Everything You Need To Know About Selling A House With Mold Problems

Selling a house with mold problems - Quick Home Buyers NJ - woman stressed under mold ceiling

Selling a house with mold problems can be a nightmare. Unfortunately, many people overlook how to sell a house with mold problems the right way.

Many people think that real estate is simple. You just slap your house up for sale and someone will buy it… right? 

callWell, it’s not that simple. Walking into a home isn’t like going to a Walmart and getting the products you need off the shelf and they will be ready to go. There is a lot that goes into making a home worth living in. 

Are there issues with:

  • The integrity of the structure. 
  • The foundation? 
  • Is water seeping all over the house? 
  • Heating and air conditioning? 

That’s just the beginning!

Many homeowners will try to get these things fixed while they are still living in the house, or at the very least, disclose them before selling the house to you.

But what happens when homeowners like you go to sell their homes and find issues they were ignoring while living there? Often, a small under looked issue that is easy to live with can be a sign of a much bigger problem. 

And when the home inspector finds these issues, be prepared to come down in price…

If any issues are found that were not disclosed, this is enough to either cause the price of the home to go down significantly or even have the sale cancelled outright. 

Now, there is you. You don’t necessarily have structural issues, but the one you are facing could have similar consequences. 

Mold that has been aggressively growing around your home. Not only does it look ghastly, but it can be quite a serious problem if not dealt with thoroughly.

What Is Mold and How Does It Affect My Home?

Unfortunately, many people try at-home methods to tackle their mold issues

Whenever the term mold comes up, most people immediately think of the stuff that comes out of old and musty bread. You may also think of it as the scum that forms around the bathtub after a long period of no use. While all this is true, it is just but just scratches the surface.

Did you know that there are over 10,000 species of mold?

Mold is the generic term given to various species of fungi. Fungi are a very old species of organisms that don’t fall in the class of plants and animals. 

They, however, are very widespread on this earth, to the point they are in the air that we breathe, and the water and food that we consume. Fungi encompass a lot that is both very necessary to human life, to some that are downright harmful. 

The story of the very first time that wine was discovered has always hinted at having an uncovered vat of grape juice and yeast magically fell in to ferment the juice into wine. 🍷

Yes, yeast is a type of mold. And so are beautiful and delicious mushrooms.

Mold is anywhere and everywhere. Even right now in your home, there are corners of the house that look like they have no mold, but in fact, they do. Mold is impossible to eliminate entirely from a home. 

But not all mold is the issue… only one of the five most dangerous types of mold can be found inside of your home.

There are certain types of mold and the quantities they are in that are a problem for anyone who lives in a home. The most common of this harmful mold is black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum/atra.

This type of mold is known to grow anywhere from fiberboards, wood, and paper to others such as window frames, drywall, and even the carpet. 

Whenever mold does build up in a house, it becomes a health concern for the occupants. As it grows, they release spores into the surrounding air, which is then dispersed by movement of air around the home. These spores are a hazard to anyone who is allergic to them. And that’s just the beginning. 

With people who are not initially allergic to the spores, the build-up ends up causing upper respiratory issues. These can manifest in prolonged sneezing, which can in turn become severe coughing.

A runny nose is always present and it can further degenerate into shortness of breath and wheezing. If the person affected does not seek help immediately, this could result in suffocation.

Check out the infographic below all about the species of mold.

Mold infographic

How To Identify Where Mold Is Growing

Mold is anywhere and everywhere. If you live in a home that has a good air filtration system, the chances of you experiencing it are quite reduced as air conditioning does help with keeping mold at bay. However, there are certain conditions that encourage the growth of mold. 

Even though mold has the ability to grow anywhere, there are specific areas of your home where mold is likely to be present. These are;

The Bathroom

You may have already noticed dark lines in between the tiles on your bathroom walls, and sometimes even the floor. The long hot showers that you love taking are refreshing, not only for you but for the mold. 

Mold can also be found on the surfaces of sinks and other counters, as well as around the toilet and inside the cistern. The toothpaste and toothbrush caddies are also notorious for holding mold.

The Kitchen

The other favorite place for mold to grow because of all the lovely heat given off by your cooking, as well as the humid air that could be as a result of the environment, or all the cooking and running of hot water that you will have been doing. 

Mold also likes manifesting under the kitchen sink, especially when you have a pile of neglected dirty dishes. A problematic garbage disposal system could also mean a haven for the growth of mold.

Also, leaky pipes are a prime reason mold spreads around your kitchen as you wouldn’t suspect there is a leak in your pipes.

When is the last time you checked the pantry? The food you eat is not only great for nourishing and sustaining you, but also the mold that is milling around in your house. 

Fringe Spaces

These spaces include the attic, the basement, and the garage. If anything, these are the biggest concern for many homeowners as they are the largest spaces that mold can easily colonize.

In the attic, mold can be found near the roof, especially where there are leaks. Mold can also be found near a variety of vents from the other rooms in your house. 

In the basement, mold can be found lurking around areas where the foundation may be letting water in. If you have a laundry area there, be sure to check them out. Mold loves wet, damp places. 

How To Identify What Is Causing Mold Growth

The things that cause mold are pretty straight forward. Some of the reasons that cause the growth of mold have already been touched but there needs to be a deeper understanding as to what causes mold to grow and proliferate around the home. 

For a start, mold likes to grow in specific areas. These areas have to have the following: 

  • Areas that are wet or experience frequent moisture either from condensation, humidity in the air, leaking pipes, or water droplets from splashes. 
  • The area has to be poorly ventilated. The spores from mold are microscopic and are carried around by air. If the air has movement, the spores will not have any time or place to settle as the movement of air will carry them away from a place they can settle. With a room that is poorly ventilated, the spores will have time to settle and begin to grow.
  • Cool temperatures are conducive to the growth of mold. High temperatures end up denaturing the spores, so they don’t get an opportunity to grow. 

With these three criteria in mind, it would be best to check for the following whenever you are getting rid of mold, or before you put the house up for sale. These include:

  • Flooding, either in your basement or from burst pipes in your house. 
  • A leaky roof.
  • Window frames that leak when it rains. 
  • Leaky pipes, or those that are either rusted through or broken from wear and tear.
  • Leaks around your sink, your bathtub, or your toilet. 
  • Leaks with your dishwasher or your washing machine piping. This is a particularly notorious one as the hot water line ruptures often.
  • Condensation builds on cool surfaces. This is the reason why mold will grow on your carpet or on the bathroom walls. 

But now that you know about all of the areas where mold can grow… what about getting rid of it?!

How To Get Rid of Mold

In certain cases, you may not have the means to have the mold removed professionally. In other cases, the mold you are facing is not even in enough quantities to justify the cost of getting a remediation company to do the work. The reasons could be plenty, honestly.

However, even though the mold may look scary, you are not afraid to roll up your sleeves and attack the mold head-on. If anything, many homeowners do this from time to time. You can too.

Before you begin, there are a few things you should have next to you to help you get this done. These include:

  • A pair of safety goggles 
  • A pair of rubber gloves.
  • An N95 mask.
  • A utility knife or a chisel.
  • A scrub brush.
  • A window fan.
  • Plastic garbage bags.

It should be noted that these should be used for mold that is easy to get to in an area of a room that is 10 square feet at most.

If you are looking at getting rid of mold that is in the drywall or the insulation, you will need much more serious tools. That’s when you can decide to do the job yourself, or call a remediation service.

There are a few ways you can get this done.

  • Use hydrogen peroxide: This is a common anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent that is found in most homes. Pour 3% concentration into a spray bottle and spray over the moldy surface and leave it to soak for 10 minutes. You can use the chisel or the knife to remove the mold, and then use the brush to scrub the part where the mold was. 
  • Use vinegar: Vinegar is also great at killing bacteria, mold, and spores. Vinegar, though mildly acidic, should not be diluted. Use it to get rid of the mold as with the hydrogen peroxide. 
  • Lemons: Everyone’s favorite deodorizer. They not only smell good, but they are also great at getting rid of mold and disinfecting surfaces. Using concentrated lemon juice can achieve the same effects as vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. 

While you are doing all this, you should have your safety goggles and mask on, to prevent any spores from getting to your eyes or your respiratory system.

The window fan should be on the window and running. This is to help pull out any spores disturbed by your work and also to keep them from spreading to different rooms. 

How Much Does Mold Devalue A Home?

If you are one of the many people wondering the following:

  • Can mold affect your home’s value?
  • Is it illegal to sell a house with black mold?
  • How important is it to test your home from mold?
  • How to remove mold in drywall?
  • What are the best ways to defeat mold?

Mold can be a huge issue in New Jersey when it comes to your property sale. Not only is it illegal to sell a house with black mold without disclosing it to the buyer, but mold can devalue a home by a lot depending on how bad the issue is.

Sadly, it can be expensive and difficult to discover how extensive the damage is until you get a professional mold inspection and sometimes you even need to do damage to the property just to find the cause of the issue.

When I would visit my parent’s house in New Jersey, I often found that I would feel more stuffy than I would when I was at my house or anywhere else. I chalked it up to there being more allergens in South Jersey, but years later they went to change an electrical outlet when they saw a small piece of black mold.

Once they looked, they found a ton of mold growing in the crawl space, crawling up the walls, and covering most of the home.

What we assumed was a small issue turned out to be a huge glaring issue that resulted in needing to rip down all of the walls and became a very expensive project.

Disclosing Mold Formally and Informally

No matter the efforts you take to get rid of the mold, you may still have to disclose this to any potential buyer. This, however, is only in the states that require a seller to disclose this information to a buyer. 

You could ask your realtor or seller if the state you are in has such a requirement. If you are selling by yourself, you will need to go through the disclosure form to see whether they have any wording as to the status of mold or mildew in the home and whether any testing has been conducted to confirm the status. 

In various other states, the disclosure forms will include checkboxes asking whether the presence of toxic mold has been found and/or dealt with at the property.

Others can have a dedicated advisory to the buyers asking them to test for the presence of mold or mildew in the home before committing to anything. 

It is however in your best interest to disclose this information to the buyer. If you were the one looking to buy something and you soon find out that it is moldy or rusty yet the seller didn’t tell you about it, you would be pretty mad about it.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Full disclosure of this may actually help you sell the home and avoid lawsuits.

Dealing with this issue head-on is your best strategy out of it. 

How To Fix The Mold Problem Professionally (Mold Remediation)

In certain cases, the mold problem could be so extensive that having to deal with it on your own could mean years of work. This is because you may well be working in one room to get rid of it, but it is seeping into other rooms and starting new colonies there. 

You aren’t exactly a qualified technician when it comes to this, so you have to hand it to the experts to get the job done. Your only option is to turn to a remediation service to help get rid of all the mold. 

This remediation specialist will do all the work of removing all the mold colonies and the growth that has taken place inside your property. Their work involves using antifungal and antimicrobial cleaners over hard surfaces such as tiles in your bathroom, or the floors. 

The softer materials such as cushions and clothing will either be sent out for cleaning, or you can choose to get rid of them. The biggest of these is the carpet. Mold is known to colonize carpets and no matter how much you loved it, it has to be cut up and replaced. 

The porous surfaces of your home such as drywall will be completely ripped out and fresh ones put in. They will then be sealed with plastic. Negative air pressure will then be applied to prevent mold from setting in.

If you can produce the documentation of getting all this done, this could be a great negotiation tool as it shows you took care of the property. This can help put buyers at ease regarding what they would expect to get out of the home. 

The cost of remediation, though, is what you have to consider when you decide to get it done. Depending on the number of rooms that you would like to get remediated, the costs can vary from $500 for single rooms such as basements or attics, to upwards of $4,000 for a combination of different rooms.

Also, depending on the extent of the damage, the costs, and the scope of the repairs may increase. If you have a mold problem in your attic, this could well have affected the underside of the roof deck. 

Sorting this issue could mean having to remove that part of the roof as well as sub roofing and insulation if affected. It could also mean replacing various components such as joists and baffles.

To further prevent this problem from recurring, you will also have to think of adding vents or fans to improve the flow of air in those tight, and often neglected crawl spaces. 

In Case You Can’t Fix The Problem, Prepare To Drop Price

The cost of getting rid of the mold in your home could be something that you are willing to meet. It could also be you are not willing to let the buyer have to deal with the issue themselves as a matter of pride, heritage, or other reason altogether. 

However, it doesn’t always mean that you have to repair it yourself. In some cases, especially where mold has festered in the attic uninhibited, the cost of repairs could skyrocket and leave you unable to sort it out yourself. What would you do in such a situation?

You have two options. You can either take the house off the market, or you could let the buyer decide whether they would like to remediate the mold themselves. 

There are buyers out there who wouldn’t mind handling the task. The only issue comes in with cost. Because they will be the ones to handle the cost, that will mean that you as the seller will have to compensate them for the remediation.

How would you do that? By taking a hit on the asking price you had hoped for. 

If you engage an agent to help you sell the home, they will advise you to get a home inspector. The reason for this is to clarify that there are no other integrity issues with the structure or the mechanics of the home.

With a full inspection report, you can know exactly how much you are going to be taking a hit.

How To Sell a Home With Mold Problems

There are three basic ways in which you can sell the home. These are;

For Sale By Owner:

If you are confident of your negotiation skills and know your way around the market, you could sell the home yourself. This would mean more money for you as you don’t have to have a realtor on retainer.

The downside is, you will have to be great at convincing people to buy a home with mold issues. Some may even take advantage and try to push the price down even further. But you need to be aware of the legal issues surrounding mold disclosures and any other issues.

The best way to usually handle this is to sell to an investor who knows how to fix the issues.

Use A Real Estate Agent:

A realtor is a great way to get that home off your hands. They will already know of the worth of your property and will advise you accordingly. They will also be great at negotiating prices and they know how not to be pushovers just for the sake of making a sale.

A good realtor will walk you through selling a house with mold issues and get you the best deal for it. However, the requirements the realtor will demand to make your house presentable may put a significant dent in your finances.

This is because it may take months before a buyer takes the house off your hands. This will result in continued inconvenience, utility bills, taxes, and repairs/prep.

Sell To An Investor Or Home Buying Company:

Many times the best way to avoid the legal headaches, the time needed to remediate the problem, and haggling process with potential buyers is to sell your home to an investor or home buying company in New Jersey.

I have been involved in real estate for decades and I have seen so many instances where a home inspector finds black spots during a home inspection. Then a mold inspection uncovers many more issues with the house that become a big burden causing the buyer to cancel the sale.

Getting a cash offer on your home may be the best option for you if you just want to avoid the headache, move on, and sell your property fast. This is where we come in! If you’re interested in getting a no-obligation cash offer on your home in New Jersey, click here and fill out a form or give us a call.