Mold is something that is found everywhere. It floats in the air around us and there is no escaping it. Mold grows when the spores land on something wet and organic. The problem with in our homes happens when there are more Mold spores in our homes then there is outside the home. Mold has been known for thousands of years as something we didn't want in our homes. It was even discussed in the Bible. Mold is known to cause Allergic reactions in people and with the tighter homes of today comes more concerns over mold.
As an agent you may come across clients that are concerned with mold. Often people will overlook small amounts of mold in bathrooms and showers. They know it can be cleaned off. As long as the mold is isolated to the surface it's usually not a big deal. The EPA states that anything under 10 square feet is a small area of concern and usually can be handled on your own. But as we often discover the mold returns. If the moisture problem isn't solved the Mold spores will be able to grow again. The important part isn't the cleaning of Mold it's the remediation of the moisture problem. After the moisture problem is corrected the cleanup can be done. The dried Mold spores are also an allergen so some items can be cleaned but others have to be thrown out.
So how do you know if there is Mold in a house? The best way to know is to use your senses. When entering a home if you smell musty or moldy odors it's a good chance there is Mold. If you see organic growth of something that looks like mold it could be Mold. The last sign to look out for are conditions that are conductive to mold growth. This would be water or moisture issues. Look for water stains, water damage or active moisture. If none of these signs are present than the chance of active mold is slim. An air sample can still be taken if there are concerns. This would be done at the most lived in room and at the heat ducts along with two outdoor samples. A carpet sample can also be taken from in front of the sofa or next to the bed and these will possibly tell if there was mold present in the home before. Moisture and water cause many problems within a structure. The management of moisture can prevent damages including insects and mold.
If you do decide to have a mold inspection I believe it's best to hire someone that is certified by an agency so that guidelines are followed. Home Inspectors like myself, which do Mold Inspections do not do repairs. This means that we do not have conflicting interests that could sway the findings. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.