The Denver housing market is booming and home prices are higher than ever. It is a market where people are paying over the listed market value, and sellers are not obligated to clean up and fix-up their homes to sell them.
One of the most significant defects that I see in some of these homes are poor gutter and downspout maintenance. Gutters need to convey the water from the roofs to the ground, away from the foundation.
When gutters are so clogged with debris that there are plants growing in them, there is no way that they can effectively drain the water into the downspouts. As a result, the rain water overflows the gutter, and travels down the walls and into the foundation. I have seen significant foundation damage this spring due to poorly maintained gutters, turning a simple lack of home maintenance into a $40,000 structural issue.
Cleaning the gutters is not enough, you also have to insure that the downspouts are not clogged and drain away from the foundation. Big rainstorms can dump hundreds of gallons of water onto a roof. That water is conveyed to several downspouts which then disperse the water away from the foundation. In cases where the downspouts are not adequately extended, that water is dumped directly onto the foundation, saturating the soil and potentially causing severe structural deficiencies.
As a buyer in this market, take a look at the gutters and the downspouts. If you see plants in the gutters or downspouts that drain right next to the foundation and basement windows, be aware of the potential for foundation damage, water penetration, mold and significant cost.