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Can You Sell a House With Mold?
Mold is a big turn-off for many homebuyers, especially since it poses risks to the property and its occupants. Removing it from your dream home can cost thousands of dollars, which isn't always covered by home insurance.
Selling a house with mold in the local real estate market is legal and possible as long as it is disclosed to the homebuyer. However, a house with mold still has a smaller buyer pool. To sell a house with mold fast, it is better to sell to a cash buyer or real estate investor.
Eager to learn more about mold problems and how it impacts home sales? Read the rest of this blog!
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungi that is actually everywhere. It grows when it lands on moist areas both indoors or outdoors or wherever there are oxygen and moisture.
Some of the most common areas where you can find mold are the basement, attic, crawl space, and bathroom. They can also grow around pipes, windows, and roofs.
Not only does mold make the a real estate look ugly, but it also affects its structure. Mold rots the area or material where it is growing— whether they be floorboard, tiles, walls, or insulation.
Moreover, molds pose certain health risks when they have grown indoors uncontrollably.
Here are the three types of molds in connection to their effects on our health:
- Allergenic Mold: Allergenic mold, as the name suggests, may cause allergy or even asthma for people with high sensitivity. Among all the types of molds, this has the least effect on humans.
- Pathogenic Mold: Pathogenic molds can be life-threatening, especially for the immunocompromised, children, and the elderly. The pathogenic mold spores are known to cause infections when inhaled.
- Toxigenic Mold: Some molds (ex. black mold) produce mycotoxins which are extremely dangerous to humans. These molds are also called toxigenic.
Dangers of Mold Exposure
Newly grown molds are relatively easy to remove so they don't actually pose major health risks. But molds that were allowed to spread and grow all over the property can be extremely dangerous.
Here are some of the common signs and health issues connected to mold problems according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Itchy/red skin or eyes
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Respiratory system allergies
- Brain fog
- Sore throat
CDC also noted that recent studies show a relationship between early mold exposure to asthma development in some kids.
Sources of Mold
Many areas and materials in your house are prone to mold growth because of water accumulation. Here's where you should look for mold so you can make interventions early on.
Your water pipes may leak at some point and this can lead to black mold infestation. And since most water pipes are hidden within ceilings or walls, the growth of mold can go unnoticed. It is best to inspect the house for water spots that may indicate leaks and possibly mold.
The basement not only traps water and moisture from possible leaks but also from flooding which can cause mold growth.
A wet roof or leaking roof can cause water to get into your attic. When the moisture isn't discovered immediately, (especially since most attics are used as storage for old stuff) black mold can grow super fast.
Wet roofs often grow moss and algae which, when left unattended, can lead to visible mold growth. Eventually, this mold would get inside the home and rot every part of the house that has moisture.
One of the most moist parts of the house is the bathroom since it's where we take a shower. If the bathroom fan is not effective, the bathroom will remain moist all the time and will cause possible mold growth.
Crawl spaces may also be hiding black mold growth if they're near a source of moisture such as dirt or soil. Since crawl spaces are extremely confined spaces, the mold can grow unnoticed for some time similar to plumbing molds.
Can You Sell a House With Mold Problems?
Yes. You can sell a house with mold problems. There are no legal restrictions prohibiting the sale of a house with mold; however, you have to stay on the right side of disclosure laws to avoid being litigated later on.
If you are selling the house primarily because of a mold problem, telling the potential buyer right away is definitely better than letting them discover the issue through a house inspection.
Failing to disclose mold is one of the major reasons why home sales fall through in the traditional market.
On another note, it may be hard for you to find a home buyer in the local market in the first place. Most buyers are looking for homes where they can readily move into. Your home buyer pool would be very limited.
Your best option to sell a house with mold fast is to get a cash offer. You won't have to make repairs when you go this route and you would also have control over the sale's timeline unlike when you look for a traditional buyer.
In most cases, mold can easily be dealt with. You only have to follow the instructions of The United States Environment Protection Agency which include:
- Scrubbing the mold using water and detergent
- Fixing leaking pipes and other sources of water and moisture
- For bathrooms, clean frequently and increase ventilation
Aside from scrubbing the mold using detergent, you may also use the following:
- Baking soda
- Tea tree oil
- Hydrogen peroxide
Note that scrubbing using water, detergent, or any of these cleaners only works for hard surfaces most of the time.
If your ceiling tiles or carpet are full of mold, it would be better to throw them out.
Also, when removing mold by yourself, it is better to wear a face mask, gloves, and goggles to ensure you won't sniff any mold spores.
If the mold issues cover more than 10 square feet, it would be better to seek professional remediation services.
The team you'll contact would most probably inspect the house for the mold source and the exact affected areas before doing any removal. Most remediations for mold contamination include:
- Plumbing replacement
- Removing portions of the floor, walls, and ceiling
- Cosmetic repairs
Whether or not the mold is relatively small or already out of hand, expect that it will leave mildew stains on the surface where it grew.
What to Do After Mold Removal?
After doing mold remediation, do the following to avoid another mold growth:
- Always check the house for any leaks
- Remove moisture and dehumidify the house
- Improve ventilation and airflow
- If possible, install active carbon filters and HEPA
- Repaint walls where you have removed molds
How Much Is Mold Remediation?
Mold remediation costs are between $300 and $6,000. These figures span from buying simple cleaning materials to having the house inspected for mold and seeking the help of professionals. Of course, this can still vary depending on the size of your house.
How Does Mold Affect Your Home’s Value?
If your home has mold, its value would depend on how much damage the mold caused.
Exterior mold problems usually don't have a huge impact on your home's value because they rarely pose health risks.
But in cases where they have already ruined the house aesthetically, they can greatly affect your asking price. It is best to remediate molds on exterior surfaces and repaint your walls before putting the house on sale in the local market.
Interior mold problems, on the other hand, can significantly affect the market value of your home if you do not take any action to remove them.
Retail buyers do not mind minor molds on frequently moist areas like the bathroom. But if the molds have already scattered to dry areas like floors, walls, and ceilings, they would expect a lower asking price, especially since molds can cause a lot of health issues.
As mentioned in the previous section, mold remediation can cost anywhere from $300 to $6,000.
If you do not deal with the present mold issues before putting your house on sale, expect that these figures will be deducted from the buyer's offer.
How to Sell a House With Mold Problems?
There are two major ways to sell your house with mold— sell as-is to a cash buyer or make repairs/sell as-is to the local real estate market with the help of a real estate agent.
Among the two, selling to a cash buyer is much more favored because it's hassle-free. But let us still compare it to selling to the local market so you can explore all your options.
Sell As-Is to a Cash Buyer
Many homeowners who don't want to deal with mold prefer selling as-is to a cash buyer. It saves them time and energy, plus they don't have to shoulder the cost of mold remediation outright.
Not convinced yet? Here's a list of all the reasons why you should prioritize cash buyers when selling a house with mold.
- Faster Closing Time: Cash buyers can buy your house fast even though it has molds. Closing in seven days is possible because they don't need a mortgage loan to finance the home purchase. Getting a loan typically lengthens traditional sales.
- Fewer Fees: Cash buyers do not require home appraisal as well as repairs, staging, and marketing which can incur a huge amount of money. Moreover, cash buyers cover closing costs.
- Less Work: Scrubbing mold on your house can be time-consuming and tiring, especially if it's everywhere. Cash buyers won't require you to deal with present mold issues before they buy your house. They'll handle mold remediation for you.
- No Lending Issues: Many mortgage lenders in traditional real estate sales deny loans for houses with mold issues because it's a safety risk. If you get a cash offer, there won't be any lending issues because there would be no lender involved.
- No negotiations: Negotiations, when you sell a house with mold, will only be in your favor if it is a seller's market. But if you sell to a cash buyer, you can altogether skip the negotiation table and go directly to a home sale.
- No Commission Fees: You don't need a real estate agent to help you sell with a cash buyer so you can avoid commission fees which usually amount to 5% to 6% of the home's value.
- Not Much Paperwork: There is less paperwork when you get a cash offer since there is no mortgage lender involved. Much of the paperwork are also dealt with electronically.
- Less Risk of a Failed Sale: There's more certainty when you sell to a cash buyer since they pay you out of their pocket. They don't usually back out of the sale once they've put in an offer.
If you decide to sell to a cash buyer, you can get an offer by filling out a form on their website or by directly contacting them.
They may schedule a visit to your home to assess the mold damage and formulate a fair and accurate cash offer.
Once you accept the cash offer, they'll send you a contract electronically that you have to review and sign.
When the deal is made official by signing the contract, you can then proceed to close. You won't need to make any repairs or deal with pesky mold problems at all!
Sell Traditionally With a Real Estate Agent
When selling a house with mold through the help of a real estate agent, the homeowner can either make remediation or sell as-is.
Of course, dealing with the mold before selling can lead to a much higher selling price. However, if the mold problem is severe, it might make more sense to sell as-is.
Note, though, that selling as-is in the traditional market is extra challenging than selling to a cash buyer. Many potential buyers want move-in ready homes so it can take a while before you can get an offer.
Moreover, the process of selling in the local market is quite long. Here are some of the major steps you could not skip:
- Hiring a real estate agent who as experience selling houses with mold
- Getting a home inspection
- Home appraisal
- Hiring a mold inspector to check for interior spores as well as finding mold on the exterior of the property
- Making repairs and remediations if you're not selling as-is
- Taking professional photos of the house
- Setting a fair price
- Listing in the market
- Negotiating offers
- Open houses and showings
- Gathering paperwork
The Impact of Mold on a Traditional Sale
The impact of mold on a traditional sale is quite huge. Its disclosure and non-disclosure can both affect the buyer's decision, as well as the approval of a mortgage loan and home insurance.
Not Disclosing the Mold Issue
No matter how much the seller tries to hide the mold found, the potential buyers can still find out during a home inspection.
When this happens, interested buyers would feel deceived. They could request a home inspector to make a more thorough check of the property or they can take legal action against the seller.
The sale may also fall through and the home seller will have a bad reputation in the area.
Fully Disclosing the Mold Issue
Disclosing the mold issue also has its drawbacks. For starters, buyers who want their dream home to be move-in-ready would stay away from the property.
Meanwhile, interested buyers may ask for a discounted price or request the seller to shoulder the cost or make remediation before the sale.
Mortgage lenders are hesitant to approve loans on homes with major issues such as molds because their market value can significantly dip over time.
In most cases, real estate transactions take longer because the lender carefully weighs the consequences of giving a loan.
In worst cases, however, the sale falls through because the lender decides not to approve the mortgage.
Mortgage lenders also require home buyers to purchase home insurance. However, if the property has visible mold growth, getting insurance can be extremely difficult.
Remember that insurance companies avoid insuring properties that can potentially cost them a lot down the line.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Pays to Resolve Mold Issues?
Who pays to remove mold issues during a real estate transaction depends on who has more negotiating power.
In a seller's market, home buyers may offer to fix mold issues because the number of sellers is limited. Meanwhile, if it's a buyer's market, the seller would probably be asked to pay for mold removal.
When selling for cash, as stated earlier, most cash buyers discount the cost of mold removal from the offer.
But the great thing about this is that the seller doesn't have to deal with the molds at all as the cash buyer would do all the work.
Can Mold be Permanently Removed from a House?
Yes. Mold can be permanently removed from your house, especially when mold growth is minor. However, if there's still major water infiltration and you don't dry moist surfaces, it will keep coming back.
Getting rid of minor mold growth is pretty simple. You just have to scrub the surface with mold using common cleaners such as detergent, baking soda, or vinegar.
Can Mold Come Back After Remediation?
Yes. Mold can come back even after remediation. Remember that mold spores are always present in the air and they target moist surfaces to grow. If you do not address the source of moisture such as leaking pipes or faucets, mold would keep growing back.
The belief that using bleach can completely prevent mold from growing back doesn't have any basis (buyer beware).
Does Mold Affect Appraisal?
Yes. Mold affects appraisal. However, the appraiser needs a licensed mold professional to identify the suspected mold present in the house. This is so they can analyze its impact on the value of the property.
Typically, when the mold is not identified right away by the appraiser, they leave a note on the inspection report saying that the value of the home is still subject to a further mold inspection.
Can a Home Seller Get Sued for Not Disclosing Mold?
Yes. A home seller can get sued if he did not disclose known defects and issues to the traditional buyer such as molds. Molds are very dangerous as it poses risks to our health and the structure of our home. Ongoing mold remediation should also be reported to the buyer.
Moreover, even if the mold has been addressed, it should still be disclosed as it is a significant issue. This is so the buyer can easily identify the moist areas of the home and prevent mold regrowth.
Key Takeaways: Can You Sell a House With Mold?
Selling a house with mold is legal in many states; however, finding a potential buyer from the open market can be very difficult since mold remediation costs can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands.
If you want to sell your house with mold as-is, better get a cash offer. Real estate investors and cash buyers would gladly pay cash for your house even if the mold has seemingly spread uncontrollably.
Once you are ready to sell your house with mold, get in touch with us at House Buyer Network. We give fair cash offers for homes in any condition and we do it fast!
Fill out our form below or give us a call at (855) 835-2544 to start selling your house with mold.