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  • Writer's pictureNick Hoard

How to Spot Mold before Buying Your New Home

Before buying a big investment such as a new home, it is best to have a home and mold inspector check the property first. Mold comes in numerous colors and forms and may grow in hard-to-reach places like basements and attics. It also prefers moist materials (paneling, wallboard) but will grow in nearly any damp environment.

While not all mold is harmful or difficult to remove, some, like black mold, can pose a health and safety concern to your family. Mold in your home can cause odors, wall and floor damage, and allergies. Mold allergies can affect both children and adults. Mildew can aggravate respiratory disorders like asthma.

When it comes to molds, DIY testing is not reliable. A professional mold inspector can identify the type of mold, quantity, location, damage, and troubleshooting strategies in the home you are buying.

You won't always know whether a house has mold, but you can take a few simple measures to find out:

1. Visible Mold Spores

If mold is visible, it could be worse than it looks. If you can see mold in the house, that's one of the easiest ways to tell there are mold issues. If you see a ton of visible mold, it can be an indicator that you have a bigger problem at hand because you're seeing just the tip of the iceberg.

Even if you use soap and a sponge to scrape away the apparent mold, it won't be completely removed. Mold removal companies and other experts should be contacted if you see any signs of mold growth. They can help you resolve the problem, including any leaks that may have created it in the first place.

2. You Have Cold or Flu-like Symptoms

Although this may be harder to detect if you're not living in the house yet, you can ask the former homeowner if they have been having such problems in the home. Obviously, if the homeowner does not want to reveal any information that may deter you from buying the home, don't take it against them.

Fortunately, mold issues can cause immediate allergic reactions. Staying in space longer and suddenly feeling itchy, with your eyes watering and your nose running, will be a pretty good indication that there may be mold in that space.

A professional mold inspector can also test for mold, and backed with lab results, determine if there’s indeed a presence of mold in the home you plan to buy.

3. You Detect a Musty or Wet Odor

If you notice a moldy or musty smell in your house, it might be an indication of a mold problem. Many different mold species have various scents, so it is difficult to define the specific smell. Nevertheless, if it is an odor that is not typical in a house, then it should be examined right away.

4. The Home Has a History of Flooding

If a part of your home has signs of leak damage, a mold problem may be imminent. Flooding in the past may cause mold concerns later.

Mold is a long-term risk following floods, and can also persist for a long time following flooding. If your house has flooded in the past, even if you didn't detect mold right away, you should check for mold in the common areas.


Should you buy a property with mold issues? If you or a family member has asthma, or if a newborn or an elderly person will be living in the home, you should be extra cautious. You'll have to determine whether the effort and money spent eradicating the mold and repairing the source is worth it.

You have a bargaining chip if you have an inspection contingency and the mold is discovered during the inspection. You may either ask the vendor to lower the asking price or walk away from the agreement. If you decide to push through with the sale, make sure you get rid of the mold problem and any other issues that your home and mold inspector discovers.

Let’s Do It Home Inspections provides accurate and superb home inspection and mold testing services in Birmingham, AL. No matter how big or small your house is, you can count on us to provide you with a thorough, professional home inspection. Reach out to us!

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