When It’s No Big Deal: We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you see any stained areas (or bubbled paint) on the walls, floor or ceiling, it’s worth a closer look. It could be a sign of water damage.
When It’s a Red Flag: If you gently tap the drywall and it “has a soft texture, it may signal that a water leak is still present,” Speers says. “Water leaks are commonly caused by roof issues or plumbing problems, so it’s critical to find out the cause of the problem. Did someone overflow the tub once, or is it an ongoing roof leak? You may need a professional to open the wall or ceiling to inspect it properly.”
Talk to the sellers to find out whether the home has had issues with leaks in the past and what was done to repair them. You’ll want to factor in the potential cost of repairs into the offer you make, should you decide to go through with buying the house. (On average, water damage repair costs homeowners about $3,184, according to HomeAdvisor, but that figure can vary greatly, depending on whether we’re talking about replacing a pipe or the entire roof.) You can also negotiate with the seller to have the repairs made before you close on the home.
Whatever route you go, one thing’s for sure: Don’t skip an inspection. It’ll help you assess all of the home’s potential repairs and pain points, so you have a better sense of what you’re getting yourself into (and how much it might cost you down the road). Money pit averted.