Inspecting a seven-year-old condo a week or so ago, one of the things discovered was mold. MOLD IS NOT THE PROBLEM - YOU MUST TREAT THE SOURCE.
My clients were not present at the inspection. They are an investor couple and have employed me many times, sometimes while not attending the inspection. Their absence requires careful explanation of found items.
From the outside I noticed two things that bothered me before going in.
And they both looked like potential moisture concerns.
This is a swollen door thresh hold.
It is diverting water toward the corner of the door.
On the left there is wood rot and a rusty (probably drywall) screw on the trim.
There is also a vent below.
This was one of two circumstances that lead me to wonder about the inside.
Under this and another door is the garage for the unit I was inspecting.
The homeowner is responsible for the unit.
But the condo association is responsible for anything outside that might cause a problem with a unit!
Inside I found what I expected to find.
Mold in lots of locations.
And right under the problems I wondered about when outside.
But there is more.
Looking at the corner, that is obviously a previous repair.
That is a patch!
The drywall work is different from the rest of the garage.
There is staining on the newer work.
There is mold on the newer work.
WHATEVER WAS DONE PREVIOUSLY TO "REPAIR" THE PROBLEM WAS NOT DONE WELL AND DID NOT REPAIR THE PROBLEM.
And what is the problem?
WATER! MOLD IS NEVER THE PROBLEM! WATER IS THE PROBLEM! MOLD IS MERELY A SYMPTOM OF THE PROBLEM! THE ASSOCIATION APPARENTLY "REPAIRED" THE ORIGINAL PROBLEM OF MOLD, WITHOUT TREATING THE SOURCE. YOU MUST TREAT THE SOURCE OR THE MOLD WILL RETURN.
The investors begged off and canceled the contract.
Nobody was surprised. The buyer is a doctor. Does he want to deal with that?
However, the Realtors called to say that a second inspection was desired, that the contract was back on.
The first inspection was incomplete because no utilities were on (!). The buyers wanted a complete inspection.
However, at the same time a mold remediation company was coming to open the space up and treat the mold.
My question back related to the source and asked about it.
All that was in process. Complete evaluation and repairs were planned.
The seller was there, the remediation company came and I completed my inspection.
The seller had been dealing with this for years. He bought the house and this was an immediate problem for him. His words were he had "not been taken care of by anybody - not the builder, not the Realtor" and the builder did a "free" home inspection for him! (cough)
I found out that he bought the unit AFTER the first repairs had been done! By the builder... who did the free "inspection."
As a first-time buyer, this guy got snookered. By everybody.
Well, in dramatic contrast, my client's Realtors were terrific! They dealt with the association, and the seller and were not backing off anything. They spoke very frankly with everyone about what was being done and what needed to be done. They understood it all completely, and their client, my client, WAS BEING TAKEN CARE OF!
And, if I might add, I was pretty frank too...
I got an email from the Realtor saying the buyer considered all the new information and did again back off. To me this situation seems a can of worms that would likely be dealt with for a long time. And it was the association that would have to be dealt with! That's hard to do as an absentee owner, even with a pit bull property manager. The seller was having a hard enough time, and he is here!
My recommendation: remember the title of the post! MOLD IS NOT THE PROBLEM - YOU MUST TREAT THE SOURCE. And when dealing with a third party, that is often very, very difficult.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia