water leaking loganlea

10 tips for spotting water damage when buying

When house hunting, looking out for water damage is essential. Water is the cause of many major household problems that can end up costing you thousands of dollars down the line.

It’s important to know the signs of water damage and what to look for when buying.

1)     Musty smell

Before even walking through the door, one obvious sign of water damage when buying might be the smell.

Houses with water damage produce a smell like wet cardboard or paper.

The smell can waft through the entire property, but it is strongest in areas that have water damage. These are generally the bathroom, kitchen and laundry.

2)     Poorly maintained gutters

Poorly maintained gutters are another sign of water damage.

Gutters are designed to divert water away from the house and safely into the garden or municipal damage.

When they are damaged, this can cause rainwater to spill onto your property and damage it.

3)     Pools of water near the foundation

Tying into the gutters issue is the existence of polls of water near the foundation of the home.

Pools of water near the home’s foundation is a sign the yard isn’t draining away properly, which can lead to a build-up of moisture

Water leakage in the subfloor of a home.

4)     Appearance of mould

Mould is a type of discoloured, fuzzy fungal growth that forms in the home due to excessive moisture and humidity.

Mould spreads over time and can have major health effects on people living in an infested home.

Such health effects include breathing problems, nasal congestion, coughing, throat irritation and other respiratory issues.

Look for dark coloured spots on the walls, like so:

An example of mould growth on the ceiling.

5)     Condensation

Windows can show signs of moisture through condensation.

If you see windows becoming cloudy or wet and it hasn’t rained recently, this is a sign that there is an issue with the plumbing, pipes or drainage.

6)     Warped floors

Warped floors are a sign that underfloor drainage issues. Such warping includes uneven tiling, carpet lifting, damp carpets and soft spots in wooden floorboards.

Uneven flooring creates a tripping hazard and moisture often makes surfaces dangerous to walk on due to the threat of slipping.

Uneven tiles near a pool. Can be a sign of issues with plumbing.

7)     Rust

Rust on metal objects is a tell-tale sign of excess moisture. This is doubly true if rust can be found in areas not exposed to the outside.

Rust forms when iron and oxygen react to water or moisture in the air.

Rust generally manifest as a brown-orange mark. If left unchecked, it can make metal corrode over time.

This ultimately makes appliances fragile and can even make the structure of your home unsafe.

Checking for rust is a must-do when looking to buy a home.

Rust on a water heater in a residential home.

8)     Outdated water supply system

When buying a home, you should ensure the quality of the water supply system is assured.

If left too long without a proper inspection, your pipes can rust, get damaged by tree roots growing into them or face some other form of damage.

Even if the pipes are in good condition, the connections and faucets can still leak.

As such, getting a pre-purchase plumbing inspection is essential.

9)     Sound of running water

One sign of water damage that often goes unnoticed, is the sound.

If you hear dripping or even the rush of running mater, this is a sign that there may be a leak or burst pipe.

A creaking sound coming from your floors can also be a sign of underfloor drainage issues.

10)  Flaking paint

Water damage can also manifest behind walls and ceilings, causing the paint to flake away.

It may also crack or bubble.

Paint flaking.

What to do if you find evidence of water damage

Firstly, you should book a further inspection to assess the extent of the damage.

If you find water damage when buying, or looking to buy a home, this can influence the price of the home.

From there, negotiate with the seller to see about fixing the problems, or depending on the extent of damage, lowering the price.

If you cannot come to an agreement with the seller about these things, it is best to move on.


For more helpful advice and tips, visit our website or follow our Facebook page.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.