Do I have mold in my attic or not??
Attic mold? Almost every day I get a phone call from a homeowner who has an almost baffled tone in their voice, telling me that during the sale of their home an inspector flagged their attic space or basement for a “mold like substance.” Usually the homeowner expresses to me that they have lived in their home for years and has never, to their knowledge had an issue. The biggest message most people try to convey to me during these types of calls is that the vague nature of the terms used by the home inspector leaves room for doubt as to whether there is or isn’t a problem in their home. Ultimately they are calling me to determine if they need to do anything about this issue as their inspection report tells them that they need to consult a qualified contractor.
Guardian is the right place to turn when you are put into this predicament. The best place to start in understanding why your buyer’s inspection report doesn’t explicitly state that you have mold…is to understand liability, and the law. There is no person on the planet that can point at any discoloration and tell you what type of mold is present. There are simply just too many types of mold, and given that they are microscopic in nature….it is impossible. People who work in either the mold remediation industry or home inspection industry can certainly look at discoloration and deduct whether or not it is consistent with what a mold problem normally looks like. Legally though, unless an area has been tested for mold (through either surface or air sampling) it simply cannot be documented in writing with any level of certainty that there IS mold present. So, like anything else, people found a way to express the presence of the problem without being concrete in nature. “A mold like substance” or “what appears to be mold growth” are terms that were created to express to a homeowner that there is an issue, without expressly taking on the liability of definitively saying mold is present.
The vagueness of the diagnosis then leaves people with a whole lot of questions. Should they test? Should they force their buyers to test? Can there be an issue if they have never had a roof leak? All legitimate questions.
The main thing to understand is that people in the industry can evaluate the condition of the potentially affected areas and provide you with a scope of work and cost for having it repaired without testing. Testing will definitively tell you if there is mold present and what types are there, but the results will not affect that actual plan of action for remediating the problem. So then you have to ask yourself….if the staining in my attic space appears to be consistent with what professionals in the industry see when there is a problem, should I spend the money to test the surfaces? My personal thoughts are that to test an area that has black staining in your attic is essentially deciding to throw good money after bad. Nothing about the technical determinations made on the test results will have any bearing on the methods used to get rid of the problem…it will only sere to confirm our deny that the staining is in fact mold.
Obviously real estate transactions can go MANY different directions. Every individual scenario and party involved with ultimately decide what is right for them. One thing I can say for sure though…..more times then not when a home inspection report raises the possibility of the presence of an issue in the attic….there is usually mold there.
If you are in need of help getting through the sale of a home and are having this problem, we can help!! Feel free to call today with any questions that you may have @ 866.681.6653