How to Identify Water Damage When Inspecting a Home

When water gets into a home, it can cause serious damage. Not only will water damage your walls and floors, but it can also lead to permanent structural damage. Another major concern is that water creates the perfect atmosphere for mold and mildew to flourish. A variety of issues can cause water damage, like leaky roofs, flooded basements, faulty appliances and overflowing gutters. It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of water damage.


Mold grows in wet environments, so it’s a common sign of water damage. Typically, mold looks like discolored stains or blotches on your walls, ceiling and baseboards. It comes in many colors, although the most common varieties found in water-damaged homes are black, brown, gray and green. How to treat mold depends on its severity. Minor mold caused by excess humidity can be fixed by simply using a dehumidifier. More serious cases of mold should be treated by a mold remediation company and may require extensive remodeling.


If you notice an unusual stain, you most likely have a leak somewhere in your home. Stains caused by leaks are usually light brown or yellow and can be any size. Ceiling stains can be caused by leaky roofs, leaky pipes and even excessive condensation from pipes. Repairing a leaky roof costs between $150-$1,000, and leaky pipe repairs usually run between $150-$350. Groundwater can cause a variety of issues like stains if your house isn’t sealed properly. Your home’s foundation is designed to protect it from groundwater and rainwater, but if it develops cracks or holes, that water will instead seep into your home. Foundation repairs are by far the priciest to fix, costing anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000.

Musty Smell

It’s normal for basements to smell a little damp, but a powerful musty smell could indicate a bigger problem. Not all water damage is visible to the naked eye, especially if it’s hidden behind drywall. In this case, you’ll likely smell the damage long before you ever see it. If your basement — or any room of your home — has a persistent smell of mildew, you should consider scheduling a professional inspection. The chances are that there’s an underlying leak in the foundation or plumbing system.

Water damage can be insidious and lead to serious problems before you even realize there’s an issue. However, it’s easy to spot when you know what to look for. Keep an eye out for the signs of water damage described above. If you notice stains, mold or musty odors, it’s best to schedule a professional inspection.

Dealing with water damage is only the first step. Once you’re ready to sell, contact us for a professional real estate photo shoot today!