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Saving money on mold remediation

Saving money on mold remediation
ask phyllis a real estate question


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

Dear Phyllis,

My godson made an offer on a townhome and was so excited to be the winning bidder. He opened escrow and did his inspections; there were several problems that the seller agreed to fix – but not everything he requested. When the termite inspector came, he recommended having a mold inspection because of an area behind the washing machine. My son hired a mold inspector, and they found mold. The mold inspector told us it could cost as much as $20,000 to fix.

Because my godson’s interest rate was increasing, there wasn’t time to do the remediation. So, he requested that the seller credit him the $20,000. The seller refused and canceled escrow. My godson is now out of pocket for the appraisal and two inspections. We know a neighbor in the building and learned that the seller had their termite company complete the remediation. Although this townhome was retested, and no mold was found, I am curious if it is okay to have the remediation done by a termite company instead of a mold company.


Dear Janet,

Because of the frightening nature of mold, some mold companies take advantage of the consumer. The most common area where you might find mold is the mold that develops in the grout between ceramic tiles. A simple form of remediation happens each time you spray that mold with a bleach-based cleaner. More toxic mold occurs elsewhere. There are various types of mold, and not all produce health-threatening mycotoxins. Not everyone is affected by mold,  although those that are can be severely affected.

I am not a mold inspector, and you don’t give many details. First, the cause of the mold must be addressed, or it will return. Likely a good plumber should be able to do that. According to the EPA’s website: “Who should do the cleanup depends on several factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is about 10 square feet (less than roughly a three ft. by three ft. patch), in most instances, you should be able to handle the job yourself.”

Assuming the mold is only in a small area behind the washing machine, it could simply be someone wearing protective gear and removing the damaged drywall. And then having a mold company retest and provide mold clearance. Assuming no further evidence of mold, the drywall could then be replaced. If the mold is not extensive, I see no reason the termite company could not do the work.

Of course, your godson’s inspections must be disclosed to the new buyer.

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One thought on “Saving money on mold remediation

  1. sam says:

    Seems to me most dwellings will develop mold from time to time especially in the bathrooms. But I guess its a matter of degree.

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