Benefits of house shopping in the rain
There is no question that house shopping is more fun when the sun is shining and the temps are warm. Everything looks better in the sunshine. Houses are brighter. The lawn is greener. Pick a day like today, though, when it's raining by the bucket full, and you'll need some serious galoshes if you want to walk around the yard. And when the skies are gray, everything looks drab. Buyers will comment on rainy days that the house seems so dark, or there's not enough natural light. So true. But here is the bright side of seeing houses on gloomy days: If you love it in the rain, you'll really love it when the sun shine. No amount of staging can bring the sunshine in, so if you love the home during a torrential downpour, you'll probably to love it even more when it's 70 and sunny.
You're more likely to discover water issues. That means, if there's a leak in the roof, you're likely to see it. I once listed a cute 1950's bungalow with a basement that wasn't designed for a home theater or rec room. It had concrete walls, and was built to house the oil tank that heated the house and storage. Like many older houses, however, during a flood, the basement would flood. It had only happened a couple of times, but still, flooding rains would mean water in the basement, and that's not a big selling point.
You'll discover water features. On a sunny day, the yard may look completely flat, but give it a couple of inches of rain, and you'll quickly discover whether there are low areas that hold rain. You'll also get a good look at the streets to see whether they flood quickly.
You'll see for yourself whether the sump pump works. Remember the drought of 2012? It was impossible to know whether the sump pump was working, because there was no water to pump. On rainy days, that sump pump will be working overtime, and you'll get to see it in action. While looking for houses on a rainy day has some benefits, inspections on rainy days are even better.
A good inspector will climb into the crawl space, and one of the major things he's looking for is water. Water in a crawl space can cause all kinds of havoc on a house, including the increased changes of mold. So, if the crawl space is dry on a rainy day, that's a very good sign. If water is seeping into the crawl space, though, that could mean a couple of things. The slope may be slanting toward the house, instead away from it, so re-grading may be necessary. Depending on the source of the water, the crawl space may need a sump pump or even a pit. I was with a home buyer during his inspection recently on a day when there were flood warnings because of thawing snow. When the inspector went into the crawl space, it looked pretty good, but water was beginning to seep into the crawl space, and there was a garden hose running the crawl space into the yard, which looked like someone may have been trying to pump out water (not a good sign). What we learned, however, was that the homeowner had buried all the downspouts close to the house. The drains were all clogged, and there was nowhere for the water to go, but right into the crawl space.
Yes, we all would rather every day be bright and dry, but when you're house hunting, there are some benefits to conducting your search in the rain. Just be sure to pack a pair or rain boots and an umbrella.