Should I buy a house with hurricane flood damage that has been repaired?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Flood-damaged homes that investors bought at bargain prices and rehabbed, with varying levels of quality of work, will come on the market a few months after any major storms in the Texas, Gulf Coast, and Florida. A home that has had professional flood remediation is safe to buy, but one with only a cosmetic makeover by a contractor that is not licensed or qualified to do flood/mold remediation work can be a big mistake for the new homeowner. 

    Mold hidden in the walls of a quick-flip house will cause elevated levels of mold spores inside the home, and any moisture due to condensation or a minor roof leak will quickly activate the dormant mold spores and escalate into a new mold problem. Also, because the spores will continue to slowly leak out of the walls long after the mold itself is dead, a poorly remediated home will aggravate any occupants with mold sensitivity for quite a while.

    There are two different strategies you can use to protect yourself when buying a hurricane flood-damaged house that has been restored, according to Jorge Villalobos, of The Best Restoration LLC, in Gainesville, Florida. The first is to ask for documentation of the repairs. A professional remediation contractor will have followed an specified protocol, which is a sequential action plan, and tested both the air and indoor surfaces for mold levels at the completion of the work. A report on the work done, and an “all clear” finding at completion of the work, should be available for you to review. The license qualifications of the contractor will also be in the report. Florida, along with other states, has a specific license required for mold remediation contractors.

     The second thing you can do is have the indoor air tested by a mold inspector to see if there is an elevated mold spore count. “I recommend also going a little further and removing a small section of baseboard and test a sample on the interior surface of the drywall behind it for mold,” according to Jorge. “If the studs were not treated with an anti-microbial spray before replacing the drywall, mold will show up there.” 

    These two due-diligence steps will help you make sure you are getting a house that provides a safe indoor environment for your family. For info on buying an unrepaired flood-damaged house, see our blog post Should I buy a house that has hurricane flood damage?

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  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

   Visit our HOME INSPECTION and “SHOULD I BUY A…?”  pages for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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