GET CLUED IN, before purchasing your next home. The Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report (“CLUE”) may just save you from purchasing a mold nightmare that you can’t afford to fix.
Every single person has a credit report. Which reports if you have a good or bad credit history. Banks and credit card companies don’t freely hand you money unless they have looked at your credit history. Why? Because your history helps to determine if you are a financially responsible person with whom they can trust to repay any loan that they may provide you. A person’s credit report also helps make people pay their bills on time. Because without good credit, you may not be able to rent an apartment or get any financial assistance to help purchase a car, a home, furniture, ect… Paying our bills on time helps prove that we are more than likely to pay any monthly bill to a lender, for any money that we have borrowed from them.
Well, homes have a credit report too. Which can help us “Buyers” understand if it’s had a lot of problems in the past that we should consider before we financially invest in it. It is called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report (“CLUE”). It is a national database that tracks the claim history of your house and for claims filed by the homeowner. (1) Each time a homeowner opens a claim for the insurance to cover, such as for water leaks, roof repairs and so forth, it is logged into the CLUE database for up to 7 years. How amazing would this be, if this report became apart of each home listing? Why should we not be able to see the history of claims with a purchase that typically will be the largest financial investment of anyone’s life? Well…..(drum roll) You can request this report from the seller or home insurance company as of today! We feel you should do this prior to any home purchase. If you don’t, you may end up buying someone else problems that they chose not to disclose to you.
Mold problems in homes can be very expensive to resolve as most home insurance policies stopped covering mold remediation in the early 2000’s. We have had many homeowners discover after a few weeks to a few years that their home (that they now own and are financially responsible for) has a builder defect, or a mold problem, or had a water event such as a flood that did not get disclosed to them as it legally should have been disclosed to them prior to purchasing their home. How did they find out the issue existed prior to purchasing? They found it documented on the CLUE report through their attorney. Attorneys pull the CLUE report in cases such as these, to see if fraud was indeed committed.
We have seen mold remediation be documented as “Demolition”, “Water Mitigation” or “Renovated.” Possibly, so the seller can potentially say they “Remodeled” or “Renovated” the home to future prospective buyers. Most sellers that knowingly choose not to disclose a mold problem, have done so, because they could not afford to fully remediate and resolve the mold issue completely. So they dress up mold remediation with the words recently remodeled or renovated; because it sounds better and doesn’t send up red flags that their home may still have a mold growth problem.
It should be required, before every real estate purchase, to have a full home Mold assessment performed. Every Real estate listing should have the CLUE report attached to it as well. In my opinion, a mold assessment should be the first inspection done. Because if the home is unhealthy and has a bad mold issue… that alone, may be enough for you to move onto your second favorite home. We recommend getting the CLUE report for all the homes you are considering.
Here are just 3 helpful pieces of information that MAM suggests getting and doing before any real estate transaction.
1. First, Find out who the builder is/was. (Search to find if there were ever any issues reported on their homes and if they are still in business or not.) If they went out of business, you should try to find out why? Was there possibly a class action lawsuit against them because of defects or problematic materials with their homes? If yes, then you will need to see which industry expert needs to be contracted to make sure “said past issue” was resolved before buying the home. We suggest doing this, even if the homeowner can provide documentation verifying it was resolved.
2. Get the CLUE Report. If you see any of the following items in the report, “Think Mold.” As each of these claims could mean that water intruded into the home and thus possibly caused an environment for mold to grow.
Sheet rock repairs
Replacement of flooring
HVAC system repairs/replacement
Remediation of any kind
Water restoration of any kind
Water Heater issues/replacement
3. Have a mold assessment performed. Before the assessment, I would ask if you can pay for an AC company to install an access panel to the plenum in order to help the Mold Consultant to verify if there is mold growing in the plenum. The AC is the heart of the home. If there is mold in it, that may mean you could have mold spores being blown into every room of the home and thus all over your porous belongings and your family.
Doing your due diligence before purchasing a home can save you and your family from investing in a financial nightmare. Law suits can be long and expensive and emotionally and physically taxing. You don’t want to have to go down that road if you can avoid it.
We hope this information helps you in some way with your future real estate purchases.
About the Author
Emily Rachal is co-owner of Texas Mold Inspectors, (or TMI), along with her husband, in the Houston, TX area. After her family’s devastating experience that not only injured her whole family, but also resulted in the loss of their youngest son Malachi, she and her husband have dedicated their lives to now educating and assisting families affected by toxic mold with their state-licensed mold inspection company.
Emily is the founder and owner of MAM. Additionally, she has recently started a non-profit organization in the name of her youngest son, called Malachi’s Message Foundation, to aid in financial support and offer hope to families who feel isolated and are unable to afford all the complex obstacles of overcoming a toxic mold exposure.