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Old 04-13-2016, 03:57 AM
 
37 posts, read 82,306 times
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Hello,

We have an accepted offer on a house but the inspection then found mold in the attic. We're being told it's the buyers' responsibility to pay for resolving the issue if we want the house. It was not listed "as is" in the listing and we are paying the asking price (the market value which is not lowered to reflect the mold issue). The lack of proper attic ventilation is the cause. So we have two questions - does anyone have experience in dealing with this issue in a home? If the ventilation issue is fixed and the mold is professionally remediated, can we feel confident the issue is resolved? Or once mold is there, will it just eventually work its way back over time?

Is this typical that the costs for this fall to the buyer? Doesn't the seller have some responsibility in helping to resolve the issue? Should we walk away from this home? It's a very nice home otherwise and the inspector said it's worth getting if the issues are addressed. But we haven't been in contact with him since we found out the costs would be ours. We're not sure whether to proceed. Our realtor is afraid of losing the deal so is not much help.

Thanks for any input.
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:50 AM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
34,530 posts, read 42,694,765 times
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We had this issue when we sold our house, but we were required to fix it, or at least we did. It cost about $3500, as I remember. It seems like a seller should deliver a mold free house, or price accordingly.
We had it remediated, and then installed ridge vents. I presume this prevented a recurrence, but I have no way of knowing.
Apparently, there were only side vents in the space when the house was built, but moisture will still go to the highest point..the ridge, trapping moisture.
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:05 AM
 
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I don't understand the issue. If the seller doesn't want to pay for it and says its yours to deal with, you make the decision to pay for it or not. Seems pretty simple. Get an estimate of how much it would take to deal with and make a decision.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:35 AM
 
Location: WI
3,805 posts, read 8,506,316 times
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normally something will come up in an inspection; that's what contingencies are put in an offer for. Those issues then can either be accepted as they sit, or negotiated for to determine who will pay and what amount.
Now if the home is in the Madison area (knowing how hot many spots have been lately), I'd question how long the home was on the market. If it has been sitting a long time either with no offers or offers that were not closed, this may have come up before. If so then I'd potentially use that in trying to negotiate getting at least part of the repair paid for by the seller. Doesn't imply anything more than how i'd view the specific property.
I know full well how hard it can be in some areas to get a home as they can go quickly, so walking away from one you like may not be the easiest decision. But as noted once you have the cost of the repair and know if it is a short term or long term fix, then it's up to you on if the home is worth it overall. After all if you really like the property, would you have got into a bidding war on it, paying a few grand more than first thought to get it? Assuming all repairs would be done and the home set for the future, is that really any different (thinking bottom line)?

just my .02
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Old 04-13-2016, 01:30 PM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
34,530 posts, read 42,694,765 times
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I will also add, that there is a lot more harmless mold, than harmful mold. People freak out unnecessarily. If we weren't selling the house, we never would have known or cared about it. We are surrounded by mold everywhere.
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Old 04-14-2016, 03:06 PM
 
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As Ranger17 mentioned, these are usually addressed in the contingency section of the buyer's purchase offer. It might help to remind the seller that any defect discovered will have to be revealed to any potential buyer henceforth.

It's often a good thing to not let the seller have the option to remediate, since this is now leverage to negotiate a lower price. It also means you can ensure the work is done to your own standard, rather than a minimal one. And as I said, once a defect is discovered, it will have to be disclosed to any potential buyer in the condition report, so it's not like the problem will go away.

Last edited by topinambour; 04-14-2016 at 03:08 PM.. Reason: fix
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Old 04-14-2016, 10:38 PM
 
37 posts, read 82,306 times
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Thank you all for the replies. Contractors came in to give estimates for repairing the ventilation issues (not enough soffit vents, the attic fan is nonfunctional, the bathroom fan vents into the attic rather than out through the roof, and some mushroom fans should be added to the roof) and also to give estimates for mold remediation. It's going to total $11,500 - $13,000 depending on which contractors we choose. The owner refuses to negotiate. We already had a bidding war and had raised our bid to get an accepted offer (which, as first-time buyers, we didn't know a bidding war locks you into that price. At most we could negotiate some credit at closing but they refuse to do so. ) There are other things that need to be done according to the inspection report - some we shouldn't put off. So with this additional price, we can't do it and frankly, I don't think the added expense is worth it since we are already paying market price for the house (and asking price). They have now listed the house back on the market before they even sent the termination contract to our lawyer. Unfortunately, their new MLS listing states that they have no knowledge of mold issues. Our lawyer said there is no law that prevents that though it's grossly dishonest...but the form they fill out asks if they've ever tested for mold and they have not. The selling realtor said they'll scrub the attic themselves so it's presentable. I guess we're better off but I sure hope they have to fix that for the next people in the home.

I had been hoping to find out if mold remediation works, but that's a moot point now. We did not go into the attic during the viewing because access is through a small closet. They had clothes there and things stacked on the shelf. My realtor had background in construction and assured me the house was as great as it looked. It was in beautiful condition with recent remodeling (not a flipper), new roof, newer plumbing, updated electrical, good furnace and appliances, beautiful landscaping, etc. The basement was as pristine as the upstairs. I brought in an inspector a couple days after our offer was accepted and that's when we learned what was up above.

Hopefully others will learn from our mistake - make no assumptions and check the attic (I'll carry a portable ladder in our trunk to future viewings). We've since learned many owners don't learn of mold in their attics and/or crawl spaces until a home inspection is done, so they should be checked on a regular basis. And certainly before bidding on a house.

Sorry for the length. Thank you all for your help!
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Old 04-14-2016, 10:49 PM
 
37 posts, read 82,306 times
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P.S. We also learned that mold definitely should be removed, whether considered harmless or harmful, all can eventually damage/destroy what it's feeding on...in this case, the wood of the attic. And then there are health considerations also - not a need to panic or freak out - but it should be dealt with according to guidelines that can be found on the EPA 's site, OSHA's, the NIH, CDC, etc. Lots of good info available online. If nothing else, we've learned a lot this time around.
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:07 PM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
34,530 posts, read 42,694,765 times
Reputation: 57174
Just to add to my previous post. If we had had ridge vents put in, our existing issues might have dissipated within a year or so. Do not get freaked out by mold. There is mold, and then there is toxic mold.
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