When you’re in the market for a new home, there’s a billion things you need to be thinking about and very few get any mind share because let’s be honest…it’s just such an emotional experience. How am I going to get financing, what are the schools like, is the home in good condition, etc. As it pertains to the latter question, often times you rely on a home inspector to help you know what you’re getting yourself into. Any home inspector will have you sign a document stating their inspection report is incomplete and does not constitute any sort of endorsement on a home. Ultimately whether or not you proceed in purchasing a home that has major structural issues is up to you. But as any realtor or home inspector will tell you, one of the biggest problems facing homes is the threat of water damage.
How can you spot water damage?
When you’re walking into a home for the first time, unless something is really bad and it’s evident from the get go, you tend to overlook any potential problems. And when it comes to buying a home with signs of water damage, that is especially true. Unless there’s a big hole in a ceiling with insulation spewing out of it you just might not catch any problems. But if it is the case the home has had ongoing water damage problems, you could be walking into a pretty bad situation that could cost you a lot of money and potentially put your safety at risk.
Look for tell-tale signs of water damage causes
While the symptoms may not be immediately evident, you can spot some things that are prone to causing water damage:
Issues with the home’s gutters
If you roll up to the curb and start admiring the home’s curb appeal, only to notice that the gutters are in a very bad state, it should throw up a red flag. Most people overlook their role in protecting your home, but the reality is they play a pivotal role in keeping water away from your home so that it doesn’t end up inside your home.
If you happen to be viewing the home during the winter and there are massive ice dams, you’re really going to want to inspect the attic and ultimately add more insulation and better roof deck venting should you decide to go through with the purchase.
We know it sounds silly, but take a moment to look at the lawn area closest to the home. How is it sloped? If it looks to be lower towards the home, then it’s probably the case that overtime when it has rained water has pooled next to the property. That’s a big red flag, because once ground water finds a home next to your home, it eventually decides to become an uninvited guest and creeps through your basement walls.
Roof condition/tree limbs & debris
Generally speaking, if a home appears to be poorly maintained, chances are you’re going to end up finding some problems should you decide to purchase it. And that’s definitely the case with a roof that has problems. Especially with our rainy springs and frigid cold winters, roofs have to be at their best in order to do their job. If you look at the roof and notice some problems, chances are those issues have translated into some water damage in some spots of the attic or potentially in the wall cavities of the home itself.