There are many reasons why a homeowner might want to seek out a mold inspection or have mold testing done on their property. Often, property owners have noticed – or suspect – mold is growing in their home and want to seek professional advice. Mold inspections are also frequently requested by both sellers and buyers seeking peace of mind during the property sale process.

Whatever your reason, there are many mold companies who will offer a free mold inspection of your property. More often than not, these offers will come from mold remediation companies who are hoping that a free inspection will turn into a paid remediation.

Sometimes unscrupulous operators will use a free inspection as a means of scaring homeowners into paying for unnecessary, expensive remediation works. While these scams are relatively uncommon, it is still wise to educate yourself about some of the basics of mold growth and removal. This can help you avoid getting ripped off, and will also allow you to engage in a proactive dialogue with your mold inspector.

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If you are seeing advertisements for free mold inspections in your area, these offers are most likely coming from mold remediation companies. These companies derive the majority of their income from performing mold remediation or removal – not from mold inspections.

There are various schools of thought that insinuate that these offers for free mold inspections conceal an ulterior motive. Namely, that the companies making the offers for free inspections are actually hoping to find mold.

Should mold be found during a free inspection, the company will very often provide you with a quote for its removal and recommend their own services as remediators.

If mold has been found in your home during a free inspection, ask the inspector to show you the moldy areas of your home. Keep a record of their findings and their quote, and resist any pressure to immediately engage them for remediation services.

Under these circumstances, it is advisable to seek a second opinion. Even if you have to pay a professional mold inspector to review the problem areas identified in your home, the relatively small inspection fee (around $300-$400) could end up saving you thousands of dollars in expensive remediation works in the long run.

Can renters get a free mold inspection?

The question of who needs to pay for mold inspection and removal between a tenant and a landlord can be a complex one.

If you are easily able to demonstrate that there is mold growing in your rental property, there may not even be any need for a mold inspection. If your landlord disputes the presence of mold in your rental, however, you may be required to pay for an inspection yourself.

As with most other circumstances to do with the upkeep of your rental property, the landlord is responsible to pay for removing mold and also for reimbursing you for any additional costs you may have incurred. If these additional costs include a mold inspection that has proven the presence of mold, then your landlord is legally obligated to repay you.

If you find yourself in an ongoing dialogue with your landlord about any mold that might be growing in your rental property, one of the most important things to do is keep a written record. This is especially crucial if you think that you may end up in a dispute with your landlord, or if you are required to pay any out of pocket expenses.

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Is free mold inspection a scam?

Mold inspection itself is an important part of the mold remediation process, and if you do have mold growing in your home then a thorough mold inspection can help your professional mold remediator decide on the best course of action to remove this mold.

In the vast majority of circumstances, a mold inspection will be included as part of the professional remediation service. If you have large, obvious mold growths in your home that need to be removed, this inspection is a critical, legitimate component of the overall process.

However, if you do not have large mold growths in your home, then you should be cautious of free mold inspections that can very easily lend themselves to scams. If a mold remediation company offers a free inspection of your home, it is in their interests to find mold and subsequently charge you for its removal.

Although these unscrupulous operators are not representative of the entire mold remediation industry, scams relating to free mold inspections do exist. If you are in any doubt about the advice you have received following a free mold inspection, seek a second opinion as soon as possible.

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Why free mold inspections might be a bad idea

There are a few circumstances in which you might be tempted to seek a free mold inspection.

The first of these relates to the suspicion that mold might be growing in your home, even though you can not see any visible growths. By seeking out a free mold inspection, you might be hoping to set your mind at ease and answer the question once and for all.

If this is the case, and you are loath to pay for a mold inspection, ensure you thoroughly research the companies that are offering free inspections. Discuss the inspection process with them beforehand, highlighting the main reasons for your suspicions that mold is growing in your home. Make it clear that you will be obtaining the inspection services of several mold professionals.

You may also wish to have a mold inspection done on a property you are buying or selling. If you are buying, this inspection can allay any fears that your dream home is riddled with mold, and if you are selling, an inspection can garner immediate goodwill among potential buyers.

In this situation, it is highly advisable to seek the mold removal service of a professional, paid mold inspector. A free mold inspection can be tempting, but in the grand scheme of the significant investment represented by the sale of a home, it is much better to ensure you receive the most reputable advice.

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Licensed mold inspector vs. mold removal service

Depending on which state you live in, local mold inspectors and mold remediators may not even be required to hold a license. Many of them will possess a certification, regardless of state laws, so it is always worth asking to see the certifications and licenses held by any companies you engage for mold inspection or remediation in your home.

The National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI) offers two separate, distinct qualifications for mold assessors and mold remediators. It is possible for individuals to hold both of these qualifications concurrently, but it is important to note that holding a certification as a mold remediator doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual is NORMI certified as a mold assessor.

Does a free inspection include a mold test?

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) does not recommend mold testing in any form. Their advice is very simple: if you notice mold in your home, you should take immediate steps to have it removed.

For most homeowners – and indeed, many mold remediators – the type of mold growing in your home is irrelevant. Be wary of any offers for free mold tests as the results are often difficult to interpret and can be used to obfuscate and confuse you into paying for unnecessary mold remediation.

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Free Mold Inspection Pros & Cons

While the maxim ‘if it seems too good to be true, it usually is’, could apply to free mold inspections under some circumstances, there are other instances in which a free mold inspection can be a useful diagnostic tool that can help home and property owners understand the state of mold growths in their home.

Pros

  • A free mold inspection can help you understand the extent of an existing mold issue.
  • A free mold inspection can help you determine whether you have ‘hidden’ mold – mold that is growing out of sight – in your home.
  • If done correctly, a free mold inspection can give prospective home buyers the confidence that their dream home is free from mold.
  • If done correctly, a free mold inspection can create goodwill among prospective home buyers on behalf of the seller when its results are provided.

Cons

  • Free mold inspection scams can result in homeowners being duped into unnecessary, expensive mold remediation works.
  • Depending on your circumstances, a mold inspection may be unnecessary, regardless of whether it is free or not.
  • A free mold inspection might be offered by a mold professional who is not actually trained or certified in mold assessment, resulting in a skewed, incorrect inspection outcome.
Kate Bolster
Author: Kate Bolster - Kate Bolster is a writer, journalist and foreign correspondent with almost a decade of experience.