Mold - A Four Letter Word that Often Kills Deals
Much debate has taken place in the real estate world over the past decade or so...Is the word 'mold' the proper term to use by home inspectors? In NC & SC, it is 'strongly advised' that inspectors avoid the use of the term 'mold' for various reasons but, the main one being that inspectors are not mold experts and cannot confirm or deny that the substance is actually mold.
Inspectors are advised to use the term fungal growth, a much broader, less-threatening term for all who receive/read their reports.
For the most part, our local inspectors don't even utter the word at the inspection when giving verbal reports and they certainly don't include the word 'mold' in their reports.
On occasion, we will receive a report that is incredibly 'scary' to buyers (and sellers) and many times, local agents. I recently received one worded as follows:
"Evidence of what appears to be mold was observed on several of the floor joists and sub flooring and ductwork. Mold is one of the indicators of current or past excess moisture. Some people may experience mild to severe health effects due to exposure to certain molds and/or mold spores. You may wish to have this matter investigated by a professional who is experienced in mold evaluation. Some additional information regarding this may be obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency at http://www.epa.gov/mold/."
Imagine the horror when the buyers' agent receives the call after reading the report (they did NOT attend the inspection):
"Ductwork? Health effects from exposure to molds? Oh, NO! More inspections? More costs? What if they do find that it's black mold? Do I want to spend the money to have the issue remediated? What if the seller remediates the mold issue and they miss something in the ductwork? Should we go look at other homes? I think we should back out of this one and find another one that doesn't have MOLD!"
Thankfully I have a great relationship with my peers who do a lot of business in the area and after a quick conversation with the agent on the other side, we had a plan to keep the deal together until we were able to do some discovery. Needless to say, the buyer had selected an inspector from an online ad and the agent, nor myself, had ever even heard of this inspector.
It was evident to both of us that he had not taken his update courses (or didn't pay attention during the classes). His ill-advised terminology nearly squashed the deal - and ultimately, cost the buyers even more money for an inspection by a specialist. Although the sellers agreed to split the cost with the buyers, they did the right thing and admitted to hiring the 'scary inspector' and felt terrible that they had put everyone through the experience.
OH and the answer to the question that you're certainly wondering - was it mold? NO, it was not!
Now, that was an example that actually worked out! I've been on the receiving end when it DIDN'T work out and a lot of money was spent AFTER the buyers walked to have a mold specialist inspect the area(s) in question and to ascertain that this 'issue' didn't come up again. More often than not, the cost of the specialized inspection and remediation is less than $1,500 but, the sellers have lost their buyers because of 'scary language' used in their reports - and they often also lose the first-Offer/Contract price as well.
So, if you're thinking of hiring an inspector, do yourself a favor and hire one of the inspectors that your agent knows is reputable and recommends.
© Debe Maxwell | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | CharlotteBroker@icloud.com | Mold - A Four Letter Word that Often Kills Deals