Check For Water Damage Before Buying A House

The Metro Atlanta housing market is hot!  Despite unemployment and uncertainty, the greater Atlanta residential real estate market performed extremely well in the past year. Home prices were through the roof in 2020 and the pace of appreciation seems to continue in 2021. The flip side is that buyers are facing some real challenges with low inventory levels, according to the Atlanta Realtors Association.

Atlanteans face a perfect storm that will continue to push home prices higher: low interest rates and low inventory. Homes in both the city and the suburbs are getting harder to find. By now, most of the “bargains” will require either a longer commute or some repairs (or both.) When on the hunt for a new home, you may be faced with a difficult dilemma – to buy or not to buy a water damaged house. 

A property affected by water damage feels like a risky investment. The water may have caused considerable structural faults, safety hazards, unsound walls and mold. Problems may continue even after the existing damage has been mitigated, especially if the source of the damage has not been properly fixed. However, if you know 1) what to look for, 2) what precautions to take, and 3) a trusted restoration contractor before closing the deal, you might find the perfect house in this tough market.

Schedule a Home Inspection

Before you write an offer, you need answers:

  • What is the source of the water damage?  How much damage was done? For how long was it present before it was noticed?
  • How was the damage addressed (structural repairs, mold remediation, etc.)? Were the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems examined for potential problems?
  • Are there reports available to show details about the restoration process – what work was done, what the final results were?
  • Was any testing done to ensure that the water source was fixed, all structural damage was repaired, and all mold was removed?
  • Who paid for the restoration works? If it was the home’s insurance company, will it cover any additional or future problems related to the water damage?

While you can ask the current owner of the house all these questions, you’re strongly advised to have the home inspected by an impartial and certified professional before you bid. Specialists will be able to spot any hidden damage and potential dangers: mold growth, foundation cracks, leaking windows, faulty pipes. Once you get a detailed water damage inspection report, you’ll know exactly what you’re dealing with and will be able to make an informed decision.

Consult a Contractor and Get an Estimate

Once the inspection has been completed, get some numbers for the necessary repairs. For an accurate quote, choose a contractor with experience in water-damage repairs, like Rumsey Construction. Provide them a copy of the home inspection report. When possible (with permission form the owners), they will evaluate the home and assess the damage on site. 

The estimate will include the cost of fixing the cause of the water damage, repairing the sustained damage, and remediating any mold issues. There may be more areas affected than you originally thought. Now you have a better idea of the true cost of this home. 

Use this professional estimate in order to make a prudent bid to the seller. Make sure the water damage repair costs are explicitly included in the bid presented to the seller. It may be possible to work the restoration costs into the offer, negotiate price reduction, or have the seller make certain repairs before the offer is finalized.

Obtain Homeowners Insurance Quotes

Review your insurance options to ensure that you can get the right coverage for your potential home. With existing mold and water damage, you should purchase a comprehensive policy. Talk to several local insurance agencies and find out whether you’ll be covered if issues related to previous water damage return. If adequate insurance is very expensive or coverage is very limited, the house may not be a wise investment.

If the house you intend to buy is located in a flood plain or in a region with a high risk of water damage, you may want to purchase additional flood insurance (most general home insurance policies do not cover floods).  

Water Damage Restoration In Atlanta

Often water damage is more extensive and the materials are wetter than they appear to be. Get some expert advice before you purchase a questionable home. Rumsey Construction and Restoration has been serving South Carolina with superior construction and disaster restoration services for over thirty years. 

Rumsey Construction will develop a specific plan for your situation for the most efficient cleanup process. These Columbia water damage cleanup specialists will use the latest specialized equipment to evaluate, repair, and restore your home. The water restoration team is available right now to help with your water damage restoration. Here you can chat live, get a quote, or see a portfolio of before/after photos.