1. Disclose Everything
Failure to disclose – intentional or otherwise – is perhaps the most common problem that sellers encounter. Maintain a comprehensive list of all repairs, major or minor. Pay particular attention to issues involving water damage, even seemingly small problems. If areas such as wall cavities need to be inspected, prepare to do so long before you list the property. If you are in doubt as to whether you should disclose small concerns, do not hesitate: disclose everything, and do not conceal anything.
2. Make All Necessary Repairs
Before you list the property, take prudent steps to repair all damage related to water intrusion and mold contamination. Now is not the time to cover up mold growth with bucket after bucket of paint. If you suspect a mold problem, hire a professional to investigate. If a major mold problem is discovered, involve that professional at an early stage to avoid the risk of cross–contaminating other areas of your home. Remember, a modest expense now can save thousands on the sale of your home or in litigation costs in the future.
One of the advantages of paying the added expense of a professional mold investigation and abatement is that you now have sound documentation for future disclosure. You can demonstrate with confidence that you have taken the steps necessary to identify and repair all known concerns. Be sure your consultant and remediation contractor provides a detailed account of all work performed and all important dates.
4. Educate and Cooperate
Awareness of your rights and liabilities as a seller will enable you to respect buyers’ concerns without giving into their every whim. If there is a justifiable reason to suspect microbial contamination, consult with experts to determine your options, and work with buyers to resolve the issue. In the meantime, maintain a positive and constructive dialogue between yourself and the prospective buyers (or your respective real estate agents).
5. Be Willing to Assume Partial Costs
If legitimate unabated concerns exist, agree to either repair the problem before the sale or assume partial cost for future repairs. Be sure to set limits. Signing a blank check is an invitation to financial disaster, especially in litigation matters involving personal injury. The same holds true for areas that you know have been repaired but demonstrate residual levels of contamination upon post remediation testing. It may be impossible to determine with 100% certainty whether the contamination was removed, so if a chance exists, agree to a fair amount for future testing (and repairs, should the problem resurface). Clearly, you will want an attorney to review all agreements prior to signing on the dotted line.
6. Perform a Mold Inspection Prior to Listing
The proactive seller will already have the results of a mold inspection in hand prior to listing. We recommend this only if the property has sustained prior water damage or mold contamination. Your proactive stance will be viewed as a good-faith gesture. Be sure to follow through by giving buyers the opportunity to contact the consultant directly.
As mentioned under Tips for Buyers, mold inspections for real estate transactions differ from the “typical” mold investigation, namely because invasive inspections (wall or ceiling cavities) are rarely acceptable. Protocols that can be performed with minimal damage to the existing infrastructure include visual assessment of all accessible areas, photographic documentation, moisture assessments, sampling, and review of disclosure statements, maintenance records, and prior abatement or inspection protocols.
Sell your home with confidence! Call MAS Labs today for a free consultation or to schedule a comprehensive mold inspection.
After hearing countless
nightmare tales of moldy-home
purchases, buyers are becoming
much more knowledgeable about
mold contamination and the risks it
poses to their new home. Mold
contamination can be nerve wracking on both
sides of the closing table, but the tips below
can help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls.