Black Mold Removal Cost: Should I Buy a House with Mold?
Black Mold Removal Cost
Dampness in any home can lead to mold and mildew growth, and in addition to being a health hazard, moldy conditions have the potential to cause rot, structural damage, and premature paint failure. If you're considering buying a home with black mold in the unfinished basement (or the attic and/or crawl space, the two other most common places for mold to be found in homes, as cited by the United States Environmental Protection Agency) then you should also be considering black mold removal cost.
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How Does Mold Affect the Value of a Home?
Mold can affect the appraisal value of a home. For some buyers, this is a good thing because it makes a home more affordable. But if you're hoping to move into a home in excellent condition, don't make an offer on a home with mold until you've had an independent appraisal. FHA appraisers, for example, are required not only to note if mold is growing in a home, but also the type of mold and its location. If you find that the mold growing in the home is black mold, there are a few things you should know: toxic black mold can cause permanent damage to your health and in extreme cases has even lead to death.
Large overgrowths of mold and mold in unusual locations are especially likely to lower a home's value. If the FHA appraiser finds that the mold overgrowth is dangerous, you might be required to remove the mold before you can get an FHA loan.
Before you buy any home, you should have it inspected for mold and other problems. During this inspection, you might learn what caused the mold as well as the black mold removal cost. Sellers also have to disclose if there is an ongoing mold problem in the house or if it has previously flooded, but they don't always do so. Never take a seller's or real estate agent's word about the presence of mold. Even if you're getting a steep discount, get an inspection. The cost of removing the mold could be greater than your savings.
How Much Does Black Mold Removal Cost?
To properly remediate mold (and make sure it doesn't come back), you'll need to hire a mold remediation specialist. A mold remediation specialist will remediate the basement while making sure mold spores do not get into the heating and cooling system, which would otherwise get recirculated throughout the home, continuing to make occupants sick even once the basement itself has been cleaned.
So what does black mold removal cost? It's not quite a cut-and-dry answer. The level of infestation directly affects the black mold removal cost. The black mold removal cost of an unfinished basement can really vary. It could be as little as $500 or as high as $4,000 depending on the scope and size - AKA how much mold is present and how much area it covers. If the attic and ducts are involved, the cost for those generally ranges from $2,000 to $6,000. If the home has recently been flooded and the mold is all throughout it, there is much more that has to be done. This could drive a remediation cost up to $10,000 - $30,000, or higher, depending on the size of the home.
Even though you have an idea of how much mold removal costs, be sure to shop around. The first company you find might not be the best one for your needs. Pricing can vary between companies, but you also have to pay attention to the experience levels and what kind of guarantee they have if the mold comes back.
What About Insurance?
If you're buying a home with mold in it, know upfront that the mold is a pre-existing condition that insurances won't cover. You should also note the moisture/water problem that caused the mold to grow in the first place and consider if it is likely to happen again. Is the problem a leaky pipe that will leak again until it's fixed? Is the basement prone to flooding? If you're concerned about mold sneaking back in after remediation, make sure you get something that will cover at least part of the remediation cost if you live in a flood zone.
Consider This: Basement Moisture Issues
The potential for basement moisture issues lurks anywhere that building components are below grade, and most basement moisture control issues result from water flowing through holes or water wicking into cracks and pores of porous building materials like wood and masonry blocks. The most common basement moisture culprits include:
- Improper ventilation
- Improper construction or maintenance
- Landscaping that slopes toward the home
- Rain gutters that fail to push water away from the home's foundation
Consider This: Attic Moisture Issues
The absence of proper attic ventilation fosters mold growth by allowing moisture from the lower levels of the home to rise and become trapped in the attic. Dryer vents, plumbing vents, kitchen, and bathroom fans exhausted into the attic amplify the problem by constantly pumping warm, moist air into a confined space with no attic ventilation system. Attic moisture issues most commonly stem from a lack of:
- Proper ventilation
Consider This: Crawl Space Moisture Issues
Common signs of moisture crawl space issues include wood rot, termite damage to subfloor materials, hardwood flooring "cupping," and visible mold growth on the wood surfaces underneath your home. Many crawl spaces have exposed earthen floors, which can allow ground moisture to seep out from underneath your home and increase the humidity levels - especially if you don't have a dehumidifier for crawl space.
What's the Bottom Line?
When it comes to black mold removal cost, there's no right answer for whether or not you should buy a home with mold in the unfinished basement, or anywhere else for that matter. Your primary guidelines should be your health, the health of your loved ones, your home buying budget, and how soon you need to move in. For example, if you or your children have allergies and there's a lot of mold in the basement, it's not wise to buy it if you need to move in immediately. However, if you have the time and money to get rid of the mold, buying a home with mold in it can save you money - especially if the home is appraised lower because of the mold.
More info? For more information about common places for moisture in your home, check out our related post: Crawlspace Moisture Problems.