Selling Your Home With a Wet Basement

Making an improvement to your home just to sell it can be a tough pill to swallow. Many people find themselves selling their home to downsize maybe because they lost their job or had gotten in too deep to begin with. In those situations it’s understandably very hard to afford repairs. Whatever the reason, selling your home with a wet basement is an uphill battle in a buyer’s market. Most home buyers aren’t going to want to have to make repairs to their new home. After all, they probably just wiped out a bit of their savings putting down money on the house in the first place.

New home buyers will usually want to make some changes here and there after they settle in. Just making their decision on which home they want, arranging financing, and of course moving is enough for most people to cram into a single time frame. They can move on the rest of their punch list work after settling in. Here are a few things that aren’t always a top priority:

  • Wall Paint
  • Carpet Wear
  • Landscaping

These types of things are mostly just for looks and not really the “bones” of the house. Home buyers will certainly appreciate a nice looking floor or a well trimmed and painted wall if it is to their specific tastes. However, you can’t always assume that your tastes, or popular styles are what is going to appeal to the one buyer who will sign on the dotted line. When carpeting, painting, etc. are done to sell a house, it’s usually “neutral” in style and color. Most people would appreciate it, but sometimes it’s just easier to drop the asking price o f the house by the amount of the improvement than to rule out the 10 – 20% of buyers that disagree with your specific selection.

The “bones” of the house that I mentioned earlier are thing that everyone would agree needs to be in working order. It’s a simple matter of priorities where the axiom is needing function before beauty. Some of these items would be:

  • Sewer/Septic system
  • Heating, A/C
  • Electrical
  • Roofing, Flashing, Gutters
  • and of course a DRY BASEMENT

The basement is an important part of the house for multiple reasons. If it’s wet or damp, there can be structural issues after a while. The moisture can also breed mold, which will stop a house from being sold quicker than anything. If the buyers are looking at a finished basement, the water can easily devastate it. If they want to just use it for storage, they need to protect what they put down there. Water or dampness will also negatively affect the critical mechanicals such as the heater, water heater, oil tank, electric panel,etc.

Most house sales are accompanied by a home inspection. Home inspectors tend to not bother with things like faded or scratched paint, worn carpet of scuffed doorknobs. This is just not a significant concern. Home inspectors are going to report conditions of the second list I’ve mentioned and not show measurable concern over the aesthetics of the house.

In the end, spending money to improve a home you are leaving is difficult. Making the improvements will make it sell more easily, though. It can attract more buyers. It can reduce the need to lower the asking price. It can help the home sell faster, which saves you money. Care should always be taken to spend the money in a way to optimize results.