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Keeping Your Dream House Dry

New boiler. New roof. New electrical panel. These are some of the many “unsexy” improvements that homeowners may need to spend money on -- things that will never be admired by guests. One of these “invisible upgrades” that I’ve been discussing a lot with clients these days is water management.

Because Montclair and some of the surrounding towns are built on a mountain, rainwater is often running down a slope. Most of the time, this is no big deal. The soil will absorb the rain as it falls. But when the rain falls too fast or too hard, it can end up making a mess in yards and, sometimes, basements. 

Keeping water out of a basement is truly an unsexy quest, but a completely worthwhile one. French drains, sump pumps and battery operated back up pumps decrease the likelihood of flooding and increase the value of your home. But sometimes water mitigation needs to start outside.

When I first moved into my house on a hill, my basement crawl space was damp – sometimes wet – all the time, rain or not! Some of the things I’ve done have made a huge difference, and I recommend exploring options like this for buyers and sellers alike:

  • Regrade patios that butt up against the house, so water is moving away from the foundation.
  • Consider an exterior French drain system to move water out to the curb.
  • Minimize the amount of impervious, non-soil space in the yard (Less patio, more grass or planting beds).
  • Create a swale or valley for water to collect away from the house to give the soil time to absorb it. (I haven’t actually needed to do this, though it was suggested by a landscaper.)

I’ve discovered that working with a good landscaper can be as beneficial as hiring a waterproofing company. Whether you are buying or selling, I’m happy to share my expertise and experience about all the inner workings of a home. I can provide a lot of information about how your dream house can remain dreamy, even in the rain.

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  1. Camilla Seth on

    Very important topic and we need more local service providers who are up to date on stormwater management options such as swales and porous paving options. Also, ALL landscapers need to know how their work can either be part of the solution or setting a homeowner up for trouble. Thanks, Lina!