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Should You Purchase a Home with a Damaged Crawl Space?

You can purchase a home with a damaged crawl space, but you'll want to speak with the previous owners about its condition.

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Buying a new home can be a harrowing experience. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you may accidentally take on a home that’s more of a fixer-upper than you anticipated. In some cases, you might even discover that the home you found listed for less than market price requires significant crawl space repairs. 

It isn’t the end of the world if you do find a desirable home that’s suffered from crawl space damage. However, before you go about purchasing such a home, you may want to get in touch with area professionals to determine what kind of fixes the space may need and what kind of damage has already been done. 

falling insulation crawl space

How Does Crawl Space Damage Impact You? 

A damaged crawl space is more than just a temporary inconvenience. If you leave a crawl space in a state of disrepair, it can rapidly become an incubator for mold. The kinds of molds that can take root in your crawl space can cause serious respiratory problems for everyone in your family, even those members who were previously in perfect health. Black mold, in particular, thrives when excessive moisture in your crawl space goes untreated, causing severe problems with your health not only to manifest but to linger after the mold’s removal. 

How Does Crawl Space Damage Impact the Value of a Home? 

A damp and damaged crawl space isn’t just bad for your health, however. Homes that take to the market with untreated crawl spaces can lose up to 30 percent of their overall market value. On one hand, this is great for you as a buyer, as you’ll be able to purchase a home at a reduced cost. However, it also means that there will be repairs that you need to complete in the long run if you want to stabilize your home. 

Consider this: “Crawl space damage” as a term has more than one definition. If you find yourself contending with crawl space damage, you could be dealing with: 

  • Warped door frames or windowsills 
  • Leaking pipes 
  • Mold 
  • Damaged insulation 
  • Bowing walls 
  • Rotten structural supports 

The cost of necessary repairs will vary based on the kind of damage you’re contending with. However, all of the aforementioned problems can cause significant stress in the long run. The cost of investing in these necessary repairs may outstrip the reduction you got on the overall price of the home you purchased. 

In short, before you purchase a home with a damaged crawl space, reach out to a professional contractor in your area. Together, you can inspect the home and determine how expensive the necessary repairs might be. With that information at hand, you can more readily negotiate a fair selling price with the home’s current owner. 

How to Detect Crawl Space Damage 

Unfortunately, there are times when you may not notice crawl space damage before purchasing a home. In these cases, or in cases where you’re making a point to look for damage, you’ll want to walk through your space and take stock of what kind of losses you’re contending with. To do so, look for some of the following: 

  • Warping door frames 
  • Misted windows 
  • Unpleasant smells throughout your home 
  • Higher water or electric bills than usual 
  • Decreased water pressure throughout your home 
  • Insects or unwanted animal invaders  

All of these conditions can suggest varying degrees of damage in your crawl space. You can work with a professional to determine how this damage may have occurred and whether your home is still at risk. 

Repairing Crawl Space Damage 

The repairs you invest in upon discovering crawl space damage will, again, vary based on the damage that’s occurred in the first place. In all cases, however, you’ll want to work with a professional to remove standing water or excessive moisture from your home before investing in repairs. Be certain to check over your foundation for any signs of damage, as a damaged foundation can undo any repairs you try and install in your crawl space. 

Only once you’ve ensured that any leaks, cracks, or sinkage has been treated elsewhere in your home should you go about repairing your crawl space. Once you’ve addressed the problem in question, you can then discuss potential waterproofing measures with a local contractor in order to protect your home and prevent reoccurring damage in the future. 

Working with Professionals 

It is always a good idea to schedule annual crawl space inspections, especially if you live in an area that sees a significant amount of precipitation over the course of a year. Together, you can work to repair damage already done unto a new home or to prevent that damage entirely. You can browse a professional’s catalog of crawl space waterproofing measures—with options ranging from dehumidifier use to full encapsulation—to determine which means might best meet your needs. 

In short, you can purchase a home with crawl space damage. However, if you choose to do so, you can reach out to the professional contractors at Indiana Foundation Service for a free crawl space inspection and repair quote on services you might need to restore the space.