Buying Advice

Pitfalls of Home Inspections: I Smell Mold

Imagine falling in love with the perfect condo: It has the right amount of natural light, it’s within your budget, and it has a great floor plan. You feel it’s the one you will love forever, and you’re lucky enough to win a bidding war so you go into escrow.

Now imagine that you hire a professional home inspector and air conditioner company during your due diligence process. Both vendors arrive and give their recommendations. But upon leaving, one of them stops at the front door, turns back, looks at you, and says, “I smell mold.”

This happened recently to my clients during their inspection period when they were buying a unit in the Waikoloa Beach Resort.

Another time, during an inspection at a previous sale at Alii Cove complex in Kona, the inspector found black mold in the lanai storage. This time, there was visible mold present, so it was an easy decision to make sure that the issue was resolved before the close of escrow. But what happens if the mold is not visible?

Why Have a Home Inspection for Your Big Island Real Estate Purchase?

Because of Hawaii’s humid climate, it’s essential to keep an eye out not just for mold, but for water damage and areas prone to flooding. As you know, mold is an allergen that can cause severe health issues.

Even though it’s not mandatory to hire a professional home inspector, it can be one of the best buying strategies a home buyer can use, especially when buying a condo on the Big Island. As illustrated above, the home inspection can uncover hidden home issues, deferred maintenance, and yes, mold.

Hiring a home inspector can cost anywhere from $395 to $2,500+ depending upon the size of the home and additional services you purchase.

The Goal of the Inspection

Remember, the goal of your Big Island home inspection is to find the things that are not obvious such as water damage, mold, and major appliance issues. Many homes will have deferred maintenance and you don’t want costly repairs or hidden problems to go unnoticed.

Be Present for the Inspections

Some buyers and agents choose not to be present during the home inspection. Sometimes they can take up to three hours, yet every minute you are in the home allows you to look around the house, absorb the home, and learn as much as you can about it. I understand quite a bit while watching and after the inspector gives his verbal inspection report. He will provide a written report, too, which can potentially be used to further negotiate the deal if necessary.

Testing for Mold

The naked eye cannot always detect moisture within walls, spot plumbing issues, and find mold in hidden areas. Thermal imagining helps to detect moisture in the walls and show if there is indeed a hidden problem. This is typically done before any mold is found visibly, and it can save you a lot of time and money if you find the problem before it becomes a significant issue.

Learn more about Thermal imaging in a 2-minute video from Top Notch Home Inspections:

If you have a compromised immune system and you’re buying a condo on the Big Island, it might be good to plan to test the air in the home for mold. You’d be wise to prepare for this test during your due diligence period because the air samples are sent to Oahu and it takes at least a couple of days for the results to come back.

Remedies for Mold

Before a mold specialist can start the remediation process, they must first find the source of the water or moisture. They can then dry out the area with industrial fans and dehumidifiers. Then the drywall and any contaminated areas will be removed.

Learn more about taking Mold Samples in a 2-minute video from Top Notch Home Inspections:

After the mold removal and cleanup, they will test the air quality again to ensure that mold is no longer present.

Sharing Real Stories

Thanks for reading my blog and allowing me to share my Big Island real estate experiences with you. My purpose with this blog is to educate and share valuable knowledge that a real estate agent knows but that a buyer or seller may not know.

My goal is for you to be a happy home buyer or seller! Please reach out if you have any questions about Big Island real estate or are looking to buy or sell your home.

With aloha,

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Kathleen Cavanaugh

February 3, 2022

It looks like you are defaming the shores condominiums as you use it’s picture in your mold /inspection story.
Duh? Please be nice? Starts at home.

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