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Do I buy this flooded house

Old 09-19-2009, 01:35 PM
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Default Do I buy this flooded house

Im sure some of you guys in the building industry have been through something like this so I want to know what future damage issues to watch out for. I went to the coast to be present for a home inspection on an elevated house that I had under contract to buy. Tha water and electricity had been off so they were turned on about an hour or two before the inspection. When we all arrived, water was running out of the house and coming thru the ceiling in the underneath garage like crazy. An icemaker had been removed previously and the hose was pouring water full blast in the air against the kitchen cabinets. Water was about 1" deep throughout the kitchen and into part of the bedroom and part of the open living area and of course water was coming through in several areas in the underneath garage. The floor AC vents were also filled with water as well as underneath all appliances and kitchen cabinets. Water was running out of the Air handler that was in the underneath garage.The water ran full open for about an hour or two. Assuming the house gets dryed out properly what issues do I look for in the future that may not be obvious now. The home inspector felt like I should start looking elsewhere but the house if perfect for our needs. Should I consider it at a lower cost or just walk away. Thanks
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Old 09-19-2009, 01:46 PM
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If they get a good water abatement company in there right away you should be OK. It's the "drip, drip, drip" that will kill a house. "Whoosh" usually won't. Plush "whoosh" should be covered under their insurance. (if they had any). I be tempeted to monitor the cleanup and repairs very closely though.
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Old 09-20-2009, 05:57 AM
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Moisture abatement in a house near the water is tough because the relative humidity of the area is high.
There's water under all the cabinets that's not coming out the easy way. Subfloor under the flooring has water in it; at least on the edges.
Cabinets that got soaked will probably bow a bit and might need refinishing.

My take would be to remove and replace the cabinets and the flooring along with the garage ceiling and the air vents. This is a fairly expensive damage situation in an area where mold and mildew are prone to grow anyway.
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Old 09-20-2009, 06:05 AM
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I would request a MAJOR price reduction (more than the repairs) or walk away.
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Old 09-20-2009, 06:43 AM
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There are too many deals to be had to jump right into something like this. Mold is a very serious and expensive concern. A rental agency would probably want documentation that the house has been inspected for mold. Insurance could also be a problem. Owning and repairing a water damaged house is one thing, buying/selling one is way more complicated. Of course I don't know what price range the house is in. If it's a little bungalow that you're paying cash for and want to fix up then you may have a deal. If it's on one of the beautiful barrier islands and in the half million and up range then I'd look elsewhere. There's lots of deals to be had.
ps, if you have interest in a 3rd row within 200 yds of a public beach access or an ocean front, both at Ocean Isle Beach, I'd like to talk to you.
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Old 09-20-2009, 07:21 AM
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Thanks for the input. It is on one of the barrier islands. I bet the house will have to be documented as water damaged so resale might be a problem down the road. I know there is tons of water that flowed under the cabinets and appliances that cant be reached to dry out. Also you would have to remove all the hardwood on that level since it is an open floorplan or can you piece in new hardwood with old in the middle of the living area and it not show.

Last edited by jbillfish; 09-20-2009 at 07:22 AM. Reason: add sentence
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Old 09-20-2009, 07:44 AM
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Walk away.....quickly. Too many things can crop up after something like this happens....all bad.
Why even take the risk?
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by LI Sound Grunt View Post
I would request a MAJOR price reduction (more than the repairs) or walk away.
Originally Posted by Wolakrab View Post
Walk away.....quickly. Too many things can crop up after something like this happens....all bad.
Why even take the risk?

In a word; "mold". It can cause a structure to be condemned. It happens when there is water or humidity between the walls that cannot be vented. A flooded home is the perfect candidate for future mold issues. And these molds causes respiratory problems in humans that can last for decades, if it ever heals.

WALK AWAY!
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Old 09-20-2009, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jbillfish View Post
Thanks for the input. It is on one of the barrier islands. I bet the house will have to be documented as water damaged so resale might be a problem down the road. I know there is tons of water that flowed under the cabinets and appliances that cant be reached to dry out. Also you would have to remove all the hardwood on that level since it is an open floorplan or can you piece in new hardwood with old in the middle of the living area and it not show.
If hardwood is pieced together, things aren't much cheaper than doing the whole room because the whole floor needs to be stripped and sanded, then finished. The cost of demo and new material could be very close to piecing and stripping. Most of the time there are threshold pieces in doorways that new hardwood can stop at...but all contiguous hardwood needs to be finished.

Blowers and dehumidifiers can dry out the interior of a house. They even have a propane powered house heater that will heat the interior to over 100 degrees and force-dry the interior. Super expensive process, so have the insurance adjuster's approval before anybody starts work.

For the most part, insurance companies will spend unlimited amounts of money to dry parts of a house; only to have to replace those parts anyway. Cabinets and flooring are two that come to mind.

You can buy a moisture meter, for $100 or so, that will tell how much moisture is inside walls or floors. No need to guess. If contractor doesn't have one of these, find a real restoration contractor. Make sure they know how to deal with insurance adjusters regarding supplements to the original claim.

Liberal amounts of mildecide applied before the drying process is a good thing. Water was fresh, so no kibbles and bits to contend with.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:41 AM
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It could also make it tougher for you to insure the home. When a loss history is pulled they use your current address, SS#, and the address to be insured. Any losses that match up with any of those will come up and some ins/ companies shy away from a big water loss do to exposure to potential law suits from mold related issues. Ins. Co. have been hit with billions of loses related to mold. Top that with the fact that it on a barrier island makes getting ins. even harder. With that said the right company can come in and make the house right if they know what they are doing.
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:03 AM
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I would look for a very serious price reduction, take a CAT to it, and start over.

Now, for this to be economically viable you would need to acquire the house for a discount (truthfully, not really, but that would be my negotiating standpoint to start) to comparative lot sales in the immediate area, factoring in that you already have septic, foundation, and excavating complete, and well if applicable.

Also, no idea about NC, but here in RI, the permitting process would be extensive, both for the demo and the rebuild. You should include a contingency that in a nutshell reads that you will close once you have the new building permit in hand.

There could be a hidden opportunity for you here if a few dominoes fall in the right direction.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:15 AM
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Thanks for all the input. You guys have brought up some important issues i did not think about that might haunt me for years to come. Obviously there needs to be a major price reduction to allow for these issues.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:45 AM
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Don't let these THT guys scare you off if the house fits your needs. It really is not a big deal if it is handled properly. This scenario happens all the time with coastal vacation homes. It's typically the icemaker, a toilet supply line, or the AC condensation drain that causes these floods. The key is to notify the homeowner insurance company ASAP, and they will coordinate getting an abatement contractor on it fast. The faster the less likely mold will be an issue. They will pull down the underpinning, assess floor damage, bring in fans to dry the place out, etc. They can fix it as good or better than it was before the incident. You'll want to delay closing, get a report from the abatement contractor, possibly work with the contractor and seller to get replacement carpet, flooring, etc in colors satisfactory to you.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:08 AM
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My house was under water so many times (built in 1931) when I bought it, it had drain holes in every room! I couldn't stand it and jacked it up 9'
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:40 AM
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I agree with Bob. Don't be scared....Eliminate the water.
What is a dangerous mold level????
If you know please let everyone know.

Most building inspections don't even deal with mold issues...no clear guidelines.
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:26 AM
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Mold would be an issue "if" one didn't gut the place. "If" one gutted the place then there is nowhere for the water to be trapped and mold to develop! Onces one has gutted the place and thrown everything out then one should put the fans to it for a week or until it is totally dried out....then rebuild from there.
Two sayings of mine come into play here:
1) cheap is expensive
2) the short way is the long way.....which brings one right back to point #1.
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