Mold Problems in Foreclosed Homes
By Harold Kevin
As the Great Recession grinds on, the number of REO (Real Estate Owned) properties continues to rise. Because of this, the link between foreclosure and mold keeps growing. The real estate collapse in the US has led to a growing number of abandoned REO homes with big mold problems.
The infestation of mold in bank-owned, vacant houses exists throughout the country, but particularly in the South. Water leaks and flood problems go untreated without a homeowner to take care of the place. In the event of natural disasters such as hurricanes, unoccupied homes in humid locations can become mold infested within weeks. Unattended indoor swimming pools can provide enough moisture to contaminate virtually every interior surface of a home. In that case, the entire home has become a virtual Petri dish.
Exposure to mold can cause a variety of health problems. The most well-known type of mold is the "black mold" (Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra). The term 'toxic mold' refers to molds that produce mycotoxins. Not all mold that appears black is true Stachybotrys mold, but any mold in a home is bad for your health. People suffering from asthma or allergy, including small children, infants, the elderly, and people with acute health problems are more susceptible to health problems related to mold infestation.
Any toxic mold contamination, but particularly visible black mold, can scare away buyers and drive down the asking price. Where you see mold, you can be sure that more exists where you cannot see. Because of this, any mold damage may be intensive and might require expensive remediation efforts to once again make the home habitable.
Common health-related problems related to toxic mold exposure include allergic reactions, asthma flareups, bronchitis, sinus congestion, headaches and even immune system disorders. Researchers believe that continual exposure to mold over time might contribute to certain types of cancer. This is not proven at this time, but some species of mold contain toxins that are similar to toxins found in individuals who suffer from kidney and liver cancers.
Once a residence, condominium or apartment building is severely infested with mold, it can become extremely difficult to fix. In these cases, a qualified mold inspector should be called int. In the worst cases of mold infestation, the floors and walls must be completely torn away to correct the problems. Many REO properties will not have documented histories about past conditions or treatments. Buyers purchase the homes in an as-is condition.
Infested properties present real challenges to the real estate market. The issue has not helped an already-depressed marketplace. However, a properly cleaned up home that had mold can be sold again. However, if the mold issue not properly handled by a professional, there may be a high risk of lawsuits in the future, particularly if the new owner experiences health problems due to mold growth from an inadequate prior remediation job.
Call H&H Environmental Construction and Consulting for your Connecticut mold removal needs. We also provide water removal services. Serving New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
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