What To Consider When Buying a House with Foundation Issues



A house’s foundation plays an important role. It keeps the house sturdy and level, and ensures that the house is safe and comfortable to live in.

When purchasing a house, you need to watch out for foundation problems such as:
• Cracked walls
• Sloping floors
• Misaligned windows and doors
• Leaning posts and beams
• Cracked chimneys
• Exterior cracks and bulging

Even if a house has foundation issues, you may still want to purchase it. If so, here’s what you need to know about buying a house with foundation issues.

Understand the full costs
While home inspectors can identify foundation issues, they’re usually not the people you go to when actually addressing those issues. Instead, you need to consult structural engineers first. Structural engineers charge around $500 to $700 for inspections.

Next, get estimates from specialized foundation repair contractors. Minor foundation repairs include bolting on steel braces, putting epoxy injections in foundation and fixing and replacing gutters. As for major foundation repairs, they can usually cost anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000.

You may also need to fix other problems related to foundation issues. Examples of these are broken or uneven tiles, crooked doors and windows, and cracks in the drywall.

Figure out different financing options
Different financing options exist for foundation repairs. For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provide options for financing homes with foundation issues.

However, keep in mind that the structural soundness of your home is inversely proportional to the down payment and interest you may need to put down for these loans.

Never ask the seller to fix problems
Unless the seller has good reason to fix the house’s foundation, you’re better off not asking them for help. And even if they do help you, they’ll probably go with the cheapest — and not necessarily the highest-quality — option.

Ask the seller about past repairs to the foundation structure.
The seller should talk to you about the issues that were present, how well the previous repairs worked, and when they were done. You should also request that they give you the name of the company that handled the repairs, as well as all the related paperwork.

Include the appropriate contingency clauses
Make sure the appropriate contingency clauses are in place before putting in an offer on a house with foundation issues. These should provide you an exit plan before you sign the dotted line.

Check other issues not directly related to the foundation
Sometimes, the problem may not be the foundation itself. For example, the foundation could have been constructed perfectly, but the ground beneath could have shifted. Generally, builders need to perform a soil test, especially when the construction is on a sloping gradient. However, some may fail to do the test, or the test may fail.

If this is the case, you run the risk of having to replace the entire foundation. It’s also possible that you just need to reinforce the existing foundation by installing new foundation piers. Either way, check with a foundation repair expert.

Know when to walk away
As much as you love the house, you need to know when to walk away. Otherwise, the repairs may end up costing you a fortune.

Buying a new home is always exciting. At the same time, you have to be aware of the costs associated with buying a house with foundation problems. If you suspect that your dream house’s foundation could have issues, follow the tips above.

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