Buying a House, Inspector Found "Mold"......

Updated on July 09, 2012
3.B. asks from Tampa, FL
21 answers

We are unde contract on our home, and paid nearly $500 for an inpsection. The inspector found evidence of mold on a couple of the exposed beams in the unfinished basement. He said it appears the sump pump at one time busted and water got on the beams causing this mold growth. He "strongly encourages" that we ask the sellers to have a professional come and clean the area properly.

Well the sellers just came back and said that want US to pay for a professional mold inspection to make sure it IS really mold. These run from 2-6 hundred dollars!? That just for an inspection not removal!!??

It is my understanding that if we were to back out of this contract, they are legally required to disclose that an inpsection earlier found this mold.... is that correct? I'd call the company but it's sunday. I am really frusturated here. To you mom's, would this be a deal breaker?? We are paying very close to asking on this house, and are letting quite a few other smaller issues go.

I'd hate to lose this house, but I also will not pay for a house with mold present!!!
If it's just one area, will this be an expensive fix??? It's really not a large area, just 2-3 feet per board. I've never dealt with this issue before, so we're at a loss.

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Charlotte on

This would definitely be a deal breaker. I would tell the sellers no. I would tell them that not only do they have to pay for the inspection, they have to pay for mold removal, or you will back out of the deal. You also want proof that they are using a quality company that does this type of removal for a living, and not just some jackleg who said he did it.

You DO NOT want to have to fix this mold issue. You will have to disclose that you had to do mold remediation when YOU sell the house, remember that.

You also don't know if it's just 2 or 3 feet. That's what the inspector saw. When they get up in there to fix it, they could find more, and also mold in the insulation.

Don't let the home sellers push you around. They will ask for the moon. You don't have to give it to them, and you don't have to buy the house. $500 is nothing (what you spent on the inspection) compared to what you'll pay for the trouble this will cause you if you cave to them.


Edit My Answer
8 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I lived in an apartment with mold when I was in college. I was sick constantly, missing classes, and no one knew what was wrong. Finally, we discovered that I had allergies. I had never had allergies before (and now I'm allergic to EVERYTHING), but additional allergies can be caused by mold.

For me, this is a deal-breaker. If they wouldn't fix it, I would walk, plain and simple.

Edit My Answer
5 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

Yes, they must now disclose it or fix it at their expense anyway....

If you want the house, you have a few options:
Pay for the professional inspection
Offer to split the cost of the professional inspection

I know when we've bought/sold houses, there is a stipulation that anything over $X is to be fixed by the seller, under $X is paid for by the buyer. What does yours say?

You can either walk away or press on, at some possible expense. At any rate they will most likely have to fix it to sell the house.

I have a friend that had condensation drip on a tiny area of the block in her basement and it was THOUSANDS of dollars (and evacuation) to get it fixed.......

ETA: It was BLACK mold, which cannot be safely removed with bleach and water.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would refuse to pay for it. You didn't do it so why should you pay for it. They legally have to disclose this now.

On a side note, when I was selling a home, one of the light sockets wasn't working. Their inspector told them to ask for an $8,000 credit at closing. I said heck no, the house was only 6 yrs old, I built it. I got an electrician to come out and $60 later it was fixed.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

If it was hidden mold then sure it would be a deal breaker. Exposed mold where you can get yourself any number of chemicals and deal with it yourself for under 20 dollars, no.

We have had pipes break, things happen and mold grew. It has always been easy to treat. It is when it gets into the walls that you have some serious issues.

I am very allergic to mold, kind of a mold radar. If it was in my home I would know it so I can say for sure it was easy to deal with.

So far as if it is black mold, ask the inspector though I would think he would have mentioned that very distinct difference.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would tell the sellers that you will pay for the professional mold inspection, but if mold IS found, they must pay for BOTH the mold inspection that was performed as well as the professional removal.

If it is NOT found, then at least you have peace of mind.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Well I am not the expert and have never bought a home, but I do have some experience with mold. About 5 yrs ago I lived in a little old house that we got great rent at. Part of the reason we got such great rent is b/c the house had issues and b/c my husband is in construction the landlord would say "oh can he just fix it and ill take it off the rent". We were able to do a few things but then we noticed mold and when i say mold I noticed mushrooms (little tiny ones) growing out of the hallway wall that the bathroom was behind. Seems there was major plumbing issues obviously but we told landlord we couldnt fix b/c we didnt know about plumbing and that it was a huge job. Months later I noticed these little mushrooms growing out of the carpet on an area clear across the room from hallway. During this time I got incredibly sick, so sick that I had to stop working (first time in my life I was that ill) and they couldnt figure out what was wrong with me but that my epstein barr titers were really high. We moved out of this house and threw everything we could away and washed everything else. I got better but still think everyone in my family has issues with the past exposure to maybe a toxic mold. I am not trying to scare you, but just be very careful. Your problem doesnt sound as bad as the one we had, but if you do buy and have this issue repaired, make sure it is done properly.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

Yup, deal breaker. No way would I have bought a home with mold like that, cleaned up professionally or no. Run! lol.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

It comes down to whether your desire to buy the house is greater than their desire to sell. They're under no obligation to hire a mold inspector. But they run the risk of you walking away from the sale and they'd have to disclose that mold was found and fix it themselves anyway. You're also under no obligation to hire a mold inspector, but YOU run the risk of having a mold issue in your new home. This is a decision YOU have to make. Several things could happen.

1. You pay for the inspection, mold is found, you walk from the sale and are out several hundreds of dollars.

2. You pay for the inspection, mold is not found, you buy the home with peace of mind and are out several hundred dollars.

3. You refuse to pay for the inspection and the deal falls apart. An inspection WOULD NOT HAVE SHOWN a major mold problem and you've lost a house you really wanted. You'll never know.

4. You refuse to pay for the inspection and the deal falls apart. An inspection WOULD HAVE SHOWN a major mold problem. You dodged a bullet. You'll never know.

5. You don't pay for the inspection, buy the house anyway and seriously take your chances with the mold problem - maybe it's a major issue, maybe it isn't. If it's a major issue and you bought the house knowing there MIGHT be a problem, you're out thousands of dollars in mold removal services.

When we bought our home, we paid for all the various inspections. WE'RE the ones who wanted them, so we paid for them. The sellers basically said "take it or leave it". OUR desire to purchase this house was GREATER than their desire to sell, so we had various inspections done to our satisfaction and purchased the house. The seller never budged. We still feel we got a great deal because nothing was "unfixable" and the house was priced to sell.

Mold, however, was not one of the issues. My son and husband have mold allergies, so for us, mold WOULD have been a deal breaker and we would have walked had the inspection (that we would have paid for) shown a problem.

At this point, it's a game of chicken. Will you budge or will they? Do you want the house more than they need to sell it? If so, you'll have to pay for the inspection.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Sorry, deal breaker, this is something you don't want to mess with, ever, it's not worth the health risk to your family.

I lived in an apartment that mold was found in, my daughter had been sick with pulmonary problems for over a year and we couldn't figure out why. Once the mold was located under the carpet and in the walls the landlords removed it at their great expense, many thousands of dollars, (what the inspector had found was the tip of the iceberg as could be your case) but we were advised to move by one county agency and her doctors because there was no way to guarantee it wouldn't come back. (I am friends with the apartment managers and it did come back.) My daughter slowly got better, but her doctors told us she could have residual lung problems the rest of her life, which turned out to be the case :-/

The owners have to pay for everything and disclose it, just walk away now and leave the problem with them.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

ETA: I didn't answer one of your questions - yes. now that the mold has been found - they are legally required to notify any future buyer about the mold. IF they get it fixed and repaired? I don't know your state laws - but I will venture to guess that IF they repair - it does not have to be disclosed.

There are sooooo many types of mold, it's not even funny.

it's exposed. so no, it would not be a deal breaker - especially if it's my dream home - I would find a company that can test for and remove mold - i'd put the caveat in the contract that if it is black mold over a set amount of money to remove - the deal is off. If they are willing to split the cost - great. If not. NO. I'm overlooking "little" things. Mold is not something to play around with.

I know when we were looking at home - I'm sensitive to it and can smell it - one house had it sooo bad that I had an asthma attack just walking in the door. I said NO WAY -once I was able to breath again.

As to how much it will cost to get rid of? I don't know. It might be something you can remove yourself with bleach and gloves - I DO NOT KNOW.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

It's a tough question to answer. Do you trust your realtor? What does he/she think you should do?

I think I'd be tempted to call their bluff. I think I'd be tempted to tell them that if they don't pay to have it fixed and inspected by a mold inspector, that the deal is off. I wonder if they might change their minds and agree, especially if they would have to disclose anything to a potential buyer.

I think it would be worth it to mention that scenario to your realtor and see what he/she has to say about it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

That is a small amount and it can be easily cleaned with bleach or vinegar mixed with water (that's what the pros use also). If the entire basement was covered I would walk away, if only a couple of spots then it can easily be cleaned by you or the seller.

If you walk away this inspection HAS to be shown to the next buyer and they (the seller) will be in the same spot. If you really like the home try to compromise and offer to pay half to just have it cleaned or do it yourself.

We own several homes and I have dealt with water leaks and small amounts of mold. It is very easy to take care of with proper cleaning and ventilation.

That would not be a deal breaker for me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

well, there's mold and then there's mold. in an unfinished basement that needs a sump pump, it's very possible that it's a one time problem that has an easy fix. but there's no way to be sure that's it's not a bleach-and-elbow-grease situation versus a chronic issue with health repercussions without a professional inspection.
and yeah, they're in a clinker at this point because if you walk, they have to disclose this to all future buyers.
if you're not invested and in love with this house, i'd throw it back on them. they're going to have to deal with it, either through getting it fixed or disclosure + price reduction if they let you walk away, so you're in a strong position. maybe off to split the inspection cost, or have them pay for it and agree that if the problem turns out to be minor, you add the price of the inspection to what you're going to pay them (it won't make a blip in your mortgage payment in return for the peace of mind.)
good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

1) Mold can only grow if there is a water source. If the mold is there due to a one time incident of a pipe breaking and there is no current water source then there shouldn't be an issue of the mold re-accuring once it has been cleaned.
2) Mold can be cleaned with water and soap. It doesn't need to be professionally done.
3)If you have a professional mold inspection, will run about $2-600 and that is mostly for the lab analytical. There are home kits in which you can take a sample yourself, but I don't know how reliable they are of if they will accept you taking a sample yourself.
4)not all mold causes health issues. And it has to be airborne to do so. So...back to #1...if there is no water source and the mold is cleaned up and the chances of it returning are minimal...then no issue.
5)contact a local Environmental consultant that deals with mold and ask them what they think about the situation.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Mold is a HUGE deal. We had a very similar issue in a house we almost bought five years ago. The inspector found evidence of mold on a few beams in the basement. It looked like water had come in a basement window when snow melted - nothing big and we didn't think it would really be a problem. The inspector told us we could probably just clean it up with bleach and water. But we asked the sellers to pay for a formal mold evaluation since we had little kids and wanted to be safe. They wouldn't, so we paid $500 to an environmental remediation company to do a full inspection. (alternately, we could have walked away from the house and gotten our deposit money back which I'm sure you could do now too). And yes - the seller would have to disclose that mold had been found if we'd walked away.

Anyway, our mold company found tons of mold in the walls, floor joists, etc. It was a huge amount of mold and only the tiniest bit showed until walls were taken down. They estimated that it would cost $30,000 to fully remediate it. We walked away from the house and got our deposit back. The sellers then had to relist the house and disclose that there had been mold found. They ended up selling the house two years later for about 25% less than we had offered.

Truly, mold is really really bad. Some types of mold can be cleaned with bleach and water. But many other types (usually called 'black mold') can NOT be cleaned by regular chemicals. That type of mold will make you sick, it will make your children sick. And you will have to pay thousands of dollars to get it removed in the future. If I were in your shoes, I'd see this as two options. Option #1: break the deal. Get your deposit back and find another house. Option #2: pay for a mold inspection. Hopefully it will find nothing and you'll purchase an awesome house. If it does find mold, you can see if the sellers will pay to fix it. If not, walk away.


answers from Washington DC on

back out! You do not want a house that has a mold issue. It can make you and your family VERY sick. We had mold in our apartment once and I had a 2 week old baby at the time. His first year he had bronchitis 3 times and croup 4 times that ended us in the ER with breathing treatments. We finally broke lease after the management wouldn't come and take care of it.
I'm sure you can find another house that will work for your family and that you love just as much.



answers from Memphis on

Yikes, ask the sellers to pay for inspection. No one is going to buy their house without it. I have a cousin that nearly died from mold toxicity. Mold is a deal breaker for me. Good luck to you.



answers from Minneapolis on

You don't want a house with mold period.



answers from Cumberland on

The owners are just going to run into this problem again and again , now that it has to be disclosed to all potential buyers-it's a known defect-don't know why they are not cooperating??? Is there any insulation where the beam is located that might also be affected? That could be more serious-but if it is just a small area-the mold could probably be sanded out.
this might help:



answers from Washington DC on

I think whether this has to be disclosed to future buyers depends on the state you live it. When we bought a house in PA, there was a long list that the seller had to fill out with any known defects line by line listed. Selling our house in MD however, all we had to do was sign a catch all saying that an inspection can be done and if there were any "major" defects. "major" being what they think is major. They could easily clean the spot with some bleach and say nothing. A friend of mine was in your spot recently. They bought a house and the inspector found a tiny bit of mold. They did pay for the full inspection and the inspector pulled back some paneling and found a ton of mold. The sellers brought in an estimator that said it would cost $600 to repair, their estimator said it would cost $5000 to repair. The sellers would not budge. So they walked from the house. I'm guessing that the sellers paid the $600 and "repaired" it and can say that they did something to future buyers if it comes up. Personally, I think I would walk if they are giving you a hard time now. They probably will when it comes to repairs too.

Next question: Do I Have Any Legal Rights???? HELP!!!