerous to their health.

How does a mold inspection help?
If you detect a serious mold problem in the house that you are considering buying, either by sight or smell, the process of a mold inspection should not be necessary to convince you not to buy. A house with that significant level of mold will eventually require major, costly repairs to bring it back to a healthy condition, with no guarantee that the mold will not reappear in the days to come.

However, if you merely suspect a possibility of mold in the house, you can reassure yourself with a mold inspection, which will guide you in your decision to buy or not to buy the house. It is smart to base your ultimate conclusion on the information garnered through a professional inspection on your side.

Home Test vs Professional Inspection
There are numerous options available to help you discover whether there is a dangerous level of mold in your house. Home inspectors can make you aware of the typical conditions that inherently initiate and promote mold growth, while professional mold inspectors or industrial hygienists can help by conducting intensive tests and inspections.

If a less thorough process is needed, you can purchase a quality home test, but understand that the level of detection will be in line with the thoroughness of the test as well as the cost involved.

If you have specific concerns, such as a family member with health issues, then the process of a professional inspection would be valuable.

Helpful Tips for the Homebuyes

  • Schedule the house inspection within a time frame that will not interfere with the offer to purchase process.
  • Ensure that the inspection will protect you in that you will have legal recourse should an undesirable issue arise.
  • Include in your offer to purchase a condition based on the favorable results of the mold inspection.

A mold inspection can help you make a better decision when buying a house, so use the information wisely and to the benefit of your loved ones.


Written by Gary Martin
Gary Martin is a freelance writer specializing in health and allergy research for the Mold Removal Unit website.


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