Greetings all and happy Sunday!
Thank you for the great comments and ideas – please keep them coming so I can focus on the issues most important to the greatest number of people.
Today we’re going to talk about mold. Special thanks for input on today’s topic to Steve Brasslett from Ivy First Mortgages, who I have worked with for over 8 years on hundreds of transactions. He is a friend and a trusted resource and always keeps it real. You can visit him at www.ivyfirst.com .
Steve will be speaking at a Rebuilding Seminar I am holding on 3/21/13 between 3-5 pm. in Lacey. Contact me for more info and to reserve a space.
Daily contractor tip: Whether you treated and remediated mold yourself, or had a contractor do it, ultimately you must have a licensed mold remediation contractor certify that the treatment was been successful. An air quality test is performed to determine that mold spoors are not still present in dangerous quantities. If you do not do this and proceed to close up your walls, regardless of whether there is mold present, the lack of certification will come back to haunt you when you try and sell your home.
Back to the mold story.
So we listened to the weather forecasts in late October of 2012, and battened down as best we could. After we lived through the storm surge that was the highest in 100 years and washed away our homes (or at least the bottom 4 feet) , we scurried around like crazy people stripping sheetrock and insulation (spending between $4000 – $8000 per house to do so and collectively wasting over $36,000,000 – more on that in another blog), and treated for mold because we were terrified not to.
Now, mold is certainly an issue, and the potential health concerns worried us, so we dried and treated and bleached like mad. Then after about a month, when the power came back on and we had gas and internet again, we stopped and took a breath.
That’s when we discovered the paradigm had shifted, the rules were different, and rebuilding in place might cost us $30,000 a year in flood insurance premiums, instead of the $1,000 we were used to. Regardless of the presence or absence of mold. Another one of life’s cruel ironies.
It would’ve been kind of nice for them to let us know that before we expended all that time, money and resources doing something that may have been unnecessary, but we’re here now. Many (most) of us have been realizing that the issues concerning rebuilding are many and varied and grow more complex daily. It’s not a viable option for most to simply treat for mold, insulate, rewire, sheetrock and paint. Like I said, the rules were changed – several times – in the midst of the chaos.
So what does this mean? Stepping away from the dollars and cents considerations of new versus rebuild, we move to the issue of future market perception of storm damaged homes. It is important to keep in mind: for the next 10 years, whenever a piece of real estate is offered for sale in NJ between Point Pleasant and Atlantic City, one of the single largest concerns (assuming of course that the property wasn’t demolished and rebuilt) will be the presence of mold.
This concern may be founded or unfounded, but all buyers will request to see proof of treatment or remediation, as well as a clean certification. Your inability to demonstrate what was done after the storm will definitely affect a buyer’s perception of your home. As I said, regardless of the mold remediation, a buyer may very well view your property through a jaded eye, causing them to discount their offer. Remember that we as buyers, and thus the market in general, are very fickle creatures. Often just a perceived negative notion about a property, will cause a buyer to look elsewhere.
So please keep these moldy thoughts in mind as you go through your rebuilding process and you will not be caught in this situation when you go to sell your home.
Enjoy the day.