Should I Test For Mold When Buying A House

March 18, 2022

Real Estate

When buying a home, is a mold inspection necessary? The answer is yes – a reverberating yes! A whole house mold inspection is critical before signing on the dotted line. 

Houston is known for its high temperatures and even higher levels of humidity. Rain falls in Houston all year round, and in moist environments, all types of mold, like black mold, thrive. Mold quickly grows in the aftermath of floods and water damage, and frequently in warm, wet climates.

For these reasons, almost every home in Houston likely has both hidden mold and visible mold. You may be wondering then: should I get a mold inspection before buying a house if it is this common in Houston? Still yes! 

A mold inspection will reveal the amount of mold that a home has. The home mold inspection will enable the seller to adequately address the mold problem before turning the house over to you.

Remember, mold growth poses serious health problems to you and your family, affects the air quality, and threatens the integral structures of your home. In the future, you won’t be able to resell at the maximum price if you have mold issues. Never consider buying a house with mold without mold removal in mind.

So how do you get your house inspected for mold? Is it the same as a mold test? Do regular home inspections check for mold? Which one should you choose before buying a house in Houston? 

Both inspections and mold tests protect your investment, but each one is different. Let’s explore both options.

What Is A Mold Inspection?


A mold inspection is a dedicated inspection performed by a specialist to identify any signs of current or past mold problems.

Does A Normal Home Inspector Inspect For Mold?


Before buying, home inspections include looking for a defective foundation, roof leaks, water damage, bad plumbing and wiring, and illegally constructed additions. Home inspectors will also check the electrical and HVAC system. Finding roof leaks and water damage are useful pieces of information as they are possible ways that mold can enter the structure, but it’s not enough to paint the full picture. 

Do home inspectors look for mold? They can, but it is often not their specialty. Many home inspectors leave mold inspection and mold tests to licensed professional mold inspectors. 

Can I Detect Mold Myself?


If you suspect mold in the house, you’re better off going with a professional mold inspector who has the correct safety gear and cleaning equipment for mold growth. Mold can be hazardous or at least icky to work with. You’ll also want to be sure that you’re looking in the right places and you know what to look for – with up to 12 different kinds often found in the home, you don’t want to miss anything.

How Much Does A Mold Inspection Cost?


A pre-purchase mold inspection costs between $297-$994. Mold remediation fees are in the $1,119-$3,354 range. If you are still asking –  should I get a mold inspection? – the price difference alone should make you say yes. Professional mold removal is the seller’s responsibility. Avoid it falling on your lap by doing due diligence and having a pre-purchase mold inspection. 

A pre-purchase mold inspection involves having a licensed mold inspector do a thorough investigation of any potential areas for decay, as well as any weaknesses in the home that might lead to mold growth. Here are some benefits of a pre-purchase mold inspection:

  • A professional licensed mold inspector can help locate hidden water damage and mold growth areas.
  • A pre-purchase mold inspection will also discover and help you manage the underlying reasons for water damage and excess moisture.
  • You can hold the seller accountable for the mold. If the seller is in a hurry to sell, perhaps the seller will provide you with credit to address the mold or offer a lower selling price.
  • You’ll have peace of mind that professionals will remove the mold before you move in. 
  • None of your family will get sick due to mold growth.

What Is Mold Testing


So we’ve tackled what regular home inspection and a pre-purchase mold inspection is. Now the question is, should you go test for mold when buying a house? 

Who Can Do A Mold Test


There is a proliferation of DIY mold testing kits and home testing kits in the market. Experts say they are essentially science experiments that tell you that a house has mold. If you want to proceed with a professional mold test, it is best to have a Certified Microbial Investigator (CMI) from a professional environmental testing company to conduct the job. They will report on what type of mold is present in a home, what you can do to get rid of it, the location of the mold, and the source of excess moisture in the house. 

What Happens In A Mold Test


Where there is excess moisture, mold will grow. Water can get into your home through leaks, floods, or excessive humidity. A CMI will perform air monitoring, air sampling, and bulk sampling to help you determine the right course of action. It is crucial to identify the affected areas and measure the amount and types of mold present. The mold test will determine if your family’s health is at risk and if professional mold remediation is necessary. Removing the mold is not just a one-day job. It is essential to follow up after the initial removal of the mold. The CMI will return to your home to conduct a final mold testing once it is complete. This retesting is the only way to ensure all your mold is gone.

What Should You Do?


According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in most cases, if visible mold growth is present, mold testing is unnecessary since there are no EPA or other federal limits set for mold or mold spores. But keep in mind that you cannot do away with a standard home inspection and a comprehensive mold check in the house you are planning to purchase. Forego the DIY because professional licensed mold inspectors know how to check your house for mold, find the sources of water damage, and prevent future deterioration. Move in with peace of mind knowing that you got great value for your money, and a professional mold removal team will wipe the slate clean, literally. 


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