What Home Sellers should do when getting a Soaking in Seattle

Short Rain Cloud

It may mean you'll need to update your Sellers Disclosure Form. These intensive rains of up to several inches in a few days may test your home's drainage systems and leave behind some moisture or water. But first on your list should be to help your family and neighbors get through the storm. Check on them. See if you can help. Then, here are a few tips for you:

1) Take pictures! If there are areas of water damage, get clear close up shots. And if you can trace the water back to an original intrusion spot or location, in the attic, or outside by a window or door. etc., DO IT. If you have the ability to put those ugly orange-time-stamps in the corner of the photos, all the better. This will be help for insurance purposes and for disclosure purposes as well. Understanding and knowing your deductibles will help you when you go to file too. Many people will be blaming the city or county government for inadequate preparation. I'm not going to debate all that. I'm just going to say pictures and videos carry a lot more weight when perusing these avenues of compensation.
House Umbrella
2) Do what you can to mitigate the continued intrusion. Take initiative to clear drains, flush out clogged drainage pipes, cover over leaking windows or flashing areas with plastic and duck tape, set up catch basins and empty them at intervals. etc. And if you can see streams of water coming to or into your house, by all means take a shovel and divert it away, if possible. DOCUMENT ALL OF THIS WITH PHOTOS AND/OR VIDEO from your smartphone, if you can. Not only can you have a major impact in reducing the damage, the insurance companies truly appreciate a “good faith effort” to help.

3) Call the City or County utility if you think they can really make a difference quickly. Remember they are probably swamped with 911 calls, so this is a last resort unless there are safety issues involved. I pulled over a utility vehicle yesterday because an 80 ft tree and fallen completely over an arterial road and was blocking lots of traffic and needed immediate attention. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered.

4. Once the rains have receded and you are out of panic and survival mode, its' time to call your insurance agent (or better yet, go online) to make a claim. Be patient, they have lots of distressed clients and they want to help the ones in most need first.
Filling out Form 17
5. As a homeowner and a Seller, now it's time to revise the Form 17 Sellers Disclosure Form you had filled out before all this happened. This is the form that all prospective buyers are going to want to see. Of course you need to be open and honest about what occurred. But you should also be pro-active about explaining what you have done to mitigate the problem for the future. For example, if you installed a sump pump or drain field, write about that. Or if you did any repairs to fix where any damage occurred make notes if there have been any future issues since the repairs. Copies of receipts and permits where needed are helpful, especially for major repairs, but not required here. If you think it appropriate, share before and after pictures to show the prospective buyer the time and effort you put into correcting the problem so it would never happen again. A prospective Buyer puts a very high value on honesty, transparency, and documentation. They may be willing to overlook some inherent deficiencies in a home if they feel they the seller has been very honest, have done their best to protect the home, and the buyer feels they have a good grasp of the situation and are ready to deal with future eventualities that may occur.