How Can Water Damage Impact Selling Your Home?

Water Damage and Selling Your Home

Water damage can definitely impact a house’s sale. More than one-third of homes in the U.S. have experienced damage from water at some point in their history. Therefore, this issue is frequently encountered in the real estate marketplace.

Damage in the past is not necessarily a deal-breaker. Less important than the fact that an incident occurred is how the homeowners responded. If remediation was promptly performed by certified water damage recovery specialists, past damage is usually not a major issue affecting the value or sellability of a home.

No Secrets

Until all facts are known, however, damage issues are often considered a red flag by many prospective buyers. The following factors play a role:

  • Buyers have legal rights to be informed about issues that may impact the home’s livability or degrade market value. If a seller fails to disclose known damage on the standard pre-sale disclosure form, he could face civil liability.
  • Pre-sale home inspections are required by most lenders and strongly favored by prospective buyers, as well, including those paying cash.
  • Home inspectors are trained to recognize signs of existing damage, as well as evidence of DIY cover-ups to conceal past water damage that was not properly remediated.
  • If existing damage issues are ongoing and have not been resolved, the value of a home may be substantially reduced. Financing may be problematic and buyers may need to pay cash or qualify for a complex loan that provides both funds for water damage remediation as well as the purchase price of the house. 

Mold Matters

Water damage that is not remediated by qualified professionals rapidly leads to mold contamination. In a home with past damage, mold potential is another x-factor that must be resolved. Separate pre-sale inspections focusing on detecting mold contamination are increasingly common.

If a damage incident occurred in the past, home sellers should expect a separate inspection specifically for the purpose of mold detection. This is particularly true if the seller cannot produce proof that proper restoration was performed by qualified water damage specialists.    

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