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Is Buying a Home with Water Damage a Deal Breaker?

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Even in today’s wild real estate market, it’s still an exciting time to buy a home. Before you dive in on a deal too good to pass up, it still pays to take the time to do your due diligence, ask questions and keep an eye on the details. While touring the home and along with a home inspection, keep your eyes open for what could be water damage.

Is Buying a Home with Signs of Water Damage a Deal Breaker?

A home with signs of water damage isn’t necessarily off the table. Along with your home inspector’s recommendations, it depends on the extent of the damage, if efforts have been made to correct the issues or if a price reduction to cover repair costs can be negotiated. Here’s what to look for:

Exterior Conditions

There’s more to look at than curb appeal. Here are some red-flag items.
  • Wet, soggy lawn
  • Standing water or puddles around sidewalks or foundation of home
  • Condition of gutters and downspouts
  • Grading toward or away from the house
  • General position of home – at the bottom of a hill, position to neighboring properties
  • Mold or black spots on exterior of home
  • Rotting wood
  • Rusty hose bibs, fencing, outdoor decorations
  • Roof Inspection
Ask the seller about the age and condition of the roof. Note any missing shingles and inspect the attic and ceilings for any signs of water leaks or damage.

Interior Conditions

Smell for Mold If there is a musty smell, it’s a telltale sign of excess humidity and more than likely, mold. Listen for Drips While touring the home, listen for the sound of dripping water. Inspect the pipes and plumbing under sinks and in the basement for leaks. Water Spots, Rings or Stains Check for brown or yellow discolored stains especially on ceilings, walls, floors, around windows and doors. Look for hard water stains in showers, tubs, sinks and toilets. Hard water spots are caused by standing hard water which may mean a problem with the plumbing. It may also indicate slow draining sinks or tubs. Notice any condensation on the windows or damp walls which could be due to some kind of a moisture or high humidity problem. Sagging Ceilings, Bulging Drywall If ceilings or walls have water damage stains, they can be hidden with paint. However, there’s no mistaking sagging ceilings or bulging drywall which has potentially absorbed and is holding excess water. Also check for bubbling or warped drywall. Speaking of paint, check for signs of damaged paint such as peeling, bubbling or discoloration. Watch for any obvious cracks in walls and ceilings. Wood Rot In addition to checking the condition of wooden molding, floors and doors, take a look around at any wood furniture in the home for signs of water damage such as swelling or bulging. Lower Level Check for the presence of foundation wall repairs, sump pumps/crocks, dehumidifiers or new floor coverings.


With the help of a water damage cleanup and restoration company, buying a home with past or present water damage doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. In Sonoma County, call RCS in Santa Rosa for all of your water damage cleanup, restoration and mold remediation needs.        

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How to Keep Your Basement Dry

basement drying

Homeowners can’t always avoid disaster, but there are things they can do to take preventative measures to some extent. Whether it be taking steps to keep the attic clean and free of hazards in order to prevent a fire, encapsulating a crawl space to avoid toxic mold build-up as well as deter critters, or by having a professional come out to inspect all major appliances along with wiring to prevent any damage that might incur if a pipe bursts or a wire begins to spark...homeowners have a responsibility to do these things. If you are a homeowner with a basement, steps can also be taken in order to keep it nice and dry to avoid a mold or mildew infestation along with pesky wood rot that is more likely when things are continuously damp. If you have a basement that is completely finished, there is even more at risk by having a moisture problem. Not only do you have the wood to be concerned with, but also carpeting, furniture, and drywall. What do the experts have to say about keeping a basement dry? Here are some professional tips from Lowes:

  • Keep your gutters clean. Install downspout extensions to direct rainwater away from the foundation.
  • Be sure that water coming down the driveway is diverted. The grade should slope away from the house on all sides.
  • If you have a partial basement that has an adjoining crawlspace with exposed dirt, cover the ground using 6-mil-thick polyethylene sheeting. Overlap the plastic about 6 inches, allowing the excess to spread up the walls, and use bricks to hold it in place. An earthen crawlspace can cause high humidity in the basement and produce a strong musty smell.
  • To control mildew and odors, spray the basement occasionally with a mild bleach solution.
  • Vent the clothes dryer to the outside.
  • Another way to prevent condensation and humidity in a basement is to install an exhaust fan.
  • By sealing your concrete floors, you can create a moisture barrier that helps prevent damage to your belongings.
  • Install a dehumidifier and connect it to the floor drain via a garden hose. Check the drain regularly to make sure it remains unclogged. Use hot water and detergent periodically to keep the drain open and control algae growth.
  • Install a sump pump with a battery-operated backup in case the electricity goes out. You'll need a connection to a drainage system. This project will probably require the help of a professional.
Sitting back and waiting for a monetary or health dilemma to happen due to mold and structural/belonging damage is not advised. If you own a home with a basement, taking action now will save you from misery later on if disaster strikes. Has your basement recently suffered from water damage or an infestation of mold due to excess moisture? Do you need help from a restoration specialist? Don’t worry—Restoration Certified Specialists, Inc. will take care of you! They have been proudly serving the Santa Rosa, CA and North Bay areas since 1975.

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