It's been a rainy Spring season here in Baltimore Maryland. Homeowners across the city are becoming well acquainted with their shop vacs, mops, and buckets. In the finest neighborhoods and in the nicest homes water is creeping into basements across Baltimore.
If this description sounds like your house and you need or want to sell your home, here's how to sell a wet basement in Baltimore Maryland.
Most of the time there are two reasons that sellers do not remedy wet basements;
Reason #1 is the "no big deal" rational.
I hear this one a lot. "Sure my basement leaks from time to time, but only in the really big storms. We're used to it." or "We bought the house in this condition." The "no big deal" rational is a form of denial.
Reason # 2 is financial
Sellers are concerned that if they are forthcoming about their wet basement they'll sabotage their deal.
How to Sell a Wet Basement in Baltimore Maryland
The best way to deal with a wet basement is to fix the problem before you put the house on the market. This may include installing a french drain system, also known as "waterproofing". Another option is adding a sump-pump. Additional remedies are cleaning out gutters, fixing downspouts, and addressing the grading of your landscape around the foundation of the house.
Waterproofing a basement is expensive, most quotes I hear are around $5,000+/-. The benefit to having professional waterproofing done is that the work is usually accompanied by a transferable warranty. If you've had your basement waterproofed before you put the home on the market, your agent should let buyers know. This is a big vote of confidence, not just for your buyer, also for your buyer's lender.
But let's say you don't want to spend the time and money to fix the problem, how should you proceed?
You need to disclose the problem to potential buyers in writing. It may be as simple as stating on your residential disclaimer "basement leaks, source unknown". If the problem is predictable you can be more specific "in heavy rain storms standing water appears along the east wall of the basement".
Once you've disclosed the problem, you may want to consider selling the property "as is". They reason to elect an as-is sale with a wet basement is because you're letting buyers know that you won't be fixing the problem as a stipulation of their home inspection. Selling the property "as is" will indeed limit your pool of buyers, and that's okay. The point is to find the buyers that are the best financial candidates for buying your property for better or for worse. As I tell my clients, you only have to sell your house to one person.
What you don't want to do is ignore the problem or take a wait-and-see approach. This position will cost you the most time and money. You are likely to have contracts that fall apart during home inspections, and more critical you risk being sued if you intentionally mislead buyers about the soundness of your home.
How to sell a wet basement in Baltimore Maryland? Hire an agent that has experience managing this problem. Strongly consider remedying the problem before you put the house on the market. Always disclose the problem. And finally, rest assured, you're not the first homeowner and you won't be the last to have a wet basement in Baltimore Maryland.
Broker / Owner Guerilla Realty and
Vice President Tranzon Fox Auctions
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