Buying A New Home – Protect Yourself With A Home Inspection
When you find the perfect house, you want to move in immediately. Before your heart races ahead of your head and you ignore the old pipes or leaky roof, it is time to hire a professional to help you make your final decision. Now is the time to talk about the nitty gritty details of a home inspection and making an offer.
Most sellers are required to disclose certain types of information about the homes they are selling.
The Home Inspection
Once you buy a home, repairs can eat into your pocketbook, making the home of your dreams a “money pit.” Homes can have wet basements, shaky foundations, rotting roofs and a multitude of other problems — even if they’re relatively new. But a thorough home inspection before you buy can keep you from getting stuck with the bill.
Should You Buy a House With a Wet Basement?
There are more problems with wet foundations and basements than any other physical problem in a house. Therefore, it’s important when buying a house with a basement to check for signs of dampness in the basement. It’s better to find out before you buy than afterwards, especially since you can’t rely on seller disclosures. Why can’t you rely on seller disclosures? Because the sellers might not know about it. If the sellers did have knowledge, however, and failed to disclose the water problems in a basement, it could be:
- Difficult to prove in court
- Take years to get into court
- Expensive to sue
- Very expensive to dry out the basement
This is why you should always, without fail, get an independent home inspection by a qualified and accredited professional.
Signs of a Damp or Wet Basement
- Water stains along walls or floor. This could be caused by something simple such as an overflowing laundry tub or it could be a result of water seeping in through basement windows, the walls or the floor.
- Musty odor or damp smell. Excess moisture in a basement can cause an unmistakable smell.
- Mold. It could be colored black, brown, yellow or green, and you won’t know for certain if it’s mold without testing it. Often the northwest corner of a house is known as a “cold corner” and susceptible to developing mold.
- Efflorescence. This condition produces a white or sometimes grayish ash on the walls. Sometimes it sparkles. Efflorescence is caused by salt deposits left behind by evaporating water.
- Spalling. When water gets inside the surface of concrete, brick or stone, salt deposits from the water cause the surface to flake away, peel or pop off.
There are some defects that should always be disclosed:
- Plumbing and sewage issues
- Water leakage of any type, including in basements
- Termites or other insect infestations
- Roof defects
- Heating or air conditioning system issues
- Property drainage problems
- Foundation instabilities or cracks
In closing, don’t store valuables, photographs, paper documents or anything you care to preserve in a wet basement. Moreover, get an expert’s opinion, including an engineer’s report, if you can, before you buy a house with wet basement problems. It might not be worth the hassle.
Knowing what to look for in regards to signs of water damage when viewing a potential home or property can seriously save you future headaches. If you find water stains or water damage anywhere in the home, it is likely an indication that water is coming in from the outside or from faulty details like poor plumbing or venting. Always ask your realtor questions, use home inspectors who have great references and get a second opinion if necessary before you sign the purchase agreement.