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How to sell a distressed house in Houston

Ben Naumann
Ben Naumann
Ben Naumann has been a well known figure in the real estate investing space in Houston TX for years

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Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Floods are terrifying, there are no two ways about it. A flood is a traumatic experience for families and homeowners, especially when there’s significant damage to your house and everything in it.

As many residents in the Houston area know, even minor flooding can cause substantial damage to your home, your belongings, and your financial future when you decide to sell your home again one day. Flood damage can negatively impact your home’s value in the long run, which means that you could be facing a potential loss that could put you on the back foot for your next home purchase. Buyers are often wary of buying homes that have sustained water damage, even if they’ve been perfectly (and expensively) restored to their previous luster.

There is hope, however. Selling a house damaged by flood water might never be easy, but with the tips you’ll find in this educational article, it’s definitely possible. The secret lies in understanding when to repair, when to sell your flood damaged home as-is, and how to market it to the right buyers regardless of your choice.

Selling A House Damaged By Ground Water

Without Losing More Than You Already Have

Dealing with ground water damage is a tricky situation. Unlike with a fire, the damage isn’t always obvious after the accident. Moisture can easily get trapped between the walls and fixtures of your home, creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold that could eat away at the structure of your house without you even knowing.

Knowing how to sell a house that has suffered water damage is a valuable skill that many realtors spend years learning how to master. Whether it’s minor damage to delaminated flooring or wood rot caused by trapped moisture, flood damage is never easy to deal with – especially not while also trying to sell your home. If you approach it with a proactive attitude, however, you could minimize the worst of the damage and cut quite a few costs that will protect your home’s value from dropping even lower.

As challenging as selling a house damaged by ground water or flooding can be, there are some actionable ways that you can ensure a faster, more valuable sale. One of the very first steps to take, regardless of how badly damaged your home is, is to evaluate the damage.

Take A Step Back Before You Move Forward

How To Evaluate The Damage After A Flood

Are you facing a few loose floorboards, or is your entire electrical system shot? The extent of the damage done determines what you need to do and how urgently you’ll need to do it, so make sure you start by assessing your home as soon as you can access it.

A great way to evaluate the damage is to work with a licensed professional or flood inspector. These experts have the skills and experience to not only know what to look out for in terms of water damage, but they can also give you an accurate estimate of what it would cost to fix it. If you choose to forgo this inspection or work with someone less experienced, you risk missing out on potential damage that could pose a greater issue later on. Fixing a few leaky shingles is much less expensive than replacing a water-damaged roof, but the latter might be what’s needed.

Once you know what kind of damage or repair costs you can expect to cover, you can start considering your options. Your first step should always be to remove and prevent any mold or mildew from having the chance to grow. This can be done with a professional deep clean done by a local team. If you have the equipment and necessary experience to do it yourself, then you might just be able to save a few extra dollars during the restoration process.

While a deep clean isn’t necessarily essential to selling a house damaged by ground water or flooding, it will help you market your home in a more flattering light to potential buyers. Showing people who come to view your home that you’ve taken the first steps towards repairing your home – even if it’s just clearing out the rubble and debris left by the flood – is a step in the right direction.

 Consider Selling Your Home As-Is

There’s no denying that repairing flood damage is a daunting task, even for the most seasoned of homeowners or renovators. That’s because the damage is often invincible until it’s too late. Damage to the key infrastructure and stability of your home will definitely turn away buyers looking for a home that’s ready to occupy – but there will always be buyers if you know where to look for them.

Sell As-Is If You’re Pressed For Time, Money, and Options

Selling a flooded home as-is is a great option for homeowners who don’t have the time, resources, capital, or experience to cover the damage. Marketing your flood-damaged home as-is to buyers who are interested in renovating fixer-uppers or even demolishing older houses in the area is a good option to consider. However, it’s important to remember that you probably won’t get the same price for your home as you would if it were repaired to its former condition.

Work With A Professional

If you work with a realtor or agency that knows exactly how to sell a house that has suffered water damage, you could close on your home’s sale faster than you initially thought. Remember, however, that this would incur at least some measure of commission or realtor fees that could decrease the final amount you’ll receive for your home.

Because flooding is such a common issue, there is no shortage of agencies or realtors who are willing and waiting to help you sell your home for cash. These companies have worked with homeowners just like you to sell properties in various states of flood damage or disrepair. We can guarantee that there’s a professional real estate agency out there that can help you.

Christian House Buyers has worked with homeowners who have faced environmental damage caused by fire, flooding, and other elements, and we’ve helped each and every one of them get a fair price for their homes. We’d be honored to do the same for you.

 Think About Repairing Your Home Before Selling It

Once you’ve stepped into your home after a flood and seen the extent of damage that you’ll need to take care of, it’s easy to feel disheartened. Repairing water damage is costly and often confusing when you try to do it yourself, but there is merit to doing repairs instead of cutting your losses and letting your home go as-is.

One of the main advantages of restoring your home after a flood is the ability to sell it for more. While selling a flooded house as-is is much faster and less of a hassle, you’ll be losing a significant amount of money on the sale.

Property developers planning to demolish your home won’t be willing to pay as much as investors who are interested in restoring and re-selling it. To attract these types of investors, you’ll need to show them that your home is worth their time and capital, and the best way to do that is by completing the repairs beforehand.

Here are a few tips that could help you formulate a game-plan for how you can repair your home before you sell it to an interested buyer.

  • Prevent As Much Damage as You Can

A way to reduce the amount of money you’ll be spending on repairing damage is to stop the damage as it’s happening. Before we continue, please note that we do not recommend entering a flooding home or property if doing so could pose a risk to your wellbeing. If it’s safe to access your property, then you might be able to salvage some of your belongings.

As a homeowner whose property is flooding, you might initially feel completely powerless in the face of so much water pouring into your home. However, if you’re able to access your space, you might be able to contain some of the damage or at least save some of your valuable possessions before they’re damaged beyond repair.

If your home is flooding, be sure to contact a FEMA Disaster Recovery Centre near you as soon as you can. These recovery centers specialize in helping homeowners deal with traumatic experiences involved in home flooding. The FEMA centers should also have flood maps available that will give you fair warnings for free and help you act quickly and effectively to save as much of your home as you possibly can. With their support and insight, you might be able to get a slight head start that could save you thousands of dollars in the near future.

  •  Contact Your Insurance Company

Just like when dealing with any other natural disaster or accident, you’ll need to contact your insurance company as soon as you can. Not only will they need to send out a representative to assess the flood damage to finalize your claim, but they’ll also be able to give you guidance regarding how to document all the damage that has occurred.

To be able to claim back from insurance, you’ll need photographic or written evidence of your belongings and home. A great tip for all homeowners is to keep a visual diary or folder of your belongings as you buy them. Alternatively, try to remember the exact items.

If you list a toaster, you’ll be reimbursed for a generic, entry-level toaster. However, if you list an SMEG toaster bought in 2018, your insurance provider might be able to match the value of your purchase. Be sure to check in with your insurance company to double check their unique policies and conditions.

  • Do Repairs Yourself If You Have the Experience

Selling a flooded home is a costly affair, which means that you’ll need to save as much money as you can – wherever you can. Every little bit makes a difference once the costs start adding up. One great way to save some money is to do as many of the repairs as possible on your own or with the help of your friends and family. If you have any previous carpentry, construction, or repair experience, consider putting those skills to use. Being able to repair your home yourself will save significant costs when selling a house damaged by flood water.

If you don’t have the necessary experience, be sure to work with a trusted contractor or repair company that can help you get quality work done at competitive rates. Skimping on the repair costs now could mean that you need to re-do some of the work later on, which would double or even triple the expenses of your overall repair.

  •  Remember That No Repairs Are Too Small to Make a Difference

A fresh coat of paint or some new polish on the floors might seem like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound after your home has been flooded, but even the smallest of cosmetic repairs could positively influence your home’s selling price – especially in areas where flooding is a somewhat commonplace occurance.

With these tips in mind, it’s important to take a realistic approach to selling a flooded home. If you find that the repair costs simply outweigh what you’ll be able to sell it for, rather opt for selling your home as-is and trying to salvage as much as you can.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Addressing Water Damage

Before a Home Sale

It might seem hard to focus on anything other than the tremendous loss once your home has flooded, but to make sure you don’t lose more than you should, you need to act fact. Be sure to have your home inspected by a licensed inspector as soon as you possibly can. If possible, have them evaluate your home immediately after the flood. The sooner you have your home inspected, the sooner and more effectively you can start repairing it and marketing it to potential buyers.

When it comes to selling a house damaged by ground water, here are some essential tips that could make or break your sale:

  • Be Honest About the State of Your Home

While it might seem tempting to minimize or even hide the appearance of damage in your home after a flood, it’s important to disclose any and all damage to avoid legal battles later on. Instead of hiding water damage behind sheets of drywall or spray foam insulation, be upfront about the state of your home.

  • Read Up on Mold Remediation Options

Mold is the silent killer. To make sure that your home doesn’t develop dangerous mold or mildew, you’ll need to start your repairs as soon as possible or contact a professional to do an on-site visit. Remember that selling a flooded home as-is when it has mold issues could mean that you’ll lose out on a massive chunk of capital on your final sale.

  • Repair What You Can and Accept What You Can’t

Be sure to contact your insurance company as soon as you can to replace or repair any of your personal belongings that may have been damaged in the flood. If there are some items that simply aren’t salvageable, remove them from your home. The same goes for sheet-stone and plaster ceilings. By removing the damage that can’t be repaired, you could just make a better impression on an investor looking to do a complete overhaul of your house once they buy it.

  • Get Everything in Writing

When selling a house damaged by ground water, you’ll need to disclose everything and anything. This includes any steps you’ve taken to repair or minimize the damage. Be sure to keep all correspondence and paperwork like receipts and contract work so that you can prove it in your sales contract if necessary.

How To Calculate the Value of Your Home After a Flood

To you, your home may seem like a priceless space where you’ve spent years making memories and raising a family. While it might be hard to put a price on the sentimental value of your home, it’s important to do the right research when listing it on the market once it’s been flooded.

Some homeowners mistake their selling price as the initial price of their home minus the costs of repairing it after damage. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple. A flood does more than just damage your home and your belongings. It could also severely decrease the value of your home once you choose to sell it again. To understand the extent of the decrease, you’ll need to take a few things into consideration, including:

  • Where your home is located
  • How many times its flooded in the past
  • How much damage occurred during the flood
  • Current neighborhood demographics
  • And more!

We recommend working with a professional real estate advisor who can help you find out more about the value of your home after a flood. Most real estate agents worth their salt should be able to explain that investors tend to take about 10 to 20% of your home’s pre-value as the potential new value.

This largely depends on which areas of value can bounce back again, so be sure to ask your agent for advice if you’re unsure of anything. The reason why it’s often so expensive to work with investors is because they still need to turn a profit with your home once they buy it. Because they’ll be spending weeks or months at a time to fix it up before they can sell it again, they’ll need to cover holding costs, interest, and more.

 Who Would Buy Your Home After a Flood?

Unlike selling a home as-is because it has the usual wear and tear and the owners simply can’t afford to repair it, selling a flooded home requires a special kind of buyer. These buyers need to understand that they won’t be able to get conventional financing due to the flood damage, which means that you won’t often find cash purchases unless the house has already been repaired.

Investors are some of the only buyers who are able to use hard money as a short-term financing solution due to the interest rates incurred before your home is repaired. As we mentioned above, working with an investor can be a costly affair when selling a house damaged by ground water.

If you’re able to reduce the costs your investor might need to pay, you could be able to increase the amount you can sell your home for, water damage and all. Some ways to reduce these costs include clearing up any damage, maintaining your garden and front yard, and getting the help of friends, family, or volunteers to help you repair or remove any damaged areas in your home.

Don’t Lose Hope in The Face of The Flood

While flooding is undoubtedly one of the most heartbreaking things that can happen to a homeowner, it’s important to remember that there are options available even in the direst of circumstances. No matter the condition of your home, there will be a buyer somewhere who would be interested in taking it off your hands and allowing you to move on with your life – you simply need to know where and how to find them.

If you’d like our help to do just that, reach out to our dedicated team here at Christian Home Buyers. We’d be happy to help you not only determine the value of your home after a flood, but also learn how to sell a house that has suffered water damage that you don’t have the time, money, or energy to repair.

For more information about our rates and availability, contact our team today or visit our website for a walk-through of our services and experience.

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