We decided it was time to build our own home. A custom, brand new home has always been a goal of ours and it seemed that we had found the perfect spot. About 10 miles North of Eagle, ID on HWY 55 is the perfect setting for a young family to start building their future in the treasure valley. We decided to build a house in Avimor. We also chose Avimor as our developer. The issues started when our landscaping wasn't done for the first 4 months after closing, leaving us in a dirt lot while watching others move into homes with nice green grass. However, that's another story. This story is about Stachybotrys, Chaetomium and Penicillium / Aspergillus. More commonly known, as the BLACK MOLD.
Our home closed on 2/18/2016. We moved in that day and we could not have been happier. Using Building Specs LLC, (highly recommended, and currently still doing business in Avimor) we had our home inspected on 1/17/2017, one month before our 1 year warranty expired. Everything that follows is a chronological depiction of what happened to our house and how my family was treated throughout the process. This is not meant to harm or infringe on anyones abilities to sell, build, or buy houses. This is nothing more than the 1st Amendment being used to inform others of what may or may not happen when choosing a developer. I'm just telling my story.
On January 17th, 2017 our building inspector found a rather serious case of BLACK MOLD in the wall between our master shower and master closet due to a faulty hot water line. Our inspector also found evidence of MOLD REMEDIATION done in the crawl space. Remediation that was done before we ever closed on our house. We had been living on top of dried bleach from day one. You might ask how we never knew about it, but I'll remind you, it's a BRAND NEW house. Why would we need to go in the crawl space? We'll get back to that.....
Naturally, we were upset. We sought legal counsel and advice from those who might know more. With a letter to Avimor, we met with Dan Richter - Avimor Managing Partner and Brad Pfannmuller - Avimor GM on 1/21/2017. They initially seemed very concerned with the condition of our house while simultaneously neglecting every aspect of our letter. They hired First Team Restoration to clean up the mold the next day, January 22nd. First Team Restorations' blatant negligence and malpractice led to more contamination. The debris was thrown in the crawl space instead of hauled off site and the mold was left exposed to grow even further.
At this point, we reiterated the letter and asked why no effort was being made to provide a clean and suitable residence during repairs. There was no reply to that end. Materials Testing and Inspection (MTI) was scheduled on FEB 9th to do a full site analysis of the home and find out the extent of BLACK MOLD contamination. On FEB 17th, MTI released the air test report and detailed a full protocol which was to be executed by Servpro of Boise. After the 1st day of Servpro's remediation efforts on MARCH 6th, their HEPA Filter was required to run over night (evacuating the bathroom air outside, through the bedroom) leaving our master bedroom unusable. No effort was made by Avimor to accommodate our family during this time. Brad Pfanmuller was notified of the issue immediately, yet chose not to respond in any way. WHERE WOULD YOU SLEEP? The following day, a second Servpro team came to remove all personal effects, which had been left in the closet, for cleaning. All these items were returned 2 weeks later.
ServPro followed their procedures and the protocol laid out by MTI. However, I was left with questions regarding their methods. Including, why is this air being vented directly into my bedroom? Shouldn't this air go outside? (That is when the evacuation tube was set up through the bedroom.) Why hasn't that material been removed per the protocol from MTI? I was assured that "we've never had to come back". After the appropriate waiting period of 24 hours MTI returned to test the property to ensure that all the mold spores were gone leaving the house with a clean bill of health. On MARCH 10th, MTI reported that the property was still infected with mold spores. ServPro would have to come back to remove the bathtub and all material surrounding the tub and shower area. Brad Pfannmuller, Avimor GM, still made no effort to accommodate our family due to further inconvenience of faulty construction. At this point it had been almost 2 months. Two months of full mortgage payments for 3/4 of our home. Two months of construction, negotiation, accusations of changing a shower head, (never happened) our children sharing a bedroom so we had a place to call a closet, and not a single apology or offer of accommodation.
On approximately MARCH 14th, the bathtub was removed from the master bathroom and placed in the living room, under our TV, where it would stay for the following month. After expressing that the living conditions were unacceptable to Dan Richter, Avimor finally provided a hotel room at Candlewood Suites on Overland and Eagle. A one bed room, with a kitchenette and a pullout couch for a family of 4 and a dog. This was provided from March 16th - March 24th. During this time, ServPro returned and MTI was able to test the house for the 3rd time finally giving our house a clean bill of health. Having stayed in a hotel long enough, and tired of making my kids share a pullout couch, we went home. The reconstruction still had to be done of course, and the bathtub was still in the living room; but it was better than a hotel and it was mold free.
During reconstruction, my wife asked Avimor to extend our shower into the closet making it a walk-in. Thankfully, Avimor agreed and that is the only thing we have received for our inconvenience. I would have rather kept what I paid for, a mold free home, and gone through none of this; but obviously that was no longer an option.
On April 17th, exactly 3 months from our inspector finding BLACK MOLD in our home, we met with Dan Richter and Brad Pfannmuller once again to discuss our options. All of my advisors and my research has shown that you could lose up to 20% during resale due to mold disclosure. Is it possible that mold disclosure, with full remediation documentation may not impact a homes value? I'm sure it is. It's also possible that one could lose up to 20% of the market value and have a much harder time selling in the future. Do you wanna buy a moldy home? When I explained my concerns to Avimor, I was all but laughed at. I asked for 20% of my market value to alleviate any concerns for future loss and to compensate for what we had gone through. We were told by Dan Richter that "mold disclosure won't change your property value". I was also told by Brad Pfannmuller that "...we went above and beyond our obligation".
I stated that I felt the entire episode was handled poorly and that I would use this platform to warn others of the dangers involved when trusting someone with a $280,000 investment. Not a threat, just a story. A story in which Mr. Pfannmuller had expressed multiple times, that he would not like in the public eye. Let me ask you, Why should I not tell my story? Is it because the developer was generous enough to buy some extra tile? Or is it because they were nice enough to threaten me with legal implications for telling the truth? My family was treated as though we caused the whole problem and were only trying to make money off of the situation. I didn't ask for this. I was perfectly fine with my existing shower and my mold free home. Our home was built fast in order to turn profit and no formal inspections were ever done. At least not to my knowledge. Why should the customer suffer for 3 months because of something that is out of their control and not expect compensation for the accusations and the inconvenience?
I just want you to be aware of the concerns. Protect yourself and get a home inspection. It was the best $350 I've ever spent. Not including, of course, the multiple mold tests I had done in which I have never been reimbursed for.
"YOU WILL BE OSTRICIZED BY YOUR COMMUNITY...MAY DRIVE DOWN YOUR NEIGBORS' PROPERTY VALUE."
-DAN RICHTER AVIMOR MANAGING PARTNER
Luckily, I don't care what others think of me; and didn't Mr. Richter say that mold doesn't effect property value?