When I got downstairs the corner of the basement sure smelled musty.
It had been finished with wood paneling long ago. That paneling had been painted more than once.
Going over to the corner I got a good whiff and it sure smelled funny.
REMEMBER - YOUR NOSE IS YOUR BEST MOLD DETECTOR.
It is also the cheapest detector around. If mold is present, moldy odors usually increase just after a rain. And it had been raining for a couple of days.
And many noses are better than one. That's my experience. And everyone in the group smelled mustiness in that corner.
Breaking out Mighty Mo, as soon as he loaded up and was pointed at the corner his nose tingled too.
Sure did look moist all around there. But thermal imaging is a little bit art and a little bit science. If it looks wet it might not be wet. So a moisture meter is needed in addition.
Putting it all over the corner the meter registered a consistent 80%+.
So the nose knows!
Mighty Mo knows!
The moisture meter knows!
And my client knows!
So what happens now? Everyone needs to make a decision. The seller will be informed by the home inspection report, which would include the photos and thermal images. The buyer will create an addendum to ask for certain things to be done.
And as regards the basement, an investigation will be asked for and a seller decision will be made on whether or not to open that can of worms.
My recommendation: the idea is to see what we can see. Fortunately the basement was not full of furniture. Belongings and furniture can not only mask a smell, but can inhibit, or prevent, total investigation of something. I have seen sellers "artfully" place things in front of known problems, like foundation cracks, so they might not be seen or investigated. An investigation is important if it can be done. And when it can't I will put on the report why. Mighty Mo can see things you and I cannot. But a thermal camera cannot see through such things as furniture or boxes.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560