Can I Sell My House If It Has Mold Damage?
- July 25, 2022
- 0 comments
- Local House Guide
- Posted in Guides
Such a small word- mold. One big problem. All homeowners who want to sell their house have this issue on their minds, especially if they reside in areas prone to moisture year-round.
Can you legally sell a house with mold? Yes, you can. There is no law prohibiting you from selling such a house. But it is not easy to sell a house with such a problem. Read on further to understand this problem and what you should do as a home seller.
Why is Mold a Problem?
Mold is a fungus. It can be found everywhere. It is in the air we breathe, but it typically becomes a problem when it lands on a moist surface. This is when it starts to grow a colony. They typically have spores that are carried by air. A mold colony can cause significant breathing problems and allergic reactions in an enclosed area, such as a house. People who have a compromised immune system and older people can develop infections when they breathe in these spores, while younger people can develop milder symptoms such as itching, sneezing, and watering eyes. Certain mold types cause toxic effects in humans and animals. An example of such mold is black mold.
Where Can it be Found?
Mold can be found indoors and outdoors. It can grow on any organic surface like food, wood, paper, and walls; all it needs is oxygen and moisture. Common places to find mold are the roof, attic, plumbing, basement, crawl spaces, and bathroom. If any of these spaces have been left unattended and has a source of moisture, mold will find a way to grow.
Mold on outdoor surfaces doesn’t pose health or safety risks. However, mold inside the house poses a significant risk to people living inside the house, especially if the house is in areas where air moisture is high.
Does Mold Affect Home Value?
The problem’s extent will determine its effect on your home’s value.
Typically mold on the exterior doesn’t have a devaluing impact as it does not pose a health risk. Removing any mold from the exterior should be sufficient.
However, mold on the inside of the house is a health risk. Your buyer may allow for mold in areas like the bathroom or the roof due to its location and consistent natural exposure to moisture, but they will not be happy about the same on the interior walls, ceilings, and plumbings. Buyers will also be willing to pay less for a house that has these problems, as mold remediation is an expensive service.
Legal Implications of Selling a House with Mold
No federal laws prohibit the seller from selling a house with a mold problem. But every state has laws regarding disclosure. It is a good idea to disclose to your buyer the nature and location of the mold problem. You will also need to disclose the history of the problem and whether it has been professionally handled or not.
If you forget or skip the disclosure step, the buyer’s inspection team is bound to discover the presence of mold eventually. This can lead to a feeling of mistrust where the buyer can ask for deeper inspections that bring up immaterial issues, or the sale might fail because of an air of dishonesty developing.
Although it is not a material law requirement failing to disclose the details of a mold problem can eventually cause difficulty in closing a deal and lead to a price drop which may not be a favorable outcome.
What Should I Do as a Seller?
As a seller, you have various options you can look at:
1. Sell to a cash buyer
This is the quickest option to get rid of a house where mold infestation has gotten out of hand. Cash buyers will buy your house as-is and pay you an upfront price. This saves you time, money, and stress from going through the entire process of getting rid of the mold.
Cash buyers do not look for homes that need to be resold or occupied instantly after a sale. Plus, they look for the core home value rather than the cosmetic appeal. This makes cash buyers the right category to sell to. However, cash buyers will pay you the price after they appropriate the cost of repairs. This means the price you receive may be fairly lower than the market value.
2. Get mold remediation before setting up to sell
This is an ideal option if your house has a small and developing mold issue. The remediation process involves inspecting the mold situation, containing the problem so it doesn’t spread to other areas of the house, cleaning up the mold from across all the surfaces according to their type, sanitizing the affected area, drying any wet or moist areas, replacing and rebuilding damaged areas and adding high-efficiency air filters to the house’s ventilation system to clean out the all the spores.
Once the remediation is performed, a house inspector will validate the removal of the mold, and you can list the house for selling. Fixing the house and setting it up for sale will get you the maximum possible money on the sale.
3. Drop the price and sell it
Before your prospective buyer gets wind of the mold problem, tell them about it and give them a financial concession. Dropping the price is a strategy to gain maximum advantage from a problem the buyer will now have to solve themselves. However, you will pay all other costs of selling the house.
4. Sell the house yourself
You know what we are talking about if you have seen the FSBO (For Sale By Owner) signs outside homes. However, this is the most difficult route to take as you will be complying with all the regulations on your own without the help of a realtor. While selling on your own, you will need to make the required disclosures or fix the mold problem before putting the house up for sale.
Mold is an unfortunate problem, and houses tend to get this problem. Ignoring the problem will only lead to lost opportunity and cash. By making the right disclosures and taking corrective measures, you should be able to put the buyer’s mind to rest and sell your house at the maximum possible price.
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