Why The Basement In My House Could Become A Money Pit
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For those of you who don’t know, my wife and I bought a new house a few months ago. We were buying in a hot area where homes were only on the market for a few days. We had to move fast and lost out on about five other homes we put offers on. It was frustrating to say the least.
On top of buying, we were also selling our home. We were able to sell it quickly, but the house took nearly three months to close. During that time, I made sure to be a part of most of the processes when buying the next house. It took a lot of hours to keep up with everything, but we did it. Unfortunately, I am finding out I may not have researched enough about our home and it could cost me.
Basements are Hard to Find
My wife and I were looking for a ranch style home, but we also wanted a garage. I have my toys and need my tinkering space. My Jeep needs a place to stay dry! If you have never looked at ranch homes, they are hard to find with garages.
When I stumbled across our home, I noticed that it not only had a two car garage, but a workshop as well. To ice the cake, there was even a roughed-in basement ready to be finished. With a garage and a basement, we knew this was our home. Now that we’re settled, I’ve begun to plan out what I want to do with the basement. I plan on building a custom office in half the room, then use the other as just a play room for our son with a full bath. Recently, I noticed a musty smell in the basement and bought a humidifier that sucked out so much water it required twice a day emptying at least. It just wasn’t efficient enough.
This past weekend, I was adding some more insulation to our garage and basement ceiling as I am getting ready for winter and want to keep the heat in the house. As I moved some things, I noticed our couch in the basement was smelling terrible. After closer inspection, I realized there was mold growing on the couch. I looked at a few more fabric items in the basement and noticed the same smell. I knew we had a problem.
This is Going to Be Expensive!
After some reworking, I was able to get our dehumidifier hooked into our sump pump. Now it can run continuously in order to pull the water out of the air. The basement is already smelling better and dryer. Though the dehumidifier was a great temporary fix, it is not going to be the best solution. I took some time to look around and have found that our walls are having water seeping issues. It appears the grading of our property is actually pushing water back against the walls. This just causes it to drop down the wall and then come in through the cinder block footers.
I also found out the previous owners had done some repairs, like putting in french drains that allow any water coming through to travel down the walls and hit the drain. This is a cost-effective process, but they didn’t do the entire basement. They only did three quarters of it. Now, I am left with the rest. On top of completing that job, I also need to dig out dirt around the walls and reseal the block to make sure water doesn’t come in from the outside.
It is going to cost about $15,000 more than I originally had planned to finish our basement! Since it is not in my budget, the basement will have to wait. I could put it on credit, but I pay off my cards every month and this would ruin that. I have been in massive debt before, so I’m not doing it again.
Take the Time to Research
When we were going through the buying process, I came with the inspector and spent the day with him at the house. He personally showed me everything and I found quite a few things on my own. We got his report and had the owners fix what we wanted and we left the rest. The big problem is I didn’t take the time to research the basement in enough detail to catch a majority of the problems. Since I was being pulled left and right for both buying and selling, my mind wasn’t as clear as it could have been.
In hindsight, I should have called a basement waterproofing company and requested a quote on how much it would cost. I could have used this in a negotiation on the price of the house or at least some concessions. Now I am left high and not so dry to fend for myself.
The basement was a selling point originally, but now it’s slowly becoming a pain point. If I would have slowed down and done my proper due diligence, I would have caught the issues and negotiated with the sellers. There is nothing I can do about it now, but share it with you and hope you don’t make the same mistake.
Have you ever bought or sold a home and experienced an unpleasant surprise? How would you handle an unexpected home repair if undertaking it would break your budget? What’s been the hardest do-it-yourself home fix you’ve taken on?
Photo courtesy of: MarkMoz12