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Phew… okay!

So my wife and I bought our house, moved in, and exactly one week later we get heavy rain in our area. When my alarm goes off this past Friday morning at 5:00am I roll out of bed to plant my feet into 3 inches of water!

I’m a military veteran and I used my VA loan for this purchase. I paid to have it inspected and it passed, the VA also had it inspected and it passed. The seller did not tell us that this house had previous flooded multiple times in the past. We found that our from our neighbors on our second day of living there.

We have home owners insurance and we did take pictures of the basement while we were getting all the water out and moving our household goods upstairs to dry.

My question is in regards to what are my options exactly? Is there some kind of buyers remorse timeline or anything that protects a buyer in this situation? We already had someone inspect out basement and to prevent future flooding of our basement is going to likely cost in the tens of thousands of dollars! Is a seller required to inform a buyer that a house has been flooded multiple times and that it will likely flood again? Will the VA possibly help us in the matter since they too had the place inspected and because they didn’t see any issues they approved our home loan for this purchase??

Since we don’t actually live in a flood zone, flood insurance was not required, will home owners insurance likely cover this cirumstance?

Additionally the basement floor is covered entirely with linoleum which is now coming up in many areas due to the water damage and will need to be completely removed to ensure we dry out the basement and avoid mold.

Any and all help and/or guidance in regards to what our options are will be extremely appreciated!

Ther guy who did a walkthrough said it appeared that most likely the water came into the house because the french drain outside wasn’t working, he also thinks it would be coming in through the basement walls/foundation but can’t tell without taking down the wood paneling on the walls and ripping up the linoleum floors. The house does not have a sump pump and is not in a flood zone, yet this house has clearly been flood previously.

The “tens of housands” spent on waterproofing the house come from breaking through the basement floor and installing a sump pump, and running/ connecting the piping to get the water that comes in away from the house. The other large portion of money would come from getting all of the linoleum removed to include all the left over adhesive. If I have to pay for this I will likely do most of the removal myself to save money here.

4 Thoughts on Bought my house a week ago and basement has already flooded, what are my options?
  1. Reply
    falsi fiable
    August 6, 2013 at 6:08 am

    There’s no buyers remorse on purchasing a home. Contracts settle three days after signing. I hope you purchased flood insurance.

  2. Reply
    Steve D
    August 6, 2013 at 6:17 am

    No, there is no buyer’s remorse timeframe for a house…once you go to closing and sign the papers, its yours and there are no “do overs” As far as prior knowledge, most states require that the seller disclose the type of defect you are now experiencing. The additional question will be did the realtor know also, in which case they also may be liable. Next, check your house inspection report – it is entirely possible that the inspector noted this problem – you don’t want this popping up unexpectedly as you are trying to negotiate a settlement here (note that even if the inspector missed it, usually there is a “hold harmless” clause in the contract you signed that will only entitle you to get back the cost of the inspection from the inspector). Sine you have neighbors’ claims that the basement flooded before, try to get offiial statements/affidavits from them.

    Finally, contact a lawyer – you will most likely have to sue to get compensated.

  3. Reply
    August 6, 2013 at 7:09 am

    First the homeowners insurance will not cover flood. You need to buy a flood policy now.

    Yes, it should have been disclosed in the escrow paperwork by the realtor. You probly have to get an attorney to sue unless you want to take the realtor’s company or the realtor to small claims court.

    You need to repost your question under the “real estate” category for more help.

  4. Reply
    August 6, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Did you have an attorney go through the closing with you? Call them. If the seller lied on the disclosure paperwork about prior water damage, you will have legal recourse against them. You can probably get a judge to make them pay for the damage repairs – unless they file bankruptcy.

    Homeowners won’t cover. You CAN get flood insurance, at a much cheaper rate, because you’re not in a flood zone. Maybe you can sue your insurance agent for E&O if they didn’t recommend it, and it was available.

    You’ probably won’t be surprised to hear that 20% of flood insurance claims happen to houses NOT in a high hazard flood plain. Think about that – if most people in low risk areas don’t buy flood insurance, yet 20% of covered claims happen in low risk areas . . . floods in low risk areas are much, much, MUCH more common than people give them credit for.

    Go buy flood insurance. Tear up the linoleum. Clear the french drains. Let the basement sit unfinished, for a YEAR, before you decide what to do with it.

    And thank you for your service.

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