This is a follow-up on my previous post on the floods we had locally in September.
Many homes that were affected by water damage had never had any water infiltration previously. The combination of sustained rain, rising ground water and in some cases sewer backups caused a litany of water problems throughout the area. On my street about one in four houses was affected so it’s not fair to say only certain areas were hit or that others were dry. It was a regional problem with tens of thousands of homes affected.
So how will this affect a homeowner as they look to sell a home that was damaged and how will buyers view those homes. Three words come to mind: cleanup, documentation and disclosure.
In order for a buyer to feel good about a home that has had extensive water damage they will need to know what happened, how it was cleaned up and how it can be prevented from happening again. The proper cleanup should have started weeks ago by removing everything that was wet. This includes personal belongings like boxes, bedding, furniture but more importantly means carpet, baseboards, drywall and insulation. Once all porous materials are removed they must be dried out thoroughly and treated with a anti-mold solution. In addition all concrete needs to be cleaned with a bleach solution (1 cup to every 5 gallons of water). Once the cleaning and drying is complete the finishes are ready to be re-done with new materials.
While everything is fresh in your memory it would be a really good idea to document exactly what happened to your house. This should take the form of a written documents supported by photos at every stage of the process. In my experience, the more a buyer knows and the more forthright they think the seller is being the less spooked they will get during the purchase process.
Sellers are required by Colorado law to disclose every material fact of the house. Most sellers satisfy their disclosure requirement by filling out the Sellers Property Disclosure form. The second question on this form is: “Do the following conditions now exist or have they ever existed: Moisture and/or water problems”. The answer for so many of us (me included) is now a resounding YES. But if you left it at that, a check mark I think a buyer would still have many questions. So this is when your documentation comes in to tell the buyer 1) How it happened 2) How it was cleaned up 3) What was done so that it won’t happen again. Not only would you have fulfilled your statutory obligation you would have made the buyer feel more comfortable about what happened. The goal being that once everything is laid out in detail it is a non-issue.
UPDATE: Boulder County has created a form that gives a format for documentation of the water damage remediation. To view and use the form click on this link moldremediation.