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Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?
Old 09-27-2005, 06:08 AM   #1
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Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?

I'm pissed and I don't know where to look for an answer.

I'm selling my house and the buyer's inspector's report states "evidence of water in basement"; the evidence is water stains - nothing else.

So I tell the real estate agent to find a company to do an evaluation. Get this - she finds a company who's job it is to repair leaking basements. They don't provide a written report stating there is a problem just - get this - an estimate for $3,800. to do things. I remember the water stains from the time I bought the house.

Any ideas where I look to find an independent professional who can provide me with a determination if there is a problem? I don't even know where to look in the telephone book.
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?
Old 09-27-2005, 06:49 AM   #2
 
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?

I don't know if things are the same in Atlanta, but up here typically an home inspection is used to 1) leverage an additional discount from the seller, or 2) provide a way for the buyer to pull out of the sale.* If you want the sale to go through, toss some money at the buyer.* If you don't care, let the buyer pull out.*

How long have you lived there?* If there is no chronic water problem, I would just remove/paint the stains and wait for the next buyer.* The basement water outfits are often pretty shady.* There is no reason to install an expensive french drain system if you don't really need one.*
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?
Old 09-27-2005, 08:33 AM   #3
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?

Tozz,
You hit it on the head. What I didn't expect was that my agent would help the buyer.

Do you know if there is a way of removing water stain from cement without painting over them?
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?
Old 09-27-2005, 08:42 AM   #4
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dex
Tozz,
You hit it on the head. What I didn't expect was that my agent would help the buyer.

Do you know if there is a way of removing water stain from cement without painting over them?
I'm shocked your realtor would do that.
He/she probably has a list of inspectors you could call.* When you speak with them I'd make it clear that this water in the basement stuff is bogus and see if you can detect some one who will give you the proper result
As for the stain.* Go to a store that may have more knowledge that the typical home depot dude like a Sherwin Williams.* The trick will be to "kill" the stain before you paint.* I'd also take pictures of the stain before you paint just in case the subject becomes an issue in future dislosures.
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?
Old 09-27-2005, 08:48 AM   #5
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?

We used to live in the Northeast where basements were the norm. *I had a water softener back up and overflow due to a leaf-clogged drain. *After we vacuumed the water and fixed the problem, the water had wicked up into the drywall and left a mark. *

When we sold, we explained what happened to the buyer. *No problem. *But after we moved, we were threatened with a demand letter from an attorney for expense irrigation work and our failure to disclose "deep structural problems" to the tune of $8,500.00. *Long story short: we had to get *our septic sewer person and a structural engineer to write letters on our behalf and hire our own attorney to threaten back. *Cost: $500.00, but well worth it.

You might want to consider having an engineer give you an opinion--costs appeared to be minimal in comparison to what some fly-by-night hydrostatic repair firm wants to charge.

You also need to find a realtor who works for you, the seller.
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?
Old 09-27-2005, 10:32 AM   #6
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?

If you paint, make sure the scent of the paint/primer is gone before the house is shown. Fresh paint smell in the basement is a dead ringer for covering up water stains. I've used Kilz-All primer before on some water stains and it worked pretty well. Ask some old guy that works at Home Depot or Lowe's what type of primer you need to cover/kill water stains on concrete block/drywall as the case may be.
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?
Old 09-27-2005, 10:39 AM   #7
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?

"Old guy", the older the better.

I would go to my local Miller Paint store where the paint experts hold court.

A water stain could have resulted from a water pipe break, hot water tank, long since fixed.
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?
Old 09-27-2005, 09:29 PM   #8
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dex
I'm pissed and I don't know where to look for an answer.
Well, you definitely should stop doing that in the basement.

OK, sorry, couldn't resist the setup, now I'm ready to be serious.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dex
I'm selling my house and the buyer's inspector's report states "evidence of water in basement"; the evidence is water stains - nothing else.

So I tell the real estate agent to find a company to do an evaluation. Get this - she finds a company who's job it is to repair leaking basements. They don't provide a written report stating there is a problem just - get this - an estimate for $3,800. to do things. I remember the water stains from the time I bought the house.

Any ideas where I look to find an independent professional who can provide me with a determination if there is a problem? I don't even know where to look in the telephone book.
The buyer needs to bring the inspector back to elaborate on the possible causes. You're not asking them to tell you what's going on in your basement, you're just asking the alleged expert to tell you what those types of stains have been caused by in other houses he's inspected. A five-minute meeting among you, the buyer, and the inspector may clear up the whole thing. Or it may show the buyer that his inspector is spewing water stains bloviating.

Then tell the buyer that they should find someone they trust to evaluate the problem and its solution. (Because clearly the slimy seller is only interested in finding a sleazy contractor to slap a little lipstick primer on this pig and sell it.) If the buyer can't figure out how to do that then look for a clause to void their contract, and move on to the next buyer. You don't need this kind of frustration.

If the buyer finds a credible contractor who can point to an actual problem, then offer to pay some portion of the repairs. Or shrug your shoulders and tell them that you're seeking other offers.

And perhaps you should seek a new realtor, too. Whatta bunch of crap for a 6% commission.
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?
Old 09-28-2005, 05:07 AM   #9
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?

Here's the conclusion. I said that I didn't belive I had a water problem and was going to find an independent inspector; the buyer had the option of buying the house as is, getting out of the deal or extending the close until I get a new report.

The buyer offerec the I take the $ off the house that I would have spent on a new inspector. So I gave them $300 off the price of the house.

PS - I also knew no inspector would definatively say there isn't a problem. They would always be cautious do to the fear of legal action.

Moral of this life experince: You are the only one looking out for your interest. When you do find someone looking out for your interests (in business or personal life) let them know you appreciate it.
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?
Old 09-28-2005, 06:21 AM   #10
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?

Getting a house "inspector" ready is pretty basic stuff, and any signs of water damage, even if its very old (basements, skylights, proper swales around the house, accidental grading above the sill plates, old windows-doors, non working gutters-downspouts, roof leaks or leaks around flashing, etc) is something they always look for. In your case I would have done the walls with something like UGL Drylock. It won't solve a serious water problem but it gives a more finished look and covers old stains nicely.

An existing "wet" basement can be really costly to fix depending on where water is coming from. On new construction in wet areas you can make a bone dry basement with drainage board and well constructed footing drains that can be run to grade (I've done a few myself). Fancy waterproofing materials won't do didly if the below-grade water can't readily drain away from the foundation. French drains and tar coatings are mostly worthless and footing drains that don't go anywhere are even more worthless.
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?
Old 09-28-2005, 12:20 PM   #11
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Re: Selling House - Water in Basement - How to find independent analysis?

Dex -

All that over $300. Amazing...but then again reference my post in the "selling a house" thread where a seller lost a buyer over not wanting to put window screens in a house.

I've rarely seen a basement without some water stains on the concrete, unless it was a high elevation home with great drainage. In particular, older homes not only get water stains but its not unusual to get a few inches of water in them during heavy storms.

The worst problems that cause this are usually poor grading around the foundation and lack of gutters/gutter problems.

You should have a smooth downslope grading from the side of the foundation away...I go for about 4" of drop per 2' although some builders and some areas building codes may call for more or less. A lot of homes are built on flat grade or over time lose the slope away from the house.

You should have 100% gutter coverage around the roofline, with clean open gutters that dont leak and downspouts adequate to move water away from the foundation.

I have a couple of buddies that do home inspections, and a brother in law thats a home builder...they all agree that the above two issues are #1 and #2 with homes. However, unless the foundation has shifted or is sinking, it hasnt become a problem...yet.

As far as painting over stuff or covering up prior damage...making a home 'inspector ready' is a fine edge to walk. While its a good idea to fix things that will call an inspectors attention, covering up problems can help provide an indication that you were aware of them and didnt disclose them.

Its also the $300 inspectors job to find at least $300 worth of problems, but if the inspector is referenced by the realtor its unusual for that inspector to find any 'real' or 'deal breaking' problems unless they're very evident. Thats why I bring in my own inspector and do a thorough review myself.

What I usually do is fix major problems outright, "cover" problems that I know are resolved or that wont repeat, and leave a handful of little handyman things that need to be done but dont affect the showing of the home so the inspector has something to write about.
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