How real estate agents and home hunters spot water damage

How real estate agents and home hunters spot water damage

I don’t need to tell you how risky it might be to buy a house with water damage.

Water damage can be caused by a few different factors, such as flooding, burst pipes, or a leaky roof. Although your best bet is to get a property home inspection if you want a proper job done, there are some signs that you can look out for:

Sign #1: Check whether wooden panels are warped or stained.

Whenever water sits for any length of time on a hardwood floor, it will leave a distinctive mark. Usually it’s pretty easy to spot if the water has puddled in areas. Similarly, look out for wooden panels (either walls or floorboards) that have warped, which could be due to water damage.

Sign #2: Crumbling wood areas

Have a careful look at the windows – what you should be looking for is signs of crumbling wood or significant levels of mould. These are both signs of efflorescence, meaning that water is seeping through bricks, concrete or blocks and infiltrating this area.

Sign #3: Look at the ground outside.

One massive clue to watch out for is whether the ground around the house is uneven or not. If there has been flooding, then the ground might be level with the foundation, but then sharply drop off by several inches.

Sign #4: Water stains outside or in the basement.

Look closely at the foundations of the house, or if you can, go into the basement. If there has been flooding then there will often be stains left behind. It’s an interesting thing actually – people often clear the house of any of these tell-tale signs, but then forget about the basement entirely.

Sign #5: Soft and discoloured baseboards

When you’re looking for damage to the walls, make sure that you check the baseboards (these are the narrow wooden boards running along the base of the interior wall). If it’s discoloured, then that could be a sign that there has been water damage. Give it some soft taps with a rubber mallet, and if it doesn’t bounce back, then that’s a very bad sign.

Water damage is not restricted to old houses – they can also affect new builds. Just think of the number of leaky homes and buildings that pop up in the news! This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should hopefully give you an idea of some of the warning signs that you can look out for at an open home.

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