Featuring America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Barry Stone

Dear Barry: Construction of our new home was recently completed, but four days before the closing, vandals broke into the house. They stopped up all of the drains and turned on the faucets. The builder found the mess in the morning. He immediately replaced the carpeting and some of the drywall, but he dismissed the possibility of mold. We are confident that he can repair all of the water damage but are concerned about future health issues in the home. Because of this, we may walk away from the transaction. Do you think we are overreacting?  Ken

Dear Ken:Your concerns about mold are reasonable, but this should not become a deal-killing point of contention. Mold may or may not be an issue in this situation, but the matter needs to be determined, one way or the other.

Mold typically occurs when there is a prolonged moisture condition. In this case, the moisture may have been addressed before mold had a chance to develop. A mold report would provide the answer to that question, and the builder should be willing to go that extra step to resolve your final concerns in the aftermath of the vandalism. Instead of dismissing the issue, he should hire a qualified mold inspector to evaluate the property and provide a comprehensive mold report.

Aside from the health effects of mold, there is another consideration in this matter: the issue of future disclosure. Flooding of the home is now a part of the property’s history. When you eventually sell the home, this will need to be disclosed to future buyers. A clean mold report can prevent that disclosure from raising major concerns. On that basis, the question of mold needs to be answered by a qualified professional.