Stop Leaking Profits (Part 2)

The big ticket items are where the equity disappears.  One of the biggest is the roof.  Once a potential home owner sees water damage on the walls or ceilings; notices the old shingles or is alerted by their home inspector that there is a roofing problem that equity quickly vanishes.

A pre-listing inspection can not only let a seller know what they are facing ( repair or replacement) and in the case of repairs can give them some less expensive ideas for fixes.  Just like basements, it is best to look at this head on and not to just paint over water damage. Just because the leak seems to have stopped it does not mean that it will not come back. Do not paint the basement!

Rain or water from thaw comes at the house from different angles.  Light rains might not recreate the problem leading the home owner to think that the issue was a onetime deal.  But a later hard driving rain with winds from the right direction might renew the problem.

Replace?  Most roofs last about 20 years.  So if the roof is older assume that it will need to be replaced.  Other things to look for are moss or other green algae from constant moisture; wear around the chimney or other protrusions; shingles with damage or that are missing.  And of course the interior signs brown water spots on ceilings or walls; areas of puffy dry wall or outright drips.

 A full roof replacement is the costliest option but it will increase the value in the buyer’s eyes.

 In some cases a second roof patch can be added.  It looks and works like a new roof but will not last as long as the full replacement.


Leakage or damage around protrusions: The chimney and pipes have all had the shingles and roofing materials worked around them. This creates potential for the water to work it’s way in via small openings or cracks that eventually grow.  Likewise the gutters may pull away, twisted or not have been attached well, allowing water to stream along the exterior wall and down into the foundation.  Check the attic on a sunny day and turn the lights off. Check the underside of the chimney and the stack vent. Look for little pinhole spots of light indicating that the roof needs repair or replacement.

spring roofA temporary fix: There are options that can create a barrier. In the past, tar or epoxies might have been swabbed around these areas. Often this is now replaced with new materials such as self adhering, water proof sheathing underlayment like Grace Ice & Water Shield.  Additionally, flashing can add air and water proofing.  After your fix, return to the attack and recheck for those pinholes.

Repair cracked shingles: If there are only a few cracked or torn shingles then repairs can be simple. The home owner may opt to do it themselves.

 A temporary fix:   With roofing sealant and a putty knife the crack can be filled. First a bead of sealant under the cracked shingle covering exposed areas.  Then press the shingle down. Repeat placing sealant on top and use the putty knife to spread it ensuring that all areas are filled.

Torn or missing shingles:  Only use the above method if the shingle is cracked. Otherwise replace it.  Match the shingle to the existing ones as closely as possible.

Curled corners: Older shingles may have begun to curl but are not yet broken or cracked.

A temporary fix:  With a bead of sealant under the curling edge press the shingle down. Hold for a few minutes until it stays.

Warm, dry afternoons are the best time to try a repair.  The shingles will be suppler from the sun making them less likely to crack.

NEVER climb onto a roof that’s wet, icy or covered with morning dew, be extra cautious if there is moss as well – these are all slipping hazards.

Be alert to the signs of water damage. Often if caught in an early stage there is an easy fix.  Whether done by the home owner or a professional taking the time to search out issues before listing a house will help decide rates, anticipate final expenses and keep the profits from leaking away before the close.

Stop Leaking Profits (part 1)

It’s spring and the rain is here! Don’t allow the final home inspection to turn up problems in the basement.  Be aware of tell tale signs of basement leaks and be able to offer the home owner a few quick, inexpensive fixes

Leaks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

  • Hidden leaks under the soil line can create the stains or wetness during heavy rain or thaw.
  • Cracks, these are often written off as “just the house settling”; but they be a serious leak issue.
  • Dampness, mildew throughout the home.  Moisture is coming in from somewhere.  If not the basement than possibly the roof (part 2)

Basement leakagePotential home owners worry at even the slightest sign of water damage.  If the problems wait until the last inspection repairs may be expensive and hurried. Don’t let leaks steal your profits. Instead offer the home owner a few simple fixes.

Gutters – the number one cause of basement leakage.  Overflow cascades water over the sides and down right near the foundation.

In the same way water streaming through the gutter must come out – just not near the house! Either of these issues can cause leakage.

The fix: Check that the gutters have at least one downspout for every 600 – 800 square feet of roof surface.  Keep gutters clean of leaves and other debris.  Every downspouts needs to extended least 4 – 6 feet out from the foundation.  (Add ons can extend the gutter as far as the home owner wishes.  Just don’t bury the plastic kind they will easily squash.) Also, make sure gutter cleaning is part of your regular home maintenance each season. If you have a single story house, you may choose to do it yourself. Or for a larger home you may consider a gutter cleaning Indianapolis company to assist.

Soil Grade – Especially older home have a lowered soil line by the foundation. This allows water to run down against the basement walls and eventually find its way through, either in seepage or by creating cracks.  Water drainage from walks, driveways and patios sloping to the foundation can also find it’s way in.

The fix: Soil should slope downward away from the foundation. Build it up at least 6 inches high. This should extend about 4 feet from the foundation wall. From here the homeowner can choose to slant the soil grade downward as desired.  Use Brown or Mixed Soil, consisting of 20-30%, non organic clay and top-soil, does not blow away, and has plastic qualities to deflect the surface water away from the foundation but allows any plants to grow.

Landscaping – Check any structure that is up against the house. Planters, small sheds or other structural additions might allow water to seep in between, then into the basement.  Also look for bushes and trees   may be allowing water to get near the foundation or be breaking through with roots.

The fix: cut down the old and replace with new growth or sod.

In older homes from 1920’s to mid-1950’s, If the Palmer Valve is not working then the drain tile has nowhere to drain, like a burned out sump-pump. The water sits in the drain tile and under the floor. Having water leaking in the basement is not the first sign of a drain tile issues, any more than when there is a roof leak, as it may have taken years of no maintenance to come to this condition. All the basement wants to do is fill with water, try not to assist this process is prudent.

For wet basements, consider a drain tile test following the WAFRP Standards of Practice with 3-4 test locations.Contractors will perform the test for between $250 to $1100.00,

There is Mr. Chuck Weber Basement Independent Consultant who performs the test in the middle of that fee range, Chuck Weber 414-536-1300. Also for independent basement evaluations try, Mike Shadid  414-379-1265 30 years in basements, does not test the drain tile, but can determine if  a test is warranted.

Any good appraiser will question a wet or stained basement, and may hold up the loan process. A good recommendation is to Never freshly paint the basement walls or floor, as it “Covers” a history of events the inspector is looking to glean information from.