Just one more thing to learn about in order to help protect your buyers and sellers…MOLD.

The Center for Disease Control estimates there are approximately 10,000 species of mold in North America and that some 50% of US homes have some type of mold. Mold growth requires some source of moisture, a “food” supply such as books, clothing, drywall, carpets, etc. and temperatures between 36 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most types of mold fall into one of five types:

  • Alternaia
    • Grows on walls, in showers, around windows, under sinks and other damp areas
    • Can be grey, black, dark brown
    • Has wooly or down-like texture
  • Aspergillis – most common indoor mold
    • Grows on walls, insulation, clothing, paper products
    • Can be grey, brown, yellow, green, white, black
  • Cladosporium
    • Grows on fabrics, carpets, curtains and on wood surfaces such as cabinets and floorboards
    • Can be black, grey, olive green
  • Penicillium
    • Grows on wallpaper, insulation, carpeting, mattresses that are in contact with water
    • Can be blue or green
    • Hass musty odor
  • Stachybotrys Chartarum – most dangerous
    • Grows in constantly damp areas like leaking pipes and AC ducts
    • Can be black

Romana Key with Zolo Realty in Canada and author of mold story for InmanNews, has tips for agents when it comes to knowing about mold:

  • pay specific attention to musty odors and stains on walls, ceilings, walls and baseboards
  • suggest the client pay for a qualified specialist inspection from a certified industrial hygienist – give client a list of specialists rather than recommending one
  • talk with your broker about the worth of having a mold disclosure disclaimer
  • if working with the seller, ask them to
    • keep house dry during listing agreement
    • find and fix water leaks
    • de-clutter stored items no longer being used that can be mold food
    • replace carpets on slab-on or below grade floors
    • vacuum often
    • clean/replace furnace/AC filters
    • cut down on number of indoor potted plants as damp soil is great for growing mold
    • check roof condition and exterior finishes
    • make sure downspouts and eaves-troughs are connected, working and debris-free
  • if working with the buyer, suggest
    • they ask the seller to do all of the above
    • add exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchen
    • install covered sump pump
    • they consider making “competitive” offer to compensate for mold presence.