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Mold Help

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Cliff Salisbury

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Ohio
I inspected a vacant home yesterday that is owned by a out of state lender. The house has a purchase agreement and I am to appraise te home for a loan for a new local lender. The house is less than ten years old and has a full basement. The real estate agent told me that they had fans running in the house because it was a little damp.
Upon entering the property the first two things I noticed was the smell of dampness and the black and green on the walls and ceiling. The mold was just about everwhere. It is so bad that in some rooms I can point out the studs behind the drywall because the mold makes straight lines along them.
I think what happened is that someone turned off the electric to save money and thus turned off the sump pump. I think that this might be the case since I noticed that the bottom four steps to the basement are much darker than the rest of the steps. I would estimate that at least sixty percent of the drywall will need to be replaced plus what ever other damage is done behind the walls.
I have never had a home that was anywhere near as bad as this. I would like to know how others have handled this from past experience? I think that this is just a law suite waiting to happen. I am not concerned about upsetting the lender. I have a very good relationship with them. I would also like to be able to give them some good advice as to how to handle this. There is no question in my mind that they will not make the loan. any ideas or key phrases would be greatly appreciated.
 

EDWARD BERRY

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
State whay you saw, NEVER use the word mold.(you do not know(as an appraiser))

You proably can estimate the cost to cure what you saw(as a market deduction) but state "there may be hidden damage" and call for inspection--that you value is subject to.

There may be better ways, but this works for me in Arkansas-ed
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
Mold or mildew.... they are the same thing and it is what it is.

I would specifically state that mold does exist and that you are not qualified to determine what kind it is, whether it's dangerous, or the extent of the the damage and costs of remediation. Make the report:

Subject to a professional inspection and report by an expert in that field who's findings may (will likely) impact the Appraiser's Opinion of the subject market value.

To get your house checked for mold, contact the American Industrial Hygiene Association for a referral to a certified industrial hygienist (703-849-8888, or www.aiha.org). Testing costs $200-$500

Check out some of these articles / web sites:

http://www.usaweekend.com/99_issues/991205...991205mold.html

http://www.inspect-ny.com/sickhouse.htm

http://www.healthhouse.org/tipsheets/mold.htm

http://www.moldupdate.com/
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
I personally, given the circumstances you describe would place a much stronger statement in the report indicating:
"observation of the following circumstances (...list them...) indicates that the home may contain mold or other moisture/humidity caused atypical condition. Some molds have been found to be toxic, I am not an expert indetermining environmental hazards or toxicity." I'd use Pams quote for source but add "or other professionaly qualified expert in the field of mold/mildew/water damage analysis and mitigation.

I would also make the report subject to an Extraordinary Assumption that the condition is found NOT to be toxic or otherwise harmful by a qualified expert.

That added step may make someone mad, but I think anything less might be perceived as less than due dilligence on YOUR part. It effectively forces the lender to 'buy' the responsibility of ASSuming that the condition is minor (remember you have specifically warned them of your observations) OR to get someone with E&O of their own to sign off on the safety of the home!

DO a bit of research on market reaction in YOUR area... some areas are more value sensitive to such issues than others.
 

Phil Rice

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
I am a one man outfit, there are no employees. Where I work, rule 1 is: The safety of the appraiser comes first. I will not do anything that I consider to be risky or dangerous.

Based on what you have described, I would have immediately left this house, and attempted to contact my client. I would not go back inside without some kind of protection, maybe a gas mask but at least a SARS mask.

If the client wanted to get someone else to do the appraisal, that would be fine with me, I might even help them find someone. But I would charge them for the work I did and I would not be bashful about how much I asked for.
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
errr. Phil... the SARS mask does not form a proper seal, yeah they do take out some of the big stuff but they won't form a perfect seal and the mold toxins go rigth through that mask. if you are chemically sensitive you are in deep doo-doo on even brief exposure with anything less than a full multi-stage facemask.

I own both and use them on occassion. N97 (SARS) masks are pretty good things but currently near unobtainium world-wide. I prefer the full chem mask when going into homes I strongly suspect are REAL contam sites. Pretty cheap protection at 40 some dollars, and hey works for auto and hosuepaint too :) .

For REAL toxic mold you'd best get a suit and toss-em booties... Sherwin Williams has the cheapest suits and the local surgury supply booties. For $18.00 and throwaway you can get what you need to be pretty darn safe...

if it is that toxic and you are sensitive you are in trouble. Most people are NOT that reactive to even real 'black mold'

I am mildly chemically sensitive and know when to RUN :eek: , or cover... :p
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Report what you see. If you think it is mold, say so and then call for an inspection from an expert in that field. Quit trying to be politically correct and just do your job.
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Dick and Mike:

I have few worries about political correctness, but more than a few about the possibility of being sued.

May I inquire what you gentlemen would propose?

I understand that we can unneccesarily scare the heck out of folks if we use the words "black" and "mold" in the same sentence... methinks that is what Ed was getting at.

Are you guys going minimalist to the point of:
"Saw black and/or green stuff on walls, get a test?"
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
If it's "moldy" and I can scrape it off the walls, it's mold. The fact that there's some 5000 types of mold is irrelevant. It's mold. That being said, if the mold is that severe, make the value contingent upon no "hazardous" mold. The home may take a few thousand, or it may take gutting to repair. Based on what you've said, I would guess gutting with Hazmat suits, etc. It may be cheaper to take it to the ground and rebuild it based on what I've seen for repair costs. Quantify your report that a report by a qualified inspection firm and estimates of cost to cure may well impact your value estimate.

I personally would either charge a bunch for the research or walk away. I've walked away before stating that I cannot give an estimate without professional inspections and bids.

Roger
 
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