water in the basement of my new home

amille621December 12, 2011

Hi, I recently purchased a home about 6 weeks ago. In the seller's disclosures there was water damage in 2007 that was repaired and the statement said that there were no more problems. My home inspector did not find any more than "minimal moisture" in the finished portion of my basement on the driveway side which I was lead to believe was a normal finding in a basement on a rainy day (which it was).

Last week during a heavy rain, I experienced a large amount of water seeping onto the floor from the junction of the walls and floors on the driveway side of the home. This went on for at least 4 days. All of the paint on the floor is now bubbled and peeled away. The carpet on the finished side effacing the driveway also was soaked and is now ruined.

A plumbing contractor was in my home and pointed out clear signs that there was water damage (mold under a shelf, cracks in the foundation that had been painted and spackled, previous extensive waterproofing work on the exterior of the home on every side but the driveway side).

I am stuck right now. There's potentially $14,000 in waterproofing work that needs to be done. Plus, now I have to disclose water if I sell it. I'm trying to figure out if there was a breach in the contract or my home inspector should be held liable. I just want someone to help out with my repairs. I know that I can't afford to do it the right way which is what I want to do.

I've contacted both my realtor and the seller's realtor. The home inspector is trying to reassign the blame. I've contacted a few attorneys. Does anyone have any experience with this situation? What should be my next course of action? I feel cheated and deceived. Any advice would be appreciated.


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Sounds like the seller knew there was still a problem, covered it up and failed to disclose it. House inspectors are rarely held accountable. The realtors will also probably be useless. Neither one of them will want to be dragged into court, spending their time and not getting paid for it. Doubtful you will get the seller to admit there was a problem or pay for the damage - all they have to say is "it was ok when we lived there, this must be new damage that happened after you moved in". Dealing with a lawyer and getting involved with a lawsuit is your best bet - but even that is not a guarantee, and it may take a long time to see any results. You may want to call your insurance company, pay your deductible, and see what they can do for you. But if you don't have flood insurance, you may not get any help from them either. It's supposedly a big no-no to fail to disclose things like this, but even after this does happen, it seems like nobody is held accountable anyway. I'm sorry to hear this is happening to you. I hope you get some good news soon.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 11:03AM
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"Dealing with a lawyer and getting involved with a lawsuit is your best bet "

Only if the goal is to allow the lawyer to make money.

$14,000 is not enough to be paying an attorney $200+ an hours to pursue. $14,000 is only 70 hours of time.

NOT enough to prepare a case and expect to win.

And you are unlikely to recover your attorney costs.

Who is quoting $14,000, and exactly how do they propose to solve the problem?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 7:33PM
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Sorry to hear you're going through this, I had something similar happen to me with my last townhouse. The seller disclosed no water issues, but then water came through a crack in the basement wall, and that crack had obviously been "repaired" before with epoxy of some kind. So the seller definitely knew something.

We ended up waterproofing the wall for about $4000 from the inside and it worked out ok. The wall was sealed and a floor drain was installed, and we didn't have any problems after that. Be very careful with this work though, I believe a lot of people have problems with it.

Regarding going after the seller, a full lawsuit will probably be too expensive. But, you may want to think about having an attorney write a letter to the seller threatening legal action. In this case, you might be able to get some money from the seller as a condition to not go forward with a lawsuit. This approach is somewhat risky but you may want to look into it.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 1:03PM
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bri0822 problems how?

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 1:02PM
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About 90 percent of the cases where I have found water in a basement it is caused by backfill settling adjacent to the foundation, landscaping, or the driveway being sloped back toward the house. The rule of thumb is that you have to give water a place to go or it will find its own way, usually where you do not want it. People putting mulch around the plants they have surrounding their houses with tend to build a mound around their houses which results in a moat against the foundation. If the sump pump cant handle the flow guess where the water goes? Make sure that the ground around your home slopes away from your foundation. This will usually solve your water-in the basement problems. As for whole house inspectors, some of them may be good, but I have yet to meet one that is. You should have recourse regarding an undisclosed condition though, and I would pursue that course of action, especially regarding the driveway. Do not let them sell you on installing sealant between the house and drive. The drive needs to slope away from the house, period.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 5:31PM
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