I recently talked to some friends, prospective homeowners, who were approaching their option period and were anxious to talk to me about a problem they were having.
Like many successful young professionals in Austin, they were looking forward to buying their first house together. They had finally found a house they loved. It had been a flip and everything was new. What’s not to love.
Even their inspector, not me, felt there had been an incredible amount of work done on the house and he was having trouble finding many deficiencies.
…but there was one thing they mentioned that caught my attention
The couple went through their list of issues that were found by their inspector and on the sellers discloser. Most were minor but there was one thing they mentioned that caught my attention.
They said another inspection had been done a few months earlier for another buyer who had backed out. The first inspector had found that the part of the house that was pier and beam had water underneath it. There had been a heavy rain at that time. The first buyers backed out and the seller reduced his price considerably. (Flag on the play. A red flag.)
Along came my friends who were told about the moisture from the previous inspection. Their inspector had found a dry crawlspace and nothing to report there. They were told it wasn’t a big deal and that it only happened during rare rain events. (Red Flag 2)
After discussing it more I learned that the property had some french drains already in place and from what I heard there were drainage issues on the property. (Red Flag 3)
They were reluctant to back out. It was where they wanted to live and they had a lot of emotional investment involved…not to mention the financial investment they were about to make.
Their position is not new. Home buyers are optimistic most of the time and it is especially true of first-time buyers. They listen to all parties involved and assume everyone is there to help them. And they are most of the time. But in this case, no one threw up a red flag or recommended a professional foundation or drainage expert look at the issues. It could very well have been that the problem wasn’t too expensive to correct. Maybe.
…the problem could definitely lead to bigger issues…
But from what I heard the problem could definitely lead to bigger issues including destabilized piers and foundations, mold impacting health and insects and varmints being attracted to a free source of water. From my perspective, the drainage and grading had failed in their performance.
Water is a big deal. We need it and can get in trouble if we don’t have it. With current temps in the 90s and 100s, water is on many of our minds right now as we cut back on watering yards, make sure we have water to drink as we take walks and ensure pets are hydrated.
But water under a house is never a good idea. In this case, the home did not show moisture damage or stain….yet. The time to find issues and understand costs for corrections is before “you” own the problem. It may cost a little more upfront but it will help you make a very expensive decision you will have to live with.