After Sandy, How Big of an Issue is Water Damage When I Buy a Home?



Sandy created havoc in New Jersey, even far from the shore. Aside from the obvious issues posed by flooding from the Sandy storm surge, far from the shore problems occurred. Basements flooded when sump pumps went without power for days, roofs were damaged, and trees fell on homes, all many miles from the shore.

When you buy a home, you hire a professional to come and inspect the following major house systems to insure that they do not have any problems or deficiencies: the heating and central air conditioning, plumbing, the roof, electrical systems, attic, visible insulation, walls, windows, ceilings, floors, foundations, and the basement.

Even if expenses are tight, set aside money to hire the inspector, for he or she may catch the slightest evidence of water damage. In the future, this alone could cost you thousands of dollars to repair the damaged walls, structural beams, ceilings, and/or foundation as well as health issues from mold.

Before buying a home, make sure your inspector has examined for the following major issues: water seepage and wet basements, roof leaks, and weak water pressure. To prevent water seepage and wet basements, make sure any house foundation cracks are sealed and all surface water runs-off away from the house. If the house has small cracks in the foundation or has porous walls, heavy rains could cause severe and expensive structural damage. A furnace or hot water heater may be running, but it may have been water damaged and improperly repaired. You can’t tell by looking, but an inspector can by closer inspection.

Another issue is mold, which has become the cause of numerous insurance claims because they can be harmful to one’s health and destructive to homes. Normally molds are not indoor problems, unless mold spores land on a dark, moist spot. Molds produce allergens, irritants, and potentially toxic substances, such as mycotoxins.

In short, having a qualified home inspector has never been more important than after Sandy. Be safe, don’t gamble with your dream. Hire a home inspector, and don’t let Sandy put major problems in your path.    

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