Before you sign anything, make sure the black marks are not mold. The sellers could be using candles to cover the odor, and/or making you believe that the black is from the candle, rather than the mold. Candle soot does not typically get into carpets, so I'd be very concerned. (08/12/2005)
Sounds like there is a cover up going on. In TX, the buyers pay to have an inspector come in and check out the house from stem to stern. Many years ago, they didn't have much training, but now there is an official check list and these inspections can take hours. I'd like to suggest you find yourselves a house inspector because it is cheaper in the long run to not buy that house, than to get one with mold.
Before you select an inspector, ask to see the check list and about their training. You don't want someone to pop in and leave a half hour later like we used to have done years ago. You could even ask the sellers to pay for the inspector's bill as a condition of the purchase and see if they panic. (08/12/2005)
I agree with Holly. A house inspection costs about $350 (in the Pacific Northwest) but it is well worth it. They go over the home thoroughly top to bottom and check everything. They give you a written report which can help with negotiating the price if there are problems. I'd also recommend this to anyone getting ready to sell a house because you can get problems fixed before an inspector goes in for the buyer.
As for cleaning off soot, the best thing to do is try to brush it off. As soon as you use water it can just spread it around. Get as much off as possible while it is dry and then use a good all purpose cleaner or possibly even a magic eraser.
Susan from ThriftyFun (08/12/2005)
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