As a basement advisor, a big part of my job is to answer questions from homeowners. One question I am often asked is “If I spend money now to waterproof my basement, will my home be worth more?”
When a homeowner asks this question, I know they’re thinking beyond their own use of a dry basement to its potential as a selling asset when the time comes. Smart homeowners, or anyone who watches any of the many real estate shows on TV, know that kitchens and bathrooms are great places to invest your money to enhance resale. Basement waterproofing may not be as sexy as granite countertops and steam showers but it pays off too, not only at time of sale but in the years of use – as living space, storage space or workshop – while you live in your home.
I don’t want to keep you in suspense so I’ll answer the question. I consulted with a number of residential real estate professionals in the area and they told me that you can expect to get back 150% of the money you put into keeping your basement dry. So, make sure you keep your contract and other paperwork and inform your Realtor of your wise decision to waterproof when you’re listing your home for sale.
How does Basement Waterproofing Improve Home Resale Value?
For example, let’s say that your poured concrete foundation is leaking badly through the cove joint (where the wall meets the floor) and through several wall cracks. The recommendation is for a top-of-the-line waterproofing job: inject the cracks with expanding urethane; install interior drain tile around the full perimeter of the basement; add a plastic liner to the interior of the walls that will serve as a heavy-duty vapor barrier and shield from any future seepage from new sources; and, install a state-of-the-art backup sump pump system. The cost of the project is $10,000. Not only will you enjoy a dry basement as long as you live in the home but you’ll really enjoy getting an extra $15,000 when you sell. Maybe you can use the $5,000 profit for some granite countertops in your new home.
On the other hand, consider the potential cost of not doing the waterproofing. Not only will you not have a dry basement for your own use, but you’re not going get that $5,000 bump when you sell the house. Even worse, as I explain below, your house is likely to sit on the market considerably longer and will sell for a lower price. In fact, the discount on your house for the wet basement is likely to be much more than the original $10,000 because a smart buyer will insist that all problems in the house be fixed – out of your pocket, not his. Home inspectors tell me that buyers often demand multiples of the repair costs estimated by their inspectors.
Want to know what a home buyer will be looking for in your basement? We gave buyers some tips in an earlier article.
There are other resale advantages to waterproofing your basement that can’t be measured in dollars and cents. As every homeowner knows, the real estate market is still soft, making it more difficult to sell your home now than it was five or six years ago. In another blog post we discussed the advantages of a professional waterproofing job at time of sale, so I’ll just hit the high points:
- A home that has a dry basement, especially one with a transferrable warranty from an established basement waterproofing company, will sell faster than one with seepage problems
- Home-made water remedies, such as downspout extensions that sprawl across your lawn, detract from your home’s appearance and marketability, whereas professionally installed underground extensions will make it more appealing.
- The states of Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana all require that sellers complete a disclosure form at time of sale and one of the first questions to be answered is “Are you aware of any water problems in the basement?”
Basement waterproofing is our business at U.S. Waterproofing and we’ve been helping homeowners keep their basements dry and their property values high for more than 55 years. Our basement advisors can offer free advice on how a dry basement can make your home more valuable so please ask.