Structural problems are every potential home buyer’s nightmare. “Foundation problems”, in particular, are two words enough to cause panic amongst most potential buyers. After all, no buyer looks to buy a house whose structural integrity has been compromised.
Buying a home with structural issues poses several risks. For one, what if it doesn’t get fixed? What if there are more serious underlying factors that can end up costing a fortune to fix? There is just so much uncertainty.
Furthermore, getting finance will be no easy walk to the park, as many lenders often shy away from structurally unsound homes.
But contrary to popular opinion, a house with foundation issues isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. In some cases, OmniKey Realty explains, buying a home with foundation problems can save you a significant sum of money.
In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about buying a home with foundation issues.
Is buying a home with foundation issues worthwhile?
There is no straightforward answer here, as there is a boatload of factors one needs to consider first. Some of the things to consider include:
- The extent of the damage. Repairing hairline fissures on the floor, for instance, would only end up costing a few hundred bucks. However, if the problems are caused by a much deeper issue, such as soil movement, then the cost could be in the thousands.
- The cost of the home. Is the seller willing to negotiate the sale price to a level you are comfortable with? Generally, serious issues will usually shave off anywhere between 10%-15% off a home’s value. So, if the price of the home is $250,000, the seller should be willing to bring down the price by between $25,000 and $37,500.
- How badly do you want the home? No matter how badly you want the home, overlooking serious structural issues is never a good idea.
How do you find out whether a home has foundation problems?
To an untrained eye, foundation damage is rather difficult to overtly see. But to a trained eye, even without superficial issues, they may be able to pinpoint issues that are related to the foundation.
The only way to find out is by hiring a professional home inspector. A professional home inspector will help you detect specific details that indicate potential structural issues.
What are the common signs of a faulty foundation?
Sign #1: Cracks and other types of fissures appearing on the wall, floor, and foundation
Does your foundation or the brick exterior of the home have small gaps? If so, it could be a sign of a foundation problem. These are usually the first signs of soil movement. When the soil beneath the foundation moves, the foundation shifts, and gaps may begin to appear. Bad soil conditions are often the cause of the problem.
Any gap exceeding a quarter of an inch should warrant concern.
Sign #2: The structure appears to be settling or sinking into the ground
If the home appears to be sinking into the ground, have it professionally checked. It could be a sign of a foundation problem. To restore the home, you may need to have an interior and exterior foundation installed around the perimeter of the structure.
Sign #3: The foundation appears to be heaving in the upward direction
This is the opposite of a sinking foundation. This problem usually affects the perimeter of the concrete slab foundation, but it can affect the home’s interior as well. Causes of foundation heaving are many, including excessive moisture and bad soil conditions.
Sign #4: Doors and windows that stick or fail to open and close properly
Do you need to use extra force when closing or opening doors and windows? If so, the foundation could be the culprit.
Sign #5: Floors appearing to be sagging or uneven
When foundations move, floors tend to sag or appear uneven. Such floors are not only unsightly, but they are also a safety hazard to the elderly and small children.
Sign #6: Kitchen cabinets and countertops appearing to tilt and pull away from the wall
If something is affecting the foundation, it’ll cause it to become uneven. And consequently, everything above it will be affected.
Should you negotiate with the seller about the foundation issues?
If you like the house and have prior experience fixing foundation problems, then you should negotiate the price down.
Don’t, however, make the mistake of asking the seller to fix the issues. Why? Because, most sellers will usually choose a company that quotes the lowest price, and that might compromise the quality of the work done.
After all, the seller isn’t concerned about the quality of the work as it won’t benefit them.
So, should you buy a home with foundation issues? In a word – maybe! As you can see, the answer depends on a myriad of factors. Hiring a professional home inspector can help you know the extent of the problem and whether or not it would be worthwhile to buy the home.