How to Sell a House with Water Damage

by | Sep 26, 2019

It may surprise you to learn that water damage isn’t just caused by heavy rainy seasons or bursts and leaking pipes. It can be caused by an old and outdated plumbing system, moisture buildup in crawl spaces or basements, and malfunctioning heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units. Even aging or improperly installed household appliances like your dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater can leak enough water that can lead to a lot of damage. 

What’s worse is that by the time you discover water damage and the issue that’s creating it, the damage is already been done. And, often, it’s more damage than you can afford to fix.

Still, because of the risks involved, leaving the problem alone will only make things worse for the house and its inhabitants. It’s critical that you deal with the issue as soon as possible. 

Selling the home and just walking away is one way to do that. When you’ve got children or elderly parents, or if there are tenants involved, that’s obviously easier said than done. But, if you know how to sell a house with water damage—and to whom—it’s possible.

How to Sell a House with Water Damage

One of the biggest issues with water damage is that it leads to other potentially serious issues. Initially, wallpaper may start to peel away and any rugs, furniture, and accessories treated with non-colorfast dyes can bleed. Paint on the walls and the ceiling may blister, and odors trapped in the carpeting and other fabrics may strengthen.

Before long, however, some furniture pieces will irrevocably discolor, and wood—whether on the floors or behind the walls—will warp and split. In a matter of weeks, you’ll also experience mold.

That’s why, at the first sign of water damage, it’s crucial that you find and fix the cause right away as well as repair anything in the home that sustained damage. Replacing burst pipes and buckled linoleum may be a pain, but it won’t be nearly as pricey—or dangerous—as dealing with mold. Once mold enters the picture, your home could suffer structural damage. Your family’s or tenant’s health will also be at risk. 

Whether you’ve already paid for an inspection to uncover the extent of the problem or not, selling your property could be the best option for effectively dealing with this problem.

But, selling a home with water damage is almost as difficult as selling a house with mold. If you’ve got both, you’re going to be in for an uphill climb and thousands of dollars out of pocket in expenses. Here’s what you can do to make taking this path easier:

Hire an Agent to Help Sell Your House

When it comes time to sell their homes, most people rely on a real estate agent to help them. When your house is in good shape, this is a great option for many reasons. For example:

  • A real estate agent will market your property to ensure you get the highest possible offer.
    • They’ll take photos or videos of your home that show it in the best light, write a description, then list it with your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). If you’d like, they’ll also add signs to your lawn and may even advertise in the Sunday paper.
    • They’ll also help you show the home either by holding open houses, giving individual tours, or providing a lock box with your key inside for other agents to access—or do any combination of all of these options.
  • A real estate agent will help to negotiate the price and the terms to get you and your buyer moving toward a number and a timeline for closing you can both live with.
  • A real estate agent will handle all of the paperwork for the transaction, ideally ensuring the sale goes off without a hitch.

With issues like water damage, however, putting your home on the market with a real estate agent may not be your best option. Most traditional buyers who want a move-in-ready home won’t want to deal with major repairs or mold remediation any more than you do. For that reason, they (or their bank) may request a reduction in price or that you fix all problems yourself. 

Plus, when you sell your property with a real estate agent, you’ll have to pay for their services as well as for other closing costs and fees. This could amount to more than 10% of your home’s final selling price which, if you also had to make concessions like a price reduction, may not be that much, to begin with.

Perhaps of greatest concern is that selling a house with water damage on the open market can take a long time, even with a real estate agent’s help.

Under the best of circumstances, homes can sit for one to three months or more before their owners get an offer. Then, it usually takes another 30 days for the deal to close once an offer is accepted and both parties agree on the price. A house in need of major repairs, however, tends to sit longer without any offers. 

For your home, any amount of waiting means the water damage will worsen and the repair bills will rise. If there is mold, you could also find your family—or your tenant—becoming sicker with each passing day. The potential risks are simply too great to wait too long to sell.

Sell Your Home Directly to a Cash Buyer

As an alternative, you could sell your water-damaged house directly to a trusted cash buyer in your community. In general, for homes that need a lot of work, an all-cash buyer—who is usually an investor—is going to be a better option. Here’s why:

  • A cash buyer typically wants a house that needs some degree of work since they make their living performing repairs on a home and, then, reselling it. The more experienced the buyer, the more likely they’ll take on a major fixer, too—even one with water damage. 
  • A cash buyer isn’t constrained by terms that banks like to set since they’re working with cash rather than funds from a loan. That means you don’t have to worry about making price concessions or performing renovations to help close the deal.
  • A cash buyer can close fast—sometimes in two weeks, but oftentimes less. That means neither you nor your family, have to stay in the house for longer than necessary.

Depending on the buyer, there could be additional benefits to going this route, too. Most buyers who prefer cash sales for real estate properties that they’re investing in don’t necessarily need to work with their own real estate agent. That could save you a few percentage points in fees and put a few more bucks in your pocket.

Many don’t need to perform an inspection to determine what they will offer, either. When they do, the inspection itself can be done quickly and conveniently for you. Some investors will make you an offer on the spot right after visiting your house, too. That’s less time you’ll spend waiting to get the deal done as well as less time any of the occupants will have to stay in the home. 

If you’re lucky, finding a reputable cash buyer can also be easier than finding a traditional buyer. As luck would have it, you have found one who will go above and beyond to earn your trust by doing more than just buying your home.

Breathe Easier by Selling to the Right Buyer

The home-buying specialists here at Sell Your House Direct want to help you breathe easier by buying your property fast and for a fair price.

We know that when you’re trying to sell a house with water damage, time is of the essence.

We also believe that being in a hurry doesn’t mean you’re not getting a good deal. That’s why we’ll provide you with a one-page sheet that outlines all of your potential costs, so you can decide for yourself if you should make repairs and hire a real estate agent—or go with a cash buyer like SYHD instead. 

Plus, whether it’s you and your family who live in the home or a tenant who occupies the property, we’ll do all that we can to help everyone move on quickly and safely. We charge zero fees and commissions for this service, too. It’s simply our way of giving back so that all of our fellow homeowners can easily move forward.

If you’re drowning in home repairs and just want to move on, SYHD can help. Contact us today to get a fair and fast cash offer so that you, and your finances, can start breathing easier.
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