There are few words that can scare a homeowner more than water damage. It can take many different forms and happen in so many different ways. It could be because of an unexpected flood or it could be because of a broken pipe. It might even just be because of an accumulation of condensation over the years that finally causes the damage. However it happens, it can cause a major problem for any homeowner but especially for those who want to sell their house. It might make you wonder if you can even sell a house that’s in need of major repairs like this.
There are options for homeowners dealing with water damage. Of course, it all depends on your budget, timeframe, and desire to sell quickly. Here are six tips to sell a house with water damage fast.
How To Sell A House With Water Damage Fast
Move Fast on Mold
If you’re trying to sell your house fast, then you need to act fast about the water damage and its effects. Once the water begins to settle, it only takes one or two days for mold to set in. And the longer carpets, floors, and walls remain damp, the more likely it is that they will be permanently damaged or destroyed.
The first thing you can do is remove everything that isn’t bolted down from the flooded area. Any furniture, clothing, boxes, or other loose items that can be moved easily should be. After you move them, make sure they are dry and clean in order to minimize any mold damage. Any clothing that was either in or close to the water should be washed as soon as possible. Upholstery and fabrics should be taken to a cleaner who understands how to deal with mold and water damaged items.
Load up on fans and dehumidifiers and get as many of them as you can close to the wet area. The fans will help get things dry while the dehumidifiers will pull the moisture out of the carpets and other damaged areas. This is especially important in any rooms that are dark or lack windows, such as basements.
If you need to walk around in a flooded area, make sure you are protected as much as possible. There could be all kinds of bacteria or chemicals in the water and there may also be obstructions that you can’t see below the surface. Wear waterproof boots or waders, put on a mask, and invest in some quality rubber gloves. Don’t take any chances because it only takes a little bit to cause a lot of damage.
One of the most critical things you can do is to start documenting everything right away. As you assess the damage and start the clean-up process, you should be taking photos and/or videos. Document everything that has been damaged, from the structure to the specific furniture and pieces of clothes. Make sure you’re also taking note of the areas surrounding the water damaged room or rooms, as you might later learn that the damage has affected them as well. Not only is this important for insurance but it’s also important so you can show any potential buyer exactly what happened and how it was fixed.
Make Repairs Fast
Whether you were trying to sell your house fast or not, fixing the damage or figuring out how much it will cost to fix the damage is something you need to do ASAP. Nothing good will come from letting a water damaged room fester. It will make wood weaker, stain carpets and floors deeper, and let mold and other bacterias thrive.
If you are going to sell the house on the open market, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to complete a sale with making repairs first. Most buyers won’t want to deal with the problems that come with water damage, especially when there are plenty of good homes available without that headache. Its also important to know that even if you do fix the problem, it will likely be a red flag to buyers anyway. That’s why it’s so critical to give buyers all the reassurances you can.
Even if you’re not sure about making repairs or you’re considering fixing it up yourself, it’s a good idea to bring in a contractor for an estimate. Unless you are an expert, it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to assess all of the issues at work here. Along with the damage you can see there is likely to be some damage you can’t, not to mention the source of the leak which can be hard to identify. A good contractor can spot all of these issues and give you an assessment. If you can, get multiple quotes so you can compare them.
If this all sounds like it might be costly, well, that’s unfortunately true. There are a lot of costs involved in fixing water damage. This is something that affects floors, walls, pipes, fixtures, and many other parts of the house (and that’s before even getting into mold issues).
Given the costs involved, it’s enough to make you want to just buy a new rug, put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and try to move forward. That is a really bad idea. Buyers and lenders are going to demand their own inspections and they’re sure to find the damage no matter what. And if they have to find out about it that way, that will probably ruin the transaction since they’ll assume you knew and tried to hide it. And even if you did somehow pull a fast one, they’ll eventually figure it out and then you might find yourself in court.
Take Advantage of This Opportunity
It might not feel like a positive, but since you’re already fixing up this damaged room, you might as well use it as an opportunity to improve the area. Consider it a forced renovation. One tip is that you should use neutral colors for walls and flooring. That will help make this once-damaged space seem fresh and clean. Definitely make sure you don’t use any colors that imply mold or mildew (greens, blues, and blacks).
The truth is, even if you follow all of the above steps and are able to pay for all the repairs and renovations, you still may not be able to sell your house quickly on the open market after water damage has occured. There are millions of variables that could cause buyers to think twice or perhaps it’s the offseason and they decide to wait. Then you’re stuck having foot the bill for repairs and you can’t get this house off your hands.
You do have another option. You can sell your house as-is to a real estate investor like Cream City Home Buyers. They will buy your house for cash and you don’t even have to make any repairs, even if your home has significant water damage. Keep that money and let them make a fair offer on your property as it currently stands. You’ll be able to close the deal in days and start fresh, free from the water damage inside the house.