You’ll often hear people say you shouldn’t consider buying a home with foundation issues, but is this really true? While it’s certainly not ideal, what happens when you find a home you really love that’s priced well below the market rate? Well, you need to proceed with caution and carefully evaluate the situation.
Spotting a House with Foundation Issues
When you’re in the market for a home, you likely have a list of items you’re looking for in your new property. This may include things like red brick, a newly renovated kitchen, four bedrooms, two-car garage, and other stipulations. And while there’s nothing wrong with focusing on the things you want, you must constantly be aware of a property’s shortcomings.
When it comes to identifying foundation problems, be on the lookout for doors that aren’t square, cracks in drywall, problems with floors, windows that stick, and separation between the foundation and the home. These are all signs that something may be wrong with the foundation.
7 Things You Must Do
You never want to buy a home and then discover that it has issues with the foundation. This is a worst-case scenario as a homebuyer. However, if you’re aware of the issues on the front end, there are circumstances under which it’s okay to proceed with putting in an offer. With that being said, you’ll need to follow some precise steps.
Here are seven things to think about and do:
Call a Foundation Repair Expert
For starters, you need to call a foundation repair expert to analyze the problem. In most cases, the seller won’t have a problem letting you do this. However, if a seller refuses to allow you to bring in your own expert, then it’s probably best to walk away.
While you’ll get a full analysis of the foundation from a general home inspection, you need someone who lives and breathes foundations on a daily basis. This is the only way to get a 100 percent accurate reading of the root cause and damage.
Ask the Seller About Previous Foundation Structural Repairs
If you notice foundation issues, then it’s important that you speak directly with the seller about any previous foundation structural repair that took place. They should be able to tell you about any issues that were present, when they were handled, and how well they worked. They should also be able to provide paperwork and the name of the company that repaired the issues.
Never Ask the Seller to Fix Problems
Whatever you do, don’t ask the seller to fix the problems that exist. The risk here is that the seller will choose the cheapest option – as opposed to the best option. You may assume this isn’t a big deal, but you must realize that foundation repair companies often offer completely different estimates and quotes.
For example, one company may say they can fix a foundation settlement issues with 6 piers costing just $5,000. Another company may come in and say it really needs 12 piers at a cost of $10,000. Guess which one the seller is going to pay for – the cheaper one! Ultimately, the seller may get shoddy work done, which will affect you down the road.
Understand the Full Costs
If you’re going to put in an offer on a home with foundation issues, you must understand the full costs of future repairs. Failing to fully account for these expenses can quickly push you beyond your budget.
“Cracks in the foundation that are less than 1/4 inch wide don’t usually require repair; however, anything more than that does. Patching cracks can cost a few thousand dollars, depending on where you live, and this doesn’t address the cause of the cracking in the first place, which you’ll also need to fix at some point,” says Amanda Bell, former interior designer and project coordinator.
Rebuilding part of a foundation can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. If you end up needing an entirely new foundation, the price tag could be more than $100,000. In other words, you don’t want to underestimate the total cost of future repairs.
Figure Out Different Financing Options
Even if you’ve been pre-approved for a loan, it’s possible that approval is contingent on a home that passes an inspection without foundation issues. (At least this is the case with many traditional lenders.) So, in order to make an offer and get approval, you may need to pursue alternative financing. Or, if your original lender decides to finance anyway, a higher interest rate or down payment may be required.
Include the Appropriate Contingency Clauses
If you’re going to put in an offer on a home that needs foundation structural repair, you’ll want to work with your agent to ensure all of the appropriate contingency clauses are in place. These contingencies will make sure you have ample room to wiggle out of the deal prior to reaching the closing table.
Know When to Walk Away
At the end of the day, you must know when to walk away. As much as you love the home, you can’t afford to put your money into something that isn’t structurally sound or will end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars down the road. There are always more homes on the market and it may not make sense to invest in one with these types of issues.
Contact Edens Structural Solutions
At Edens Structural Solutions, we’ve proudly serviced the foundation repair needs of customers throughout northeastern Oklahoma for more than 30 years, and would love the chance to help you identify and alleviate any issues that may be facing your property.
At Edens, our mission is to satisfy our customers by focusing on two things: intelligence and integrity. If you’re looking for a foundation structural repair company that puts the customer first and the bottom line second, then you’ve come to the right place. Contact us today and we’d be happy to provide you with a free consultation!