Home Inspector Makes Suspicious Mold Disclosure

Jan 15 2014

The House Detective:  by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry:  Our home recently fell out of escrow, and the circumstances were very suspicious. The buyers hired a home inspector who reported that we have mold. We were unable to see any mold, but the inspector said it was only visible with a special flashlight. We agreed to remove the mold ourselves, but the buyers said they wanted it done by a professional. Lo and behold, the home inspector was also in that line of work – for a fee of $1500. While we were negotiating this, the buyers cancelled the sale. What do you think of this situation?  Valerie

Dear Valerie:  The fact that the home inspector was ready to remove mold that no one else could see is highly suspect. Furthermore, it is a conflict of interest for a home inspector to perform repair work on a home that he has inspected. To do so violates the codes of ethics of every home inspector association.

The main issue for now is to determine whether you actually have mold in your home and what to disclose to future buyers. To answer the mold question, you should hire a professional mold inspector for an evaluation. If mold is found, you can have a qualified contractor do the remediation. And make sure that the one who does the removal is not the one who did the inspection.

If it turns out that you do not have mold, you can use the mold report for disclosure to future buyers. You can also use the report as evidence if you file an ethics complaint against the home inspector.

 

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Questions regarding home inspection please email Barry Stone at questions@housedetective.com

One Comment

  1. Dear Barry,

    It appears to me that you are way off base on this one with respect to citing a conflict of interest.

    How come it is not a conflict of interest for a mechanic performing a State Inspection on my car to offer/provide repairs on my car?

    Sounds to me like you are in the paranoid inspector camp.

    The consumer should be allowed to choose their inspector and their trades-person for repairs.

    There are consumers that prefer one-stop shopping/service and others that prefer to specify their preferences in service people.

    Conflict of interest is when you take money from opposing sides of a business transaction. Working for the buyer and the seller on the same transaction is a conflict of interest.

    Working for the buyer on service A and working for the buyer on service B is not a conflict of interest.

    Sounds like Barry bought the story of the DIY seller and put the blame on the Buyer’s home inspector. So Barry, how did you determine that the Buyer’s home inspector is not a professional mold inspector? Sounds like he might be one, and the seller didn’t like the findings. Sounds like the buyer has some confidence in their home inspector and walked away from the DIY mold removal project.

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Barry Stone

Barry StoneKnown today as "America's House Detective," Barry advises readers from coast to coast about home inspection and real estate disclosure, providing honest clarity, fresh wit, consumer protection, and even-handed fairness in his responses to real estate questions. Read more.

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