The Baltimore Maryland Agent: How to Sell a Wet Basement in Baltimore Maryland

How to Sell a Wet Basement in Baltimore Maryland

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.



            Thunderstorm approaches Fells Point Baltimore


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.


Rachel Rabinowitz

Broker / Owner Guerilla Realty  and

Vice President Tranzon Fox Auctions

443.841.5916 direct /




Comment balloon 3 commentsRachel Rabinowitz • June 16 2013 07:06AM


The seller bought it, another with disclosure will too.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) about 7 years ago

This subject should be out in the open and on point...the happy medium has to be found

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 7 years ago

Hi Andrew, that's exactly right. I think your comment would make a great blog post.....

Hi Richie, getting it out in the open can be a battle. I read your position about a "happy medium" and then I see your business model is "people first, then business!" ......what a good guy! Thanks for reading.


Posted by Rachel Rabinowitz, The Baltimore Realtor (Guerilla Realty) about 7 years ago