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What to do if you find mold?

What to do if you find mold?
ask phyllis a real estate question


Ask Phyllis: a blog series of frequently asked real estate questions.

Dear Phyllis,

I love all things real estate related – especially your advice column! We have an interesting situation: My aunt, who lives in Santa Clarita, passed, and we are preparing her home for sale. Taking some of your prior real estate advice, we had a pre-inspection before deciding on making any improvements. The inspector recommended we contact a mold inspector, which we did. We learned there is nearly $15,000 of mold abatement work necessary. I am so glad we took your advice on the pre-inspection because our Realtor was ready to hire painters and get the home painted and staged. I am looking for your guidance on what to do if you find mold. How much of a concern is mold to a buyer? Should we get it remediated?

Thank you, Loyal Reader

Dear Loyal,

Most importantly, before even considering mold abatement, you need to learn the cause of the mold. If the leak that caused the mold is apparent, get it repaired as soon as possible so the mold doesn’t spread even more quickly. You might consider hiring a leak detection company if the source of the leak is not apparent. If you can’t determine the source of the leak which caused the mold, don’t do anything else. You will need to disclose to the buyer all estimates and reports. In this instance, I suggest selling AS IS. Most importantly, if you don’t know the cause, I don’t see the point in abating mold.

Assuming you correct the source of the leak, ask your Realtor their opinion on abatement. For example, if the home is to be remodeled, a new buyer may be tearing out walls, cabinets, and maybe where the mold is too. However, in this instance, the mold will not be as much of a concern because the remodel will eliminate it.

Meanwhile, if the home is more move-in ready, you may consider abatement, which is expensive. Your Realtor may have a contractor who can do the abatement for less than the $15,000 previously quoted. Whether you use the abatement company, a contractor, or even a handyman, you will need a mold clearance to verify that the mold is gone. In short, all of this must be disclosed to the buyer in writing. Best of luck with the sale of your aunt’s home.

Related Post:  How our listing had mold

One thought on “What to do if you find mold?

  1. John says:

    mold seems like such a tricky issue when selling. As a buyer I wouldnt want to purchase a home with mold but the mold you know is probably better than the mold you dont know. As a seller I would prefer to skip the expense and time for repairs but that is obviously going to cause the sale price to be much lower.

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