Is It Safe to Buy a House With a Leaky Basement?
Get it fixed, and get it fixed right
If you’re buying a lived-in home, chances are that it will have some sort of preexisting issue, and for many houses, that issue is a wet basement. After all, basements are underground, and it’s pretty easy for water to find its way inside any underground space. When confronted with a leaky basement, should you still buy the home or should you look elsewhere?
We can’t tell you whether to buy a house, of course, but we’re happy to offer some advice. A leaky basement generally isn’t a difficult or expensive problem to fix, and a savvy home buyer can actually use the issue as leverage to get a better price. That said, if you’re not comfortable taking responsibility for the repairs, it’s better to invest in a home without that issue.
To make an informed decision, we strongly recommend having a professional home inspector look at the house you’re planning to buy. Home inspections generally aren’t too expensive, and they cost quite a bit less than the potential issues you may avoid. Make sure your home inspector takes a look down in the basement and inspects the foundation to find any signs of water infiltration.
Whether you hire a home inspector or not, you’ll need to know the signs of a leaky basement yourself. Visible water is an obvious one, of course, but you might also see water stains along the walls and floor or a damp, musty odor in the basement. Watch out for efflorescence, a condition that produces white or grayish ash on the walls and is caused by salt deposits that water leaves behind. You might also notice a condition called spalling, which causes the surfaces of concrete, stone and stone to peel, flake or even pop right off.
If you do decide to purchase a home with a leaky basement, you can use the leak as a form of leverage against the seller. Typically, the value of a house with a known leak may drop anywhere from 10% to 25% depending on the extent of the issue.
Once the house is yours, though, you’ll need to take steps to resolve the issue, and the key is to get it done the right way. Cutting off the source of water is a good first step. Repair disconnected downspouts and gutters, regrade the landscape to direct water away from the foundation, and install drains around the house. Installing a sump pump in the basement will keep the water well away from the foundation and increase the value of the house to boot.
The key to dealing with a leaky basement is to get it done correctly the first time. At Ram Jack of Indiana, we’re proud to be your local foundation repair experts. Whether you’re dealing with a leaky basement in your current house or a newly purchased home, contact us today to schedule an appointment.