Mold Remediation

My mom recently passed away and I am now in the process of selling her house. It has been on the market since February but no buyer yet. When I was cleaning out the house, I found out that there is mold in the crawl space. I got an estimate for removal and it came in at $9100 so I listed the house “As Is” and did not have the mold removed. Since I have not found a buyer, I think I need to have the mold removed. Does anyone have any tips on how to do this without spending such a large amount of money?

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I worked in real estate for a while and found that mold is always a concern for buyers. Even someone looking for a fixer-upper can be hesitant to buy a home with mold. A good home inspector will always test for mold by doing surface tests and airborne tests. If mold is detected, it could be a deal breaker after a contract is written on the home.

Mold remediation is not something you want to attempt as a DIY project. There is a lot to the process. I think you may have to pay for the remediation. I would recommend getting a detailed quote for the remediation. The written quote should include the steps involved in the remediation process. Obtain at least three quotes to compare. You may decide not to go with the cheapest. You will want a company with a reliable track record doing remediation.

Mold is related to too much moisture. Finding the source of the excessive moisture and eliminating it is a key step to take. You may find that mold has invaded other parts of the house. If that is the case, the remediation may involve opening walls and removing drywall, insulation, etc. that will have to be repaired.

Another thing that was not mentioned in your post is testing for radon. Many homes throughout the United States will fail a radon test. Radon remediation is not as expensive as mold remediation.

You did not mention the age of the house. A couple of other things to be aware of would-be asbestos in the house and lead based paint.

Good luck!

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I was a RE Broker for 12 years.

Notwithstanding additional issues, you were probably better off coughing up the bucks and getting the remediation before putting it on the market.

Assuming it’s located in a reasonable market area and doesn’t have any additional show-stopping problems, you might want to consider taking it off the market until you can have the mold properly taken care of. If you do, be sure and get documentation that the problem has been corrected. Doing otherwise will probably cost your mom’s estate real money.

Buyers don’t like taking chances on a blighted property, and right now, it sounds like that’s what you have.

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Most likely, any buyer is going to have the house tested. If the remediation is not done properly, it could fail the test.

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A little variation here - I am not a real estate agent just an average homeowner. How old is the house? In my opinion, “mold” is so over blown - remember the radon gas crisis? If I were buying a home, what I would be looking for is an active water leak. The house, like mine, has a crawl space. There’s going to be mold.

My opinion is that the problem with “mold” issues has to do with super sealed homes. Open a window… but wait, if you open a window, you’re going to let mold in… etc.

Buyers are going to nit pick you over every little detail. No matter how much $$ you pour into the house, the buyers aren’t going to give a poo. What matters in a home is location, location and location. That, and honestly price it.

Not sure where you are, but I live 60 miles north of Atlanta. I cannot get anyone to do anything for less than 5k. $9k? That should be a fully encapsulated crawlspace, but I’d not bother.

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Just about any home built within the last fifty years that has a crawlspace will also have vents that can be adjusted to allow ventilation from the outside.

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I completely agree. But assuming you don’t have a water leak or intrusion in your crawlspace, the vents are going to let moisture in. What I die laughing (or crying) at are the “you must encapsulate your crawlspace.” I and my neighbors who have crawlspaces and I clearly am in the wrong profession.

Sure, you can put the vents in, but you are still going to have “mold”. Now, there is “realyl bad mold” and there is about 99.99% of the rest.

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An unvented crawl space is more prone to problems with mold than an unvented one. A crawl space by definition has exposure to the ground beneath the house structure. When a house is heated it also heats up the air in the crawl space. That temperature difference, between the soil and the crawl-space air tends to pull moisture from the soil and into the air in the crawl space. That’s why they install a vapor barrier over the soil in most crawl spaces.

I’ve owned a dozen houses in my lifetime and 4 had wet or damp crawl spaces, none of them had mold problems and all of them had ventilation.

I’ve participated in the sale of well over 100 existing (not new) houses in Alaska and every time there was a problem with crawl-space mold, it was due to poor ventilation.

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I absolutely agree with you. The vast majority of crawlspaces in the Atlanta area ARE vented. However, you will be told “bwaaaaa!!! mold you need to seal it.” Which in the context of my comments is the entire point to the OP. This one was to you - we’re good.

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OP - how old is the house, and is the crawlspace vented? I’ve never seen a crawlspace NOT vented including my parents place built in 1964.

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Radon gas can cause lung cancer.

Radon | US EPA

New homes are built with passive radon mitigation systems. Older homes can have an active radon mitigation system installed and the systems are not overly expensive.

It is easy to test for radon gas. Devices which constantly monitor for radon can be purchased for very little money.

Does the crawl space have a vapor barrier over the bare ground? Many older houses don’t and that should be step #1.

Your exposure depends a lot on where you live… here’s a good place to start:

Absolutely the easiest way to help your crawlspace. Thanks for remind me :slight_smile:

I have never heard of any builder in my area putting in a radon mitigation system. If they can build a square foundation, you are lucky. Do you have any references? I’m honestly curious.

Yes Radon gas can cause lung cancer. So can smoking, second hand smoke, and I’m absolutely doomed because I group up in the 60s painting model airplanes and rockets. We used “dope” - we dad and me, and it’s a miracle we did not blow up the house.

My point is that it’s all about risk levels and being realistic about them. You are far more likely to be injured or killed in our area due to the # of idiots driving on the road than radon gas or mold. If you have mushrooms or obvious water in your crawlspace then deal with it. Allowing some yahoo to come in and swipe something and find mold is absurd.

Getting back to the context of the OP - don’t panic, find a common sense reputable person to take a look at it. I’m stunned by what these companies are charging. Don’t even get me started on kitchen remodels.

Radon mitigation protocols usually include a sealed vapor barrier and a system that creates a ambient air pressure differential between the crawl space, the soil and the living areas of the house.

They either suck the radon out and vent it outside or pressurize the living areas to prevent radon from infiltrating those spaces. Some solutions might use both methods.

They cost from a few thousand to megabucks and use electricity 24/7.