Mold and Real Estate: What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know
Updated: Jul 19, 2019
It’s hazardous, toxic, and may affect property and the health of the people who occupy it—this is some of the verbiage regarding mold that real estate buyers and sellers will see in a transaction. But aside from being alarming, the disclosures offer little explanation. For further information, consult a mold expert—that’s all they say.
Well, today that’s exactly what I did.
I met with Jose Tavarez, founder of CELCO, a mold remediation company with a big name in the high-end community of downtown LA.
“Not everyone is affected equally. Some aren’t affected at all,” Tavarez says. But the most vulnerable are “children, the elderly, and people with existing health conditions.” Interestingly, anyone allergic to the antibiotic penicillin is vulnerable too. Penicillium mold is a type of mold that results from water damage, and it’s partly what the antibiotic penicillin is made of.
As for the structure, Tavarez notes that “many times mold is the result of water intrusion in a home. And by nature, mold is a decomposer.” Too much water intrusion, and the organic parts of your building, such as wood framing, become compromised. “Wood with a moisture content above 16% supports mold, above 20%, it supports dry rot,” Tavarez says.
“A familiar type of visible mold is found in bathrooms, due to poor ventilation. Typically, this is just surface mold that can be vacuumed and cleaned with Simple Green detergent by the resident. But the ventilation issue still needs to be addressed,” Tavarez says.
When mold is not easily visible, “sometimes the best instrument for detecting mold is your nose. If it smells musty, it’s most likely mold.”
But when in doubt, get a mold inspection. It can cost around $400, and it includes the use of thermal imaging cameras to detect moisture levels, among other measures.
As for preventing mold, Tavarez advises that homeowners do routine maintenance on their plumbing fixtures, to stop and prevent leaks, which can lead to mold. With mold remediation jobs starting at around $2,000, “it’s much cheaper to prevent it than fix it,” Tavarez says.
But, for further information, consult a mold expert.
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Writer: Daniel Rangel is a real estate agent. "I love doing these interviews. Aside from fun, they give me access to knowledge, which I pass down to my clients.
A big thanks to Jose Tavarez @ www.celcoservices.com for contributing to this article.