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2012-04-27 01:39:14

Help we bought a mold house!

Dear Kari;

My wife and I are in the middle of buying a home.  Our Realtor suggested that we have a home inspection and so we did.  We just received the  report and it stated that there could be a possibility of mold in the downstairs garage area. We really like this home and it is in the school district we desire for our 2 children.  Can you offer any advice on this situation?




Let us first look at what mold is:  Molds are microscopic organisms found virtually everywhere.  It can be found indoors and outdoors and it is a part of the natural environment. Outdoor molds are  things that break down dead organic matter like leaves on the ground, dead trees and so on. There are hundreds of types of molds.  The most common molds found in an inside environment are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, Alternaria and Stachybotrys Atra. A spore is a small reproductive body that is capable of growing into a new organism, which in turn produces more bacteria, fungi and algae.  Most spores are filamentous (thread-like) organisms so small that 250,000 of them can fit on the head of a pin.  Molds may not be a problem unless the mold spores land on a wet or damp area and then begin growing. Molds may have the potential to cause health problems.

With your home inspector noting something that could be mold, I would recommend you have a certified mold inspector test the mold.  The cost is typically very small.  I would recommend that you not have the company that tested the mold perform any of the repair work.  Have another certified mold expert perform the necessary repairs.  This way there will not be a conflict of interest and it will keep all parties involved happy.  Treatment may be faster than one would think, in some cases it can be completed within a single day.  Also the professional mold inspectors have infrared thermal imaging to insure the effectiveness of the treatment after the fact.  You may be surprised to learn that in some situations the mold repair is simply cutting out the spore area and replacing it with a small piece of sheetrock. 

Sometimes homeowners or the buyers have elected to take care of the mold situation themselves.  In this situation it is best to wear a face mask, face goggles and thick gloves. When cleaning the mold, scrub with warm water and detergent and let it dry fully.  The next step would be to disinfect the area by using  a solution of one gallon of water and three quarters of a cup of bleach, then letting it dry again.  Then repeat one more time of scrubbing with water and bleach and let dry again.

There are certain steps one can take to avoid mold growth.  Mold needs three things to grow: moisture, air and food.  This combination can be found just about anywhere in your home.

Here are some tips to help prevent the growth of mold:

  • Repair water leaks as soon as possible.
  • Spray items (non-clothes items) with Lysol or a mold prevention spray before returning them to the closet.
  • Make sure the home has adequate ventilation, like exhaust fans in the kitchen and in bathrooms.
  • If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes, ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source.  Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.
  • Make sure the ground slopes away from the building's foundation so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
  • Keep air-conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
  • Caulking and other sealants can provide moisture barriers between cracks and beneath doors.
  • Change your HVAC filters on a regular basis. If this is not done, the filter itself can become a fertile breeding ground for all the molds.

This information is believed to be true and is used only to answer a question.  For further information contact your Realtor or your attorney.


Kari McCoy, CRS has been a Realtor for 25 years and owns the Kari McCoy Group, Residential Real Estate at Lyon Real Estate. She can be reached at (916) 941-9540 or email her at



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