Does the Home You Are Touring Have Water Damage? Here’s How You Can Tell

Posted on May 4 2022 - 10:00am by Paige Brown
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By Anica Oaks

Home tours are one of the most important parts of the homebuying process. For many buyers, the anticipation of finally touring homes they've seen online leads to so much excitement during the tour, they forget to look for important details. Unfortunately, this can lead to expensive problems down the road, especially if you overlook problems that an inspector also misses. To help yourself remain alert during a home tour, here are a few easy ways to spot one of the most serious home-related problems: water damage.

Sagging Ceilings
One way to tell that the home you're touring might have water damage is to look at the ceilings. If you notice that the ceilings in multiple rooms are unusually saggy, there's a good chance that there is some water damage somewhere in the home. Excess moisture causes the drywall in the ceilings to become heavier and begin to pull away from the support beams. Since most ceilings are painted white, you might also notice discoloration on the ceilings left behind by leaking water.

Rusty Fixtures
When someone is selling a house, they'll likely replace most of the fixtures if they're rusty. If you want to check for water damage, though, there are still a few places you can look for rust. One great place to look is on the inside of metal hinges. Since water can accumulate between the threads of the hinge, it's hard to hide the damage without changing the hinges. Rust on hinges indicates that there is high humidity in the home. This condition could be caused by water damage.

Peeling Paint
Paint likes to stick to flat, dry surfaces. If the walls in a home you're touring have peeling paint, there's a good chance the home is in need of water damage restoration. As water penetrates walls, it will expand the drywall and the paint on the drywall. Then, when the water evaporates, the wall will contract, but the paint will still retain its larger size, causing bubbles and peeling that should have you running in the other direction. Restoration services can help take care of this problem for you. 

Unusual Smells
When you walk into a home you might like to buy, make sure to use your nose. Smelling for unusual smells in each room of a home can be a great way to detect water damage. Since mold and mildew growth often accompany water damage, you should be sniffing for the musty or slightly rotten smell that's indicative of mildew. Since this smell can dissipate over time, the presence of this smell likely indicates that there's an active leak somewhere in the home.

Work With a Realtor
If you're feeling overwhelmed about trying to detect water in a home you're touring, just remember that it's better to take along an extra set of eyes when you're walking through various homes. Your real estate agent can be a great source of information since they see the interiors of many different homes in their line of work. This can help provide a more definitive answer as to whether or not you're looking at a home that has water damage. 

Anica Oaks is a freelance writer who hails from San Francisco, California. When she's not writing, she's enjoying her time outside with her dogs. Keep up with her on Twitter @anicaoaks.

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