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Buying or Selling a Seattle Home with Mold

August 16, 2019

Buying or selling a Seattle home is one of the biggest purchases most people will make in their lifetime. It’s where they will live and raise a family. A place to call home for decades to come. But what happens when a few black spots of mold are found in the bathroom, attic, or crawl spaces?

Mold is usually considered an immediate red flag for most prospective home buyers—to the point where it will cause them to walk away from a house without a second thought. What many people don’t realize is that certain mold problems can be easily fixed, depending on the severity of the infestation.

We’re going to look at what Seattle homebuyers and sellers can do if mold is found inside the house. 

What is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus that consists of small living organisms. It comes in many different colors, such as black, orange, green, white, or purple.

In nature, it plays a vital role in the ecosystem by breaking down organic matter such as dead leaves and plants. But when it’s found in a house, it can cause a whole range of health problems for the inhabitants.

Mold grows in areas where there is water or moisture. This is why mold in a home is most often found in areas where there are broken pipes, high humidity/condensation, or where water can seep in from the outside.

Dangers of Mold

Mold becomes a danger to people when it tries to reproduce. It does this by releasing tiny microscopic spores into the air, which are so lightweight, they can float in a single spot for hours on end. If they land on a surface that is exposed to moisture regularly, they will take hold and start to reproduce.

Mold affects people when it’s inhaled. Some people are more sensitive to it than others. Side effects can include sneezing, wheezing, asthma attacks, and eye or skin irritation. It’s extremely dangerous to young children, the sick, and elderly, as their immune systems are not quite as strong as a healthy adult person.

Mold Issues for Home Sellers

If your home has mold in it, you’re most likely going to run into a few problems. First off, if you knew about the mold but failed to disclose it to the seller, you could face a lawsuit from an angry buyer. If you do disclose the mold problem to potential buyers, you’ll find that many of them will walk away.

As a homeowner, you have two options:

1.   Pay a company to remedy the issue. This could cost as little as a few hundred dollars or as much as a few thousand. Mold thrives in moist environments, so the cost of repairs and mold abatement is directly related to the amount of work that needs to be done.

2.   Disclose the mold problem to the seller and let them handle it. While many sellers will be scared off, there will always be a handful who aren’t. The tradeoff is that they’re going to ask for a professional mold inspection and then a considerable discount from your asking price.

What Can Homeowners Do?

As a homeowner, you should address any mold issues before you put your home on the market. Grab an LED flashlight and inspect every nook, cranny, and crevice in each room, including the attic or crawlway space. Look for signs of mold, black spots, or areas where the walls look like they have moisture.

Attics are especially prone to mold issues, even if there isn’t a roof leak. During the wintertime, the condensation of air between your heated home and the freezing cold outdoors can cause the humidity in your attic to skyrocket. If you don’t have adequate ventilation or your vents are broken, there’s an excellent chance that mold could start to form.

If you do find black, wet, or discolored spots on your walls, contact a professional home cleaning company that deals explicitly with mold cleanup. Abatement can take a few days to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the problem, so give yourself enough time before you put your home up for sale.

Finally, make sure you document your efforts. Save the inspection reports and any receipts for work you had performed. You can then present this to the potential homeowner as part of the full disclosure. This documentation could also help legally protect you in case there’s an issue later down the road.

Scott Haveson Seattle Realtor

My name is Scott Haveson, and I’ve helped countless Seattle residents buy and sell their homes. If you’re looking to put your home up for sale and have any questions regarding mold or other potential issues, give me a call at (206) 953-8311 or contact me via my website. I’m one of the hardest working Seattle Realtors out there and will go extraordinary lengths to help you buy or sell your home.

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Scott is more than just a realtor: in the short time that I have known him he has become a trusted advisor and friend.  I first had the pleasure of working with Scott when I decided to sell my property on the East side.  He went well beyond what I came to expect from other brokers and helped me in every aspect of getting my house ready for sale.  He also gathered the most up-to-date market intelligence so that we could set the right offering price.  Once the sale was done, Scott gave me the education I needed to purchase my new home in Seattle with confidence.  Throughout the process he provided personalized service and had a team of specialists on standby to assist in every aspect of the transaction.  If you’ve spent any time looking at real estate in Seattle recently, you know that every advantage counts.  In today’s competitive market, you need a person like Scott on your side. ~ Mark M.

Buying or selling your perfect Seattle home?

shaveson@windermere.com • (206) 953-8311
214 W McGraw St. Seattle, WA 98119