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SELLING A HOME – WHEN THINGS GO WRONG AND WHAT TO DO

By April 27, 2022November 22nd, 2022No Comments

Selling a home can be challenging. It might seem like you just clean the house and put out a sign, but it’s not always easy. What do you do if something goes wrong? What if the buyers find mold in your home? Is it a deal breaker? What can you do? Come read Michael and Jennifer’s story to learn how they sold their home and overcame all the problems.


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SELLING A HOME – MICHAEL AND JENNIFER’S STORY

Michael and Jennifer recently decided it was time to sell their home and move for their children. Their oldest child, Chloe, wants to go to a STEM Magnet school nearby, but in their current home, they are not zoned for that school district. Chloe wants to be an engineer when she grows up. Education is very important to their family, so they decided it was time to move.

Before the first showing, they fixed minor problems (like peeling paint), cleaned their home, and put it up for sale. They got an offer the first day on the market for full price! Their family was so excited! They found their dream home in the new district, and put in an offer. That’s when the trouble started…

slow water leak

Slow water leaks like this one can cause more damage in the long run because they go unnoticed… allowing mold to grow.

The home inspector for the buyer found water damage and mold in their crawl space. The buyers were still interested, but the buyer’s lender wouldn’t let them purchase the home. Since they were within the 2 week due diligence period, Michael and Jennifer lost the sale.

What do we do now?

They talked to their real estate agent, and she suggested they immediately get a plumber to find the leak and stop it right away! She knew that the longer the pipes leak, the more time mold has to grow. Then, she suggested a mold inspection performed by Branch Environmental. She has worked with us for many years and knows the quality of our work. Their agent told them, “Once you know what the problem really is, then we can decide how to solve it. Mold is sometimes a deal breaker, but not always! We just have to find you the right buyer. Deep breaths! It’s going to be ok.”

Comprehensive Mold Inspection Report

selling a home - mold and indoor air quality inspection report

On the advice of their agent, Michael called a plummer and had the leaks fixed ASAP. Jennifer called Branch Environmental and set up an appointment for a comprehensive mold inspection. We asked her many questions on the phone, and our inspector asked more questions when they arrived.

Here at Branch Environmental, we check everything from crawl space to attic to everything in between. Our inspector checked their entire house top to bottomOur inspections are not free, and any company you choose to do an inspection on your home should not be ‘free’ either. We charge for inspections because of how thorough we are in looking for mold. When our inspector was finished, Michael and Jennifer received a comprehensive mold inspection report with photographs and explanation.

Our inspector explains:

You have mold in two places. In your crawl space there were two pipes with slow leaks, and mold has grown around the pipes and into the wood. The second location with mold is in the upstairs back bedroom window. The window has condensation which has caused water to saturate the drywall around the window.”

window with condensation and mold - selling a home

This window needs to be replaced. The condensation building up on the window is causing mold to grow in the drywall nearby.

“The wood and flooring around the pipes in crawl space will have to be removed and replaced. The window mold is in a small area, which may be why the home inspector missed it. For the window, we recommend that the window and the drywall around it be replaced.”

SELLING A HOME – MICHAEL AND JENNIFER’S OPTIONS FOR DEALING WITH MOLD

Options

Now that the family knows the true extent of the mold they have options for what comes next. There are 2 options for sellers when it comes to mold.

Option 1 – Fix the Mold before the Sale

Option 1 is to remediate the property before selling, and fix all the mold problems. We highly recommend this option, since it will eliminate the mold issue from your real estate transaction. This choice can be expensive, but shows to potential buyers that the house is safe from mold.

Michael and Jennifer would need to include a copy of all the information about the mold inspection and remediation in their disclosure statement. By including the information in the disclosure, they avoid legal hassles. Lenders can also see this potential pitfall has been removed. Many lenders want nothing to do with a sale that involves mold and will not finance the loan. Honesty goes a long way toward reassuring buyers and lenders that the home is safe!

Option 2 – Sell the House with Mold (but inform the buyers!)

Option 2 is to sell the home with the mold, but inform the buyers by including a copy of the comprehensive mold inspection report. In this case, Michael and Jennifer would include a copy of their comprehensive mold inspection report, and include an estimate for the mold remediation costs. Legally they are required to disclose any known problems with the house before they can sell it.

It is possible to find buyers who will purchase a home with known mold issues. Especially if the price of the house is lowered to accommodate the remediation costs, buyers are much more likely to be willing to tackle the problem. However, it is harder (but not impossible!) to find lenders who will accommodate buyer’s willingness to fix problems after the sale.

You have essentially done the homework for buyers, they just have to wait until the home is finished to move in. Buyers also get peace of mind that the home is in excellent shape when they do occupy it. So, this is a viable option, but it may take longer for the home to sell.

Selling a Home – Michael and Jennifer’s Choice

best choice image -selling a home

Michael and Jennifer decided to choose Option 1 and remediate the property before selling. They saved time and money by choosing to have both the remediation (removing the mold) and the reconstruction (repairing the damage) with Branch Environmental. They were even able to continue showing the house during the work, and received new offers even before the work was complete.

This family was so impressed with our work, that they wisely decided to have their new home inspected by us as well. It turned out that the new home also had mold. The new house had a slow leak in the attic roof. Michael and Jennifer were able to use that knowledge to negotiate a lower price for the new home, and have remediation and repairs done before they moved in. We love helping families solve problems!

SELLING A HOME – WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

house for sale - selling a home

If you are getting ready to sell your home, what do you need to know before selling it? Can you legally sell a home with mold? Is mold a deal breaker for buyers? How do you get rid of the mold safely? Can you DIY? Keep reading to learn more!

Is it Legal to Sell a House with Mold?

There are no state laws that prohibit sales of homes with mold, including homes with toxic mold. However, what matters is how much you disclose to the buyer. If you know your home has mold, and try to hide it, you could be sued based on intentional non-disclosure.

Also, when buyers find mold during home inspections, they tend to panic and walk away. Mold is a big problem! One which most people tend to avoid. Be sure to talk with your local real estate agent to determine what to disclose about your home.

What do I have to tell the buyers?

Always err on the side of honesty. Telling buyers upfront about any problems with the home (including mold) will save you headaches of broken contracts and lawsuits later. In this case, disclose, disclose, disclose! You may lose a few potential buyers, but the buyers you want will be glad for the extra information.

I thought my house was perfect, but the home inspector found mold. Will I lose the sale?

person upset - selling a home

It’s possible and probably likely. Mold is a deal breaker for most buyers. However, it doesn’t have to be. Take the following actions to save the sale, or attract the next buyer.

Your Number One priority is to get your own comprehensive mold and air quality inspection performed. Maybe the problem is very small and you could DIY a solution. Maybe it takes over the entire downstairs! You won’t know without a comprehensive mold inspection report.

Do you know what to ask mold inspection and removal companies before you hire them? What do mold removal companies really do? Especially if you live outside our service area, check out our post: How to Choose the Best Mold Removal Company. We let you know all the questions to ask and all the correct answers!

Selling a Home – Mold Inspection Report

You asked all the questions, and hired a mold inspection company. They have given you a comprehensive mold inspection report, and you do indeed have a mold problem. Their report should contain all their findings, photographs, and recommendations. Here at Branch Environmental, we make sure you see everything we saw in your comprehensive mold inspection report, and help you understand what work needs to be done.

When Branch Environmental inspects your home, we look at everything from the attic to the foundation, and leave no stone unturned. If the mold removal company you interview doesn’t offer you a comprehensive inspection report, they probably aren’t the company you want.

Can I DIY or Do I Need Professional Mold Removal?

person confused

Once you have had a mold and indoor air quality inspection, you may wonder if professional help is really necessary. Customers often ask us, “Can I clean the mold myself or do I need a professional?”

Our answer depends several factors including:

  • how extensive the mold problem is
  • what building materials, furnishings, and belongings are affected
  • where the mold is located
  • whether or not you mind being in confined spaces such as your crawlspace, basement, or attic

If you’re familiar with our blog, you know that the first thing to do when cleaning mold is to fix the moisture problem that led to the mold growth. Until you fix the moisture problem, mold will continue to grow and spread.

It’s time to call in the professionals when:

  • you smell a musty odor in your home you can’t identify
  • there is an area of mold larger than 10 square feet
  • you have health problems associated with mold

Don't Wait! Take Action Now

Mold is great at hiding in hard to detect locations such as in drywall and insulation. If the area of mold covers more than about 10 square feet, there is a good chance the mold problem is more than an isolated issue.

If the area of mold is less than 10 square feet, you may be able to handle it yourself. To get all the details check out our post: Black Mold vs Mildew – 7 Common Misconceptions and When to DIY.

THE BRANCH DIFFERENCE

Branch Environmental Logo

At Branch Environmental, our company slogan is that “Nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick!” When we perform a comprehensive mold and air quality inspection, we work tirelessly to determine the root cause of your problem.

If you think you need a comprehensive mold and indoor air quality inspection, get in touch with us, and we’ll get down to the source.

Call Branch Environmental. We’re experts not only at mold removal, but at determining and remediating the underlying causes. From hidden mold sources to major contaminants, we can identify exactly what is going on in your home and rid it of environmental toxins, often for good.


Branch Environmental – Because nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick.