House to House: House Damage and Resale Value
Guest Article by: Service Pros Local
Water damage is something you can’t leave unrepaired. It can not only cause health problems and open the way for further damage down the road, it can also cause mold and mildew to multiply. These spores can damage health over time. And if you ever try to resell the house, you’re going to face a lot of problems.
How does water damage affect the market value of a house, other than badly? Here are some things you can expect a savvy buyer to ask about.
First, you’ll have to fix the original problem that caused the water damage. A roof leak, a leaky or burst pipe, a bad sump pump, or a cracked foundation are just some of the ways that water can enter your home where it shouldn’t. If the fundamental problem isn’t fixed, no other fixes will be worth your time. You can bet that a competent home inspector will notice water damage and find the original source as a top priority.
At its most minor, small leaks from water cause staining on walls and minor warping. The stains left on walls from water require cleanup and a fresh coat of paint. Warped trim and drywall require replacement. If aesthetic damage is the only problem you can find, consider yourself lucky. But quite often, water damage causes deeper issues.
If there is any aesthetic damage, a home inspector is going to look for further damage in insulation, studs, and flooring. Water always takes the route of least resistance. If there is a way for it to leak further through the home on the way to the ground, it will take it. Whenever there are deep structural problems like this in a home, the cost is expensive and you can bet a buyer will fight to lower the price if it is found.
Structural damage can even lead to further water damage down the road. Depending on the extent of the damage, rust can start to form on pipe hangers or in metal floor joists. Given enough time and a lack of moisture control, these can rust through and cause them to break. This can make the home uninhabitable.
The most dangerous and expensive short-term problem in trying to sell a water-damaged home is mold. It’s a combination of all of the above problems. Water has to get in and stay around long enough for mold spores to sprout. This usually takes at least 72 hours of soaking, which is more than enough time for structural damage to start. And we can all agree that mold sprouting on home surfaces is ugly. In addition, it’s also a huge health hazard.
Even a mold inspection can cause damage to the home. Home inspectors will often request permission to cut holes into the walls so they can give a full picture of the damage if there is evidence of water damage. You don’t have to give permission, but it will be a huge mark against the sale value of a house. Mold remediation alone can cost in upwards of $30,000 to fix all of the issues. And if you had a pipe burst and it flooded several rooms, the price can go well beyond the price of the home.
Selling a home with water damage is just an invitation to lose a lot of money on the sale price. If you are looking to sell a water damaged home, lean on your homeowner’s insurance to repair as much as you can before you try to sell. If you are planning to sell anyway, it’s better to eat the cost of a few months of increased premiums rather than try to pass repair costs off to the buyer. Only the true fix-it people (think general contractors) would be willing to buy a home with a lot of water damage, and they’ll know to fight for a lower price if they see it.
House to House is distributed weekly by the Arkansas REALTORS® Association. For more information on homeownership in Arkansas, readers may visit www.ArkansasRealtors.com.
Michael Jacobs is the head of public relations department at ServiceProsLocal.com with primary focus on customer satisfaction. His main talking points are water damage restoration, environmental friendly house building and plant cultivation.