What is water mitigation? | What it costs | The process | Options for selling | FAQs
Any homeowner who’s suffered from a flood, plumbing leak, or water heater burst knows how much damage it can cause when left unchecked. Water mitigation becomes a top priority in these situations.
The key to water mitigation is acting fast before the water does more damage. Our guide covers everything you need to know about water mitigation: how it works, how much it costs, and your options for selling a water–damaged home.
- Water mitigation means preventing further water damage to your home and its belongings.
- Water restoration means repairing and restoring your home to its previous, undamaged condition.
- Water mitigation can cost up to $1,300, while restoration can cost up to $5,500.
Need to sell your house but can’t afford the costs of water mitigation? Clever Offers is a great place to start. Clever will match you to a top local realtor, who brings you as-is offers from local real estate investors. You’ll also get a free home valuation to compare your offers to your home’s fair market value. Get cash offers from top local buyers now!
What is water mitigation?
After a major water-related event (e.g., a flood, roof leak, or sewage backup), water mitigation is work that prevents further damage to your property.
When you might need water mitigation:
- A storm causes flooding in a basement and crawlspace. The water may spread into the home and cause mold growth, termites, and other issues.
- A roof leak travels into a home’s foundation. Water threatens the home’s stability, and black mold and excess moisture can build up in the attic.
- A water heater bursts. Water fills up the home’s garage, damages personal belongings, and finds its way into the home’s main living area.
Water mitigation is 100% needed in these situations. With the help of a professional and specialized equipment, you can prevent water from causing further damage to your home.
Water mitigation example
If your crawl space floods after a storm, a water mitigation specialist might recommend these immediate actions:
- Extract the standing water from your crawl space using a submersible pump or a wet-and-dry vacuum, and direct the water away from the house.
- Remove and discard contaminated items that will likely contain mold or mildew.
- Treat all affected areas with an antimicrobial spray to remove and prevent mold.
- Dry out the area with heavy-duty fans and a commercial-grade dehumidifier.
- Install a vapor barrier to reduce moisture levels and prevent future issues that could lead to mold.
Taking these actions ASAP could prevent further damage to the home.
Water mitigation vs. water restoration
Mitigation and restoration are similar — but not the same. Mitigation focuses on prevention, while restoration focuses on repairing damage.
If a flood reaches your home’s first floor and ruins its flooring, including the subfloors and joists, contact a professional for help.
A water mitigation services company might try to prevent flooding in the future by installing a sump pump, building a retaining wall, or a levee around the house to hold back stormwater. Another idea is to waterproof the home with flood damage-resistant building materials.
» SEE: FEMA flood damage-resistant materials requirements
A water restoration specialist would focus on replacing the damaged flooring. The restoration process may also require other licensed contractors to help restore the home to its pre-storm condition.
Water mitigation process: Step-by-step
If your home has water damage, here’s what you can do next.
Step 1. Locate the water source
Finding the source of the water damage is key to preventing further damage and fixing the issue. Leaks can cause mold, pose a fire hazard, drive up utility bills, and even attract unwanted pests.
For example, if you think water might be coming from your home’s plumbing, shut off your home’s water supply and call a plumber ASAP. If your home’s roof is leaking, you may want to tarp it or call a professional roofing company for help with repairs before it becomes a bigger issue.
Not sure where the water is coming from? Call a licensed contractor or home inspector for help.
2. Remove the water
If it’s a small amount of water, you might be able to handle water removal on your own and save money. But make sure to act fast: a few inches of water can cause serious damage.
For example, you can find equipment like a wet-and-dry vacuum at a local Home Depot to remove basement water. A dehumidifier and fans can dry out the area.
If you’re not comfortable handling this work or the issue is more serious, it’s best to enlist the help of a professional.
3. Contact a water mitigation or restoration company
Water mitigation or restoration services have all the equipment and expertise needed to prevent future water issues and restore your home to its prior condition.
For example, a water mitigation company may use a heavy-duty vacuum that’s stronger than what you’d find at your local hardware store. If you’re concerned about mold, the pro might conduct moisture testing and use an antimicrobial spray to prevent more growth.
💡 Pro tip: Contact your insurance company!
Your homeowner’s or flood insurance policy may cover water damage. If you think you’re covered:
1. Read your insurance policy
2. Contact an insurance agent
3. Take photos of the water damage
Most homeowner’s policies help cover the costs of water damage if it was sudden and accidental, like if a plumbing pipe bursts or if a washing machine supply hose fails, according to Allstate.
However, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau warns that homeowner’s insurance usually DOESN’T cover flood damage.
How much does water mitigation cost?
The cost of mitigation depends on the severity of your issue, how much water needs to be removed from your home, the type of water damage, and if you need to hire professional help.
Water mitigation costs may include:
- The cost to repair a plumbing or roof leak.
- Installing a sump pump or dehumidifier.
- Buying or renting heavy-duty fans to dry out the area.
But water restoration is likely more expensive than mitigation. It costs homeowners between $1,300 to $5,500 to restore a home after it has been damaged by water, according to HomeAdvisor.
Water restoration may include tearing out and replacing water-damaged home areas, including drywall and flooring, or buying new appliances and furniture.
Options for selling a house with water damage
If you want to sell a home that has water damage, here are some of your options.
Sell as-is to a cash home buyer
Real estate investors will buy homes with serious water damage or reoccurring water mitigation issues. It’s the fastest, least stressful way of selling a house in poor condition. You can get an offer within 24 hours and close on the sale within a week or so, with zero repair requests.
The downside is that you’d probably net less money than by selling with a realtor on the open market. But it’s an option to consider if speed and convenience are important to you.
Sell with a real estate agent
You can sell your home with a realtor to get the highest possible price. A local realtor can:
- Recommend a pricing strategy based on how much your home is worth in the current market
- Help you decide if you should sell your home in as-is condition, lower your asking price to reflect the water-related issues or make repairs, and then list
- Suggest how you should market your home to the public, or if you should consider selling to an iBuyer
But if you list your home on the open market, you’ll likely need to disclose any issues you’re aware of with your house. Most states require home sellers to fill out a property disclosure statement.
If your home has serious water issues, it could also take you some time to find the right home buyer. It’s best to work with a local realtor who has experience selling homes with water mitigation issues – they’ll know how to best price and market for your home.
We recommend using an agent matching service like Clever Real Estate to connect quickly with top local realtors. Clever also pre-negotiates lower listing agents fees with local agents to save you money.
Water mitigation FAQs
What is water mitigation?
Water mitigation is the act of preventing further water damage to your home, like removing standing water from a basement and preventing future flooding by installing a sump pump. It's intended to prevent costly repair issues and safety hazards, such as mold growth.
What's the difference between water mitigation and restoration?
Water mitigation and restoration are similar, but not the same. Mitigation focuses more on the future prevention of water damage, while restoration refers to the water damage restoration process and repairing the damages caused by water intrusion.
How much does it cost to mitigate water damage?
The cost to mitigate water damage varies widely. Your actual costs may depend on how much excess water needs to be removed from the home, if the home was damaged by storm water or plumbing leaks, and what needs to be done to mitigate future water issues. It'll likely cost more if you need to hire water damage restoration services.
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