CHICAGO (CBS) — From dream house to a house of horrors, a new homeowner in Schaumburg shares a cautionary tale before you sign on the dotted line.

Cathy Arrington found what she thought was the perfect house, when a real estate listing caught her eye, boasting a home “so well-maintained that you can move right in, and not lift a finger.”

That was hardly the case, as she found out just weeks after closing, when she got bad news about her new home.

“It just makes me want to move out of here. I can’t,” she said.

Arrington was on cloud nine just seven weeks ago.

“My dream house, and now it’s not my dream house,” she said. “It’s a house of horrors.”

A few weeks after she moved in, “all of a sudden, dirt started coming up.”

That led to the discovery of rotten pipes and mold. Since then, she’s had parts of her floors, walls, and ceilings removed to remove mold and fix her pipes. She also later found out she might have asbestos in her air vents.

CBS 2 brought in Eric Barker from Allan Environmental Services to comb through Arrington’s debris.

Barker said “a bazillion” homes in the Chicago area have mold, and the owners don’t know it.

How could Arrington have avoided her nightmare? Mold is so common in the Chicago area, home sales often include a disclosure acknowledging mold might exist inside.

Arrington said she doesn’t remember signing that disclosure when she bought her house.

An air quality test might have confirmed a high spore count before Arrington bought the home, but that requires paying for a mold inspection, and that’s separate from a standard home inspection.

Arrington said she had the mold sprayed, but Barker said without knowing what it was sprayed with, there’s no way to know if that should have killed the mold.

Despite her woes, Arrington is grinning, bearing, and sharing her story.

“I want the homeowners to beware. When you see the advertisement homes, whatever, move-in ready, that’s not true,” she said. “If you’re moving in, look behind walls, underground, everything.”

Arrington’s mold test cost $295. The results came in 24 hours later. Her kitchen showed mold spores, but at non-elevated levels. Experts said that could affect young children, or people with respiratory illnesses.

Lauren Victory