You’ve toured home after home, searching for your dream property. Now that you’ve found a house that has the perfect number of bedrooms, a backyard for your pups to run free, and closets that you can actually walk into, you’re ready to put down an offer.

Before you sign anything, every would-be homeowner needs to make sure that the property isn’t just everything you want aesthetically. The home also needs to have a full inspection. Water damage is sneaky in the way it can hide in almost plain sight. If you notice suspicious stains or any other possible water damage red flags, you need to take caution before moving on to the next step in the home buying process.

What should you do if you think your potential home has water damage? Take a look at how you can protect yourself and your investment.

Visual Inspection
Knowing what to look for when it comes to water damage is a step in the right direction – that is, if you want to uncover a potential problem before making a hefty down payment. Even though you may not have expert knowledge, you can still visually inspect the home for noticeable signs.

What are the symptoms of water damage? Look for peeling or flaking paint, moist or wet patches on the walls, or walls that are bowed. Keep in mind, peeling paint and damp walls aren’t always the result of water damage from a plumbing problem, leak, or flood. These symptoms also show up if the air is too humid or when paint or plaster is incorrectly applied.

Along with peeling, bowed, or wet areas, you may also see dirty or stained marks from dried water or mold. Even though the home may seem dry, these leftover telltale signs indicate that, at some point, the home may have had water damage. If that damage wasn’t handled correctly – that is, by a restoration expert – the home may have lingering problems that you’ll have to deal with as the new owner.

Professional Inspection
Along with inspecting the home yourself, hire a professional inspector to assess the possibility of water damage. Not only will the inspector note areas of water damage, but they can also help determine what’s causing the issue.

An issue such as this has many possible causes. Anything from a slowly leaking pipe to a previous flood during a rainstorm can result in water damage. The inspector will review the home’s systems, as well as its exterior and interior components. This helps the professional determine the extent of the damage and what issues are at fault.

The home-buying process isn’t an overnight or instant event. It takes time. What started with a water damage question following your own inspection may have turned into a water damage confirmation after the professional inspection. After you’ve received the full report from the home inspector, it’s time to decide whether you want to buy the property or not.

Some types of water damage are fairly minor and won’t require extensive repairs. A patch of peeling paint following a one-time washing machine leak or a stain after the dishwasher overflowed are more of aesthetic issues than functional problems. But if the inspector feels that the cause behind the damage is ongoing (such as a leaking pipe) or has left behind wood rot or mold that you’ll have to repair, you may be looking at an expensive fix.

You have a few different options after getting the not-so-good news that the home has extensive or ongoing water damage problems. You can walk away and keep the search for your dream home going. If that’s not an option, you can get a repair estimate from a restoration company.

A professional contractor can plan a safe, appropriate fix and provide you with a price. In some cases, the seller will agree to pay for the costs.

Does your would-be new home have water damage? Contact Vines Plumbing & Water Restoration for more information.