How to Sell a House With Water Damage
You never know when water damage might strike. It could come in the form of an unexpected flood or it might sneak up on you thanks to a burst pipe. One day everything is good and the next you’ve got a basement full of water and no idea what to do about it. That goes double if you’re considering selling your house. What, exactly, do you need to do if you’re dealing with serious water problems? And how in the world can you expect to sell a house after that’s happened? There are options for you, depending on your budget, timeframe, and desire to sell. Here is how to sell a house with water damage.
The most important thing you can do when you find out there is water damage is to move as quickly as possible. It only takes 48 hours for mold to set in and the longer things remain wet the more likely they are to be destroyed or cause permanent damage.
First things first, remove all items you can from the flooded or wet area. That includes furniture, clothing, boxes, and anything else you can move by hand. Get it all to a place where it can dry or be cleaned immediately to minimize mold damage. Clothing, especially, needs to be washed quickly and thoroughly. Upholstery and other fabrics should go to cleaners who know how to deal with that.
If you have fans or dehumidifiers, use them. If you don’t see if you borrow or buy some. They help to dry the wet area and pull the moisture out of rooms, critical for basements and darker spaces.
If you need to wade into a flooded space, make sure you’re protecting yourself. You don’t know what chemicals and bacteria are in the water and you might not be able to see obstructions and sharp object lurking below the surface. Find some waterproof boots, a mask, and quality rubber gloves to protect your body.
Once you’re in the damp or flooded space, start documenting what you see. Take pictures. Take video. Cover every angle. Document items. Get every part of the home that’s been affected on record. You’ll want as much evidence as you can get if you’re going to report it to insurance or need to prove what happened to a potential buyer.
Repair What You Can
Regardless of whether or not you’re going to sell the house, you’ll want to consider fixing what you can or at least finding out how much it will cost to repair the damage. If you do plan to sell the house on the open market, you will almost certainly need to do full repairs because potential buyers are going to take one look at water damage and go running for dryer ground. Just know that even if you do repair everything, the fact that water damage happened at all is always going to be a red flag for them.
One of the keys when fixing walls and flooring is to consider neutral colors. It helps potential buyers visualize the home for themselves and it also gives the once-damaged space a refreshing, clean look. You want everything to look spotless and clean and you certainly don’t want to use any colors that make them think of water or mold (greens, blues, blacks).
You’ll probably want to have a contractor come by for an estimate. There’s the damage you can see and there’s the damage you can’t see. A good contractor will know where to look for that and will be able to give you a fair assessment. You may even want to get multiple assessments and, once the repairs are made, home inspections, in order to have backup to show to potential buyers. They’re going to want as much proof as you can give them that the house is in order.
Of course, there’s likely to be a lot of costs involved. Water damage is pervasive. It affects floors, walls, fixtures, pipes, and just about everything else you can think of. And that’s before you consider the effects of mold and what you’ll need to do to get rid of that. Keep that in mind before rushing into an open house situation.
Don’t Hide Any Damage
You might feel inclined to want to put a fresh coat of paint on the damaged area and try to get away with not declaring it but that’s a really bad idea. Buyers and their lenders are going to want to do their own inspections anyway. They’re going to find it whether you want them to or not. And once they do, they’re going to feel like you’ve lied and soiled the deal. Best case the sale will be off, worst case you might have a legal issue on your hands. Many times someone has bought a home and found out about water damage after the fact only to take the seller to court where that person ends up paying plenty to fix the damage and make good on the deceit.
Sell Your Home With Water Damage As-Is
So you find yourself with a water damaged home, you don’t have the money to fix it, and you don’t think you’ll be able to find a buyer on the open market. Your best bet might be to sell the home to an investor like Nexus Homebuyers who will buy it as-is.
It’s pretty common for homes with water damage to be sold this way and understandable to many as well. You can avoid all of the costs and headaches that come with repairs, listing the home, dealing with agents and potential buyers, and working out who pays for what in the end. Instead, an investor gives you a fair cash offer and takes the home off your hands quickly so you can move on from this watery mess and get on with your life.
If you’re interested in receiving a cash offer on your home, whether there’s water damage or not, click here to get started.