Look for signs of water damage when buying a home.

image of leak for buying a home in nashville postGenerally, water is a selling point in real estate. Lakefront. Riverfront. Let’s not forget ponds and pools.

But there’s another kind of water that’s completely different: bad water. Bad water is a big deal, particularly for those of us in the Middle Tennessee area.

Whenever you are taking a look at property in Nashville or Franklin or anywhere for that mater, water should be near the top of the list of things to be watching out for. Your property inspector will check for water issues; but if you keep your eyes open, you can do some exploratory detective work yourself. And it does take detective work, because bad water has usually already made its escape before you arrive. But it can’t help but leave a few clues. Here are some common ones:

  • Foundation clues. A single inch of rain creates 600 gallons of runoff – and if that water isn’t properly directed away from the foundation, nothing good will come of it. Piles of silt or landscaping gullies where they don’t belong are two indicators.
  • Gutter clues. Aides that can cause foundation issues reveal themselves in the guise of gutters that aren’t doing their job. A visual inspection of the overhead gutters and downspouts is usually enough to spot these problems.
  • Stain clues. Standing water will usually leave forensic evidence, long after it has vanished the area. Pavement, flooring, or even ceiling stains are clues; and walls can show efflorescence (the minerals left after water has evaporated).
  • Olfactory clues. Moisture in walls and in attic spaces can be hard to see, but easy to smell. If it gives rise to mildew on the underside of the roof, work needs to be done!
  • New paint. Chances are the homeowner painted a room or two to liven things up. But in some cases it might be to COVER things up. Play close attention to newly painted dry wall.
  • Humidifiers. You probably won’t spot one of these purring away in the corner. But do a little snooping and you might find a recently unplugged unit somewhere. If you do, you might want to do some further investigating.
  • Buckling floors or bowing sills. Water causes wood to expand, so if you see anything suspect about the floors or, say, the window sills, there’s probably an existing or past issue to be cautious of.
  • The roof. Take a good look at the roof. Is the flashing still solid? What about the shingles? Are they curling. Might want to spend an extra minute or too, inside, in the attic, looking for signs of leaks and seepage.

So keep that list of things to look out for in mind when you’re looking at new homes.  As a broker and an investor, I have seen it all. And I know what to look out for. And how to protect my clients’ interests. So if you’re in the market, please don’t hesitate to contact me.