Is that fresh basement paint hiding something?

woman roller painting wallHome Inspection Article by Donn Anderson – July 2018

I did an inspection for a client earlier this month.

I received an email yesterday stating it was 6 days before the closing of her loan and she went the home for a final walk through the day before and found a flooded basement. This house was remodeled by a “flipper” and in WI, they are not obliged to disclose defects because they have never lived in the property.

At the time of my inspection, there were freshly painted walls and floor with new steel braces installed on the walls. There were no signs of moisture problems at the time of my inspection, but as we know, fresh paint can hide signs of problems.

An observer doesn’t know if the paint was done to make the environment appear brighter/ cleaner or to hide potential concerns. In this 2300 square foot home, replacing drain tiles could cost in excess of $10,000 and we could be talking another $20,000+ if the steel needed to be removed and replace to accommodate the drain tile work. Most people don’t have an extra $30,000 laying around after purchasing a new home.

I cannot express this strongly enough, but if there is a basement with recent work and a fresh coat of paint, it is in a buyer’s best interest to procure all paperwork, permits, specifications, receipts, warranties, lien waivers, etc., prior to the end of their inspection contingency.

This knowledge alone is worth the price of admission to a more experienced home inspector that may be charging more than someone who just has their home inspection license.