Purchasing a home for the first time can be an exhilarating experience, but potential homebuyers must be aware that the home they could be buying might have hidden water damage. To the untrained eye, water damage and recurrent water issues can go unnoticed. In fact, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, homes more than 30 years old are three times more likely to have a major plumbing or drainage issue. That’s why it’s important to know what to look for in your potential future home.
Here are just a few ways you can spot potential water damage in a house:
- Look for Rust – Rust can be an indicator of a slow leak, particularly on the hot water heater. Additionally, check the water heater for sediment – it should be flushed annually in order to prevent sediment buildup.
- Feel for Soft Spots – Do you notice any water stains around the bathtub or toilet? Does the floor sag a bit when you walk near the shower? If so, water could be entering the floor and causing the wood to rot.
- Run the Water – Don’t forget to turn on the water faucets throughout the house. If you notice that the water isn’t clear or if you hear spurts of air coming through the lines as the water runs, then these could be signs of plumbing issues.
- Use Your Nose – Sometimes the nose knows. If you notice a moldy or musty smell anywhere in the house, especially the basement, then this may indicate that there is a water or mold issue.
- Look Up – Don’t forget to look at the ceilings as you tour the home. Homeowners may try to cover up signs of water damage instead of fixing the issue. If you see any new, heavy paint on the ceiling, this could be a sign that brown water stains were hastily covered up before the house was put on the market.
- Check the Floors – It’s as important to inspect the flooring as it is the ceiling. Walk along the tile and wood floors carefully and try to find any warped or cracked flooring. Also, feel for any gradual rises underneath any carpeted floors. These can all be indicators of water damage.
- Look at the Foundation – Once you’ve finished touring your potential new home, walk outside and look at the foundation. Check if the yard is landscaped for proper drainage, and keep an eye out for any pooling water next to the home. Additionally, check outlet hoses and drains to make sure that they are working properly, if possible.
- Watch out for Possible Roof Damage – During the inspection phase, keep an eye out for any missing shingles, pools of water, damaged flashing, or any signs of wind damage. Make sure that the roof and attic are inspected thoroughly.
Before you purchase your first home, ensure that it is devoid of water damage first. We have seen homes that have passed inspections yet still have deep foundation cracks and damage that have plagued the home for years. In addition, purchasing flood insurance is wise to help you protect your investment in the long run. After all, what you see is not always what you get.