Found a mold home

Hey all,

I stumbled acrossed this vacant FSBO that is under priced about 20,000 dollars. Looked like a good little deal for my buddy who is a first time homebuyer and is looking for something cheap that he can put a little sweat equity into…Then the dirty little secret is revealed. The one wall in an upstairs closet had some mold in it… Did not look that bad but then when we went in the basement the same wall had mold half way up it! So this little cosmetic fixer upper is more of a gut out and renovate? What are your thoughts on a property like this. Would it be worth it if you purchased it at a lower cost? If so how much lower? Any feedback would be helpful.



What I’ve seen done is a bleach clean up - sometimes this cures it easily. Other times you need to rip out all moldy drywall and replace. Most times - mold is not a problem. Every house has mold - its the kind that makes people sick that is a problem. Mold too has been a big scare tactic in reducing prices on homes after inspections too.

Check into it some more - it may not be so bad. I don’t know how much more lower than $20,000 you can get. I wish we had homes for that price. I’d just tear it down and rebuild - but the neighborhood might not warrant that.

Good luck.

I think he meant $20,000 below market value, not priced at $20,000.

I’d agree, honestly out of all my “mold” homes, I’ve never had to gut one yet.

My nicest I got for $80,000 under market(made $55k after expenses) because people saw mold and wouldn’t buy it. $10 for bleach, along with the other fixups and it was done.

Same wall on both floors had mold, makes me wonder why? Where is the moisture coming from on that wall? Leaky pipe or something else? Bleach will take it off the wall this time around but it will probably reoccur.

That is correct on the re-occurence.

On my house, everyone thought the water was coming from outside(was a basement), but it was actually just a broken pipe coming from the washer. Fixed that and the problem was gone.

Deffinately find the cause before you do anything else.

I would start with finding the cause of the mold. There are a couple kinds of mold too. I would probably google it for lots of info. I traet mold problems diff depending on what the property is for.

I will check more into the mold problem! Heres my other thoughts I will do a title search on the property and see what he owes on it. Then find out if he will do an owner carry on the property. I have some pretty road rashed credit, so conventional financing is a problem. If he will carry an interest only loan for six months to a year I could probably get in there and get all the fix ups done in three months top. Then get it put on the market and see what money I can make. Of course the deal wouldnt be sealed until I priced out all the Materials and inspected the property thoroughly. Any Thoughts?



unless your market is still moving rapidly, six month is a bit optimistic for a hold time. also, many seller don’t like to carry back on interest only, but its worth it to ask. do some homework and see how much (if any) is owed on any mortgages, this will tell you irght away for the seller will carry anything.

Well the problem I have noticed here in my hometown is that their is alot of homes priced around 120 and up, but you cannot find a home for around 80. Sure there are maybe 20 on the mls in that price range. So I was thinking I would be in a good price range to sell in.
The second idea was to rehab, refinance, and rent.


What are the legal repercussions of selling a home or renting a home that once was known to have mold?

Not sure what checks and balances need to be in place. I think you have to have it inspected or something. I know houses with mold sell CHEAP!


imho I would try to get a bigger discount.
That being said mold is relatively easy to get rid of, or it has been for us a few times.

1.) FIND THE REASON FOR THE MOLD (leaky roof, pipe, window). FIX IT
2.)Clean with striaght bleach.
3.) Paint with kills, then repaint whatever color you like.

Get rid of any trim, flooring or wood that it may have seeped into, that is key.
I believe I have seen the worst mold and gotten rid of it.
Oh yeh keep lots of sunlight in the area where you are working and good natural venalation weather provided.I think an infared light can also help.

One word of caution, if you call the dept of health and they deem it a mold problem…(and they tend to sway in favor of it being a problem simply because of so much media) you are then legaly liable to disclose this info to all future renters and purchasers because you know there is/was a mold problem.
If you take care of the mold yourself,without calling the health dept. then it wasn’t a problem and you are not leagaly liable to disclose there was a problem, because you took care of it.
Hope this helped…but all that being said I would have to see exactly how much mold before I could make a judgement that I felt comfortable with. Cut into a wall and see if its on the drywall and wood in back. And if so you can still get rid of it by replacing that wood, drywall.


Mold! Ha ha ha!


  1. a growth of minute fungi forming on vegetable or animal matter, commonly as a downy or furry coating, and associated with decay or dampness.

Hey, they forgot to include drywall, insulation and carpeting in that defintition.

There are more dangerous organisms than mold thriving in most people’s pants! Yet, we don’t disclose that fact and don’t charge a fortune to treat it and clean it up. Thank goodness lawyers haven’t figured out how to sue underwear manufacturers and clothing retailers because of it–yet! ::slight_smile:

Hey, mold has gotten tons of media attention these last few year. It’s a popular way to say, “there’s something wrong with my house that’s really, really bad, and someone should be sued to pay for it!”

Oh well, you can just assume it’s localized and treat it with Tri Sodium Phosphate (I’ve read that bleach won’t kill of the buggers). Or, you can run around crying and screaming in fear that the entire house must be filled with unmentionable toxins that will causeblindness and cancer to all those who enter the dwelling. If so, tear down those walls! Take your samples! Do you lab tests!

I’d just say that however seriously you take the problem when you buy, that’s how seriously you should consider the issue when you sell. If mold is a big deal to you now, then it’s a big deal to your buyer down the road. If you get a big discount now because of mold, offer your future buyer a big discount, unless you completely remove it. I tend not to make a big deal out of mold.

I get rid of mold the way I get rid of roaches. Treat, kill, and retreat if necessary. Dead roaches are ok. I just need to sweep them up. Live ones mean I need to retreat. People don’t run screaming when they see a dead roach because they know how to treat them. Why is mold such a mystery, conjuring up visions of hazmat guys in bio suits?

I always discolse that my houses have mold. I live in Florida and chances are that mold is growing somewhere in the house. I leave it up to my buyers to do their due dilligence, get an inspection, and figure out if it’s really a problem for them. Unless you’re a mold expert, don’t speculate about how much the mold may or may not have spread. If you see a spot, disclose it that you know about the spot. If you know what’s causing it, disclose it–better yet, fix it. If you don’t see it, you can’t very well disclose it. BTW, you should (must) disclose what you have knowledge of, wheter or not you call the health department. Disclosure protects you. Disclose it. Then it’s up to your buyers to decide what’s an acceptable risk for them.

I personally don’t give thousand dollar discounts for something that requires $2 in bleach (I mean TSP) and a few minutes with a scrub brush, if you know what I mean. But then, if the problem is really that simple, I take care ot.

I really have caution you about some advice given here:

Mold doesn’t grow and spread unless it has: 1. moisture, 2. food. Unfortunately, most drywall is all the food those suckers need. Fortunately, solving moisture problems usually solves the mold problem. Easy! No moisture, no mold. Oh, you may have old inactive stains (like old termite damage <> live infestations), just cover 'em up. If mold is spreading, you’ve got moisture in those areas. Roaches, on the other hand–those damn things really do spread on their own.

Under no circumstances should you call your health department! What the hell for? Health departments will only do what they know how to do with mold: 1. innoculate it, 2. misdiagnose it, 3. ask for more funding to study it, 4. quarantine it, 5. give you a free pamphlet on it. None of these are worthwhile. And, you’ll still have mold in the house when they’re done with it.

I don’t know what county is seizing property because of mold and tearing it down. It sounds very unconstitutual to me, not to mention very ignorant. But then most of our modern day government operates outside the bounds of the constitution (another topic). And they’ve demonstrated their unlimited capacity for mindless action on many occasions. So, what’s new?

Treat, fix, disclose. That will do 'er!


Just a quick thought:
Every few years there is a new housing “Plague”. There was led in paint, asbestos, radon, and now mold. Tomorrow…they’ll sell “organic” houses for twice the price.

Organic Houses

What a concept!

Pay twice the price for half as nice.


Yup. The house issue de’jour is mold. “Toxic” mold is even better!

Down here, it used to be lead paint, termites, then asbestos. Radioactive radon gas took a shot at being #1, but didn’t quite make it. Hmmm, what will be next? Where’s the next “trans-fat” hysteria of residential housing?

Lawyers, builders, remodlers and even investors are just waiting for the next issue de’jour. I hope we find another one soon. I’m running out of really moldy houses to clean up.


Well said