May 03, 2023
What To Consider Before Buying A Home With Foundation Issues
Sometimes when shopping for a new home, you will encounter a house you love – the building is in decent shape, a great location and selling at an acceptable price. But there is just one problem with it: foundation issues.
When you find a home with foundation issues, should you buy it or walk away?
Since a building’s foundation stabilizes every other part of the structure, this is an essential question. Buying a home with a faulty foundation can be a terrible financial decision because it can haunt you for years.
At the same time, not all foundation problems are fatal. A house with foundation problems can even be a good deal. That’s because while some foundation problems can be a death sentence, you can fix others at a little cost.
How do you know the difference between a foundation problem that is reparable and one that is not?
Causes and signs of foundation damage
Foundation problems happen for several reasons:
The foundation was not properly constructed
Soil erosion caused by improper drainage
The soil underneath the foundation absorbs too much water
The foundation dries out because of dry weather
If a home’s foundation is in trouble, you can usually expect to see the following signs:
Sticky doors or windows
Saggy or uneven floors
Cracks inside the home, the walls and ceilings
Gaps between the cabinets and walls
Cracks in exterior walls and in the foundation itself
How to evaluate foundation problems when buying a house
If you see signs of foundation problems in the home you are about to buy, here are the steps you should take to determine if you should buy the house or not.
1. Do not ask the seller to fix the problem
The reason for this is apparent. If the seller knew about the problem and did not fix it or tell you about it, you cannot trust them to repair it. The seller may choose the cheapest foundation repair company for the job. If you cannot handle the repair yourself, please walk away.
2. Have the foundation inspected by a structural engineer
Have a licensed structural engineer inspect the foundation. After inspecting the structure, the structural engineer should be able to tell you the following; the cause of the foundation problem, if the problem is repairable, if the solution will last and their recommended solution.
3. Talk to a foundation repair company
After the structural engineer, get a foundation repair company to provide an estimate for the repair. Talk to at least three foundation repair companies. Compare their quotes and the chosen solution for the problem. Check each company’s track records and ask if they guarantee their work.
4. Consider the financial implications
How much will it cost you to fix the problem, and how will that cost affect the overall cost of the home? After adding the foundation repair cost, is the home still a good deal? How long will repairs take to complete, and is there a chance that the problem will reoccur in future? How will the foundation issue affect the value of the property?
5. Think about financing
If you choose to go ahead with the purchase, you will need financing. Most lenders will not give you money to buy a home with structural issues. You may use other options, like a hard money lender. However, you can always get a regular mortgage after fixing the foundation.
6. Complete and verify repairs
Before you start repairs, ensure the necessary contingencies are in place with the seller. Contingencies let you walk away if other issues are uncovered. After the foundation is fixed, have it inspected by the structural engineer who inspected it the first time? The structural engineer must sign off on the foundation repair company’s work. If lenders don’t see an inspection report with a structural engineer’s stamp, they won’t touch the home.
7. Close the deal
If you are sufficiently satisfied that the foundation has been fixed, you may proceed and finalize the purchase.
To conclude, the best ally for navigating the intricacies of buying or not buying a home with foundation problems is an experienced realtor who is intimately familiar with the area where the property is located.
If you are looking for a home in the El Paso Texas area and are concerned about the tendency of homes in this location to have foundation problems because of the prevalence of expansive clay soils, you should talk to us at REALTOR® Tom today.
We understand both the threats and opportunities inherent in homes with foundation issues. We will minimize your risk with our experience and help you make the right decision.