First of all, googling the term “mold” is not for the faint of heart. We’re going to forego the inclusion of mold imagery in this post. Having said that: Mold does not have to be scary. Portland is a damp area–mold is not uncommon. If you encounter mold in a home, whether as a seller or a buyer, fear not! There are disclosure policies in place, and as your trusted advisor, we can connect you with resources for inspection and mitigation.

Read on for more info on how mold impacts a real estate transaction in the Portland area.

See also this video: Scared of Mold? Let Heather Robbins put your fears to rest

As a seller, you may be wondering whether the presence of mold may impact your ability to sell a home.

As a buyer, you could be concerned that the home you are considering may have hidden mold issues.

Mold and the Home Seller

The presence of mold in a home can have adverse health affects, and as such, the presence of mold is considered a material defect that must be disclosed by the seller.

Material Defect

Under Oregon law a seller must disclose to the buyer any material defects known to the seller that would not be readily apparent to a buyer. …A seller in Oregon cannot remain silent if they know of some hidden defect that affects the value or desirability of the property. …Failure to disclose such defects can result in lawsuits for damages or to rescind the sale.

Oregon Property Seller Advisory, Oregon Association of Realtors

Mold Problems

Serious mold problems usually involve property with defective siding, poor construction, water penetration problems, improper ventilation or leaking plumbing. In a few cases, these problems have led to the growth of molds which caused medical conditions in some people. Sellers who have any knowledge or notice of molds in their property should arrange for inspection by a qualified professional. …Inspection, discovery and evaluation of specific water intrusion or mold problems requires extremely specialized training and is well beyond the scope of a real estate licensee’s expertise. Sellers are, therefore, advised to hire appropriately trained professionals to inspect the property if the seller is concerned about the possibility of harmful molds. Any mold condition, whether believed harmful or not, should be disclosed to your agent and any potential buyer.

Oregon Property Seller Advisory, Oregon Association of Realtors

So, the mere presence of mold does not mean a home cannot be listed for sale or purchased, but it is imperative that the seller discloses the presence of mold. If you aren’t sure how your circumstances apply, contact us and we can help with a plan for next steps.

Mold and the Home Buyer

As you look at homes to buy, be on the lookout for signs of mold. Pay close attention to susceptible areas, such as the attic, basement, and bathrooms.

It is also imperative as a buyer that you go over the seller disclosures carefully. This is your opportunity to find out things about the house that you wouldn’t have noticed during your showing.

If there is mold present in a home, there will be discussions and decisions to make about how to proceed (or not) with the purchase.

You might be able to cancel your contract if the home inspection reveals an environmental hazard, including mold. But even if you’ve decided to buy a home with mold, if you’re planning to secure a mortgage, your lender may not be willing to finance the home until the mold is treated and removed.

Mold remediation can cost thousands of dollars and would typically be the responsibility of the seller. But if they don’t want to handle it, they may offer you a credit on the sale. If the home is being sold “as-is,” including an existing mold problem, make sure the price of the home reflects the issues you’ll end up having to take care of.

Yes, You can Sell a House with Mold: What Homebuyers Need to Know

Once mold becomes apparent — whether through disclosures or through your inspection, our job as your agent is to help you go through the steps to determine whether you want to go forward with the home purchase. Contact us for more information on your home search advice on dealing with these types of contingencies.