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Buying and Selling a Home with a Wet Basement

A wet basement is a major issue when buying or selling a home, but these strategies outlined by Basement Systems, Inc. should help homeowners navigate the process.

Seymour, CT - April 15, 2003

Recognizing that a wet basement is a major issue to buyers and sellers alike in the housing market, Basement Systems Inc., a nationwide network of basement waterproofers, outlines the best strategies for both buyers and sellers when faced with a wet basement. 

When a basement floods or shows signs of repeated water damage, the resulting damage to drywall, wood, carpet, cardboard, and furniture can be costly. Besides affecting the valuables and keepsakes often stored in the basement, wood floors and subfloors become susceptible to rot, and mold and dust mites thrive in a wet basement environment. The wet basement smell alone can cause concern to a buyer or seller, who will worry about the effect on air quality in the higher levels of the house and the potential for allergy and asthma-related harm.

Buying a Home with a Wet Basement

If you're willing to put the time and investment in fixing the basement, buying a house with a wet basement can represent an opportunity. Since for many home buyers, buying a house with a wet basement represents an additional cost and a headache, these homes frequently sell at a discount. The value of a home with a wet basement can decrease as much as 10-25%. In "The Weakest Link" in the March issue of Builder Magazine, 19% of buyers looking to buy a new home admit they don't want a "fixer upper".  The advantage to buying a home with a wet basement is the opportunity to negotiate a bargain price.

Buying and Selling a Home with a Wet Basement - Image 1

In the current housing market, 40% of previously owned homes already have at least one serious defect; basement water is among the easiest of these defects to repair. Of the 12 red flags that USA Today identifies as serious problems for new homeowners (such as foundation cracks, asbestos, defective roofing, and lead paint), a wet basement is one of the fastest and least expensive to repair. In a day or two, a crew can install a sump pump, interior French drain, and a basement dehumidifier in a basement and ensure that the basement will stay dry. While the expense is not insignificant, basement waterproofing can immediately increase the value of the home by 400% or more of the cost.

Basement Systems has helped many happy homeowners who have negotiated a discounted price for a home they loved and hired a reliable basement waterproofing contractor in our network. In two days, the installation of a sump pump, French drain, and dehumidifier increases the value of the home by tens of thousands of dollars.

Selling a Home with a Basement Water Problem

Before selling a home that has a leaking basement - or a basement that has leaked in the past - consider fixing the problem. Repairing a wet basement should pay back for itself several times over. It will affect the price you can list your home at and will help you when negotiating with prospective buyers. A cast-iron sump pump and interior drainage system with a transferable warranty and energy-efficient, self-draining basement dehumidifier will inspire confidence that the basement area will stay dry and clean for years to come.

Buying and Selling a Home with a Wet Basement - Image 2

If your reason for selling your home is to increase available living space, consider waterproofing and finishing the basement as an alternative to selling. A finished basement is a cost-effective way to obtain additional, usable square footage in your existing home. Finished basements have become popular in the last 20 years, and the Home Improvement Research Institute has estimated that upwards of one million homeowners finish or remodel their basements each year. Additionally, Money Magazine has reported that building an addition can run as high as $150-$200 per square foot, whereas a basement finishing project should run only about $30-$75 per foot in most cases. An investment of 12-15% of the price of the house increases the livable space by one third to one half and is a smart investment. Even in the currently poor housing market, the national average return on investment of basement finishing is approximately 75% of the cost of installation. The final result is this: a beautiful, quiet, and naturally private new living space without the expense and hassle of moving.

Three Tips When Hiring a Basement Waterproofer.

  • Hire a contractor that specializes in basement waterproofing to avoid the risk of a future basement flood. A contractor reporting for Country Living cited that 17% of their work involves fixing the poor work of other waterproofers. 
  • Hire someone who is a certified basement contractor with a well-established business. According to the Small Business Administration, 50% of contractors fail within the first year and 96% within five years. 
  • Hire a basement waterproofing contractor with an excellent reputation with the Better Business Bureau and check their references. 

About Basement Systems, Inc. 

Basement Systems, Inc. provides a full line of innovative basement drainage products, sump pumps, and basement dehumidifiers. Each contractor in the Basement Systems network is certified and in excellent standing with the Better Business Bureau. The company's Total Basement Finishing products are inorganic, mold-resistant and designed for basement living. Basement Systems will match you with a local Basement Systems contractor in your city who can provide a free, no-obligation basement waterproofing estimate. Visit its partner site, Total Basement Finishing, for a basement remodeling estimate.

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