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Stop Basement Seepage before Selling your House

Feb 17, 2014 • By Matthew Stock.

For Sale In Water

The residential real estate market in the Chicago area, and the Midwest in general, is unpredictable, to say the least.

Experts say that the market is beginning to rebound from the Great Recession but many homeowners are having difficulty selling their houses and many others are staying put rather than move because of uncertainty about the market.

Needless to say, those who are putting their homes on the market must present potential buyers with strong reasons to choose their home over the one down the street or in the next subdivision.  Realtors are great sources of information for sellers and they can give valuable advice on pricing, staging and other marketing factors.

Before the marketing begins, however, homeowners must be sure that the product is in the best shape possible by painting, making repairs, landscaping and other structural and cosmetic fixes.  Often ignored, especially after prolonged dry spells, are basement seepage problems which, if not addressed can create not just marketing but legal problems for the seller.

Why Stop Basement Seepage before Selling your House

In Illinois, as in many states including Wisconsin and Indiana, a home seller is required to provide a disclosure statement to the buyer that is meant to ensure that any material defects in the home are spelled out before the property changes hands.  The #2 item on the list of required disclosures?  “I am aware of flooding or recurring leakage problems in the crawlspace or basement.”

Failure to disclose can lead to cancellation by the buyer or, later, a lawsuit for fraudulent misrepresentation.

A homeowner may think, “No problem.  I’ll just be honest and disclose that there’s sometimes water in the basement and assure the buyer that it’s no big deal.”  Well, that might work but, chances are, the buyer is going to run away from that house because they don’t know whether they’re facing a damp spot or an indoor swimming pool.

Plan B for the seller might be to offer a credit for repairs.  That could be effective if the buyer is head-over-heels in love with the house but it’s still going to scare off many people, either because they have no idea if the credit is going to be sufficient to fix the problem or they just don’t want to have to deal with major repairs when buying a new home.

Reduce the asking price?  Nope.  A buyer will take the asking price as a starting point and still want a concession for the basement problem.

So, what’s the answer?  Pretty simple – stop the basement seepage before selling your house!

Doing basement waterproofing as part of preparation for sale will, first of all, enable the homeowner to present a clean disclosure statement (assuming everything else is OK.)  This will be a significant advantage over other homes that may have admitted problems.

Also, the home can be priced properly for the market without fear of concessions or reductions to account for a leaky basement and there’ll be one less reason for a buyer to look elsewhere.

The work needed to stop basement seepage before selling your home may not be major or costly—a simple seeping wall crack can be fixed permanently in a few hours for a price in the hundreds.  Even big projects like interior drain tile or an exterior waterproofing membrane can be surprisingly quick and affordable.  Consult an experienced, full-service basement waterproofing contractor for help.

At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve been helping homeowners stop basement seepage in the Chicago area (and southeastern Wisconsin and NW Indiana) since our founding in 1957 and we have made big repairs and small repairs for more than 300,000 satisfied customers.  Why not ask for our free advice when planning to sell your home?

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