”House buyers and sellers and their realtors should follow these ten tips to escape mold problems and mold lawsuits in buying or selling a house,” advises Phillip Fry, Certified Mold Inspector, and webmaster of Mold Inspector http://www.moldinspector.com.
1. A house owner should not offer the property for sale, or list it for sale with a Realtor® or other real estate agent/broker, until after a thorough mold inspection and mold testing of the house. Use the services of a Certified Mold Inspector (USA, Canada, and Asia), or use a do-it-yourself mold inspection checklist available free at Moldinspection.com http://www.moldinspection.com, and use do your own mold testing kits available from a large hardware, home improvement, or safety store.
2. If the home owner discovers visible or hidden mold problems, he should do safe and effective mold removal and remediation prior to offering the property for sale. Hire a Certified Mold Remediator (USA, Canada, and Asia), or follow the recommended steps for safe and effective do-it-yourself mold remediation and mold abatement provided free on the website Moldinspector.com. Re-inspect and re-test the building after mold remediation is supposedly complete.
3. The home owner should avoid concealing or covering up mold problems by deceptions such as painting over mold growth; concealing mold growth behind stored items, furniture, furnishings, and decorations; and masking the distinctive smell of mold growth with air fresheners and deodorizers. The smell of mold is from the digestive gases of the mold eating the building materials.
4. The real estate sales contract should include an environmental inspection clause that grants at least a 14 to 21 day inspection period. The home buyer should hire an independent inspector such as a Certified Mold Inspector, Certified Environmental Hygienist, industrial hygienist, and/or home inspector with mold expertise to inspect and test thoroughly the property for mold and other environmental dangers.
5. The mold inspector or the home buyer himself should do an all-around physical examination of the building for both visible and hidden signs of water damage and mold growth. In addition, the inspector or the home buyer should mold test the air and visible mold growths in all rooms, the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, plus the outward airflow from each heating/cooling duct register.
6. Mold testing requires mold laboratory analysis and mold species identification of the collected mold and air samples. In building locations with previous floods or leaks, the examination should also include fiber optics inspection to look inside water-penetrated surfaces for hidden mold infestations.
7. The home seller should disclose in writing to all prospective buyers any previous or present building water and mold problems, and what the owner has done, if anything, to correct such problems. These water damage and mold disclosures should be attached to the real estate sales contract so that the home buyer acknowledges delivery of the disclosure.
8. If the property for sale is a USA home, condominium, or co-op apartment, the residence seller should order ahead of time and provide to all prospective buyers the insurance industry’s C.L.U.E. (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) Property Report that provides a five-year insurance loss history for a given address.
Every U.S.A. homeowner insurance claim inquiry or loss report by a homeowner (even including those that do not result in any loss payment) goes into the C.L.U.E. database. In some states (including California) it is becoming standard for sellers to provide Realtors® with a copy of the C.L.U.E. report up front so that there are no unpleasant surprises at closing or afterwards.
9. In consideration of the home seller’s accurate and complete mold disclosure, and the home buyer’s full and unrestricted opportunity to inspect and test the house, condominium, or co-op apartment thoroughly and carefully, the sales contract may include a seller’s requirement that the residential property is being sold “as is” with no implied or express warranties as to the physical, mold, and environmental condition of the property.
10. Similarly, the home sales contract may also include a seller-requested clause that releases the seller, lender, and real estate agent/broker from all mold liability to the buyer. This release of liability should be contingent on the accuracy and completeness of the provided details in the seller’s written mold disclosure and on the buyer’s full and unrestricted right to do mold inspection and mold testing prior to completing the home purchase.
For more mold inspection, mold testing, and mold remediation information and tips, please visit:
Phillip Fry is a Certified Environmental Inspector, Certified Home Inspector, Certified Environmental Hygienist, Certified Mold Inspector, and Certified Mold Remediator. He is author of four books on mold, including books that explain do it yourself mold removal and remediation procedures. Phil is webmaster of http://www.moldinspector.com.
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For home inspection services in the Sacramento and Bay Area please contact Golden State Home Inspections at 800.441.0804 or visit http://www.goldenstatehomeinspections.com.
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