Is this mold? Worth flipping?

12 Replies

Stumbled upon this on Zillow. Is this black mold? Is this something any flipper would bother with? No inside inspections allowed. Price about 10K. It is in a large (not huge) city 3 minutes walk to major University. Good neighborhood, 2 bedrooms.

When you sell the home, on the disclosure you would have to disclose the previous mold damage. Hiring a certified mold restoration company (can be $$) sometimes is needed as some buyers want the assurance that the mold was remediated properly.

Originally posted by @Nik S. :

When you sell the home, on the disclosure you would have to disclose the previous mold damage. Hiring a certified mold restoration company (can be $$) sometimes is needed as some buyers want the assurance that the mold was remediated properly.

 Oh, I definitely would hire someone and of course a disclosure would be in place. I have never dealt with mold at all, I know it can be removed, but at this scale... is it even possible or this property should be just demolished? 

Location is fantastic though...

@Sarah Day Mold is a non issue for most serious rehabbers. It is just another cost to deal with.

Oh Just noticed "no interior inspections". This would be a high priority target for me as many others would shy away.

Contingent on the location, a tear down could work (different ball game than flipping). A house that you aren’t allowed in and they showed you only those pictures... it’s not a good sign. There’s deals out there so don’t be too attracted by the low asking price. Calculated risks are always better.. do the risks out whey the pros in this situation? What’s ARV? What’s profit potential? Mold is part of flipping it just depends how bad. Is there a foundation issue which is causing the water/moisture mold?

Black mold is a huge misnomer and has been seriously over-hyped. It is impossible to tell if mold is the dreaded "black mold" unless you get it tested but that is expensive. You have to get rid of it regardless. The black mold most people hear about contain Stachybotrys Mycotoxins. Most of the time mold will not be this type of strain but it depends on geography and length of time left to fester. Most of the time you can just kill it with bleach(non-porous surfaces) or throw it away (porous material like drywall). I would be more concerned about what caused the mold especially how it has almost a straight line horizontally across that wall. 

The problem you will run into is that since once its on the internet, it is there forever, future buyers can see those pictures and if they find them and ask if you had it remediated and your response is "Umm, ya I killed it with bleach" they are gunna walk. That basement has some moisture problems and we don't have many basements here in TX but my guess is the drainage system around the foundation is not working and when it rains the water sinks down and can't be moved away. So you need to factor in mold remediation, drainage work, and resealing the basement. They will have to dig down around the entirety of the structure to redo the drainage pipes and apply the sealant-it is not cheap! The numbers could still work but just get quotes beforehand so you don't buy a money pit. 

Originally posted by @Nik S. :

Contingent on the location, a tear down could work (different ball game than flipping). A house that you aren't allowed in and they showed you only those pictures... it's not a good sign. There's deals out there so don't be too attracted by the low asking price. Calculated risks are always better.. do the risks out whey the pros in this situation? What's ARV? What's profit potential? Mold is part of flipping it just depends how bad. Is there a foundation issue which is causing the water/moisture mold?

 Actually, upstairs looks very presentable - typical 80's style, but nothing like THAT - normal walls, floors, windows etc. We know nothing about issue that there are. I will try to get something out of them, but per ad, they are not allowed to enter the property whatsoever. Does not sound inspiring :D

Based upon my understanding of how the dreaded "black mold" called Stachybotrys develops and the patterns it forms on surfaces, the majority of the mold depicted does not appear to be Stachybotrys.

Maybe they will not let you enter because they, realtor and owner, do not want to be sued if you get sick. I once signed a release to view a house with mold from a leaky roof. Always be cautious on any purchase, but it may be that the mold is the only serious issue and the seller is not trying to hide anything by not allowing an inspection, just trying to avoid a lawsuit. Is there a disclosure?

Black doesn't mean toxic.  If it looks like a good investment overall, you should be able to get an offer accepted and get in ot inspect during the contingency/due dilligence process (perhaps even needing to sign a waiver as mentioned above and wearing a mask).  It looks nasty, but that is also going to keep others away, which makes an opportunity for the brave!

Originally posted by @Marian Smith :

Maybe they will not let you enter because they, realtor and owner, do not want to be sued if you get sick. I once signed a release to view a house with mold from a leaky roof. Always be cautious on any purchase, but it may be that the mold is the only serious issue and the seller is not trying to hide anything by not allowing an inspection, just trying to avoid a lawsuit. Is there a disclosure?

I have signed numerous releases for houses.

The mold would not bother me. The fact there is a very distinct water line about 1.5-2' up leads me to believe there is a significant drainage/water issue. Demoing the mold isn't tough, but putting in a French drain or perimeter drain and sump pump system can be costly.

Specifically in my area, this is extremely common. The foreclosure process involves immediate winterization and they turn off the power and also the sump pumps. Sump pump overflows in the spring and voila. 2 months later they decide to turn on the electricity and drain the basement, they then leave the house closed up all summer with moisture in the basement. Depending on the management company or contracted broker, they MIGHT throw a dehumidifier down there and never empty the tank. 

It's always the exact same story... and was such on my personal home. 

We demo'd all porous materials and got it down to straight concrete. Concentrated bleach, a garden hose, and a scrub brush made quick work of the mold on the concrete. Mold armor for porous materials was used on the joists above. I then sprayed two coats of mold killing, watertight primer on the walls, and a slightly different product for the ceiling. It's been over two years and I haven't had a hint of moisture and no odors to speak of. 

Note: It was tested, but not reported. It looked just like the photos above, but was penicillin, which is harmless until messed with. Wear masks.