By: Jim Oursler from Granite Foundation Repair. All information and opinions are those of the author.
Finding the perfect house isn’t easy. It means compromising – at least a little. Your dream house may not fit your budget or it may not be close enough to your kids’ school. Or perhaps, it may not have the basement that you really wanted.
At the end of the day, though, you might overlook those nits and try as much as possible to make it worthwhile.
But truth be told, a house with foundation issues isn’t one that many homebuyers would be in the mood to compromise about. Foundation problems, after all, usually mean serious repair work is required.
Is it advisable to buy a house with foundation problems? The answer is – it depends! Depending on your individual circumstance, the answer could be a simple yes or no.
Before you make this crucial decision, Jim Oursler from Granite Foundation Repair, a professional foundation repair company servicing a greater DFW area, shared a couple of things you need to keep in mind.
1. Contact a foundation repair company.
Suspect your potential home has foundation issues? If so, your best bet is to call a foundation repair expert. The expert can determine the severity of the issue and the best solution tothe problem.
Common telltale signs of foundation problems include:
- Counters and cabinets separating from the wall
- A damp crawl space in a pier and beam house
- Sagging or uneven floors
- Gaps around window frames or exterior doors
- Doors that stick or don’t open and close properly
- Foundation upheaval
- Foundation settling or sinking
- Foundation cracks, wall or floor cracks, andother fracture types
When the expert analyzes these issues, you’ll be better placed to make the right decision.
2. Inquire about the history of the home’s foundation repairs.
If you notice foundation issues, it’s vital to speak with the seller directly about any prior foundation issues. Asking the right questions is key.
Did the seller use a highly reputable foundation repair company? Was the structural engineer in charge of the repairs licensed and experienced?
Assuming all the circumstances are right and the problems were fixed, buying such a home is totally fine. In fact, it may be beneficial.
In areas with expansive clay soils like Texas, extensive soil sinking and shifting is commonplace. If the home has experienced such issues before and the seller fixed them, then the problem is unlikely to reoccur again in the future.
3. You may need a different financing.
Still interested in the home after the foundation repair assessment? If so, the next thing to think about is how you’ll finance the purchase. Unfortunately, getting financing for homes requiring structural repair isn’t easy.
Many conventional mortgage lenders require that homes be structurally sound. Luckily, though, Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured 203(k) rehabilitation mortgages exist to help homebuyers buy homes in need of structural repairs.
I detailed a few of them HERE.
4. Don’t request the seller to repair the problems.
The reasoning behind this is simple. If you let the seller fix the issue, he or she will most likely go cheap – as opposed to the best option. Ultimately, the seller may get shoddy work done, which may affect you somewhere down the road.
Think about it: Company A says it needs 12 piers at $10,000 to fix the foundation problem. On the other hand, company B says it only needs 6 piers at $5,000 to fix the problem. Which option do you think the seller will most likely opt for? The cheaper one!
5. Know when to walk away.
A home’s foundation is essential in keeping the home’s structure safe, strong and sound. When it’s compromised, it means that the whole structure is also compromised as well.
That said, however, not all foundation problems are catastrophic. This is especially true when it comes to foundation cracks.
If, for instance, the cracks on your potential home are vertical, then you have nothing serious to worry about. This is because they occur as a direct result of normal settling. If that’s the case, then it only makes sense to continue with the purchase.
However, if the home has a serious foundation problem like sagging floors, then it might be best to walk away.
Foundation issues can be scary, but may not necessarily be a deal-killer. If repairing the foundation problems doesn’t make financial sense for you, then it’d be best to walk away. But, if you understand exactly what you are getting yourself into, then it’s possible to have those issues resolved.