Advice to Realtor & Clients:
Protect Your Home from Heavy Rains
As home inspectors looking at multiple properties every day, we are seeing more than usual water infiltration and damage. The last 60 days have been unusually wet in our area and the remnants of hurricane Florence did not help. Just driving down East-West highway in a torrential thunderstorm last week reminded me of how much pounding homes have received this late summer from heavy rains. Here are some tips Realtors® can offer to their clients who are buying homes or who have already settled. Most potential water infiltration problems can be seen outside.
- Walk around the perimeter of the home and make sure the grounds and flower beds slope away from the home. Reverse grades that force rain toward the home’s walls are the number one source of moisture problems in the lowest level of a home. A landscape or grading contractor should be called to remedy any reverse grades.
- In this same vein, clear drainage paths on the property and raise the ground level if there are areas of ponding during a rainfall event. Usual areas that hold water will be bare of grass. Also, the way water flows off the property naturally can be blocked by large lawn items like portable pools, recreation equipment and the like. Water needs unimpeded flow off the property.
- Again on the outside, be sure gutters are clear and free of leaves, branches and other debris. My next door neighbor drove me craze shooting 4th of July fireworks onto my roof. They always ended up in the gutters. Do the same for downspouts. During a rain event, walk around the home to look at downspout outlets for water flow.
- If the home has a chimney, does it have a weather cap on top to keep rain from entering from the flue opening? If not, have a chimney sweep install one.
- Then there is the issue of floor insurance. The August GCAAR newsletter focused on floor insurance, so check it out.
- While outside, walk to the nearest public storm drain inlet that the property’s water flows to. A blocked storm drain will cause backups that push water back onto the property. Badly blocked drains should be reported to municipal authorities. If not too bad, clear the inlets yourself.
- Clean window wells, stairwell drains and sump pump pipes and hoses. The home’s builders or previous occupants have installed measures around the house to protect it from heavy rain events. The current occupant should make sure they are in operating condition and clear of debris.
- Repair any damaged or missing roof materials. Water infiltration from the roof causes expensive damage that could have been prevented. Be proactive when it comes to the roof.
- Think about window and door seals. Weather tight seals are mandatory. Inspect every window and exterior door. If any of these are not is good condition, re-caulk or install new door seals.
- Install a backup battery on sump pump electric motors. Having sump pump is a terrific protective measure, so long as electric power does not fail. Call an electrician for help.
Professional Realtors® thrive due to referrals and repeat clients. What’s better than representing a client for his or her first purchase, then selling that house a few years later and helping with the next purchase as that client’s housing demands increase. Pass these tips along to previous clients and keep your name in front of your client base.
Art Lazerow, Alban Inspections Chairman