Home inspections are a vital step in the house hunting process, regardless of the purchase in question or the level of experience and knowledge possessed by the shopper. But depending on the age, condition and structural integrity of a property, inspections can focus more heavily on certain elements of a home.

Among these tailored services are mold inspections, which are especially common for homes that were foreclosed upon and may have been left unattended for months, even years, at a time. Particularly in damper, more humid climates where surfaces are more likely to have moisture or condensation, mold spores floating in the air can attach themselves and quickly expand their territory. This becomes an issue not only from an aesthetic standpoint, but also because it threatens to weaken the structure of the property and can pose health risks for those living there.

Mold inspections are not typically included as part of a standard home inspection, so it's on the prospective buyer and their real estate services team to identify and then address the spore situation. The issues that can arise from an unattended or unknown mold presence usually only get worse with time, so it's worth tackling the matter in the early stages before moving into a home rather than paying a lot for it down the road. For example, mold may be festering in walls thanks to a roof leak, unbeknownst to a buyer or previous resident, or perhaps because of a drainage problem. Either way, if it spreads enough before being detected, it will require replacing entire sections of the wall in an effort to attack the source.

Don't try to DIY 

While some house hunters endeavor to conduct inspections on their own, it's generally in the best interest of everyone involved to have a mold inspection administered by professionals. The issue is so specific and in many cases, difficult to detect, that it's better to rely on the expertise of someone with experience rather than taking a chance in the name of cost-cutting. Professional mold inspectors are equipped with fiber optic cameras and devices that measure thermal moisture levels, and they are also trained to detect leaks, relative humidity levels and drainage issues.

For all these practical reasons, as well as for the sake of peace of mind, enlisting the services of a reputable mold inspections provider is worth the time and effort.