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Mold  in Foreclosed and Vacant Homes

If you're in the market to buy a foreclosed home or a vacant home, take in the consideration that home could have possible mold problems. We have been requested by financial institutions to evaluate and in some cases perform mold remediation on these homes. Also, buyers have had us to evaluate/inspect homes that had been vacant for a long period of time, for mold and water damage.

The infestation of mold in bank-owned, vacant homes exists throughout the country, but particularly in the south. Water leaks and flood problems go untreated without a homeowner to take care of the place. In the event of natural disasters such as hurricanes, unoccupied homes in humid locations can become mold infested within weeks. This when a home can become a virtual Petri dish.  

Exposure to mold can cause a variety of health problems. The most well-known type of mold is the "black mold" (Stachybotrys). The term 'toxic mold' refers to molds that produce mycotoxins. Not all mold that appear black is true Stachybotrys mold, but any mold in a home is bad for your health. People suffering from asthma or allergy, including small children, infants, the elderly and people with acute health problems are more susceptible to health problems related to mold infestation.

Any toxic mold contamination, but particularly visible black mold, can scare away buyers and drive down the asking price. Where you see mold, you can be sure more exists where you cannot see. Because of this, any mold damage may be intensive and might require expensive remediation efforts to once again make the home habitable. This why mold is considered a hidden danger. 

Common health-related problems to toxic mold exposure include allergic reactions, asthma flareups, bronchitis, sinus congestion, headaches and even immune systems disorders. Researchers believe that continual exposure to mold over time might contribute to certain types of cancer. This is not proven at this time, but some species of mold contain toxins that are similar to toxins found in individuals who suffer from kidney or liver cancers. We have actual seen pictures of an autopsy of an individual whose heart and lungs actually had mold growing inside of them.  

Once a residence, condominium, or apartment building is severely infested with mold, it can become extremely difficult to fix. In these cases, a certified mold remediator be called in to evaluate the damage. In the worst cases of mold infestation, the floors, walls and ceilings must be completely removed to correct the problem. Many REO (Real Estate Owned) properties will not have documented histories about past conditions or treatments. Buyers purchase homes in an as-is condition. We have experienced where a person bought a home, fail to do their due diligence on the home prior to purchase. We found that the home will need to be completely gutted down to the studs and joist, to remove all mold damage materials.

Infested properties present real challenges to the real estate market. Regardless of what the economic conditions, mold infestations are still a problem in homes. However, a properly cleaned up home that had mold can be sold again. However, if the mold issue is not properly addressed by a certified mold remediator and cleared by a third-party inspector, there may be a high risk of a lawsuits in the future, particularly if the new owner experiences health problems due to mold growth from an inadequate prior remediation job. 

This is why it is important to have a IICRC Certified Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT) to evaluate/inspect the mold damage of a home.

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