The Stigma of A Mold House

When a California homeowner sold his 1,200-square-foot home for $210,000, one would assume his next door neighbor, whose house featured an identical floor plan and similar property, would fetch a similar price. But when the second home entered the market only six weeks later, it was listed for far less. The reason? The house was stigmatized.  With the recent flooding from Hurricane Harvey, the Houston and surrounding Areas will suffer a similar astigmatism.


Although the home showed pride of ownership, its walls had been a breeding ground for a toxic mold, the result of previous water leakage. In addition to replacing carpet and linoleum, cleaning air vents, bleaching the walls, and repainting, the homeowner was advised to list the house far below market value. His Realtor also told him to disclose the house’s history, warts and all.


Toxic mold is but one of many issues that can stigmatize a house, making it worth less than its neighbors. Other possible stigmas include homes that have been the setting of a suicide or murder, felony, accidental death, or even the suspected presence of ghosts. Other bizarre circumstances can also prejudice potential buyers, because stigmatized houses often represent psychological rather than physical prejudices. Consider the house featured in the movie Amityville Horror. It was a beautiful Victorian mansion, but who would be willing to pay for that property?


Stigmatized houses aren’t labeled as such in newspaper ads. Yellow police tape doesn’t distinguish them from their more innocent neighbors. So if you’re a buyer, one indication that a home is stigmatized is its low price.


If you wonder why you are getting a steal, ask the owner. In some cases, the price may be reduced simply because the seller wants a quick deal. If the issues are more complicated, however, the seller may be required to tell you only if asked, depending on disclosure laws in your state. For example, in California, full disclosure is required; sellers need to inform buyers of problems even if they’re not specifically asked. In Colorado, sellers must answer only direct inquiries.  In Texas make sure you ask your agent to request Seller Disclosures completed in full, previous inspection reports and if you know the home was in a flooded area ask for certificates of Air Quality inspection, Mold Remediation and Electrical inspections.  If these reports are not readily available then you as a buyer will have to decide if you are willing to spend money on this home to get these reports and loose said money if you choose to back away from the deal due to the finding.

View my Katy Homes and Katy Real Estate page for more information on the homes in and around the surrounding areas!

If you have any questions or would like to see any of the real estate in the Katy/Houston Area, please feel free to contact me, Angela Kraushaar, at 713-253-5678 or at

About Angela

I have lived in the Katy area since I was 9 years old. After graduating from Texas A&M University, I returned to Katy where my husband and I currently raise our two daughters. I have watched the Katy area change over the years and feel that its’ uniqueness is what has made it one of the most desirable places in Houston to live. Here's a few helpful links to my main website: Katy Real Estate, Cinco Ranch Real Estate, and my own subdivision of Lake Point Estates of Katy - although I can assist with any subdivision in Katy Texas.

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