Mold spores are a fact of life. They’re tiny, too small to see with the naked eye, and float about in the air. Trouble arises when they land on something wet and begin growing.  Once that happens, the clock is ticking.  As long as there is moisture, the mold will grow and spread. Mold can cause suffering for people with allergies or asthma.  Left unchecked, mold can cause damage to your home.

The keys to preventing a mold problem are ventilation, humidity, and preventing water leaks. Mold thrives in moisture, so ventilation and low humidity will dry out wet spots. And when you find moisture in places where it shouldn’t be, you need to be looking for a source of leaking water and fix it as quickly as possible.

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that as long as the mold area is less than ten square feet, you can clean it up yourself. If the problem has grown beyond that, you’ll want to hire a contractor with mold remediation experience.  If you are going to try handling a small area yourself, the EPA has these suggestions:

  1. Protect yourself and others from exposure to mold. Wear goggles, gloves and an N-95 respirator, which looks like a paper dust mask with a nozzle on the front of it.
  2. Fix leaks and other water problems and let affected areas dry completely.
  3. Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and let it dry.
  4. Porous materials like carpet and ceiling tiles may need to be thrown away because mold is nearly impossible to remove completely from them.

The problem with mold is that you can’t always see it. If you smell mold, but don’t see any or the house has had water damage and your family is having allergic reactions, you may need some help.  Mold problems can be hidden inside the walls of your house, under wallpaper or paneling, on top of ceiling tiles, on the underside of roofing materials and even in your ductwork. Finding it and exposing it to clean it can release massive amounts of spores, which is why you may want to bring in a professional.

The cost of cleaning an extensive mold problem is high enough that you need to protect yourself when buying a home. An experienced home inspector should be able to see the signs of mold or water damage that could lead to mold.  If you’re selling, you’re going to wind up paying a mold problem, so it’s not a bad idea to have your home checked well ahead of that time if you suspect there may be a problem. As always, if you have questions about how mold problems can affect buying or selling, contact me and I’ll help put it all into perspective for you.

Masha Halpern, Broker, CLHMS, GRI
Keller Williams Realty

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Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel Hill, Durham, Carrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is also a member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price points. Masha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting

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