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New Mold, Indoor Air Quality Forum Online


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By Jeff Deuitch, microbiologist & real estate appraiser

To assist appraisers, home inspectors and others with concerns related to mold and indoor air quality issues, a Florida scientist- who is also an appraiser, has created a new Internet discussion forum related to mold and indoor air quality issues.

The IAQ Forum (www.iaqforum.net) provides a virtual gathering place where people concerned with mold and indoor air quality issues can ask questions or share ideas with other concerned people/professionals with a wide variety of technical expertise.

For appraisers, valuation issues related to mold are a real occurrence with little published work available to assist them in understanding the impact on market valuation. For home inspectors, mold is a common issue which places the inspector in a tenuous position between reporting accurately and preserving the sales transaction.

For both professions the experience of estimating the impact to their clients can be daunting. This new forum provides all participants the opportunity to discuss, learn and benefit from each others’ experiences.

The site contains many individual discussion areas for the general public, indoor air quality specialists, and people who are professionally affected by indoor air quality issues.

Visitors can ask questions, begin discussions and provide guidance to those needing help. Discussion topics include mold, biological and chemical conditions in buildings, health effects, property valuation issues, building-construction-related issues, legal issues, news articles relating to indoor air quality, and other topics.

The "Ask the Microbiologist" section allows concerned parties to ask questions relating to mold, bacteria and other microorganisms directly to a microbiologist experienced in building investigations and biological research.

The site can be visited at: www.iaqforum.net. For more information, contact Jeff Deuitch, microbiologist & real estate appraiser, at iaqforum@aol.com.

About the Author: Jeff Deuitch is a microbiologist who performs detailed moisture intrusion inspections in buildings. He is also a Florida State Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser. Deuitch is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Society of Microbiology and past member of the Indoor Environmental Standards Association.

Taken with permission from Working RE Magazine – Home Inspector’s Edition (www.workingre.com). WRE is published by OREP (www.orep.org), specializing in E&O insurance for home inspectors, appraisers and other real estate professionals. OREP is one of TIJ's sponsors.

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Dear Members:

HI, this is Jeff Deuitch. I am the administrator of the IAQ Forum which is drawing some comments. In the press release I submitted to David about the IAQ Forum, the statements regaring "preserving" the deal was simly an acknowledgement of the pressure which is felt by home inspectors when defects are found and also an acknowledgement of the sensitivity that buyers can have regarding the mold issue. A very similar pressure is expereinced by appraiers who have a bit different client (a lender). As a microbiologist and appraiser (also trained in home inspections and construction cost estimating), I can personally attest to the acrimony that can exist amongst buyers with subsequent jeprodization of a sales transaction. Make no mistake, anyone who is reputable in either industry will accurately report defects in a way which does not under or over emphasize said defects.

The problem with mold is that there are no established guidelines or rules in most states either for assessment or remeidation. There are also no human exposure standards that have been offered up by scientific or governmental organizations.

Part of the reason for providing the IAQ Forum is to allow an on-line meeting place where discussions can occur on the topic to ask questions or trade experiences for the benefit of all. Nothing off color or insinuatory was intended.

We hope everyone will find benefits in use of our forum. It is intended for this purpose. If there are any questions or comments regarding the site, please e-mail me at any time at iaqforum@aol.com It is our goal to make this site the best, most useful site available for the intended purpose.

Many Thanks

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  • 5 years later...

I am sill interested though in that original statement regarding 'preserving the sales transaction'.

The remark does not bother me. I frequently do this. Too often clients needlessly go off the deep end due to a lack of adequate information. I view my responsibility as providing my clients the knowledge necessary to make sound decisions and this often saves the sale. Of course there are also the times when the client runs screaming out of the house and for good reason.

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I am sill interested though in that original statement regarding 'preserving the sales transaction'.

The remark does not bother me. I frequently do this. Too often clients needlessly go off the deep end due to a lack of adequate information. I view my responsibility as providing my clients the knowledge necessary to make sound decisions and this often saves the sale. Of course there are also the times when the client runs screaming out of the house and for good reason.
I'm kind of the opposite.

I'll often stop partway through a job and say to the client, "Oh, you're still here? I thought you'd burned rubber out of here long ago."

It seems to break the tension. We all chuckle and they seem to loosen up once they realize that I'm not trying to sell the house to them.

Different strokes for different folks.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I am sill interested though in that original statement regarding 'preserving the sales transaction'.

The remark does not bother me. I frequently do this. Too often clients needlessly go off the deep end due to a lack of adequate information. I view my responsibility as providing my clients the knowledge necessary to make sound decisions and this often saves the sale. Of course there are also the times when the client runs screaming out of the house and for good reason.

In my 10 years as an HI, I can recall only one instance where my input saved a sale.

So I guess I'm missing the train here.

Marc

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I am sill interested though in that original statement regarding 'preserving the sales transaction'.

The remark does not bother me. I frequently do this. Too often clients needlessly go off the deep end due to a lack of adequate information. I view my responsibility as providing my clients the knowledge necessary to make sound decisions and this often saves the sale. Of course there are also the times when the client runs screaming out of the house and for good reason.
I'm kind of the opposite.

I'll often stop partway through a job and say to the client, "Oh, you're still here? I thought you'd burned rubber out of here long ago."

It seems to break the tension. We all chuckle and they seem to loosen up once they realize that I'm not trying to sell the house to them.

Different strokes for different folks.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

I agree, Mike. Although, the other approach probably makes the r-zoid happy. . .

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Funny.

The micro cliamte you create for potted plants to thrive, ie a bowl of composted organic matter and dirt stew, is highly conducive to mold growth.

Good observation.

A few years ago, and elderly couple called me in to consult on what they thought was a "mold" problem. She had all kinds of respiratory problems and her doctor told them to get the house inspected for mold. They hired one of the locale moldy-goldy firms to "test" the house. Of course, the testing company found high levels of everything imaginable but they couldn't find the source. They, in turn, recommended that the couple hire me to locate the source of the problem.

The first thing I saw when I walked into the house was about 1,500 potted plants in the living room. (Ok, I exagerate a bit. It was probably more like 20.) About half of them were dead, with brown foliage overflowing the pots, but the soil in all of them was still damp. When I looked at the soil more carefully, it didn't look like store-bought potting soil. Turns out that he made his own compost from kitchen scraps and dirt from the backyard and used that for potting soil. He watered every pot once a week whether the plant was alive or dead.

I don't know if the plants and the homemade soil were the problem because I found a few other concerns - garbage piling up in the kitchen, bathrooms that looked like they hadn't been cleaned since the Reagan administration, and a defunct dishwasher that they used as a "drying rack" that had all kinds of nastyness growing in the bottom pan.

They were kind of ticked off with me when they got their report, which recommended getting rid of the plants and pots and having a professional cleaning service clean the house. They hired me to find the mold, dammit, and I didn't do my job.

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I am sill interested though in that original statement regarding 'preserving the sales transaction'.

The remark does not bother me. I frequently do this. Too often clients needlessly go off the deep end due to a lack of adequate information. I view my responsibility as providing my clients the knowledge necessary to make sound decisions and this often saves the sale. Of course there are also the times when the client runs screaming out of the house and for good reason.

The original poster is talking about being a toady. He implies that we should do something other than "report accurately" in order to preserve the transaction.

You're talking about giving the clients a full understanding about the scope of a problem so that they don't go running from a house without a good reason. (Which sometimes happens, especially with younger, naive, buyers.)

They're two very different things.

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...........They were kind of ticked off with me when they got their report, which recommended getting rid of the plants and pots and having a professional cleaning service clean the house. They hired me to find the mold, dammit, and I didn't do my job.

I've had a few similar experiences.....people not feeling well, they call doctor, doctor says look for mold, I'm hired to find mold, walk in and find dirty dishes, moldy dead plants, piles of old newspapers, bed sheets that haven't been changed in a couple years, etc.....deliver the report and they get insulted....want their money back so they can hire a "real" inspector.

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The problem with mold is that there are no established guidelines or rules in most states either for assessment or remediation. There are also no human exposure standards that have been offered up by scientific or governmental organizations.

Need you say more?

Just tell em how to fix the moisture problem.

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