Mold doesn’t discriminate; it can attack even the best and most beautiful properties. It loves warm, damp, humid conditions (think bathrooms and basements), and it lives and reproduces by creating spores.
Mold is never okay with potential buyers or with the bank. Needless to say, if you’re helping your client sell a house, the mold problem should be resolved before any further steps are taken. Otherwise, you’ll need to disclose the issue or open yourself up to a lawsuit by the new owner. To avoid this: have the mold removed, and then test for any remaining or lingering presence.
Mold testing kits are available, but it’s always best to contact a mold specialist for a professional evaluation and service (make sure to get the owner’s permission first).
Mold types number in the thousands, but here are a few of the most common:
Penicillium: can be found in the dust of HVAC systems, as well as in soil, and food that has gone bad. It can cause sickness.
Cladosporium: can be detected as a dark powder, typically growing on food, paint and fiberglass air ducts. This is the kind of mold that can cause asthma and skin rashes.
Mucor: often found in animal droppings, as well as soil and common house dust. Not good for people with weak immune systems.
Memnoniella: found in wood products, as well as cotton and paper. Can harm animals as well as people.
Stachybotrys: possibly the nastiest of all molds, often referred to as toxic black mold. It’s believed to be the cause of certain cancers, as well as asthma and headaches. Often found behind walls and in ceilings.
Take to heart: mold may never be able to be completely eliminated from the property, but there are steps that can be taken to control the amount of mold present. The best way to control mold is to control moisture. Discuss this checklist with your clients:
- Keep the humidity levels low.
- Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier in the warmer weather
- Make sure the property is correctly ventilated.
- Consider exhaust fans.
- Add mold inhibitors to paint.
- Clean bathrooms with products that contain mold killers.
- Never carpet bathrooms and basements.
- Remove any mildewed carpet, furniture or upholstery.
The jury is still out on whether duct cleaning actually can prevent health problems. Much of the dirt in air ducts attach to the duct surfaces and do not necessarily enter the living space. Pollutants also enter the home from outdoors, as well as from simple indoor living, such as cooking or showering.
In addition, a light amount of typical household dust does not necessarily mean a mold problem or a health threat. However, duct cleaning is recommended if you see substantial mold growth on the duct system (including HVAC), if the ducts are infested with vermin, and if there is a substantial amount of dirt and dust in the ducts.
Share the publication below with your clients, created by the Environmental Protection Agency. It provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth.
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