How to spot water damage in homes for sale after Tropical Storm Debby | News

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How to spot water damage in homes for sale after Tropical Storm Debby
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When it's water versus homes, water usually wins. That was the case for many homes along the First Coast after Tropical Storm Debby hit.

First for you, if you're in the market for a home, there are easy ways to tell if there is water damage.

"The buyer should always go in and take a look themselves and they can see stains on the walls, maybe some evidence of water damage," said construction attorney Christopher Cobb.

But sometimes, you may need to do more. You may not see water damage, but the dangers are still there.

"If the air conditioning has been turned off, that mold will grow and cause some serious problems," Cobb said.

There are a variety of tests you can have your inspector perform, including infrared to find wet spots behind the walls. Inspectors can also do air readings to detect mold.

It's important to remember that if a bank owns a home and doesn't know there was water damage, Cobb said it's up to you to find out if there is damage.

"The bank can't disclose what it doesn't know," Cobb said.

If you do find damage, it's your job to negotiate with the bank or seller to pay for the costs, Cobb said. And he said these days, banks have been less willing to negotiate with buyers, even if there is damage.

By law, sellers have to fill out disclosures, so if it's a problem they know about, they could be liable if they don't tell you, as the buyer.

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