Now that economic uncertainty has dropped housing prices, many new buyers are in the market to purchase used property. But what should you do if a property has mold? Considering all the bad things we say about mold, you might assume this is a deal breaker. But this isn’t necessarily true. The issue of mold in a home can turn into a home buyer’s biggest nightmare, and yet it can also be their greatest fortune.

When buying a property, you want to discover the history of that property in terms of mold growth and water leaks. Even though sellers are required to disclose any past incidents with mold, you should still ask. If there was mold growth in the past, find out what caused it in order to determine if there is an ongoing moisture problem in the home. If it was caused by a flooding disaster, then that isn’t the home’s fault. But if mold is the result of unrepaired water leaks, then take that into consideration.

Please be aware that a home inspector is not required to report findings of mold. This is not common knowledge and I’ve heard many stories of people burned by their inspectors over this issue. Mold and all other environmental issues are not covered under the standards of practice for the home inspection profession. No home inspector is required to investigate or report mold, and often they do not. You will need to find mold yourself or hire an industrial hygienist or mold inspector.

So, if the property does have mold, the worst thing you can do is ignore it just because the price is low. The seller may be trying to get rid of his house because the mold has made the house uninhabitable. How much would you pay for a house that you can’t live in? But, on the other hand, the seller’s misfortune could be your treasure. By knowing about the most effective and inexpensive mold remediation methods, you could create an advantage. Quite a few people that have made a fortune flipping moldy, unlivable properties.

You’ll need estimates on how much to correct the moisture problem as well as how much to remove the existing mold. When you’re finished with these calculations, you may find you are still well under the asking price.

Always take the time to personally investigate mold when buying a property. But don’t necessarily let mold make it a deal breaker. A little knowledge can save or make you a lot of money in real estate.