musty basement HELP! Fear mold

I just moved into a range-style house we just purchased. It is our first one and is a starter home located in the midwest.
Half of the basement is finished (very nicely I might add) with drywall and carpet. The carpet is directly on the floor (with a pad of some kind)-- no sub-floor.
The finished part is musty. It is not overly powerful, but it is definitely noticeable. There are really no signs of water/seepage anywhere in the basement. The unfinished portion doesn't seem to smell and seems dry and clean.
When we viewed the house, we just assumed that a dehumidifier would solve the problem (as it did in my college rental house...literally worked wonders by just running a couple hrs/day). The realtor (buyer's agent) didn't seem to think it was a big deal either and also thought a dehumidifier would work.
Well, the dehumidifier been running non-stop for 3-4 days now and has helped, but it is still musty. We are also running the A/C even though the outside is currently 65 degrees (with 85% humidity)
Also in the closing, the seller (stupidly) revealed that when they moved in 8 years ago, he had to refinish the basement because mold was growing on the drywall. He claims it is because there was no previous vapor barrier and that he put in such a barrier so we should have no such problems (must have been on his mind???). The seller seemed like an idiot...especially for revealing this in the closing. But now we know some history...
The home inspector didn't mention anything in the basement. However he did mention that the outside grading is not good at all, there are no window wells, and their are no downspouts for the gutter. Of course we plan on fixing these things as soon as possible and maybe this will solve the _causes_ of our must problem.
However I'm now very fearful of not being able to solve it. I'm thinking that maybe mold (!!!) is growing between the vapor barrier and the foundation wall. This would require tearing out the drywall I think. Or maybe that moisture comes up from underneath the basement and can't be solved without a sub-floor (not much headroom for one)
The market for homes in our area was terrible for this price range so we had to act quickly on this house. However we will definitely be selling in 4-5 years and I fear that as the market cools off, this must/mold situation cold make things very difficult for us or cold lead to costly repairs or even worse...
Any advice is greatly appreciated. I'm pretty worried about being royally screwed. Granted this is my first house and I'm jittery about it as is...
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You're not going to eliminate a musty smell with a few day's worth of running a dehumidifier. Not only does it take a bit of time to work down the humidity level, but whatever is creating the musty smell has to dry out (or die) as well.
Other suggestions would be to have your carpets cleaned and to open the doors/windows when you get a breezy, dry day.
Give it a month before you get overly worried.
KB

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Michael wrote:

besides the fact the seller seems honest, disclosure of existing conditions in a real estate sale is required by law in many if not all states. maybe the seller thought there -may- still be a problem. btw, it appears you may be the "stupid" one for not looking into the issue further before buying.
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Two suggestions:
Immediately, to protect your family's health, hire an expert to determine if there is any mold that needs attention and to define the corrective actions necessary to prevent reoccurrence. The Seller has warned you. To put it in your terms, you have "stupidly" bought a home without inspecting a disclosed condition, and that may result in some unexpected expenses in curing it. The "idiot" seller would seem to be off the hook for those since they disclosed their attempts and their doubts about the effectiveness of those attempts to cure the problems present when they bought the house. If the seller is as dumb as you say, how can you trust his repair work?
Second, as the-plumber said in his response, be aware that the Seller was correct to disclose More importantly for you, you are now in a position that when you sell, you need to reveal known or suspected problems. The fact that you think it is stupid to do so will not protect you from future liability if you do not. Any Broker involved is also risking licensure and liability for damages if they do not disclose known adverse conditions. Some states (Maryland is an example) go so far as to require that the Broker disclose conditions they SHOULD have known. The law assumes that Brokers should know more than the homeowner or the buyer from observed conditions. I heard an experienced Broker say, the rule in their firm is Disclose! Disclose! Disclose! They are not going to take the risk for a Seller who wants to hide adverse conditions.
The bottom line, you may as well cure the problems now and enjoy your home, because you may not find someone else willing to take it in the future with known problems as you did, and if turns out that there is anything serious going on like mold behind your vapor barrier or drywall, you would have to correct it then to sell it. l
the_plumber wrote:

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Stoney wrote:

One suggestion:
Learn how to post properly in a usenet group.
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Sorry,the-plumber, not sure what offended you about my posting method. I noticed in this group that most don't use threads where the original and responses are retained, they respond to the OP without reference to other posts. Much as you did in responding to my post. As posts expire with various newsfeeds rather quickly, it is sometimes hard to know what the original question was. My ISP only keeps them for 4 days. I started to respond to the OP, but chose to build on your response because you had made a good point, and I hoped to add to it. I assume the OP would find it because if he is interested he will read all related responses.
Is that what you are talking about? Or something else?
I see that you are a frequent contributor to the group so I will appreciate your tips on how to improve my posts to this group. There is certainly no consistency among groups in how the participants like to see the posts. In one I visit, there is a running argument as to the correctness of posting on the top or the bottom of previous replies. So whatever the usenet rules are that I am breaking, please advise so I can adjust. Thanks.
Stoney
the_plumber wrote:

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SkyBlue wrote:

No offense here. No consistency - that's a fact. Rules - LOL. Just wasn't sure what you were doing. Knew a Stoney lived In OK.
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Hey, Stoney.... I don't kow what was the other fellow's concern, but I thought your advice was thoughtful, and right on target. I'm glad you're reading and posting.
--

Christopher A. Young
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First things first. Continue to dry out the space and get fresh air if possible. Also start with the exterior grade (and you don't need window wells unless the ground is higher than the bottom of the windows). Write back in a few weeks. Yes, the seller is not an idiot.

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I have a bungalow and know that if I'm not careful the basement will start to smell mildewy. I think it's a fairly common problem. I run the furnace fan in the "on" position quite regularly to keep the air circulating. This seems to help considerably.
Peter H
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