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I have sold many homes over the years. When thinking about ways sellers can protect their own interests, one sale in particular comes to mind…

During my initial meeting and walk through with the sellers, I noticed the bathroom sink had low water pressure. I had been selling homes a long time by then, so this immediately sent up a red flag.

I checked out the shower and the kitchen faucet and, sure enough, those had low water pressure, as well. I pointed the issue out to the sellers and told them this could be a potential roadblock to getting the house sold. I advised them to be proactive and call a plumber to find out what was causing it and get it fixed.

Unfortunately, they decided to not take my advice and ignored the problem.

I showed the house several times, as did other real estate agents. It sat without offers for weeks, which is a bit unusual in my market. Some of the potential buyers that came by noted the water pressure issue, as they are apt to check each part of the home as they walk through. This type of problem sometimes causes buyers to wonder about how well the home has been maintained.

We eventually received an offer on the property and, after some negotiations, the sellers accepted it. Like a smart buyer should, the buyers enlisted the help of a professional home inspector to check out the house top to bottom. And what did I tell them from the beginning? Signs of a big plumbing issue. If I remember correctly, there was a water leak in one of the main pipes under their steps. Unfortunately, it looked like it had been leaking for awhile, because the flooring in the closet under the steps was ruined and needed to be replaced.

The buyers demanded the plumbing issue be rectified and the damaged floor replaced or they were going to back out of buying the home. Most buyers don’t want to purchase a fixer-upper.

This time, our sellers decided to call a plumber. If they had called when we first noticed the problem, the damage and expenses wouldn’t have been nearly as bad. As it was, the leak had to be repaired and the floor had to be replaced. Once the flooring specialists pulled up the ruined hardwood, they found mold in the floor from the dampness that had been present for many weeks. The sellers were out a hefty chunk of cash getting this all cleaned up.

If you are a home owner and plan to put it on the market, or live in it for many more years, it’s important to address issues when you find out about them. This especially goes for water issues. Most of the time, plumbing problems can be repaired quickly and economically. But ignoring them won’t make them go away, and may even make it worse, add on more problems, and multiply the costs as it did in this seller’s situation.

The buyers ended up buying the home, even though closing had to be delayed while all the repairs were made. It’s never great to see a seller essentially leave money on the table when they don’t need to, so let this be a lesson to anyone thinking of putting their home on the market or anyone who wants to protect their investment, for that matter.