Nathan Colmer | Van Dyk Group
C: 609.290.4293 | O: 609.492.1511
While not intending to take the place of a home inspection, there are a few things that all buyers should be aware of when looking at a storm damaged home in the LBI real estate market. Knowing the basics and being able to ask them to the listing agent and seller will make you a more informed and effective buyer.
Property disclosure in the LBI real estate market should be viewed by all parties as a positive rather than a negative. If you are planning on selling your property, it is without question in your best interest to disclose all that you know about the house-both good and bad. Most buyers in the LBI real estate market will conduct a home inspection so issues with the property will eventually come to light. It is far better to be upfront about the issues and adjust your price accordingly so as to avoid a potential “deal killer” later on. Buyers too have much to gain from Property Disclosure, Hurricane Sandy and the LBI Real Estate Market. By knowing what to look for and asking the right questions, a buyer in the LBI real estate market can protect oneself from a potentially costly mistake.
In general there are two primary foundation systems used on Long Beach Island. One is a piling foundation and the other is a block foundation. Typically the block foundations will be found in older homes, usually pre-1960 or so and again in home that were raised recently. When looking at a home that was flooded and is on a block foundation that was not elevated it is imperative that you check the foundation. Some home shifted or moved in the storm which can impact the structural integrity of the house. While of course you should consult an inspector and/or an engineer, if there are large cracks, over a quarter of an inch, it is a big red flag!
There are several types of plumbing systems used on Long Beach Island. The most common in older homes is galvanized, which is usually consider obsolete at this point, as well as copper and sometimes PVC/plastic. Pipes that were submerged in flood waters need to be carefully checked for damage. Especially true with poorly made (cheap) copper pipes, damage from several years ago thanks to Sandy flooding can lead to pin-hole leaks.
Electric wiring and flooding from Sandy is a surprisingly controversial topic. There are some who will say that ANY wire that was submerged needs to be replaced. There are others who say that if it is the newer Romex wiring then the wires are safe and only the openings in the junction boxes need to be replaced. As a general rule of thumb, in my opinion any wire that was under water should probably be replaced as there could be small openings in the wire cases that could lead to a fire. Again, there are a variety of opinions on this topic so it is best to speak with your inspector and electrician to get their impressions.
Many homes that flooded in Sandy had the traditional knotty pine walls or had Sheetrock. Knowing the height of the water level of a home is important here as it can dictate how much of the wall needed to be replaced. The general rule of thumb with Sheetrock, which is semi-porous, is that the wall should be replaced at least a foot above the water line to account for seepage.
All homes have some degree of mold but the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy is far more noticeable and far more dangerous. Improper treatment of materials can lead to mold growth (bleach alone does not kill mold FYI). A home inspector can order a mold test to determine the risk levels in a home. Before you get to that point, trust your nose! Given the time that has passed since Sandy one can usually smell mold and mildew in a home if it was not treated. Again, trust your nose!