Real Estate Professionals – Mold
To most Real Estate Professionals, the word mold conjures up thoughts of lost transactions, wasted time, and upset clients. It is never fun to find out something could ruin your deal. Although, the real estate professional has a significant impact on how damages are perceived by their clients.
A savvy real estate practitioner will present their customer the basic facts and refer technical questions to the inspector or specialist. They should refrain from giving their opinion, experiences, or personal feelings about mold, as this can often result in providing inaccurate information. An educated customer is not expecting their real estate pro to be a mold expert, and would likely lose confidence in one that acts as one. However, an agent can help their client and the inspector by providing any background information on water damage, and if any remediation work previously was done at the property.
Mold is present in nature and breaks down organic matter like leaves, sticks, and carcasses. Human exposure comes from physical contact, introduction through eyes and mucous membranes, ingestion, and most commonly inhalation.
A mold inspector, otherwise known as an Environmental Consultant, can utilize many tools to do an assessment. A thorough inspection will often include the following:
- A visual inspection of mold, moisture, and potential moisture sources.
- Moisture readings of construction materials that appear wet.
- Relative humidity readings of crawlspaces, attics, and living space to measure ambient moisture.
- Source samples of any suspected mold damage.
- Possible air samples of interior locations of concern, as well as one outside sample.
- Pictures of damage with descriptions.
- Discussion about the possible causes of the mold.
- A working protocol to follow for mold remediation. This typically includes a follow-up inspection that should be performed after mold remediation is complete.
Not all inspections are the same. Some mold inspections are very basic and limited to sampling. Others may not include the reason the mold is there or adequate instructions for resolving the issue. An inspector should not indicate health effects, how dangerous the mold is, or whether the house is habitable. If a client has questions about the dangers of mold, they should consult a physician. It is important to inquire about what an inspector’s report will include and whether the findings will provide your client what they are looking for.