How a Mold Test Protected a Real Estate Agent

Mold is unfortunately a four-letter word that real estate agents at times fear. Combine that with the four-letter word “test” and things can get even more complicated. There are agents who are not familiar with mold testing in Florida, reading mold test results, and how to negotiate with issues if there arise.

Mold is a naturally occurring organism and as such, agents should learn how to deal with the issues so as to be the professional they should be and to help protect themselves from potentially costly statements.

Mold is everywhere and we all need to know how to deal with it. Mold is a symptom of a moisture issue. Moisture is something that can be controlled. This is done by correcting roof leaks, plumbing leaks, poor ventilation, and condensation issues. These are things that are commonly written into requests to remedy and should not be a big deal to handle well. Due to myths and not fully understanding molds, this is hard for some agents to deal with and this lack of knowledge can increase liability for people involved in real estate transactions.

We had a buyer have us do air sampling for mold analysis and during the sampling, the real estate agent walked in and asked what we were doing. He was told that we were taking samples for mold testing because the client asked it to be done. He then scoffs and states that he knows the home intimately and that there is no mold there. The test results came back very high indicating moisture issues. This was consistent with exterior parts of the home which easily increased the odds of water infiltration. The buyer lets us know that the agent then wants to claim that the test was not a good test and tries to talk the client into buying the home anyway without satisfactory remediation. The result of all this was that the client lost trust and confidence in the agent and the deal was canceled.

This agent then wanted to complain to us regarding the testing and somehow wanted us not to offer to do mold testing for clients. In reality, that agent may have avoided a lawsuit. If he walked in a few minutes earlier and made the mold-free claim before the testing started he may have prevented the test from being done by changing the client’s mind. This agent could have been the primary target in a lawsuit regarding mold issues in the home once the situation revealed itself and since he is the one that told the client not to test because he stated to the client that there, not a mold issue.

Do not claim any space is free of mold. Totally mold-free areas do not naturally occur anywhere. The only way to know if a home is free of elevated mold levels is to have it tested. Mold does not have to be visually seen to be present. Mold is not a death sentence on a home, get the moisture situation corrected and clean or remove the concerning areas. Learn that mold can be remedied, and when you try to discredit the test and the lab and press the client into buying anyway, you end up looking bad and you potentially lose a client.