What To Do When Your House Floods: Should You Sell Or Repair?

How To Sell A House With Flood Damage

You come home one day to find that your house had flooded. As a homeowner on Long Island, we remember the massive flooding that was caused by Hurricane Sandy all over the south shore. It’s a homeowner’s worst nightmare come true, whether it’s due to a natural disaster, faulty pipes, an unfortunate mistake, or one of the many other ways it can happen. There’s only so much you can do to be prepared for water damage. If your property is affected by a flood or massive water damage, you’ll have to make an important decision based around answering one question. Should I attempt to repair the water damage or should I just sell my house? 

How you answer will depend on a series of factors. They include the extent of the water damage, your current financial situations, the acceptable timeframe, and whether or not you feel like it’s worth it. If you decide that you’d like to sell your house but don’t have the means to fix the damage, you can get a fair cash offer from a real estate investor like Leave The Keys Homebuyers. However, before you make that call, it’s critical that you understand what would go into repairing a house that’s flooded so you can make an informed decision. 

Repair Fast

As soon as you find out that your house has flooded, the most important thing you can do is put things in motion as quickly as possible. Mold can set in as quickly as 48 hours, especially if the water is pooling or stagnant. The longer everything remains wet the more likely it is to be permanently damaged or outright destroyed. And once you’re in that stage you’re talking about a whole different level of financial concerns. 

First, get every item that you possibly can out of the flooded area. This includes furniture, clothing, storage boxes, and anything else that isn’t actually part of the house. Put everything somewhere it can dry or be cleaned immediately in order to cut down on any water or mold damage. Any clothing will need to be washed thoroughly, preferably by a professional cleaner who knows how to deal with that kind of situation. Any upholstery or fabric should also go to a professional cleaner who specializes in those materials. 

Dehumidify your home

Get as many fans and dehumidifiers as you can to place strategically around the house. They will dry the wet regions and pull moisture out of the air. This is especially important for basements and dark spaces that usually take a lot longer to dry than those with direct sunlight.

If you absolutely have to walk into a flooded space, make sure you are protecting yourself. It can be impossible to know what is in water. You could be wading into chemicals and bacteria, amongst other things. There could also be obstructions and sharp objects below the surface that are hard to see. Wear waterproof boots, a quality mask, and durable rubber gloves to protect yourself. And be sure to wash or disinfect all of that afterward. 

As soon as you can, start documenting everything you see and find. Take pictures, record videos, and write notes. Don’t leave anything to assumptions because you’re going to need to prove everything. This is especially important if you plan to report the flood damage to your insurance company or need to prove the water damage situation to a potential buyer.

what to do when your house floods

Repair What You Can

Whether you sell the house or not, you are going to want to know how much it would cost to repair all of the water damage from a flood. If you do end up selling the house on the open market, it’s a requirement as you’re either going to need to make repairs or you’ll have to be upfront with buyers about the costs required. Of course, buyers are going to be very wary of a flood-damaged house even if you do make the repairs. The fact that it was flooded and had significant water damage will always be a red flag for some.

If you do make repairs and fixes, there are some good rules to follow. When fixing walls and flooring, consider neutral colors. Regardless of what the house looked like before flooding, neutral colors help potential buyers visualize the home for themselves and it also gives the space a refreshing, clean look. The point is to invoke spotlessness and cleanliness. And you really don’t want to use any colors that make people think of water or mold (greens, blues, and blacks).

Have a contractor give you a quote

If you are thinking about repairing the house yourself, you should still have a contractor come by to give you an estimate. Unless you’re a real expert on these things, there’s the damage you can see and there’s the damage you can’t see. A good contractor will be able to see all of it and document it for you. You may even want to get multiple assessments in order to make sure you’re seeing everything. 

Once any repairs are completed, consider getting a home inspection that you’ll be able to show off to potential buyers. They’ll want as much proof as you can provide to show that the damage is gone and the home is livable. They don’t want to have to set aside more money for further repairs.

Of course, all of this incurs a cost. Flood damage is pervasive. It affects floors, walls, fixtures, pipes, and parts of the house you didn’t even know about. Keep all of that in mind before attempting to rush a flooded house onto the open market.

Don’t Hide Damage

If you’ve got your heart set on selling the house on the market, you might feel like you can just change the carpets, repaint the place, and hope for the best. But, trust us, that is a really bad idea. First of all, buyers (and more importantly, their lenders) are going to want to do inspections and the sale will be contingent on those results. If they find out something you didn’t tell them about, they are liable to walk away on principle. 

Even if the sale does go through, you could be opening yourself up to legal trouble. There have been plenty of cases where someone bought a home, found out about flood damage after the fact, and took the seller to court. The seller usually not only has to pay financial penalties but can also be responsible for the things they didn’t mention previously.

Sell Your Flooded House As-Is

Given everything that goes into dealing with a flooded house, trying to repair it can be a financial nightmare. That’s especially true if your insurance company refuses to cover an extensive part of the damage. Listing a flood-damaged house on the open market and expecting to find a buyer willing to pay full price is a very big ask as well.

Your best bet might be to sell the home to an investor like Leave The Key Homebuyers who will buy it as-is and give you a fair cash offer. You contact Leave The Key and let us know your situation. We’ll meet with you or come take a look at the property. We’ll make a fair cash offer based on the current condition of the house and without requiring you to make any repairs or upgrades. If you agree, we can close the deal on your time, often within a matter of days. Then, we take the house off your hands quickly so you can move on from this watery mess and get on with your life.

House Floods: Should You Sell Or Repair?