The happily-ever-after for a newlywed couple in West Virginia quickly came to a screeching halt when they discovered that a home they recently purchased was condemned and completely inhabitable due to dangerous levels of mold, water damage, and structural damage. Unfortunately, the couple chose to forego a home inspection prior to closing on the home, and the appraiser and lender were allegedly in on the mold fraud home sale.
How This West Virginia Couple Wound up with Mold Fraud
Newlyweds Shaun and Tess Terry began working with Franklin P. Short III, a leader at their church and also the owner of real estate company Braveheart, to find their first home. Short steered the couple in the direction of purchasing a home that his company had just renovated. Because of their relationship with Short, both in church and socially outside of the church, the couple trusted his advice not to “waste money” on a home or mold inspection, as his houses were “done right.”
Then, Short recommended that the couple used an appraiser and lender that he knew and regularly worked with. During the appraisal, a mold-infested crawl space was apparently skipped over, and Short’s lender granted the couple a rural loan.
Shortly after moving in, the Terrys noticed that water was constantly running into the crawl space and that it was covered in mold. A subsequent mold test found high levels of mold in the crawl space, kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and master bedroom.
After calling in several construction companies, the Terrys were told that their home had structural damage beyond repair and that, paired with the severe mold problem, made the home inhabitable. Now, the couple is suing Short, as well as the appraisal and lender, whom they say worked with Short to fraudulently sell them an unlivable home.
Lesson Learned: Always Hire Third-Party Inspectors and Testing Laboratories
The unfortunate truth is that housing scams like this one happen much more often than you might think. Even when working with friends or family members to buy a home, it is always advisable to work with third-party inspectors and testing laboratories to ensure there are no major problems with the home before closing on it.
In the long run, spending the extra money on a home inspection, mold testing, and asbestos testing could end up saving you lots of time, money, and headaches. The good news is that certified environmental laboratories like IRIS can perform both inspections and rapid testing, so you don’t have to scramble to find two different third-party companies before buying a home.
If you’re in the process of buying a home and want to take all necessary steps to avoid money loss, financial hardship, and the dreadful stress of mold fraud and asbestos problems, give us a call at 1-800-908-6679 or contact us online. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about the process, as well as get you scheduled for an inspection and testing before your closing date.