Wet Summer Woes - Does Your Home Have a Moisture Problem?
Contributed by Teri LaBuwi, SRES, Eric Stewart Group
Because of the very wet weather we experienced in the mid-Atlantic region during September, including the hurricane season, the real estate business has been flooded (pun intended) with homeowners who have suffered the devastation of water or moisture intrusion.
From damp, musty basements and garages to leaking roofs, attics and ceilings, we saw several home sale transactions either stalled or collapsed completely during the past month. Shoring up your basement or attic to prevent water or moisture intrusion during inclement weather is a very cost-effective way to not only increase the usable living and storage space in your home, but it's also a great way to help you sell your existing home’s extra space to a potential buyer.
Here are a few ideas to consider, whether you are repairing a damp basement or attic, or simply want to make those spaces more livable in your home.
Mold is a scary topic this time of year and will quickly thwart a home sale. Basements and attics need to stay dry in order to prevent mold. Before you add any new materials to those spaces, you’ll want to check to make sure you don’t have existing moisture intrusion or damage, or a mold or mildew problem that needs remediation. There are lots of experts on this topic and we are happy to make recommendations. Once you know that your space can stay dry in any weather, you can proceed to make other improvements to add square footage to your living space and to help you sell for top dollar.
PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL
Unfinished basements and attics that do not have proper plumbing or electrical will not lead to the highest and best use of the space and may require costly repairs that can threaten a home sale. You may want to have an inspection of your electrical panel to make sure it has not been compromised or penetrated by moisture before doing any electrical work, or before putting your house on the market. Make sure all drains are working and faucets and pipes are free of drips or leaks. Adding a stand-alone dehumidifier to a damp area can go a long way in removing moisture and odor from the air and make a space more comfortably livable.Related Articles:
- About Teri LaBuwi
- Selling a Home: To Update or Not to Update the Kitchen
- Downsizing with Dignity: Taking Control of Your Lifestyle
Flooring choices in basements are usually determined by a desire to avoid moisture issues. A cool tile or marble floor might be nice in hot weather, but not so much in the middle of a wet winter when the kids are playing indoors. Engineered flooring is favored over hardwoods in basements; not only are they durable and affordable, but adding an area rug can help provide adequate insulation to maintain a comfortable temperature year round and also help to control condensation.
COLOR AND LIGHTING
A typical basement may have little natural light or low ceilings. Adding new windows or doors can be costly and will not necessarily guarantee a return at resale time. Instead, some thoughtful and cost-effective ways to brighten a dark space include adding light and neutral paint, and adding a variety of lamps at different heights to create a warm and welcoming space. If you have discoloration on the walls in your basement due to moisture intrusion, there are a variety of paint and sealant products available to curb mildew and reduce odors and the possibility of further damage.
DOORS AND WINDOWS
Make sure you create caulk or weather-stripping seals around all doors and windows to prevent water intrusion. Replace any cracked or loose window panes. Make sure all windows open and close properly, and clean out any weep holes of leaves and debris. Check these spaces at least annually, and touch up as needed, to help save on major repair costs down the road.
ROOFS AND GUTTERS
And of course, have your roof tiles checked periodically for missing shingles or tears that can lead to leaks, and keep your gutters and downspouts clean and free of debris. You might also periodically add fill dirt around the perimeter of your house to fill holes and depressed areas, and to keep rainwater flowing away from the structure.
Staying on top of basic maintenance isn’t always easy. If you are uncertain about what kind of repairs or renovations to do on your home, whether you are preparing to sell or just want to live more comfortably in your space, give me a call. I'm always on hand to answer questions and share my expertise based on hundreds of home sales! Teri@EricStewartGroup.com or call (703) 451-0222
Consider downloading our Market Ready Guide to help you through the process of getting your home for sale.