Buying a house is an exciting process. You are probably exploring the house and thinking about all the fun things you can do. How about cooking in that designer kitchen, relaxing in the brand-new bathtub or organizing your dresses in that fancy walk-in closet?
Wait a minute.
Before you explore these aspects of your house, take a look at the foundation if you have not already done so. I agree, it is not the most fun or exciting thing to do in a new house, but it is probably the most important thing. We always recommend hiring an inspection service before buying a home so that you can be aware of the underlying structure, stability and security features of your new house.
Sometimes, at the time of purchase, there are minor foundation flaws that can be corrected with a small budget. However, take action earlier as the cost to repair increases as the time passes.
How to Locate the Signs of Foundation Damage?
Cracks and problems appear as the age of the house increases. Some issues are pretty normal, and you do not have to worry, but any crack larger than 1/4th inch indicates that there is an underlying problem. These are the typical signs indicating foundation damage:
- Hairline cracks whether horizontal or vertical
- Moisture issues (A serious problem if water is present in the basement or crawl spaces.)
- Any gap between wall and ceiling
- Cracked or crumbling walls
- Misaligned or improperly functioning doors and windows (Change in alignment might mean the underlying soil has shifted)
- Unnatural soil shifting
Hiring a property inspector is the first thing you should do. It is also recommended to consult a structural engineer before you decide to fix the damage. Repairing foundation damage is an expensive choice. While an engineer may charge you $300-$1,000, he can offer money-saving solutions that will help you in the future.
Should I Buy a House with Foundational Damage?
Good question but the answer is no.
Never underestimate the cost of repairing structural damage. Lenders do not finance a house with damaged foundations, so if you are going to buy such a house, you must arrange a cash deal.
Buying that home is a good option if you love the property and are able to repair the damage. In that case, make sure to get an estimate for the repairs and negotiate a fair deal with the seller.
Keep your eyes open and pay close attention to the tell-tale signs.
Repairing structural damages could be very costly, risky and time-consuming. You will be surprised how many times these major issues are covered up and not disclosed by the seller. A beautiful home could turn out to be a nightmare one or two years down the line. Here are few things that could give you a hint on whether the repairs were done properly or if they were covered up.
- A brand new basement slab, or is it a hidden issue? Self-leveling concrete does miracles and could cover up major and critical flaws up to 3 to 4 inches, making cracked slabs look like new.
- Insulating Spray Foam Sealant in cracks and painted over. Insulating Spray Foam Sealant is designed to be used to seal the gap between pipes and the hole cut-out or around windows to prevent the air slippage. It has no structural integrity so it should not be used as a fix for settlement.
- Small windows and/or doors. Smaller than usual windows and doors allow to re-frame an opening and hide the fact that the house is lining and that the original rough opening is not square.
- Painted foundation walls. We agree that painting the exterior of the foundation wall looks great and adds appeal but could also be used to hide the fact that the front steps or chimney are pulling away from the foundation.
Is It Possible to Sell a Structurally Damaged House?
You can sell a structurally damaged property but understand that you will not get the retail price of your house. The buyers will have to repair the house, and it costs money & time to make a home livable. For many sellers, it is a question whether they should fix the foundational damage or is it better to sell the house as-is. Here are a few key points to help you:
When repairing structural problems, you have to get building permits. The new construction work must align with local guidelines, and this issue is listed in public records. Anyone interested in purchasing your house will know that the house has been repaired. Potential customers may question the value of the repairs made. Your contractor must have an excellent reputation and a warranty for showing that your home has been repaired according to industry standards and guidelines.
On a second note, you can sell the house as-is and let the buyers deal with potential repairs. This option saves you from making repairs. Property buyers often like remodeling their own home and repairing the foundation gives them the opportunity to fix/replace other things which can become a huge plus point for your property.
If you are interested in selling your structurally damaged house, please click here. A reputable cash buying firm will contact you with a fair cash price offer. The company will buy your home as-is, at a time of your choosing.