Money in Mold
by Steve Cook

So what is the big deal with mold? It’s something that has been around as long as man has. Yet in recent years, it has become a problematic issue within the real estate industry and has caused many investors to shy away from properties. However, if you are smart, you will embrace mold rather than run from it.

The first step in embracing mold is understanding what it really is and what purpose it serves. Mold is a fungus that breaks down dead materials such as plants, leaves, and animal feces. It can be found indoors and outdoors and travels through the air we breathe in the form of spores. When mold settles on an area where it can grow, it often forms patches known as colonies. I can assure you that every single home you will buy, including the one you are currently living in, will have some mold in it. However, not all molds are harmful. But where good molds grow, harmful molds can also and our obvious concern is the harmful kind.

Although I’m not an expert on mold and won’t attempt to teach you what is harmful and what is not, I will explain how you can profit from and fix mold problems. The good news is that mold is a curable problem. It needs moisture, food and a surface to grow. Remove these items and the mold cannot breed. Moisture is probably the biggest culprit to harmful molds developing and growing within homes.

Mold motivates owners to sell their properties. People are scared of and running from it. Most people who own homes with mold problems are afraid to sell them to just anyone. These owners are panicking and many are selling their homes at low-cost because they want to get rid of the problem. If you can buy homes like this, with a deep enough discount to remediate the mold problem, you can find many profitable deals.

Additionally, the clean up of mold is not that difficult – though sometimes it’s easier than others. It can normally be resolved during the course of renovations. In extreme cases where mold has gotten behind walls and into the insulation, the entire home may need to be gutted in order to remove it and the environment that it is growing in. This is something that I do all the time. It would be wise to also have a professional come in after your clean up to certify that your home is free from harmful molds. If they find additional mold, let them take care of it. Remember to document the entire process.

Most important in this process is stopping the cause of what is allowing the mold to grow. Usually it’s a leaking pipe or roof, or standing water. Find the source of the moisture and stop it.

Once you know the process of working with mold in homes, it can become a niche worth pursuing. Learn the costs for remediation and factor this into your offers. Insurance companies, HUD, and bank owned properties are possible sources for finding mold - contaminated properties.

Copyright © 2005 Steve Cook, All rights reserved.

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