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Mold is growing in my house: Now what do I do?

You’ve decided to put your house on the market and as you’re getting it ready to sell, you spot a fuzzy batch of something green or black growing along the wall in your basement. You realize it’s that dread four-letter word: mold! You automatically begin to think about the possible health problems that prospective homebuyers could develop and the extensive and costly renovations that might be needed. But is your panic warranted?

According to experts, when you spot mold growth, there are several things that you should immediately note. Firstly, molds are all around us, and secondly, not all molds are toxic. It’s also important to note that the severity of a mold problem depends on several factors; most notably, the comparative indoor air quality of the space to the surrounding area, as well as the severity of the moisture source that may be causing the mold growth.

What should I do if I suspect indoor mold growth?

If you believe that you have a mold issue in your home – whether you’ve actually seen it, you smell a musty odor, or there is moisture present in your home – you should get in touch with a reputable mold testing professional to arrange for an inspection. Alternatively, you could take and test air samples yourself with an at-home mold testing kit (which can be purchased for about $110.)

Another option if you believe you have a mold problem in your home is to contact the county Department of Health. Do note, however, that while a representative from the Department of Health can perform a preliminary inspection, but will not conduct professional mold testing or remediation. Additionally, town code enforcement officials usually don’t inspect or mitigate suspected mold growth. For those services, you will need to refer to a commercial agency, said Terry Ekwell of the Henrietta Building and Planning Department.

Though it’s tempting to avoid the topic, real estate agents have an obligation to their clients to disclose both suspected and confirmed mold growth issues, said Tina Mattia, a Re/Max Realty Group associate broker. Due to the extensive problem with mold in her own Pittsford home, Mattia is quite familiar with mold. The mold growth in her house was so severe that a complete restructure was necessary. While such a serious situation is quite rare, according to Mattia, mold should not be taken lightly.

Home inspectors usually don’t address mold issues, so Mattia has made it her practice to discuss the visual signs of mold growth in the properties she and her clients view. If she’s working with sellers, she suggests that they inspect their properties for mold growth and handle any issues before they put their homes on the market. Mattia also said that when homeowners are doing renovations, they should consider how moisture could potentially seep into the construction and cause future mold growth.

Mold Inspection & Testing Rochester has performed countless mold tests in homes throughout the city. We urge all homeowners who are planning on selling to arrange for professional mold testing before putting their properties on the market. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 716.400.0712.

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