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Should You Purchase a Home with a Damaged Crawl Space?

You'll want to speak with the previous owners about its condition.

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When you visit a property for the first time, you’re more likely to ask questions about the state of the included appliances than you are to ask about the condition of the crawl space. When you’re in the Columbia, SC, area, however, it is in your best interest to determine early on whether the property you’re interested in suffers from crawl space damage. 

While you can purchase a home with a damaged crawl space, you’ll want to take steps—alongside professionals in the area—to ensure that you can bring the home back up to snuff as soon as possible. If you leave the damage to worsen, the value of your new home may sharply decline, as may your family’s health. 

damaged crawl space

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

As moisture makes its way into a home, it does more than lower temperatures and increase the home’s humidity. If a homeowner does not work to remove excess moisture from their home, that moisture can cause significant damage throughout the foundation and crawl space. A crawl space, in particular, is vulnerable to water damage, as water and moisture can gather there for an extended period of time without anyone noticing. 

Should water or moisture begin to gather in a crawl space, then the structural supports within that space can start to bow or crack. Similarly, an attached foundation can begin to slip. Homes that go on the market with crawl space damage tend to lose up to 30 percent of their market value, meaning that while they are often more affordable than those others in their area, they may also require significant repair costs later down the line. 

If you do not make a point of repairing a damaged crawl space after purchasing a new home, you risk seeing further foundation damage, cracking and bowing walls, and chimney cracks within months to a year of moving in. 

Does that mean you should avoid purchasing a home with a damaged crawl space entirely? Not necessarily. As mentioned, homes with a damaged crawl space tend to go on the market for less than those without similar problems. However, should you purchase a home with a damaged crawl space, you’ll want to work with the professional contractors in your area to attend to your crawl space as soon as you can to secure the overall health and stability of your home. 

How Does Crawl Space Damage Impact You? 

Your crawl space has more influence over the health of your home than you might initially have anticipated, given the size of most spaces. Should moisture build up in a crawl space, it can not only impact the structural supports you have in place there but the health of your family as well. 

Homes with a damaged crawl space are often incubators for a variety of molds, including black mold. Even if you do not display symptoms of respiratory issues before moving into a home with crawl space problems, the presence of mold in your space can cause your family to develop such issues. Children with asthma are also more likely to see their conditions worsen if they live in homes with poor crawl space health. 

Again, you can still purchase a home with a damaged crawl space. However, you will want to take steps to protect your home, ensure that the damage in the crawl space is fixed by the time you move in your belongings, and that any remaining mold has long been removed from the premises. 

How to Detect Crawl Space Damage 

That said, it’s not always easy to determine when a crawl space may be actively suffering from damage. If you have the opportunity, it is in your best interest to inspect a home’s crawl space with a professional before you purchase the property. This way, you can keep a wary eye out for red flags. 

Some signs of crawl space damage that you can look for when first visiting a home include: 

  • 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  

Again, if you detect signs of crawl space damage in a home you’re interested in purchasing, be sure to talk to the realtor helping you make your purchase. Together, you may be able to reduce the asking price for the property. 

Working with Professionals 

Should you purchase a home with a damaged crawl space, know that it is in your best interest to invest in repairs as soon as possible. Note that in repairing your crawl space, you may discover water damage in your home’s foundation. You will always want to attend to this kind of damage, be it a crack or sinkage, before investing in any home waterproofing measures. This way, you can ensure your work isn’t undone the next time it rains. 

To work with a professional in determining whether or not a new home is suffering from crawl space damage, you can reach out to the contractors in your area like Mount Valley Foundation Services for a free inspection and repair quote. Together, you can evaluate a property and determine whether or not it may need repairs and what budget you might need to set aside to bring the property back up to snuff.

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