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Mold in Foreclosures and REO Homes - New Jersey & Pennsylvania

Mold in Foreclosures and REO Homes - New Jersey & Pennsylvania

According to, 1 in every 1217 homes in Pennsylvania is in foreclosure and every 1 in 539 homes in New Jersey is in foreclosure. Foreclosure is typically a long process, throughout which homes are commonly vacant. With no one tending to the homes, any issues that occur inside the home – including floods, pipe bursts, leaks, and etc.- can go undetected for extended periods of time. These homes may also have their power shut off. No power means no heat, no air conditioning and no sump pumps. All of these situations can promote the growth of mold within the home.

Here are five "moldy" scenarios that you may encounter when purchasing a bank-owned property and how to protect yourself:

  • If the power has been turned off…
  • If there is no power in the home, the mechanical systems are not functioning. Lack of airflow in the home can create a musty or stale odor in the home and it will also promote mold growth. If the power is off in the home, we highly suggest having a mold inspection and mold testing to assess the air quality in the home.

  • If you see visible mold growth…
  • If there is excessive visible mold growth, you may choose to forgo the cost of mold testing and just get a quote for mold remediation. Knowing the cost of the mold remediation, what needs to be done to prevent the growth and if anything will need to be done to build back the areas after the work is complete can help you decide if this is the right home for you.

  • If there is evidence that mold remediation or mitigation has been done…
  • There are things that you can look for when walking through the home that may indicate there has been a water loss event or mold remediation has been done. Some of these things include missing baseboards, missing drywall, missing flooring or moisture staining. If there is a sign that there has been a water loss event or any mold remediation work has been done, we encourage you to perform a mold inspection and mold testing to make sure that there no further work needs to be performed.

  • If large areas are freshly painted or encapsulated…
  • If you notice encapsulation paint, which is typically white, on areas such as the bottom side of the roof in the attic, subflooring or walls in the crawl space or subflooring and walls in a basement, consider having a mold inspection and testing done to insure that “normal” fungal/mold conditions exist. While encapsulation is sometimes used as part of the remedial scope of work, encapsulation alone will not solve the problem and may have been done to cover up mold growth.

  • If it is disclosed that mold remediation has been done…
  • If it is disclosed that there has been mold remediation work completed, ask to see a full scope of work of what was done, know when it was done, and the information on the company who performed the work. Be sure that the company is a qualified and certified remediation company. Remediation companies are also required to have Home Improvement Contractor Licenses in both PA and NJ. Finally, ask if any post-remediation verification was completed and for a copy of the lab results. If post-remediation verification and testing has not been done or it has been sometime since the remediation work has been completed and the home was sitting vacant, consider having mold testing done to insure that no further actions are needed.

If you are looking to purchase a foreclosure or bank-owned property and have questions or are in need of an expert opinion, please contact us in PA: 215-804-1077 or NJ: 609-457-1134.