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Mold turns Carmel couple’s dream home into a nightmare

When Dan and Erica Walters saw a house on a tree-lined street in Carmel, they were positive that they had found the home of their dreams. The house is large, well-kept, and situated in a nice neighborhood. The backyard is spacious, too. It had everything that the couple was looking for; the perfect place for them to build their life and raise a family.

However, all of that changed the day after the couple went to closing on their $245,000 home. As soon as they walked into the house, they immediately noticed that something was wrong. There was a musty odor and just one day later, Erica started to feel sick.

After tearing up some of the carpeting and knocking a few holes in the walls, the Walters made a grim discovery: they found signs of water damage. The inside of the walls and the subfloors were covered in stains, there was rotted wood, and the drywall wash mushy. The tack strips for the carpeting, the subfloors, the reverse side of the drywall, the vapor barrier, and the insulation were all covered with a black residue.

The couple called in an expert, who confirmed their worst fears: their new “dream home” was riddled with toxic black mold.

According to Jack Dwayne Thrasher, a specialist with Global Indoor Health Network, a nonprofit organization, and a retired UCLA professor who specializes in toxins, including mold, the Midwest has a big problem with stachybotrys, a type of toxic black mold. Thrasher said that exposure to black mold can cause numerous health problems, including intense allergic reactions, asthma, and in severe cases, lung and neurological damage.

Of the common, though often undetected problem, Thrasher said, “This is dangerous. If you have black mold, you have to get out of the house.”

Despite the discovery of black mold, the Walters have not yet moved into their new Carmel home, and they may never be able to. The cost of repairing and remediating the damage is exorbitant; estimates show that it will cost the couple more than $91,000 to fully remediate and repair their house, and that price tag is beyond what they can afford.

“Where are we going to magically come up with that much money?” Erica said.

It seems like the Walters have no easy way to get out of the problem, either. Their insurance will not cover the cost of the damage. The previous owners of the properly refuse to cancel the contract. The real estate company that the Walters worked with is assessing the situation, though they do not know what they can do. Financial institutions will not loan them any money to repair the damage, and government programs do not offer funding for the remediation of black mold. While they could sue whomever they believe is responsible, that would also be costly, and a lawsuit may not resolve the issue.

Mold Inspection & Testing Indianapolis has years of experience performing mold assessments in residential properties throughout the city and the surrounding areas. We strongly urge anyone who is thinking about purchasing a home to have a mold test performed prior to going to closing to avoid the same problem the Walters’ are experiencing. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 317.759.8525.

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