Buyers, what would put your mind at ease?

popedaMay 7, 2014

Oct. 2013--more rain at DD's house than since 1923. 12" in less than 6hr. Being called in this area a 100-yr flood. Her golf-course home on lot that slopes gently back to front began to take water, something that has never happened before even in heavy rain. The family leaps into action to mop up water which never gets high but travels under the pre-finished wood floors via the plastic underlayment. DH, builder of home, arrives and helps them take up the wood floor, underlayment, and a section of damaged baseboard that got wet along the bottom edge. They use fans, open windows, and time to dry out the house. Sheetrock NOT involved.

Jan-Feb.2014--replaced wood floors and baseboards that were affected. All baseboards inspected. Outside, work is done to clear French drain already in back yard and rework some pavers near the house; gutters are installed. Subsequent rains have not been heavy, certainly no further problem with water inside.
April 2014--put house on market. Disclosed and tried to explain what happened about the water carefully. Serious lookers around May 1 had many questions about the water issue. Tried to answer them as carefully as possible. In the end, they walked.
QUESTION: What could seller do that would ease your mind about this water issue? The house is in great shape, wood floors are new, precautions have been taken against a repeat event, though such a rain is not frequent to say the least. Seriously seeking suggestions.

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What was disclosed, and to what question?

They live in a 100 yr flood plain? Or, this was a 100 yr flood?

Frankly, I think it has more to do with what insurance will say. Some people aren't interested in living in an area that sees floods--esp if it will touch their hardwoods. That isn't an inexpensive fix, if you aren't a builder...

The condition of the house is not what sent them along--it was the prospect of another flood.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 12:55PM
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Price cures all. If the price is low enough, people will buy a home in a 10 year flood plain that is currently underwater and uninhabitable.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 1:39PM
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I would detail everything as an attachment to any disclosure as you have here.

100 year flood ( unprecedented)
Removal of everything
NEW Gutters (honestly I can't imagine a home without them previously--but maybe that's only in some areas)
French Drain work
Replacement of items

It won't appease all buyers, but it will appease some buyer. Some buyers will walk no matter the situation and remedy.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 2:58PM
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Just went through the same thing here (May 2010). And people bought the house even though it had been flooded and remodeled. The former owners of the house I live in (friends!), didn't even have to drop their price. Some people care, some don't. Don't drop the price up front. My friends had several offers from which to choose.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 3:03PM
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Kirkhall, not in flood plain. Disclosure went into some detail about the freak nature of the storm, and what was done to solve the problem. Questions from buyers were for more detail about what had happened and what was done, much of it repeat from disclosure, but some that was not. I think they could attach to disclosure as rrah suggests.

Other ideas?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 3:42PM
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OP, when you referred to a 100 year flood, that made us think you're in a flood zone. There are basically 3 flood zones : 500 year flood, 100 year flood, and not flood zone. Certain states may have different designations.

Actually I would be more nervous about buying a house that sustained such heavy flood damage without even being in a flood zone. To be honest, there's no way I could have my mind put at rest about that.

(By the way, from an actuarial point of view, if a house is in a 100 year flood zone and has a flood, there is no reason to think the house won't flood the very next year. An actuary will tell you that the 100 year flood zone only means that on average, in a 600 year period, the location would be expected to flood 6 times. )

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 5:23PM
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hayden--I have to disagree with a concern about a house that is not in a flood zone flooding given the described conditions. Three times in the past 20 or so years we've experienced record setting rains. Fortunately we've never had a flooded house, but I know how it can happen. One time over 18 inches of rain in 24 hours.

I think what the OP is referencing is what the weather channels may have referred to the conditions in calling it a "100 flood." I have noticed that many news stations recently seem to want to make every weather condition a record condition.

I suspect this flooding was due to an extreme weather situation such as one experiences in a hurricane, a tornado, a blizzard, etc. Could it happen again-yes, but I suspect it won't.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 6:55PM
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Considering that these will happen every so often in Texas without being in a flood plain, but just from poor grading, nothing you've said so far has put my mind at ease.

To fix there should be regrading of the yard so that all water goes around the house to the front and not into the house. A French drain is all well and good, but is a maintenance thing and may or may not hold all the water considering how much rain we can get in a very short amount of time even though it doesn't happen often.

My old house was similar in the lot slope. There was a retaining wall that leveled a bit of yard closest to the house where the grass from the house was sloped toward that retaining wall and outward toward the sides and behind it was a swale re-directing the water to the sides of the house for any water that came toward the house. Worked really well when we had those 10" rain falls happening in just an hour. We had all this inspected before buying the house as they mentioned some similar flooding to yours. I was worried the first time it rained like that, but no issues at all. Lots of water running on the other side of the swale though.

This post was edited by lyfia on Wed, May 7, 14 at 22:30

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 7:04PM
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Sophie Wheeler

I'd want to see a considerable slope away from the home on all sides before I'd put this home in the ''freak flood'' category, and not in the ''suspect flooding when it rains''. Too many builders don't pay enough attention to that. And I'd want to see pictures of the flood, the damage it did, and the work in progress repairs. Everyone owns a camera phone and already has those pics somewhere. Do a little mini album of the event. And then I could be sure that the truth was being told.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 7:45PM
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Agree hollysprings that pics might have been helpful, but no, no one had the foresight to take them on either end.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 8:22PM
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Here in NC, a Property Disclosure asks only about current conditions of the property. If damage or a condition no longer exists, there is nothing to disclose.
You got the damage assessed, had it professionally repaired and have had no problems since. Case closed.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 9:42PM
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NCguy, required question to be placed on the MLS in Texas: has the house ever been flooded?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 5:19PM
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hddana, is that a recent addition to the MLS, and to what degree and type of flooding? Whole house, one room? Flooding from broken pipe or flooding from rain or overflowing creek.

I have neighbors whose house had some water get in every time there was a hard rain. That wasn't on the MLS when they sold last year and wasn't told to them by a realtor when they bought it 4 years ago. We've had several inches of rain today and I've been wondering if the problem is fixed or if the new neighbors had to run to Home Depot for a wet vac and pump.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 6:39PM
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marti8a - Seems like they are dishonest sellers then, but unless you saw the disclosure it may have been on there - the disclosure isn't in the listing.

I remember that on the disclosure that is required that this question was there 7 years ago when I sold last, but not when I bought the house 5 years before that. We worried about it though due to having had previous experience with a poorly graded yard in a rental. Not sure on the wording 7 years ago, but it is a very valid question as it happens more often than not in Texas with flash floods even if you aren't in a flood plain due to poor grading of yards. Which it sounds like it is the issue in your neighbors and the OP's case.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 8:15AM
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