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Wet Basements

A wet basement is a very common problem. This is something that frequently worries buyers when selecting a new home. It is also an issue that sellers have to deal with, and should disclose to potential buyers. However, this usually can be fixed. Before putting their house on the market, sellers should attempt to correct the problem.

The first step in attempting to fix basement water problems is finding out the source of the water. Typically, water can come from leaking pipes, from outside sources such as rain and snow, or from underground. The method for waterproofing a basement will depend on the source of the water.

If water is present in a basement due to a leaking pipe, there is an easy fix. By identifying the location where water accumulates, a plumber can find surrounding pipes and inspect them for holes, cracks or loose connections, and then fix the leaking pipe. This is not a very expensive fix and will save sellers a lot of trouble during a sale.

If water is coming from outside sources, such as rain, homeowners should take measures to prevent water from getting too close to their foundation. There are a couple of options. Homeowners should inspect their gutters to make sure they are clean, and directing water away from the house through their downspouts. This is typically a problem during the Fall when leaves can accumulate inside gutters and clog them. Homeowners can always extend the downspouts further way from their house, minimizing the chances that water will come in. If your home is on a slope, where water could be coming towards your home from a driveway or even from the street, then you might need to grade your property in a way to prevent water from coming in. This is a more complicated solution and you may need an engineer's opinion.

If water is coming from underground, the solution can get a bit more expensive. The best way to correct this problem is to install a drain system under the basement floor or around the perimeter of the foundation. This is easier to do if a home is under construction. For existing homes it means breaking the basement floors or digging a lot of dirt around the home. This could be costly and messy. This drain system will direct water to a sum pump inside the basement, which in turn will pump the water out. This job should be left for a professional. Homeowners should hire a basement waterproofing company.

Regardless of the source of the water in a home's basement, it can usually be fixed. Homeowners should consider correcting the problem before marketing their home for sale. Water problems will discourage buyers from selecting your home, and can ultimately prevent you from selling. If a homeowner can't correct the problem, they must disclose it to potential buyers. They must inform buyers of this problem, including the frequency and amount of water present in their basement. Buyers interested in a house with water problems shouldn't necessarily be discouraged from buying. They should consult with a good home inspector and a waterproofing company. Then get an estimate of the cost to correct the problem. With this estimate in hands, potential buyers can negotiate with the sellers for either a credit at closing or a reduced sale price. Once buyers take ownership they can fix them problem themselves.



By Diane Tuman

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  • Last edited October 12 2012
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