I just read a story on Marketwatch.com about the financial fallout of mold remediation issues. Here is a link to it, but it is located in the advice section of the website.
A young home buyer writes in to detail his account of purchasing a “flipped” home in Florida, only to later find a huge mold problem in the basement, and a water intrusion issue each time it rains. Now he faces $30,000 in repairs and mold abatement for the home and $10,000 in lawyer fees, because he has decided to pursue a case against the flippers who sold him the home. He asks the advice columnist if taking an emergency loan from his 401(K) is a poor decision, given that in most of these cases, the homeowner loses.
First off, this story really, really hits home for me. I am experiencing a very similar situation in our new home, and to put it quite frankly, it sucks. Despite the formally recognized and widely accepted knowledge that mold is a serious and dangerous health issue, there still is not much in place legally to protect home buyers from sellers covering up or trying to get rid of mold infested or damaged homes. Even though they are committing fraud by doing so, some sellers lie or omit the information from their disclosure agreements, because the precedent has already been set that once the home is purchased, the home buyer has little to no recourse. To me, this has to change. Even paid home inspectors seem to be void of responsibility when it comes to protecting a home buyer from this potential problem.
So, the reason I thought I’d pass this story along is twofold:
- The columnist gives great advice on how to best finance this sort of unforeseen “emergency” home repair situation. His advice is not emotionally driven and is sound. My husband and I actually had to make a similar decision with financing the repairs to our home–we chose to take out a low-rate personal loan. Not a happy decision, but a very necessary one. For, our health could NOT afford for the repairs to be done incorrectly.
- The more we know about mold, how dangerous it can be to your overall health and well-being, how to properly clean for it in our own homes and lives, and how to notice and identify the symptoms of when and where it is affecting us, the more powerful we can be as our own watchdogs and advocates. When you are aware of and are cleaning for mold regularly, you begin asking these questions yourself. Some good sources of health information on the web are the Sinusitis Wellness website, and the Moms AWARE website. In the future, my husband and I have decided to create a separate disclosure form for sellers to sign that applies specifically to mold and to water leaks and intrusion. Here is a link to an older article from the Washington Post that is very helpful about what home buyers need to know about seller disclosures.
To close, I hope that you don’t ever have to face this sort of health, emotional and financial situation in your life. I also hope that my little blog is helpful to those seeking information and advice on how to clean for mold and how to keep their living environments safe.