All Things Real Estate: Beware of potential water damage to your home

All Things Real Estate: Beware of potential water damage to your home
Philip Raices

It’s Sunday and I hear the pounding rain pummeling down on the skylight in my home office.  I am thinking who will have a wet basement or a damp inside wall today? I decided to go out this morning a second time to remove the debris in my gutters and leaders to prevent the overflow of water behind my soffits from then seeping into my interior walls.

I also performed my winter lawn fertilization with a 32-8-8 material (32% nitrogen, 8% phosphorus, and 8% potash) so I won’t have to do it again until early summer 2024.  This will nourish the rhizomes and tillers to build a strong root system and provide a healthier and greener appearance throughout the winter months.  Doing this now will provide your landscape with a much nicer curb appeal, especially during the holidays, assuming you have a decent lawn to start with, and will make your home stand out.  Winter seeding can also be done now so it will germinate sooner this coming spring.

When I think of all the flooding that has occurred this year, I have been looking at homes from a different perspective as to what needs to be done to prevent the intrusion of water inside your basement and other areas.  When purchasing a home, buyers should keep in mind that climate change is here to stay for the foreseeable future.  Excessive bouts of rainfall will have a major effect and potentially major damage to one’s home if preventative measures aren’t taken.

Buyers should look at the grade of the property to determine if it is slanting toward or away from the foundation. The best situation is having the property graded away from the home.  Are your gutters and leaders draining into a dry well or does the water flow onto your lawn, patio, or flowerbeds?  One must be extremely diligent to make sure that whatever water is coming off the leaders does not back up into your foundation, causing either a wet basement or worse — mold conditions.

Your home inspector will check for these conditions as well as cracks in the foundation that might cause an issue later on.  One way to alleviate a water issue in the basement is to add French drains with a sump pump.  In this fashion, any water coming in will drain through the perforated piping and end up being eliminated by the pump pushing it out into the sewer system.  As they say, “an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure.”

Most critical is the age of the roof and its condition.  Going up and inspecting the roof for damage is important and knowing how many layers of roofing tiles there are.  The maximum should at most be three layers.  If there is any damage to the plywood, then it must be removed and new sheets must be put in place.  Then a water-resistant or waterproof thin sheet or layer must be installed before adding the new roofing tiles.

Today the preferred material used is called Architectural shingles.  Also, if you are planning on purchasing solar panels, this will be an ideal time to consider installing them as a new roof should last 25-40 years depending on the materials used, weather conditions and necessary maintenance.  Installing an attic fan will minimize the heat that your roof will be subject to in the summer as well as eliminate it from the interior of your home, enabling your air conditioning system to function more efficiently.

Buying a home entails some very important things to think about.  The three things I suggest you consider are location, location, and also school district.  If you have the first and third items somewhat covered, then the second “location” will be critical, too.  Staying within your budgeted amount in purchasing requires a lot of research, looking, and visiting homes.  Many will not look at the property or think about water issues until they pay a home inspector to come and do an inspection and provide a report.

However, you can survey the property upon first visiting to see if some of those items that I had conveyed earlier are in workable order.  I do not expect anyone to go up on a roof.  Looking at the property to see if it is graded away from the foundation can easily be determined.  If not, you can ask if there is there a sump pump in the basement to eliminate water damage.

As our climate warms over the years and the potential for more serious and dangerous storms occur, purchasing a home that is safe from water invading the interior and knowing what to look for becomes tantamount to making a pragmatic and logical decision.


Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck.  For a 15-minute consultation, value analysis of your home, or to answer any of your questions or concerns he can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: [email protected] or via https://WWW.Li-RealEstate.Com

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