It’s one thing when you see the word “water” figuring prominently in descriptions of Highlands properties. Any time that word comes into play, it’s a cinch that the property in question is more valuable than any waterless neighbors. Everyone knows that a shorefront or beachfront property is likely to be worth more than an identical inland place. In areas like Florida, condos with docks (or even access to a dock) are highly prized. Wherever a lake, river or stream is noted in a listing’s description, it’s likely to add significantly to the asking price—even if it’s only because of a distant view.
The conclusion anyone would draw from the foregoing is that, as a general principal, “water” is a desirable feature when it comes to real estate—and Highlands real estate would be no exception.
But that’s only for good water.
Bad water is something else again. Bad water is the kind of water you can’t do anything useful with. If it’s not there for recreation, or even for scenic enjoyment—then you are dealing with “bad” water! It includes an entire catalogue of water that is unwelcome. The only thing you can do with this kind of water is to get rid of it.
Whenever you are taking a look at property in Highlands, water should be near the top of the list of things to be watching out for (that is, if it isn’t mentioned in the listing). Later on, your property inspector will check for the wrong kind of water; but if you keep your eyes open, you can do some preliminary detective work yourself. And it does take detective work, because bad water has usually already made its getaway before you arrive. But it can’t help but leave a few clues. Here are some common ones:
Foundation clues. A single inch of rain creates 600 gallons of runoff—and if that water isn’t properly directed away from the foundation, nothing good will come of it. Piles of silt or landscaping gullies where they don’t belong are two clues.
Gutter clues. Accomplices that can cause foundation issues reveal themselves in the guise of gutters that aren’t doing their job. A visual reconnoitering of the overhead gutters and downspouts is usually sufficient to spot these perps.
Stain clues. Standing water will usually leave forensic evidence, long after it has fled the scene. Pavement, flooring, or even ceiling stains are clues; and walls can show efflorescence (the minerals left after water has evaporated).
Olfactory clues. Moisture in walls and in attic spaces can be hard to see, but easy to sniff. If it gives rise to mildew on the underside of the roof, work needs to be done!
Even if you aren’t planning to put your Highlands property on the market any time soon, getting an early preventative bead on drainage problems can ultimately become a true dollar-saver. Of course, when it’s time to sell—I hope you’ll give me a call!