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Brenda, Home Buyer in Worcester, MA

Help! Continuous stream of water running in our basement.

Asked by Brenda, Worcester, MA Sun Dec 28, 2008

We purchased a home in MA in August 2008. Moved from another state, used a realtor who we knew to help purchase a home, bought sight unseen, relying on our realtor. We asked all the right questions. We were told by our realtor that there did not appear to be any water issues in the basement, which was our main concerned since the house was built 1930. Home was completely renovated 4 yrs ago. We waived inspection based on that & info from our realtor. After our recent ice storm it flooded & then the melt down, and current warm conditions, we have a continuous stream of water in the basement. Also, we found pipes that look like they were laid and covered with concrete that go from one part of the basement to a drain hole with another pipe which drains out the water. Obvious the sellers knew there was a serious water problem as we found a sump pump hidden under the stairs. Who is responsible for this. Were sellers liable to disclose this? We can't afford the fix on this. Thank you

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Sight unseen and no would have been wise to ask someone about the soundness of this action.

Our recommendation, as others have mentioned, is to consult an attorney for their advice.

Have you spoken with the agent?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 1, 2009
Dear Brenda,

I've solved a big water problem in my basement with little money. I made sure the outdoor run-off was drained away from the foundation by grading the dirt to pitch away from the foundation. Plain old black plastic buried 4" under the dirt works wonders. I later was able to prevent the occasional rise in spring ground water from bubbling up on top of the cellar floor by digging a very small "ditch" 4" to "6" deep x 3" wide around the inside cellar foundation to catch the water before it reached the floor. This water trench was directed to a hole , about 1 1/2' X 1 1/2' for collection. You could then pump it out. In my case, I was able to send it to a drain.

Exterior excavation and perimeter drains are an unecessary major project in my experience and I own several properties. And, if the grading isn't done properly as described above, it won't work well, if at all, for the surface water. The epoxy fix is also expensive and offers poor temporary results. The best and easiest solution is to prevent surface water from reaching your foundation walls in the first place by exterior grading of the dirt, plain and simple. Inexpensive with your own labor, neighborhood kids or modest costs hiring a landscaper.

Best wishes, Len
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 1, 2009
I spoke with our attorney who did the closing and he told me that because the seller listed no disclosures that the our waiving the home inspection is pretty much null but that a law suit would probably cost more than the fix. We have had specialists in who also tell us that from what they see, it has been a long term issue. The epoxy fix sounds the most reasonable and then in the spring will do a dig up of the yard and lay perimiter drain pipes. Thanks to all of you for your help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 29, 2008
Hello Brenda- Sorry for your plight.
Did you use a buyer agent or a seller agent to buy the home? My guess is the buyer's agent would have less knowledge about the home and this specific problem in the past.
Did you read and initial a seller's disclosure statement? What did it say? With that, it's all about plausible deniability. Maybe the seller didn't have any leak issues- and the owner before him might have. So in that case, the seller didn't think there was any concern with water leakage- ?? Just a thought.
I know its water over the dam (no pun intended), but for $300 I always recommend a home inspection- even for a brand new home.
You should call someone that does epoxy injections to fix this problem. Most likely this is your best and easiest fix. Will cost you between $600- $1500 most likely. I've ordered many of them. If you need any further help, please let me know. Thanks, and good luck,

Ken L.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 29, 2008
You'll probably need to consult a qualified real estate attorney/litigator to review your options. Gather all your documents, records, emails etc. and have them reviewed. Depending on the situation there may be different remedies available to you. You should get a plumber and/or a basement water specialist to get that sump pump working ASAP to help mitigate some of the damage, no matter how things proceed, assistance will not be quick financially.

Best of luck to you
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 28, 2008
Unfortunately you waived the engineer inspection. I would NEVER advise waiving an engineer inspection, even on new construction, much less on a home built in 1930. Whether or not the seller is "liable" to disclose this depends on the law in your state. In NY if the seller gives the buyer $500 at closing, they do not have to fill out the disclosure form (I have never had an attorney allow the seller to fill out this form, by the way). The only person who can answer this question definitively is your attorney. Have you contacted them yet?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 28, 2008
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