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Dry Basement Vs. Wet Basement Value

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Abbey Kucera

Freshman Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2003
Last summer we bought a 24-year-old house that had no history of flooding. Last fall, we experienced 100-year storms twice in 6 weeks. Both times our walk-in basement flooded. By flooding I mean that ground water welled up at the seam between the poured concrete floor and the concrete footers and cinderblock foundation soaking the entire floor. All carpets and most drywall had to go. Part of the basement is finished and we planned to finish most of the rest. It comprises about 1/2 of our 3,000 square feet of living space. Is there is rule of thumb on estimating how much our house is devalued because the basement floods?
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
No, there is no rule of thumb!

Sounds like you are looking for a scape goat...could it be the appraiser?

You know what your actual damages are and most likely have insurance coverage. Is the home located in a flood prone area? Were you required to have flood insurance? Since you stated there was no previous history of flooding...sounds to me like it was an act of nature and not someone's fault.

Does the home have a sump pump? If not, it would be one of the first things I would add.
 

Judy Whitehead (Florida)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
No. The only way to determine if there is an adverse effect is to track sales of homes similar to yours that sell after the flooding.

In other words, the house at 123 Main Street down the street from yours sold for $150,000 before the flooding and then after six months on the market finally sold for $100,000 after the flooding. We are required by FNMAE to track sales for the subject home and all of the comparable sales for three prior years. This is one of the reasons why they now require us to.

Flooding is something that we live with in Florida and there are lots of places flooding this summer due to the unusual high volumes of rain we have had. This is something that we will be dealing with - if there is an adverse effect in the 100 year flood plain. There is no easy forumla or answer to your question, unfortunately. I sure wish there was, as I will be facing similar situations.
 

Steve Forstner

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Michigan
No rule of thumb that I am aware of.

Here, I have dealt with many riverfront properties, most of which are prone to flooding at least every now and then. About 10 years ago, we had a 100 year flood and there were many of these properties that had water to the tops of the first floor windows.

It didn't seem to hurt the market values a bit. People were still eager to buy the house so they could control the location. I don't know if this is your case or not.

Steve
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Can you bottle it and call it Spring Water? :mrgreen:

Can't add much other than saying what was said....... it's going to take an intense market study to find your answer. And can depend on the local maket, municipal ordinances, financing, and if special rehab loans/monies are available.
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Whatever you do, be sure that you dry out the basement COMPLETELY before redoing it. You do not want to deal with mold issues on top of flooding.

That being said, I would look at what would be necessary to stop the water penetration, even if it involved trenching the exterior of the home. An indoor swimming pool in place of a basement is not an asset.

Good luck.

Roger
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Abby:

I am going to rattle on a bit here but hear me through! I assume you are looking for value difference due to tax loss concerns.

The loss may be limited to 'cost to cure' in otherwords the cost to repair the damages caused.

(PLEASE heed the advice about insureing complete dryness prior to repairs. ~ mold is a place you don't even want to go)

Value diminution of the house in a larger sense (loss of value which will remain AFTER repairs are effected) in the instance you describe is dependant on a great many things! Not the least of which is the actual CAUSE of the interior flooding. The effect on market perception of the homes in the area may be negligible or severe... did many homes by the same builder suffer damage?.

This has been an 'interesting year' for weather. Many areas with homes of the age you describe (and even new ones) have suffered similar indignities with no previous history of interior flooding at all.

Do you live in a tract home or a custom built with other homes of dissimilar style/different builders?

You didn't mention where you live, but if it is in a location with expansive soils, the ground could have been so dried out and dessicated that it pulled from the foundation leaving a small to fairly substantial crack between the foundation and the soil. In the event of torrential downpours, this leaves what is effectively a waterfall pouring dwon the outside of your basement walls. Your basement turns into a reverse swimming pool, and sadly if the water has nowhereelse to go it winnows it's way INTO the pool.

Lastly even 24 year old homes need grounds maintainance. Over the years the earth surrounding yoru foundation typically settles. IF you observe any 'negative slope' in the area near your cement walks, patios or the foundation walls themselves, YOU or someone you hire needs to carefully regrade the slope so as to prevent water from ponding - or cascading down the walls.

I have many more observations/opinions but will spare you more unless you are interested.

I HAVE sucessfully prevented some 'welling' flooding in some homes but the circumstances and methods vary by the individual home.

Feel free to sak me what questions youshould be asking OTHERS who come to you soliciting 'dry-repair' work!


Good luck!

Lee Ann
Midwest (land of drouth and deluge)
 

Abbey Kucera

Freshman Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2003
Thanks for the input! Yes, I am trying to get a handle on figuring a tax loss, but the bigger picture looms, too. To answer questions, our house is not in a flood plain, has no streams on the property, and is about 3 miles from Kachemak Bay as the crow flies. It was custom built, is solid and has a good foundation. The soils were not dessicated.

We are in an area with no building codes so it was a feat to find a house solidly built. Houses are on 2-20+ acre lots. Insurance specifically does not cover flood or any kind of water damage. FEMA monies were exhausted on other people in the community with bigger problems, like slope failure, house, road and driveway collapse and other ugly things. We are in Alaska in a climate probably similar to living in the Great Lakes region, but not quite as cold in the winter.

We are not looking for a scapegoat, we are going to make the house work. We bought it "as is", and the inspection noted a need to regrade around the foundation. The basement has been dry since. Probably we will french drain the perimeter. If we take effective measures to prevent the water from coming in, will that be adequate or will the house always be known as one that floods?
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
We are not looking for a scapegoat, we are going to make the house work. We bought it "as is", and the inspection noted a need to regrade around the foundation. The basement has been dry since. Probably we will french drain the perimeter. If we take effective measures to prevent the water from coming in, will that be adequate or will the house always be known as one that floods?

What you have is an initial loss in value do to the flood. Thus hypothetically your house is worth $100K with no damage, then you have the initial damage to the house making it worth say $70K, and what you want to know is after all damage is repaired and regrading is complete would the house be worth then $100 or a negative influence from past flood damage worth say $95. What you need to do is have an appraiser come out and complete an appraisal. Make sure the appraiser is aware of what you want to know for fact. The thing is with housing it is market specific with problems. Can be in some areas where flooding occurs that there would be no negative impact and could be that there would be a negative impact on market value and marketability. This can only be answered from an appraiser in your specific area. The appraiser would have to find houses that have flooded in the past or had water damage in the past and the problem was repaired. Then the appraiser would look at the before and after affects on the sales by comparing to houses with out water damage.

Sorry can not help you any more on that because your problem is market specific. And would take and appraiser from your area to answer that question.
 

Steve Forstner

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Michigan
Grading most likely will handle 90% of the problem. You may also need to install perimeter drains around the outside. As a last resort, you might need to waterproof the outside of the foundation and install a good pump. Just depends on how bad the flooding is. I always use the advice I got from a book on underground housing. "The first rule to waterproofing is to make the water run away from the house". I've found it works pretty good.

Steve
 
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