Shopping for a new house often means accepting that some renovations or changes will need to be made. A home prone to flooding issues around the foundation or in the basement can either be a bargain or a nightmare, depending on how you handle it as a home buyer. Here are four tips to make sure you end up with a steal instead of a money pit.
Find the Cause. Before you decide if you want to take on a house that may suffer from flooding, you should determine why that flooding has occurred in the past. Was it a one-time event, such as a severe storm? Or is it an ongoing challenge, such as annual spring runoff or overflowing streams? Is it stemming from some yard or landscape feature that you can fix, such as improper grading, a backyard slope, or lack of drainage in the yard? Knowing where the problem is will help you understand how complex -- and expensive -- it will be to deal with as a homeowner.
Have It Inspected. If you're aware that the house's lower spaces have flooded in the past, you will want to have it properly inspected by a professional and experienced remodeling contractor before purchasing. A contractor can help you assess long-term damage to things like the foundation and frame. In addition, it will help you feel confident that prior water damage was correctly cleaned up and mitigated.
Research Insurance. If the house is in a flood zone, you may be required to buy flood insurance. Alternatively, if there have been flooding events due to smaller factors (such as nearby water sources), you may opt to buy this protection even if it's not obligatory. Flood insurance, though, can be another ownership expense that you'll have to budget for, so be sure you know how much it will cost before committing.
Remove Potential Hazards. Old water damage in the basement means you should assume that the room and everything in it has been compromised in some way. It's a good idea to remove all carpeting and other flooring, furniture, and even drywall to ensure that there aren't any residual mold issues or structural damage. In addition, you may want to be conservative in furnishing the basement for your own use until you are certain that the source of any water leakage has been fixed.
By knowing how to handle a home that experiences flooding, you can help make sure that you choose a home that will make you happy and won't break your piggy bank. If you find evidence of flooding, talk to professionals like the Flood Doctor about what to do next.