I am considering buying a house, but every time I visit the property, as soon as I get inside the front door I notice a distinct “moldy” smell. This goes away after a few minutes as I get used to it. Is it possible to fix this problem?
If you or anyone in your family is sensitized to mold, we'd be very cautious about purchasing a house with a musty odor, since you don't know the potential extent of any mold growth present. I'd also be cautious about buying a house in which the owner burns scented candles or has plug-in fragrance emitters, which may be masking a musty smell.
According to The Money Pit's indoor air quality expert, Jeff May, it's possible that the steps you could take to combat the mold would be very simple, but it's also possible that there could be a major concealed mold problem, and that any remediation required would be extensive and costly.
The most prudent thing to do would be to try to determine the source of the mold odor before you purchase the house. This could mean making holes in the walls to investigate possible sources of mold.