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After the Flood

By now, most have either forgotten about the October's deluge or are sick of hearing about it. My concern is that some of you may have inadvertently omitted to heed the warnings that could be found everywhere in the media shortly after the week some of us floated to work.

My concern arose because of an observation I made in a basement in which two feet of water had once stood, supposedly none of which had come from the sewer (though my nose told me otherwise). A week after the flood, there were puddles around bulging suitcases on the concrete, water still oozing from the seams. Where, I wondered, was the seller going to vacation with those clothes- Deer Island?

Another thought occurred to me as I looked about the basement. Apart from the puddles and odor, there was not much sign of the recent lake; by spring, perhaps all hints of the event would be gone. How are you, the homebuyer, to know what happened? One way is to ask the seller and to get the reply in writing. Did your basement flood in the recent storm? Has there ever been any other water or flooding in the basement?

This is important to you, the buyer. Apart from the possibility of future problems, you will want to be sure that the home was properly mitigated.

Talk to neighbors on the street about drainage and grading problems; when it comes to basement water, sellers are not always very forthcoming. Keep a sharp eye out for high water marks on all basement vertical surfaces. Look very carefully at walls and doors. Be suspicious if everything in the basement has just been painted or if nothing is stored in the basement. Ask yourself why there are fragrance emitters in the basement bedroom.

We should all learn from this event. Store nothing directly on the basement floor. Do not use wall-to-wall carpeting in basement rooms. Keep a sump pump on hand and the canoe tied to the basement-stairs newel post, because you might have to get over to the electric panel to change a fuse after the next heavy rain.

From "JUST PROPERTY"


By J. May
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