One study suggests that mold is present in over 70% of homes. If this is extremely common, it wouldn't really hurt to sell a house with it, right? Surely, the buyer will understand.
The prevalence of mold in the housing market doesn't mean it's okay to sell a property with one. Fortunately, you can get rid of it easily when you work with professionals like Reactic Restoration.
But First, What Is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungi that breaks down dead organic matter. It's found both indoors and outdoors, and it can grow on pretty much any surface, including paper, wood, carpet, food, insulation - you name it.
Mold grows for various reasons:
- Poor Ventilation - This is the number one cause of mold because it doesn't allow the surfaces to dry completely.
- Flooding - If your property has been flooded, there's a high chance that mold will start growing soon after. Water is its main source of food, after all.
- Leaky Pipes - If there's water seeping from your pipes, it will eventually lead to mold.
- High Humidity - This environment is perfect for mold spores to grow and reproduce.
Other Characteristics of Mold
Mold comes in various colors, shapes, and sizes. The most common ones are black, green, white, and brown. It also has a distinct musty smell that's hard to miss.
These spores can also reproduce quickly. In fact, a small mold colony can produce millions of spores in just a few days. These spores are often invisible to the naked eye and can be carried by the wind to other areas.
Effects of Mold on Health
Contrary to what most people think, most types of mold do not cause death. In fact, mold-related deaths are extremely rare. However, they can still affect your health in different ways:
1. Respiratory Illness
One of the biggest problems with mold is it can cause respiratory problems, such as asthma and allergic reactions. To understand the reason is to know how the immune system works.
Your immunity is your first line of defense against threats. It works by detecting foreign bodies, such as viruses and bacteria. When it does, it will produce antibodies to fight them off.
However, some people's immune system is oversensitive. When it comes in contact with mold spores, it will mistake them for dangerous threats and produce histamines. These are the same chemicals that are released when you have an allergic reaction.
The result is watery eyes, a runny nose, itchy skin, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, it can even trigger an asthma attack or anaphylaxis wherein your blood pressure drops suddenly, and you have trouble breathing.
2. Cognitive Decline
Mold can also affect your cognitive function. In one study, it was found to be a significant contributing factor in the development of dementia.
The link between mold and cognitive decline is still relatively new, but the theory is that the toxins produced by mold can damage neurons and kill brain cells. This can lead to problems with memory, learning, and decision-making.
3. Skin Infections
Mold can also cause skin infections, such as rashes and athlete's foot. The spores can enter through cuts or open wounds and cause an infection. In some cases, it can even lead to sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition wherein the infection spreads throughout the body.
Financial Impacts of Mold
Aside from the health effects, mold can also have a significant financial impact. The costs of treating mold-related illnesses can be quite high, especially if you don't have insurance.
According to the CDC, asthma alone accounts for almost 450,000 hospitalizations and 13 million missed school days. It costs $50 billion annually in healthcare costs. In some cases, it can even lead to job loss if the illness is severe enough.
Mold can also cause damage to your property. If left unchecked, it can destroy your furniture, clothing, and other belongings. It can also contribute to structural damage to your home or office.
Further, these fungi can reduce property value in the long run. For one, it can be a turn-off for potential buyers. No one wants to live in a house with mold.
Additionally, most mortgage companies won't approve loans for homes with mold since they might consider the fungus to be a health hazard.
Should You Sell a House with Mold?
As a homeowner, you have all the right to do whatever you want with the property, including selling it. However, if you don't want to get into trouble with the law and health authorities, as well as drive potential buyers away, you need to address the mold problem first.
How do you do it? You can consider the following ideas:
1. Hire a Water Damage Restoration Company
If the mold growth is extensive, your best bet would be to hire a water damage restoration company such as Reactic Restoration. These are businesses that specialize in mold removal and remediation, such as water extraction, drying, and dehumidification.
They have the necessary experience, knowledge, and equipment to get rid of the fungi quickly and efficiently. They can also help you prevent it from coming back in the future.
2. Do It Yourself
You can also remove mold yourself, but it's not recommended unless the growth is small. You don't want to put yourself at risk of exposure to mold spores.
If you do decide to do it yourself, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, and a mask. You should also open all the windows and doors to ventilate the area.
Start by removing all the affected materials, such as carpeting, drywall, and insulation. These items can't be cleaned and should be thrown away.
Once you've removed all the moldy materials, clean the area with a solution of bleach and water. Let the solution sit for about 30 minutes before rinsing it off.
Also consider replacing any porous materials, such as insulation, that have been affected by mold.
Mold can cause many problems, both to your health and finances. While you can, it is not advisable to sell a house with mold. The best thing to do is to address the problem first and get rid of the fungi.