When you are purchasing a home, you need to have it carefully inspected to determine the condition. A professional home inspector should be selected; professionals have the training needed to look for critical issues that could otherwise be overlooked. There are problem areas you can look for yourself, and things about the inspection process that you should understand.
Signs of Water Damage to Look For
Look at the ceilings and areas where the walls meet the ceiling. Black or yellow-brown stains in these areas may indicate water damage. Look at the color of the paint; if it looks freshly painted it may indicate an attempt to hide damage.
If the home has a basement, carefully inspect along all of the baseboard areas. Mold and mildew will grow quickly if there has been water exposure. Any wood, not covered by drywall, is also an inspection point. Basements can often be musty, but use your sense of smell. Heavy mildew may be a sign of a serious problem.
Look carefully at the walls, soft spots in drywall or peeling paint should be investigated. Check along the base of the toilet for water signs. As you walk across the bathroom or kitchen floors, see if the floor feels spongy.
How an Inspection Can Miss Water Damage
Some areas of a home may not be accessible. In basement areas, if furniture is pushed up against the walls, damage may be hidden. Inspectors are not required to move furniture during an inspection. Ask the homeowner if items can be moved to see what is behind them.
Damage behind walls, under flooring or above ceilings is not always visible. A roof repair or replacement can cover up previous water damage. If crawl spaces are accessible, some roof damage can visible.
Water Damage Disclosure and Laws
Both Federal and Colorado laws require sellers to disclose known defects in a property. Federal laws require disclosure of the presence of lead based paint. The state of Colorado requires disclosure for certain issues, in addition to standard disclosures:
- Property that is included in a homeowner’s association or common interest group
- The property formerly included a methamphetamine lab that has not been completely repaired, see C.R.S.A. 38-35.7-103
- Property included in any special tax districts
- If any potential transportation projects could affect the property
- The source of drinking water (potable water) must be disclosed
The full Colorado disclosure report includes many sections on potential water damage, including moisture, roof leaks, and drainage and sewage problems. However, it is important to note the wording on the disclosure form:
“Seller states that the information contained in this Disclosure is correct to Seller’s CURRENT ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE as of this Date”
This wording and additional information on the form can limit the seller’s liability for unknown damages, placing the burden of proof on the buyer. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel a seller did not properly disclose information, you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney.
To fully protect yourself, and your investment in your new home, hire a qualified inspector and be present when the inspection is performed. Ask the inspector and the seller any questions you may have regarding the condition of the home. If you do find water or mold damage after your purchase, we can help you.
You can count on Professional Restoration to Respond, Recover, and Restore your home and life back to order. If you have experienced fire and smoke or water damage call on our experienced team to schedule a free estimate at 720-457-1831.