The m-word is one of the worst four-letter words in the real estate sales realm. About 70 percent of homes have some dangerous mold, so most homeowners will probably deal with this issue. Fortunately, in most cases, the “dealing with it” does not go beyond Step Two.
First, a few facts about mold. This substance has been linked to a number of respiratory illnesses, especially among people with pre-existing conditions. But there is no proven link between mold and serious illness. Furthermore, most of the studies that connect mold with sickness are symptoms-based. The respondents may be motivated by hype and fear over mold more than their own illness.
Nevertheless, if you house has mold, you need to do something about it. That designation could ruin a potential sale.
Most realtors require mold tests. Even if it’s optional, a certified mold-free house is much more appealing than question-mark houses, especially if other homes in the neighborhood had dangerous mold.
If you can get by with a home test, it’s probably a good idea to do so. These tests are generally less than $50. A professional test, which is probably a tax-deductible expense, may be about $800.
If the test comes back positive, consider getting a second opinion. Also, if it is an option, consider re-testing during another time of year. Mold levels are usually much, much higher in the summer than in other times of year.
If your home has dangerous mold, it’s usually in a confined area. If that is the case, you may not need to hire an expensive mold removal company. As a rule of thumb, if you can smell the mold, it’s normally widespread.
Confined mold can be cleaned yourself, or you can hire a handyperson. Put on goggles, treat the area with a roughly 12:1 water/bleach mixture, and ventilate the area thoroughly. Of course, if you have widespread mold, you’ll need to hire a remediation company. But. . .
3. Watch Out for Scams
Mold removal scammers often descend on an area after a flood or a violent rainstorm. Mold removal price-gouging is also quite common in these situations.
Always get at least two bids. It is always a great idea to research the company yourself in terms of its stability. Do not rely on online reviews. There’s no guarantee that the reviewer actually used the company for mold removal. There’s also no guarantee that the company didn’t pay for the review itself.
4. Remain Vigilant
Keep your home’s humidity between 30 and 50 percent. Also, watch for water in the gutters. This moisture leaks through the eaves and into the walls. On a related note, caulk around windows and water fixtures. Additionally, if your house has a crawl space, check it for excess moisture. Take our advice and wear a really good pair of coveralls when you undertake this project.
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