Where to Check for Mold before Buying Your Next Home

Moshe Amos

Each year, thousands of homeowners end up buying houses filled with mold. Mold hides anywhere, which is why it’s so important to know the signs of mold before you buy your next home. The last thing you’d want as a homeowner is to clean up costly mold damage that you could have prevented with a little diligence before making such a big purchase.
If you suffer from chronic illnesses like asthma or allergies, you know that mold is a trigger. Still, if you have no allergies and a healthy immune system, mold can bring you some health problems. Mold can make you cough, wheeze, have irritant skin and eyes.
Mold can grow anywhere. Damp areas like bathrooms are major breeding grounds for mold. You may also be able to tell the presence of mold if you see discolored spots on the floor or wall. It may be easier to see mold in the bathroom but not in a wall cavity in the basement.
Sometimes you may fail to see any visible mold does not guarantee that your home is mold-free. Unless you do a proper mold inspection before buying a new home, you are in the dark.

Causes of Mold in Your Home

Mold is a fungus that grows from microorganisms that float in the air called hyphae. The growth of these microorganisms creates a mold that reproduces in our homes.
Mold can trigger an attack in people with lung problems such as asthma. You may fail to locate a mold in the house, though it could be a mold if you smell a musty smell.
Mold can be black, purple, white, orange, or green. For mold to grow, it requires;

  • The availability of mold spores
  • A physical surface to grow on
  • Warmth or moist air
  • Oxygen
  • Presence of darkness

It would help to know where to check for mold to prevent its development and keep your home healthy.

Is having a Mold Inspection necessary?

Yes, having a mold inspection is essential before moving into a new home. Mold exposure can cause mild reactions like a sore throat or stuffy nose. Besides, some people may have adverse effects like inflammation of the lung tissues. Therefore, mold inspection would help protect your family from such health problems.

How to Determine the Presence of Mold

You can spot mold on a surface, or a damp smell could mean that there is mold. But, to be sure, you can use a mold test kit.
To test for mold on a surface or in the air you breathe, request help from the experts. The whole testing process takes a few days.

Who is at the most risk of suffering from Mold Exposure?

Everyone is at risk of exposure to mold. But the most vulnerable group is:

  • The elderly, who have weaker immune systems
  • Children whose immune systems are not entirely developed
  • Expectant women
  • Patients with compromised immune systems, for example, people who have Lupus.

Knowing where to check for mold would help keep your home and loved ones safe. Being aware could also help restore your home to better standards. Here is a list of places mold is likely to grow.

1. The Outdoor Spaces

Before entering your dream house, have a walk around the house. Check the roofing for any curved or missing parts and ask about the roof age. Check for cracks on the home’s foundation and leveling.
Check whether the house gutters are intact. Are the downspouts directed away from or adjacent to the foundation?

2. The Walls and Ceiling

Mold can hide on the walls and ceiling of your home without you noticing sooner. Unfortunately, to know for sure if there is mold in your roof, you may need a professional. However, red signs like a musty smell or condensation on your walls and ceiling may be a sign of mold.
If the house has wallpaper, you may realize the wallpaper is peeling off. Do not peel off the wallpaper entirely, which could trigger mold spores. If you suspect mold in your walls and ceiling, get help from an expert.

3. In The Living Room

Are you buying a readily furnished home? Check the couch and curtains as they can do an excellent job collecting mold spores.
Household plants are perfect air fresheners. But, if left unmonitored can promote the growth of mold. So, check that your home greeneries have enough water not overflowing.
Again, since you are planning to buy, the fireplace and chimney have not been in use. Therefore, the places are cool and dark, attracting mold spores—the bricks around the fireplace act as catalysts for mold growth as they are porous.

4. The Kitchen

The sink is a potential spot for the growth of mold. Food particles and water always run through the sink. Check the faucets under the sink and its cabinet for stains or mildew. Oh, and run water through the sink to confirm whether the pipes are okay. Leaky pipes can be a mold hotspot.
Check the kitchen pantry if it is clean, dry, and free from mold.
Food often spills on the microwave and stove, making a home for mold growth. So, it is better to be sure that these food-centric places don’t have mold.
Remember that there will be much moisture in the kitchen when cooking. Hence, ensure that the kitchen exhaust fan is above the cooking area and works well.
Another place to check for mold in the kitchen is the window sills, as they are heaven for mold spores. They feed off these places, so the sills should be clean and dry.

5. In The Bedroom

You may be wondering, how can my bedroom be a breeding ground for molds? However, every indoor room is susceptible to decay, so it won’t harm to check.
Again, if planning to buy a furnished home, check the mattress. I know the thought of mold on your spongy bed is scary, but yes, it can grow. So, ensure your mattress is clean, cool, and dry.
Inspect the bedroom windows and window sills where condensation could occur.
Your bedroom’s air conditioning and heating vents give you a good night’s rest. At the same time, it gives mold excellent breeding ground. As much as the AC controls humidity levels, it is essential to check them for mold.

6. In The Bathroom

Imagine having a long hot shower; the mold also has quality time with you. The bathroom’s wet and moist environment welcomes these microorganisms to develop. Water damage in the bathrooms can be huge as they have poor ventilation hence attracting mold.

  • First, you check the vanity as it is damp all the time. Also, check the shower curtain, shower head, and faucet.
  • Check the bathroom ceiling for stains.
  • Inspect the bathroom sink, counter, toilet tank, and connecting pipes. Since water is a common denominator in the bathroom, it will likely promote mold growth.
  • Inspect the bathroom walls from top to bottom. Check for water leaks from the bathroom walls or floors as they fasten mold growth.

7. The Attic

Mold in the attic can clog the ventilation system. If you don’t check, the mold can spread to other rooms in the house.
Therefore, check for mold on the roof near any vents, furnace, or water heater in your attic.

8. The Basement

A musty smell does not have to come out of your basement if you check and keep mold out. Since the basement tends to be moist, check areas where condensation could occur, e.g., windows. Also, check for leaks around the ducts and pipes.

Get the Value for Your Money

A mold-free home is a healthy home. If you want to buy a home, do your due diligence and inspect for mold presence.
There is no perfect home, in any case. New York Total Damage Restoration (NYTDR) turns mold into magic. Contact us today before buying your new home and allow us to walk with you home.


Moshe Amos

Moshe has more over 15 years as a licensed contractor in the New York City area. 

As a New York State-licensed Mold Assessor, he is especially knowledgeable about mold assessment and remediation.


Fire & Water Damage ‧ Mold Remediation ‧ Asbestos & Lead ‧ All Abatement ‧ Total Renovation