Concerns When Buying a Home: Flooding
Hurricane Katrina taught us all: it’s impossible to overstate the destructive potential of water. Flooding and water infiltration are major concerns for any home buyer or seller. Fortunately, most flood plains are well-documented and mapped, and a qualified broker can determine a prospective home’s flood risk. There are a number of different flood-plain designations—for instance, 50-year or 100-year flood plains. It’s important to know whether a property lies within a flood plain and, if so, what the designation is and what the potential risks are. Some areas require flood insurance, which can be expensive.
Besides the obvious damage that floods can do to a home, any water present where it’s not supposed to be (like a basement) can be a source of many problems. It can lead to mold, which can cause unseemly odors, allergic reactions, and other health issues. Standing water can also limit your potential uses for the basement, and can lead to structural damage.
In some cases the presence of water in a basement cannot be avoided, so it simply has to be managed. How to do so will depend on the circumstances and basement type.
A qualified home inspector will be knowledgeable about this and will be able to point out signs of potential water problems in the basement or elsewhere on the property. Drainage of water on the property and from the roofs of buildings through gutters and leaders are other sources of water that can infiltrate basements and cause erosion. Many of these concerns will be addressed by a competent structural inspector.
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Note: The terms “buyer’s broker,” “buyer’s agent,” and “buyer representative” are used interchangeably on this site. All refer to a real estate professional who represents you—the buyer.
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